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Woodwork in Winter: Things You Need to Know

December 22, 2021 2 min read

When working on wood projects, there are a lot of different factors that are at play. One thing that you always need to be mindful of is the impact of the weather on your project. Doing woodwork in the winter requires a different approach when compared with doing woodwork in the summer. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the different things you need to be aware of.

You will need to allow extra drying time for finishes and glue-ups

Firstly, you will need to allow extra drying time for finishes and glue-ups. Most finish and glue manufacturers advise that the surfaces, air, finish, and glue be above 10° C. Therefore, if it is not possible to maintain this temperature in your work area while you are applying and drying these products, you may want to consider changing your place of work for these projects. 

The gluing of wood is something worth elaborating on further, as cold wood will glue differently when compared with warm wood. The real problem is that when the adhesive comes into contact with cold wood, it will cool quickly, even if the adhesive is warm, and this results in it being a lot thicker than it typically would be. Therefore, it does not flow well for spreading out and filling the microscopic nooks and crannies. Furthermore, the chemical reactions and/or drying that are needed to cure the adhesive will slow down or they may not even happen at all. 

You need to be mindful of shrinkage when handling wood during the winter period

You will also typically find that your wood is going to be in its most shrunken state throughout the winter months. Once the big thaw arrives, the wood is going to start expanding due to the increased moisture. You should account for this by leaving more space for expansion in frame-and-panel assemblies, drawer reveals, and tabletops. 

Final words on woodwork in the winter

As you can see, you do need to be mindful when working with wood during the winter. The last thing you want is for the elements to derail your project because you have not taken the required precautions. If you need any help or assistance with your next woodworking project, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team here atCalderbrook Woodworking Machinery for more information.