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Construction Flammables Cabinet DIY or alternatives?

  1. May 19, 2013 #1
    Hi, I was looking into building a flammables cabinet for our high school lab. Flinn suggests a 1 inch thick plywood cabinet is superior to a metal cabinet because it will not warp under heat. I was curious if that'e true, or of any other alternatives to a flammables cabinet. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    No regulations, fire codes, that will deal with the requirements?
  4. May 20, 2013 #3
    Yes, OSHA:

    There is a similar list for metal type cabinets. I am curious if wood is better than metal. I am also looking for alternatives. Basically, I need a simple and cheap way to do it.
  5. May 20, 2013 #4
    I assume you are required to use a UL listed type cabinet and can't just build your own, unless you want to spend $100K getting your new design tested.

    One good and cheap way to build a fire resistant box is with "X" type wall board. There is a type of sheetrock that is fire rated. It's very inexpensive compared to plywood. Cut it by scoring with a utility knife then snapping it. It you will find a few layers of this stuff in large fire proof safes glued to the steel walls. I think this has replace asbestos boards. Building code sometimes requires this kind of wall boards. They sell a special kind of caulking that is also fire resistance that you have to use to seal the edges. It is abut $10 a tube.

    Is wood better? No. as in all engineering it is just a matter of meeting a requirement at the lowest cost. If the goal is to survive a fire for 15 minutes you either need so much metal or some much wood or so much concrete. Which is cheaper depends on the details

    Is wood good for heat? There was an early Chinese spacecraft that dropped some small part back to Earth (likely film??) and the heat shield that survived reentry was made of solid oak. Wood is good stuff. Notice the fire codes for building don't allow you to use steel structural members unless you pack them with solid wood on both sides. The wood provides insulation. In larger buildings they spray on a kind of foam but in residential construction they bolt lumber to the steel and not just for nailing, fire codes requires it.
  6. Nov 22, 2016 #5
    This is years old, but I want to put this link here so others can find it.

    This link has a full plan showing how to build a home-sized fire cabinet out of one sheet of 1" plywood. This flammables storage cabinet has been designed to meet the code requirements of the National Fire Protection Association.

    The link and story originally appeared in American Woodworker October 2000, issue #82.

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