My brother owns a small hipster pizza place and I wanted to make him a fancy pizza peel and here is what he is getting for Christmas. The center is made from maple with very intense curly figure, then there is a strip of wenge, an African hardwood followed by Honduran mahogany, then a bookmatched piece of poplar partly because it is pretty, partly because it is fairly light, then cherry with a bit of curly figure in it. I wanted the handle to be more graceful and the center boss just came out clunky so I am going to cut it off and just have a flowing curve to the handle.
Came out rather nice. Its almost 21" wide about 3 1/2' long.
As someone who has done the community garden thing in a number of places, you are unlikely to be able to feed yourself out of the typical community garden plot. Even in California where I live despite being able to harvest tomatoes and peppers into November and even sometimes December the growing season in most places just isn't long enough and the size of the typical plot is too small to allow you real succession planting.
What most of us shoot for is some combination of better tasting veggies and or ones that growing at home either reduced the worst pesticide crops or ones that growing in real soil will increase their nutritional value.
Okay, we just beat the $1 threshold. We are offering German manufactured Qcell 275s along with APS microinverters, all brand new equipment AND racking for $.95 a kilowatt. That is an amazing price and won't last too long. Anyone who buys through here I will donate my commission to Permies as I didn't start this thread to make money but anyone in solar will tell you that this deal is amazing and I wanted to pass it on.
frank li wrote:Poor men cant afford cheap utility infrastructure and power elecrtonics!
Once you have installed and owned solarworld, outback, sma, magnum, fronius etc, you get spoiled, and in a good way. By comparison the cheapies are... well cheap, you cannot beat spending a few cents per watt more for good quality from companies with 30-plus year history of transferrable warranty that almost never needs to be replaced under warranty! Cheers.
I agree, which is why we only sell 1st quality Tier 1 equipment and you in fact mention some of the stuff we carry like SolarWorld, SMA, Fronius, etc.
I didn't post this to troll for customers but if you want to send me a purple mossage me, I am happy to tell you more. With us, you don't have to spend $250k to get good pricing. For example we offer to our customers our design service with is $100 for a turnkey residential grid tie system, that isn't just a line drawing, that is a complete permit package.
Oh, and we don't sell blemished or damaged goods, we donate them to places like Habitat for Humanity. We recently had some panels with broken glass and we donated them to a local tech school for use in various projects.
There are lots of suppliers out there who can and should be able to do this. You can find cheaper panels but currently we have German made and US made panels in the $.55 to $.70 per watt on the panel end and with a string inverter you are well under $1 a watt. I won't list my company as I am not advertising but other major wholesalers like Soligent, CED, and others should be able to match our prices. Online resellers and places like Ebay will probably remain high so I just wanted to pass this info on so people can get the most solar for the money.
China told everyone they were going to install gigawatts this year, everyone ramped up inventory then they cancelled. You can call this government stupidity or a move to crush foreign competitors but regardless, it means there is a glut of panels on the market for at least the next two quarters. Prices will probably rise a bit toward the end of the second quarter next year.
Pallets are FREE...oh boy! They are useful intact, making a three bay compost bin with full pallets is the best use of them well, that and big bonfires. Taking pallets apart takes a fair amount of work and yields relatively little useful wood. It looks good on Pinterest but you don't see the labor involved or how much cheating was done.
Best way to get free wood is look for large construction sites, the sheer volume of great material they throw away will shock you. I once got 400 board feet of clear vertical grain old growth redwood interior trim that would have cost easily $1,000.
The other source for good cheap wood is fence boards, both new and used. Fencing companies remove old wood fencing in blocks of 4 feet usually, throw legs on one and you have a rustic table. They will actually come apart using a lot of usable wood for relatively little effort. Play your cards right and the fencers will sometimes drop them off for you to save the cost of going to the dump.
Buying new fence boards is pretty cheap, its what I build my raised beds out of. They are less than $3 at most box stores.
Another tip is ask if they have any rejected wood. I just got 200 redwood fence boards from Lows for $200, rejected because they had gotten wet and mildewed a bit...LOL!
So, a couple of thoughts. Mimosa trees are fairly drought tolerant and have deep tap roots, they produce a LOT of biomass, feed bees like crazy and fix nitrogen. They seed prolifically so they have that going for themselves as well.
Also, since you are in Barstow, Fresno is a long drive but the there are underground gardens there that were built for a similar climate and might yield some interesting ideas
What is the downside to using the center pith and sap wood? Just that it is a lighter color, or is it weaker or split because of the different moisture content before drying?
