Mark Phillips

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since Aug 04, 2012
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Recent posts by Mark Phillips

P.S. For those of you on Face Book connecting through my link... My original post was under Thibeault

I was remarried last year and took my wife's name (quite progressive I know) so my profile will be updated if the board lets me but if you visit my pages and see Mark Phillips dont get alarmed lol

God Bless...
6 years ago
Thank you all for the replies. I just received my alert that I had a message (quite a few not just one, I guess something was broken and is now fixed).

I responded to one of these posts and have been emailing back and forth so as soon as I can I will update our post and reply back to a few of these answers.

Thank you ALL so very much for the replies.... (Better late than never haha)

6 years ago

This is a absolutely brilliant idea and from a bug out perspective/ Two of these units could be made in a acorn shape and loaded on a simple flat bed trailer. I say two because one could be used as a kitchen / bath and the other as a bedroom. With a bit of enhanced creativity they could even be camouflaged and with a simple winch or block and tackle placed in a treeline and used as a temporary retreat or emergency bug out.
The main advantage I see is portability and even in a stable economic environment I can see this design as being desirable for vacations, wild life observation and if portable like a trailer fitting into a hole in the building code for people buying new properties that need time to build a new home.

Kudos Joel Allen for a awesome idea and wonderful craftsmanship
6 years ago
I have lived in a RV, Tent or Trailer most of my life and have also done all of the stealth camping described above (Great Advice, Some I Never Realized) however I have a few suggestions as well.

I learned early on that approaching the police is easier than dealing with them later (unless your a fugitive lOL)

I was stuck one day waiting for a western union (last paycheck) so I stopped a officer and explained that I just needed a place to park for the night until the western union office opened and I would be on my way. He was very gracious and told me about a nearby pond and vacant lot on his beat and that I was welcome to park there for the night provided I was gone by 7am (when his shift ended). After realizing this might be a good approach I began stopping in small town USA and going right to the sheriffs office or police station and never once got turned away. Some instances I even parked right there in front of the station or in their parking lot.

Later in life I became a minister and realized how many small poor churches needed repairs they could not afford. Being a contractor and RV Tech by trade I decided (My new wife and I) to go on a sort of mission. We crossed the US from PA to Florida to California and back stopping along the way and offering to help out and all we asked for in exchange was a extension cord and parking space. It was quite gratifying to be able to help so many small churches along our way from building puppet stages for youth ministry to repairing leaky faucets and sinks and we met a huge variety of great people doing it.

We even got invited many times to home cooked dinners and pot luck dinners just to socialize. In some areas I went to work at a local RV shop or temporary labor (me and the wife) for travel cash and simply traded a days work on Saturday generally mowing a lawn or fixing some small problem in trade for a weeks stay. When we had long hauls to make 99% of the small churches have the pastors name right on the sign and a simple call to his / her home asking permission to park there over night was more than adequate and even though I offered many said no need to do anything just feel free to park there for the evening.

Granted we did occasionally run into some churches that was not as hospitable, some even down right rude but normally that was not the case and after 2-3 calls we had permission. And by the way 90% of the time they never even knew I was a minister we didn't want to make them feel like that was some kind of leverage and the few that did find out was surprised because unless it came up in conversation we just never offered the information so even a regular non clergy person could do this as well.

Another place if your in a camper / trailer is RV repair shops. The large dealerships do not even notice your there because most do not open until 8-9am and if your a early riser like me your gone before the doors open and seeing a trailer or camper parked in the lot is not uncommon.

Also fairgrounds and flea markets normally have a parking area for vendors that stay over night and we have found a few remote ones that offer hookup for as little as 5.00 for a rented table with showers and restrooms. I am a pack rat and up-cycler so even if we didn't intend to use the table and donated the receipt to a person who was looking for a table... We often spent the weekends selling stuff I had accumulated along the way and socialized with buyers who also told us about great boon docking and free campsites they knew about.

