Cold Weather Woodworking

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 251 days ago 1192 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1027 posts in 394 days

251 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I work in an unheated garage, although I have radiator space heater I’ll use if I want to keep it warm overnight for a glue-up or something—doesn’t work well if it is really cold and I’ll blow a fuse if I keep it on when using all my power tools.

Outside of glue-ups, are there any changes you make to your woodworking practice in cold weather?

16 replies so far

View mrjinx007's profile


1309 posts in 364 days

#1 posted 251 days ago

Other than bringing glues and water base stuff in, every thing else survive the cold.


View crank49's profile


3336 posts in 1568 days

#2 posted 251 days ago

Yes, in the past I learned to keep all paint and glue and finishes in a heated area until I decided to move the shop into the basement. There I have a heated and cooled shop by default.
Presently since it is in my basement it is only a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house.

I will be moving in a couple months and am building a new detached shop which will be insulated and heated or air conditioned as needed.
Will probably plan to let the shop drop to 50 degrees or so on cold nights when I’m not going to be in it.
I’m going to insulate the slab and probably embed heating tubes in the floor, connected to a small water heater.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View j_dubb's profile


188 posts in 405 days

#3 posted 251 days ago

I’m also working in my garage (1-car) and recently picked up one of these

I’ve only used it briefly thus far but I imagine it’ll do a fine job as time goes on. I’ve it hooked up to a 20lb propane tank which I leave outside the garage door – I estimate I’ll get somewhere in the realm of 100hours of use out of it, but time will tell just how accurate that assessment proves to be.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

View crank49's profile


3336 posts in 1568 days

#4 posted 251 days ago

Dubb, I suppose you figured 20 lbs of propane times 91,500BTU then divided by 18,000 BTU capacity of that heater to come up with that 100 hour number. And that would be exactly correct except 20 lb bottles are normally filled with 16 lbs of gas, 80% of capacity. So, you really will only get about 80 hours of full time heat per bottle. Some vendors only fill to 12 or 15 lbs, so beware.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View jmartel's profile


1583 posts in 747 days

#5 posted 251 days ago

If you can rig one of these up to a south facing wall, and put some foam insulation into the garage door panels, you can make a big difference without having to pay to heat your shop.

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2245 days

#6 posted 251 days ago

I keep all glues, finishes, liquids, etc in the basement (workshop is in an outside un-heated garage).

I also do all the glueups and finishing in the basement for same reason.

dress warm, work gloves -only- when not using power tools, keep garage door closed to keep air from circulating with freezing air outside, and keep work sessions to short lengths of time – get into the house from time to time to thaw ;) rinse and repeat.

and I also do much less woodworking in the winter times

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View coachmancuso's profile


256 posts in 528 days

#7 posted 251 days ago

I am happy I do not have to worry about that. I am in Central Florida. I am glad it is cooler it makes it easier to work in the garage! Our summer is almost unbearable. I bought a portable a/c unit and keep the door down and blow it right on me it also keeps the wood dust and chips from the lathe from getting on me. aI feal sorry for you guys that lives where it get cold. I am originally from Upstate New York.

-- Coach Mancuso

View reedwood's profile (online now)


858 posts in 1273 days

#8 posted 251 days ago

Is your garage floor carpeted? find a used carpet and rip it in to long 4” wide runners and put them anywhere you stand. Makes a huge difference. Also, insulating the walls, even though you don’t have heat, can help a lot too.

I have a house furnace in my garage that I picked up for next to nothing. If I didn’t, I would consider a small wood burning stove.

I also bring my antique hand planes and tools in the house so they won’t rust from the change in temps.

-- mark

View bigblockyeti's profile


1373 posts in 318 days

#9 posted 251 days ago

Like others, I bring most of my finishes & glue into the basement. My shop is insulated and heated, but it would still cost me a small fortune if I left it on all the time. The pilot light alone can usually keep the ambient temperature 15 degrees above whatever the outside temperature is. The heater is powerful enough that it can take the air from 40 degrees to 70 in less than ten minutes. This does present condensation concerns, so keeping everything waxed is more of a chore than normal.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13223 posts in 935 days

#10 posted 251 days ago

Glue and finishing is all I change. I never work when my fingers are too cold to feel.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View mrjinx007's profile


1309 posts in 364 days

#11 posted 251 days ago

Monte, that’s so true. If my fingers are too cold to feel, its time to do some chores around the house to warm up before going back to the shop.


View CharlesA's profile (online now)


1027 posts in 394 days

#12 posted 250 days ago

Thanks for all the feedback. In short, you do all your normal woodworking in the cold: saws, drills, routers, hand tools, etc., but watch the temps for gluing and finishing. I usually lay off woodworking in the winter, but I have several projects I need to finish.

View mos68x's profile


17 posts in 250 days

#13 posted 250 days ago

I saw a wood-burning stove for less than $200 at the local HF, so I’m probably going to use that in my shop since I have no insulation and I’ll have plenty of sawdust to press into “logs” lol

View ChuckV's profile (online now)


2376 posts in 2124 days

#14 posted 250 days ago

I work in the cold as well. The only thing that I can add to what has already been said is that I like to wax my cast iron surfaces before it gets too cold. Waxing is a challenge when the iron is cold.

I usually try to concentrate on smaller projects during the cold weather so that I’m not hauling so much between the house and the shop for gluing.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View firefighterontheside's profile


3247 posts in 453 days

#15 posted 250 days ago

When it is really cold I use two electric space heaters. I will use both until I need to do some cutting or planing and then walk over and turn off one of the heaters for a while. I have done some insulating and hopefully will do better this year.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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