Heating a wood shop

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With winter immanent, I'm looking at putting some heating in my shop so I can work and not freeze. I've heard people say that any kind of open flame heating is dangerous because it could ignite saw dust--I've heard others say this is rubbish.
Could people share their opinions and advice? Is an open flame heater dangerous? What type of heating do you use? Any recommendations to heat my shop: it's about 20x20 with a 12 foot ceiling.
Thanks, Dave.
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I use a small karosene heater and keep it on a bench near the overhead door, also prop up a small fan behind it to circulate the air and a coffee can of water on top of it. I'm in a 12X18 uninsulated shop and haven't had any problems with it. I also have a electric heater that's mounted to the ceiling over the bench. I use it when I first go in the shop till the karosene heater warms the shop up and also put it on low if I have some finish drying. Mike S.

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I have been heating a three car garage/shop with a 24K BTU kerosene heater for years but it demands attention and discipline.
1) Heater is always kept away from work (ie. Heater is usually in bay 1 while work is done in bay 3, some assembly in 2. 2) Heater is cleaned regularly and kept clean. 3) Fuel and flammable materials are kept completely away from heater 4) Any time finishing is done with flammable substances, the heater is turned off. 5) I keep the shop cleaner during the winter (sawdust, etc) when using the heater.
I do supplement the kero heater with a small quartz heater that puts out a surprising amout of heat.
I have a permanent shop building in the plans and I hope to heat it with a recycled forced air furnace. I have done this before in a shop and it works well and is fairly economical. My previous installation was raised off of the shop floor about 1-1/2 feet which put the firebox about 3-4 feet off of the floor. These used units are available through salvage building material dealers or heating contractors. I paid $25 for my down-draft unit and just let it blow out on the floor of my small shop. My cousin did a similar thing with an updraft unit that he uses to heat a 1,200 sq ft shop. He put a simple two-directional plenum on top and it does great - think he paid about $100 for his. He used a similar lift to get the machine up off of his floor.

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Dave: I forgot to mention one VERY important thing. I don't care how good of a buddy your insurance agent might be - DON'T LET HIM/HER KNOW!!
Woodworkers have been moving toward the lower reaches of the insurance company client appreciation scale. Don't need to provide powder. They tend to react negatively to a lot of things they don't understand.

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RonB writes:

Don't let him/her know what? What kind of heat he's using? Not a good idea. If something goes wrong and there is a fire, whoops! Lots of difficulties over the coverage.
Charlie Self "A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers." H. L. Mencken
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No - I'm just saying don't call the agent and volunteer the info.

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Solar (unshielded remote fusion reactor). I have a 50x50x14 shop and plan to heat it with three 6x12 panels this winter. Last winter I used a single 6x12 panel to keep shop temperature above freezing; and estimate that three will provide a comfortable daytime working environment (most days).
I don't know about your locale; but a shop the size of yours here could probably be kept decently warm with a pair of south-facing 6x8 solar panels. The advantage, of course, is that there isn't any fuel requirement.
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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I'm curious as to how you distribute the heat in your shop. I've been giving a lot of thought into putting in a solar powered radiant system when I build a new shop "sometime." But how do you add solar heat in a pre-existing building?
Morris Dovey wrote:

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I'm located in Calgary, Alberta, where winter temps can get down to -30C. Average temps, though, are usually about -15C but we have these things called Chinooks that will causes temps to go from -20C to +5C in a couple of hours.
Where can I find more information on the solor heating panels you are using?
Thanks, Dave.

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Dave Rathnow wrote:

Oops! I got this in the mail, too; and have already answered. Check your mailbox...
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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I'm less concerned with dust explosions than I am about the various oils, solvents and finishes I store and use regularly.
A little more detail about your shop environment, your location and your requirements would help us give you all the opinion, misinformation and conjecture for which USENET is famous. ;-)
Patriarch
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All finishing work is done in my basement. I only do woodwork in my shop so the only thing that is potentially explosive is the gasoline for my lawn mower, but that will likely be coming out when I build my shed (hopefully before the snow flies.)
As I said in another post, I'm in Calgary, Alberta where winter temps average about -15C.
Dave.
"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message

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Dave Rathnow asks:

