Warning: Interesting Safety Hazard involving steel wool!!!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jamison162, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. jamison162

    jamison162 Supporting Member

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    Hehehehe, I bet this thread will be considered rather strange around here but here goes...

    #0000 steel wool is highly flammable. Many use this stuff to clean and polish fretboard and frets. I usually do not, unless it's a first time buffing a new maple necked strat that has a layer of laquer over the frets. I'll use steel wool the first polish to help getthe lqcauer off the frets.

    At any rate, many of you may know this, but I did not.

    I had finished cleaning up the guitar and was finished the setup, adjust intonation. I got out my strobe tuner and was plugging it in using a One Spot 9v adapter.

    One of the 9v daisy chain barrel plugs just touched the round of steel wool sitting on my work space, I may just barely and quickly brushed it. And the steel wool lit up in flames and smoke.

    Whether it's the wool itslef or some chemicla or after product in the wool, it sure lit up. I couldn't believe it. I touched it again to make sure I wasn't going crazy and boy, it lit up again.

    So moral of the story is don't leave steel wool sitting around, esp. if you have type of power souce nearby. And esp. don't walk away from it or you may have a house fire or burn your workshop down without a clue as to what just happened.

    You know what, as I just typed this, I remember something in school about putting a 9v battery to steel wool and starting a fire that way.
    Guess I'm just forgetfull and this is not uncommon knowledge afterall.
     
  2. cram

    cram Member

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    oooooohhhh! I'm going to go to my workshop and play mr. wizard with this experiment...
     
  3. Smakutus

    Smakutus Member

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  4. scottpic

    scottpic Member

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    WOW.

    Every 3 months I do a light polish to the fretboard & frets
    with steel wool 0000.

    I'll have a fire extinguisher near by next time.
     
  5. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    Yep, 0000 steel wool and a 9v are in a lot of survival kits.
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    because the current provided by a 9V battery is easily enough to heat the thin filaments to flammability, and on top of that, steel wool often has a little oil in it to prevent rust.

    now imagine tossing a "dead" 9V into a trash can that's full of used-up steel wool and naphtha-soaked rags from working on guitars all day!

    always tape over the terminals of 9Vs before tossing.
     
  7. baimun

    baimun Member

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    Hehehe... I knew this one because of a Wilderness Survival thing I did as a boy scout.

    We were given a sheet of plastic, our pocket knives, a flash light, and some raw hamburger, and we had to survive for 3 days in a marsh.

    Most of the sticks and branches were too wet to make kindling out of, but we gathered some dry leaves and twigs, I had a scrap of steel wool in my pocket from some wood project I had been working on, and used the lantern battery in my flashlight to make the wool burn and start my fire. :)

    Later that week, I was kicked out of boy scouts for borrowing a canoe in the middle of the night and going across the lake to the girl scout camp.

    My mom was pretty mad, but my dad gave me the thumbs up. :D
     
  8. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    A woodworker friend almost lost his truck & a large stock of work. He had some steel wool in a toolbox with his cordless drill battery. He happened to smell smoke when he stopped for gas & caught the fire before it went far in his wood filled truck.
     
  9. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the heads up reminder.
     
  10. DonM

    DonM Member

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    our cabinet shops trash can / steel dumpster used to catch fire all on its own - a few times a year - we never was sure why??? - but it would catch - and it did it while we were there at work, so it was not arson - we would just run the hose over to it -
     
  11. Andy J.

    Andy J. Member

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    Did you guys use linseed oil? Apparently rags and stuff with linseed oil on them become highly self-combustible.
     
  12. dc_jcm800

    dc_jcm800 Member

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    This is information one should learn at some point between grade school and junior high, either in scouts, shop, or a parent.
    I remember the first time having this demonstrated to me in school by a fire marshall.
    Of course our goal that summer was to find steel wool and 9v batteries.
    Oh yeah, one thing, an SOS pad will not ignite. :)
     
  13. Shamus

    Shamus Supporting Member

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    That's worthy of a Merit Badge. :cool:
     
  14. Rockinrob86

    Rockinrob86 Supporting Member

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    i have 9v batteries and steel wool in my tool box, Ill have to promptly remove them! thanks!
     
  15. cram

    cram Member

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    I mentioned this concept to a friend today. he said -
    steel wool and a battery...too young to remember flash bulbs in photography??.. same beast

    I called him an old fart... which he is!
    and promptly thanked him.
    ;)
     
  16. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    I learned this trick as a boyscout thirty years ago. When you're camping, you have steel wool for cleaning your pots, and plenty of batteries in your flashights. If you hold three 1.5V D size batteries end-to-end then touch the steel wool to both ends, it should glow red. That's enough to get the sparks you need to light kindling.
     

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