I’ve had many requests to discuss this particular location, so here goes…
Unless you live in a really OLD house, chances are there is either “good” carpet or hardwood on your floors. Fear not!! You don’t have to rip up the floor covering just because you want to work glass. What you need to do is put down some additional protection, that’s all. What has worked for me in the past (in multiple studios with carpeting on the floors) is this:
First, lay down a layer of resin paper. This is a special type of construction paper that contractors use when laying floors. It helps stop squeeking and “creep” between layers of flooring. For our purposes, the resin paper acts as a protective surface over the carpet or hardwood to prevent wood and glass slivers from passing through, and to protect the finish of hardwood floors. Next, use 3/4″ plywood. Use fairly decent stuff, but it does not have to be cabinet quality. As long as it is not warped, it really doesn’t matter. Lay down enough sheets to protect the floor a minimum of 4 feet from your torch. This is usually going to require at least 3-4 sheets.
Then, to provide a “working” surface, use 1/4″ tempered hardboard. This comes in 4×8 sheets (same as your plywood), but lay them in opposite directions to the plywood, so that the hardboard acts to tie everything together and prevent creeping when rolling your chair across the surface. You can also use other materials for your “working” surface, as long as your desk chair can easily roll across it, it really doesn’t matter!
Hopefully, you have a corner bedroom with windows on both side walls…or a bedroom with windows at least 5-6 feet apart. If not, kick the kids out of their bedroom and use that one (KIDDING!!! [well, maybe not!!]).
Note: the following discussion assumes you already have a hood and properly sized fan. See my posts elsewhere on this blog for information on fan selection.
Once your flooring is down and your benchwork assembled, the next step is to set up your ventilation. This will work with double hung windows (ideal), but will also work with crank outs, but crank outs will require a bit more of a creative solution to ensure that the entire opening is sealed from blow back.
Cut a piece of plywood (again, I suggest 3/4″ for rigidity) to snugly fit the opening of the window. Cut an opening in the plywood to match the exhaust duct on the fan you are using, and securely mount the fan to the plywood. Mount the plywood in the window (open it first) and seal any gaps with a good weatherproof weatherseal (available from most hardware stores).
Mount your hood over your workspace. Measure the length of duct you are going to need to run from your hood to the fan as well as count the number of bends you will need. Purchase and mount the duct. All seams and joints need to be taped with duct tape (I prefer to use the metallic type).
Fresh Air Supply
The other half of the ventilation is the fresh air supply. The other window in the room (assuming you have one) will be used for that. Your fresh air supply duct will be mounted exactly the same way as the exhaust duct is, except that in order to get the 10 foot minimum separation from the exhaust duct, you will probably need to extend the duct outside either to the side (away from the exhaust fan) or up or down, depending on how much room you have. Again, seal all seams and joints with duct tape.
But but but, I only have one window!!!!
Have no fear, grasshopper! This will require a bit more creativity on your part, but it is easily managed. Cut TWO holes in the 3/4″ plywood, one for the fan and one for fresh air. Mount the fan and ducting as above, but this time, you will be runing two sets of duct outside, one for the exhaust and one for the fresh air. You need to have a minimum of 10 feet of separation from the openings of the duct work, so run them in opposite directions outside, at least 5 feet in each direction.