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OSB or sheet rock for new shop space walls?


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Up to you, unless you will be seeing a building inspector, in which case it's up to them.  

A double layer of fire-rated sheet rock with staggered joints is pretty fireproof, but not great to hang heavy things on.

I hate OSB, personally.  Weak in every direction, splintery, screws won't hold.

What is your situation?

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After a long hiatus from smithing (mostly furniture, accessories and ornamental) I am setting up a small home shop under a wood framed shed roof addition to a block garage. I though the OSB may keep the walls from getting to banged up but don't really like the look. I plan on insulating, and using studs behind wall to support metal storage racks. The space is 9'x29', ceiling height is 8' for 4' wide along the 29' length, dropping down to about 6'6" do to shed roof. One 29' wall is block, floor is old radomly cracked cement. I am a bit worried about putting a forge in there with the heat, may have to add a hood? There are windows and I plan on adding through wall exhaust. I don't plan on doing big work anymore just focusing on knifes.

I like the safety of the two layers of rock, but I don't think the code officer will be dropping by. Have you used cement board for walls ever? Trying to plan walls, heating, and forge location in space.

I like T-111 idea may use elsewhere?

Thanks for all your help, I have been appreciating all the great advice and information on the forum.

Jim

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Gotcha.  You will want a hood over the forge with that low ceiling.  Not only will it help in venting CO and other noxious fumes, it will help immensely with heat buildup.

The late Larry Harley had a 12x16 shop with 8' ceilings, and he had a 24" stack and hood above the forge.  Even with that and the 9' wide door open it would get hot enough at ceiling height to kill the fluorescent lights after about two hours. That was with a monster of a blown forge running at welding heat, though. A small venturi forge won't be as aggressively hot to the whole shop.  

Personally, I think the minimum ceiling height for a medium-sized gas forge running without a hood is 12 feet at the peak, with powered gable vents and wide open doors.  But, it depends on the forge. My little two-brick would be fine in a closet, as long as there was good ventilation.

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Great information! I will plan on keeping it near the door end of the shop, where I can move outside occassionally to work. I have one of those big Johnson school forges which I am going to retire for good and build something myself. I have started to read the exentsive posts on building a propane forge, I do a few blowers available, one of which can be used off the old Johnson. YOu mentoned usng a venturi forge in your post, would that produce less heat and be a better way to go?

 

Do you know how well the T-111 would hold up to heat and grinding?

 

Thanks again. Jim

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You can tune a blown burner to do almost anything, and if I were to have only one forge it would be a large blown forge.  My primary forge is a coal firepot, but I have a little tiny gas forge for small things that aren't worth firing up the coal forge to do.  

I like to forge as hot as I can without burning the steel until the last few heats, though.  

I guess what I am saying is the forge is going ro be hot no matter what, but nothing like your Johnson gasser.  Those things are monsters in every way. 

If you build a mostly closed blown forge with a hood and large chimney and add an air curtain (divert some blast or have a second small fan ducted to a slot blowing across the door of the forge) you can stay remarkably cool while working.

As for the T1-11, it's basically 3/4" plywood, which is what I'd use.  Whichever is cheaper. Might put some metal flashing where the grinding sparks hit, the grooves in the T1-11 might tend to catch and hold hot stuff.   Unless you turn it backwards...

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I have a few bad pics from Harley's shop, and then there's one from a member here.  Here's Bruce's air curtain setup:

zz_471__Small___Small_.jpg

 

And here's a series of pics at Larry Harley's showing two different forge setups, with the edge of the hood barely showing.  It was just a big bell-shaped steel thing that acted as a bell reducer that went from 36" to 24" diameter in about 12", with a 24" stack rising four feet through the roof with a cap on top.

 

Here's the vertical forge (that thing was a nuclear monster!) showing two blowers and the air curtain made from old vacuum cleaner parts, with Harley himself in the shop door ca. 2006:

 

Harley vertical forge.jpg

 

Here's the horizontal version with a bit of the hood shown:

Harley horizontal forge hood.jpg

 

That one ran off a single blower.  Here's me lighting it in 2010 (I have quit smoking since then, and my beard is solid white now...), also showing the vacuum cleaner parts:

 

Harley horizontal.jpg

 

It's a pretty simple concept, but can be as complex as you want it to be.  Don Fogg used a little muffin fan off a computer mounted to blow sideways across the door.  The main thing an air curtain like this does is deflect the dragon's breath so you don't burn yourself putting things into and out of the forge.  Keeping the shop cooler is a side effect with an overhead hood, and I will say that when Harley's shop got so hot it shut down the fluorescent ballasts it was the horizontal forge after the air curtain hose burned in two from molten flux falling down the hose...For some reason he never fixed that.  It was nice while it worked, though.

 

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And here's my little two-brick set in the hood of the coal forge.  Not an air curtain, but I plan on using that hood and chimney for a large blown gasser when coal eventually becomes impossible to get.  

20200405_134955.jpg

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These pictures are so very helpful, great ideas..what they say about  pictures is true. I like the air cutain idea, since I am going to build the forge I am going to try to incorporate it in the structure.

The vertical forge looked like quite a cooker, a lot going in that photo. Seeing shop photos is an awesome presentation of smith's ideas, how obstacles are overcome and how many solutions there are. 

Cheers!

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With the size of space that you are describing, as well as any gas forge, a carbon monoxide detector is a must. Before I shut down my little forge this past year, I bought a carbon monoxide detector with a digital read out.  I wanted to try and monitor the CO while I was working - although the detector will only display 20 parts and above. I wanted to monitor even very low levels or even the presence of any CO building up. The idea being am I moving enough air around the garage as I work or not. 

 

I work in a 2 door garage with both doors open a shop fan running and another fan set up in a window in an effort to move air around and get it out as much as possible.

 

If your going to insulate your walls, look up rockwool fire resistant insulation.  You can get it at the big box stores.  A layer of that behind your sheet rock will be a good added layer of protection. Personally, I looking to either have an all steel building or all block building away from my home and garage if I can ever get back to running again. 

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Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your input good to hear more real life situations.  I will be insulating and have rockwool ready to go. Still trying to figure out if I can get enough airflow to work in my small space, if not other options. CO monitor will be a must. I hope you get your space up and running again soon.

Jim

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Not to disparage anyone's concerns, but the risk of fire in a clean, well organized shop is pretty negligible. Build the shop to match your desires and if sparks are a concern, a piece of sheet steel between the grinder and the wall will provide all the protection needed. One of my gas forges gets put in the doorway and I use it's base to prop open the door. The backside of the forge is less then six inches from the door and in 15 years has never even scorched the paint.

 

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It is worth mentioning that most of the shop fires I have heard about (among the local friends) and people I know of that have set themselves on fire, It has been from excessive grinding. 

 

The potential is always there that the forge is the most likely hazard to cause a fire - but that's the one we are most aware of.  I have a dreamed up idea of what I would like in a 'forge workshop' and two of the more important things I've dreamed up is the importance of height (more for over head hoists to lift heavier things.)  And some kind of exhaust fan (big) to get the hot air and gas build up out. 

Edited by Daniel W
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