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Old 02-10-2018, 11:32 AM
kenk kenk is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 253
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.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:10 PM
tomp913 tomp913 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 224
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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.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:16 PM
Todd Todd is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 14
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Ken,

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.

Todd
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:33 PM
Glenn Glenn is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 106
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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
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