I smelled smoke in my shop tonight the source was a glowing red roll of Lee Valley 0000 steel wool. I put it in a bucket and filled it with water. After doing some googleing I found this.
Indeed, it burns like crazy. We had a roll of it hanging above an electric outlet in the shop, and after ten years of good behavior a few strands of it decided to fall down into the tiny crack between the belt sander plug and the outlet cover, touching off the roll in grand fashion. I unhooked it and stomped it to death on the concrete floor - glad to have seen it happen while I was standing nearby rather than getting a late night phone call from the fire department. . .
Just to add to another danger of steel wool is a 9 volt battery. Be careful when throwing steel wool in to your trash container then disposing of a 9 volt battery. If the batteries + and - touch the steel wool, FIRE. I always wrap the 9 volt in duct tape before deposing of it. Unfortunately my town has no recycling for batteries. Just a thought.
Good advice and thanks for the safety reminder. As an aside, I carry a fairly well-stocked emergency kit in my truck ... and one of the items is a "fire starter" kit, consisting of 0000 steel wool, a can of Zippo lighter fluid and a 9v battery... (yes, all in separate containers:) Never had to use it, but there she sits.
..."one of the items is a "fire starter" kit, consisting of 0000 steel wool, a can of Zippo lighter fluid and a 9v battery"...
I am intrigued, Mike ....a simple cigarette lighter and a couple of newspapers wouldn't achieve the same objective ?
probably so, but it's not nearly as James Bond-ish!
Had it catch from stray sparks when grinding. I now keep a fire blanket and extinguisher in the shed.
I am a volunteer on a tall ship. If you put a piece of steel wool in a cannon when you fire it, you get a spectacular display of sparks.
..thanks for this info, I'll change how I store mine..Tom
All very good info! Its a good reminder. Something we don't think about....until disaster strikes, unfortunately.
Murray, this is a staple at cabins in places that can go wayyyy down in temperatures. The stuff is usually sitting with kindling already in the fireplace, and steel wool and a 9volt on either side of it. These things have saved lives in the North many times.
I used to work at Manny's music in the 90's, one day we were closing up and I noticed the guitar repair closet smoking.
Steel wool + 9 volt battery = bad. Since then whenever I throw out 9 volt batteries I tape over the contacts with strong tape to make sure it does not happen in my shop. Glad I looked back when we were locking up that night!