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Those of you who live where it gets realy cold, How do you manage?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Tom Lewis, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Tom Lewis

    Tom Lewis

    Feb 24, 2000
    I live in the Sunny Southern part of New Mexico. Most Winter days get up in the 50's F. The low at night is in the 30's F.
    Last week it got down in the 20"s and stayed in the 30's. I have an exhaust fan I use when using my chop saw. The fan would not turn on. Later when it got in the 50's the fan worked fine.
    I have two Paragon heat treat ovens. I tried to use one and it gave me some code that said something was broken or loose. Later when the temperature warmed up the oven worked fine.
    I have a 100lb little Giant. Several years ago I tried to use in when the temp. was in the teens. The 3 hp motor could not turn the fly wheel.
    So, how do those of you who live where it gets really cold manage?
  2. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    It gets cold where I’m at and most of my Equipement does not mind. The only thing that does is my 3B surface grinder. It will stright up not auto cycle and will kick out. So I solved this by keeping a 100w infrared warming light inside the lower part of the grinder facing the gear box. She fires up every time now with now problems.
  3. Lieblad


    Jul 24, 2015
    Dunno about the oven, but those temperatures on their own should be no way cold enough distrupt their motors function.
    Will those machines turn by hand otherwise ?
    I might suspect a lubricant what binds up at those temperatures, but still thats grasping at straws...
    I suspect problem is related to power delivery and not the machine itself.
  4. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    Edit: forgive my stupid post.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  5. Night Rider

    Night Rider Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 16, 2018
    Power fluctuations or low voltage could be the culprit and I have seen it happen more than once. Throw a voltmeter on your main feed of your panel or If you don't feel comfortable doing that then stick the probes in an outlet and see what you get then next time you have a problem check to see if it's the same voltage as before. It's a longshot but in my 30 plus years as an electrician I have seen all kinds of crazy voltages and voltage fluctuations coming from the street transformers. I'm very interested to see what you come up with so keep us informed.
  6. kdnolin

    kdnolin Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 16, 2017
    I’m just north of Edmonton, Alberta, we insulate the crap out of everything we build! Also use lubricants designed for cold. Light weight grease and oils. I only use synthetic oil in all vehicles and heavy equipment. My garage is well insulated, but only have temporary heat, i just started to freeze in there this week. Been -18 to -25C all week.
    jll346 and 12345678910 like this.
  7. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 20, 2008
    I run a woodstove all winter and try to keep the temp inside my shop no lower than 40f at night, and considerably higher after stoking the fire in the morning. Both my hammers use 10 weight oil for general lubrication, which does allow them to run decently well down into the 'teens if called upon. I have retrofitted most of my shop with insulation though, which helps, and I'm currently building a powered exhaust hood for my bigger propane forge so good ventilation will be possible without opening doors. I have the same surface grinder as JT, what I do is run the spindle at low speeds with the vfd for a while before ramping up to full speed to grind. That helps the spindle warm up a bit before having to run fast.
    I don't like my grinding bucket etc to freeze at night either, which is another reason to stoke the stove before closing the shop for the night.
    Tom Lewis likes this.
  8. GoldSkula


    Jun 14, 2018
    My shop is around-20C during the coldest periods and my only problem is that I can't use epoxy in my shop
  9. shamu


    Jan 18, 2010
    Sometimes it gets so cold in south Texas that I don't run my wall mounted fan when working in my shop garage.
    Ken H>, oldmanwilly, Willie71 and 2 others like this.
  10. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Not trying to derail the thread, but that's always been my question, how do you folks manage down there in the heat? You can always add more insulation or heat, but you can only cool down so much in the shop.
    ten-six likes this.
  11. Augus7us


    Oct 9, 2014
    I'm in the process of insulating my new shop. I'm going to heat it and I think I'm going to install an AC also, my family has been involved in the HVAC world since before I was born so that helps me out. My shop is a good size so I'm going with a furnace and AC unit, however if you have a smaller shop you can use a mini split, which is a lot cheaper and can heat and provide AC.

