Shop Ventilation
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Joined: 01 Jul 2007
Posts: 42
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:12 pm    Post subject: Shop Ventilation Reply with quote

I am moving into a new workshop which does not have good natural ventilation. But that limitation only accentuates the fact that, even if I did have good natural ventilation, I still need to upgrade my system to minimize exposure to lead dust and fumes. (My company, Oak Brothers, is dedicated to the restoration of architectural wood. While we do all forms of interior wood restoration--doors, trim, built-ins, fireplaces, etc...--windows have become our bread and butter.)

The problem is that information and/or expertise is hard to come by. I contacted an Industrial Hygienist, thinking that was the person who could help me. But no, she said that designing systems wasn't her realm of expertise?!!? Everyone else I contacted said the same thing. I finally found a guy who does industrial filtration who said he could help me design a system. But I'm suspicious that all he is interested in doing is selling me equipment. (He is recommending an Industrial Maid Fume Extractor that runs around $6,500. And that is only a one-man station!)

I need at source extraction of both particles and fumes. But I'm stymied how you combine these two things when, for instance, engaging in heat gun removal of paint (a mainstay of our paint removal procedures). Sanding procedures require particle extraction. (My Fein shop vac. with a hepa filter does a good job when attached to a palm sander, but not good enough.) Although we primarily use CitrusSTrip for chemical paint removal (and being a "safe" stripper, it doesn't need much ventilation...?), but we do use a fair amount of denatured alcohol to wash away the chemicals and neutralize the wood. The oil-based paints and solvents and oil-based varnishes we use also needs fume ventilation.

Then there is the issue of make-up air. I've finally figured out there are heated make-up air systems. But how does one determine what is adequate for one's space? (My total shop space will be 1500 sq. ft., though 500 of it will likely be storage area.)

I gotta figure I'm not the first craftsperson who has faced this hurdle. I'm eager to learn what other shops have done to solve the challenge of safe and responsible ventilation! Has anyone hired someone to work this out for them? If so, where did you find the company and was it worth the price? What have you done on your own that has worked?
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