That seems like such a simple question but it beggars the the whole requisite knowledge of how to go from firewood to furniture. If you are going to mill for slabs you need to learn the difference between quarter and plain sawn wood, what part of the tree is the bole and how grain affects the movement of wood. As for the pith, it has no strength, and it is very movement/warp prone.
Its worth about -$5,000 or so, as in she will have to pay $2,500 to $5,000 to have someone cut it down.
Wood is worthless, what adds value to wood is cutting it down, moving it to a kiln, stacking it properly, drying it, throwing away to stuff that twists or cracks, then storing, shipping and transporting it.
ESPECIALLY since it is such a tiny tree, its best use is firewood. To get decent say 8" wide boards, you need a tree at least about 24" in diameter because the outside of the tree is sapwood and has no value and the center is pith and it is no good either.
Walnut grows like weeds and really isn't all that valuable unless you have a really big old tree that is four or five foot in diameter.
I done have the math answer of the density of sawdust that will ignite but I can tell you if it is dense enough to ignite, you are going to have one hell of a lung problem when you get older.
In other words, you shouldn't be letting your woodshop get that dusty as that is a killer, wooddust at that level definitely can cause health problems even if you are just using pine and domestic hardwoods.
Heidi Hoff wrote:Thanks for all the input, everyone! Keep it coming!
Our situation is not urban: think small country town surrounded by farmland and forests. Gentrification is not a very real threat because we simply would not attract folks with the kind of money that gentrification implies. The people who have already expressed some interest are young couples who see tiny houses as ideal starter homes, people who do not want to carry enormous debt to own their dwelling, and retirees who are ready to significantly downsize and simplify their lives.
If you are trying to attract young people, make sure their is high speed internet and things to allow telecomuting as well as home based businesses as many work online.
Heidi Hoff wrote:
Does anyone know the status of Jay Shafer's new village? It is an interesting model, but we are trying to avoid the RV park or mobile home park zoning. We would like these small houses to be built on foundations (or, more likely, slabs), with permanent electrical and water hook-ups. These will probably not be houses that can easily be moved on trailers.
I linked it because it is a similar concept, the addresses I posted are ones that are built along the lines of what you are seeking to do. The one problem with tiny homes is the infrastructure cost, even shared is quite similar to a larger home so keeping the cost down is a challenge but its a beautiful idea and i will follow the thread closely.
While I don't think "tiny houses" is a new concept, Jay Shafer did a lot to popularize them with his Tumbleweed homes and now Four Lighthouses. He is working on a small "village" concept HERE.
I am sure these exist in a lot of communities but I know in Sacramento we have at least a half dozen 40x160' lots that had double rows of small 1 bedroom houses on them, most are darling, all of them bring a premium and increase rather than decrease the value of the surrounding properties, all good things to use to "sell" the idea. If you want pictures, I would be happy to provide them. 3400 H Street, Sacramento, CA is one you can google, 3932 M Street, Sacramento, Ca is another one.
As someone who is an odd mix of interests and views, tends to find common ground in opposing "camps" on a host of subjects AND someone who tends to get into flame wars I can tell you with confidence, well moderated boards such as this one attract and keep the best posters and have the best discussions, moderation makes or breaks a site.
Having been moderated and corrected here I can assure you guys you are doing the right things for the right reasons to get the right results.
Make a flyer and ask at local lumberyards if you can put it up, bring them some treats a few times to incentivize them to talk up your project. In my experience there is more waste wood and sawdust than you could ever use if you ask around.
Hollow door built of marine grade plywood is going to last as long as a solid wood door but be VASTLY lighter. Simple torsion box construction will make it solid, stuff it with whatever insulation and then lay on the other side and voila, thick, solid feeling door that weighs a LOT less than solid wood.
Its not just hinges that need to be stout, the leverage on the wall or post that those hinges are mounted to is a lot with a 6+ foot wide door, think what you can do with a 6' lever and your weight, imagine what a 1/2 ton (say a solid oak door) can do?
Funny I saw this thread as I have been thinking about a round door for my olive tree, its massive and overgrown, the branches reach the ground in what must be a 30' diameter circle and its a wonderful open dark space underneath and I have been thinking about adding a door to get under its leaves. I don't need to insulate so I am going to make the door with false hinges and have it pivot at the 1/3 mark, might even counterbalance it so there is little if any stress on the frame.
