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A Word of Caution

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Larry Parker, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. Larry Parker

    Larry Parker

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    Jan 7, 2019
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    Location (City & State):
    Grottoes, VA
    I almost burned my shop down last evening. I was sharpening a gouge and had a roll of 4/0 steel wool in a drawer nearby which was open. A spark hit the steel wool and ignited it. Threw it out in grass where proceeded to burn. Close call. I had forgotten how easy steel wools burns.
     
  2. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Location (City & State):
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    Steel wool or Doritos are good for a survival kit. Burn easy.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I had some steel wool catch fire on my workbench from sparks once. so I was teaching a class and was going to show how easy it was to ignite steel wool. It would not ignite even with direct flame. Don't know what the difference is between what i have now and what burst into flames on my work bench. Maybe it had oil on it or something. It went off almost like a flash bulb.
     
  4. Larry Parker

    Larry Parker

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    Location (City & State):
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    I’ve used it for that purpose.
     
  5. Larry Parker

    Larry Parker

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    This was Liberon brand which is very fine, doesn’t take much to get it to burn.
     
    Stan Semeniuk likes this.
  6. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    Location (City & State):
    Peoria, Illinois
    All steel wool, except for the very cheapest, has a bit of oil on it to limit rusting. So makes it even easier to burn. When I use steel wool to make a solution for ebonizing, I soak it in lacquer thinner to remove the oil.
     
  7. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    Jan 22, 2009
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    Location (City & State):
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    When I worked ‘in period’ as a 1820’s tour guide at Ft Snelling we would “cheat” and use some steel wool in our pile of shavings to start fires with a flint and steel. A spark into steel wool quickly becomes a flame.
     
    Larry Parker likes this.
  8. stu senator

    stu senator

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    Apr 5, 2011
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    Location (City & State):
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    I remember being in a Brillo (steel wool and soap pad) factory many years ago.
    They made the steel wool by wrapping steel wire multiple times around a large wheel and shaving the wire with a cutting tool. Oil was used as a lubricant or cutting oil.
    I assume that the grade and ultimate use would determine if any or all oil is removed.
    If no oil was left it would rust as soon as opened.

    Stu
     
  9. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Sep 27, 2017
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    Location (City & State):
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    Guilty of the same. touched a piece of spring steel with a grinder and forgot about the 4=0 steel wool on the bench next to the vise. Stinks too. I did see a guy start a fire using a nine volt battery and a piece of steel wool. Quite impressive. Saw the same guy start a fire with a piece of ice. (as a magnifying glass)
     
  10. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Nov 4, 2018
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    Location (City & State):
    Penrose, NC
    A parallel thing happened to me the other day. My grinder is to the left of my lathe, turned 90 degrees to the lathe. I use a magnet - to collect the steel shavings - located just below the wheels, attached to the Wolverine jig.
    So, I had air-hosed the shop, did a good clean up, and did not realize that any of the dust had settled down in the metal shavings attached to the magnet. I had not considered that these shavings bore a similar appearance to steel wool. I sharpened a tool - then noticed that the magnet loaded with steel shavings took on a glow...not on the surface - but - down in the shavings. .I grabbed it with a pair of channel locks, and took it out in the grass, And let it burn out.

    It was an ..."enlightening experience"
     
  11. Larry Parker

    Larry Parker

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    Those kind of experiences make you a little more aware of what’s going on and how you need to watch your surrounding in your shop.
     
    Tim Tucker likes this.
  12. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Location (City & State):
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    I am always amazed at some of the things I do and survive and then hear what other people have done and think, I am doing good. Down in College Park Maryland a guy is painting his boat's hull with lead paint, which helps keep barnacles and scum from attaching. He also has a glass of beer next to him as he is laying on the floor under the boat. A rather large amount of the paint runs off the brush and he thinks onto the floor covered with newspapers. He continues painting and gets to the point that he needs to move to a new area. He chugs down the rest of the beer, so fast he didn't taste it. Dies a day later from lead poisoning. At least that is the story. Migrant worker in Delaware, has a bottle of wine under the seat in the back of the bus full of migrants. They are pulling into the field they will be working so he grabs the bottle opens it and chugs down what he thinks is the rest of the wine. Some body put Transmission fluid in a similar jug under that seat with a few tools, jumper cables etc. Guy dies. Another guy over in Hyattsville MD is spray painting something in his garage on a cold winter day. He has the kerosene heater going to warm the garage while he works. So he stops to smoke a cigarette and sets the nearly full can of spray paint on top of the kerosene heater. He lasted about four days at the burn center.
     
    Tim Tucker and Larry Parker like this.

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