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Forum topic by mds4752 posted 04-09-2014 03:17 PM 1137 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mds4752

48 posts in 1176 days


04-09-2014 03:17 PM

Just moved into a new home and have my basement shop almost ready to go. My basement is half finished. The workshop is in the unfinished portion and has no windows. The closest window is in the finished portion, approx. 15-20’ from where I plan to have my finishing station set up. It’s also about 10=15’ feet from the water heater / furnace / AC unit.

Just a hobbyist, so not a huge / production level of fumes to deal with. I use everything from shellac to BLO to poly to spar varnish to lacquer.

My questions for the group are : “How concerned should I be about ventilation for finishing work? And if it’s a real concern, what have other folks done to deal with it if there is no easy option such as opening windows / door?”

Maybe I’m just a bit overly paranoid and the problem is easily handled by opening the window in the finished portion of the basement. Just wanting to get some feedback from the crowd.

-- "Live each day as if it were your last; one day you're sure to be right." -- Lt Harry "Breaker" Morant


20 replies so far

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1154 posts in 1101 days


#1 posted 04-09-2014 03:32 PM

Well you haven’t provided enough info.
  1. is your furnace a new furnace that pulls air from the outside or is it older that pulls air from the house.
  2. are you spraying , wiping or brushing.

So first, when you are using lacquer or varnish, or mineral spirits, shut your furnace down. Especially if you spray. Just flip the switch by the furnace, they all have switches.

If you are wiping or brushing get a small behrens steel can.. throw your wet rags in there, and always open them up and spread them out, then cap the can and pull the handle over to seal it.. That’s what I use. Or buy an expensive fire can.

You should be concerned, but smart.
You can put in a bathroom type fan to exhaust the fumes outside, it will pull enough of the fumes outside and prevent a huge build up. put it between the floor joists and cut a hole on your outside put in a vent.. use 2 flappers and exterior and interior to prevent cold air from coming back in.

-- Jeff NJ

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mds4752

48 posts in 1176 days


#2 posted 04-09-2014 03:57 PM

Woodchucker—
Thanks for the reply.
Furnace / home built in 2004, so I’m guessing it’s newer style, but I’ll verify later tonight. Will also find the switch.
I always brush or wipe my finishes; I don’t have a sprayer.

I have been storing some of the rags in sealed mason jars just to contain the odor / fumes, but of course they’re not open up.

I’ll do some more noodling over your idea to install a bathroom fan. That may be the ticket.

-- "Live each day as if it were your last; one day you're sure to be right." -- Lt Harry "Breaker" Morant

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1187 days


#3 posted 04-09-2014 03:59 PM

I would say that in the house, especially close to appliances specifically designed to generate heat, ventilation should be a very high priority. If I were you, I’d look for or make a variable speed blower run to the outside via a dryer vent in the rim joist and open at least one of the windows in the finished section of the basement to replace the air being evacuated. As for the blower, more power = better in case you’re using something really nasty (like sprayed lacquer) and want none of the fumes making it into any other part of the house. I’ve sprayed catalyzed lacquer in my shop with everything closed to keep the dust at bay, even with a mask on the stench was bad (I only do this for small projects with very short exposure time). Even a day later the smell can still be quite strong as is the associated danger.

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Paul

721 posts in 1032 days


#4 posted 04-09-2014 04:19 PM

Click on my profile and look at my workshop. It’s very similar in the size you are working with.

It’s in a closed off room where the furnace and ac units are (the big by fold white doors). I haven’t run into any issues yet. I do run a jet air purifier when ever I’m in the shop and it runs on a two hour timer when I leave and shuts itself off. I also run a 2hp dust collector to all of my big machines, table saw, jointer etc. a shop vac on my miter saw and anything smaller.

Paul

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mds4752

48 posts in 1176 days


#5 posted 04-09-2014 04:22 PM

Bigblockyeti—I did use some lacquer at my old place, and you are correct in that it has some potent fumes. Mine was the brush on variety, but it certainly had some heavy, toxic smelling fumes. I’ll also check into the idea of an exhaust fan / blower system.