I want to thank everyone who posted on this thread as I stole a number of things from here to improve the class I gave yesterday. Instead of the circular saw I used a scroll saw and it was SO much better for everyone! We tore apart some discarded fencing, cherry picked the wood and using the good parts built a very serviceable adirondack chair. Still tweaking the design, I am going to use 2x4s for the arms and back pieces but I am trying to keep them light and simple instead of my normal overbuilt tanks. Anyway, walking a few people through each step along the way, standing back and letting them puzzle their way through problems, everyone felt more confident when they were done and we built the chair in just a few hours. Using a chop saw one could crank a good half dozen our more out over a weekend as long as you found the fenceboards.
One thing I want to stress is that a good workbench at the right height, especially one with a proper woodworking vise will make everything you do vastly easier and safer. I used to think they were an affectation but having used them, they are a godsend.
Don't forget the original cordless drill...Can be had cheaply for $20 just make sure the jaws are not missing or too heavily damaged, these grip modern screw bits perfectly, they are not as fast as a drill but will go anywhere and help build strength too. Learn to sharpen the bits, rusty ones work fine but WILL need to be sharpened.
Also, find a saw shop that will sharpen western style saws, almost nobody sharpens Japanese saws, the blades are super hard and last but are mostly then tossed. Sharp western saws are a dream to use and unlike Japanese saws can be guided and corrected if your line starts to wander. Western saws can be had cheap and you find cool old Disston's once in a while, I have one from the early 1900s and another from the late 1800s, both work great.
Stanley makes a line of saws that are shorter than a standard full size D handled saw but longer than a classic Japanese pull saw, they have a stiffer blade than a Japanese saw so you can guide the blade easier, they are also relatively cheap. Great all around saw.
I love double digging my garden beds. I drag mulch in from other places. There are weeds that I think should be eradicated. The moment I hear "should" is often the moment that I do the opposite just for spite. I even garden in raised beds.
I see permaculture as a tool, not a religion and tools are good for some jobs and not others.
Right now, the property I am revitalizing was scraped almost down to hardpan is is mostly clay with little organic matter other than a smattering of weeds. So I am dragging in mulch, i have raised beds that I mulch between, the goal being at some point removing the beds, rototilling all the decomposed mulch from the paths and the soil in the raised beds into something that can be row cropped and at that point, I will probably moved toward tilling less if any.
I think there are things that do well in a guild certainly but its also amazing what burying a few carp in your orchard will do it for it as well.
Oh, and I second the potato chips and coffee, just finishing my morning cup now...
Both of these companies offer great stuff and have solid service, there are cheaper places sometimes to buy these things but these will show you a lot of cool things that are out there, both have woodworking and gardening stuff.
Someone mentioned hoes, one thing that will help anyone but especially anyone struggling with the effort of using one, learn to sharpen them, you can do it with a stone mounted on a drill or dremel, a course sanding disk or of course a disk grinder. Picking up a cheap chinese grinder at a garage sale is handy if you are doing much of this, there is a leaning curve there as wll, most critical one is present the edge to the wheel with the blade down below the center line, do it above and it might catch. If you find yourself hammering through weeds, sharpen it and try again, amazing difference, you don't need or want a razor sharp edge but more like a dull kitchen knife sharp.
Remember that most tool handles never break because they are overbuilt and thicker than they need to be. Don't be afraid to sand one down and make it thinner. Also, if it has a short handle see if you can replace it with a longer one.
Drills I agree with everything you wrote about drills but wanted to add a couple of things. Unless you are using some uber battery powered drill, corded drills rock. I build a lot of items using a Kreg jig, and I use a corded power drill to drill holes and a battery powered drill to drive the screws because drilling the holes sucks the battery down fast.
Saws Jigsaw/Saber Saw Thank you for this! I don't use a saber saw much but what you wrote was brilliant! I am very much going to change my presentation to cover the saber saw because you made your point so eloquently!
Circular saws Are tricky but a couple of things make a huge difference, using a lighter homeowner model does make it somewhat easier, but using the right blade and the a SHARP one makes a world of difference.
Chop Saws Great tools
Radial Arm Saws Is a great tool to have on a homestead, available cheap used ($100-$150) all the time. They are not without their risks and are not as safe as chop saws. Again, using the correct blade made for a chop saw (NOT a table saw blade) will make them safer but they are SO handy if you have room for one!
Table Saws Are a very difficult and scary tool to use without being shown how to use one first. In addition, one needs to know how to align the fence and the blade correctly or wood will bind and either burn or do nasty things and scare the snot out of you. Using a correct blade and one that is sharp makes for a HUGE improvement on one as does having the fence correctly aligned, there are a host of youtube videos on that process.
