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Forum topic by msparky14 posted 12-11-2013 02:59 AM 2061 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 2931 days

12-11-2013 02:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop heat safety

I was reading some posts from other people who were wanting to know the best way to efficiently heat their shops, and I saw several replies from people saying they used barrels and wood burning stoves. I heard from a couple buddies that the wood burning stoves can be dangerous because of sawdust catching fire. Has anyone had an issue with this, or is this just an old wives tale?

I’m not sure which way I want to go with heating my shop yet. The wood stove would be nice and cheaper in the long run, but electric heaters may help more with my sporadic project building. (Electric would take longer to heat as well). For the record, I have a 1200 sf detached shop. We just moved here a couple months ago and I’m just getting started on setting it up.

-- ~ Mike ~

26 replies so far

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2440 days

#1 posted 12-11-2013 03:28 AM

My shop is much smaller than yours (400 sq. ft.) so I get by with an electric space heater. That doesn’t help you much, I know. My brother has a detached 800 sq. ft. shop he heats with a wood stove. He has done so for 30 years, with no issues. I have a friend with a 2,500 sq. ft. shop heated with a wood stove, too. I think common sense is the key to safety, no matter what heat source you use. Keep things reasonably clean and the area around your heater clear and fire shouldn’t be an issue. My opinion, for what it’s worth.

-- Dave K.

View bbc557ci's profile


596 posts in 2642 days

#2 posted 12-11-2013 03:32 AM

My shop is almost finished. 26×36 with 12 ft. ceilings. I got a killer deal on a forced air NG furnace. About went broke building the shop so for now I’ll heat with the forced air.

On the wood stove, I wouldn’t be afraid at all to heat a shop with wood. But with wood ya gotta load the stove, stoke’r up and wait for the heat, play with air control, damper, load more wood, yada yada. Too much time wasted, at least for me. Don’t get me wrong as I absolutely love wood heat. Great for the house but not to heat the shop part time. But that’s just me…..

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Biff's profile


126 posts in 2582 days

#3 posted 12-11-2013 03:34 AM

I have a forced air electric furnace I scored off CL for $100. I use it to keep the chill off but when I’m working in the shop I have a free standing wood stove with a waste oil drip. I’ve had that stove cooking with sanding dust so thick in the air you can barely see!

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at

View johnstoneb's profile


3131 posts in 2740 days

#4 posted 12-11-2013 03:42 AM

I have a pellet stove. does a great job in my 16×24 shop. At -6 F had to turn heat on low got to hot. It use external air for combustion so not taking any heated air out of shop for draft on the stove.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Gary's profile


9412 posts in 4001 days

#5 posted 12-11-2013 03:49 AM

I have a 2000 sq ft shop. I use a double barrel wood burner. The barrels are closed with only vents in the bottom one. I have never had a problem with them. I probably wouldn’t stand next to them to use a sander….. but I’m not the only one here with this kind of rig. No one has ever reported a problem that I am aware of.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile


542 posts in 2432 days

#6 posted 12-11-2013 03:49 AM

What is this cold, of which you speak…? Forgive me..I’ve never really lived above the 30th parallel. :-)

-- “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” ― Lenny Bruce

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30479 posts in 2906 days

#7 posted 12-11-2013 04:03 AM

Insurance companies do not like wood burning stoves in a wood shop. Heaters of any kind can be a problem because of sawdust. What they want is a forced air furnace in another room and heat piped in

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View msparky14's profile


26 posts in 2931 days

#8 posted 12-11-2013 04:56 AM

Thanks all, for the help with this. My spare time is when I hit the shop, (Pesky job gets in the way). But when I get there, I love to hang out for long hours and I usually end up being there way past bedtime. I’m definitely going to add the option of wood burning to my possible heat sources.

UncannyValleyWoods – I’ll try and send some cold your way, so you know what we are talking about. I know we’ve had enough of it this past week. Deep down, I’m kinda jealous of you and the warm temps.

