Garage temperature

Greeting everyone.

I could use a little advice. I have just started my NE Dory build. This has created a little conflict between my wife and I. She is concerned about the potential cost of heating our garage. I have come up with as much of a compromise as I can and would like some input as to whether it will be OK. I work a nontraditional work week. I work an alternating shift of 3 days a week followed by 4 days. My plan is to lower the temp in the garage to the upper 50’s during my work week. I will then heat it up to a comfortable working temp on my weekends. Of course any time epoxy is curing I will keep the temp at 68 and above. Does anyone see any issues with this?


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RE: Garage temperature

 I would think you'll be fine. I made my Ches 17 LT uner the awning in the  photograph below between Feb and May this year (you can just make it out) Temperatures fluctuated quite a bit (it's open of course) and I had to build a bit of tent to stop the nesting birds doing what comes naturally on the boat. As well as wanting puzzle joints I'd also like a garage or a shed!

 

RE: Garage temperature

Yambo,

Don't you live in sunny, warm Greece?

Mikeflys,

Another compromise is to keep the boat warm, rather than the whole garage. A plastic tent with an incandescent bulb inside is a cheap way of keeping the boat warm while the epoxy cures. There's also no need to keep the garage in the 50's for the boat's sake, as long as you store the resin, hardener, varnish & paint indoors where it's above freezing.

The other alternative is to wait for spring, which is what I do. It's the simplest and cheapest option. It also makes spousal relations easier. Think of it as using renewable solar heating if that'll help with the impatience :-)

Good luck,

Laszlo

RE: Garage temperature

   Wait till spring!!!!! I don’t think so! I am really hoping to have the boat ready for fishing this summer. I thought about draping the boat as you suggest, but when I mentioned it to my wife the first thing out of her mouth was “fire”. My garage wont freeze even with no direct heat in it. We had the garage insulated when it was built and the furnace and water heater are both out there. They seem to provide enough heat that even in the coldest part of winter liquid things don’t freeze, its defiantly not pleasant, but above freezing.

RE: Garage temperature

A 100-watt bulb is plenty to maintain the temperature and as long as it doesn't touch anything there's no fire hazard. Have your wife put her hand close to a lamp and see that her fingers don't burst into flame, then point out that the bulb will be at least that far from the tent. Wood, BTW, has to get to something like 460 degrees fahrenheit to burn. Remind her of the old EasyBake oven kid's toy which used a 100-watt bulb as the heating element and only got up to 350 degrees. Finally, how about all thos table lamps with fabric shades?

Good luck,

Laszlo

 

RE: Garage temperature

Your temps are a little high. I biuld in my basement here in New England. The basement is a gradient from 65 at head hieght (if the heat is running) to 55 at the floor. The work (latest a Shearwater 17) is at waist level. The epoxy kicks just fine. The only problem I have is the MASS Epoxy resin tends to crystalize. No problem from the West System. I plan to keep the Mas epoxy warmer this season in a metal cabnet with a little heater.

Joel

RE: Garage temperature

Your temps are a little high. I biuld in my basement here in New England. The basement is a gradient from 65 at head hieght (if the heat is running) to 55 at the floor. The work (latest a Shearwater 17) is at waist level. The epoxy kicks just fine. The only problem I have is the MASS Epoxy resin tends to crystalize. No problem from the West System. I plan to keep the Mas epoxy warmer this season in a metal cabnet with a little heater.

Joel

RE: Garage temperature

   You live in Texas, right? What you propose should work just fine-- especially if you can time your fiberglass work to take advantage of the warmer days. I bought four cheap shop lamps and some incandescent bulbs to provide direct heat when needed. You can see my setup in this blog entry: http://lakenorforkadventures.blogspot.com/2015/11/building-chesapeake-light-craft_28.html

The one problem I had is that the incandescent bulbs I bought were so cheap (advertised as more efficient) that they burned out if you breathed too loudly. I think we can thank the EPA for that, and maybe China too.

RE: Garage temperature

Texas? Nope Ilive in Idaho!! it was a nice warm 29 last night and its getting colder.   

RE: Garage temperature

The reason I picked 50 for the low is, I don't really have the ability to bring the epoxy into the house when I am not working. I was afraid that if the epoxy gets to cold it will get thick, and it would take too long after warming the garage for it to warm up and thin out. I was hoping 50 would be an ok temp to hold it at.

