Kenneth Elwell

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since Jan 01, 2018
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Artist/Designer, Maker.
Metalworker, Blacksmith, Machinist, Welder, Woodworker, Builder, Farmer, Composter,
Pie Aficionado.
Boston, Massachusetts
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Recent posts by Kenneth Elwell

Michael Cox wrote:The nearest analogous equivalent is Patreon, when patrons make pledges to individual content creators. There is no expectation of a physical product at the end, or of a particularly invovative creation necessarily. It is just a way of supporting someone who is doing something you approve of.

So, "Permieon"?
or maybe even better, "Permie-on!"
"Permie-on, Wayne! Permie-on, Paul!"
Maybe the season for thermal storage and the season for mosquitos don't overlap. Fill it up just before heating is needed, no bugs in the water if it's dry...
Insect screen over openings if for some reason your system needs to be open, or lids/caps/plugs to keep the bugs out (or trapped inside).
Fish? something else that eats mosquitos/larvae?
High flow pumping? maybe grind bugs up? or trap them in-line in a screen?
UV filter like for a hot tub? Other salvaged hot tub equipment could also provide heat enough to prevent freezing/protect your crops, and a pump...
1 day ago
If there's any accessories (desk brackets, shelves, etc..) then they become more useful. I'm guessing not.
If you have welding/fabrication skills, that opens more possibilities than using them whole or cutting and bolting together sections.

A.) in pairs: firewood racks
B.) cut down to make workbench legs
C.) cut apart and use the sections to build whatever...
D.) trade them for ca$h money as scrap metal, buy something you need, maybe chocolate. (haven't sold steel for a while, I have heard some places have a ton minimum load for steel & iron)
D.1) sometimes the scrap dealers have interesting stuff taken as scrap set aside to resell, or trade.

E.) the levelling feet could be reused in a new project, unscrew them all and save those if nothing else.
E.1) you maybe could Ebay/Craigslist the feet for more money than the frames. (options D & E go well with each other --save the feet, scrap the frames--, in fact if the feet have plastic, the scrap guy may stiff you for it not being ALL steel)
6 days ago

Dana Bausch wrote:We use an extrusion that ha a 1” air space that is an insulator itself but we can fill that space with insulation. Lifeguards tell us our shelters are cooler than wood or fiberglass. Lots of details to work out - just evaluating - thanks for comment

Dana, in conventional, wooden, "stick frame" construction, the framing/studs (2x4, 2x6, etc...) are a source of heat loss due to thermal bridging. Modern, "advanced framing" techniques strive to reduce this by eliminating redundant elements, and by other means such as furring strips for interior finish (Mooney wall), double offset stud walls (one side holds sheathing/exterior, the other the interior, and they don't touch), and exterior insulation.
Your hollow extrusion faces are connected by sides and/or inside webs, and aluminum is a conductor (wood is at least a poor insulator).

I'm going guess that where your structures are located (oceanside lifeguard shelters) that the environment has a lot to do with the perceived comfort of them. People go to the beach to escape the heat for the cooler "sea-breeze", which might also be carrying away heat from the shelters due to their conductive nature. They are also a shady spot in an otherwise wide-open sunny area, so that too "feels" a bit cooler.
I'm not sure I'd want to try one of these in a wintry location, unless it were blizzard conditions just to escape the wind.

Aluminum is strong and durable in the elements. As a lightweight pre-fabricated structure, it seems like a decent idea since it would be a good combination of structure and envelope, but insulation and finish would have to happen all-over the inside, I think it would be a loud and inhospitable box otherwise.
1 week ago
A simple thing for just about anyone to do is to keep your tire pressure at the correct amount. It is especially good to check when the weather turns colder, since the pressure will drop with temperature.
Your fuel economy will suffer on underinflated tires, and you have less control. You can even damage your tire or have a blowout by driving with it too low on air.
You'll also get better life from your tires because they will wear unevenly if over/underinflated (also if misaligned or with worn suspension parts).

You will earn back all the quarters for the gas station tire pump in better fuel economy.

If you don't already own an air compressor, consider it just for this. Never mind all of the other tires to fill: on bikes, wheelbarrows, carts, trailers, tractors... or for powering nail guns, staplers...
2 weeks ago
I have a fiberglass/stainless steel turning fork that Mom gave me soon after she had bought it, since it was too heavy for her (mail order, no chance to test it). She bought a steel and wood one instead. She also glommed onto a pair of short "long-handled" shovels that I had found at a yard sale. They were 3/4 the usual length, and had 3/4 size blades... perfect for her 5'-2" (and shrinking) stature.
We also had a bow rake (still do) that I broke the handle of as a teenager (misusing it while building BMX tracks) but it turned out to be a good length for her, and we never fixed it (we smoothed out and taped over the break) even though it was from Sears, and we could've just traded it in for a replacement.

Having tools that both fit YOU, and the job you are doing is important. Wooden handled tools are great since they are so easily modified: saw them, carve them, sand them down to a size/shape that fits your hands/body.

I've got an ad-hoc tool that I love, that is a broken garden hoe. It was broken to a 12" long tapered piece of handle, which I cut off to be maybe 6" and not stabby. It is just right for stirring a tub of mortar/concrete while you are kneeling next to it, or shuffling a bit of wet concrete into place, cleaning out the mixer... adjusting your base while setting paving stones.
I actually have a "new" one in the works (just needs oil and paint), made from a busted hoe using the remains of it's own handle, just 16" from the "handle end" turned down to fit the socket again. It has the advantage of the swell at the end that tightens your grip as you pull, that my ad-hoc one lacks.

