Nick Lenarz

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since Jun 14, 2012
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Recent posts by Nick Lenarz

Wow! Thanks so much for your work! I might add to it to give more details about the discussions/guests, etc. Don't hold your breath for me to do it, though- I have a hard enough time keeping up with the 'casts!
Another point of note:

The site is only supposed to alert me when the next person posts to a thread I'm watching, and, as the email says, "You will not get more notifications until you read the topic." However, my inbox is FULL of notifications! Another bug?

Just attempted to use the unsubscribe link from the email notification I received about replies to this thread, and ran into the CSRF error:

"The software thinks there was a CSRF error. The fact that you are seeing this means there was not in fact such an attack. There are three main reasons you might see this page:

You've had this browser open a long time and tried to update something without loading another page in the interim. For example, you were on the form to create a new post, went for lunch, had your session expire and came back. To resolve this, go back and reload the page. This will give you a new token and you'll be all set. If you find this happening to you a lot, post exactly what you were doing in the forums and we will see if we can do anything to help you out.
If you were just trying to view a page and not update something, we have a bug at our end. For example, maybe you clicked the search link and saw this screen. If you think there is a bug, post the date/time/timezone and what you were doing in the forums.
You have JavaScript turned off in your browser

If any of these apply to you, try to post to let us know about it. If the error prevents you from posting, email what you were trying to do and which of the three categories you think the error falls into to bookpromotion at javaranch dot com and moosesaloon at javaranch dot com "

Had no browser open prior to this, just sat down, opened a browser, went to mail, saw the thread notification, clicked on 'unsubscribe', and got the CSRF. Still can post and read, however! Just FYI.
No problems here, running Puppy Linux 'Wary' 5.2 and an OLD version of Firefox (4.0, I think).
Joe Braxton: I will check those links out tomorrow, and I will be careful- I don't have time for habit-forming when it comes to digital stuff, too much stuff to do IRL! Garden tilling, building an insulated doghouse out of scavenged pallets, making extensions to the goat shed, etc.

Allen Lumley: I'm not sure what the gist of your reply is, unless it's to dissuade me from contracting with a mason to build a masonry stove (something I would most assuredly NEVER do!) or to just shut my yap and build a RMH. I should also be able to build a RMH for less than $100, if I am savvy with my scrounging. I already own Evans' book, and have read it cover-to-cover several times; this is where I found the information (as well as online) about its tendency to run poorly with a vertical flue. If higher loads equals higher thermal output, I should conceivably be able to make it more central to the house, except for that pesky flue thing...

Andor Horvath: I am quite familiar with the Wisner model, and whether due to design or fan base it is indeed widely proven. But again, it heats a SMALL space, primarily through direct bodily contact, i.e., "Butts needing warming go here!" Need I say more? I want to heat more than butts. If it is possible to design a RMH with a vertical flue that will actually do the job, then I will most certainly git-er-dun, but if more experienced heads here say it's a bad idea, I'd love to save myself the agony of more error than trial in my trial-and-error phase of the project. Again, I'll look into the Donkey links as time becomes available.

Thanks for your input,

7 years ago
Hey all you crazy permies! I need to pick some knowledgeable brains, and I know they're hiding in here!

My wife and I have a 1152sf (32x36') stick-frame, truss-roofed, single story above-ground house on a slab (gag, but it's good enough for now) on our little 'stead. It's a pretty open floor plan, save for two bedrooms at the south end of the house. We're heating the place with a 1980s Earth Stove, your standard plate steel, window in front, blower shroud over the back wood stove. Smallish firebox, the sticks need to be 18" or less to fit, and it won't hold a burn overnight unless we make a HUGE mess of coals. Also, since we're using the chimney the previous owners installed, the stove is in the north corner of the house- not a bad placement, but it takes a while for heat to reach the south corner. We're fortunate in that the PO's only drywalled the bedroom walls up to eight feet (the outside walls are 10'), which allows heat to go over them and down into the two enclosed bedrooms... eventually.

