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Combustible waste trash cans was Oily Rags

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  • Andrew Lowry
    ... Don t feel old. Those containers are still being made, sold and used in industrial facilities around the world. My former employer, FM Global, still
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 25 5:53 AM
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      --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "dennis_elw" <delwell@...> wrote:
      >
      > I will be giving away my age here but when I was a kid cabinet shops
      > (my Dad was a cabinetmaker) would have a steel container about 18
      > inches in diameter and two feet high with a foot operated heavy steel
      > lid.

      Don't feel old. Those containers are still being made, sold and used in industrial facilities
      around the world. My former employer, FM Global, still assigns approvals to the designs. I
      work in industrial risk control and I see them all the time. Definitely required in industrial
      facilities where putting the oily cloth out to dry, like I do at home, is not only impractical but
      it creates a new combustible source.
    • conradh@efn.org
      ... It s useful to remember that oily rags as fire hazards only seems to apply to vegetable oils. Olive and linseed are notorious for spontaneous
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 26 2:14 AM
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        >
        > --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Bill McNutt" <mcnutt@...>
        > wrote:
        >
        >>
        >> Now that's a good question for the group:
        >>
        >>
        >> How do the shops represented here handle oily rags?
        >>
        >>
        >> At my shop they are hung over the edge of the trashcan until dry, and
        >>
        > then
        >> discarded.
        >>
        >> Other techniques to avoid spontaneous combustions?

        It's useful to remember that "oily" rags as fire hazards only seems to
        apply to vegetable oils. Olive and linseed are notorious for spontaneous
        combustion. Some of the precautions worked out by painters, wood
        finishers and cooks got applied to petroleum-based oils by analogy, but
        they just don't seem as vulnerable. It appears to have to do with the way
        the vegetable oils oxidise on their own, long before anything like a fire
        starts, and of course heat is given off by this oxidation, quite a lot of
        it. If this heat is allowed to build up under the right conditions, such
        as a pile of rags with linseed oil left by painters or varnishers, the
        porous cloth lets just enough oxygen diffuse in from the outside of the
        pile to keep the reaction going, but if the pile is large enough the
        insulation of the cloth layers allows heat to build up to the ignition
        point.
        Period woodworkers of course are as vulnerable as they ever were. I have
        a woodstove and a forge, so in my shop any linseed-oiled rag is simply
        tossed into one or the other of them. It becomes part of the kindling for
        the next fire, and that's the end of it. No single rag is going to
        self-ignite anyway; it's letting them pile up that causes problems.

        Traditional solutions used to include discarding oily rags only into
        tightly covered steel containers, which for greater safety could be filled
        with water. This works, but why would anyone today want to keep the rags
        around that long? Cloth is so cheap compared to the old days that most
        households I know end up with far more rags than they can use. If you
        don't your neighbor or nearby relative does. Under these conditions, I
        find that the best way to prevent spontaneous combustion is deliberate
        combustion--just burn the damn rag under controlled conditions when you're
        done with it. Keeping them around is where people get into trouble.

        Ulfhedinn
      • Eric
        Actualy a single rag can self-combust. A friend applied some BLO on a project and tossed the crumpled rag onto a folding table in the middle of his yard. That
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 26 10:17 AM
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          Actualy a single rag can self-combust. A friend applied some BLO on
          a project and tossed the crumpled rag onto a folding table in the
          middle of his yard.

          That evening, he noticed something under the table. When
          investigated, there was a pile of ashes and charred cloth on the
          ground. Only then did he notice the 6 inch hole burned through the
          particle board surface of the table. Sitting in the sun may have
          jump started the temperature process that resulted in the fire.

          Just a warning, I know that I take oily rags more seriously now...

          Eirikr

          --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, conradh@... wrote:
          >
          > ... No single rag is going to
          > self-ignite anyway; it's letting them pile up that causes
          problems...
          >
          > Ulfhedinn
          >
        • conradh@efn.org
          ... No shit! Thanks for the warning. The sun may have made the difference, but then again maybe it didn t. And there are other sources of extra heat, like
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 26 11:44 AM
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            On Sat, July 26, 2008 10:17 am, Eric wrote:
            > Actualy a single rag can self-combust. A friend applied some BLO on
            > a project and tossed the crumpled rag onto a folding table in the middle of
            > his yard.
            >
            > That evening, he noticed something under the table. When
            > investigated, there was a pile of ashes and charred cloth on the ground.
            > Only then did he notice the 6 inch hole burned through the
            > particle board surface of the table. Sitting in the sun may have jump
            > started the temperature process that resulted in the fire.
            >
            > Just a warning, I know that I take oily rags more seriously now...

            No shit! Thanks for the warning. The sun may have made the difference,
            but then again maybe it didn't. And there are other sources of extra heat,
            like shop heaters, floodlights, the hot water pipe you might hang the rag
            on...makes me feel good about my policy of using junk rags for finishing
            oils and then burning them right away.

            Ulfhedinn
          • Eric Hess
            We had a customer at Woodcraft come in after putting BLO on his new workbench. He left the rag lying on a table nearby and went inside for lunch, got
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 27 5:55 AM
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              We had a customer at Woodcraft come in after putting BLO on his new workbench.  He left the rag lying on a table nearby and went inside for lunch, got distracted and came back several hours later just in time to watch the rag burst into flame.  He had an exciting few minutes getting that out, but fortunately nothing was seriously damaged.  Even one rag can be dangerous.  Always be careful.
            • logan
              the best policy for dealing with a rag soaked in linseed oil is to lay it out flat on concrete or place it in a shop can (metal can with a lid). i use linseed
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 27 8:52 AM
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                the best policy for dealing with a rag soaked in linseed oil is to lay it out flat on concrete or place it in a shop can (metal can with a lid).  i use linseed on 90% of my projects and have never had a rag catch fire unintentionally.  i simply lay them out flat on the cement outside my shop.  about an hour later they are dry.  its when they get folded or balled up that they generate enough heat to combust.

                 

                regards

                logan

                 


                From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Eric Hess
                Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2008 8:55 AM
                To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Oily Rags,

                 

                We had a customer at Woodcraft come in after putting BLO on his new workbench.  He left the rag lying on a table nearby and went inside for lunch, got distracted and came back several hours later just in time to watch the rag burst into flame.  He had an exciting few minutes getting that out, but fortunately nothing was seriously damaged.  Even one rag can be dangerous.  Always be careful.

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