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WARNING ABOUT STAIN RAGS

One part science, five parts experimentation. Every wood boat veteran has their secret recipe for a showy finish. Share your trials and triumphs.

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debiby
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WARNING ABOUT STAIN RAGS

Post by debiby » Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:28 am

I never heard of this before tonight but stain rags can catch fire all by themselves, trust me it can happen, my beautiful DAYDREAMER burned to the ground tonight because we left some stain rags in a bag on the aft deck, now I no longer have a boat. 2 years of hard work and a whole bunch of money just up in smoke. We were planning on putting her in the water Friday. Please guys use a bucket of water to soak your stain rags in I wish I would have known this could happen. :cry:
Dan Biby
38' Challenger "DreamOn"

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Mark Christensen
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Post by Mark Christensen » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:24 am

I work at a large millwork company and we have definitely had this problem before. Some solvents are worse than others, but we have seen quite a few trash cans burst into flames. very very dangerous. Hang them out to dry like towels ALWAYS. Never throw a used solvent rag into a trash can as it can end in disaster.
Mark

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:47 am

Dan, I am sorry for the loss of your boat. We were all here as you found her, identified her, and then worked hard through the restoration. Damn! If I had only known that this was not known by all...if you know what I mean. It would have been so easy to mention here.

Yes, the danger is there. Spontaneous Combustion. As Mark says, some solvents are worse than others. Ironically to aggressive solvents like lacquer thinner and acetone pose less problem because they evaporate so fast. The slower flashing solvents are the biggest problem.

Mark is right, hang them out to dry, or wet them down. I saw an entire dumpster go up once, just from a few stain rags thrown it.
Bill Basler

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evansjw44
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Terrible Loss

Post by evansjw44 » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:59 am

I'm sorry for your loss. So much investment in soul.

I have another caution on fire risks. Watch out for things that can behave like a lens. My boat has a newer swim deck because the previous owner left a screw driver with a clear plastic handle out in the sun and it set the swim deck in fire. My wife nearly burned out family room down with her sewing magnifying glass/lamp she had clamped to the end table next to the couch. The magnigying lens set the couch on fire but my son was home and put it out quicly.

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:49 am

I had the rags in a plastic trash bag, I left it open so they could dry out. I was thinking more in terms of a spark or something setting it off rather than it catching on fire by itself. I am just sick about the whole thing. The motor and generator seem to be the only things that didn't get hurt and the fire started right above them. Thank god I moved the boat away from the house Monday or things could have been a lot worse. My insurance agent says he doesn't think it is covered under my homeowners policy and he never got the policy on the boat in force yet so looks like I lost it all.
Dan Biby
38' Challenger "DreamOn"

THE RAZZ
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Post by THE RAZZ » Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:57 pm

Dan,
We are so sorry for your loss. Thank you for telling what happened. I wasn't aware of the difference between Acetone & Varnish thinners and "slow" thinners. I just went to the shop to make sure everything is airing out properly. You have our heartfelt support in continuing on someway.
JT

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Post by Wood Commander » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:04 pm

Dan, I feel so bad for you! We all know how much work you put into your boat, and it was a pretty rare boat as well. Bad all of the way around in many ways. I'm glad that you can at least feel fortunate not to have the added misery of possibly losing your house too.

These boats receive so much feeling and attention from us that losing one is wrenching. I know how losing one to a fire feels like from way back a long time ago.

I hope that someday you'll feel better about things and try to find another one to restore. Best wishes.
Bret

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project

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tom king
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Post by tom king » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:37 pm

Dan, let me just add to what others have said here that when something like this happens and believe me you are not the first then we all feel a loss. Nothing what you are going through but a loss to the antique and classic boating community. Hang in there buddy. Take some time to pull yourself together and when the time is right get back into it.

kcupido
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Post by kcupido » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:40 pm

Man this is sad news! I feel for you and your loss.
The boat is gone but the adventure of working on her will always be in you... and the knowledge acquired in that quest.
I hope that "wooden boat bug' bites you again in the future and are financially able to scratch that itch!
Again, thanks for the warning...

