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Setting up a work area

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Author Topic: Setting up a work area  (Read 1633 times)
Neural
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« on: April 20, 2009, 11:10:42 pm »

While going through the sub forum with the pictures of various workspaces, I've started to ask some questions that I thought I'd throw out here and request input on from the rest of you, as most are far more experienced than I am.

I'm moving into a house in December this year.  I will have my own room for my work.  This is good.

However.  I'm obviously looking beyond just cutting cabochons these days.  I enjoy working with stone, and my passion is opals, but in order to buy more rough material, I need money.  So, the best way to do that is
A) buy rough
B) cut stones
C) make jewelry
D) give the best stuff to your wife
E) sell the rest, and
F) buy more rough. 

All the while hoping that what you sell will always be a little bit more than what your next purchase costs.

Currently what I am capable of is cutting cabochons, and mangling silver wire.  My work desk is dominated by the Genie, but has space for my dop pot and the Rascal trim saw.

But in order to move beyond just making cabochons, and into actually making jewelry, I need to do silversmithing related work.  Making bezels and attaching bails being the very basics of what I'd like to do, but I've been fascinated with the idea of making rings and such as well, so there's always room to grow. 

I've seen some videos, and read about making bezels and other silver work, and it came to my attention that there are some things going on that I had not considered in regards to how it would affect my work space.

What are the chemical hazards of working with silver?  Are there any gasses (beyond the torch) that are emitted when soldering?  Is the Pickle hazardous?  What sort of ventilation is needed for doing such work?

The room I'll have for my work is roughly 13' x 11', and has two windows (on corner walls).  It will be carpeted also.

Sorry to ramble on, but this stuff is just what runs through my mind at 1am when I can't sleep, and I like to have as much information as possible when I can.

Note: the garage isn't an option unfortunately.
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Taogem
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2009, 04:30:54 am »


A) buy rough
B) cut stones
C) make jewelry
D) give the best stuff to your wife
E) sell the rest, and
F) buy more rough. 

All the while hoping that what you sell will always be a little bit more than what your next purchase costs.



Too funny... !  :D

I am not aware of any chemical hazards while working silver, nor aware of any gasses being emitted. 

Hmmm.... Is the pickle hazardous.. I don't believe so...

I have all my jewelry making things and torch set up in my living room.. It's large and I have a whole area to myself.. I have had a whiff of propane when starting out, but well.... Oh...... I dont know .. Is that hazardous??

If I get a good whiff, sometimes I can actually solder !!

I know and understand about not being able to sleep.. Sometimes my mind just will not settle down.. I start out with sheep, but end up cabbing!
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akansan
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2009, 06:54:29 am »

Silver does emit a hazardous chemical, especially when melting.  I think it's Cadmium?  That's one of the main reasons why you should have good ventilation when you work with silver. 
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akansan
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2009, 07:11:21 am »

Here's a great PDF of all the hazards (both big and little) that should be considered when setting up a work place:

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Taogem
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2009, 07:22:54 am »

Goes to show ya what little I know..

Candmium can be fatal !  :o
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Bluesssman
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2009, 07:50:37 am »

I had no idea so much of the work was so dangerous. I knew pickle was not something to swim in! Thanks Akansan for the PDF... And.. torch flames are hot and can cause burns...  :o


Gary
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akansan
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2009, 08:05:54 am »

LOL - yeah, and silver metal shavings can get in your eyes. 

Most of the stuff is just common sense - flames are hot, small metal particles are dangerous, don't drink toxic chemicals.  I knew about the cadmium because my father is constantly harping about good ventilation in any of the indoor shop ideas I have.  According to him, it's not as much of a problem unless you're melting silver. 

Two windows in your room would be easy to set up a push-pull ventilation with two fans.  Have one fan pull air in, have the other fan pull air out.  Stick your shop setup somewhere that will be in that ventilation stream.
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Neural
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2009, 08:37:22 am »

Thanks! :)

Of all the silversmithing stuff.  Pickle, solder, flux, molten metal, crucibles, kilns, etc.  The thing I"m still scared of is the torch. :(

I used to work at a junk yard.  Used an acetylene torch for quite a long time when I worked there.  Never had a single accident or near accident involving the torch.  Always had the gasses turned on and off correctly, always held it steady and secure, but..
I still fear I'll drop it somehow. :(  
That's why these "plumbers torches" that I've been told people use bother me so much.  They are big and a big bulky and their hieght exceeds their base width quite nicely (easy to knock over).

eh.  I'm just babbling now.

