Contact cement fumes

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Forum topic by BradNail posted 03-21-2009 03:08 AM 6715 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 3577 days

03-21-2009 03:08 AM

I’ve always been careful about ventilation when using contact cement. I open the overhead door to my shop and put a fan in the window to draw air through. I turn off the electric heaters and fluorescent lights and I’m careful not to turn any machines on. Then it hit me that my $19.95 window fan motor is probably not explosion proof. Has anyone ever had problems with the fumes from contact cement, or am I being too careful? I know there is a water-based contact cement, but I’ve never had much luck with it. I wonder just how concentrated the fumes would have to be to be flammable. If I’m just spreading a quart of the stuff is that enough to be dangerous?



-- Brad, Sisters, Oregon

7 replies so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3656 days

#1 posted 03-21-2009 03:56 AM

I really don’t think you are going to have any issues with your fan motor. I would do as you have been by ensuring plenty of ventilation is to be had, and keep your spark producing devices a considerable distance from the fumes. Depending on how far away your lights are, I would suspect you probably don’t need to turn them off either. If you have decent ventilation, I would think the fumes would be so dispersed the chances of igniting them would be very small.

-- San Diego, CA

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18388 posts in 3874 days

#2 posted 03-21-2009 04:43 AM

I would guess the air movement would keep the fume concentration too low for an explosion. Back in the good old days, I used to wire gas pumps hot. They didn’t want to loose a sale while we wired them :-) As long a there was a little breeze, everything was ok. On a hot sultry day with no air movement, I wouldn’t do it. No amount of pay check is worth my life or serious burns.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lew's profile


12424 posts in 3953 days

#3 posted 03-21-2009 06:00 AM

These types of AC window fans don’t have brushes therefore don’t make sparks when running. However, there is the possibility of a spark occurring inside the fan switch when it is turned on/off or at the plug if the fan is turned on when plugging it in.

You could use an explosion proof switch and wire the fan directly (effectively removing the built in fan switch) or locate a regular switch outside of the area where the fumes are concentrated.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4512 days

#4 posted 03-21-2009 03:42 PM

I’ve been known to use contact cement in a room with an electric heater running and the windows closed. I’ve been on many jobs where the only heat is a propane heater. I’d be more worried about the fumes killing my brain cells. (both of them) Then again that is just a kitchen counter top. If you are working all day with the product you might have more build up of fumes.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3591 days

#5 posted 03-21-2009 04:03 PM

I’d be more concerned about my lungs and brain damage than anything else.

The fumes really do not represent that fire risk, since you’re taking the right precautions.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3910 days

#6 posted 03-21-2009 09:03 PM

I agree if you’ve got the door open to the outside I don’t think the fumes would get to flammable concentrations. I work in my garage next to our van which will have about 70 litres of gasoline in it…probably a far higher risk than the fumes from contact cement. I;’d be more worried about the effect fumes had on either one of my braincells (I hear you dennis) before I’d worry about an explosion…mind you my ‘worry braincell’ was one of the first to get frustrated with me and leave :-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3678 days

#7 posted 03-24-2009 03:48 PM

I have used contact cement for felt in drawers etc without any problems and I have the lights on, furnace running just a few feet away. My measurement is if the fumes will be so strong that I start feeling icky then I feel it might be a problem so I start opening windows and doors.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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