Glue ups in a cold shop

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Forum topic by Daveswoodcraft posted 12-16-2013 01:51 PM 1204 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 2021 days

12-16-2013 01:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip trick joining glue up cold frozen

Hi All
I am wondering how or if I can do glue ups in a cold shop. I live in New Hampshire and it tends to get chilly in my un-heated shop in the winter months,(15-20° F is not uncommon) My shop is large and uninsulated and the roof peak is about 22 feet high. I run a radiant propane heater in the winter so it spot heats but not the shop. I am looking at a large 220V Radiant heater to hang from the stringers so I can be a little more comfortable. I nned to build some larger projects this winter and I was wondering how to handle the glue ups, I keep my glue in the house so it does not freeze. Will the glue joints hold say on a blanket chest or sideboard if I bring I use the warm glue but leave it in the shop to set?

any ideas what I can do otherwise, the things I want to build really make it hard to all in and out of the house.



7 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4683 posts in 2318 days

#1 posted 12-16-2013 02:04 PM

That’s a tough one. My shop is heated, but only when I’m out there working; when I leave I turn the heater off, but it is also insulated so it stays warm for a few hours. I have not had any trouble w/ glue ups in my situation having the shop at about 60° for a few hours then dropping off over night. I’m not sure you could get away with it in your shop especially if is not above freezing in there. I suggest you put up a thermometer in the shop and monitor the temps for a while, your heater may be getting it up high enough to glue.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4954 posts in 2460 days

#2 posted 12-16-2013 02:49 PM

You don’t want to glue cold wood, or let the glue set in temps too cold. I would suggest you get everything warm (at least 50º, then maybe you could “tent” it with a small space heater for a few hours? Or maybe an electric blanket?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1718 days

#3 posted 12-16-2013 04:05 PM


I would suggest not doing glue-ups at temperatures less that 60 degrees. Reason being that PVA glues tend to “chalk” at temperatures below 50 degrees, resulting in eventual joint failure. You may get away with it and you may not. Personally I do not take that risk anymore. BTW, Titebond and similar glues are basically PVA types of glue.

Fred’s tent idea is a possible solution for you.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1764 days

#4 posted 12-16-2013 04:24 PM

See this thread as well:

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Srains's profile


1 post in 2794 days

#5 posted 12-16-2013 07:41 PM

I live in CT and deal with the glue up issue by covering my work with a large box which I have cut a hole in the side just large enough for my small ceramic heater, you would be surprised how warm it gets in the box. I have to leave my heater on low. As far as my working comfort in my basement, I did insulate it but I have an old wood burning stove, I have lots of wood on my property so heating is free. Never gets real warm in the shop, just warm enough that I do not have to wear a heavy coat.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5622 posts in 2780 days

#6 posted 12-16-2013 07:51 PM

My projects usually have some clamps sticking up, so I throw a drop cloth over them. I heat that small space for a few hours with a portable heater. The glue sets up nicely, yet I don’t have to heat an unoccupied shop.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

352 posts in 2073 days

#7 posted 12-17-2013 04:02 PM

+1 for a glue-up tent. A couple of old moving blankets and a rope and you’re good to go. Make sure your wood is up to room temp before you glue (don’t put glue on wood at 10 Degrees F in a 60 Degree tent and hope for the best, you’ve got to warm the wood all the way through first by letting it warm up overnight indoors).

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

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