Thank you all for your input.  Beyond my torch-drop-ophobia, you've settled a number of other issues that my mind was stuck on.  :)
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mirkaba
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2009, 09:21:06 am »

Check out the Smith Little Torch.  It went right on my oxy-acet. outfit. I use it indoors and have carpeting. Built a neat little welding table to go with it..........Bob
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Bob

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Neural
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2009, 09:47:43 am »

I've seen the Little Torch before in catalogs.  Have wondered if it is the right tool for what I want to do.
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bobby1
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2009, 10:43:54 am »

I've been using the Smith little torch for nearly all of my metalworking needs for close to 25 years. It works admirably for my purposes. When I was teaching I had mostly the same torch for the students. I originally learned on the Prestolite torch which is an air/acetylene torch but it was tricky to get a real small flame for detailed soldering. I switched to the Smith unit because it works great for detailed work. Some people use Propane torch but a lot of fire districts prohibit use of propane (including in your barbecue unit) inside a dwelling/garage. The hazard is that propane is heavier than air and it settles to the floor and pools into an explosive mixture.
Most currently sold silver solders don't contain Cadmium because the fumes cause nerve damage. I always told my students that if they inherited any old silver solder (or got it from an old source) to discard it. There is a high likelyhood that it contains cadmium.
Use a pickle pot that has a lid ( a small, cheap crockpot works great). When you drop the hot piece into the pickle pot, tilt the back of the lid up and drop the piece into the pot from the back. This allows you to use the tilted lid as a shield from any sputters or splashes.
Most white pase fluxes have Biflourides to prevent the bubbling of the hot flux that causes your solder pallions to jump around. Some people get a red rash on their faces if they do a lot of  soldering in a poorly ventilated space (like a corner of a room). It is rare. I only had one case in my teaching experience (about 200 students) and it occurred because the student was doing a lot of soldering in the unventilated corner of their garage. Biflouride-free soldering pastes are sold by the same manufacturers that sell Biflouride pastes.
When using the polishing lathe it is advisable to wear a dust mask. DO NOT polish a chain on these machines. It will quickly grab  the chain and whip it around causing serious injury. I wouldn't let a student get near the polishing lathe with a chain without specific, detailed instructions and demonstration from me as to how to safely polish a chain. Jewelry pieces with sharp points that are aimed upward into the muslin buff will catch and cause serious damage to the piece and possible injury to you.
Have I scared everyone already?
Bob  
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Neural
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2009, 11:46:24 am »

Thanks for the info Bob. :)  Nice that a small crock pot can be used for a pickle.  those are cheap.

I'll look into the Little Torch more and see what all is needed.  I know they aren't cheap, but that is expected.
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Taogem
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2009, 02:07:30 pm »

LOL - yeah, and silver metal shavings can get in your eyes. 

Most of the stuff is just common sense - flames are hot, small metal particles are dangerous, don't drink toxic chemicals. 

So true..

A little off topic, but Ya know .. one thing I do think about is never letting my cat out in my shop area.. Too many mineral particulates laying around..
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Bluesssman
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2009, 07:45:57 pm »

Mirkaba (there are too may Bobs!) would you share a picture of your welding table?


Gary
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akansan
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2009, 09:47:09 pm »

And you all have just settled something in my mind.  I've been worried about bringing my torch into my house because of the fumes.  And I admit - I've had so many horror stories about the volatility of acetylene, that I've minor nightmares of my house blowing up.  Granted, my shop is only about 5 feet from my house...

