Monday, January 21


This morning I took care of the weekly bookkeeping chores and set up to do some lacquering on Gary’s cradles. That project is on hold for just a bit due to cold temperatures.

Last week I was lacquering another project – the first larger project we’d used lacquer on in our new shop since it has been so cold -- and the fumes got to be quite intense despite having closed doors on the finishing room. So intense that Marie had to leave. I stayed to complete the job and became quite sick. The following day I opened the shop up and aired it out, but the stink lingered enough to get me feeling poorly again. That feeling stayed with me all weekend. I have a respirator that I wear when in the finishing room and in the past, when it was warmer, we opened a couple of windows in the finishing room and that kept the fumes from invading the rest of the shop too much. You could smell it, but it didn’t burn our throats and eyes and make us loopy like it did this time.

So this time I will open a window, set a fan in front to force air out the window and draw fresh air into the room from the heating ducts. Drawing warm air in should help maintain enough heat to get the lacquer lay out properly – I hope. My only reservation here is that this is not the right type of fan for this use. Since lacquer fumes are highly flammable an explosion proof motor should be used to power any fans that will be in the air flow, this one is not. But since I will be shooting in short sessions and will be using an HVLP gun not a compressor driven gun, the concentration of lacquer thinner in the air *should* not get to explosive proportions… as long as I don’t aim the gun in the direction of the fan.

I will, however, go ahead and post this much before I start shooting so that if I *do* end up creating a smoking crater in the mountainside someone somewhere will know what happened and be able to come up with a suitable epitaph for my head stone. If all goes well, I’ll add more later to complete today’s posting.

Wish me luck!

Mid-afternoon progress report:

Things are going well. I have not, as yet, turned the place into a flaming ball of rubble and the lacquer seems to be laying out well. The only lacquer scent I can detect coming out of the finishing room is being carried out on my clothing. I do have to wait for each cradle to dry to the touch before I can move it out and bring the other in because I’m working alone this afternoon. The round thing the cradle is sitting on is my finishing spinner – think of a lazy Susan only 3 feet across.

Our finishing room used to be a Master Bathroom. The platform I’m working on there has a big garden tub under it. Once I get the tub and decking torn out I will build a larger finishing spinner (5 feet in diameter) in the floor so I can roll large pieces of furniture in there and spin them around to do the finishing. My ‘plan’ also includes building a box on the outside of the room, encompassing the lower portions of the two windows behind the cradle. Air will be drawn out one window, through a series of activated charcoal filters to remove mist and smell by a large squirrel fan and then re-enter the room through the other window. I have the fan out in the top of the old shop, I used it to pull heat out of the shop in the summer, I just have to climb up there and pull it out.

After 2 full coats of lacquer they are looking pretty good. The lacquer is wet here, it will be a satin finish when dry. And that pretty well uses up another day. I’ll let the lacquer dry well overnight and do the last step tomorrow.

See you then.


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