The Track Saw Forum  

Go Back   The Track Saw Forum > The Track Saw Forum > How-To

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-10-2018, 10:32 AM
kenk kenk is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 304
Default Garage Woodworking in Winter

Living in the northern U.S. states we face some brutally cold winters. Most of my woodworking happens in my garage, which right now (Feb) is FREEZING COLD. It's really not much fun to be out there for any length of time.

Besides moving to the southwest states (it sounds like even the southeast states have been cold this winter - 2017-2018 - I guess it's all relative though), I'm wondering what woodworkers who's workshops are exposed to cold weather do to continue woodworking during the winter months to avoid frostbite.

Do you fork out the money to insulate and add heating? What kind of heating? Do you move inside to a heated space? Do you just stop woodworking for the duration? The recent silence on this forum make me wonder if folks have stopped making sawdust for the winter.

The wife and I are setting up a retirement house in northern Wisconsin, and our plan is to add a separate 1.5 car insulated-heated garage bay for a workshop. I like the thought of having an overhead garage door and easy access to the driveway & my pickup truck when bringing home lumber - especially 4'x8'x3/4" plywood. Opening the garage door in nice weather will also provide fresh air since I have a somewhat new appreciation for the negative health effects of breathing fine dust.

The retirement house has a full basement, but we worry about being forced to use the stairs (carrying lumber or not) as we age. That's why we're focusing on a main level workspace.

Your thoughts and experiences are appreciated!

Ken K.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2018, 11:10 AM
tomp913 tomp913 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 264

Here in Maryland, it's been pretty cold this winter, although not perhaps as bad as Wisconsin. I have a separate 2 car garage, and used to severely limit my wood working in the winter - and also had to go around once the weather started to turn cold and move all the glues and finishes that would be affected by freezing into the house. I had looked at various methods of heating the shop - under-floor hot water (laying 2x sleepers on the floor with the tubing snaked around and 3/4" ply on top was my first choice as it required minimum modifications, a hot air furnace (problems with sawdust clogging the burner) and so forth. I finally went with a mini-split heat pump - all I needed to do was pour a slab outside to set the compressor unit on, run the 220V line to the unit and drill a 3-1/2" hole through the wall - and I have heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. I picked a Mitsubishi unit, a little more expensive but specs say it will generate heat down to -13 F - never gotten quite that cold here but it does keep the space comfortable enough to work in cold weather. You still have the problem with sawdust, but I've upgraded most of my dust collection and also have a Jet air cleaner mounted at the ceiling on an outside wall so I get circular air flow to help keep the air clean. You still have to be aware of regularly cleaning the filters in the wall unit, and cleaning the fins, etc. a couple of times a year - if you stay on top of it you shouldn't have a problem. We had a recent month where the daytime temperatures didn't get above freezing and I figure it probably cost me about $60 to heat the shop that month - it's a very efficient unit, and normally doesn't cost that much.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3470.jpg
Views:	82
Size:	102.9 KB
ID:	7283   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3471.jpg
Views:	83
Size:	104.1 KB
ID:	7284   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3812.jpg
Views:	87
Size:	97.6 KB
ID:	7285  
Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2018, 11:16 AM
Todd Todd is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 23


I live in London, Ontario, Canada. The winters can be cold here. I had the same problem as you in the winter, not wanting to go out to my garage to do woodworking because it was too cold. My solution was to spray foam the outside walls and the upper deck of my double car garage. I then insulated my garage doors and added a 10' natural gas radiant tube heater. The heater is very cheap to run. I have it set to 65 degrees and I can work in a t-shirt and be comfortable. The down side is that I can not put my vehicles inside, but the trade off is great. I also have an understanding wife that does not mind parking outside.

Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2018, 05:33 PM
Glenn Glenn is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 107

Here in Mn same problem. I have a large ish electric heater (220). I keep the two car garage at 40 degrees except when I want to work in it then the blower raises the temp fast. the walls are insulated, as are the big doors. One stall is my workshop
Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2018, 07:48 PM
larryfoster larryfoster is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Western Pa.
Posts: 18

I'm in Pa. north of Pittsburgh and a newbie.
Although it hasn't been bad so far this winter, we can get some pretty cold weather.

When I started putting my tiny shop together, I put a Warm Morning pot belly coal stove in.
I haven't fired it yet this year and am thinking hard about taking it out to gain a little bit of space.

I do have a propane fired torpedo/space heater that heats things up pretty fast
Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2018, 05:48 PM
Dino Dino is offline
Master Carpenter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Edison NJ
Posts: 5,178

Originally Posted by larryfoster View Post

I do have a propane fired torpedo/space heater that heats things up pretty fast
no need to worry about cold when you die from the fumes..
welcome to the forum.

Or, maybe I'm wrong with the type of heater that you have.

ycf dino
Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2018, 07:33 PM
larryfoster larryfoster is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Western Pa.
Posts: 18

People measure air changes per hour when doing heat loss calculations, Dino.

I measure heat loss changes in minutes.

My shop isn't very tight

Thanks for the welcome.
I've been looking for somewhere here to introduce myself and start asking questions

Last edited by larryfoster; 12-28-2018 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Add'l comment
Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2018, 08:44 PM
kenk kenk is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 304

Larry, welcome aboard ... ask away ... we're listening. :-)
Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2018, 09:20 PM
larryfoster larryfoster is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Western Pa.
Posts: 18

Thanks, kenk.

Being an occasional long winded fellow, where would be a good place to introduce myself
Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2018, 09:56 PM
Ken Ken is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 417

I use a wood stove in the garage for heat. I always have plenty of firewood and the stove is a convenient way to get rid of scrap.

I moved over the summer and my new garage has a strip of baseboard in it. The house uses baseboard hot water heat with a natural gas furnace. So far it has proven to be very efficient. The garage stays in the 50's even when it's cold out.

I rented out my old house but kept the garage since it is detached from the house. The property is 2 acres and nobody is going to want to rent and take care of the whole place. I just rented out the house and a small area surrounding it. We still keep a large garden there and I can use the garage any time I want. That said I am in the process of setting up shop in half of the 2 car garage at our new house. It is a much nicer space.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -3. The time now is 07:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.