   

RE: Garage temperature

Idaho? Brrrr... 28 when I got up today (west central WI) & signs of snow on rooftops where 40+ mph winds didn't blow it off.

If keeping your epoxy warm's your only catchpoint, I suggest buying a sheet of 1-1/2" EPS insulation to build a box w/lid you can store it in.

Duct taped together, with a 60W lightbulb in a porcelain lamp holder inside & plugged in, will keep everything at a comfy working temp. Stick a cheap thermometer inside too just so you know what's going on in there.

RE: Garage temperature

I have an old camp cooler I've used similarly. Run the lamp cord thru the drain hole.

The insulation idea's 'cause few folks'd likely have an old cooler around, but the physics still work.

RE: Garage temperature

I like the box idea. I will wait until the first power bill comes. If my sweet wife freaks out too much I will give it a try. Otherwise I will just keep moving ahead!   

RE: Garage temperature

áááI have a small table that I keep my epoxy and resin on that sets next to a water heater (not gas)

RE: Garage temperature

Hi Mike,

I just aim a shop lamp with a 150 watt bulb at the epoxy and it works well enough over here in Missoula (see right side of photo).  I built a NE Dory last winter and learned the hard way you will definitely want to keep the epoxy warmed up.  I am currently building an Expedtion Wherry (pictured).

   

RE: Garage temperature

Hi Mike,

I just aim a shop lamp with a 150 watt bulb at the epoxy and it works well enough over here in Missoula (see right side of photo).  I built a NE Dory last winter and learned the hard way you will definitely want to keep the epoxy warmed up.  I am currently building an Expedtion Wherry (pictured).

   

RE: Garage temperature

Depending on what you pay for grid juice, a 60W conventional filament incandescent bulb (the kind that will soon be difficult to find in stores as they're 'inefficient' thus contributing to global warming) running 24/7 will burn off just under 10.1kW in a week.

By comparison, running a typical 1,500W electric space heater (NOT recommended in such a small enclosed space as that insulated box I described!!!) 24/7 burns ~ 25 times more or 252kW.

Where I am grid juice costs me $0.14/kW/h so that 60W bulb'd add $1.41 to my weekly usage (about $0.20 a day) where that space heater'd eat $35.00.

Your utility bill will tell you what you can expect to pay for everything you plug in / turn on then leave on if you know how much juice each device uses over time.

RE: Garage temperature

Last night I glued up all the puzzle joints for my Dory. I am a night shift worker so I do my boat building after my wife goes to bed. I turned the heat up from about 50 to 68 at 7:00PM. I went out to start working at 10PM. Finished at Midnight, before I went to bed at 3 I turned the heater back down to 50. I was a little concerned that letting the garage cool down might impact the glues hardening. I just checked and it all looks really good!

   

RE: Garage temperature

   @Laszlo [Quote]Don't you live in sunny, warm Greece?[/quote]

Close! I live in SW Turkey where we never see snow but temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit. It was 26°C yesterday but that dropped to around 10°C during the night. In the summer months temperatures can be 40°C + and 30°C overnight. Winters are fairly wet with torrential rain but also periods of beautiful, warm weather with low humidity. Variable I suppose you could say. With such variations I don't worry too much about ideal temperatures for working with epoxy, if you've got it to do, then you have to do it whatever the conditions.

Below is a photograph of a thermometer sitting on the hull of my (at the time) unfinished Skerry,  It's outside my house as I don't have a garage or workshop so I have to work with any temperature fluctuations rather than try and control them. I'm not alone in this either, all around the world people make boats working away in different situations and different conditions and doing it successfully so while the original question is worthy, to me it's all a bit academic as basically you've got to work with what you've got.

I read on another forum that painting a boat black in a mediterranean setting would make it fall apart as the ambient summer temperature would soften the epoxy enough to make it fail. My Ches 17LT is black with epoxy/graphite on the bottom and they're wrong. It's fine.

RE: Garage temperature

Ha! 10*C @ night for a low!! Sweet!

That's 50*F by our scale! I'd dearly LOVE it were our winters that mild. Was -10*C here yesterday when I got up, we can expect -26*C - or worse - in a few weeks.

I'm contemplating building a roofed deck alongside my garage if & when I get wind of CLC moving forward on their expedition canoe design, some place I can work outside in the shade yet be able to cover the sides during our spring & fall when it gets kinda dampish & I need supplmental heat.