I'm considering building a mass heater, and can't decide between a RMH and a Russian Stove. Both of them operate on the idea that one can extract almost all available heat from a small mass of wood, and retain it to radiantly heat one's living space rather than expending it up the chimney. The RMH, as we know, uses the rockety reburn chamber to make a blast furnace effect, and also to provide a workable cooktop, before routing the remaining heat through the cob bench to extract the remainder of the heat prior to its exit from the home. The RS, on the other hand, has no work surface (although some intrepid souls have incorporated small ovens into the flue path), but puts all available heat into the bricks, and routes the flue through an up-and-down zigzag path to extend the time (and space) of the flue inside the domicile, to keep all available heat indoors rather than going up the chimney. It also has a 3-4' horizontal burn chamber to allow the use of long branches rather than requiring the repeated feeding of small bundles of sticks.

The pros and cons, as I've figured them, are as follows:

RMH Pros: Ease of construction, low cost of parts
RMH Cons: Increased work of mixing and forming the cob, the radiant heat source is limited to an outside wall due to the horizontal flue. Also, since RMH are not known to perform well with vertical flues, this obviates its placement anywhere but along an outside wall, where some heat will be lost.

RS Pros: Centralized, fully-radiant heat source, less feeding required, vertical flue allows placement anywhere in the living space.
RS Cons: Expensive (unless one is adept at scavenging bricks, incl. firebrick), labor-intensive construction, takes up valuable center-floor space.

Given these, plus whatever input you may have (and I certainly welcome), which of these would work best? I'm leaning toward the Russian Stove, because I like the idea of keeping the heating mass as close to the center of the house as possible. I also don't relish the idea of sleeping on cob, although with a decent mat I'll try anything.

7 years ago
Long-term update:

In the process of moving moved things around, I found my peening jig! It was in the bottom drawer of my toolbox, with all my hammers, all this time... <blush> Just got covered up by handles and other things. One log with a hole drilled in it and some loving ministrations with the jig and a 16-oz ball-peen hammer, and that blade was THIN! Honed it up and put it back on the snath, and it was like brand new- no more bendy grass, I was cutting like a pro! Well, like a seasoned amateur, anyway.

So, if anyone finds this thread in the future, I hope you've read this far: PEENING IS EVERYTHING. If your edge is unpeened, no amount of honing, or even sharpening with a file or one of those handheld knife sharpeners, will ever make it as good. Peen, hone, and be done with it!

7 years ago
Yes, and I got to learn that the hard way! Woops. I'm going to wait a bit to send the blade in, so I can save up to get that fantastic Schrockenfux anvil with the guide and rest. There's no way I'm going to be able to get a peened row that straight by hand, at least not yet.
8 years ago
Well, in spite of my attestation that I've sharpened the blade as well as I can, it's obviously not good enough. Even after peening and honing, I ran a VERY careful thumb down the blade... and found that, while it is quite thin, it is NOT sharp. AT ALL.

I discovered this when, after honing again, I ran the blade slowly along the ground in an arc. I read someone posting that you should be able to cut as easily with a slow movement as with a fast one, to show that you don't *need* to swing the blade quickly. When I encountered a clump of grass, the blade immediately hung up... and the tip went diving for the dirt! Rotten bastard!

So, seeing as how I obviously know shinola about the sharpening process (in spite of having been moderately successful in the past), I will send the blade back for repair, ask Scythe Supply to do the job while it's there, and order a new anvil while I'm at it (I used to have a peening jig, but lost it in a move). I've been using a 5# cross-peen mallet and a length of railroad rail as a flat-face anvil of sorts. Nothing like trying to hammer a nail with a screwdriver... I tried using the mallet as a narrow anvil, but that was even worse.

Oddly enough, in spite of having undergone similar abuse, the grass blade continues to hone up just fine, and cut like crazy. I may switch it to my snath while my blade is out, and finish the remainder of the yard that way.
8 years ago
Ah, I get ya. I've seen them used around garden beds and such where you're already going to be down that low, but wasn't sure where you were going with it. Unfortunately, the stuff that the scythe bends back uncut is pretty much everything. I really ought to take a pic of this stuff so you can see it.
8 years ago