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666666
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#1
16th March 2008
Old 16th March 2008
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DIY sound-proof doors?

Just did a search and did not find.

Looking for ideas / plans for building DIY "sound-proof" (high STL) doors for a studio room... relatively low-budget style.

Last room I built I got lucky, I happened to stumble upon some used super heavy fire-core type doors (from a medical building) being sold very cheap in my area... I had to build the frames, but other than that, it was a super cheap and very effective solution.

I need to get another set of high STL doors. I was thinking of getting some typical Home Depot type EXTERIOR doors (because they come with frame, good fit and tight sealing all the way around, ready to go) and then I'd just add some thick paneling to one or both sides of the doors for density... yeah, it might look a little goofy, but it would probably work ok. I'd have to beef up where the hinges attach to the doors so the hinges wouldn't pull out. The one advantage to this method is that you get the door WITH frame, nice tight sealing fit... saves a lot of work. Adding density to the door itself is not too hard, but getting a door to seal tight to a frame all the way around can be a bit more tricky, at least when you are building from scratch.

But... after hitting Home Depot and Lowes, it seems they no longer sell WOOD extereior doors... only metal skinned doors and fiberglass doors. The reason I'd want wood is because I'm dealing with a room with low ceiling and I'll have to cut the door down. Cutting (shortening) the frame would not be too hard, but It will surely be a pain for multiple reasons to have to cut a metal skinned or fiberglass door, and then finish the edges, etc.

So I'm back to building doors from scratch... which may yield the best results, but is the most amount of work... was looking for an easy way out... oh well.

I can think of some ways of building doors that would have good STL etc, but one key issue is that the doors must be FLAT... meaning that whatever materials are used, they cannot be warped, etc. With materials such as plywood for instance, good luck getting it "flat" so it will fit nice in the door frame.... unless the door itself is framed out with perfectly straight 2"X3"s or something, then some dense paneling added within / around this frame.

In sum, there are probably a lot of ways to do this, but wondering if there are any cool "DIY" instructions floating around that might save me some time and eliminate some trial & error.

How much STL do I need you ask? Well, I'd like to match the STL of my wall that is made of two layers of 5/8" sheetrock. I'd also like to keep the door as close to "standard thickness" as possible (1.75" - 2.25" or so thick). I'll be building two doors since I have a room within a room, one for inner, one for outer.

I found this one material at Home Depot... it's 3/4" thick, it's SUPER heavy, it's like a dense fiberboard of some type. One 4'X8' sheet must weigh close to 100 pounds. It seems like a consistant material and comes nice and flat (not warped) unlike plywood. Maybe two sheets of this stuff with a half inch sheet of homosote (or similar) sandwiched inbetween would be cool...? But I guess I'd need a wood frame around the outer edges for the hinges, door knob / latches, locks etc.

Well... please post your DIY plans! Thanks
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16th March 2008
Old 16th March 2008
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Isolation is achieved by mass. Do not put lighter materials like homasote in the door. You can put sheet lead (heavy) in the door construction. As you get into heavier doors, the associated hardware becomes more expensive. You know that already from reading your post, so this written for people reading this thread.

One possibility is:

3/4" HDF
1/8" lead
5/8" HDF
1/4" HDF

When getting into high transmission loss doors, the seals become very important. Check the prices on seals when planning the door(s).

What is your budget? There are several DIY designs that are hundreds to thousands of dollars cheaper than commercial products, but they still need a lot money.

Well sealed,
Andre
#3
16th March 2008
Old 16th March 2008
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I'm a low budget guy and am always looking for info like this. My home studio doors are paper thin!

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17th March 2008
Old 17th March 2008
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I know you already know this, so I don't mean to sound condescending, but good doors make a huge difference!

I bought some exterior doors from Lowe's that had windows in them with integrated blinds between the panes of glass. They look really cool, and provide a means of communication between the rooms.
Not what I expected. I paid US$325 a piece for them (3 total), and the isolation is "fair" at best. I could have paid a lot less, and got much better isolation, but I wanted the visual contact.

It does what I want in most aspects, and I do have an airlock between the live room and the control room, so for the most part, I am fine, but a good solid fire stop door is really the way to go.

I added another set of door stops with rubber gaskets for extra sealing, and they are truly air-tight, but sound is definitely "seeping" through the windows, plus the metal doors (filled with fiberglass or polystyrene???) are not as secure as solid wood.