 

RE: Garage temperature

I'm in NE Florida. Two nights ago we woke up in the camp ground to 29 degrees F,  sunny Florda can be cool too.

.

Welders here often use a plywood box here with a light bulb inside to keep open welding rod cans/rods warm and dry. We often just made 3/4" ply boxes and sometimes insulated them when available. The 3/4" ply was just the most available excess available when the welders showed up.

.

If you were to "tent" the boat and keep a lamp in there to warm it there is such a thing as fire treated/resistive visqueen. Contractors making temporary (very temporary) dust partitions in hospitals and computor facilities often use it.  In any event you'd keep plenty of air gap around the boat, lamp, tent, etc.  I don't tent the boat but focus my quartz work lights mounted on tripod stand on the affected area. I need the light to see anyway.

.

I've also used Christmas lights, before LED,  around wells and pipes to keep them warm. They could be used in the box.

RE: Garage temperature

   

Spclark, you live in Turkey, that's very interesting. Love me some Hatsan Air guns!! I really wish our lows were only 10C or 50F. Last night we were -.5C or 31F we often hit -23C or -10F in the winter around here. It has been an abnormally warm fall for us, but the cold is coming!

RE: Garage temperature

Mikeflys -

No, I'm in US of A, state of Wisconsin, more specifically an area known as the Driftless Region (east of Mississippi River from north of La Crosse south into Illinois; never saw the last glacier) just south of La Crosse. Also referred to by the locals as God's Country.

You, being in Turkey, could say much the same though as Mount Arrarat is there I believe?

 

RE: Garage temperature

Being recently married myself, I appreciate the tenuous position you're in.  Might I suggest that any savings on the heat bill will be more than eclipsed by expensive failures of plywood, epoxy and skilled labor?

RE: Garage temperature

   @Mikeflys

I'm the one that lives in Turkey Mike, a village just south of Marmaris. I have two Hatsan air rifles and they're pretty good for the money! 

@spclark

Mt Ararat is indeed in NW Turkey - I climbed it in June 2015. I'd post a picture of the summit but visibilty was about 5 0r 6 metres, the wind was howling and the temp was about -30°C. There are no traces of an ark although the locals will sell you a bit of wood if you're interested.  :)

RE: Garage temperature

Yambo ans spclark, sorry for the mix up!    

RE: Garage temperature

So what is the consensus?  How low can the tempersture be and the epoxy still kick?  I have one I am needing to glass the hull on but the garage is running around 60 but dips to 50 at night.   The oil burner that heats the house is in the garage but the metal garage door is not insulated so I lose a lot of heat.

RE: Garage temperature

I have been proceeding like I said in the 1st post. I let the temp drop to 50 when I am not working. I raise it to about 65 when I am working. Now just to make it a bit more complex I do leave it at 60 when Epoxy is curing. I have had no trouble at all.

   

RE: Garage temperature

   I also have had no problem working with temps in the 60s and letting things cure overnight in the 50s.  In those conditions, I find that warming my resin/hardener by putting the jugs in a sink filled with hot water makes it easier to work with.  The only exception is that I want the garage much warmer when wetting out glass.  Epoxy gets very viscous when trying to wet out glass on a cool surface.  I will not glass unless I can get the garage above 75.

      

RE: Garage temperature

My only large-surfaces experience with epoxy has been with WEST System products. They have different hardeners to use depending on cure temps anticipated though in reality it's the high end - working at elevated temps, making pot life shorter - that dictates whether a change in hardener is required. Here's a link to a page showing which hardener might best be used for a given temp range.

Were I messing with MAS products for the first time I'd try to maintain at least 50*F in the immediate environment of the work I'd be doing over the 24 - 36 hours I'd expect to be needed for 90% cure to be achieved. This can be done efficiently in otherwise unheated spaces by careful use of incandescent light bulbs and fairly close-set polyethylene sheeting to keep the air warmed by the light(s) as clise as possible to the curing epoxy.

RE: Garage temperature

I did forget to mention, at least an hour before I plan on working, I turn on a work light and point it directly at my epoxy jugs. This warms them nicely and I have had no problems with viscosity.   

