Woodworking and Weather; Using a Gum Tree

Let’s Talk About the Weather

You know how they say, when you can’t think of something to talk about, talk about the weather? Well, Rob talked about the weather — and how he enjoy summertime woodworking in his shop– in last issue’s editorial, and it certainly proved to be a good conversation starter. – Editor

“I agree with you about woodworking in the summertime, but here on the Gulf Coast I do mine during the day (despite the heat), because you don’t get a chance to ‘swat a few mosquitoes’ at night because they have carried you away.” – Terry Hennessy

“You’re right, it is great! Especially in an air-conditioned shop!” – Ernie Mascarello

“After reading your piece on summer woodworking, I reached the conclusion that you obviously do not live in the Southern U.S. I live in Mobile, Alabama, where the summer evenings are closer to 90 degrees (the low last night was 85) and the humidity approaches 100 percent, even without a cloud in the sky. For any meaningful woodworking, air conditioning is a must. Otherwise, you coat your entire woodworking project with a quarter-inch thick layer of sweat, and any finish you lay down takes days to dry. Lacquer dries in something less than a day, but it usually blushes like mad from the humidity. Not many folks I know can afford to air condition the shop. My favorite woodworking time is late fall, early winter. The humidity is more reasonable, and the temperature a lot cooler. I might even have to put a stick or two in a woodburning heater, but that’s not very often. But, summer or winter, woodworking time in the shop is priceless in today’s constantly hurrying world.” – Mike Davis

“Yeah, but the daytime temperature in my very nice shop here in central Texas is around 102 by midmorning. So at 76, I’m headed for Big Sky, Montana to see if it snows in July or August! Woodworking will resume in the fall- thank you very much!” – Jack Stanford

“You expressed my sentiments exactly! I just got back from a cruise with my wife (wrong investment) and immediately went to the shop and inhaled some sawdust.” – Gary Cox

“My shop is in an unheated garage. Well, I have a small propane heater. So I get a lot more done in the summer than in the colder months. And I live in Colorado Springs, with a relatively mild climate. (I once lived in North Dakota where the garage was -30 in the winter.)” – Andy Ziny

“We are indeed kindred spirits. I find that we share many idiosyncrasies (people who know me would call them ‘idiot synchronies’ – I use my compressor and the open overhead door to blow the dust out of my shop, cuz I don’t have a leafblower. I also enjoy working in my shop in the summer with the big door open. A good fan will help with both the mosquitoes and the sweat – and it blows the airborne dust out the big door as well. If it rains, bonus – because then … you couldn’t have mowed the lawn anyway, right?” – Brian E. Koehli

What To Do With a Dead Gum Tree

And, in response to a question in last issue’s Q&A about whether wood from a sweet gum tree would make for good woodworking, we heard from an Australian reader with some experience in the area. – Editor

“Lee Hockman had a query about a dead sweet gum tree in QA. I had a ribbon gum in my front yard when the Canberra Bushfire of 2003 came through and killed it. I was told all kinds of stories about how useless it would be for wood working – glues won’t hold, it’ll shrink too much – all kinds of things. And I didn’t believe them – and neither should you! I had my tree milled into 6’4″ (2m) boards – yes there were a heap of gum voids after four years drying stickered in my shed, but I filled those voids with fiberglass resin and it is now the most beautiful dining table you ever saw. Just make sure you plane or sand any edges just before applying glue and you’ll be fine. Smaller pieces? Make toys!” – Jerry Everard

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