Sunday, June 05, 2016

Burning The House Down

Damn Bubba you almost burned the house down. The shop was still hot from the day and I had it closed up so it wasn't cooling off. I'd wiped the tool chest lid once more with the BLO soaked rag before taking a short break for some tea and a cool down. I left the rag bunched and on the top of the tool chest while I cooled off. As I was going back to the shop I noticed a smell and my eyes were burning, it was stronger in the shop but there was no smoke. I looked around and noticed the BLO rag. When I picked it up it was very warm, unfolding it reviled black burned areas. Here is a photo of the rag:


I couldn't have been out of the shop more than 45 minutes to an hour and it was a single rag setting in the open. Normally once I finish with a rag I'll put it in a metal bucket filled with water until I can dump them in the trash but even that will be no more. If I am going to leave the shop for any reason finished or not with the rag it is going in the bucket and I'll make sure the bucket has enough water to cover the rags.

ken

12 comments:

  1. I've heard of this but this is the first time I've seen it. Kind of scary isn't it?

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  2. Anonymous1:49 AM

    I have heard of this but not that it woul take only a few minutes.
    Sylvain

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  3. Anonymous3:26 AM

    I've been using quite a bit of BLO lately. What I do is take my rags outside to the barbeque grill and burn them immediately. Not worth taking any chances.

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  4. Man that was a close call... Good thing you catch it up in time.
    I have seen numerous time how fast these rag soak in some oil start combustion and catch fire, as demonstrated by the fire fighters on the base.
    It never cease to impress on me how dangerous it is. It has been a long time since we experienced such a fire around here. Education is working :-)

    Bob, relieve you got out of it safely

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  5. Guys,

    What blew me away is: I know the dangers of BLO and thought I was using best practices such as not having several bunched up, putting the oiled rag in a metal bucket when through, keeping water in the bucket, and not letting there be too many in the bucket before dumping. What I didn't internalize was just how quickly it can combust. I had just gone in the house to cool off and have a glass of ices tea, if 45 minutes between the last wipe of the tool chest lid and return elapsed I would be surprised.

    Like I posted, I will not leave the shop with an oiled rag anywhere other than in the bucket.

    ken

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  6. Like Ralph, I've heard about this, but never seen it in person. I would have thought it would need some source of ignition to start a fire (generally you need fuel, oxygen and source of ignition to have fire). Thanks for the warning - I should be more careful myself.

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  7. You got all 3 pieces of the fire triangle in there Matt
    1- fuel: the rag and the oil
    2- oxygen: lots, it's in the open
    3- heat: source of fire is the rapid rise in temperature caused by the chemical reaction in the BLO. In a bunch up rag it is faster since the heat source has no place to dissipate quickly. Spreading them flat, minimize that effect, hence safer.

    Bob, the fire warden says: Only YOU can prevent shop fire :-)

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  8. My shop did burn in 1988. Watco rags thrown in the corner.

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  9. My shop did burn in 1988. Watco rags thrown in the corner.

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  10. I was once staining our house with a linseed oil based product in 100 degree heat. I dropped a paper towel with a modest amount of product on it from the ladder I was up on and a couple minutes later looked down to see it on fire not three feet from acres of extremely dry grass. Since then I have been absolutely paranoid.

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  11. Ken,
    I'm glad to read that no more happened. Personally I haven't seen that before. I'm putting my rags immediately after use into plastic bags and close them with a knot so that they are airtight.

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