April Foolishness; Shop Remedies for Wacky Weather

Foolish-Ness

So, the date on Sunday was April 1…also the date of our traditional annual April Fool’s Day special edition of the eZine. Among the “hot news” stories covered in this edition were the Woodworker’sJournal TV show, “Woodworking with the Stars,” “news”about baking your own (joinery) biscuits, and free plans for an ark to survive the purported December 2012 cataclysm based on the end of the Mayan calendar. – Editor

“Youz guys got way to much time on your hands! Now who do I send the bill to, in order to get my laptop computer fixed after spitting coffee all over it? LMAO [laughing my * off], I just wonder how many people are going to ask where they can buy the biscuit mix.” – E.A. Kelly

“Thanks for the annual April Fool’s edition. You got me just rolling with laughter! I was reading it on my iPhone while I was waiting for a haircut, and wasn’t paying attention to the date. I broke into laughter in front of everyone at the crack about butt joints, and as I read on, I realized the date. I let two other patrons get their hair trimmed because I had to finish reading the entire edition. If anyone complains about this year’s edition, pay no attention to them! If they don’t have a sense of humor, they can start needlepoint instead! Long live sawdust and shaving!” – D.W. Taylor

“Well, I guess congrats are in line for Woodworker’s Journal. However, afraid I won’t be watching [the TV show]. I would rather see the time spent on instructional work. If I want to see competitions, I’ll go to the local WalMart and watch the baggers compete.” – Richard Miller

“I must say the idea is a great one, but your choice of a drunken loser really disappoints me. I can tolerate Joan Rivers, but after Mr. Sheen’s behavior last year, I am afraid I will not even bother to tune in. I expected more; it is really too bad, I think it would be a very educational.” – Jim Frederick

“4-5:30 AM on Monday morning? Prime Time? Are you kidding? Seriously, when will the first show be? I want to record it and watch it AFTER I get up.” – Mike Davis

“I just figured it out. This is April Fool’s Day. I have to admit, you got me.” – Mike Davis

“Last year, I saw it coming, but this time I literally forgot what day it was. I read the whole thing and actually tried to look up the OMG! Network before realizing I’d been pranked (or is it “planked” if a woodworker does it to you?)” – Gene Perham

“Your plans for the Ark explain a Whole LOT! In the spirit of the day, I will start this project as soon as I can find several lumberyards for sale – and a big enough lot to build it on… Question: Will this hold a generator to run the power tools?” – Bill Magee

“My wife works for Homeland Security in disaster preparedness and she is often asked what can be done to prepare for the end of the world in December. I will give her this article and have her pass it along.” – Gregg Hunemiller

“Actually I’ve been looking for ark plans, the ice caps are melting…melting..melting!” – William C Koffke

“I know a lot of work and effort goes into producing the April Fool’s edition of the eZine. This year’s edition has exceeded my expectations! I love every bit of it!  Thanks to you and the entire staff for putting it together. It’s wonderful! Now I need to find a field big enough to hold the Ark!” – Larry Schuh

Wacky Weather

In eZine 297, Rob talked about Minnesota’s wacky warm weather for the time of year, and its influence on his shop time. As we know, eZine readers like to talk about the weather. In this case, it’s how they handle shop work in the heat, or the cold. – Editor

“Out here in Oklahoma, we have four seasons –Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer and Christmas. Truly hot temps here last from late May until the end part of September. Temperatures soar, the wind blows hot and even lizards look for blessed shade. Dressed wood does strange things in this kind of heat — where one day it’s dry as parchment and the next its 90 percent humidity. Serious woodshops out here utilize air conditioning — along with humidity control — otherwise the wood will not cooperate. Those of us not fortunate enough to afford such expense usually take a break from woodworking in July and August or restrict ourselves to smallish projects. I keep my project wood indoors until I know I’m ready for it, and then take it out to the shop for a couple of days’ decompression; that’s all it takes, if the board hasn’t self-destructed by then it’ll be good. In the worst part of summer, I sometimes wear naught but my apron and am careful not to turn my back to the open door!” – Phil Gilstrap

