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Cold weather and the wood shop

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  • Cold weather and the wood shop

    It's going to be colder than a witches proverbial part in the next few days according to forecasts of a brutal Norther coming our way.

    Un heated, its definitely too cold for working.

    But, what items do you guys bring in to protected spaces when its going to be well below freezing in the shop? I bring all my wood glues inside to protect them from freezing.
    Rechargeable Battery tools? chemicals finishing stuff?
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 02-14-2021, 05:07 AM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

  • #2
    Up north my shop was in a corner of the basement so it never got cold enough to worry about. Now I’m in Florida and the same thing applies.

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    • #3
      I didn't have a "shop" when I lived in Painted Post, because the basement ceiling is just under six feet (I could stand up between the floor joists), and so any work that I did was dragging the necessary tools out on the deck in the warmer months.

      Moving here to Binghamton about fifteen or so years ago, I have this great, semi-finished basement with a decent ceiling and fully heated and air-conditioned. Great and I produced a lot of saw dust, but even with a shop vac that produced another problem. So five years ago I bought a 12 x 20 Amish- built shed with a gambrel roof. NIce storage, an although a bit cramped, some floor planning, it works well for me, except for the heat and no air conditioning.

      Our house is white, steel siding and although that color works okay for the house, my wife didn't want a 'white' building in the back yard and so I let her pick the color. It's dark green, so it blends in with the trees and isn't distracting to her. But in the summer, it gets gets over a 100 degrees in there and of course in the winter we rarely have sun, so there is no heat absorption. I do have one of the twin tank-top heaters and that works pretty well, but on a 20-degree day it takes about a half-hour to get it up to 50-degree's, warm enough for me to work comfortably.

      But to the point of Loring's question: I don't store any finishing materials there at all. No paint, varnish, stain, or even wax. No glue or any other liquid or semi-liquid anything and even tubed adhesive or filler all stays in my old shop area in the house basement. That applies to NiCad and Li-Ion batteries too.

      So, my usual work procedure is to go to the shed, fire up the heater and while it's warming I set up the tools, clear the space, and then come in and gather whatever items that I keep in the house to guard from freezing. Obviously, if its anything large and requiring of lengthy time, it gets put off to spring.

      I'm hoping this will be the year I finish wiring and then the insulation and interior walls. That's all been on hold because I can't get the wiring inspection done in this past year out of an abundance of caution during this pandemic. I simply don't want strangers here.

      After the shop's interior is finished, I'm planning on building a cabinet with a controlled interior heat source. I recall that topic being discussed here on the forum with Hank Lee, IIRC.
      Think it Through Before You Do!

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      • #4
        In addition to the glues, I'd suggest finishes and batteries.

        Oddly enough, yesterday I was in the basement shop, which rarely gets below 60 degrees, and I put the 1,500 watt heater on to take the chill off. I was resawing some 2" thick maple when the saw and vac stopped suddenly. I've sawn 3" maple before with no issues. So I trudge up to the garage to reset the breaker for the shop outlets. The saw stopped two more times before it dawned on my feeble brain that the saw was drawing enough with the heater on to exceed the 20 amp. breaker. One more stupid human trick.
        Jim Frye
        The Nut in the Cellar.
        ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a 1500 watt heater in the enclosed part to my 14 by 14 shop and keep it on medium low. That keeps it to about 45 - 50 and it is 16 outside at the moment. (it is well insulated) Getting down to 2F Monday night/Tuesday morning. My paints, epoxies, glues and batteries are all inside. The screen enclosed 10 by 16 has my heavy tools - BS and TS and Router table plus welder, grinder, 12" disk sander etc.
          Hank Lee

          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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          • #6
            The high temp today at my daughter's house in Garretson SD is -11 and similar weather at home. Before i had a reliably heated shop id bring in glues and any water based finishes. I discovered the hard way that water based poly freezes and thaws just fine, still goes on and dries after that but remains cloudy even after it dries once it has been frozen.
            Chr's
            __________
            An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
            A moral man does it.

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            • #7
              7 here last night Up to a blazing 26 this afternoon. The most snow we have had since I moved here 30 years ago. I usually bring in my glue but forgot to this time. I may be going shopping when it get back into the 70's next week...My idea of winter weather!
              Don, aka Pappy,

              Wise men talk because they have something to say,
              Fools because they have to say something.
              Plato

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              • #8
                M ymiddle daughter sent me a text this morning from Ozark MO (10 miles from Springfield MO) with the low of -13 and windchill of -23. She is in her mid-40s and made a snow angel without gloves on. I wrote her stuff like that is what red necks do and how red necks die! She has three dogs. I told her the ASPCA was going send someone out to take her dogs away if she keeps that up.
                Last edited by leehljp; 02-16-2021, 05:38 PM.
                Hank Lee

                Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

                Comment


                • #9
                  5 been without power since very early Monday morning and I've been keeping the shop above 50゚ with an old common heater. However I suspect finishes and glues are done for
                  Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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                  • #10
                    We got power on here about 2 hours ago after 53 hours without except for one 2.5 hour stretch.

