One of the Forum users emailed me this short narrative and asked to put it up in the blog. This is pretty much everyone’s worst nightmare. A cautionary tale that all should take the time to read:

This past summer, after applying some Danish Oil to a project, I made the critical mistake of NOT SOAKING my oily rags in water. The results were significant. Ten minutes after setting the rags to air dry outside of my shop, they spontaneously combusted. Fortunately for my wife and I, our neighbor noticed the smoke and flames, called 911 and then pounded on our front door to warn us. Thirty minutes later my garage woodworking shop was a wreck.

The fire occurred on July 11th. Last week my recovery contractor started the major repair work. He projects that we will be back in our home of the past 27 years by the beginning of April 2011. In my case, an ounce of prevention would have prevented about $150,000 of damage to our home and nine months of displaced living. Fortunately, the only injury was to my pride. On the upside, at least now I have the opportunity to redesign my shop layout to make a few changes while they are rebuilding things for us.

Have fun and be safe.

Bruce, AKA the FLWoodRat.

Glad you and your wife are okay, Bruce. Thanks for passing along your story–we hope it helps remind woodworkers out there to go the extra step when it comes to shop safety.