Hand SawsWestern saws cut on the forward stroke, Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke and have smaller handles. Using saws on wood, it is important to know that you need a TWO kinds of saws. If you are cutting WITH the grain, from the top of a board to the bottom, you need a RIP blade and if you are cutting across the grain, you need a CROSS CUT blade:
This is true of all cutting tools although today they make amazing combo blades but it is useful to understand this concept. Think of wood as fibers running lengthwise, if you are cutting along the fibers you need shovels to sever them and lift them out, if you are cutting across the fibers, you need knives to sever them. Stanley makes a small handsaw that is like a western version of a Japanese saw called shark that is both cheap and easy to use.
One of the things I emphasis in my classes is that having a good workbench makes doing any of this VASTLY easier. No it won't lift heavy beams up onto it but it makes using any tool easier, safer, and more accurate. Drilling some holes for bench dogs and adding a simple vise makes doing a lot of jobs vastly easier
, Sturdy legs and a plywood top are all you need, it doesn't need to be heirloom quality to be a great bench.
An even simpler addition to your basic flat stable workbench is a saw hook, it just sits on top of a bench has a leg that hangs over the face and another on on the top and allows you to cut things easily...
K Putnam wrote:Websites? Books? Women out there with blogs? I'm open to suggestions.
A good place to start for woodworking are two common woodworking stores, one is Woodcraft in Seattle and another is Rockler's stores in Seattle both offer classes and many are in touch or even host local woodworking groups. Another option is to google woodworking groups in your area, Seattle seems to be full of them.
And frankly, lifting big beams isn't easy for many of us. I recently had a chance to scrounge a bunch of scrap wood and I had to leave the 16' foot long 4x6 beams because they were just too heavy to lift out of the dumpster.
If you don't mind answering, you mentioned you could lift 50lb stuff but are struggling using your power tools, can you expand a bit on what tools you are struggling with? I am curious if you are trying to use a full size worm drive circular saw rather than a lighter model and what sort of infrastructure would you like to build and what issues building it daunt you?
I am slowly working toward setting up a woodworking school primarily for youth and I am going to offer to paths, one is female only the other is co-ed. Goal is to nurture girls in the mechanical arts with a focus on hands on use of math and geometry as well as tools, combining both wood and metal work. Only real obstacle I have at the moment to starting is still working out the insurance portion, I have the tools, the space, the teachers and the network.
I do adult ed stuff with a local permaculture meetup group and when I do the woodworking stuff it is about 2/3 women. I was very proud when a woman who had taken a few of my classes and at first was very timid around powertools announced in another class she had taken the confidence she had gained in my classes and designed and built her own wooden chicken coop.
Eric Youngren wrote:A great way to mount solar PV arrays to metal roofing is to use standing seam roofing and "S-5!" ( www.s-5.com ) aluminum clamps that squeeze down on the vertical part of the roofing (the "standing seam"). Onto those clamps you mount the aluminum rails and then the PV panels onto the rails. This will work with any type of framed panels. Its nice because it is quick, you don't have to drill holes through your brand new metal roofing and the clamps can be positioned wherever is convenient.
As someone in the wholesale solar PV business as well as a MFG of solar PV racking, we recommend S-5 clamps all the time for metal roofs, very sanitary installation method.
There are a couple of "best/cheapest" ways to get solar. Doing it all yourself is certainly one. Another is buying the equipment directly ($1-$1.50 per watt for turnkey systems) and then hiring a contractor to do the install and most will charge +/-$1 a watt for the work. Another alternative is to have a contractor friend charge you full retail ($4-6 a watt) for the system and take the 30% federal tax credit off the top and then what you and your friend actually do about the cost is up to you.
I'm thinking about making permaculture-education videos as one idea... Just not sure how to make money off them...
Tara, you are going to be hard pressed to sell videos on permaculture without credentials. I am not commenting on whether that is a good thing or not but its a simple fact.
That said, your ability help people produce videos IS a VERY valuable skill and that is what I would try to market. I watch a lot of youtube stuff and most of it is about on the level of either paint drying or "mystery science theatre 2000" mockumentary stuff and only entertaining because it is fun watching a train wreck.
You can be the miner or the guy selling shovels to the miner, you have the skills to be selling video shovels. I would love to find someone local who had your skills.
Contact roofing and solar PV installers. I don't know about Colorado but here in CA, both of those groups take hot water systems off and mostly junk them unless they have lots of copper or aluminum and then they scrap em.
