LumberJocks

Calling all frigid woodworkers!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by BinghamtonEd posted 11-14-2014 05:17 PM 2236 views 0 times favorited 60 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1834 days


11-14-2014 05:17 PM

After seeing increasing threads about the decreasing temperatures in our shops, I thought I’d start a thread about dealing with the cold temperatures in some of our shops. Many people have the luxury of a heated, climate controlled shop. Other people rely on wood-burning stoves, kerosene heaters, or something similar. And yet others (myself included) rely on layered clothing.

Please, don’t get me wrong. The point of this is not to complain about my shop (a.k.a. my garage) being 40-45 degrees in the winter. I’m positive there are others here who deal with colder shops. And If I’m in my shop, I’m not complaining, because hey, I’m in my shop!

Besides just being cold, it presents other issues, mostly regarding glues and finishes. I keep my glues inside during the winter months, and if I have pieces to glue, they come inside for 24 hours before I glue them up. Having an oak panel fail miserably with TBIII in the 45 degree shop taught me that lesson. I’ve also learned to stick more to small projects, like jigs and such, that don’t require much glue or finish.

Let’s call a “cold” shop anything below 55 degrees.

So, for everyone else out there who works in a cold shop, what lessons have you learned, and what tips can you share to help the rest of us succeed during the winter months?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.


60 replies so far

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1262 days


#1 posted 11-14-2014 05:26 PM

I work in a detached garage, so inside it is whatever the outside temp is.
1) if I am not doing assembly/finishing, I usually run an electric radiator heater a couple of hours before I go out and then just work in the cold. It will trip my breaker if I have the heater running with machines and DC.
2) if I am doing assembly, finishing, I run the electric heater overnight to get the temp up in the mid-50’s or low 60’s so the glue will adhere and the finish apply more easily.

If it is really cold, mid-day temps below 20, I don’t work in the shop.

-- "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 mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#2 posted 11-14-2014 05:37 PM

My shop is not heated although we have all the walls and most of the ceiling insulated. The pitch of the ceiling is about 15’ from the floor and if I was going to heat this 18×30 shop I’d go broke. I also have another shop, 14×14 but no insulation so, heating it is useless and it also has a 15’ ceiling. I normally spend the winter months cleaning, re-organizing the shop, sharpening my tools and try to use as many hand tools for my projects to keep warm. I am very cautious while working around power tools and plan on buying some 6” wide Velcro to tie around my sleeves so loose clothing would not present a hazard. One think that I am contemplating on is to also setup an area in the house to do carving when the ice and snow comes or when it gets below 10 or 15 degrees.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View dozer57's profile

dozer57

92 posts in 964 days


#3 posted 11-14-2014 05:44 PM

My shop is heated but I turn it off when not in shop, wish I could afford to keep heat on. If I warm it up to be comfortable it will stay nice over night unless its really cold outside. Anything that will freeze goes in a cabinet with a light inside to keep warm. cold wood if small pieces can be microwaved for a few seconds to warm them for glue ups. I have a smaller room that I am going to put a few tools in, like my lathe and workbench and keep it heated always. I hate the cold too.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 951 days


#4 posted 11-14-2014 06:15 PM

The cold doesn’t bother me but the damn squirrels that crap everywhere do.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View sawdustjunkie's profile

sawdustjunkie

343 posts in 1182 days


#5 posted 11-14-2014 06:26 PM

Last November I built a rocking horse for my grand daughter and had to glue the head to the body.
the next day I was working on it and it fell on the floor and the head broke right off the body where the glue joint was. The joint failed because I glued it up and it was just too cold.
I now do the same thing, take the glue and project in the house, let it warm up, glue it up and let it sit for a few hours till the glue sets. Then I just bring it back out into the garage.
I use a heater like many others do and when I am in the shop, I can usually get the temp up to about 55-60 while I am in there.
I actually gave up trying to do any finishing when it’s that cold, because it just turns out like crap when it’s that cold.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1834 days


#6 posted 11-14-2014 06:31 PM



Last November I built a rocking horse for my grand daughter and had to glue the head to the body.
the next day I was working on it and it fell on the floor and the head broke right off the body where the glue joint was. The joint failed because I glued it up and it was just too cold.- sawdustjunkie

Same kinda thing happened to me. I made a top for a toy box, glued it up, went out the next day and took the clamps off. I held it with both hands and tried to break it in half. I barely had to apply any pressure and it popped in half, clean down the joint line. I cleaned off the old glue and reglued inside, and it’s been solid as can be since.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4032 posts in 1816 days


#7 posted 11-14-2014 06:34 PM

I heat my shop whenever I am out there. It is a challenge though when the outdoor temps are in the zero vicinity, like yesterday. It takes a while for my shop to get to 60°, which is what I consider a good working temp. I do all of my glue ups at the end of a shop session, when the shop will be at its warmest. For finishing I do that in my “second shop” which is a door on a couple of sawhorses in my unfinished basement. I bring my glues inside every time I use them all winter. This system works pretty well except during extreme cold snaps, when getting the shop up to working temperature is just not worth the fuel cost.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

1377 posts in 1494 days


#8 posted 11-14-2014 08:53 PM

a 60k btu kerosene torpedo heater saved me from 1 winter in a non-insulated garage. picked one up at an auction for $50.
actually, wasn’t TOO shabby as compared to something electric or oil burning. I had no problems that winter. granted, the first walk in was overpowering of the smell, but i did not expect the smell of unicorns and glitter either.

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1262 days


#9 posted 11-14-2014 08:55 PM

Question about the torpedo heater—I looked at some gas fired heaters, and everything I read was that they could be dangerous in a fully closed setting, that torpedo heaters were made to use in spaces like construction sites with partially finished enclosures.

The reason I’m asking is that I’d like a solution that wasn’t electric.

In addition, how much space needs to be cleared in front of a torpedo heater.

-- "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 mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#10 posted 11-14-2014 09:01 PM

Charles, I have one of those and they are electric powered and yes, very dangerous in enclosed area. Don’t need too much space of you tilt it up.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1262 days


#11 posted 11-14-2014 09:02 PM

MrJinx, I am talking about a kerosene or propane heater that just has an electric fan. They only draw like 1/2 an amp. Is that what you’re talking about?

-- "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 TravisH's profile

TravisH

452 posts in 1400 days


#12 posted 11-14-2014 09:07 PM

I have slowly been moving to using heat in my shop over the years. I first decided to go ahead and insulate the shop as best as I could and that helped retain heat for a day or two during fall temperature drops. I then used a small propane heater (Mr. Heater Portable buddy) to knock the chill off but depending on how cold it was outside we were looking at warming the shop into the 30’s and 40’s. Last year I bought a kerosene heater and had no issues heating up into the 70’s. I do have to position a fan blowing down from the ceiling and that helps distribute the heat and warms up quickly. I still usually will do glue ups inside.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#13 posted 11-14-2014 09:07 PM

This is probably a much better bet.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#14 posted 11-14-2014 09:09 PM

Charles, this is what I have.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1262 days


#15 posted 11-14-2014 09:13 PM

Thanks so much.

-- "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

showing 1 through 15 of 60 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com