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I Forge Iron

Ventilation for two burner propane forge


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I would err on the side of caution. My single burner nearly got me a couple of weeks back, my shop is 120' x 20' with a very large roller shutter, that was half open.

Long story short wind must have been in the wrong direction, and I was running it rich for welding (it had been on for a good 3 or 4 hours), I went VERY dizzy, just about managed to shut everything down and left the building. I nearly passed out. (could have been messy, 10 hours of gas left in the tank and a power hammer running)

Ive run it for hundreds of hours in the past with no problems.

Ive put a 'blown' extractor hood over it now, made from half a 55 gal oil drum.

CO poisoning is cumulative, and it is poisioning! - CO detectors are cheap cheap nowdays.

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I posted a similar question about ventilating 2 propane workstations through one chimney a little while back. I'm glad to see that my hunch about possible CO concerns was valid - but not happy to hear that something pretty bad nearly happened to "one of our own". Glad to hear you're okay John (... you ARE okay, right?)


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Pick up a couple of CO detectors and install them. That will be an early warning for you that things are not right. Just a bit about the way it gets you. You may feel little if any symptoms at all. dizziness, headaches, are a couple. Confusion and loss of ability to think clearls come along then loss of use of muscles. Most house fire victimes are overcome by CO poisoning even if the fire does not burn them. It seems like CO is on a mission to combine with our red blood cells and does in much more efficently than oxygen does. When that happens our body cannot get enough oxygen to operate properly. If you p;ick up these symptoms and get into fresh air you will feel better, however the new environment does not undo damage done. To rid the body of the CO in the red blood cells they have to be replaced by new red blood cells. That takes a few days or maybe more. If you work in CO environment the next few days it adds to damaged cells. Cumilative damage as mentioned above. When it is warm we tend to leave doors and windows open and that helps with the air quality but with cool weather coming on the awareness should be better about how and where we work. Pull the doors down and close up a window and you create a hot spot for this hazard. There is no smell to CO. What we smell is byproducts of what is burning or being heated that is creating CO and many other nasty things in our breathing space. BE safe

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Jay I forge in the winter with only one window open as it gets cool here. I also have a hood over my forge partly to remove CO, but also to remove water which is a major byproduct of burning propane. You need a CO detector as stated. If you are running to rich the consequences are much more deadly than having scale or difficulty forge welding, which are the consequences of running to lean, running lean does use up your oxygen so you need to replace that too.
If your forge burners are not adjustable then if your CO detector is finding CO you will have to add more ventilation irregardless of how much you have. If there is no detectable amounts you will need to have enough ventilation to replace the air you are using for your fire. If it is cold condensation can be a big problem for the building, assuming you are doing lots of forging.

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Im fine ta guys! - just felt a right pillock for nearly doing myself in, ever heard of the Darwin awards ? :)

It was due to info ive read on line (here, anvilfire etc) that I knew what the symptoms were, and knew to get out. I got a touch of the confusion Rich mentions above, I could barely switch off the forge & hammer!!

I did have a 15' wide roller shutter door open about 10' high not far from where the forge is ( maybe 10' away ) so thought, nay assumed, that would be enough. Like I said, wind must have been in the wrong direction or somthing.... When I got outside I forced myself to take 10 full breaths in and out, coz i was a bit cufuddled I got stuck on 7 for quite a long time ( and I can normally count to 10, honest! :)

so, from my recently learned experience unless your shop has 2 sides 'very' open I would fit a hood over the gas forge and get a detector!

(its actually not easy for me to post what a schoolboy error I made as Im generally pretty safety aware, hope it might give some other folks something to think about though)

Edited by John N
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I have no idea how one posts a picture. Also expect that I would need the newer type camras to do it.
The hood is just made of sheet metal fitted to a 10 inch stove pipe that I am running out side through a high vent although through the roof would be better. The hood is 3 X 4 feet over the entire forge.

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