Jointer Advice for an Unheated Garage

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Forum topic by BassBully posted 03-09-2007 11:38 PM 2531 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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261 posts in 4545 days

03-09-2007 11:38 PM

Does anyone know which 6” jointer on the market would handle temperature fluctuations the best or am I worried for nothing?

I have my eye on General International’s 6” jointer with the extra long feed tables. However, I’m worried that with the long feed tables, the temperature fluctuations in my garage will either temporarily warp or even worse, permanently warp the feed tables.

The temperature in my unheated attached garage doesn’t naturally fluctuate that much except when I fire up my propane turbo heater, and the room temperature jumps from the minimum 40 degrees up to maybe 60 or 70.

Thanks in advance.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

8 replies so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4748 days

#1 posted 03-09-2007 11:50 PM

I don’t think you should have a problem, because the whole machine will be the same temp as the temperature fluctuates. Your not putting heat like a torch to only one area.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4546 days

#2 posted 03-10-2007 05:34 AM

I’ve got the jointer your talking about and would give it two thumbs up. I solved the problem by putting it in a garage in California. BTW, what is a propane heater? Just kidding. Actually, I lived for a few years in the Michigan UP and am quite familar with the cold of the mid west.

I belive Dick is right on. How long does it take to heat your garage?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Tim's profile


11 posts in 4633 days

#3 posted 03-10-2007 05:49 AM

I’d be more worried about condensation forming on the tool from firing up the temperature like that. Even though you bring up the air temperature in the garage quickly, the temperature of the tool itself changes very slowly – a big chunk of forged steel doesn’t warm up very quickly unless you directly apply heat (as Dick said).

A byproduct of burning propane is water vapor. This vapor will condense on cool surfaces (like your table saw or jointer bed). It’s probably not a big issue if you’re using the tools as you’ll probably wipe the small film of water off these surfaces as you use them. I think keeping the air in the shop moving might also help keep the moisture level down. It doesn’t take much of a rise in humidity for that condensation to start, especially when temperatures are really low. 40 might not be low enough to worry about though.

I have my woodworking tools in my garage in Minnesota, and I always back my cars out of the garage to warm them up in the morning so that water vapor doesn’t get trapped in there with the tools. I don’t have a garage heater, I just wear lots of layers. But my uninsulated garage doors will have drips of water on the inside just from my own breath (I think that’s what its from, probably some humid air coming from the house too)

Good luck.


View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4610 days

#4 posted 03-10-2007 06:31 PM

I would think that the temperature change would not really affect the jointer, or your table saw for that matter. You may have to give it some protective coating to ensure the condensation does not occur, maybe like a silicone spray. Besides, it would make the table nice a slick, easier to pass the wood over too.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4545 days

#5 posted 03-11-2007 05:36 AM

Those are great tips. Thank you.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View Barry's profile


1 post in 4593 days

#6 posted 03-12-2007 05:11 AM

It sounds as if you are in a moderate climate. My climate is a bit more severe, but I put a window mount heat pump in my garage and keep it above 60 deg. It also cools the garage in the summer. I like to keep the garage temperature relatively constant for the wood as well as the machinery. The humidity is the real problem and heating in the winter and cooling in the summer goes a long way to stabilize that.

Barry in WV

-- Barry in West Virginia

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4548 days

#7 posted 03-14-2007 05:28 AM

Tim has one of the most important comments about the water vapor. All carbon based fuels, propane, natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, create water vapor when the fuel is burned. The same thing happens when you run your car and you see water dripping out the tailpipe. In houses using natural gas and propane, etc. vapor stays warmed enough for the most part to vent outside. Sometimes you can see water streaks on the furnace exhaust pipe in the house, because the vapor recondensates in the pipe and runs back down into the house via the joints. I have been called to trouble shoot this on an occasion.

When you burn any heater in the garage without it being vented to the outside, this moisture will be released in that space and will condense on your cold tools. I went through the same situation here in MT in my shop (which is a dedicated shop) until I installed an overhead HotDawg heater that vents to the outside. I had to scrub the rust off of all my cast iron half a dozen times and then I decided that was enough.
The issue of cast iron warping on anything was never an issue. I know it can happen, but I believe that a more rapid transition in temperature must occur.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4622 days

#8 posted 03-14-2007 02:49 PM

And I’d be careful of what kind of rust inhibitors you use on your tools, especially in areas where your project wood will touch it. Transferring the wrong kind of chemicals over to your wood can inhibit or adversely affect your finish.

You might want to try something like Renaissance Wax, which is a microcrystalline wax polish. It might seem cost-prohibitive at first (coming in at $22/200ml can), but it goes a long way and is pretty damn cool stuff (as far as wax goes, anyway). I believe Woodcraft currently has it on sale for $19.

Here is an article that covers it in more detail.

I use it on all exposed metal parts of every hand tool now, as well, by the way.

-- Ethan,

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