Shop's Log #3: Warming Closet

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Blog entry by terryR posted 11-30-2013 07:23 PM 1554 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: More marking gauges Part 3 of Shop's Log series Part 4: Warming Canopy »

Sorry, no hand-cut dovetails, or fancy inlays this blog…time for some work on the shop itself…

For those of you who’ve never been as far South as Alabama, and don’t think we see cold weather, let me change your mind. LOL. No, we don’t get many Nor’easters, or tons of snow, but here in the mountains of N. AL, the weather is fickle. And, winter hath suddenly arrived with low temps at night below freezing on a regular basis.

(An important event when you collect water from the nearest cave!) :)

As it happens, my shop is one of those galvanized steel buildings with two wooden end walls. After Katrina, the building itself received a Hurricane rating from the gov’t. Cool. I need a shop to outlast me, so we bought it. Unfortunately, they don’t tell ya how hard it is to insulate one of these guys. A foam spray on the inside would’ve been a good option a few years ago BEFORE I moved tons of tools in…for about $4,000! yikes!

So, we skipped that expense, and decided to let me insulate the shop as best I can in my ‘spare’ time. LOL. And, I’m actually making progress…in a geological sort of time frame…but my epoxy and wood finishes need a little help now. Hence, my excuse for this blog.

I need a place to store glue, finishes, and maybe a small project in clamps, inside the freezing shop. The shop is 30×40 feet and with 14 foot ceilings, we cannot afford to heat the whole area until insulated tight as a drum. So…let’s build a warming closet…

How big? Hmmm…I planned to use 1/2” rigid insulation for the walls since I had some in the shop left over from a bow blank heating box. The left over pieces were 24” by 7 feet. That determined the overall size, since I didn’t want to cut this rigid insulation. Hopefully, this warming closet will be a temporary build, so no glue, and no cutting the R-Max.

To determine the height of shelves, I made a quick mock-up at the bench. Or maybe I made a mockery of the bench? Hard to tell. But, at least, now I had an idea of how long to make the legs.

Sorry for the messy shop, did I mention I’m in the middle of insulating and sheathing that back wall in the photo? Those of you really paying attention, should remember the open stud wall and big stack of pink insulation behind the newly completed bench a few months ago! LOL.

So, now a quick trip to the miter saw with a handful of 2×4’s…4 legs, 4 long stretchers, and 4 short ones. I guess I failed to grab photos of the miter saw action…kinda boring anyway.

Wow, I don’t know how I ever assembled stuff like this before having a massive bench with dog holes on every surface! What a great extra pair of hands! Yeah, this is a pretty ugly build, screws, butt joints, and cheapo pine. But, it can always be taken apart in a minute and re-purposed. Ooops, that lower stretcher was supposed to be attached underneath the long one…

A few more stretchers, more screws…hmmm…see if that piece of ply fits on top. Sweet! Another good reason to make this closet 24” deep. It’s really starting to come together…

Add some more scrap ply left over from the wall, and voila, a piece of crap we have! It’s sturdy, but makes my eyes hurt to look at it. Luckily, it’s headed to a dark corner of the shop, and getting a cover of rigid insulation…

Ahhh…there…it looks better already. Off in the corner with the stack of pallets! The R-Max is just held together with the aluminum tape used to seal HVAC systems, in fact, the door just uses tape as hinges. It’s not completely air tight, but I wasn’t trying to build an epoxy bomb…just a space to keep it warm. LOL.

And…there’s room for expansion. Oh wait, I said it was a temporary build. Busted!

For a latch, how about a spalting 2-by? Works for me…

Now…back to the shop’s wood stove installation! :)

Thanks for reading along…comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

12 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


9600 posts in 2413 days

#1 posted 11-30-2013 08:54 PM

Big enough to smoke a turkey in! Nice job, just don’t forget to sign your work.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Brit's profile


7366 posts in 2805 days

#2 posted 11-30-2013 11:02 PM

Great idea Terry. Actually I can picture you in there sitting on top of that sturdy bench on a cold day knapping some flint.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View ShaneA's profile


6908 posts in 2560 days

#3 posted 11-30-2013 11:09 PM

Is there a heat source, like a light bulb or something? Guess I was among thos who didn’t know it got “somewhat” cold in Alabama. Cool shop building. 40×30…sounds like a mansion to me.

View terryR's profile


7113 posts in 2270 days

#4 posted 11-30-2013 11:27 PM

So sorry, Shane, I forgot to mention there’s a lil electric heater down on the floor…on the lowest setting!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View chrisstef's profile


17299 posts in 2968 days

#5 posted 11-30-2013 11:32 PM

Comfy, cozy, n toasty. Looks like a good spot for a nap too. Makin due as usual Terry. I dig it.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View terryR's profile


7113 posts in 2270 days

#6 posted 11-30-2013 11:59 PM

No knapping or napping in the shop! Well, except for the shop kitty. :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View AnthonyReed's profile


9660 posts in 2402 days

#7 posted 12-01-2013 12:36 AM

Nice job Terry.

Does it work to your satisfaction?

-- ~Tony

View CFrye's profile


10118 posts in 1802 days

#8 posted 12-01-2013 01:14 AM

Spalting 2X for a latch!? High falutin Terry!! Looks great, thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View Don W's profile

Don W

18684 posts in 2529 days

#9 posted 12-01-2013 02:06 AM

I need to do something similar. It moving the stuff into the house for now. My shop is insulated, but I can’t afford to heat it full time.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View terryR's profile


7113 posts in 2270 days

#10 posted 12-01-2013 03:10 PM

Tony, I’ve placed a lil thermometer inside the closet to make sure the max temps don’t waste money, and so far the unit still needs to be fine tuned…but works great! Wood glue is warm to the touch in the morning. :)

Candy, I had to choose between THREE door latches: more alum tape, pallet or this piece of wood on top of the pallet. Easy choice! LOL

Don, I’ve been carrying epoxy back and forth, too, not anymore. At first, I thought this closet was too huge, but now I’m glad I built it big, and sturdy. I feel this will a permanent feature of my evolving shop.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View TerryDowning's profile


1076 posts in 2079 days

#11 posted 12-02-2013 04:46 PM

Slick Terry, very smart approach.

-- - Terry

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15278 posts in 2580 days

#12 posted 12-02-2013 05:23 PM

I certainly can identify with you and Don re: cold shop space and keeping things from freezing. Well, I could up until last winter, but you know what I mean.

HVAC of any kind in a 30×40 space is a comittment. It’s the very reason I ended up additing a partition wall. Something still on the ‘to do’ list is framing a small room on the other side of the ‘back door’ for paints, the paint shaker, other finishes, bulk fastener storage (Folgers cans), etc. Well insulated, that draws heat from the propane heater in the shop room.

I love the use of alum. tape for your hinges. Love that stuff. Looks incredibly sturdy, too. Nice job!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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