The Plug

Saturday, November 30, 2013 11:14 AM

You are probably wondering about that title. This is not exactly a woodworking entry, but it is a woodworking support entry, so to speak. If you are wondering what that thing is, it is a 220 plug!! The same kind you use for your dryer and your cooking range. Hang in there, I can explain. If you ever do any woodworking during the Winter, this will all make sense. 

I do not have (cannot afford) a stand alone shop like good old Norm Abrams. So, my shop, as it were, is in my 3-car garage. Most of my equipment is on rollers so all I have to do is move out the cars, roll out the equipment and go to work. That is a very simple thing to do, especially in the warmer months. It usually takes me about 10 minutes. However, during the Winter, it is a little different story. 

I am located in the Colorado Springs area. My house sits at about 7,000 ft. elevation. It does get cold here in the Winter. Not like Montana or Minnesota I am sure, but still very cold. Up until now I have been using a kerosene heater. It works pretty well when the temp outside is not below 30° or so. When the outside temp drops down into the 20’s and teens, then I really cannot get the garage warm enough to work out there. This does limit my Winter woodworking somewhat. Also, working with kerosene is messy. You have to buy the kerosene (K-1) then fill up the heater all the time. You also have to clean the wick on occasion. It is just a lot of work. But, not any more. I am done with it. 

I found the heater you see above online (there are several to choose from). You cannot tell this from the photo, but it is about 14” square. It is made by Marley, a very well constructed piece of hardware. But, here is the problem with this type of industrial, job site heater, they only run on 220 volts!! My shop (my garage) is not equipped with 220. So I had to install a 220 plug to get all this to work. I have been wanting to do this for a while, just tired of messing with kerosene. And, even though this heater runs on 220, it is still cheaper to run than buying K-1 kerosene. 

I got all my parts from Home Depot. Ran into a really knowledgeable employee in the electric department. He took me around and showed me exactly what to get. Then came the installation, what I call the project from hell. Why do I say this? Read on. 

OK, I am 6’3”, a tall guy. To do this install I had to run 10-2 wire from my electric box on the side of my house (on one side of my garage), up through the attic and then down the far wall to where the plug needed to be. So, I spent a bunch of time in the attic above my garage crawling around on my belly (there were some places where I could stand at times) running wire!! This just does not work for a tall guy, let me tell you. To make things worse, once I ran the wire down the far wall, I just could not find it so I had to take out a small piece of wallboard. At long last, and with a great deal of mess, I finally got the plug installed in the wall. 

A 220 plug is easy to wire in, no problems there. But, setting up the circuit breaker in the electric box was a little trickier. The Home Depot guy gave me some good advice here (and so did my son who is a contractor in California) and I finally got it all setup. Of course, you have to turn off all the power to the house (the main breaker) and then turn it all back on again for testing. Nothing blew up, no smoke, no fire. All seemed to be working well. 

By this time I was exhausted so I quit for the day and finished replacing the wallboard and doing cleanup the next day. You should note, I ran the heater all the time I was cleaning up, it worked fantastically. In fact, I had to turn it off, it got too warm in there. 

I am sitting pretty going forward for my Winter woodworking projects. I have not tested the heater on really cold days, but if my minimal testing is any indication, it will perform wonderfully. I guess I should mention, there is not a photo album connected to this project, not much to take photos of except a big mess. Sure is going to be nice to just walk out in the garage and plug in a heater instead of messing with kerosene. Really nice. 

Doug