Ted’s essays

The Fixer shop upgrade

What I want to do is putter in my shop, fixing things and making things using my head, my hands and my tools. I enjoy metal work, wood work and more, but mostly I enjoy inventing … creating solutions to problems … making life better in little ways … installing smiles on faces.

It is awkward, to say the least, to enjoy that when my shop is 26-degrees Fareinheit. My kerosene heater isn’t real cheap to operate nor is it ideal to be reducing the percentage of breatheable air in my workspace. But I was running it full-throttle just to get the shop UP TO 44-degrees.

Worse, water, paint, cleaners and more were sharing that space. Below freezing is a bad thing for most of them. Further incentive is provided by the savings in house heating and cooling from having the attached garage as a barrier between the outside temperatures and the entire east wall of the house.

Time out. Priority reset.

I pushed a couple of things back in my budget and finally got around to insulating the attic in my shop. The cost, of course, was a consideration. It has been, in fact, the cause of my reluctance. But it turns out that blow-in insulation is VERY AFFORDABLE. Even with a hired hand to run the hose in the attic, I got it done for about 200 bucks – which happened to fit my budget neatly.

Hooray. It is comfortable to visit without turning on the heater and will heat quickly and easily when I want to spend quality time with my tools.


Oh yeah, the quality … The starting point for insulation is around R-19 for 3 1/2″ rolled fiberglass … which is the thickness of studs and most ceiling joists. You might notice that there are no joists visible in these photos. Not only did the blow-in cost less than the R-19 rolls I started off thinking of, my insulation is twice as thick or more…

I suppose I could rake it out to be evenly distributed, but that is very low-pri to me. It varies from thicker-than-I-needed to much-much-thicker-than-I-needed. That’ll do just fine, thanks.