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Monday, July 20th, 2009

Time Event
Mixing oxygen and fuel in a controlled environment
As a result of mishearing my credit card number my kiln did not arrive today; it's due in by FedEx ground tomorrow. I still spent much of the day in Doug's garage, as will be required tomorrow in order to sign for the kiln, and managed to basically get the rest of the workshop set up and ready. The steel flashing on the tables now has a trim of aluminum foil tape which provides just enough protection against the sharp edges of the steel so that casual contact or abrasion won't be harmful. You could still hurt yourself if you really worked at it, but, don't do that. I bolted the metal down and discovered that a few of the holes I drilled are so near the frame of the table that the nuts don't fit on the bolts. That happened on only the back side of one table so I'm not going to change it.

Finishing the tables was the big gating event for finishing the rest of the workshop. With the table top complete I moved on to the gas hosing. My order from Arrow Springs had everything I needed except a couple of adapters, which cost $1.20 each from Madco. Tank → regulator → flashback arrestor → lead hose → adapter → Y-splitter with valves; → torch hose line → torch. This each for oxygen and propane, and twice again after the Y-splitter for each of two torches.

All the hose fittings use a cone seat to make a seal, rather than rely directly on the threads. The parts of the cone seat look like a cone with a hole (volcano-shaped, for example) and a crater with a hole. Both are milled to the same angle such that they meet at their entire surface all at once. The threads on the fittings only serve to hold the seat tight, not to be air tight. And so, there's no need to wrap Teflon tape around the threads - there's no gas out there anyway. Now, the one thing I haven't worked out yet is, how do you keep the components tight? I gave each one a little bit of torque with a wrench and pliers, but that moved it only a degree or two. I think that's fine - I didn't hear any leaks when I pressurized the line -- but I need to do a little research to be sure.

So, yes, pressurizing: once I did get everything twisted together I turned on the gas and: no leaks. On at the tanks (open all the way as it's a double-seated valve; stand aside in case it blows the regulator off), dial in the pressure on the regulator (regulator should start all the way out, in it's "off" state), be sure the valves on the Y are open, the turn on propane at the torch and light up. Add some oxygen - woo, it's a flame! I didn't burn it for very long, mostly for waste but also because I thought I spelled propane. I'll check tomorrow with soapy water or something for any actual leaks.

In the garage I also anchored the other bookcase to the wall (was a bear to do because I didn't want to move everything to do so); zip-tied the power strip to the table; and assembled the IKEA worklights.

On my way home I decided to drop in to Temperchi to pick up my (raw) glass; if I'm ready to burn tomorrow I'd like it. Jon was there so I could just walk in, which was nice. Collecting my kit kind of felt like breaking up! Temperchi doesn't have a passle of regular customers so I know that Melinda and I not being there every weekend will leave some modest sized hole. But Jon and I talked and maybe he'll set up some infrequent social days at Temperchi, for those of us even with our own workshops to come in, see what others are doing, and meet other lampworkers. It would be a neat thing.

Jon sent me with a few gifts on the way out. I said that Melinda would like to buy one of the graphite mashers but Jon just gave me one. He also sent me with one of the aloe plants from near the entrance of the shop. I'll find it a home near Doug's garage, assuming that aloe is cat-safe and that Doug's okay with it. I told Jon I'd send him a photo of the workshop and that he'd be welcome to show it on his website.

On deck for tomorrow: waiting at Doug's house for FedEx and the kiln. Some puttering in the workshop, some reading some books I bought from Amazon a few days ago, and I don't know what else just yet.

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