“1). I’m 65 & in construction — daily. 2). I wear only cotton clothes. 3). I wear cut-off jeans & T-shirts, and have a dew rag. 4). I refuse to go in & out of A/C. Once out, I stay out, until the end of the day/shift. 5). My woodshop is super insulated, and it is in a metal building. At 9:00 p.m. I open up the shop, and let it get cool during the night. I do let the two ceiling fans run then. At 6:00 a.m. I close it all up. The most it reached this past summer is 85 degrees Fahrenheit in there. There is no A/C whatsoever. This past summer was terribly hot. 105+ Fahrenehit, for well past 3 months.” – Neal A. Schwabauer

Some woodworkers had mechanical, HVAC or home improvement solutions to the heating and cooling issues. – Editor

“You touched a subject that I often encounter, working in the cold (around freezing) or in the heat (90 degrees +). Here in northern Virginia, I get it both ways, and often the project won’t wait for better weather. In the summer, I use fans, but on occasion have set up outside (the shady side) with a portable workbench. In the winter, I use an infrared heater that keeps me warm, but of course all gluing waits for at least 45 degrees or I take the glue/finish work into the house.” – Bob Rockwell

“One spends hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on tools. The HVAC is just another tool. My shop is a three-car garage That I park my cars in at night. I installed a Mitsubishi Mini split unit call a MR SLIM MOD 410A: cools well in the hot St. Louis summers and heats in the cold winters. I insulated my shop as if it were my house, and the doors are also insulated and weather-stripped. The HVAC was $3200.00 installed and is certainly worth it. One spends that much on a good table saw that is the center of the shop. Why would you not want the convenience? As for at the cost of energy, the inside unit is low voltage which makes for easy installation. If I only have it on while in the shop and off at night, I find it will come up to comfortable working temps in about an hour in the winter and just about 15 minutes in the summer. I don’t see a significant change in the utility bill because of the efficiency of this unit which is has 24 seer rating.” – Earl Schenberg

“My home is about 50 years old. When I built the shop in the garage, insulated as much as possible. Both the walls and ceiling have as much as fiberglass insulation as would fit. What I have noticed is that in summer, the garage is about 5 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. In winter the garage is about 5 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. I almost always work in the shop with the garage door wide open. Usually during the winter months, I run a small fan for 15-20 minutes to move any residual cold air from the night and warm up the shop. In the summer, the opposite is true. As for the summer heat, we rarely get much above 85 degrees, and the humidity is tolerable. When I lived in Phoenix, I found the dry heat rather pleasant. We did not have a garage and all of my work was done on the carport. However, there was a line that I didn’t cross. If the temperature was above 113 degrees, I would not cut the grass in the middle of the day.” – Rich Flynn

“I live in the high desert, about 30 miles north of Palm Springs, California. The summers, with high temps usually between 100 – 110 Fahrenheit in July and August, present a real challenge. My shop is in my garage, which is not finished, and it does not have A/C. I do a lot of my woodworking in the morning and evenings. One thing I do that helps is I have purchased an evaporative cooler that is on wheels. My garage has the standard garage door on the front, with a 36″ regular door on the back wall, opposite the garage door, that opens out onto the back patio. I place the cooler on the patio in that door opening, connected by a hose to an outside faucet. I have built a panel that fits on top of the duct on the front side of the cooler to help block the outside air. The evaporative cooler helps a lot when there isn’t a lot of humidity.” – Steve Kendall