Other than for making compost bins, I have never understood the fascination with taking apart pallets for the wood because better scrap wood seem so common. Now it could just be luck on my part but my only problem with free lumber is either where to store it or how to say no to more. Now you are asking yourself is this guy full of crap? Oh, most certainly but not on this topic.
The above image is just part of what I pulled out of the 40' dumpster full of lumber from a large jobsite. What you can't see is that most of what is leaning against the dumpster is vertical grain/quartersawn oldgrowth redwood tongue and grove planking, probably $400 worth or the twelve pieces of 4x6 beams that are 6' long, and there is more left in the dumpster.
So, here is what you do. When you see a large jobsite, ask the foreman if you can get their scraps, be polite, tell them what you are looking for and if it is juicy material, drop them off a box of donuts or offer veggies. Guys who put in fences pay to dump all that old fencing and often much of it is good 4 to 5 feet with only the bottoms bad. Most cut them of in sections and I have often just screwed on a base and made tables out of them. Go to lumber yards, explain you have a farm/homestead and want scrap wood. Ask to put up a flyer, even better work with a non profit so they can get a write off. Another good source is larger cabinet shops, I have seen larger ones with 40' dumpsters full of walnut and maple. My all time best was a place that made wooden exercise equipment, I got pallets of baltic birch plywood and 2" thick maple scrap that was often 2 to 3' long, enough to supply several local HS shop classes. Working with a school if you can find one that still has a wood shop will open just about ANY door and just offer to split the wood with them, everyone will be happy.
Matt Stern wrote:I always used regular old boiled linseed oil from the hardware store until I found out it is not actually boiled, just full of icky additives that make it act like it were boiled. So I switched to this lovely oil which is made the old fashioned way, without any additives besides beeswax. I really like the stuff, but it got me thinking, what other alternatives are there to linseed?
Would olive oil work? Lard? Walnut Oil?
The reason certain oils are used to finish wood is because when they oxidize, they harden, others like olive oil and lard just go rancid.
Raw linseed oil can be used as a wood finish but it can take weeks for it to fully cure. It is for this reason that we use a polymerized linseed oil which is somewhat more viscous than raw linseed oil (making it more difficult to spread and apply) but dries considerably more quickly. The polymerization of the oil is accomplished by applying heat to the oil in the absence of oxygen. Be aware that this process produces a final product that is not the same as the “boiled linseed oil” that you might find on the shelves of home improvement and hardware stores. As counter-intuitive as it seems, boiled linseed oil has not been “boiled” or heated at all but instead has had petroleum-based solvents and metal driers added to it so that it supposedly behaves as if it was “boiled”. The most commonly used heavy metal dryer in “boiled linseed oil” is cobalt that is considered toxic. Additionally, a finish generically referred to as “Danish Oil” is produced by large paint manufacturers and contains some linseed oil but the majority of the components may be carcinogenic, petroleum-based ingredients such as Naptha, Mineral Spirits, and Dipropylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether.
Until the advent of polyeurethane, the best gunstocks were finished with a polymerized oil, it dies much harder than does boiled linseed and is vastly more waterpoof. Downside is that is also vastly more expensive but for using on hand tools, you use so little that it isn't such a big deal.
I don't like this oil in a can because unless you are using it all right away, it WILL harden in that can and you will only get to use a portion of it. Buy a bottle of TRU-Oil], poke a small hole in the aluminium top and store it upside down. Make sure you wipe the top clean with a towel before putting the cap on or you will h ave hell to pay getting the top back offf.
Dale Hodgins wrote: a cast iron Beaver table saw.
I've decided to make a little workshop there, due to this windfall.
Dale, that old table saw has features you can't find on today's saws, it looks to have a rack and pinion adjustment on the fence, something that the old atlas/craftsman saws did, makes them a pleasure to use. Also, forrest makes 8" combo blades that work like a dream on those old saws, if you look at the old B&W Fine Woodworking magazines, you see lots of them before the advertising money required everything to be bigger and new.
That lathe is a great lathe, probably has a #1 morse taper which is common and a 34/16 threaded spindle which is also common and available. Those tools are cheap chinese imports and while serviceable will not hold their edge long. Quality tools sharpened correctly, turning a bowl should be much faster than carving one, there are lots of online plans to make a wolverine style sharpening setup for a grinder, makes keeping them sharp easy and fast.
Now you just need to luck into a good bandsaw and you are set!