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Why does the log cabin door feel warm, but the brass handle feels cold?





October 9, 2012

Q. Log cabin:

the body of the door is warm to touch but when you touch the brass handle if feels very cold.

Why is this?

Vicky [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Channel Islands, Guernsey



October 9, 2012

A. Hi Vicky.

I'm scratching my head trying to figure out why the brass door would feel warm, but maybe you and I are making different assumptions about the doors on log cabins? Maybe if you explain where my thinking is wrong we can make some progress? Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




First of two simultaneous responses -- October 10, 2012

A. Ted

You need to get out more. Log cabins have wood doors with brass handles.

Vicky

I suspect it has to do with wood being a poor thermal conductor (or a good insulator) and brass being a good conductor losing heat to the great outdoors.

Willie Alexander
- Colorado Springs, Colorado



Second of two simultaneous responses -- October 10, 2012

A. Hi Vicky,

I'm guessing that the door is made from wood and not brass as Ted assumes. Both the wood and brass handle are probably at the same temperature. But, the much higher thermal conductivity of the brass would cause it rapidly to conduct the heat from your hand. Hence the feeling of cold compare with the wood.

harry_parkes
Harry Parkes
- Birmingham, UK



October 10, 2012

Thanks Willie; thanks Harry. Just trying to get Vicky to participate in the discussion, so she thinks it through, and isn't tempted towards just cutting & pasting    :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



October 12, 2012

Ted,
I thought that you were confusing brass doors with brass monkeys.
Harry

Harry Parkes
- Birmingham, UK



October 13, 2012

Doors, monkeys, mummies ... parts is parts.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



November 22, 2012

A. Yes, a brass handle is a better conductor of heat so it will feel cooler because it takes away the heat from your hand much quicker than the wood door which is more of an insulator.

Having built log buildings in the wilds of northern Canada I must point out that only a very foolish person would put a brass (or any other type of metal) handle on the door of a log cabin in a cold climate. Typically the handles on the doors of log cabins are good sturdy wood ones.

If you have any moisture on a bare hand touching a metal handle in extreme cold, your skin will stick to the handle which can be very painful to remove.

Best wishes, Vic

Vic Evans
- Timmins, Ontario, Canada


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