-- ~ Mike ~

View GT350's profile


376 posts in 2549 days

#9 posted 12-11-2013 05:04 AM

I use a gas furnace in mine. I’m no expert but if you are talking about an explosion caused by sawdust suspended in the air I would think it would have to be so much that I wouldn’t want to be in the shop.

View Roughedges's profile


10 posts in 2196 days

#10 posted 12-11-2013 01:10 PM

My shop is 30×40 – and I use a Propane heater – 75K to 200K BTU. Does great – and have never had an issue with airborne sawdust. It’s -8 here now – and shop is toasty warm. Have to turn the heat down/off occasionally ‘cause it gets too warm.

-- Victor, from the Grand Mesa in Colorado

View bondogaposis's profile


5574 posts in 2919 days

#11 posted 12-11-2013 01:26 PM

Wood stoves are nice, because you can dispose of scraps readily and they are cheap to use. The main draw back as I see it is the amount of space they take up. You have to have them away from any walls and you have to leave a lot of clearance around them. That eats up a lot of real estate in a small shop.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2593 days

#12 posted 12-11-2013 01:31 PM

My shop is 24 X 24 detached. It doesn’t have a foundation so I’m limited on heating solutions. I will end up with electric I believe. My step son is an Hvac guy, he is looking into things for me. My insurance guy says no way on the wood stove. Zoning folks say no on the gas. Right now I have a kerosene torpedo type unit that makes it toasty in there very quickly, but I cant leave it alone,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.so I have to keep glue and stain in the house for 3 months of the Pensylvania winters, thats a pain in the backside. My shop is about 15 feet behind my house, I’m toying with the notion of connecting the two with a breezeway kind of thingy and piping heat from the house through insulated pipes between the ceiling and the roof of the breezeway.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View bigblockyeti's profile


6149 posts in 2288 days

#13 posted 12-11-2013 01:40 PM

My shop is long and skinny and just under 450 sq ft. Got lucky when my wife and I bought the house the detached garage/shop was built specifically for wood working with phone, cable 230V electric and a Reznor natural gas heater way to big, I think it’s around 50K btu. It is connected to a thermostat and the pilot light alone usually keeps the temperature about 10 degrees warmer than outside. It’s also insulated which also helps a lot. The two things from a heat standpoint that I really like is; the ability to walk away from what I’m doing with zero preparation to prevent a fire and the over powered heater can take the shop from 20 degrees to 65 degrees in less than 15 minutes.

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

View Bill7255's profile


428 posts in 2852 days

#14 posted 12-25-2013 11:07 AM

The real key to heating a shop is the insulation. My previous shop 36 X56 I had the walls insulated but not the ceiling. I had a 150,000 BTU propane heater that would heat the shop up, but would want to continually cycle. Even with the heat I had concrete floors and my feet would get cold even though I had the temperature up. For my new shop a wood burner was out because my insurance would not cover it. Because I hated cold feet I have radiant hot water heat installed in the floor. I am not hooked up yet because I am still building my house and running everything off a saw post. Right now I am using one of those small quarts heaters. It keeps the temperature +20 to the outside temperature. My shop is 30×50 with 12 foot ceilings. I need to leave this heater run as it would take forever to heat up if off. I can work in this. There was a insulation blanket put down and 2inch styrofoam installed around the footer before the concrete was poured and that definitely helps the concrete temperature.

-- Bill R

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2516 days

#15 posted 12-25-2013 03:12 PM

bondogaposis you raise a good point. I heat 900SF with a wood stove. I went this road because when I started the ceiling wasn’t insulated. I just finished re framing and insulating my ceiling. The unit is a side kick, so it has a blower that kicks on when the firebox reaches 140*. As for feeding I stoke it in the morning with saw dust, kindling, and 2-3 splits. Then I go in the house. I come back out 45 minutes later and throw 2 more splits in and close the damper down 2/3 closed, and leave it go till lunch. I probably don’t throw 8 splits in all day and I have a hard time keeping it under 75. Due to the regs from the insurance man it takes roughly a 5×5 corner out of the shop. I wouldn’t be without it.

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