Open flame can be worked with...I've got a good friend who has been heating his shop with wood for over a decade. It requires specific care with finishing in the winter, but otherwise is fine. I know a local pro who heats with wood, too, but the stove is isolated, in the basement, and not a problem with fumes and dust.
I've used propane catalytic heaters for mine. They work well, but are expensive as all get out...tendency to burn a full 20# tank of propane per day in cold weather is not good. The cost of the stuff is way up...last time I used it, I paid $9 and that was 3 or 4 years ago.
Currently, I've got an electric furnace almost hooked up. IF you have the wire capacity, it's a good way to go. Mine's in the shop "attic." I'm lazing my way into hooking up the 60 amp breaker one day soon...when it drops under 80, probably. Cost? Zip. Got it when it was removed from a house for a new type of furnace. Check with local HVAC people. Other sources: mobile home supply houses. They often have small, surplus electric furnaces.
While I use kerosene to clean some tools, I do not like the stench, and have been through the kero heating mill. No more. Stinks. Requires care both because of the open flame and the fact that output heat losses are high if you don't keep the heater extra clean.
Charlie Self "A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers." H. L. Mencken
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote in
<snippage>

Just a note: I refilled two gas grill bottles Monday at $2.19/unit, 7.7 units. (I don't recall if it was gallons or pounds.) About $18 & change. In California. At ACE Hardware.
Patriarch
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patriarch < wrote:

I just bought 2 new 5gal containers last night at Sam's Club ($19ea) as they refused to fill my old ones, too old - gotta make a buck in the market again<sigh>. Then took the new ones to a Chevron station nearby to fill them, $2.13/gal, plus tax, almost $23 for both. Sure glad I don't own one of the old smelly super inefficient always freezes up in the winter propane vehicles.
As for a shop heater, my son had one that screwed onto a propane bottle. The screen mechanism on the unit broke and the flame was uneven and popped all the time. Unsafe so we scrapped the entire unit. I'm uncomfortable myself with an open flame of that type in a small wood shop, plus the carbon monoxide etc so I use an electric radiant heater mounted to the ceiling joists.
Grandpa John
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"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>"

If that is for both, not a bad price. Tonight I filled mine at BJ's for $7.49. Non member price is $12+
In the course of the winter, I use maybe 4 or 5 bottles. Ed
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I thought you cooked with wood, Ed. ;-)
That was $18 for both bottles. We've got a family doin's this Saturday, and I'm supposed to cook for 60. I don't want to run out.
When Swingman posted his spareribs pictures a little while ago, he seems to have started up something again here. I've started reading AFB, and have been trying to decide how to augment the gas grill with a slow wood burner...
Too many hobbies...
Patriarch
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"patriarch writes:

I've posted this one before, but since you have a group of 60 coming, will post again.
Doubt you can get a typical propane grill low enough for this one, so will give you the oven recipe:
Lew's Country Ribs
Start with at least 5 lbs of "country ribs" usually cut from the shoulder of the pig. (These are the fat ones and around here they are $0.99/lb on sale)
Put ribs in a 1 gallon ZipLock bag along with 1-1/2 cups of soy sauce and 3/4 cup brown sugar, mixed before adding to bag.
(Scale up as required).
Marinade ribs for at least 24-36 hours in the fridge turning over every 12 hours.
When complete, place ribs, fat side up on a rack in a pan and place in oven @ 400F for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to about 212F (halfway between 200F-225F setting on oven) for at least 10 hours.
Save marinade for later.
Remove from oven and allow to rest on cutting board about 20-30 minutes, then cut 1/2" thick medallions of meat with a good sharp chef's knife.
Any bone or residual fat can be peeled away with your fingers as you are cutting medallions. You end up with only lean pork pieces.
Place marinade in a sauce pan and slowly bring to a boil over low heat.
(You don't want to caramelize the sugar)
Arrange medallions around the outer rim of a serving platter with cup in center of plate containing sterilized marinade.
Add tooth picks and for your own safety, get the hell out of the way.
Enjoy.
BTW, I'm doing these for a party this weekend.
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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Thanks, Lew. I'll almost certainly use this approach for at least part of the feast.
Enjoy your get together this weekend!
Patriarch
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"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message

I have a few cookers, both gas and wood fired. If you want some of the wood flavor, you can put some chunks in a tuna fish can, cover it with foil, poke a few holes and set it close to the burner. For slow cooking though, it is hard to get the gas grills to burn low enough. Next weekend I'll be making a brisket and a pastrami (from a cured brisket) and it will smoke for about 12 hours. Ed
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