My Own Fume Hood!!!

I have a fume hood!!!  And it works, for the most part!  This is so exciting for me.  As a leatherworker, I sometimes work with methods or materials I shouldn’t be breathing.  A lot of leather glues, like barge cement, are not good to be inhaled and are denser than air, so can hover around the floor (which makes me nervous for my cats).  Doing leather pyrography on painted/dyed leather, or non veg-tanned leather, also releases toxic fumes.

This project was mostly simple to put together.  I roughly followed this Instructables tutorial on how to create a small fume hood.  I bought a dirty old range hood for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  I cleaned it up, and wired a wall plug-in to it at a local makerspace (i3 Detroit, specifically).

The wooden frame was made by barter.  I made Odo a custom leather sailmaker’s palm, and he built me the wood frame out of scrap wood he had lying around.  I love the little shelves that he built into it, and how he painted it to match.  Thank you, Odo!

I made the front piece of plexiglass fit to it on hinges, so that if I ever have a larger project, I can still move it in and out of the hood to work on it.  The connection to the window (which is removable, so I can shut the window) still could use some work so that it actually seals around the edges.  Maybe I need some really squishy insulation padding around the edges?

It’s already been used for projects a number of times.  I’ve found that when using long-curing glues like barge cement, I have to leave the items in the hood for about 1.5 days with it on, or else the room will still start to smell.  While I’m working on the projects, I have to make sure to try and keep them at least a few inches inside the edge, and minimize how much I move in and out of the hood.  A little of the smell still escapes initially (when I’m disrupting the airflow by moving in and out of the hood), but it’s such a smaller amount than without the hood that I’m still really happy with the results.  I can cure leather glue indoors and have it barely affect my home!

If you’re curious, above I’m gluing strips of leather to the side panels of a leather dress, so I can open up lacing in the side seams so that the leather will fit my shoulders better (years of rapier training have given me some more muscle, and the dress no longer fits as well in the shoulders – fixing that!).

Below I’m doing the final step of repairing my leather knee-high boots.  I’ll be posting about that on Thursday!  It was a long process to repair the toes of boots that were getting scuffed too much and growing holes.

Building the fume hood wasn’t that hard, especially with help from Odo for the woodworking part (I can do woodworking, but I don’t enjoy it).


  • $10 for the range hood
  • $82.42 for the plexiglass, hinges, metal duct work, weather stripping, etc hardware
  • $10 + labor for bartering for the wooden frame
  • $15 for the perfectly-sized rolling cart with shelves it stands on (bought at the ReUse Center)

Total: $117.42 + labor.  Not bad for a very useful piece of equipment!  So glad I have this!

Author: Wynter

I'm a scientist from Ann Arbor, MI! Leatherworker. Sewist. Exuberant gardener. Board game addict. SCAdian. Huge nerd. :)

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