Folks, in case you missed it somehow, it has been pretty hot and humid here in central Ohio the last couple of weeks. If you’re one of those with air-conditioned workspaces, please leave now so the rest of us can be envious in peace… For the rest of us, this hot and humid weather does present a couple of challenges that you need to account for in order to work year-round.
First of all, your glue will probably take longer to cure than you are used to. Hide glue in particular is the principal offender in this regard. After all, its solvents are moisture and heat, which pretty well describes the atmosphere right now. Remember, campaign-style furniture was developed precisely because the muggy furnace of India was wreaking havoc on the luggage from England, and joinery was developed to hold firm even when the climate trumped the glue. Other glues are not as markedly affected, but may show retarded curing. So if you have panels to glue up (as we will in an upcoming project!), let them sit overnight, rather than over lunch.
Second, a newsflash: hot weather makes us sweat! While this might not seem like a big deal, remember that your tools are generally made of carbon steel. Smearing them with salt water (sweat) will cause them to rust in short order. This is even more noticeable if you are using metal planes. The ductile iron is extremely susceptible to rust. So be extra vigilant about oiling your tools in this season.
And third, be sure to hydrate! Drink water before you get thirsty (beer does not count!). It might not seem like much, but a dehydrated brain housing group is prone to error. If you are operating machinery, this is especially important. A quick touch of light-headedness because you aren’t getting enough liquid can have some pretty disastrous consequences.
So while those stuffy garages are trying to work in this time of year, a few extra precautions will let you take the suffering without letting your work suffer. Keep at it!