I’m assuming it wouldn’t be wise to tie this into the existing dryer vent system??

-- "Live each day as if it were your last; one day you're sure to be right." -- Lt Harry "Breaker" Morant

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Grandpa

3256 posts in 2142 days


#6 posted 04-10-2014 04:10 AM

I read about some guys that left the water heater on in a house while they were installing some new plastic laminate counter tops. They were using contact cement. Blew the wall out of the kitchen. It was winter and they had the house closed. Use caution

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Paul

721 posts in 1032 days


#7 posted 04-10-2014 04:15 AM

Grandpa

I bet the guys you “read” about weren’t using jet air filters and using dust collectors.

Paul

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1187 days


#8 posted 04-10-2014 04:17 AM

I wouldn’t tie into the dryer vent. If you can’t poke another hole in the side of the house for whatever reason, I guess you could disconnect the dryer and use the vent that way.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1154 posts in 1101 days


#9 posted 04-10-2014 04:40 AM

The reason that you want to open your rags and let them dry is because they can definitely ignite if they are left in a ball. The closed mason jar might be good to keep the air out, but when you get a lot of rags, a metal container (metal ONLY) is necessary. Some might keep water in the container, I don’t.

If 2004, there is a strong likely hood that you are using a self contained unit. if you have pvc inlet and pvc outlet (no chimney from the furnace) you are likely using a unit that does not draw household air.

Still the bath fan might be a good idea to get rid of the fumes. I run a squirrel cage filter with the pleated filters, but I also have windows. So I suck the floating vapors to the pleated filter..
My friend runs the bath fan above his finishing area, and says it does a great job.

-- Jeff NJ

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Whiskers

389 posts in 1494 days


#10 posted 04-11-2014 09:47 AM

I’m glad I’m not in your situation. I’d finish the unfinished portion, than kick out whatever people purpose was in the finished portion with the windows and move the shop area in there.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1415 days


#11 posted 04-11-2014 01:26 PM

Number 1 By a bath fan I want to point out it probably need to be a good one. Not a cheap $40 one.
I was wondering if you vent your DC outside. If so that would move more than enough air to get rid of any fumes you have.

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

853 posts in 1577 days


#12 posted 04-11-2014 01:49 PM

I don’t recall the design of bath exhaust fans, is the motor exposed to the air flow? If so could the fumes be concentrated enough that a spark in the motor could ignite them?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

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mds4752

48 posts in 1176 days


#13 posted 04-11-2014 05:16 PM

WoodchuckerNJ—My heater/AC unit does have the PVC pipe, so that’s a plus. I will shop for bucket by Behrens that you recommended. Will hold a lot more than a mason jar too. Thanks for those tips.

Whiskers—Ha! That would be a remodeling project I wouldn’t be able to get to for awhile!!

Shawn—I actually don’t use a DC at this time. I’m just using a shopvac unit with a dust deputy attached to it.

I’ve got an uncle who has some nice carpentry / remodel skills, so I may enlist his help in getting the bathroom fan system w/vent to outside added to my shop.

Thanks all!

-- "Live each day as if it were your last; one day you're sure to be right." -- Lt Harry "Breaker" Morant

View BJODay's profile

BJODay

514 posts in 1410 days


#14 posted 04-11-2014 05:24 PM

I used oil based varnish on a project while my wife was using the dryer. The dryer heated the fumes and the clothes were permeated with a chemical smell. it really reeked. We had to rewash all of the clothes. Now I either finish outside or use a water based varnish on small projects indoors.

BJ

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Grandpa

3256 posts in 2142 days


#15 posted 04-12-2014 12:34 AM

I bet the guys you “read” about weren’t using jet air filters and using dust collectors

Paul, I don’t think I have ever needed a dust collector when I was laying plastic laminate. Maybe I missed something in the instructions. I am just saying these guys were using contact cement with the gas water heater on somewhere in the home. They blew the wall out of the kitchen according to the news report on television.

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