Austin Shackles

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since Jul 26, 2012
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Several sorts of engineer, driver, gamer, fairly crap musician 'cos I never practice enough.
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Recent posts by Austin Shackles

A few members might have seen that we had a wildfire here last summer.   Looking at what's left, there's this clump of big eucalyptus which are non-native, invasive and a massive fire risk - they literally spread kindling all around the ground under them.   So, seeing as all the undergrowth has been handily cleared by the fire, it's time to convert the eucalyptuses (eucalypti?) into firewood.  They'll no doubt grow up again from the stump/roots anyway...
This is the next candidate for the chop:

Having assessed it, it leans in a convenient direction.  I did put a looong rope on it so Alan could pull on it just in case, but I was pretty confident of it dropping the way I wanted, and notched it accordingly:

That done, on with the felling cut!  The tree dropped exactly as I planned with zero fuss, which is always my aim.

And here's the stump.  Pretty pleased with this one, nice even hinge which broke exactly as planned, no kickback or barber chair or any undesirable effects.

30cm is about 12", so a tad larger than spec but these trees need removing.  This cluster almost certainly wasn't planted here deliberately, and has simply arrived from some windblown seed.  Unfortunately eucalyptus has commercial value: it's fast growing and was often used for making telephone poles and the like, and I reckon also for roof timbers, to say nothing of the paper industry that supports the bureaucracy.
For those that are interested: the saw I used is an Einhell GE-LC 36/35 Li-Solo.  It's part of the PowerXChange range which use interchangeable 18V batteries, this saw uses 2 for 36V.  I would definitely recommend it if you want a handy 14" saw.  Way less hassle than a gas powered one.
4 months ago
One thing I expect Alan Booker to mention but didn't hear, on the subject of heat management, is insulation.  Depending on climate and the specific building, (better) insulation can have a big effect on how much you have to heat or cool your house.

We live in Portugal where it can be pretty hot in summer, often reaching over 40°C (104°F) so mitigating heat getting into the house is important.  When we came here it had a plain tile roof, and although it had ceilings in the upstairs rooms they were just a single layer of boards.  Fitting some blue rigid foam insulation between the rooms and the loft space made a noticeable difference.  

This year I got some film for the windows: quite a lot of heat gets in that way.  It claims to reduce the heat transfer by 85%, and while I've not checked that you can sure feel the difference between the window with the film and no film, when the sun's coming in.  This applied even on double glazed ones.  I hope it will reduce heat loss in winter as well.

The latest thing is replacing the tile roof (it needed replacing anyway) with tile-effect sandwich panels.  It's not real hot right now, so the next impression will be whether the house takes less heating this winter.

None of this is even all that amazing insulation, but if you have no insulation to speak of, even mediocre insulation can have quite an effect.
Gonna vote with a failed exhaust manifold (header, in US terminology?) gasket.  Had a very similar sound on an engine years ago, and thought it was about to self-destruct :D
11 months ago
The difference is in the pints, but since a quart(er of a gallon) is 2 pints...

US pint is 16 fl.oz., but a UK pint is 20 fl.oz.  So a GB pint/quart/gallon is 25% bigger.   Hence for example a US gallon is 3.78 liters, but a UK gallon is 4.54 litres.

Cups are a whole other thing.  I believe, however, that the fl.oz are the same regardless, and hence if you know how many fl.oz. are in a cup, it should work out.

In some ways (although as a Brit I don't like to admit it) the US pint is more sensible, since a pint of water weighs a pound (16 oz.), whereas in the UK it's a pound-and-a-quarter.
3 years ago
Could someone who has this go out and try using it with only your left hand?  I have a friend who is shy one arm, and am wondering how effective this would be one-handed.

Doesn't matter if you *are* left-handed - my friend is perforce left-handed, after all.  I wonder if the blade angle will make sense.  The twist in the blade is probably partly for strength but also allows the blade to lie flat on the ground for weeding.
3 years ago
See, this is exactly the kind of coffee grinder I would like.  Proper grinder, not just a smasher like most of the cheaper modern ones are.

Some more nice techniques in this restoration, notably fixing the block of wood with bits of dowel, making little copper rivets and so on.

3 years ago
more from our friend the restorer.  

This one is interesting as it started out as a budget device and as such it's all made with thin pressed steel parts.  Different techniques to repair it.

3 years ago
I remember rawlplug tools but they were just the bit like the bits for this but with a plain shank that you pounded on with a hammer.  Never seen one of these.
3 years ago
Today's lunch consisted of fried chouriço, onion and lambs' quarters (aka fat hen, white goosefoot, chenopodium album).  The fat hen is added after the chouriço and onion have fried 'til mostly cooked, then cooked just for a couple minutes longer.  The "mash" is yellow dried split peas, cooked in some chicken stock and garnished with fresh parsley from the garden.  Jolly tasty it was too!  

For added permie-brownie-points, it was cooked in my iron skillet, which, from what i could tell researching the patent numbers which are cast into it, is likely about 100 years old.  I bought it for 50p in a yard sale 10+ years ago.
3 years ago
Interestingly, it's a different yellow to the color you get when you're borderline dehydrated.  Rather worryingly, there's a brand of expensive adulterated drink you can buy which has the same glowing yellow shade :D