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

One other way to approach clutter comes from Alton Brown of "Good Eats" fame (in reference to kitchen gadgets, but applicable elsewhere).
If you haven't used an item in a year, then you don't need it. He has a few things that get a yearly dust-off and use just to earn their keep.
To begin you take everything out, and put back only the things that you KNOW you use, then store the remainder. Then as need arises, you bring back things one at a time, and they get to stay. Then after a year, what didn't make it back, goes away.
It's a little bit more compassionate than a big heave-ho at the beginning, since you still have the stuff, you just need to decide that it has a use and will stay.

Ben Hartman's "Lean Farm Book" is amazing. If you don't have it, borrow it or get it. In the literal sense it is about running a business efficiently, and "time is money", but it is also about time being time, and not wasting it and burning out.
It's more about identifying waste (materials, motions, time) and reducing or eliminating it. It's a lot about systems, workflow, and organization to achieve that. Getting rid of the unworn clothes is a start, organizing the rest into work, dress, and farm clothes might be another step.

It is a lot of physical and emotional work to deal with it, but otherwise the struggle through the clutter is ongoing and demotivational. Ask me how I know.
2 days ago
Your comment about the accumulation of roof debris in the tank makes me think that water is steeped with that stuff, as it sits waiting to be used. I'd try to keep it out of the tank in the first place.
There are "first flush diverters" that dispose of the first amount of water to hit the roof in a rain. Presumably the roof debris, leaves, bird poop, and bugs get washed off the roof and dumped, and after that, the cleaner water goes to your tank.

Or you could put some sort of filter, like a radial flow filter or a slow sand filter to capture the debris and leave you with "cleaner" water. It will still have leachate from the asphalt, but not so many particles soaking in the water all year.

Do you use well water for toilet flushing? maybe this is another use for the roof water? Not sure if code technically would allow for you to plumb rainwater to the toilet (to protect your drinking water), but a flush with a pail (especially easy for #1) gets around that issue.
3 days ago
Mike, three thoughts.
1.) given the odd framing spacing, maybe blow-in insulation would be easier. Staple up a clear vapor barrier and fill through holes in it, you can see your progress and react accordingly.
2.) Maybe tongue and groove boards for below the joists to retain/protect the insulation? easier than panels in that tight space?
3.) interior wall boards and gaps. The gaps that will stand out will be at eye level (standing, seated, lying in bed). If allowed, maybe run the boards over a jointer to straighten them all (loss could be made up by adding a board, a wider base trim, or cove at ceiling), or selectively plane just the worst high spots down (in the hi-visibility locations).
3 days ago
No annealing, it was soft enough to flatten and bend using a small hammer.
No soldering required!!! It is all made from one section of pipe, all one piece.
The length of pipe is 3x diameter of syringe barrel. The finger rings were centered on the quarter points of length, two saw cuts for each leaving 1/4 of the circumference of the pipe. The ends and center section that would wrap around the syringe were cut away to leave 1/3 of the circumference of the pipe.
The ends an center were flattened before forming into a circle, and the finger rings needed a little flaring with a ball pein hammer to make the curve smooth.
If I were trying to get the ends to meet, the 3x diameter would’ve been 3.14159 x (diameter + tubing wall thickness + an allowance for clearance)... far too fussy on the maths, especially with handy whole numbers in metric (30mm) that could be done in my head by using ‘3’ instead.
The other feature of the open shape (intentional) is that it springs a little bit to grip onto the syringe, staying put.
5 days ago
Rob, what a great idea and nice presentation!

One way to create a thermal break would be to use telescoping tubes, which also allows for adjusting to the finished wall thickness without cutting, and like your pool filter part the flanges could already be formed beforehand.
Now here’s another possibly heretical idea regarding the orphaned glass lids... if they are paired with their pot, that pot is a short tube with a flamge just the right size, if only the bottom was cut away!
5 days ago
Here's one from a month ago. We have been giving our dog fluids via subcutaneous injections. The syringes have very little to hold onto, and are therefore difficult to operate.
I have a machine shop at work, so, plan A was to machine a handle out of a solid block of aluminum (too much work)... plan B was assemble it from 3 parts (still a lot of work) or solder the parts together? (less work)...
I had some copper tubing to make finger rings, but not the right size tubing for a sleeve to fit the barrel of the syringe... I'd have to make some (more work again)

Here's plan C, the "don't go home empty-handed plan": all cut and bent from one piece of the tubing I had chosen for the finger rings (3/4" copper plumbing pipe, from the scrap bin). Done in under 20 minutes.
Turns out the gap in the sleeve is a feature, not a bug, since it allows the gadget to slip on/off without having to thread the whole long needle tube through.
5 days ago

Mike Haasl wrote:
I checked out the anvils and they're perfect.  The Peter Wright is perfect for proper blacksmithing and the 55 pounder will be good for the first timers to practice with

Mike, what's the weight of the Peter Wright? Hardy size? Any hardies?
Same questions for 55 pounder...
6 days ago
As a child, my chore after going on the "half-day charter fishing boat trip" was to bury the inedible fish parts around all the ornamental shrubs. So, maybe direct burial is a better plan? At large scale maybe its a cut with a plow, fill trench, cover?

Already been said, but I'll emphasize. LOTS of brown material (wood chips/leaves/paper) is needed to balance the pile with meat/fish/fats.
Mixing, mixing, mixing. If you have big clumps of fish, you will have more smell than if it's evenly distributed, and if you can reduce the part size (chopping/grinding) that will help with mixing evenly.
One final thing, cover the freshly mixed pile with aged compost, as a "filter"... the smell will be less. You will have to repeat this each turning, and therefore need a supply of aged stuff to work with. Alternately, you could cover with wood chips, again, after each turning.
1 week ago

Davin Hoyt wrote:Ash and I sat down with Paul to get another iteration of Paul's thoughts.

My sum-up is as follows, and I will apply this to my thinking for all of Paul's (Wheaton Lab) projects going forward:

This piece of architecture needs to be an "artifact"; needs to encompass Wheaton Labs' values, and elicit divine imagination through it's aesthetics.

The following images show where the design is currently. Please comment. Thanks!

My first impression in three 'phrases': Pizza Hut, Space Invaders, shingle-style visible moon lander. I'm also reminded of some '60's or '70's two-story houses around me that have a cedar shake Mansard roof, with sliding glass doors and "balconies" in it.
I like the glass-as-flashing. It is unexpected, and engaging a "what else can I find going on here?" and "this will be easy, since it's all see-through." curiosity about the structure. I don't understand the glass soffit, and that's okay.

The shed roof design (just prior to this one) has some things going for it as well. Mainly I can see it as a "refuge". A place connected to, but separate from the main garage space that is not tasked with being the only entrance.
It seems to me that it will be a nice cozy space in cool weather, and traffic through there would spoil it.
1 week ago
Pearl, as for "hedge trimmer on a handle" for ground level use... We recently got the Milwaukee M18 string trimmer and hedge trimmer tool. There is also a pole saw available.
The hedge trimmer pivots to many angles for overhead and ground level use. We used it last week to cut down our (~150) peonies for the season and it was the BEST THING EVER! We've used long handled grass shears, clippers, scissors, knives, chainsaw... hands down this this thing wins!
1 week ago