If I had to do it again, I would definitely go with solid wood, although the windows are pretty cool!
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17th March 2008
Old 17th March 2008
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Currently doing a door like this... a bit heavy and is around 3 inches

1/2'' MDF
Green Glue
1/2'' MDF
rockwool
1/2'' MDF
Green Glue
1/2'' MDF
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17th March 2008
Old 17th March 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrebrito View Post
Currently doing a door like this... a bit heavy and is around 3 inches
1/2'' MDF
Green Glue
1/2'' MDF
rockwool
1/2'' MDF
Green Glue
1/2'' MDF
Will MDF accept heavy-duty standard hardware? In other words, can I add hinges attached by long heavy screws in a typical fashion into the MDF? (I have not worked with MDF much in the past.)

In the example above, would three heavy-duty hinges attached by four screws each be enough, or would I need perhaps four hinges?

How do you attach the layers of MDF together? I know that Green Glue is a sonic treatment layer and NOT an actual "glue". Would you screw the layers to each other using deck screws or the like, or perhaps bolt them together?

How about finishing? If the layers need to be screwed together, would you face the outer sides of the door with a thin paneling to cover the screw heads, or...?

Have any pics of a finished version of the above example?

One thought I had earlier:

Two layers of 3/4" MDF screwed together with Green Glue in the center (1.75" thick)... then glue 1/4" or 3/8" "decorative" paneling to each side to cover the screws... total thickness of door, about 2.25" - 2.5". Whaddya think?
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17th March 2008
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MDF boards are screwed together in a framre structure where the rockwool is placed. We are using four hinges. No pictures since door is being built as we speak.

Quote:
Two layers of 3/4" MDF screwed together with Green Glue in the center (1.75" thick)... then glue 1/4" or 3/8" "decorative" paneling to each side to cover the screws... total thickness of door, about 2.25" - 2.5". Whaddya think?
That will also work !
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21st March 2008
Old 21st March 2008
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hi I'm researching this as well at the moment..hope this is not stupid question
but when the door is 2.5" - 3" thick what do you use for door knobs?


thanks
AA
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22nd March 2008
Old 22nd March 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isle of Weight View Post
hi I'm researching this as well at the moment..hope this is not stupid question
but when the door is 2.5" - 3" thick what do you use for door knobs?


thanks
AA


You don't use door knobs, but rather handles that mount on the outside of the door. You then add those automatic door closers that shut the door tight behind you, and make sure that they are sealed tightly with rubber and/or magnetic seals.
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22nd March 2008
Old 22nd March 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublehelix View Post
You don't use door knobs, but rather handles that mount on the outside of the door. You then add those automatic door closers that shut the door tight behind you, and make sure that they are sealed tightly with rubber and/or magnetic seals.
That's cool, but probably a bit more complex than needed for a home studio DIY.

I believe there are standard exterior / heavy-duty door knob / latch kits you can get that will fit 2.25" doors. If you need thicker, it may be possible to modify such door latches... if you are even slightly good with general mechanical fabrication, it's likely you could modifiy / extend etc whatever necessary to gain an extra half inch or more. I will likely be at this crossroad soon myself, I'll report my solution once done.

An automatic door closer would indeed be a very nice thing since, in order to make a tight seal, the door needs to be latched tightly against the seals. In my last room, I had it so tight that closing the door by hand took decent effort but at least it made a super tight seal... but after a while, having to just about shoulder the door closed got to be a bit of a pain after a while... it's all a function of how complicated / how expensive you want to go.

While this may not be the best for sound-proofing, the metal skinned Home Depot exterior doors have magnetic seals which suck tightly to the door for an air-tight seal... they flex a bit so essentially no effort is needed to close the door and you still get an "air-tight" seal. To bad these metal skinned doors weren't dense and massive... unfortunately they're not dense at all... but at least they have good low-effort tight seals.

In my situation, I'm building a room with a room and will have TWO doors, back to back (one on the inner wall, one on the outer)... while it is still important to have a good seal, you can probably get away with a teeny-tiny bit of "leakage" per door in a two door system and still be generally ok. I'm not recommending getting sloppy with the seals, but I AM recommending maybe using a two door system if you can. Using two DIY doors with DIY seals and DIY latches, back to back, might still be cheaper and easier for the weekend DIY person on a budget than trying to add ONE super hot-rodded ultra high-end door that does it all. Perhaps. Just talking here.
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13th May 2008
Old 13th May 2008
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Ok guys... I'm about ready to build my DIY sound-proof doors. Still unsure of the best route. I've done a lot of research and cannot find ANYTHING that is truly helpful other than the few replies in this thread and a few other Gearslut threads. I really thought there'd be at least one DIY door article somewhere on the web.... can't find anything. I just may be the first to create one at this rate but my attempt will be quite experimental at best.

