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Tools and Cold

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by HaMMerHeD, Jan 1, 2013.


  1. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Hey folks. So, we've had sub-freezing temperatures for a couple weeks in a row around here. I've also had a number of tool failures in the same period of time. I had a Japanese saw blade snap in half, the table adjustment handle of by bandsaw crumble, broken router bits, a snapped off forstner head, breaking drill bits, and even a broken clamp head.

    Have you guys had this kind of thing happen with tools in the cold? Last winter wasn't as cold, and my shop isnt heated.

    So is this crap just coincidental?
     
  2. bassteban

    bassteban

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Location:
    Northern California
    I've never done cold like THAT- Im from Cali, so I am no expert- but it sure seems a bit beyond coincidence. What kind of numbers are we talking?

    Edit: Ah- sub- freezing, I see now
     
  3. sharp8874

    sharp8874

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    The cold might have something do with it. Since some of the tools are starting out cold and then heat they could be under more stress from the rapid change in temp. Also I think I heard somewhere that cold metal is more brittle than warm metal. Just a myth though.
     
  4. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Between 7 and 30 degrees
     
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  6. iamlowsound

    iamlowsound

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Listowel/KW Ontario
    Yep, that would be causing it. Going from cold to really hot by way of friction is causing expansion cracking. Imagine taking a glass dish out of the freezer and putting it straight into a hot oven, it would crack, just like your tools. Get a space heater, or two and fire them up an hour before you hit the shop.

    lowsound
     
  7. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Thanks.

    As I am presently without a dust collection system, im not sure a space heater is a very good idea.
     
  8. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Woodworking / finishing really needs to be done in a climate controlled area. You'll be amazed how much wood moves based on external environmental conditions (temperature and humidity).
     
  9. slappa_dat_bass

    slappa_dat_bass

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    I'm an auto mechanic by profession, so take it from me: metal fails in the cold ten times more than when its warm. I don't know if it becomes brittle or what, but it isn't coincidence that I replace more broken tie rod ends, universal joints, ball joints, etc. when the temps drop below freezing.
     
  10. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    NH
    Disclosures:
    Builder: ThorBass
    Best to put those forstner bits down your pants for a few minutes first!
     
  11. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Sounds like a cheap and easy vasectomy.
     
  12. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    I've never actually thought about this before, but then again it's never happened to me before. I suppose its possible, but I worked for seven seasons doing carpentry up north through the winters. We worked down to -40 C and lower a few times, and worked regularly at -20 C and I never experienced tool failures like those described. Trying to work wood at those temps though is like trying to wrangle a greased pig. Thankfully all we did was framing and rough work.

    A caveat of my experience is that I worked for a huge multimillion dollar international company so everything we had, right down to our nail punches, was top of the line in quality, which may have affected the lack of breakage. Even inside the shop tents with propane heaters, it would only be a few degrees warmer than outside. Man, looking back, I'm glad I no longer do that stuff!
     
  13. reverendrally

    reverendrally

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    Oil filled bar heater. ;) Takes a little longer, but there is no exposed element.
     
  14. ddtkills

    ddtkills

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    yes metal can stress fracture with extreme changes in temp. You should try being less "aggressive" with your feed rates and cutter/drill speed. that way the metal warms up at a slower rate and can expand at a non critical rate.

    +1 on getting a cheap oil filled space heater. they are low temp on the surface and the element is encased in the fluid and not exposed.
     
  15. pie_man_25

    pie_man_25

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Location:
    Windsor, ON.
    cheap, probably, easy, well, to get it down there I suppose would be easy, but the pain might not be:ninja:
     

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