    Aside from the inconveniences of the cold, it also cause the air to condense when warm air hits your cold tools. This causes water and rust. I absolutely despise it and cannot wait until my tools don't rust... Like Salem mentioned I plan to keep my shop above freezing at a minimum to prevent this and all my water and chemicals from freezing. A side bonus is it should be easier too keep cool in the summer with a large fan, so I'm told anyways.

  12. Kentucky

    Kentucky KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Basic Member

    Dec 13, 2008
    When it gets in the teens and lower our hammer has to warm up some before the clutch blocks engage properly..
    Also a biggie is the 7x12 bandsaw. We have to run winter time WW fluid in the coolant system so it won’t freeze up and crack the pump.. the press likes the fluid warmed up a bit too..
    Its not Minnesota but the mountains here in east, ky get some pretty good stretches of cold weather in January and February. Below zero with a negative windchill is common. Got to -25 windchill a few times the last few years.. I remember getting frostbite on my leg from being under my truck putting chains on our coldest winter when the air temp was -27 not counting the windchill..
    The sun didn’t hit many places in these hollers this time of year, not all day
    Night Rider likes this.
  13. E.Carlson

    E.Carlson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 28, 2016
    Kerosene. I also have an infrared ceiling heater mounted over my grinder and portaband area. In Oklahoma we easily get in the single digits in the winter and 100+ in the summer. Its the heat that usually slows me down.
  14. kuraki

    kuraki Fimbulvetr Knifeworks

    Jun 17, 2016
    Use it to your advantage.

    Ken H>, Tyshoots, Tom Lewis and 5 others like this.
  15. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    I like just a few miles from kdnolin. My shop has radiant floor heat. My walls are 2x8, with injected insulation. The ceiling is insulated to R80. My shop is set to 50f in the winter. I turn up the heat 4h before I go into the shop.
  16. Tom Lewis

    Tom Lewis

    Feb 24, 2000
    Very interesting responses. Most days where I live the weather is pretty mild. It's 9:45AM and the temp. outside is 50 and rising.
    My shop is very well insulated and I have central heat and air. My Power hammers, Paragons, etc. are under a shed and not protected from the cold.
    In the summer its pretty common to get in the low 100's. My shop cools off fast with the AC, and I don't do much forging in the Summer.
  17. E.Carlson

    E.Carlson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 28, 2016
    Busch Light?
    Ken H> and Night Rider like this.
  18. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Wood stove heat all winter & AC all summer. No problem.
    Tom Lewis likes this.
  19. Jesse Latham

    Jesse Latham

    Jul 4, 2010
    I'm a little spoiled. I had a new mini-split system put in this summer. I set the thermostat at 62 now and 75 in the summer.
  20. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    I've got breathing problems, no wood fire or smoke for me.

    I used to be young and tough, now I find I'm just sad and tired.
    I find it's too easy to stay inside fiddle on the computer and avoid shop time.
    It's miserable when every metal tool sucks all the heat out of your hands.

    Not enough electrical service in the shop to run electric heat and if I did it would be at the highest electrical rates in North America
    I'm guessing $500 to $1,000 per month to heat the shop electrically

    Portable Propane heat, but with fresh air venting -(cracked door) there's no warm up.
    I had CO poisoning before doing it that way so I'm mindful of it.
    Be careful - CO detectors are ruined by freezing so you have to carry them inside and outside with you.

    If I was a forger, I'd forge in the winter and grind in the summer.

    I'm saving up to install permanent type outside vented heaters and tanks but that's $1,800 at least

    Lighter oils in machines.
    Run them on idle to warm up.
    That's still tricky - I turned a nice wheel set for grinders in the winter - in the summer the bearings all fell out - thermal expansion.

    Magnetic oil pan heaters on hydraulic and oil reservoirs


    I find my hands sensitive to the cold.
    Even from the wind from my grinder - I wear a pair of those thin silicone mechanic's gloves

    Glue in the house and I use it there- that's a bit dicey because it's messy and smells - but sometimes i get away with it.

    Windshield washer fluid in the shop vac bong as spark quench - I've used plain water and missed changing it - frozen and split it out.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
    Bull71 and Tom Lewis like this.

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