RE: Garage temperature

Just to update everyone on this topic. We are in the middle of an unusual cold snap for us, this time of year. Two nights ago we dropped to -1F (-18C) and last night we warmed up to a balmy 10 (-12C). All 3 of my little heaters were charging along as best they could but all they could pull off was 60 (15C) inside my garage. The coldest night I didn't do any gluing at all. Just sanding and shaping. Last night I did mix up some think epoxy and wood flour and used it as filler in a few sports to prepare for glassing the underside of my Dory tonight. I let the temp drop down to 50 (10C) immediately after applying the epoxy. I just went out and checked, the epoxy cured up just fine!

   

RE: Garage temperature

Congrats on your rapid progress. And congrats on keeping your garage so warm in this frigid weather. . . . I've been having trouble keeping my house at 60!   

RE: Garage temperature

  I rigged up a thermostat to a outlet to run my kerosene torpedo heater.  You want to use the cheapest "baseboard heat" thermostat that uses a bi-metallic element and directly switches 120/240 volts -- I found mine at Lowe's for $20. DON'T get the programmable fancy-dan one, those are for regular furnaces and A/C and operate at the millivolt level, not what we're looking for.

I used two junction boxes screwed to a 2x4; one for the thermostat and one for the outlet.  

You just plug in the device to be controlled, -- electric heater, whatever - and then set the temp.  Rig it so that when power comes on it supplies heat -- set to to max temp or whatever, to "bypass" the device's internal thermostat should it have one.  I like the external thermostat because I can put it wherever I want, I have mine at "head height" ; not on the floor where the heater sits.

I use a small temp data logger I bought on Amazon for $15 that plugs into a USB on a computer.  It logs the temp once a minute (or whatever interval you set it to).  Handy to know what your heating system is doing.

RE: Garage temperature

Kerosene Torpedo heater? I have one of these. It is as loud as a jet engine and stinks to high heaven. Now mine is from the 80's so maybe they have improved them?

   

RE: Garage temperature

   Oh yes, it is loud!  It really kicks out the heat though.  Mine does not stink (much) and burns very clean.  It runs for about 2-3 minutes about 3 times an hour at 45F outside temp to maintain 70-75 in the shop.  It'll be interesting to see how much it has to run later this week when the outside temps drop to 25F.   I suspect supplementing the torpedo with the 1500 watt electric convection heater will reduce the amount the torpedo needs to run quite a bit.  I see the torpedo heater as the "bulk heat" source.

RE: Garage temperature

I would be concerned about the soot and other hydrocarbon particulates emitted by the kerosene heater. They do not plau well with epoxy resins.

RE: Garage temperature

If available space and your work flow permit, 'tent' your project off with poly sheeting (heavier the better to keep it from getting blown around by drafts). Put the electric heater inside that, with your project, while also striving to make the tent as leak-proof as is practical.

Put the kerosene heater outside the tent, where your heat loss thru exterior walls is greatest, and maybe you can sleep at night (NOT WITH THOSE HEATERS RUNNING!) free of worries about epoxy contamination from combustion byproducts.

Maybe a battery-run CO alarm is prudent?

RE: Garage temperature

   All good points, fortunately the shop is a detached garage thus no CO worries in the house.

Tenting and shop lights may work but it's a bit more difficult given the project:  it's the teardrop camper.  Tenting a kayak or some such sounds easier! :) 

Concur about trying to find an alternative to the kerosene torpedo heater, for lots of reasons.  I have a propane fired unit Amazoning it's way to me now actually.

I do in fact have a CO meter / alarm in the shop, no issues there so far!  While insulated there are vents in the door.  Great points though.

RE: Garage temperature

The instructions in the kit with the MAS epoxies say: "store ... at room temperature. Do not allow to sit on cement floor. ... Dispensing resin and hardener above 60F is recommended", and according to CLC's documentation for the NED, curing should happen at 70F for 24 hours before moving parts.

RE: Garage temperature

Yes the manual says that, but all the advice I received as well as information from the CLC folks led me to believe it was OK to proceed. And its a good thing too, I have not yet been able to get my work space over 62 F at any time. The epoxy has cured without issue with the overnight temp right at 50F. My normal working temp when I am mixing and applying the epoxy has been between 55F and 60F. I do however aim a shop light at the jugs of glue so they are considerably warmer than me! The glue flows freely and mixes well. After the 1st months bill arrived, I was no longer allowed to keep my glue out in the garage overnight!!!! A bit too much reaction from my lovely wife. Since that has happened I now let the garage temp drop into the low 40's if glue is not curing. I keep it at 50F if it is. I put the jugs of epoxy into a large plastic tote and bring them indoors with me when I am done working.

   

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