So I've been goofing arond with MDF and it seems like a fairly "weak" material... seems to want to "flake" easily, etc, and seems it would be very unhappy in any mildly damp situation. I could be wrong, but I'm just reporting from my observation.

I wish to keep the custom doors to standard thickness, 1.75" thick... this means that it would be pretty much impossible to build a wood frame and then layer the frame with sheathing (whether it be MDF or whatever). I'm hoping to simply take two 3/4" sheets of a given fairly high mass material and just screw the two sheets together... and then face each side with a 1/4" piece of paneling to cover the screws... that's it... no frame. In this way I can achieve a 1.75" total thickness. So the goal is to choose a core material that comes nice and "straight" (not warped like plywood) and has a high mass... say at least 2.5 PSF per sheet.

3/4" plywood is indeed NOT an option as it almost always comes very warped, and if it does not come warped, it WILL warp eventually. Screwing two sheets together does not help... you'll never get plywood to remain "straight" by itself, without some type of rigid frame.

So... I have some old fire-core doors from an old medical building (unfortunately not the right size for my current application)... these fire-core doors appear to be made of particle board. So I went to Home Depot and they have 3/4" sheets of particle board... cool. BUT... having worked with particle baord before, I know it can crack, chip and fracture... which could be an issue. Not sure if the particle board used in the fire-core doors is the same grade as the stuff you buy at Home Depot or not.

Anyway... so now I'm wondering whether to use two sheets of 3/4" particle board screwed together, or two sheets of 3/4" MDF screwed together for the doors.

Plywood is out. I can't think of any other material that would be good... can you? Or one sheet of 3/4" MDF screwed to one sheet of 3/4" particle board

By the way, I measured 3/4" MDF as being 2.8 PSF... not sure about particle board but I'm sure it's close in terms of mass.... so both seem cool in the PSF department.

I'm most concerned with the structural integrity of these materials... like, I don't want to encounter any cracking / fracturing near the hinges, or other chipping, flaking, peeling etc near the door knob / latches etc... or worse yet, warping or major swelling. These doors MAY be exposed to some moisture... possibly as much as 70% RH (not on the studio side of course but on the other side).

So there are NO Gearsluts out there that have ever built custom doors of MDF or particle board? If there are, I'd really appreciate hearing from you in this thread... pics, plans and long term reports are even better.

Otherwise I'm off to Home Depot later this week with my fingers crossed to buy some particle board and/or MDF.

Note: I already picked up some heavy duty 8 inch "T-hinges" that will attach to the FACE of the door since it appears MDF nor particle board will hold screws well from the sides.... remember, these doors will be over 110 pounds each in total. With the big T-hinges, I'd hope the MDF and/or particle board will remain intact in the hinge areas.... I'll use three or four hinges per door and make sure to use screws that drive as deeply into the material as possible.

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13th May 2008
Old 13th May 2008
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[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Did you check the instruction in the must buy book R[/FONT][FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']od Gervais' book, Home Recording Studio: Build It like the Pros[/FONT][FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] ?[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']If you did not visit http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2&sid=a52fcbc3db023442b5f2eba5b5811a74 it is excellent place for start to finish studio construction. search for doors, you will be over whelm with info. check out the threads of construction and you will find lots of pictures that can help.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Good luck.[/FONT]
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13th May 2008
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#14
30th January 2011
Old 30th January 2011
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7" thick door??

I am building a hidden door to my sound room and the walls are 7" thick. So I'm wanting to build the doors about that thick. I need to build 2. And I have a some what limited budget. Under $500 for both. Not even sure what way to start? I like the idea of layering MDF, green glue and rockwool but going as thick as I want would make it way to heavy. I thought about just framing 2x6's and filling with Owens corning 703 and covering with MDF. But not sure I could get a good seal with just a 2x6 frame. Also though about taking mulitiple solid wood doors and layering lightweight vinyl damping sheets. Any ideas??
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30th January 2011
Old 30th January 2011
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Guys, if you are really serious about building a good heavy & not-too-thick studio door, do this:

a. 3/8" plywood for each side.
b. Build a frame out of heavy pine or redwood ~1 1/2" thick (rip the 2 X 4s so that you get two pieces 1 3/4" by 1 1/2".
c. put a cross-piece where the lock-set will go - make it about 3 1/2" by 1 1/2" -use the whole 2 X 4. ** It would be best if you could use a ball bearing spring lock & a heavy duty door-closer to keep it shut instead of a lock-set that must have a hole drilled through the door which will need sealing & become a weak spot sonically.
d. use the ripped pieces to make T's above and below the lock-set cross piece.
e. attach this frame to one of the pieces of plywood
f. USE STRONG WOOD-WORKING GLUE AND FINISH NAILS
g. Allow to dry at least 8 hours.
h. Place on a very strong table or metal saw horses with open side up.
i. Fill all cavities with dry play sand. make SURE it is dry!
j. level the sand.
k. apply glue to all wood surfaces & attach plywood. nail well.
l. do not touch for at least 8 hours