Most of my blacksmithing hammers have handles that I've shaped to fit my hands better than the stocky stock handles they come with. In fact it's a good thing that the store-bought hammers have big, fat handles, because it's easy to customize them to your needs. I think of them as already assembled hammer kits.
3 weeks ago
At one sitting? A Lista tool chest full of tools and hardware, 3-4000 pounds (who knows for sure?) of bar and tube stock plus the racks it had all been held on. (this was a team effort, 3 truckloads)
Runner up? Two 12,000# Warn winches with cable. I noticed the spools of cable, that was cool enough, then I realized they were winches! (needed TLC, but functional) How I ever managed to haul them up from the bottom of the dumpster by myself!! with a webbing cargo strap, pulling hand-over-hand, while standing on the side of my pickup bed... I have NO idea!?!? Adrenaline?
2nd runner up?? A working lawnmower from the transfer station, that I thought I was going to have to clean the carburetor, but no... it had gas in it and started the first pull (after priming, which is why the previous owner couldn't get it to run and bought a new one instead)

Hundreds of dumpster dives, many hundreds more weekly trips to the transfer station returning with more (by weight usually) than I went with...
Cabinets, workbenches, materials (wood, metal, plastics, etc.)
Bricks, firebricks, pavers, flagstones, fieldstones, cobbles, and curbstone.
Patio furniture, fire pits, exercise equipment, free weights, cast iron pans (dozens)... a wine press (missing the basket)
Hardware, tools (brand new, good, unloved, and broken), electric motors, a miter saw, two bandsaws...
Two cement mixers, pallet jack, hand trucks (8 and counting... one really nice convertible Magliner ($250) that just needed a new nose ($40))

Now, Dale mentioned it before... (hauling an injured friend/employee out of a dumpster)
Dumpsters aren't very safe places to be inside of. Usually in desolate places without help to be cried for.
I rarely, almost NEVER, enter a dumpster alone. I'll fish something out with a stick, a rope, or a grabber...
Pre-pandemic days, it was usually a scout and return with a buddy sort of deal. Always with cell phone, and if a buddy wasn't along for the ride, he was "waiting by the phone" until he got an "I'm home safe" call.
3 weeks ago
Hi, my name is Ken, and I'm a ... saver?

William's point of "What business you want to be in?" really resonates with me. Saving things that you are never going to do something with because that job doesn't excite or please you (or takes time away from those that do excite you more) is problematic.

Mike's comment about "confirmation bias" is also real. The number of times that I have thought that "X" is just the ticket for my project, and then *BINGO!* "X" thing is there, on the curb, or at the transfer station, or being offered to me. This is a powerful "TOOL" and should be used carefully, especially when combined with owning a pickup truck. Seriously though, you CAN make yourself much more aware of "X" in your environment if you think about "X" just a little bit. You can also network the finding of "X" by letting others know that "X" is of interest to you.

Dan's comment (also William and Trace) about the "opportunity cost" of things, where you could save a trip to the store by having a stash at home to go to, and if you didn't have any  you almost certainly would need one... is true... to a point. It is also a slippery slope of going to the store and getting "a few extra" just in case... the rationale at the moment in the store is "If I run out or break one, I'll have to make a second trip anyways, so I can just come back and return the extras..." (or I only have the help, or fair weather today...) but then you never do return them. now you have a stash instead of cash.
The flip side of "opportunity cost" is the space lost to your stashes of "handy even if I never use it" and "round-to-it" stuff. It can turn into: a workbench that is now only a shelf, scraping ice of your car parked out in front of the garage, and time lost moving things in and out of your own way just to find other things that you were sure you had... going to the store to buy a duplicate of a lost thing.

All of this is very real for me at the moment.
4 weeks ago
What a neat opportunity!

Rodent proofing could be done with brick or concrete pavers as a floor, the joints between would make it semi-permeable for moisture to enter or escape/drain away. (where concrete would not).

More important would be sealing the boulders at the back, and having a tight door at the front. Sealing that front wall to the boulders, and having a solid foundation for it to sit on might be the easier part. Sealing up the fissures in the rocks at the rear will take some doing, If it were me, I'd excavate well below the intended floor level and seal up any fissures, before setting the floor.
1 month ago
Denise, Here's an idea to solve both the thermal bridging and the fastening of the wooden end wall behind the metal doors: Cut the walls and ceiling on the centerline of where the wooden wall will be. You will drastically reduce the bridging, since only the floor and corners of the container would still be connected.

There's many ways you could accomplish this, here's two:

Have the seller weld some steel angle to the walls and ceiling, spaced 3-1/2" apart (in the position you want), so that you can bolt/screw a 2x4 (or 4x4) in the space between them. When you build your wall on-site, you will fasten it to these 2x4s all around (and the floor as well), and the angles will be covered up by your sheathing and finish carpentry inside.
Once the 2x4 is installed between the angles, but BEFORE you work on the outside insulation and sheathing (so you can get to it), use an angle grinder and a cut-off wheel to cut the wall and ceiling panels of the container where the 2x4 is. You won't cut through the corners, and you could skip a couple of 2-3" tabs on each wall/ceiling to keep some attachment intact if you want.

Wait until you are on-site, cut the walls/ceiling as above, and bolt through the wall/ceiling and two boards/plywood (one inside, one outside). Your wall attaches to these boards inside as above, and the outside board is either hidden by or is part of your insulation and sheathing plan.
1 month ago