It's also good to hear that the cadmium information is probably outdated.  My dad was an Army welding instructor at Aberdeen in the late 80s, so it doesn't surprise me that things have changed since then. ;)
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bobby1
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2009, 10:24:12 pm »

Acetylene is a rather safe gas to be using for your torch. One drawback is that it has a dirty black soot when you first light the torch. If you practice lighting the torch with the Oxygen valve very slightly open as you light the flame it will significantly reduce the soot.
There are horror stories bandied about on the internet but they are mostly undocumented scare stories. One such story says that if you bump the tank slightly it will explode or if it gets slightly overheated it will explode.. This totally false. When I was a kid I saw welding gas delivery trucks with many Acetylene tanks half as big as an adult bouncing down very rough roads in 100 deg plus heat and none of them ever exploded!
Acetylene is an unstable gas though. In order to store it in a cylinder the tank must have a porous material that is saturated with acetone to keep the gas stable. There are two precautions when dealing with Acetylene cylinders. 1. Always store and use them in an upright position. If the tank has been on its side you must position it upright and leave it that way for a few hours before using it. This is to keep the Acetone from coming out at the same time as the Acetylene. 2. Never turn the regulator for the torch up beyond the 15 psi mark. All of the Acetylene gages are marked with a red zone above the 15 psi mark. If you exceed the 15 psi pressure there is a possibility that the velocity of the Acetylene will be so high that it drags the Acetone out with it.
I set my Acetylene regulator at 5 psi and this adequate for nearly all of the normal activities that you will do.
Trivia: The most common sizes for home jewelry making Acetylene tanks are the "MC" or the "B" tanks. In the early days of automobiles the headlights utilized Acetylene to provide the light. "MC" stands for motor car size and "B" stands for the bus size.
Sorry for rambling.
Bob
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Neural
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2009, 10:41:22 pm »

Are there any reliable sources who have decent prices on a startup kit (all parts included, even tanks).
I realize that the tanks aren't shipped full.  no clue where to get that done, but I won't be getting the torch for a while yet anyway.

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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2009, 10:43:50 pm »

I can only speak to using propane, but found a used tank at my local feed store. They also filled it.. Just a regular grill type tank..
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Tammy
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2009, 12:01:01 am »

Ive used this one for years with no problems.  http://www.micromark.com/PINPOINT-PROPANE-TORCH-SET,8312.html       Except when I need to work on something bigger then a ring or pendant, like a copper bracelet.   Then I just head out to the plow truck and snatch my husbands torch that also screws onto a small propane tank. That one has a bushier flame like the one that George is using now, and that came from a hardware store.

Call me cheap, but they work for me, plus they don't take up much room. :)

Tam
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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2009, 06:28:47 am »

When I first started the metalsmithing/silversmithing course in September I was astonished by how many hazards there were associated with the jewellery business.

Our teachers were very adamant about safety and the workshop.

I had already taken a few night school courses and that had never come up in conversation.

One of our teacher's father was a pathologist and said that jewellers' lungs were some of the worse he'd seen!

I didn't see it mentioned up above but one area in particular that I am very cautious about now is polishing.  I always wear a respirator.  Most polishing compound is very toxic!  I wear a full respirator at all times when I'm polishign. Its uncomfortable to wear but considering I'd like to maintain my health it's worth wearing!  I also have started wearing it when I trim my slabs as I use Pella Oil.  I've essentially incorporated it into my cabbing as well.

We were also highly encouraged to always wear a N95 mask for when we were at our bench sawing, filing.  I guess the silver particles aren't the best to inhale either.

Needless to say there are a lot of hazards associated with doing this type of work.  I find that being overly precautious is a bother but gives me some piece of mind as well.

I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to properly vent my studio for soldering and polishing so that I can contain some of the harmful fumes, vapours etc.  Not the easiest or cheapest thing to accomplish.  Right now I'm thinking about installing an oven vent above my soldering desk and have it vented outside.

Anyways, just thought I'd share what we were being taught.

Jenn
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Taogem
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« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2009, 06:33:35 am »

Thanks Jenn,

Ya know I guess am a bit careless myself..

I don't and should use some type of mask when I am polishing, especially with the Zam.. I am overly cautious when working with Malachite. Always making sure it stays wet through the entire process..

I better go and look for a good mask...

This has come up several times and it really is an important issue..

I will take heed and purchase one !

Thanks for the reminder!  :)
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akansan
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« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2009, 06:35:01 am »

Jenn - the oven vent is exactly what I've been thinking about as well.  Even picked on up on freecycle about a month ago.
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