We condition the air in the work spaces to maintain our health and comfort, the moisture content of the wood, and the character of the finishes.
Air conditioning the machine room with conventional equipment seemed problematic because of the dust. But we designed and built a return air plenum with many square feet of industrial filters, and eliminated the problem of dust on the cooling coils. We run the fan all the time.
The air is cleaner. We test with a particle meter.
In this part of Texas, heat and humidity are high much of the year. (But winters are mild.) We used to have an assembly room with a window unit where we put chairs together and stored the work in progress at night. But it was hot and humid in the machine room all day long. Assembling chairs was the preferred duty.
Wood is like a dense sponge. Water in the air flows in and out of it with changes in temperature and relative humidity. It swells as water flows in. It shrinks as it flows out. It comes to equilibrium and remains stable when the temperature and relative humidity are constant. We maintain the relative humidity at 45-50% and a temperature of 70-75% in our buildings--close to an average of the ideal indoor conditions in homes and businesses across the US.
We used to finish chairs with solvent based, oil finishes out on a covered porch for ventilation. You can't oil a chair when the rain is blowing, so weather made scheduling difficult and drying times unpredictable. Drying time is the most critical component of oil finishes. Enclosing the porch and conditioning that space gave us control and comfort. We can promise delivery times. We produce a consistent sheen. We work at ease.
We have changed to an oil finish without solvents, but drying time remains the variable most important to control. We do.
We varnish table tops with a brush. At 45-50% relative humidity and 70 degrees, that varnish flows out flat and flawless. Changing either temperature or humidity, just a little, means lap marks, brush strokes, runs...all kinds of mayhem. But we are in the room with the VOC's, so we built a scrubber.
We built a scrubber, a carbon filter, to capture the VOC's. We draw the conditioned air out of the finishing areas through the filter and return it--removing VOC's and dust, while maintaining optimum temperature and humidity.