                    Temperatures got down to 17 F one night and 12 F another and then 26 F least night.

                    The house got down to about 44 to 50 depending on location.
                    The freezer we did not open and when the power came on the temperature of the stuff just inside was 30 F so I'm thinking all the frozen stuff may have survived.
                    The fridge was around 45 at the most and I put freezer packs outside at night and put them inside the fridge I think that helped. It;s weird having to worry about your foods thawing and your pipes freezing at the same time.
                    We did not lose water pressure and only the north wall facing commode actually froze on the worst night.

                    P.S. We ended up throwing away a bunch of frozen meats that appear to have been partially thawed.
                    Last edited by LCHIEN; 02-23-2021, 06:22 PM.
                    Loring in Katy, TX USA
                    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
                      We got power on here about 2 hours ago after 53 hours without except for one 2.5 hour stretch.
                      My daughter with her 5 kids were in the same situation in N. Dallas. 50+ hours with two 1 hour stretches of electricity. They do a lot or camping, so they had camping cookers, and a fire place. But with the temp down to 0F, it wasn't fun. Plus their community had a water main burst and were without any running water for 24 hour. They left yesterday afternoon in the snow and drove about 15 miles to a friends house whose kids are grown and gone.

                      Not fun.
                      Hank Lee

                      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm still without power in all electric house. I have resorted to hunting through the shop for cutoffs and the yard for dead fall. I don't use mdf so I am good there.

                        I have camp stoves and lanterns that run on gasoline and I am just hunting for either propane or white gas for my camping heaters. Right now it's not too bad inside the house my wife is keeping the one bedroom warm with candles and it's staying comfortable. I am afraid to know what's going to happen with my pipes.
                        Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dbhost View Post
                          I'm still without power in all electric house. I have resorted to hunting through the shop for cutoffs and the yard for dead fall. I don't use mdf so I am good there.

                          I have camp stoves and lanterns that run on gasoline and I am just hunting for either propane or white gas for my camping heaters. Right now it's not too bad inside the house my wife is keeping the one bedroom warm with candles and it's staying comfortable. I am afraid to know what's going to happen with my pipes.
                          you have my sympathy. Thank goodness for my 25-year old Coleman camp stove that worked perfectly and the 16 oz. canisters of propane were still full and working.
                          I threw out all my cut offs last week.

                          Be safe with carbon monoxide issues and if you are able to keep safe last night its Wed and Thursday still to come.
                          Galleria Furniture is a ways away from you but he opened his warehouse showroom to let those without power sleep on his sofas.
                          Last edited by LCHIEN; 02-17-2021, 10:31 PM.
                          Loring in Katy, TX USA
                          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                          BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dbhost View Post
                            I'm still without power in all electric house. I have resorted to hunting through the shop for cutoffs and the yard for dead fall. I don't use mdf so I am good there.

                            I have camp stoves and lanterns that run on gasoline and I am just hunting for either propane or white gas for my camping heaters. Right now it's not too bad inside the house my wife is keeping the one bedroom warm with candles and it's staying comfortable. I am afraid to know what's going to happen with my pipes.
                            Absolutely terrible situation. We had a blizzard here in 1978 and our home was all electric, which there was none and there was no travel for nearly a week. Fortunately, we had a woodburner in the basement that I had tied into the heating ducting. No fan, but at least it kept the heat flowing a bit. I read an article today that this happened in Texas in 2011, but nothing was done to remedy the cause of the independently run power plants freezing up and shutting down. The hard part was going outside and chiseling wood out of the wood rack. Hang in there and stay safe.
                            Jim Frye
                            The Nut in the Cellar.
                            ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When in doubt if the pipes will survive freezing it is best to cut off the water supply and drain the pipes the best you can by opening the lowest faucet. Being without your water until the temperature rises is a lot better than waiting on a plumber to repair your pipes whenever he can get to it!.

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                              • woodturner
                                woodturner commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Opening the faucets with a slow drip will also keep pipes from freezing. That is what most people do around here during extended outages. The water doesn't freeze if it is moving, even little. Not sure how or if one could drain enough water from the pipes to do much good.
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