Woodworking in Minnesota?

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Blog entry by Aristocraft posted 01-13-2012 01:57 AM 7673 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok, This will sound crazy but I am wondering what it is like doing woodworking in Minnesota? I have never been any further north that Kansas – I currently live in Texas. My wife may be ‘moving up the corp ladder’ and having to reloacte to Minnesota. I am a little nervous of the possibility of moving that far north – I like the heat in Texas but she is excited and so I guess I will learn to adapt! Now, I know they have houses, heated workshops, etc…. that’s not what I am asking – I guess most on LJ, have been very helpful in the past – maybe I am searching for reassurance that Minnesota is not a bad place to be and make sawdust….

-- --- Never a failure - Always a lesson

22 comments so far

View mmax's profile


185 posts in 4511 days

#1 posted 01-13-2012 02:15 AM

You won’t regret it. Supply of wood is much better than TX.

-- Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

View Aristocraft's profile


87 posts in 3637 days

#2 posted 01-13-2012 02:21 AM

that would be nice – finding wood here means paying $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for it – the other stuff i crap and not worth buring in the fireplace!

-- --- Never a failure - Always a lesson

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3455 days

#3 posted 01-13-2012 02:29 AM

Aristocraft, I was born and raised in the southwest corner of Kansas and have lived in Ohio, California, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. I spent about one year in Oklahoma City and the last six years of my career in Amarillo, Texas so I am familiar with your plight. I currently live in the eastern edge of South Carolina. Yes, Minnesota has a lot of snow, a fair amount of rain and the weather is considerably cooler. From a woodworking perspective you will notice a much broader selection of hardwoods such as ash, birch, maple, walnut, red oak, cherry, and beech. Mills of same, big and small, will be much more plentiful and I would encourage you to look for some in your travels up there. I ended up here in South Carolina and found a small one man mill operation just outside of town. Gee what a find. Minnesota is indeed green with water and lakes everywhere and the fishing is fabulous. Any move is what you make of it, so go to it my friend and go learn of your new surroundings. Enjoy the adventure.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3618 days

#4 posted 01-13-2012 02:32 AM

You can hang with Stumpy Nubs!

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View northwoodsman's profile


526 posts in 4802 days

#5 posted 01-13-2012 02:35 AM

I made the opposite journey. I moved from MN to the metroplex 17 years ago and have thought about moving back each day since. I see many advantages of woodworking in MN. Stomping through the snow and going out into a heated shop on cold day can’t be beat. You don’t feel bad about not doing something else, because there isn’t much else you can do 8 months out of the year. Wood is easier to find, and the summer and fall weather is perfect. The downside: The summer is very humid and the mosquito’s are the size of a robin and are plentiful (understatement). Seriously, if your shop is not heated, your tools will quickly be covered with a layer of condensation when you turn the heat on. Keep your tools waxed and rust shouldn’t be a big problem. If your shop isn’t in your house, consider keeping the heat on low if it is possible (and safe). If you like to hunt and fish, living in MN can’t be beat. But the biggest upside to your possible move….. you won’t have to hear about the Cowboys every day!!!!!!!

-- NorthWoodsMan

View JL7's profile


8786 posts in 4021 days

#6 posted 01-13-2012 02:42 AM

Lived here (in Minnesota) most my life. The winters can be tough, but I can tell you that I have driven on ice in western Texas…...mmax is right – there are great wood finds to be found state wide here…..also some pretty good tool finds, at least in the Twin Cities area….

I have a basement shop so makes the winters fly by cause there is no guilt when you are hanging out in the shop and “missing” those sub-zero temps….:)

Actually, it was 50 degrees here a few days ago…...but that is not normal…..

My advice – don’t wash your car when it looks all crappy, (in January) unless you are going to drive it awhile to dry it out….It sucks when you can’t open the doors in the morning.

On the bright side – there is nothing more beautiful than a summer drive to the North Shore around Lake Superior…..



-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View eland's profile


4 posts in 3814 days

#7 posted 01-13-2012 04:25 AM

I grew up in MN. The people are great! Very down to earth. Did not get into wood working until I moved to Washington, but my grandpa was amazing. He did one project where he made 30 identical beaver letter openers each one out of a different kind of wood. The winters can be a real PITA. It makes you appreciate summer which are plenty hot. I have gotten soft living in the Seattle area. The best way to embrace winter if you don’t have a heated workshop is to start ice fishing, snowmobiling, or playing/watching hockey. Greatest sport to watch live. If your not a fan already you owe it to yourself to give it a serious chance. It is everywhere in MN and taken very seriously. Try to go to a college or high school game of a good team. The state high school tournament at the xcel energy center is fantastic.

