Yep, that’s right. I did some phoning to some insurance companies (urgh) and now am allowed to have my torch inside the garage. Which means, warm(er) in winter and cool in summer! Already my productivity is higher – I hadn’t realised how much of a barrier to work the idea of sitting in a cold wooden box in January was. I’d been putting off going down there without even realising it. It’s so pleasant to be able to go to work and not have to wear four layers and stuff a hot water bottle up your jumper (no jokes, it was the only way I could stay warm while sat still in the shed). I had a heater down there, but the electricity costs were getting ridiculous.
But wait a minute, you say, you’re working with a flame and a kiln! Surely that would heat up your shed?
Sadly not, friends. Physics has something to say about the relationship between volume, heat loss and energy. My shed was actually a summerhouse (which was here when we moved in), and was 3.5m square on the base and 1.5-2.5m high, a volume of (about) 24.5m3. Compare this to the volume of a nice little 6ft shed (1.83m*1.5m*2m) = 5.49m3. So it takes at least six times as much energy to heat up the same volume – and that’s ignoring the fact that a bigger volume has a bigger surface area to lose heat from. Long story short – small shed better.
I did think about getting a smaller shed in the garden, but it seemed pointless when I didn’t even know how much an insurance company would charge to use the torch inside the house, and we didn’t have somewhere flat to put it anyway. After all, I’ve seen that lots of other lampworkers work inside, so it must be possible, and there’s always a thread on the forums about who’s the best insurer and blah blah. So anyway I phoned a bunch and while some of them laughed in my face (well, ear), a few phoned down to ask the underwriters nicely, and eventually I got a quote which was a LOT less than I was expecting. Certainly cheaper than our current house insurance plus the cost of running the shed heater.
And now I’m now happily moved into the garage and enjoying the increased productivity! And a word of advice if you’re thinking about setting up an external uninsulated outbuilding to do your work in – smaller is better, if you want to be warm in winter. Nothing can prevent you cooking in summer, unfortunately, but right now that seems an awfully long time away!