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Winter: Good news/bad news

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When spring comes, we’re all ecstatic. But when the calendar turns cold, as it is now, for some reason we get excited about that, too. Herewith, good and bad news about winter.

The good news is that with it so cold outside, it is truly the shop season inside. With all the summer chores and activities ceased, the amount of time available for shop pursuits has quadrupled. The bad news is that I must once again rely on my kerosene heater to avoid frostbite in the shop. To paraphrase Robert Duvall, “I love the smell of kerosene in the morning. It smells like woodworking!”

The good news is now that the weather is steadily in the 30s, my whacko neighbor has decreased her daily lawn mowing to only once every four or five days, giving me some peace and quiet to work. The bad news is that it’s too cold outside to throw open the garage door and enjoy the serenity.

The good news is that a good-quality kerosene heater can warm my shop quickly. The bad news is that before long it’s just too darn hot and you have to shut it off. The result is a temperature roller coaster from too cold, to too hot, to too cold again, and you have to struggle to maintain a neutral zone where the temperature is just right.

It’s truly good news that there’s no sweating in the shop, no sweaty handprints on cast iron or freshly sanded projects, and none of that sawdust-sticking-to-damp-skin hassle. On the down side, most finishes flow like maple syrup. Some projects – and the finishes you plan to use on them – have to literally be pre-warmed in the house.

The good news is that I turned my shop heater on about a half hour ago, and as soon as I file this blog I’m heading out to the shop. The bad news … oh, wait. There isn’t any.

Till next time,


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