Reply To: Garage working space

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Larry Geib

The main consideration, I think, will be change in humidity. THis depends on how much you have to heat or cool your house and what the climate offers seasonally.. unless you live in a desert, there will be seasonal humidity swings and they will probably be different than in conditioned space.

Or instance, I used to live n Maryland, USA and the summers were hot and very humid, while the winters were often below freezing and dry.
I ran a dehumidifier in my basement shop which kept the humidity in my shop fairly constant. The house tended to be lower humidity than outdoors in winter because o of the furnace drying out the house, and the air conditioning also kept things indoors drier in Summer.
If my shop were in an unheated garage the humidity swing would have been from 30% to 95% seasonally. The commercial shops I worked in were less well controlled, nearing the sort of situation you describe.

I now live in Oregon, where the summers are dry and the winters are wet, but without a huge temperature swing. So wood movement would be reversed seasonally if I didn’t run a dehumidifier year round here also to regulate humidity.

The main concern is what the differential between where you build stuff and where it ultimately lives it could move a bit after you bring a piece indoors, so you have to account for that in the design.

And you should aclimate your wood to the shop so it doesn’t move during the build. Also, don’t prep your wood and then let it sit. By the time you get back to it, it may move in an unconditioned shop.

With these things in mind, you should be fine. Most of the shops I worked in over the years were barely in the comfort zone at both ends of the spectrum and finished pieces did fine in conditioned houses.

And the glues and finishes you use still have to be within the manufacturers recommendations for temperature and humidity. Glues don’t work well below certain temperatures, and clear finished can get cloudy in very humid climes.