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Bombs, Unguided Missiles and Heaters

Bombs, Unguided Missiles and Heaters

Bombs, Unguided Missiles and Heaters

Wow, the last couple of months have been crazy, all kinds of events going on. Just got back from the 3rd annual Memorial Conclave in Valencia, California. John Studden and his family put on a real nice event, but that 8 to 9 hour drive is brutal. It’s nice to have the wife along to share the driving. Really got to be on your toes out there these days, seems there’s less courtesy out there every time we get on the road. I’m just starting to see pictures of the Autorama in Detroit, and a few other events around the country, and I just got my new issue of Auto Art Magazine, so I’ll be in heaven for a few more days!

Been watching a few of the new DVD’s that are out on custom painting, and I’ve notice there is a little more attention being given to safety issues these days. In terms of respiratory safety, Mike LaVallee’s new Flames Video does a real nice job of letting everyone know that there is a definite need to wear proper protection when painting.

Those of you who follow the Internet may have seen this, but in case you didn’t
It’s something to think about:

A 26-year-old man in Nebraska decided he was going to do some painting in his little one car garage. No problem, fire up the shop heater and then toss a can of spray paint on top of this nice warm heater to warm it up…get the picture. There was a well documented, short news cast that clearly showed the paint can stuck in the ceiling of the garage, stopped only by a piece of steel that was stored in the attic, and, of course, bright red paint was EVERYWHERE! What I couldn’t believe was the amount of damage the explosion had done to the garage. This was an older garage and it literally blew out all of the very bottom exterior wallboards almost all the way around the garage, not to mention the mangled garage door that was clearly blown of its tracts. I know this is pure speculation, but he must have done some painting or possibly had a small gas leak to have caused that much damage when the can blew.


The young man received 2nd degree burns on his face and hands and was spending the weekend in the hospital, lucky to be alive. This is definitely a good piece of information to put in your knowledge cap. Paint in a spray can is under pressure, if you do anything (such as heating) to cause its contents to expand beyond the capabilities of the container, it’s going to explode. Some chemicals have a very high expansion ratio when they go from a liquid state into a gaseous state. I used to work with liquid oxygen and its expansion ratio was 850 to 1. In simple terms, if you put one drop of liquid oxygen into say a five gallon gas can it would fill that can with pure oxygen gas and would more than likely explode because the existing air in that can would have no place to go. We’re not rocket scientists and we’re not messing with liquid oxygen, but we do mess with some pretty volatile stuff, and give n the right set of misguided circumstances, and you have a bomb that can do some serious damage. Now this isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but the younger painters, just starting out, might want to keep this bit of knowledge handy. Maybe some of us old farts might want to refresh our memory as well.

For some of you its time to get ready for spring cleaning, airing out the shop and storing those heaters away for the winter, for others, your just starting your winter months and your just pulling the heaters out and starting to seal up the shop. In either case, take a moment out of your busy day and think about what you could do to make life a little safer, for you and the folks who live and work around you…Robin

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