When dry use 2 - 4 strong men to lift the door and manipulate it for routing the hinges etc. * Use 4 heavy-duty (ball bearing) hinges.

The sealing is up to you. Note; this door will feel like it is made from concrete. With the sand fill, it has mass & damping. have fun.

Cheers,
John
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#16
30th January 2011
Old 30th January 2011
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I see this is an older thread, so I am sure the OP already has a door.
I would reccommend to anyone just going to a local Millwork shop that does prehung doors. Order a 1 3/4" solid core door (birch or oak veneer) with bubble weatherstripping and a threshhold.
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#17
30th January 2011
Old 30th January 2011
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In reading through this thread, I noticed the terms "interior" and "exterior" thrown about...

Those terms indicate fitness for exposure to the elements; nothing more.

You can have hollow core exterior doors and you can have solid core interior doors.

For sound control, you want solid core doors; whether they are interior or exterior depends upon your application (I had one of each).

I also had what are called drop thresholds. There is a piece fitted to the bottom of the door that seals tightly against a metal threshold when the door is closed, but which retracts when the door is open to allow clearance over the carpet.

I also had some specialized pieces that replaced the piece of wood around the inside of the door frame that the door "seals" against (I forget the name of them). The pieces I used had a special rubber seal, and about 10,000 screws that allowed you to precisely adjust the fit of the seal to the face of the door.

While the drop threshold and special seals are a little bit expensive, but still within reach for a home/project studio, and they worked very well...
#18
30th January 2011
Old 30th January 2011
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Rod Gervais book has a discussion/design for some super heavy doors.
#19
30th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebg View Post
Rod Gervais book has a discussion/design for some super heavy doors.
+1

Andre
#20
31st January 2011
Old 31st January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebg View Post
Rod Gervais book has a discussion/design for some super heavy doors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
+1

Andre

This is a Rod Gervais Super Door... (I have 6 of em...)

1-3/4" exterior (thickness) solid core door... with 2 layers of 1/32" sheets of lead, 3/4" MDF on one side, 3/4" plywood on the other, 3/4" cherry w/oak trim on both sides... glass is 2 sheets of 3/4" laminated glass with air space between.

I cut the openings for the windows before putting the doors up.

Each sheet of 3/4" glass has 2 layers of 1/16" butyl glaziers tape against the interior stops and against the trim which holds the glass in place. The glass is supported on all four sides by the door opening. The interior stops are glued and nailed in place, and allowed to dry for 24 hours before installing the glass.

Each layer to the door stop is "bank vault" stepped back by the thickness of the door stop.

Each door uses 4x Stanley EHD, NRP sealed ball bearing hinges.

Jams are kiln dried 5/4 pine.

My doors are not perfect by any means, but not having the benefit of ANY assistance, I had to build the doors in place. I could not have possibly lifted a +600-650 lb door in place by myself.



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#21
2nd February 2011
Old 2nd February 2011
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Where did you get the lead sheet? I can't seem to find any sources around the San Jose, CA area.
#22
2nd February 2011
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Try a plumbing supply or Mason/roofing supply.

Cheers,
John
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2nd February 2011
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The great BBC archive has some tests on various door seals and also on various (fully caulked) door panels.

Solid and cavity panels.

The purpose was to find the best cost-effective door panel and the best cost-effective combination of seals - within BBC constraints.

The Reports are:

1994/14
1994/15

Worth a read.

If weight is a concern I would suggest investigating an "acoustic" cavity-door in lieu of Rod's super heavy door design. A cavity door will be harder to build and harder to get right but has the potential for the same performance with a lighter door.
#24
2nd February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post
Where did you get the lead sheet? I can't seem to find any sources around the San Jose, CA area.
I got mine from an x-ray supply company.

Note that they will likely not sell retail, so you would either need to have a business license, or get your contractor to purchase it.

It's not cheap, but pound for pound... it's serious mass.

