Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hello again friends! 

 

On the last thread I started you were all really helpful and kind. Hoping that I might be able to get a few more pointers! 

 

My first question is a simple one, what type of fire extinguisher is best for a propane forge? I've been doing some research in the UK (where I'm from) and there are a variety of types and I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out which is the most appropriate. 

 

My second question is about protecting my walls. I currently have plyboard walls (couldn't afford to build the workshop out of blocks) which are covered in fire retardant plasterboard in the corner near the forge. The distance between the forge and the wall is 4-5". After changing the regulator and the dramatic change in output in my forge, I'm concerned that the plasterboard isn't going to be man enough to prevent a fire. Do you have any recommendations for a replacement that would do the job?

 

Thanks in advance!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Move the forge away from anything you believe is combustible. Keep a clean house, keep combustibles away from the heat source. My forge is set up in the center of my garage when I set up shop, so all I worry about is rising heat.

 

Have a ball valve somewhere in your plumbing system to shut down the forge as fast as possible.

 

I found some "fire proof" building insulation a few months ago.  Once I opened it to use it, I realized what it might have been and now wish I never found the stuff. So beware of things that are stated as "fire proof". 

Link to post
Share on other sites

From a fire extinguisher standpoint, really any common version will do the trick.  Personally I prefer to have a rechargeable water extinguisher as they are simple to use, effective (for what we typically need in our workshops), and reusable.  A CO2 extinguisher is a decent choice as well.  I prefer to stay away from dry chemical extinguisher simply because they make a horrible mess and are a pain to clean up after using.  Not that that should sway you from using one if needed, just something to think about if you're purchasing.  Both dry chemical and CO2 are either a one and done, or need to be recharged by a professional.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 to 5 inches is way too close.  A couple of feet is required.  In a small shop this can be hard to do, but it is a necessity.  One thing you can do is make some heat shields out of any kind of sheet metal.  Aluminum flashing is excellent, old sheet metal roofing is fine.  Make some standoffs at least an inch high by cutting short bits of metal tubing, and nail or screw the sheet metal to the wall behind it through the standoffs.  The sheet metal can get hot enough to burn you, but as long as there is free circulation of air between the sheet and the wall (do not block off any part, particularly the bottom and top!) the wall itself will not get hot enough to burn.  

Note I do not guarantee you total fireproof safety with this!  Two layers of sheet metal with an inch between both the sheets and the wall is much better, but gets annoying to install.  None of this will pass a fire safety inspection, just so you know.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

one of the biggest fire hazards is an oil quench tank, if you spill your oil while quenching and the oil is hot enough you can create an instant huge quickly moving fire that will burn down your shop and i kind of doubt a fire extinguisher will do much good unless you have it right next to you when the oil spills. make sure your quench tank cant get knocked over and use enough oil that it doesnt get hot enough to burn with the amount of blades you quench, i usually quench just a few blades at a time but i have done around 10 in one session before.

 

the heat from a forge can make things like wood very dry which makes it easier for things to surprise you by bursting into flames with little warning, i used to have my forge on a stump but after a couple months it started catching on fire all the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point on the oil fire risk.  You will get flash fires on the surface of the quench from time to time.  Be ready for that so you don't freak out and throw a flaming blade across the room.  A lid for your quench tank is important for this reason also.  If you've got a can of flaming oil, the best way to put it out is to close the lid.  

 

This goes back to fire extinguishers, but a bucket of sand is great for oil fires on the floor.  A CO2 extinguisher can take it from there.  Do not use water on an oil fire, needless to say.  

 

Final note: Don't think the dramatic flare-up they show on Forged in Fire is what's supposed to happen. It does if you pull the blade too soon, or if there's a part of the blade above the surface that's hot enough to set off the vapor (axes do this all the time), and while it impresses visitors, it degrades your oil.  Canola/rapeseed oil isn't too hurt, straight mineral oil either, but specialty oils like the superfast ones get really annoyed by burning.  Slows them right down.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

a thin steel plate with an air gap behind it, not coupled to your wall should be an effective heat isolator. 

 

Your fire extinguisher is for the stuff in your workshop that will catch fire, your forge is not flammable, its just a case of shutting the gas off and its safe. CO2 are very effective and low mess. If you put the flame out in your forge without shutting the gas off you only get a massive explosion shortly after! :D

 

If you are in a small workspace with a gas forge a CO monitor will be the best £15 you ever spend, available from all good supermarkets in the UK! - Cumulative carbon monoxide poisoning is a very high risk. Fire is probably a low risk as you are aware enough about it to be asking questions! 

 

(not trying to patronise with above comment, but I know a few very experienced bladesmiths, (myself included) who have made themselves ill with CO poisoning. - One lad I know ended up in hospital from CO - its a very real risk)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...