Winter wonderland

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It’s been an odd winter, to say the least – extra warm in some places, extra cold and snowy in others. I’m curious, how has it affected your woodworking?

The last thing I want to do is start a debate on global warming, so please don’t go there. It’s a fine debate if you’re entertained by incessant and endless repetition – much like a certain table saw device – but ultimately pointless. The weather is what it is, and this winter it’s been out of the ordinary with mild temperatures in most areas.

That’s not to say we haven’t had warm winters before. Check the record books and you’ll note that the ’80s had some really mild ones, and next year we may have a terribly cold one. But the point is we’re having a mild winter now in most areas and I’d like to know how it’s affected your shop.

The main thing for me is that shop heating has cost a lot less this winter. In fact, because my shop is an attached two-car garage there have been several days I haven’t bothered to kick on the heater. I’ve not sat down and studied the gas bill, but I’d guess I’ve saved a bit more than a hundred bucks in shop heat. That’s significant, and translates to savings in material/supply costs when extra heating cash can be diverted there.

How about you? Saving money on heating bills is one obvious and beneficial effect, but how has this winter’s unusually mild weather affected you? And it’s not just the mild weather. If your shop is in the Northeast, that surprise October snowstorm – and the related long-term power outages – may have seriously cut into your business.

I imagine not having to deal with snow means more time to work, and makes deliveries easier. I could also see that a mild winter might have customers making purchases now instead of “waiting for spring.” Are supplies and lumber easier to come by? Loading and unloading them certainly has been. How about applying finishes, something that’s frequently difficult to do in cold winters? How about wood movement – fewer problems there?

Good or bad, unusually warm or atypically cold, how has this unusual winter been for you?

A.J.

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