Monday, December 10, 2012

Ventilation for Glass Beadmaking

Last month Sonja gave you a tour of her studio space, and this month I thought I'd elaborate on some different methods of ventilation. Ventilation is an often discussed topic in the world of lampworking, and it is one that not everyone is in agreement over. When you are working with a propane and oxygen mix torch, silver, fine powders like pixie dust and enamel, it is very important for your health that you have good ventilation.

A good ventilation system consists of a way to expel the air around the torch area to the outside, and a source of clean make-up air. Depending upon the size of your room, the location, (enclosed basements are not a good place) and the number of windows you have, you will need to find a way to make sure that you are getting all of the bad air out of your space so that you don't breath it in.

When I was setting up my first studio in Ohio, I ended up setting it up in the front room of our house! I realized that the basement would not work because I would be too close to the furnace and I no good source of makeup air. I found a good scratch and dent range hood on ebay that had a 360CFM fan that we hung over my table. This was vented out through the window along with the propane hose. When I torched, I opened up the dining room windows so that I had a good source of fresh make-up air. This worked very well.

When we moved to Atlanta, I had the opportunity to start from scratch with my studio, which was great! My studio is in our walkout basement, with a door and a window. I had a vent installed on a side wall for fresh makeup air-I just open it up when I  torch. For my ventilation fan I chose to use Andrea Guarino-Slemmons' concept. I bought the fan she suggested, and had it installed under the window beside my table.

The inlet sits on my desk, and is piped out under the desk. It works great-I've accidently had it suck up my silver leaf! I thought this would look much cleaner than the vent hanging over the desk, and it does. But, I quickly learned two things: first, I missed the great light I got from the vent hood so I had to get a floor lamp to set behind my table! Second, I miss the space on my table that the vent is now taking up. Oh well! I'm still very happy in my new studio, and I can breath easy knowing that I have great ventilation :) If you would like to see more of my studio space you can check it out on my website:

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