“My home is in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here, the heat is not the issue; it is the humidity – 90 percent + every night and not much lower than 40 percent during the day – on a good day. My shop occupies an 18 x 22 foot area of my walk-out basement – it is heated and air conditioned. When I built it, I added acoustical batting between the ceiling joists and walls and had the dry wall mounted to resilient channel. The combination of these two construction features attenuates almost all the noise from power tools. I can’t imagine doing woodworking in any other type of environment – I guess I’m a wuss when it comes to that sort of thing. I can’t imagine what it must have been like before A/C or central heat, how on earth did those craftsman back in the day make such beautiful furniture and with no power tools no less.” – Ed Szeliga

“I installed a 2 ft by 2 ft whole-house fan in the ceiling with a filter box. When I had to replace the air handler, I kept the blower and mounted it under a workbench by an outside door. I diverted the air with a 6-inch PVC pipe with 2-inch holes every six inches. It creates a nice breeze across the floor. Of course, you can’t use it when you’re doing any finishing.” – Gerald Bishop

“Here in Louisiana, we really don’t get much cold weather, but the hot muggy and humid summers make up for it. I built my shop a little over four years ago and made the decision to bite the bullet and have it insulated to the best methods available. I had polyurethane insulation sprayed in the walls and ceiling and oooooh what a difference it made! I never have to use any heat even when those rare cold days come around, nd most importantly I rarely use my window A/C unit except on the hottest of days when it is in the upper 90’s. Best choice I have ever made and it has the added benefit I had not expected: it really helps out with soundproofing.” – Greg Little

We also heard from some international readers with their solutions — along with the requisite plug for the metric system of measurement. – Editor

“I live in Colima, the capital for the state of Colima in Mexico. My shop is the second floor of my home, and it is warm or hot most of the year. However, I do have several windows and a door that I leave open while working. If I am still cooking as main course I can turn on the ceiling fan.” – Al Klob

“Heard a news item this a.m. about your mild winter – totally confusing for most Kiwi’s since we have only used the metric units for all measurements for the past plus or minus 50 years (Celsius scale for temp: 100 degrees = boiling point of pure water at sea level and 0 degrees being the freezing point at sea level). So when the commentator tells us it is 26 degrees at your place, many think you are sitting out in a deck chair sunning yourself, whereas it is still below freezing point.” – Rob Smith

“Presently, I am getting nothing but work for my employer done as it has been so wet outside for weeks that despite having a decent shed, it isn’t worth the bother. Mackay (Queensland, Australia) is in the wet tropics, and the title has lived up to expectations the last few years. I have an extension on order for my shed and hope to get to put it up come the dry season. The extension is designed to shelter the entry to keep the water and salt out as well as provide some welcome shade. I do my electronics in an air-conditioned room in the house that doubles as an office. Previously, when I lived and worked in Port Hedland in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, winter daytime temperatures were often 37 C elsius (about 100 Fahrenheit), and the only place I had to work was under the shade of one scabby little tree.” – Mike Newman

Plus, some general comments about the weather … – Editor

“You MIGHT have to break out the mower? I live in southeast Louisiana and have already cut the yard four times. This weather shift is the pits. Usually, my shop doesn’t heat up for three more months, but, already, I am employing the use of the shop routine I would use in August; the heat gets unbearable in the late afternoon, so I can only work there mornings.” – Bob Hoyle

“It’s called ventilation, a big fan, or even air-conditioning. Mother Nature was very astute when she invented sweating. Just keep the air moving to evaporate the sweat and drink lots of water. Save the beer for when the day is done.” – Bob Albers

A Ring Around the Coffee Cup

Also in eZine 297, one of the questions in the Q&A section dealt with removing white rings left on tables. An eZine reader wanted to sure further information about dealing with this issue. – Editor

“For us woodworkers, knowing what the finish is would be helpful. However, it may take an expert to make that determination. The products mentioned in the answer do work, but we need more information. Was the ring left by moisture (water ring) or heat from the coffee cup? Some time-tested methods that may also work can be found on the Internet or in many home remedy books, using mayonnaise and ash; wax paper; or an iron.” – Phil Rasmussen

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