Weather wackiness

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It looks like last year’s “Polar Vortex” wasn’t just a one-time treat. As always, the cold plays havoc with my shop experience in myriad ways.

The main thing, of course, is that it’s just darned cold in the shop. I put a gas line into the shop and installed a heater a few years ago. It generally does a super job, but when temps hit zero and below it’s a bit more than it can handle. In hindsight the next larger model would have been the thing to get and if I have a flush month I’ll consider upgrading. In the meantime, it’s not just the cold – I can dress for that – but the miscellaneous things that go along with it.

For one thing, it takes a long time for my shop’s florescent lighting to come up to full brightness. Until those bulbs warm up, everything’s on the dim side. Kind of like bringing a cloudy day indoors.

Then there’s the static. Yikes, touch anything out there and you’re guaranteed to get a shock. They’re not really painful, but you just never seem to expect them.

I keep finishes and glues inside during winter, but when working I’ll inevitably forget to bring something back into the house. Come next morning it’s not unusual to find a bottle of glue on my bench with the consistency of yogurt.

Finally, getting large stock into the shop can be a real pain. Sure, I could throw open the garage door, but all the heat is instantly gone. Plus, during this kind of weather the temperature outside is far lower than my shop’s normal ambient non-heated temperature. So rolling up the door means my heater takes even longer to get things up to that low ambient temperature, much less up to comfortable working conditions. In the winter, whenever I bring home materials I take it into the shop through the house, a tricky prospect with 8-foot boards.

On the plus side, I’ve unplugged my little shop refrigerator. Cold beverages are never an issue in the winter.

A.J.

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