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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin


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Astute Reader Catches Big Mistake

Last month while extolling the shop virtues of zipper-style plastic storage bags, this line "I even put stinky finishing rags and disposable brushes in used storage bags, squeeze out the air, and throw away the trash and the smells at the same time" drew an immediate response from David Taragin. He says, "Big no no for oil based finishes which can generate huge amounts of heat and spontaneously ignite…" He is absolutely correct.

Few are probably more paranoid about fire than your humble correspondent. I have been known to wake up from a dead sleep at two in the morning and trek to my shop in fear I left a battery charger plugged in. I should have elaborated a bit more on my particular "procedure" for solvent-soaked rags.

First I spread the rag (or rags) over the side of a metal container, outside, to dry. After the rags are dry, I place them in an airtight zipper plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and dispose of them, again outside, away from any other flammable materials, and out of direct sunlight. To be even more careful, it has been suggested to fill the bag with water before zipping it shut.


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Steven Johnson is recently retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life).

Steven can be reached directly via email at downtoearthwoodworks@me.com.

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