Don’t worry, MN is a great place to live. Although you might not think so on the days it is so cold you get uncontrollable swearing. To help with that look into a satellite car starter.

View Aristocraft's profile


87 posts in 3637 days

#8 posted 01-13-2012 04:57 AM

Thanks everyone! I knew by asking LJ, I could ge a feel for Minnesota! We are noot 100% she will take the job, it all depends on the $$$ – But she has been asking me what I thought of moving up there – never been there, I had no idea how to answer – thanks to ya’ll, I feel better now – until I wake up one morning and it’s -25 and snow covered the ground!!!! JK….
Special thanks to Northwoodsman, never thought about the tools and needing to wax them!

-- --- Never a failure - Always a lesson

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4293 days

#9 posted 01-13-2012 03:49 PM

You are going to enjoy the local selection of wood that’s not available in Texas. I would suggest finding a local sawmill and buying a load of mesquite to take North with you. You can either use it to build with or trade for some other fantastic wood.

Here's a link to what Winter in the North is really like. It’s a YouTube video made to promote visitors to Put-In-Bay island in Lake Erie. The title of the song is: “Here In The North” After watching the video, I’m going to see when Pat Dailey is having another concert! I’ll swap a walnut slab for four tickets to one of his shows

Pat Dailey
“Here In The North”
Here in the north
You’ll hear it told
Nothing much changes when the weather gets cold

No nothing much changes
We’re just further from the sun

But the geese still fly
And the river still runs

When the cold wind blows
And were covered up in snow
I’ll be out on the ice
Fishin’ through a hole

When the ice goes out
And the weather gets hot
I’ll be out there fishin’ in the very same spot

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3816 posts in 4493 days

#10 posted 01-14-2012 03:17 AM

Maine here not Minnesota but similar conditions. We’re a state that people move to Florida from and some people the reverse. Those that come north usually do in the summer where the weather is often sweet, but it does change. It takes some by surprise. Now, most natives embrace it, have alternative heat to keep the cost down, wood, pellets, etc. We also have small generators and baby them like our tools. Often we don’t need them but some years we might for 3-8 days at a time. Not common but does happen. Winter is a ‘hunker down time’. The shop needs to be heated and insulated but we have lots of hard and soft woods. Can’t turn around without bumping into a large tree. Relatives from CA visit and feel claustrophobic from the trees. We also have numerous mills that specialize in local hard woods and exotics. I’d bet Minnesota is similar.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Warren's profile


81 posts in 3391 days

#11 posted 01-14-2012 04:30 AM

I moved here to Ohio from Arkansas, I was born and raized in Texas. I have a small 10×20 workshop out by our barn. Winter came and I was in the cold so to speak about heating my shop. First I ran a portable radiator heater, that was a mistake, it ran our electric bill sky high, so I did some shopping around I found a small woodburner works wonders and since I live in the country finding wood to burn in it is no prob. Just a reminder try to keep up with the dust. My woodburner, pipe, and ect to install it prob cost about $250.00

-- Warren, Cambridge,OH.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 3561 days

#12 posted 01-14-2012 04:45 AM

Grew up in Mass. Lived in Kansas, Illinois and Nebraska. Now settled in Texas. Living up north, you learn a few things.

Basement shop is better up north. Better temp tolerance underground, and you want your cars in the garage up north. Basements are in nearly every house up north. Most have a “hatchway” a double door opening fron the ground level.

Good clothing can make nearly any temp bearable.

Tons of great woods!

Buy a GOOD SNOWBLOWER and generator :-)

View JL7's profile


8786 posts in 4021 days

#13 posted 01-14-2012 04:54 AM

As stated in my previous post – I lived “most” of my life in Minnesota. I spent 3 years in California and never really saw the changing of the seasons… will experience all four seasons here!


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View SST's profile


790 posts in 5251 days

#14 posted 01-14-2012 10:31 PM

I’m next door in Wisconsin, so I’ll toss in my 2 cents worth. First, don’t believe that crap about 4 seasons up here. There are really just 2 seasons:
1) Winter
2) July (actually, just the middle 8 days)

Other Misc stuff & myths:
Minnesota has a pro football team…that’s a myth…they have the Vikings

Misc good news: You’re only one State away from the Packers…Sorry, couldn’t resist…go ahead, all you fans of teams that didn’t go 15-1 this season, zing me good, I can take it. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 4152 days

#15 posted 01-14-2012 11:11 PM

Coming from northern New Hampshire where I’ve seen -43 degree winters, my feeling is there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. My wife does not agree with that, so we’re now in North Carolina.

I second Todd’s advice on a good snow blower (mine’s an electric start) and generator and test start it frequently.

-- John from Hampstead

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