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Ken Miller
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Post by Ken Miller » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:40 pm

Dan, so sorry to hear your bad news. I'm a landscape architect and one of my clients here in northwest Georgia was less than a month from moving into a $5M English manor house which had taken nearly three years to build. According to rumor, one of the painters doing faux-finish on some of the wainscoting left a pile of rags overnight and the whole house (rumored to be 30,000 sq. ft.+) burned to the ground. This is something we wooden boat lovers need to be aware of.

Ken.
1951 Chris Craft U-22-1705 "Miss Cynthia"

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:17 pm

Thanks guys. It is just amazing how my dream was gone in just a few minutes. I did have most of the lights and hardware still in the garage ready to be installed the day after the fire so at least maybe I can recoupe some of my money by selling some of these things. I feel like I lost my best friend and I am selling his belongings it is real hard. I am sure one day I will come across another old boat that I will fall in love with, time will tell. I do have all the quality time my sons and I got to spend working on her and no fire can take that away, the thing that scared me the most was the thought that 2 hours before that fire my son and I were in the cabin with the rags right at the doorway, what if they went up while we were in therea? God just the thought if it terrifies me.
Dan Biby
38' Challenger "DreamOn"

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57 chris
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Post by 57 chris » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:08 am

Dan,
It's taken me a few days to have your first posting about the fire sink in. I'm absolutely speachless, your loss is so great but you are being so positive about it. I think about my own boats and how I would cope if I were a victim of such an event. I think your story has spoken to many of us and reminded us that sometimes we overlook the obvious. Your story will no doubt enlighten others and keep us from falling victim to the same tragedy. Yesterday I had a meeting in my shop with my crew and we talked about the hazards of paint thinners, solvents and the like, something we haven't done in some time. Your boat was the centerpiece of the conversation, it was a very sobering talk. So even though the loss of your baby is beyond understanding, there has already some good come out of it for us, maybe for others too.
Thank you for sharing your story, it must have been very difficult.
When you get your next project, and you will someday, I and others of "The Buzz" will be there with you.

Craig
1957 18' SeaSkiff #SK 18675 "Knot Sure!"
1958 18' SeaSkiff #SK18722 "Wreckreation"

Past projects: 1972 19' Lancer with 307 Volvo drive-Great Blue, 1968 23' Lancer Offshore with 283 Volvo drive-Narwahl
1988 FourWinns 245 Vista - Blue Ayes.

It's good to have wood!

motherofdog
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Post by motherofdog » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:15 pm

Dan,

I'm bumping this up because it's such an important warning. Please accept this as my very late response to your post. Did you ever start a new project?

I'm running to the boat garage now with a bucket of water.

jerri

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pauldfulton
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Post by pauldfulton » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:57 pm

So sad. A great warning for all not just boaters. I consider myself a bit of a know it all and this could have happened to me. Too bad a good lesson for all had to be had at the expense of your boat. Good luck to you.

acmerocket
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Post by acmerocket » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:09 pm

I'm late on this thread and kinda new here but have to chime in. Please make it sticky. Everyone should learn from this. Working in a woodshop once milling and staining a large run of trophy bases I've seen stain rags start smoking just sitting on the bench during a long work day. Anything with linseed oil (among others) can do it. Be careful out there.

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:59 pm

I am glad that I could help everyone by hopefully preventing any more fires.

I have done another boat since then, a 75 Carver Flybridge, hull was glass but cabin is teak, pretty boat and now I have a 1964 38' Chris Craft Challenger that I am currently working on but you can bet no rags get left aboard after I use them.
Dan Biby
38' Challenger "DreamOn"

Jim Bell
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Post by Jim Bell » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:54 am

Allow me to congratulate you for "getting back on the horse" or bridge, or deck, or whatever. I hope it is all good for you on your new project. Regards. :wink:

Rugger8
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Post by Rugger8 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:43 pm

Yes Dan,

Congrats on getting back on the horse. Also, I agree this should be made a sticky as it is such an important safety consideration. I remember reading this 3-4 years ago, but had not thought about it much since then. Easy to be careless and this is a good reminder. Almost lost my boat in Hurricane Sandy, which would have been understandable, but to lose it when it can be prevented would be very disheartening.

Jeff

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debiby
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Post by debiby » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:30 pm

How do we make it a sticky?
Dan Biby
38' Challenger "DreamOn"

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