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workshop fire, how to renovate?

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Anonymous

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I had a fire in the workshop recently. According to the fire service a spark had got into the dust extractor system and sat in the dust bag, smouldered for about 6 hours, then the polythene collection bag melted, the sawdust spilled out, let the oxygen in and ...whoosh.

I was not insured and had some good kit in there that was lost. The Sedgwick spindle moulder (which i had lusted after for years) was only six weeks old!! It was a semi professional shop. there was a big panel saw, Wadkin bandsaw, sedgwick spindle, planer and mortiser, lathes ,wide panel sander etc. Big money!! Plus tons of the usual routers, cordless drills, biscuit jointers etc was all lost.

My 2 questions are this... I hope some of the main machinery is recoverable, but how do i clean it up? seems the pvc underground pipe i used as ducting has meted and then atomised and solidified on the machinery in an almost resin product. There is lots of water damage on the machines from the water hoses, and rust!! Any suggestions? Skips have already been thrown into the hat!!!!i am not ready for that yet!

The tmber stock has ben subjected to very high temperatures in the form of gases, they are soot stained but not burnt,,, could it be used?

ANY help would be gratly appreciated

Many thanks

Malcolm
 
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Anonymous

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Mega bad luck Malcolm. :cry: Sounds like a total nightmare.
I'm not sure whether this would work or not, but I would be inclined to try softening the pvc with a hot air gun and scraping off. Do this outside, and wear a filtered mask as pvc gives off potassium cyanide when burnt.
If the electrics of the machinery got wet, try stripping them down and placing motors etc in the airing cupboard for a few days to make sure they are dried out fully. Put them in a cardboard box with some sachets of silica-gel. Even if they test ok, there is a chance moisture could be drawn in by capillary action when the machines start to warm up. Use a video camera when stripping machines, so you can see exactly where everything belongs when you put it all back together.
The rust I imagine will be recent, so a good rub down with wire wool and a polish over with Turtle Wax now should help prevent further rusting.
Not too sure about the timber, super kiln dried might become brittle? I'm sure someone will be along soon who knows much more about this than me.
Keep the skips at arms length until you are sure any of the 'shop contents are beyond redemption.

Tom
 

GCR

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Terrible news Malcolm. I don't know if this helps but... some years ago I had plastic sheeting adhering to metal and I could not scrape it off. In the end I soaked it in cellulose thinners and that did the trick.

Bob
 

DaveL

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Malcolm,

Sorry about the fire, total nightmare :evil: .I have no idea about the plastic pipe removal, but the rust on tables etc, I would use steel wool with white spirit. Wear rubber gloves. After you have the rust off I would rub either paste wax or lubricating wax on all of the cleaned surfaces.

I have use plastic drain pipe for the dust collection in my shop, but I have now made a cyclone collector that drops the dust into a steel dustbin, I am pleased I used a metal one after you story. :)

I don't think you should have any problem in using the wood, just have to remove the damaged surfaces.

I hope you manage to salvage the bulk of your equipment, I would delay the skip as long as possible.
 

ProShop

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Malcom,
Sorry to read about your misfortune.
I don't know if you know this already, but if you do I'll get my coat :) .

One of the consequences of a fire is that the smoke soot deposits contain sulphuric acid and that destroys the natural oils in metal, hence the rust you mention as it's not only the water from the hoses that create the rust. And as theres no oil in the metal it will constantly rust. And as it's acid unless it's totally removed, slowly but surely it will eat away at most materials.

You need to neutralise the sulphuric acid and then replace the natural oils in the metal. Unfortunatly this also means exposed electric cable ends and the connections, the electric motors, switches etc etc. Smoke causes terrible damage to machines.

You can contact specialist firms who can do this work, a lot of them are constantly working for insurances companies as this is considerably cheaper than replacement equipment.

As for your timber if it too is smoke damaged the same will apply regarding the acid, if you can't remove it I personaly would not use it, as you could be putting the acid back into your machines.

Sorry to create a gloomy picture, but all is not lost.

Hope this helps, if you need any more advice just ask.
It's along story but I know a fair bit about smoke damage and it's consequences.
 

Chris Knight

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Malcolm,

What awful luck! I can't help with advice but you have my good wishes for a successful outcome.

Your story provides food for thought about shop safety too.
 

Aragorn

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Can't help. Just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about your workshop and tools.
Hope you find a way to salvage some of your stuff :cry:
 

Shady

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On the rust removal front, I've had success on near total wrecks before now with phosphoric acid - it actually chemically converts rust. Buy it as Jenolite - find someone (a small local auto parts shop is best) who'll sell you it in bulk quantities, and use as directed. It will remove any rust, but does leave a greyish surface afterwards. Use buffing compounds or steel wool and oil to remove that residue - but it's much, much less work than going straight in with steel wool, and chemically protects against rust re-appearance.

The timber: may have been case-hardened, may not. I'd be inclined to paint the ends to avoid uneven moisture take-up/loss, and leave them to absorb moisture naturally from the atmosphere, then try a few pieces and see. Skim the charring off with a cheapo hand held planer, then prep as normal...

As to the plastic, I dunno: can't help with that - but without being funny, do you 'need' to remove it? If you can put up with the appearance, try just using the affected tools on some scrap stock: I bet the cutting action will remove it from the blades/cutterheads etc, and if the thing runs, who cares about it on the rest of the machine? Dunno just how bad /thick it is, but if there's nothing to lose, I'd try that route myself. Sorry to hear the tale, and hope you get through it all...
 

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