Joel Bercardin

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since Aug 15, 2014
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Living on land for decades. At times a carpenter, retail clerk, freelance writer & editor, business-association manager. I'm a local environmental activist.
Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Recent posts by Joel Bercardin

Hey guys,  wonder f any of you might feel like posting pics and some words on this thread:
your homestead shop situation?
2 days ago
I'd seen a friend using a store-bought retriever to pull items from the front of his truck bed to the rear, or across the bed from one side to the other. It’s called a "cargo management tool". Simple principle. So, I decided to make one. It's basically a long-handled, L-shaped tool.

I used a length of broom stick on hand (52" long), and some 3/8” round steel rod. I forged an eight-inch piece of the steel rod, using an acetylene torch to heat the rod into the bright-orange heat range (around 1700* F), hammering it flat for about three inches on one end, and hammered the opposite end into a fanned-out, duck-bill sort of shape. Then, with the middle portion heated, I bent this metal head to about 90 degrees. A bit of grinding on the working tip rounded it off more and removed burrs. At the other end of the head, the part that would attach to the handle, I drilled a couple of screw holes.

I flattened off about a four-inch portion of one end of the broom stick. I spread some epoxy glue on the flat side of the metal head, applied the head onto the flattened part of the wooden stick, then drove in a couple of short wood screws. 24 hours later, the retriever was ready to use. I keep it in the bed of my truck all the time.

Obviously, the second project (a tree-pruning aid) was simpler to fashion. It’s just an old broom handle with a hole drilled into an end, into which I drove the wood-screw type end of a hardware-store utility hook. Often I’m way up a ladder when I need to pull hard-to-reach fruit-tree branches nearer and make pruning easier, or sometimes just possible at all. Sure, it’s almost effortless to make, but it’s very handy.
1 week ago

John C Daley wrote:You could consider a welding repair business on the side.
I am fortunate I have a collection of different welders and I use them to build and repair cars, gate frames, columns and trusses for sheds,
I weld bench frames together and make new tools for sale.
Think about saving for a plasma cutter so you can cut steel for broadfork tynes for a start.

This is essentially a good idea. I've never hung out a shingle for $ jobs like that myself — there are quite a few guys around here equipped to weld, and some have long been doing it commercially. But i do barter this way... make trades for various sorts of things.
2 weeks ago
Marc, may I suggest you post some pics of your progress with the outdoor furnace? Along with anything you'd care to say about your design concept, interesting or tricky parts of the construction process, and the like. For instance, did you buy most of the materials new? or find a lot of them as scarp?

My suggestion would be to add to this existing thread:
3 weeks ago
Marc, congratulations on getting your welder. It’s true that the projects will find you, be they repairs or actual constructions.  But here are a couple places where I’ve shared some useful things I’ve made.  On these threads, other people shared their projects too. (Please add pics of your own, when you’ve done them.)

There are a few welded ones on here…

There’s a firewood rack I made for our porch that you can see if you scroll down on this page…
3 weeks ago
Most of British Columbia is prolific and never lost its wildlife — it also indulges an incredible range of ‘weeds’… both native plants and introduced ones that have escaped. For good harvests of healthy veggies & fruits, virtually everyone here has to put in time weeding.

Here’s a very useful, simple tool you can make. I made mine because I found the the common small three-fingered garden claw to be too clumsy when working right near the roots of our productive plants.

I cut a piece of 1/4” mild-steel rod about 9″ long. You can bend this by heating in a forge or… I heated nearly half of the rod into the bright-orange heat range using acetylene, and used a piece of 2″ diameter steel pipe (in a vise) as a form for shaping. Used a hammer to form the hot end of the rod into the question-mark shape. After making the basic shape and letting it cool, I re-heated the very tip-end of the rod and hammered it to a taper, also causing a slight flaring at the end of the profile. After this taper was established, I did a bit of grinding to remove any burrs and to give final shape to the tip.

I made a handle from a piece of ash wood, a 5″ section of an old broken shovel handle. I shaped that into a comfortable handle, and once I liked the feel of the shaped handle I drilled a 5/16″ hole about 2″ into one end and cleaned it out well. I scored shallow grooves into the shank end of the rod, and then coated about an inch and a half of this shank-end with a fairly thin layer of epoxy glue. After pushing the shank into the handle, I let the glue set and cure for a couple days.

When we have to do heavy weeding, we use a hoe for the broad-scale work. But a lot of the work of weeding needs to get down into tiny areas just around the roots desired plants in a vegetable bed, and this tool weasels right in there.
1 month ago
We and some of our friends and neighbors have established "pond weed" (elodea, see picture) in our ponds.

This plant had been recommended as an oxygenator, and in some cases it has worked out well. In the case of friends of ours with a series of connected ponds (total volume being at least 18,000 gallons), it's now wildly uncontrolled and taking over their clay-bottom ponds! Despite the weed clogging, our friends still have great water flow-through from a natural spring on their land, and they're afraid that the ponds' outflow water could carry reproductive bits from the weed down as far as the river, not very far below their land.

Any knowledge about how people can eradicate the plant once it's established in earthen-bottom ponds?
2 months ago

Amber Adams wrote:This isn't something I've designed, but I recently came across this guy's YouTube channel and I'm definitely going to make his plastic bottle cutter

You're right, Amber, he's got a good Youtube channel going — I've bookmarked it. Thanks.
5 months ago

Gary Bogdan wrote:So happy I found all these homemade gadgets !
My neighbor has a weld shop and would be Interested in sure . What I would like is an auger big enough to dig 2' wide holes so I could plant , say a quarter acre of berries and also plant a 3 sisters or 5 sisters garden , using the auger to dig the hills

Two-inch (and larger) augers are often found in the conveyor mechanisms of various machines, so could be the source for that part. Then something might be welded up, for fitting into a drill. Gary, maybe you or your neighbot could take some pics here of useful gadgets made by you or by him?
5 months ago

Jay Angler wrote:Permies who have "time" just because of self-isolation may be a rarer breed than you think!

Thanks for the response, Jay. I'm no stranger to living on a homestead and pursuing tasks & projects — been doing it for decades, and so have most of my friends.  Homesteaders aren't generally a lazy bunch just yearning for something, anything to do with their excessive down time. LOL  Nor do I think that people practicing backyard permaculture are folks without things to do.  All I can think of is that possibly you took my post in a different way than I intended it... and anyway the post was not aimed at you specifically, Jay.

However, all the above aside, there still may be some people who, for instance, used to go to work at an off-homestead job who now are not able to do this, for one reason or another — and who may be working on something such as what this thread is about. My shout out was to that sort of Permies member.

5 months ago