Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Tool of the moment - #1

An ideal jewellery studio would have, among many things, a professional ventilation system set up over the soldering station. To purchase these from a jeweller supply shop, you would be looking at around $800 to $1500 (AUD) easily.

If you own your own home and can construct something in your studio, a budget set-up can be made from a rangehood connected to ducted hosing which would then connect to a vent/fan to extract outside.

You see a lot of items that jewellers use in their studios on a daily basis are rather toxic and can be health damaging. One shouldn't be turned off by this however, just made aware so that precautions can be taken to minimize the risk of health issues down the track.

When soldering you are dealing with metal fumes, gasses, vapours from fluxes as well as fumes from the pickle (sulfuric acid or sodium bisulfate etc, used to clean the metal after heating.)
Although these may not have strong overpowering odours, these contaminates over time can cause some serious issues.

Today I found some disposable respirators that can resolve these issues if you happen to be renting and therefore cannot put up a permanent structure.
These particular masks can be used for dust - when filing/sanding/sawing or polishing, for fumes - when soldering/pickling, using resins or plastics and they have a valve and an active carbon filter built into them.

I do own a chemical/fume mask that uses cartridges but they can get really heavy and irritate your skin after prolonged use as they are made of rubber. These disposable ones however are a light weight, soft material and have quicklock straps for easy fit and release as well as being an Australian standard certified product. They do have a shorter life but you get one dozen in a box and if you keep the one you're using in a seperate zip-lock bag everytime you take it off, it will extend it's life.

I used one all day today (in 40 degree heat too!) and found it to be great - just in case anyone out there is looking for a cheaper yet affective solution to ventilation issues in their studios.

x Narelle    

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