In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Trying To Keep Cool... Literally
Jul 18, 2010
The only tool more common in farm shops than a hammer is some sort of fan to cool things off on hot summer days. In some shops that fan is a simple household fan pirated from the house when the wife wasn't looking. Other shops get by with the lazy air movement from ceiling fans. Neither of those options move enough air to satisfy me on a hot midwestern day, so I bought a couple 2-foot-diameter, large-bladed shop fans that roll on wheels so I can move them around to direct cooling air where I need it most. I've considered and priced huge, 6-foot diameter industrial-grade fans used in factories, but couldn't afford them and worried that their ability to move massive amounts of cfm might be too much in a conventional shop setting.
My co-worker Mark the Scavenger "found" a large squirrel-cage fan with a 20-inch diameter housing, "discovered" an unused 220-volt motor (I'm fairly confident larceny wasn't involved), and created an air-moving-monster that's been know to make grown men stumble if they pass too close to its discharge chute. It creates a nice breeze for quite a distance across the shop, and can create quite a dust storm if a prankster pounds a dirty air filter near the intake hole duct.
But even with store-bought or home-built fans, it's hot in most shops this time of year. Cold water taken internally and applied externally is often the only solace. I've never understood those folks who blissfully work in withering heat without apparent major discomfort. Maybe it's my Scandanavian heritage, but any time the thermometer climbs higher than the upper 80s makes me long for the first frost of the year.