Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Heat Lamps and Warming Tents

Getting back into the shop after the holidays for some boat work, I was scratching my head wondering what to do about the temperatures in the shop. While it isn't bitter cold yet - mostly in the 20s with some lows in the teens - it isn't very warm in the shop either: mid-30s. Since there is still a LOT of work left to be done, I want to be able to work through the winter. So, while checking old posts and a few photos, I was reminded of what I did last winter: Warming Tents (focused on the particular current glue-up]!

This year I've added a heat lamp to last year's collection of work lights and draped black plastic over the work area (instead of a hard-frame structure). Here, the warming light and plastic are in place keeping today's epoxy warm and the heat lamp is clamped in place to pre-warm the next section of the hull.

The sequence that is working for me is:
  • Warm the resin and hardener in a warming box (using a 75W bulb)
  • Pre-warm the section of the hull (between two frames) to be worked with the heat lamp and cover with black plastic
  • Apply the epoxy;
  • Keep the section warm with a 40W warming light and black plastic.
This sequence allows me to work up to two sections of the interior per day. The 250W heat lamp warms the hull section to about 70° in the morning and the 40W warming lamp and plastic maintains a temperature of 60° under the plastic. By the next day the epoxy is cured enough for me to move on to the next section. I may have to vary things a bit when I begin painting.

Oh, yes… Happy New Year to one and all!


  1. Hey Bob, is your shop completely unheated? I use a portable kerosene heater to keep the temps in the habitable range when I'm working in the shop. Mine is similar to the DH2304 here:

    It shouldn't be left burning unattended, though, so you'd likely still need your heat lamps & tents for curing epoxy overnight. Also, I keep a window slightly ajar to vent harmful combustion byproducts. Happy New Year! -ed

  2. Hi Ed, yes, my shop is completely unheated. The heat lamps and tents work to focus heat on small sections but don't do anything for keeping me warm. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll take a look at a portable kerosene heater.

    I'm also working on an air dam for the west-facing overhead door to cut down on the drafts. The shop floor inside that door is wind-swept clean from the draft at the bottom of the door.

    Happy New Year to you, too!

  3. My goodness!
    I have the opposite problem. I'm keeping the epoxy in a VERY cold fridge and only working in the evenings, and with a fan blowing.
    It does get cold (ish) here in winter, but in the eleven years I've lived in the Peel region it's never gone below -3 C.
    In summer it gets to well over 40C.
    Air conditioner and pool get a good workout