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Workshop heating and humidity

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John Wills 112/05/2019 16:28:09
24 forum posts

I’ve had a small workshop built for me to take up woodworking in my retirement.

being ignorant in these matters I’ve not considered heating it or controlling the humidity.

Now I find for one of the projects I want to do, a guitar, the tonewood supplier talks about a working environment of 20 degrees and a set humidity. What are my options? Building is thermal blocks with concrete floor and no insulation in roof or anywhere for that matter.

Derek Lane13/05/2019 08:54:38
3219 forum posts
1004 photos

I have insulated my shed and have a greenhouse heater(electric) in it this I find keeps the workshop above freezing this is OK to protect the tools. I have a second heater which I put on to bring it up to a comfortable temperature to work in this is only turned on at the beginning of the day for about 10 minutes as that is all it needs.

Both of these have a thermostat to control the temperature and the green house heater is very low wattage. As for the humidity I can't help on that one but I am sure using electric heaters will help.

My main heater is the oil filled type and the greenhouse heater is also enclosed.

Hope this helps in a very small way

Paul Bodiam02/08/2019 16:07:08
109 forum posts
68 photos

Hi John

Sorry -for picking up belatedly to your thread on workshop heat & humidity. I have a purpose built 5m x 3m wooden shed workshop at the end of my garden that I mainly use for building and repairing/restoring musical instruments.

I had it insulated from the outset, using polystyrene sheets under the floor and in the walls and roof.

In the winter I heat it with a small domestic fan-heater. In the summer, keeping it cool is the bigger problem. For guitar building, temperature swings are not so important as humidity changes. Provided that the temperature doesn't go below around 3 degrees (when glues and finishes on the shelf can be badly affected) you should be find. I have a "frost" setting on the fan heater that prevents the workshop getting this cold when unattended.

In the summer, the solar gain from the sun coming through the window heats the unattended workshop so that it is stiflingly hot - so I tend to open up the doors and windows and let it cool for an hour before i want to work in there.

When I am not in the workshop, current projects are stored away from the windows, and on or near the floor to keep the heat and humidity changes to a minimum.

To control humidity I have a very old Ebac dehumidifier that comes on automatically if the humidity goes above a certain level. This was never designed for a woodworking workshop so I have to take it apart every now and then to clean out dust that gums up the works. These dehumidifiers do come up second hand from time to time on eBay.

If your workshop is newly built, you will probably find that the walls and floor will still be quite damp from the water used in the mortar and concrete. It may take a while to dry out fully. I was surprised how wet the wooden workshop was when it was first built; I moved my machines in a few days after it was completed, and the cast-iron tables of the bandsaw and pillar drill flash-rusted in a couple of days. After i set up the dehumidifier, it was initially producing 3 or 4 litres of water a day as the timber of the workshop itself dried out. I didn't move any of my tonewoods into the workshop until the humidity had stabilised after a month or so.

Hope this helps


John Wills 106/08/2019 15:02:38
24 forum posts

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately, I didn't foresee the need for insulation and the workshop currently is not insulated.
To avoid reducing the interior space I'm looking at adding external insulation boards. They are available. The roof I can insulate on the inside. I'll look out for an Ebac dehumidifier.

Once again, thanks for the info.


Josephe Tanenbaum09/08/2019 04:48:52
6 forum posts

Hi, I had an electric baseboard heater in my small garage, it not costly and it's warm enough in winter.

Consider this option.

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