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Protecting glues, finishes from freezing

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As winter approaches, I wonder if anyone has good ideas for keeping water-based finishes, glue, etc., from freezing in unheated or only heated during use shops. I realize lots of liquids don’t suffer from freezing temps. I have always kept epoxy, for example, in the shop all winter, but it’s so much easier to use when it flows freely.
 

hockenbery

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Change your latitude. :)
When I live in Annapolis Keith those in the unfinished basement. While not directly heated it never got below 60
My unseated shop here seldom gets below 60 and never below 50.
 

john lucas

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I.bought a metal.storage cabinet at.Goodwill. I glued 1" styrofoam to the inside. I put a 100.watt.light bulb in the bottom and a thermostat in the top that controlls.that bulb. I put a thermometer up there. I set the thermostat to maintain a 70 degree temperature. The only downside is.it seems.to.burn out those bulbs fairly quickly. I keep thinking I will buy some kind of chicken incubator heater but always forget.
I keep.all.of.my glues and paints in there.
 
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Al, moving to Florida is not an option. About ten years ago we were there chartering a sailboat out of Ft. Meyers, and were struck by lightning! It cut the vacation short and cost us about $800 in extra fees.
John, what kind of thermostat? I’d like to look into a similar solution.
 
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I.bought a metal.storage cabinet at.Goodwill. I glued 1" styrofoam to the inside. I put a 100.watt.light bulb in the bottom and a thermostat in the top that controlls.that bulb. I put a thermometer up there. I set the thermostat to maintain a 70 degree temperature. The only downside is.it seems.to.burn out those bulbs fairly quickly. I keep thinking I will buy some kind of chicken incubator heater but always forget.
I keep.all.of.my glues and paints in there.
There used to be an incandescent bulb made for droplights called a rough service bulb with a heavier filament that would probably last longer. In any case a lower wattage bulb would be less likely to burn out and still heat your cabinet well.
 
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You could get a used dish washer and use a small crock pot to heat it during the winter and use as a small kiln during the warmer months. Use a light timer to turn the crock pot on and off as the weather requires. Allyn
 
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Wow! A crock pot is a fascinating idea for heat. I’ll have to try to figure how that would compare to a low wattage light bulb for electric consumption. We have a large crock pot that has just developed a hairline crack in the removable crock (there’s a tongue twister in there somewhere) that we’ve been talking about replacing.
 
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One thing you need to be wary of is any electrical switches or contacts (thermostat) that can produce a spark being in an enclosed space with the possibility of solvent vapors accumulating. The old style stats with a mercury switch in it makes no sparks, the new electronic style may be safe, have to see how it controls the juice.
 
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A non-working refrigerator of sufficient size is insulated and has a gasketed door that seals the compartment, a small wattage heat source will keep the interior from freezing.
Most refrigerators have an interior appliance light bulb, you can bypass the door switch so it stays lit when the door is closed. You could do away with the light bulb and use
an Edison base 120V outlet adapter and plug a short heat trace cable into the 120V socket for the heat source. An appliance light bulb does not last very long when running
non-stop, a heat trace cable will last many years running non-stop. They also make small rubber heat mats used for heating seedling trays for growing plants, this would be a
low wattage heat source with no filaments to deal with like a light bulb.
 
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When carrying a box of finish and glue into the house would resolve the issue, I wouldn't put much effort into a hot box in the shop. I hardly ever use glue or finish in every single turning session. But if you insist, I'd put everything in a styrofoam cooler and then a tiny incandescent bulb in it for a heater. A nightlight might almost keep a cooler around 50 degrees.
 
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For my garage shop here in Michigan, I put the temp sensitive stuff in a tub and bring it in the house. My garage is only heated when I'm out there and I'm a hobby turner so I may get out there a couple times a week at best in the winter.
This is a habit I started years ago for my automotive related paints/waxes, etc.

Leaving a bulb or heater on in a warming box with chemicals or whatever in it makes me nervous.
 
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There used to be an incandescent bulb made for droplights called a rough service bulb with a heavier filament that would probably last longer.
I have one of these in the lights attached to my grinder and my bandsaw. Previously I blew out bulbs pretty frequently. Sounds like you’re saying they are no longer made. I better treat them carefully!
 
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I have one of these in the lights attached to my grinder and my bandsaw. Previously I blew out bulbs pretty frequently. Sounds like you’re saying they are no longer made. I better treat them carefully!
They might be around, but with the led bulbs taking over they may be harder to find. Thats one thing nice about an led bulb, takes some serious vibration and dont break.
 

Bill Boehme

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I.bought a metal.storage cabinet at.Goodwill. I glued 1" styrofoam to the inside. I put a 100.watt.light bulb in the bottom and a thermostat in the top that controlls.that bulb. I put a thermometer up there. I set the thermostat to maintain a 70 degree temperature. The only downside is.it seems.to.burn out those bulbs fairly quickly. I keep thinking I will buy some kind of chicken incubator heater but always forget.
I keep.all.of.my glues and paints in there.


Cold is not normally something that we have to deal with, but what you need is a thermostat with a wider temperature deadband. The old-style mercury switch home thermostats had crudely adjustable deadbands, but it might take a bit of twiddling. The switching setpoints were dependent upon a mercury-filled glass tube that would cam over-center as the bimetal spiral temperature sensor coiled and uncoiled with changes in temperature. A relay would be needed to switch the high current load of the tungsten lightbulb.

If you have an unused home HVAC digital thermostat with adjustable deadband (or at least several degrees if fixed deadband) that would be even better, but you still would need a relay.

I just noticed that Gary Beasley already offered up this solution. BTW, you can still find rough service bulbs for garage door openers.
 

john lucas

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i just used a standard home thermostat I got at Lowes. It works fine. My old shop was not heated and without my set up I would have had to throw away most of my finishes and glues. Here are some photos of my setup.
 

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john lucas

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John, this is tremendously helpful! Your picture jolted my memory. I’ve got an unused thermostat from an electric baseboard heater that I bought years ago, before I discovered it was the heater that failed, rather than the thermostat. Looks very similar to yours. I’ve also got a similar cabinet. It will be a major job to empty it and add insulation, but a way overdue chance to thin through some no-longer-used finishes, fluids, etc., that I can get rid of. What wattage light bulb do you use? Thanks all for these terrific responses!
 
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