Project Glue-ups in cold garage

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Forum topic by cowboyup3371 posted 11-24-2017 12:25 AM 1598 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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170 posts in 969 days

11-24-2017 12:25 AM

I searched the forum before writing this and found some basic answers to my question but wanted to run one other question by you. Previously, any work I would do during any winter used to be in Albuquerque where even winters could stay in the 20s and 30s for evenings. Now that I live in Ohio, I haven’t done much work in the winter until this year as I have a couple of Christmas gifts I’m working on. Consequently, winters here do get a bit colder and the shop I use is a large barn type garage that contains my friend’s and my motorcycles and wood shop. It is heated by a wood stove but the garage is uninsulated and I obviously cannot run it 24×7.

If I wait to do any glue-ups until during the day when I know I can get the temps above 45*, I am pretty certain the glue will set properly and I’ll be okay. However, that really limits my work time due to other priorities so I would rather take the opportunity even in the evenings. I could bring them home but that invites the potential the ones who they are intended for will see them – not good. I could also store them inside my friend’s house but there’s no guarantee I can get into the house if they aren’t home.

How do those of you work your glue ups if you work all day at a regular job? How long should I really give them at a good temperature before I shut off the stove and turn off the lights?

-- Cowboy Up or Quit - If you are going to quit than get out of my way

16 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6240 posts in 3265 days

#1 posted 11-24-2017 12:04 PM

That’s too cold for most glues. The lowest temp for most PVA adhesives is a little north of 50°. The work piece needs to be that warm as well, not just the room temp.That’s not just my opinion, that’s also what Titebond says in it’s product brochure. It might vary some from brand to brand, but it will be close. I would come up with an alternative way to keep the work warm. Maybe an electric blanket draped over it, or a small space heater blowing on it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bigblockyeti's profile


6575 posts in 2492 days

#2 posted 11-24-2017 12:15 PM

First of all, my condolences for having to move to ohio from New Mexico. Depending on the size of the project you could take a folding card table, set it on your bench (or any other table at a comfortable work height) and drape a moving blanket over it making an insulated box of sorts. Place it over your projects that will fit in the defined space with a ~100 watt lamp to heat the area and voila, instant glue up oven.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2539 days

#3 posted 11-24-2017 02:01 PM

I have in the past used a torch to warm up the joints before gluing them up. You have to move it fast enough to not burn the wood. Keep the glue inside the house at room temperature until you need it. A small heater with a thermostat will set the glue within 1 hour or less.


View pontic's profile


797 posts in 1380 days

#4 posted 11-24-2017 02:20 PM

After you choose one of these stopgap measures I hope you are planning to insulate the garage.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View Lazyman's profile


5401 posts in 2159 days

#5 posted 11-24-2017 03:03 PM

How about an electric space heater? I have one in my garage shop that points down at the spot I usually stand by my bench and it makes it tolerable even on the coldest days (which aren’t as cold as yours). The radiant heat will make the surface of my bench feel warm to the touch after just 10 minutes so it might be a way to quickly warm up the glue and workpiece and keep it warm until the glue sets.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3058 days

#6 posted 11-24-2017 03:33 PM

I use an oil heater space heater, they look like radiators and are extremely safe in high dust environments. I use two on different circuits when I need to glue, paint, or seal. A window fan set to draw the air through the heater by pulling it will warm the whole room provide there are no gross air leaks. I set the fan 18” in front of the heater on low pulling air through the heater. It is also good for smaller glue-ups by putting the work directly on top of the heater on a small piece of plywood, 1/4 or so. Glue ups take about an hour with TB III.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View splintergroup's profile


3778 posts in 1994 days

#7 posted 11-24-2017 03:41 PM

I’ve used the light bulb trick many times. For a small object, a large ice chest and 40W bulb are perfect (no LED bulbs 8^).

The blanket over a table works perfectly for larger projects. I typically use drop cloth plastic, but even a small light bulb will keep the temperature ideal.

View johnstoneb's profile


3144 posts in 2944 days

#8 posted 11-24-2017 03:46 PM

Keep the glue in the house until you need to use it and then use one of these other ideas for keeping the lumber at 60 or so.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30550 posts in 3109 days

#9 posted 11-24-2017 04:52 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks

For me, glue-ups need to be above 50°

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View ChuckV's profile (online now)


3307 posts in 4299 days

#10 posted 11-24-2017 11:14 PM

Titebond says that you should keep the glued-up piece above the minimum temperature for 24 hours.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View cowboyup3371's profile


170 posts in 969 days

#11 posted 11-25-2017 04:15 AM

Thank you all. I think I’ll bring it back to the house if I can’t get the glue-up done during the day when it’s a bit warmer.

After you choose one of these stopgap measures I hope you are planning to insulate the garage.

- pontic

It’s something we have been slowly working on over the last few years but money and time keep getting in our way. Hopefully we’ll have it done by next year.

-- Cowboy Up or Quit - If you are going to quit than get out of my way

View dalepage's profile


387 posts in 1612 days

#12 posted 11-25-2017 09:25 PM

I’d keep them warm for an hour or so. The glue sets up quickly.

Just my opinion.

-- Dale

View Steve's profile


2078 posts in 1354 days

#13 posted 11-29-2017 01:41 PM

Any way you can set up a room at your house that you can lock in order to prevent any peeking?

View cowboyup3371's profile


170 posts in 969 days

#14 posted 11-29-2017 05:58 PM

Bndawgs, I live in a mobile home so no, I don’t have a good spot to hide them and the eldest will use our bathroom quite often as she loves our tub more than her own.

I spoke with another friend of mine whose shop does stay heated and is insulated. I’m going to glue up and stain them at his place starting tonight.

-- Cowboy Up or Quit - If you are going to quit than get out of my way

View EarlS's profile


3731 posts in 3119 days

#15 posted 11-29-2017 06:46 PM

With any of the small space heaters, please pay attention to the recommended minimum distances that you need to keep things away from the coil. Here in eastern IA we have numerous house fires every winter caused by space heaters that got too hot or weren’t properly set up and burned the house down. Sadly, there was a fire a week or so back in Dixon, IL that sounds like it was caused from a space heater that killed 4 kids and both parents because the house didn’t have smoke detectors.

Also make sure you have good ventilation if you are using a propane or kerosene heater as the carbon monoxide fumes are odorless.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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