Shop Heating, Shop Humor and Joinery Names

In the last issue of the Woodworker’s Journal eZine, we featured a discussion on “How Do You Heat Your Shop.” One of our readers shared his shop heating story. – Editor

“I used to have a woodshop next to my barn that I heated with a small woodstove. It worked very well for over 25 years. Then, one windy February day, after a visit by the local fire trucks, I no longer had a shop or a barn. Everything was lost in less than 2 hours.

“Thanks to good insurance, I now have a new barn. I have a 22 x 22 foot woodshop with 10 ft ceiling in the corner of my barn.  I have a solar wall air heater that I built. Basically, the south wall is glass and behind the glass is a cavity or box in which fiber furnace filter media is hung. The fiber is painted flat black on both sides. The filter is hung diagonally top to bottom in the box such that when it is warmed by the sun the cool air on the shaded side moves through the filter to the sun side while at the same time the air is warming and moving upward.  The box is lined with aluminum foil-covered foam board to reflect any stray solar radiation back into the filter media.  Air enters the box at the bottom through a slot from the room, and the air leaves the box through a slot into the room at the top. The air movement is entirely by convection with no fans or thermostats. I remove the glass each fall and clean. While the glass is off, I remove the filter and blow the dust out of it. I’ve added a dust collection system to keep dust out of me and out of the solar collector.

“I’ve had this about four years. It works very well. Today is a very sunny 18 degrees Fahrenheit outside and 60 degrees inside.” – Herb Brodie

If you’re looking for tips on how to heat your own shop, you can find information on all the options in Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s article in the April 2014 edition of Woodworker’s Journal magazine.

A Rose by Any Other Name?

This eZine reader wanted to share additional perspective on the naming confusion for a particular style of mortise-and-tenon joint that was addressed in last issue’s Questions and Answers section. It’s a lesson on history and etymology. – Editor

“Since many joints are called by a variety of names, Ron is not alone in the confusion of what to call a certain joint. To understand why this happens, we need to look at the history of woodworking. If we took a look at ancient furniture, housing, buildings and other artifacts from around the world, we would see a lot of artifacts with the same joinery, regardless of where they come from. For example, the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Druids and Eastern cultures all used mortise-and-tenon joinery.

“We can assume that each of these cultures had their own name for this joint and in their own language. Since the U.S. was settled by different groups, it stands to reason that woodworking terminology would also be different for the same joints. Even within the same group, furniture makers, carpenters, and shipbuilders would have different names for the same joint. Further, different woodworking guilds would use their own names in order to distinguish the works of one guild from another. To add to the confusion, as the U.S. progressed into the Industrial Age, handmade items often had different names from their counterpart machine-made items.

“There were two events that started standardizing some of the terminology in woodworking. They were the publication of woodworking books and the incorporation of woodworking instruction into our schools. In 1917, the National Apprenticeship Act was passed and would lead to further standardizing terminology in many occupations.

“Today, while much of the woodworking terminology has been standardized, we can expect new and different terminology as CNC becomes more prevalent in our field of endeavor. It does not matter much what you call a joint as long as others understand what it means. That is why, when writing, authors try to clarify the terms they use. Oh, by the way, CNC stands for computer numerical control.” – Phil Rasmussen

A Sense of Humor

Last issue’s Feedback section featured a woodworker sharing some of the signs he had posted in his shop. A couple more wanted to share their own approach to woodworking humor. – Editor

“Woodturning humor: When turning bowl or hollow form, be careful not to get the inside diameter larger than the outside diameter. Also there are no mistakes; there are only ‘design opportunities.'” – James Yarbrough

“I have a sign beside the door to my shop. It reads: ‘All are appreciated in my shop, some by entering, some by leaving.'” – Bob Terrel

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