We currently live in a combination RV Park / Hotel and my wife works as a housekeeper with the first 12 hrs a week going to trade for full hook up. a 400.00 per month + tax normal value. And we have worked at other campsites like this as well. Simply ask and many will say yes... Most times to ride a lawn mower for a day, maybe clean up a bathroom or take out trash.

We once had a couple (To our surprise) that wanted a week off so badly they traded a week of just emptying the trash and cleaning the bathroom for a month free hookup. They had a drop box so all we did was stop and say hello to people coming in and explain the owners was away for a day or two to use the drop box and we would help them if they had any problems with hookups or needed anything for the restrooms or showers.

They had been so delighted we stayed a few months after that working in town and doing odd jobs once a week to trade for our spot.

The moral of my story is law enforcement can be your friend if you ask them before they stop you... Most churches will extend a hand if you ask and appreciate some help if they are in need and you feel good helping and most camp ground owners have a few odd jobs to trade for a night, week or even a month if you ask.

Good luck and happy boon docking
6 years ago
LOL. Just noticed this thread and its awesome. I once owned a second hand shop with a friend and learned the precious art of UP-CYCLING lol.

The information I would like to pass along is this... While I was trashing, road siding and other techniques my partner was out pacing me and I could not figure out how (We both scavengered the same areas pretty much).

His secret I finally learned was this. We was located in a area that had a large number of churches and a large elderly population. So he had some cards printed up locally and went to speak with the pastors, priests and leaders of the churches.

What he offered was a free cleanup service or small payback. Basically when a elderly person passed on and had no family or the family wanted nothing to do with the home / apartment they would call him and after the family and church picked over what they wanted he would haul away the rest at no charge. In many cases they even asked if they left behind decent resell-able merchandise if he would simply make a donation to the church (Being he was the co-owner of a second hand store) and he did both very successfully.

So if your in a similar area this may be something to look into. Most of the churches looked at what he did as a community service for both the saddened and crushed families who didn't want to deal with the loss and cleaning up as well as selling good used clothing and furniture to the local community at a substantial savings. He found a few treasures and made the donations as he promised and the churches appreciated him for years until he passed away.

Good luck and happy treasure hunting. I will remember this next treasure I find LOL

6 years ago
I agree with Scott. Pex or PVC laid prior to the floor finish is a extremely efficient way of heating via radiant floor heat and the benefits of keeping the floor dry if your going earthen are awesome as he stated.

Our design for the Rocket Stove Mass Heater will be a copper tube wrapped around the barrel portion and again as Scott pointed out a 12V Circulatory Pump and 12V Zone Valve will help to regulate the temperature. Excess heated water can be stored in your water heater and circulated to provide a adequate amount of piping hot water for showers or baths as well. The PEX or PVC tied into copper is fine for domestic use so even though you are using it for heating you can easily divert unused heated water to supplement your domestic use.

Our design will divert the excess water to a large 8 foot round 4 feet deep hot tub in the bathroom area and remain isolated from our domestic water simply because we love bath's, soaking and hot tubing. Also the area of our build gets a over abundance of sunlight so a small solar water heating panel and distilling chamber will do well for dishes, laundry and domestic uses. In a colder climate I would use the water heater for circulating the excess like I mentioned. Just a side note if the excess seems to be heating more than you need and reaching temps of say 200 degrees you might also install a few old retired water heaters inline to allow more flow and a increased storage capacity.

A small area set aside for say 3 side by side tanks (1 active 2 storage only) would not only give you a great storage capacity in a relatively small space but if insulated well be able to sustain a even temperature even as the stove runs down on wood throughout the evening. Also pressure relief valves do go bad and with three (1 on each tank) the likelihood of a rupture would be greatly diminished if the temperature of the water rose faster than you anticipated.

