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Winter Woodworking Tips

December 03, 2023 2 min read

The colder months are now upon us, and you may be wondering whether you can continue with your woodworking projects or not through the winter. It may be tempting to hibernate your tools and projects until next spring, but that can bring problems you don’t need, and besides, how else are you going to fill the long months ahead without your woodworking fix?

Head over to our blog pages for some handy tips on working through the winter months, and read on for more suggestions - whether you are planning to work on your projects through the winter or not.

Moisture is the tool-killer!
No matter how far temperatures fall during the winter months, there’s no need to worry about whether this will damage your woodworking tools. The cold won’t hurt them, but what will is moisture. The way to avoid damage to your tools is to avoid varying levels of heat and cold inside your workshop, as this will produce condensation. Consider insulating your workshop space using something like Rockwool or Kingspan insulating boards if you can, or use polyurethane rolls.
Don’t forget to seal any gaps with a sealant appropriate for your workshop type. If you are planning to put away your tools for winter, then make sure you thoroughly winterise them first. This means cleaning and lubricating them to protect them from winter moisture damage. Use the correct oil depending on the type of tools you have. Call us if you need advice on this.

Stay warm
This may be common sense and rather obvious advice, but the fact is that if you are too cold, this can affect your concentration, which can easily lead to accidents and mishaps. As we said earlier, varying levels of heat and cold can produce moisture and condensation, which can affect not only the efficacy of your woodworking tools but also the quality of your work.

You have two options here: either wear warm clothing, including fingerless gloves and a hat, or heat your workspace with a woodworking heater or fan to keep the space at a constant, comfortable temperature. We think the second option is more practical as sometimes it can be difficult to work properly if you’re swathed in several layers of clothing.

Look after your supplies
Very cold temperatures can cause wood to become brittle and prone to splitting or cracking, making it difficult to work with. Certain glues and finishes may not set correctly at lower temperatures, which can absolutely ruin a project. The solution is to consider using a humidifier to keep your wood at the best working temperature and investigate thicker glues that are designed to work well in lower temperatures. Look for finishes with higher viscosity for better adhesion and apply these to pieces which are at room temperature.

The cutting speeds on saws and routers may need to be adjusted according to the temperature; always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Finally, if you want to continue woodworking through the winter but don’t want to run at the expense of a major workshop insulating project, then the solution may be to concentrate on smaller projects which can be completed quickly.