Also, you do want to use protective gloves when handling the lead. I would recommend a latex glove under work gloves... wash your hands with cool water and soap... and avoid touching your face or open cuts/scrapes.

It's not so deadly that it's going to cause serious health issues from brief contact, but if you have several doors and work with it daily, it can potentially cause some issues if you aren't at least prudent in minimizing contact.
#25
2nd February 2011
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Remember that the purported main advantage of lead over steel is that it is 44% denser (11,300kg/m^3 c.f 7,800kg/m^3).

1/32" lead is 0.8mm and 9kg/m^2.

9kg/m^2 sheet steel would be 1.2mm thick. So it is only 0.4mm thicker than the sheet lead and it is much more readily available. And not toxic.

Lead appears to have better "damping" than steel. So use Green Glue or similar to attach it. Lead is much more toxic than steel. I would rather not deal with it.

The equivalent mass-loaded vinyl to 0.8mm lead would be about 3.5-4.0mm thick. (8kg/m^2). Still not as readily available as sheet steel.
#26
2nd February 2011
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I use solid core (particleboard, 1 3/8" thick, faced with birch) doors in my studio. They are 32"x 7'. My door frames (built onsite) are constructed of 2x6's

I'm putting in an addition and needed another door in a 36" width. Lowes ordered me a 3'x7' solid-core slab door faced with Masonite on both sides for $65.

Call Lowes and they should be able to order what you want rather cheaply.
#27
3rd February 2011
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I faced the outside of my (solid core from Home Depot) door with a layer of roofing (the self adhesive water stop stuff, I had some left over from another project) and then a skin of HardiBoard. The HardiBoard is cement like but I don't know what it's density is. I figured it was comparable to the stucco exterior of the building. And what I kept getting out of Rod's book was to have a continuity of mass over any discontinuities of building materials (like windows and such). There are metal recycling places around where I could get sheet steel which sounds like a reasonable alternative. I was looking at the concrete backer board you put behind tile, but sheet steel would be denser. Maybe I can get a few sheets of stuff that is thin enough to cut with my nibbler, and laminate it with the left over Green Glue I have. The recyclers sell it by the pound so it would cost the same no matter what the lay up. Just that damping it seems intuitively better on an interior surface if I end up with the same mass. Does this make sense?

I'm well aware what the hazards of lead are. I've been a manufacturing engineer in electronics for 30 years working with soldering. In smaller amounts it's an embryotoxin. In larger amounts it causes neruological developmental issues (why you don't want babies chewing on lead paint). It takes quite a lot of it to be toxic. Much more than you'd give from incidental skin contact and subsequent absorption. Inhalation of dust is probably much more likely to exceed TLVs. Don't sand or grind it, or mess with solder dross, without some respiratory protection.
#28
3rd February 2011
Old 3rd February 2011
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i'm curious as to the lead sheet method recommended in rod's book, would he still recommend it today?

i ask because i am just in the process of finding a way of enhancing a solid wood door that is locally produced in my area, and have been considering rod's method as one way of doing so. lead sheet is readily available here, but the acoustic designer i'm working with has informed me that sheet lead is avoided as much as possible in europe these days, because of associated health risks. (was not aware of that myself--i thought lead-paint was the big no-no--didn't know all lead products were problematic.)

anyway, what is happening in america regarding safety standards for sheet lead use in the workplace? can we still use sheet lead in acoustic doors!? in europe today apparently this is frowned upon.

there are apparently other membrane type products that give similar acoustic results, but of course they are more expensive than good old fashioned, toxic lead...
#29
3rd February 2011
Old 3rd February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sound_music View Post
i'm curious as to the lead sheet method recommended in rod's book, would he still recommend it today?
Hard to say what he would recommend today. His book's current edition was published last year, September to be exact.

An alternative has already been mentioned in this thread. Use steel.

Andre
#30
3rd February 2011
Old 3rd February 2011
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xaMdaM is offline
As long as lead is not exposed, it does not present any real health risk... and to be realistic, its only a very minimal risk when handled with reasonable, common sense, during installation.

If it was THAT toxic and dangerous, I can guarantee you that it would not be allowed or used in any place that uses radiation... hospitals, dentist offices, vet clinics, etc...

As a side note, I would not suggest using Green Glue to actually hold sheet lead, barium sulfated MLV, steel or even gypsum to a door (or anything else). Green Glue is not intended to be a permanent adhesive.

If you use Green Glue as a CLD, you pretty much need to use additional fasteners to secure the materials together.

I used contact cement to initially secure the lead to the door, then secured the lead in place via the nails in the rest of the finishes.
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