Refilling Tanks and reimbursement

Tuesday night I was using one of the Forges. After about an hour the tank attached to that forge ran out and I switched it over to another tank. I was going to refill that tank and another one and was told by one person that I would be reimbursed and another that I would not. I ended up refilling neither as I had to pick my wife up from work, but I didn’t like leaving us with only one tank of gas. I don’t mind paying to fill them as I use them, but I think there should be some way to track usage if we won’t be getting that money back.

Tagging @Clifford_Bohm to make sure he sees this.

Our current policy is that we reimburse propane for classes, otherwise it’s considered a consumable just like any other in the space and members are responsible for it.

I know this breaks down in the propane case because one doesn’t know how much they’ve used and such and could easily be refilling something that didn’t use much of. We also really don’t want a bunch of “tip jars” scattered around the space for various things either.

I’ll leave it up to cliff to come up with the right way to handle it.

Gotcha. That makes sense. Yeah, thinking about it, i’m sure that Monday night class gets out about the same time as that U-haul place closes, so I am sure they just weren’t filled that night. They go through a lot of propane with both forges lit and open.

Me not filling them last night had more to do with poor time management then me being cheap. Any other time I would happily have filled it, but I had to go pick up my wife from work as one of our cars was down that day.

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I would like to reach out to all that use the forge be it 5 minutes or hours. Who are you and would you chime in? With the classes and new members taking advantage of the awesome smithy we are creating and the additions to come. The large fuel tank we used at the Detroit Makers Fair and were able to forge for 2 straight 8 hour days and still had left over. The smaller tank we have used at the one day events like open houses and at emd od day had duel left over. So the forge are I would say fairly effective. Before any class I have been checking the tanks and filling them and in most cases no one has to refill. The class has been providing a large portion of fuel used by everyone. When we don’t run a class for a week or more member usage kicks in. It has been a accepted attatude that if a tank is empty you fill it. It is unfortunate that a new member came a situation in which fuel tanks were empty. I would suggest that if a tanks is empty and you can fill it please do so and you feel that a reimbursement is warranted then lets have Cliff and maybe Brian evaluate the the request.
Just my thoughts

I filled the two empty tanks on Friday at a cost of 30$. I am very happy to have found a place to blacksmith, especially during the cold winter months and at night. However, paying $80 a month was a little bit hard to swallow. If that turns into $95 dollars a month, or $110 a month, or however many tanks I end up having to replace, that becomes a serious drain on our budget. One of the things my wife liked about the idea behind this place was that it was a nice regular number, which helps with budgeting.

Maybe we should open up a discussion about possible solutions for this problem. Here are a few of my ideas.

I understand the policy in the rest of the shop is to pay for your own materials. The wood shop does not provide wood, or screws, or paint. Therefor it makes sense that we provide our own stock steel and would follow that we do the same for the propane that the forges consume. But the wood shop does -not- make you replace dulled saw blades, or router bits, or even charge you to replace a sawstop. That’s why the wood room is exclusive to the $80 a month membership. The equipment replacement is budgeted in. But where is the wear and tear when it comes to the Blacksmithing area? I don’t think we break hammers, or crack anvils. Once a tool is in that section, it’s unlikely to need replacement.

On the other hand, one other thing the wood shop does not ask that you pay for is the electricity needed to run the power equipment. Given the size of that automated router thing, (not sure what it’s called) I would imagine this is fairly comparable in cost to the propane to run a forge.

I understand it’s probably not feasible to separate the Blacksmithing area from the rest of the metal shop, or my recommendation would be to make that part of the $50 dollar package and make us pay for our own propane. There are probably other problems with that idea, as well.

At $80, maybe the propane could be part of that price, as long as people were properly educated in how much they should be using. I was running the taller of the two furnaces at around 1.25 psi and still getting my work to a good heat in very little time.

Or, we could track propane the same way that the people who sell it do, through weight. A scale under the active propane tanks would let us know how much we have used, as long as we were diligent in keeping an account of our usage. This might run into the tip jar problem though…

When it comes down to it though, I wish this wasn’t an issue. I would love to keep the friendly community feel of the forge area intact, and a lot of weights and measures and personal accounting could certainly put a dent in that.

Sorry, I don’t want to come in and rock the boat inside of my first week of membership, but I was a little worried when this problem presented itself on my first day of forging. I am loving the space though, and proud to be a member here.


We’re very far into comparing apples and oranges here now. I’m going to make the executive decision to process the reimbursement for your recent propane purchase

I’ll talk to @Clifford_Bohm on Monday about how to proceed with adjusting our policy, but for now the policy remains to replace what one consumes.

Here there be fruit stands! Or a dragon wearing a Carmen Maranda hat.

Only one of the tanks, please. ($15) Until the policy has changed, I will pay for what I use, and I have been heating a forge for almost 10 hours so far.

And thanks.

The official policy will be that the space will cover fuel costs.

We will also be getting more tanks so that we won’t need to do as many refill runs.

The forced air forge (which should be the one being used when we are not running a class) should be able to run for over 10 (or 15) hours on a 30 lbs tank and so I expect that we will use less then 2 tanks a week. If it ends up we are burning more fuel we will need to determine if people are either wasting fuel or running the forges more then I expect, and respond accordingly.

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