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Eric Hanson

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since May 03, 2017
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Southern Illinois
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Recent posts by Eric Hanson


It’s hard for me to cut trees, but I know it’s occasionally necessary.  When I go looking for chipping material, I get a bit more creative.  I have a nearby neighbor with 40 solid wooded acres.  The problem with these wooded acres is that much is presently overdense.  Oak trees stand 40’ tall, yet have 6” trunks because they are planted sometimes only 2’ apart.  At times I would like to offer to help him thin a small portion by taking maybe 1/4 of the trees out of maybe 1/2 acre just as a test.

In reality, these overdense areas probably need 3/4 trees cut to allow the crown to spread and get some better health to the stand.  This makes logical sense, but it is still hard for me to pull the trigger.

I actually have a similar situation on my own land.  The edge of my woods has numerous oaks and hickories that are too close.  Again, these are 30-40’ tall trees with narrow trunck in some places less than 12” between the trunks!  It is almost a wall of wooden trunks.

I really need to thin these and might well do so this winter, but it is hard for me to do so.

53 minutes ago
Don’t know if this is the best place for this post, but feel free to move to somewhere better.

As a child I had a beloved outdoor cat.  In many ways he was my closest buddy, he had the temerment and loyalty of a dog, but hunted mice ferociously.

One winter, the nights were dropping to below -20F, and although I corralled him into the garage, it was un-heated and maybe 5 degrees warmer than the fridgid outside.

We set up a little cat retreat in the garage.  This consisted of an old doghouse, really a crate used to transport a dog via airport.  The crate was cheap to be certain.  I swear the plywood was 1/8 inch thick.  I can hardly believe it survived the trip, let alone the next 15 years, but it did, but it offered no thermal protection to speak of.

But inside we placed a laundry basket lined with an old sleeping bag.  We placed an old blanket draped over the crate that helped to give the crate a door, and while my cat liked his soft new home, it was still plenty cold.

I wanted to add heat, thought about adding a lamp inside but didn’t like the fire potential.  I remember from school that water has a crazy high specific heat capacity so I decided to fill 3 1-gallon water jugs with hot water and place them at the back.  I stuck them in and waited 2 hours.  After 2 hours I stuck my head in under the blanket and was greeted by a blast of warm, probably 90 degree air.  My cat was purring loudly.

Before we went to bed, we replaced the water, and boiled water to fill one jug, placed it in between the other two hot jugs, tucked the cat in for the night and went to bed.

The temperature dropped to around-25F that night and the garage only got colder.  In the morning I stuck my head back in and my cat was as happy as could be!  Nice and warm for hours!  The water jugs definitely cooled off but we’re still lukewarm with the center one being plenty warm still.  On cold nights, this became the standard way to keep my cat warm on bitter cold nights.

6 hours ago
D Nikolls,

I am not surprised by Ridgid showing up on homesteads. They cover the basics very well, are sturdy and reasonably priced.  Recently they have become quite inventive in their tech.

In my opinion, the biggest strike against them is that they are somewhat heavy.  Milwaukee Tools are light as a feather, but you pay for that!

7 hours ago

Really good points!

Lithium batteries are amazing.  It will be interesting to see how the charge/discharge cycles stand up.  So far mine are doing great.  And if I need to repack, I consider it an investment in good tools.

Backup battery is absolutely a must.  Most kits come with 2 batteries, but I will quickly spend for the 3rd.  I have 5 4ah batteries for my collection and a new 3ah Octane.

Battery commonality is a huge plus!

8 hours ago

I have to say this is a really cool, simple, elegant solution to many off road mobility issues.  I love it.  Great job.

9 hours ago

I like where you are going.

Just for understanding, I really don’t care about the exact truck or trailer size.  Take whatever vehicle to get you to your destination and whatever trailer length you think is required.

Among thoughts I had was a heavily modified US Army 6x6 logistics truck with nice long trailer

Or something like this:

Or this:

Or even something like an American rebuild of this:

Just something to get you there.

9 hours ago

I thought I would add in this addendum:  don’t get stuck on the f350 or exact trailer length.  If you want an army 6x6 pulling an even longer bed, go for it.

My basic thought was that everything goes in one load and once you are there, you are there!

12 hours ago

In my old Ridgid 5 piece kit I have left handed 6.5” circular saw that you absolutely love.  It’s old, brushed motor and all, but I love the left side blade—I can easily see the blade as I cut, and I don’t think I have ever run my battery down on a project.

When I was finishing my basement, I did a lot of drilling masonry and screwing in tapcons.  I would hammer drill all day and screw in tapcons with a same drill all day, some really heavy drilling.  My 4ah lion battery packs  never got drained past the second of 4 battery lights.  That was a gen 4 brushed motor.  I am wondering what my current octane drill would have done.

I always wanted bigger, more powerful battery packs, bu now I as myself why.  Before the basement project I stocked up on battery packs and grew my collection to 5 4ah batteries.  This was to ensure I could have several tools ready to grab at any instant but still have a couple batteries charging.

Milwaukee makes fine tools, no doubt.  In my experience, I have yet to find find the task where I can exhaust any single one of my battery packs in a day.  I have seen the tool shoot out videos and while Milwaukee often wins these competitions, they don’t win by much.  Milwaukee tools do just feel very nice in hand and you can feel the quality just picking it up.  But they are pricey.  As a homeowner, it’s hard to justify their quite high price.

Like I said before, if money were no object and I was re-buying all my tools over again, I would likely go Milwaukee.

Changing subjects altogether, for an essential tool kit, I would go with the following:

All-purpose hammer drill
A secondary drill**
Impact driver/pulse driver ^^
Circular saw
Reciprocating saw
Pistol grip flashlight

Depending on one’s tool proclivities, maybe
Impact wrench

**secondary drill could be another hammer drill, but better would be a lighter weight 18v drill.  All the power but less weight to lug around.  I have owned s hammer drill for over 15 years but only used the hammer part on 2 occasions.

^^there are a LOT of impact drivers out there, but only s few impulse drivers.  I have the ridgid stealth force impulse driver.  It is strikingly more quiet.  It is more powerful.  It drives in screws in the blink of an eye.  I wish these were more common.

All just my thoughts,


12 hours ago

Yes, Milwaukee is VERY nice stuff and they seem to have a cordless option for every arcane tool available.

Ridgid gets the basics, has nowhere near the selection of Milwaukee, but are solid tools for reasonable prices.  I tend to think of Ridgid as an ideal bang-for-buck tool.  The newer gen5x and Octane tools are really pretty nice.  I have the octane hammer drill with octane battery and it is a torque monster.

1 day ago