shop fire hazard ! check your extiguishers !

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Forum topic by patron posted 08-19-2009 03:12 PM 2018 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13606 posts in 3365 days

08-19-2009 03:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip fire safety

we have all had the ocasional “sparks ” ,
last night i was using my new spline jig for box corners ,
with a stacked dado setup ,
and got some sparks where i cut through some light gauge pinner brads .
( they were in the jig itself ) , it’s happened at times in the past ,
and as they are soft and the tools can handle it ,
i didn’t think much of it , and procceded working .
the little smoke , was like the usual dull or hard wood type ,
not to be concerned with to much , just slow down .
and as i was end plowing , i was concerned about tearout .
and more concerned about the safety of this new operation,
i proceded cautiosly along .

but i started thinking the lingering smoke wasn’t thining out as it usualy does ,
and then out of the corner of my eye , i started seeing dancing lite down at the base of the saw .
finish cut and check it out .
as i don’t have a vacumn set up yet , the sawdust piles up at the base of the chute .

wow ! FLAMES ! , inside the saw ! fanned by the wind from the dado blades !
go get the extinguisher , ( i can’t find anything in my shop , but i always know where the extinguisher is )

pull the pin , and to the rescue !
only the extiguisher is dead ! nada !

it’s the stringy saw dust from rip dadoes .
get a stick , and clean it out of the saw .
mound of regular sawdust with flames abounding !

there goes 10 years of building my house and shop !
and i’ll never finish this box !

get some water , and pour it on the flames , 3 trips to the kitchen .
bring one extra , just in case .

back to work, thanks God !

merrily muddleing along , then more smoke ?
now the regular sawdust is like a coal fire , just slowly spreading
inside off the pile , no flames !

o.k. , more water , hand over sawdust , checking , more water .

well , i got it out , and finished the box !
but stayed up 2 hours just to be sure .

now it’s off to the store for more extinguishers .

i am glad i didn’t have a vacumn set up yet , as this would have happened
downstairs out of sight !

is there a spark arrestor for the vacumn line before the collector ?
how does it work ?
where do i find one ?

please work safe , and keep your eyes and nose peeled !

thanks !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

37 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3672 days

#1 posted 08-19-2009 03:21 PM

YIKES! thanks for the reminder… all that sawdust piling up doesn’t sound too good though.

as for the DC. I wonder if the airflow in the pipes would even allow the spark to grow any bigger, since it’s quite powerful, and more then likely to put that spark out as opposed to let it catch on something else. but then again – I could be mistaken.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3365 days

#2 posted 08-19-2009 03:34 PM

i stay ahead of the sawdust ,
it was a days worth ,
but mostly i think it was the stringy stuff ,
that the plow dado was making .
i clean the regular stuff and dump it outside ,
this was just one of those unexpected twists ,
just a good ” heads up “

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3437 days

#3 posted 08-19-2009 04:06 PM

Patron Thanks for the heads up.

I just went to the shop and checked, mine is dead also. I will be picking up a new one this week.

Be safe

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3846 days

#4 posted 08-19-2009 04:21 PM

David, thanks for the post. This is one of those things that you just don’t think about. When I had my old saw I used to cut through brads without even worrying about it since they would not hurt the blade. But I never considered what the sparks would do if they landed into a combustible pile of sawdust!

But I appreciate the safety warning both with regards to the sparks and the fire extinguisher. It has been a long while since I checked mine. I think I know where it is. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3310 days

#5 posted 08-19-2009 04:44 PM

Whoa! That’s scary. I think I need to check my fire extinuishers now. You never know when something like this can happen.


View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4270 days

#6 posted 08-19-2009 05:16 PM

This happened to me about a year ago with some denatured alcohol. You know it burns invisibly. I grabbed my extinguisher but had never used it before and ended up ripping it apart trying to get it to work. Well I ran outside and got the hose and safely got the fire out, had it been winter, it would have been a different outcome. So not only is it important to have one, and have it charged, but also KNOW HOW TO USE IT! Thanks for the reminder David. I had forgotten. I need to read up on my new one.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4051 days

#7 posted 08-19-2009 05:19 PM

Ditto to the above. Mine is dead too. THanks for the warning.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#8 posted 08-19-2009 05:20 PM

Thanks for the nudge. I just noticed the other day that my extinguisher appears to be discharged. I gotta move that up to the top of my list!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#9 posted 08-19-2009 05:26 PM

Wow David I’m glad you caught it before you had a terrible fire. By sharing our mishaps and mistakes we all learn thanks for reminding us I’ll check my extinguisher today.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3505 days

#10 posted 08-19-2009 05:41 PM

That is major. Like Mike said, it’s not just enough to have it, but to know how to use it. It might be worth it to buy a second for practice. I’m lucky, the fire department here on post comes by every month a checks the extinguishers so I know they are ready for use. I just hope they stay on their hooks on the wall.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3963 days

#11 posted 08-19-2009 06:41 PM

Sparks and sawdust do not make for good things. Thanks for posting this because I’m guessing we all need to be reminded of the dangers and gently prodded to maintain our equipment.

I’m also glad to hear you got the box finished. ;-)

-- Working at Woodworking

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3520 days

#12 posted 08-19-2009 07:12 PM

Wow, sure glad everything worked out for you, could have been a disaster.

Thanks for the nudge also, I just checked mine and, yep, sure enough, it is expired by a couple of years
and has no charge. My next trip to town will include a fire extingusher…...................

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3486 days

#13 posted 08-19-2009 07:17 PM

You need to be just as careful if you use a dust collector for clean up as well. I have heard of sparks being created by a nail or small screw as it hits the fan inside the collector and then starting a fire in the collector. I try and pick up screws and nails prior to clean up. If I have a large pile I will pick up and throw it in the trach and ten use the collector for the dust. There is always the possibilty of missing a screw, a magnet is not a bad idea to help get the missing straggler.

David… glad to hear it wasnt a larger mess. It could have been very easily.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3414 days

#14 posted 08-19-2009 07:33 PM

If you fix up a dc for yourself make sure you have a grounding wire through all of the dc pipe! Under the right conditions a static spark can ignite dust and cause an explosion and fire! I’m sure most of you know this so its just a reminder!
Glad things turned out ok! We can all use a little scare once in a while!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View Walnut_Weasel's profile


360 posts in 3246 days

#15 posted 08-19-2009 07:56 PM

Thanks for the reminder. Even though what I consider a shop is a two car garage with a bandsaw in it…I really do need to pick up an extinguisher.

Glad you are safe!

-- James -

showing 1 through 15 of 37 replies

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