Preventing Freezables from Freezing in a Cold Shop

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“Do you have any suggestions about how to keep the water bath for my water stones from freezing in my shop during cold nights? I heat the shop only when I am working, so it gets below freezing some nights. I have brought the stones indoors for now, but this is very inconvenient.

I have thought about adding some alcohol to the water, but I’m not sure how this will affect the stones. They are King Ice Bear stones (Japanese).”

Submitted by: Scott Bigler

WWGOA Editor Response:

Instead of adding alcohol, or even antifreeze to the water, try making a small heat cabinet in your shop. This can be done by putting an incandescent light bulb in a cabinet. You’ll be surprised how much affect this can have. (I used to hang a light bulb under the hood of a 1972 Ford Fairlane to help it start in the winter.) Start with a low wattage and make certain the bulb isn’t touching anything. You’ll have to experiment to determine how many watts you need for the space you’re keeping warm. A friend of mine uses a 60-watt bulb in an old refrigerator to keep his finishes warm.

Thank you for your question.

George Vondriska

Managing Editor

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39 Responses to “Preventing Freezables from Freezing in a Cold Shop”

  1. Hans

    I see a lot of suggestions for a light bulb or aquarium heater. Aquarium heaters can burn up if they're not submerged. Incandescent bulbs are going to be very difficult to get soon enough. The best option is a Terrarium heater that is designed to work dry, not get so hot that it will burn something & comes with a built in thermostat. For $11 you can get a 6"×12" 7watt mat that will heat a cabinet nicely. If you're concerned that it will not be enough heat, obtain 3/8" to 5/8" foam insulation board to line the cabinet. It is cheap & effective. 7watts will be next to unnoticed on your electric bill & the adjustable thermostat will cycle the unit when not needed. They are designed for a long life & at $11, will not break the bank. This leaves you with more time to purchase tools or unique, specialty woods!!!

  2. Mark Bristow

    My shop stays at 57 degrees in the winter and 75 in the summer. That’s if it is 90 outside. With having just one vent in it.

  3. Mark Bristow

    I used a 40 watt light bulb in my dog house it had clear plastic plyable strips on the entrance. The water bowl sat right next to the entrance. It never froze no matter how cold it got. I even placed a 25 watt bulb in it for the same effect. Now the lightbulb was placed in the ceiling of the doghouse. Now this wasn’t your normal doghouse. The insides was finished with insulation and drywall. The ceiling was 3 foot high the bulbs made it warm and toasty in there. The strips of plastic overlapped each other.

  4. Wayne Kingsbury

    I have a Monitor Kerosene Heater in my very large garage of 1,032 sq. ft. (L-shaped). With the thermostat at its lowest setting of 46 degrees (Fahrenheit), nothing ever freezes during the coldest months and tools stay rust-free (for the past 13 years). Cost runs about $200-250 per year for kerosene delivery by truck.

  5. Brian Mason

    Up here in Canada the simple solution (not a pun) is Windshield washer antifreeze...good to -40 in either scale.I use this all of the time in my tile saw when I am on the job working in a cold garage. It stays liquid overnight ready for use in the morning. I imagine it has lubricating properties too for sharpening.

  6. Tom Shawley

    I use to work up north during the winter we kept welding rods and freezables in a large refrigerator with a 100 watt bulb. It would sometimes drop below 0 deg.F it would stay around 90 deg inside and it was outside setting,

  7. rick

    they make a thermostat for pump houses that kicks on at 38 or 40 for a light or milk house heater. works very well and is inexpensive

  8. James M Becker

    I converted an old chest type freezer into a worm cabinet. I set it on end drilled a small hole for a cord and use a 15 watt bulb to keep everything in it warm to about 55 to 60 degrees. even keeps ear muffs warm as well as glues paint etc. warm. also I put small batteries in it to keep them from discharging early.

  9. Joe K

    This is an excellent idea for your glue and your tool batteries as well. Neither should be allowed to freeze.

  10. Ftanck Gingras

    Hi, I have 2 questions. 1) I'm looking to buy a router table. What would be a good choice ? I will be using it a lot. Cause I would like to make a business out of woodwoking. Some sale-person tell me I should by a route table with a router and some other tell me to by juste the table (I'm confuse). I would like to know what kind is the best for precision work because I like to do inlays. 2) I would like to know what 2 or 3 jigs are mentitory in a workshop, and (if possible) how to make them. Thank you and have a great 2019!