One last note on radiant floor heat... If your toes are warm you are warm... Its been my observation that homes heated this way can maintain a air temperature of 65 degrees or less and still be quite comfy... We all tend to have PJ's or some clothing on while relaxing but normally kick off the shoes and let the feet air out. A warm floor means a warm body so I am 100% convinced for efficiency and comfort warming the floor is imperative.

Good luck with your project and do send pictures
6 years ago
Hi Kari. Our plan this year upon returning to the south is a combination of earth bag subterranean with about 2-4 feet above ground utilizing straw bale construction. The hole in the earth should be approximately 6 to 8 feet deep and the interior and floor lined with earth bags and pvc pipe running between floor rows for geothermal radiant heat & cooling and the floor layered in 2-4 inches of re-bar reinforced concrete.

Albeit heat isn't a huge concern on a cool evening the PVC will be tapped into a copper section of tube wrapped around the barrel portion of a rocket stove mass heater. This will provide adequate heating of the water controlled by a 12V zone valve and pump in conjunction with the mass of the stove to create a comfortable temperature with the existing earth / soil temperature.

Now cooling is a concern where we have purchased out land the temps easily range to 100+ in the summer so the top portion above ground 2-4 feet will be a straw bale design utilizing reinforced fiberglass stucco as a finish.

Habitat for humanity did several studies on this type of construction before implementing it on Indian reservations in the north. The insulation value (although contested in number) fell just short of a polystyrene home (Basically #2 from the top) with a calculated R-Value of 58. The second test was safety and a map gad torch placed on a straw bale coated with chicken wire and 1-2" of reinforced stucco lasted two hours under direct heat before the flame penetrated to the straw. (Obviously it lasted much longer than a conventional stick frame house.

I have built straw bale sheds and storage units in the desert areas of Utah and Moab, UT has a active program for building these homes in high heat areas and they perform excellent.

Lastly our plan is to cover the roof portion with a reinforced beam system similar to a hobbit house (Round design with load bearing in the center and finish the same way with bales and stucco. The final touch will be implementing a live roof to both further insulate from the sun and to be used as a garden (Hence the possible 4" high to simulate a raised bed for easy maintenance of the garden).

This design in my humble opinion offers protection from the heat, the low profile avoids easy detection in a SHTF scenario as well as significantly more stable in a storm / hurricane or natural disaster situation. The Earth provides a constant temperature and geothermal warming or cooling of water can also be easily tied into the build as well. We also intent to do install a outlaw well (DYI Self Drilled) inside the structure and it will eliminating 10+ feet from the drill (Not much but what the heck) 50-75 feet we need to go to hit the local aquifer.

The idea is to keep the water source hidden and protected as well and be serviceable from inside without nosey inspectors or neighbors learning of its existence. We intend to duplicate the hobbit house because its just me and my wife and we require very little open space so for us this will be affordable and sustainable for little to no cash investment. (I have been in construction from a family craft for 30+ years) but I am confident with a little research and some advice here on this board you could duplicate this plan and adapt it to be larger as you feel the need.

Our long term goal is to duplicate the one hobbit house with a subterranean walkway to another identical large room between to be used as a large under ground Aquaponics grow room.

Even if one or two of these ideas can help you I am glad to share any info as well as I am sure other will as well. Good luck with the build Earth bag is good in a lot of situations like others have stated but do remember it has no great insulation value. Mass yes / insulation no... so unless you are building below ground once the mass is heated or cooled the room temperature is very hard to stabilize.
6 years ago
I agree Pahanna but much of the building of a straw bale structure depends a great deal on budget, temporary vs. sustainable and other mitigating factors. Based on the question format I can assume if your desire is to apply directly to a dirt surface that the plan is either temporary or budget constricted.

Both could be constructed with those constraints however again I agree with you a vapor barrier and or water proofing / resistant ground level is very important to stand up to moisture, mold and insects or rodents for the best long term results.

7 years ago
I would get a few extra pieces of stove pipe and some tin snips, duplicate this vent design (with a stove pipe flue in the air inlet side for control) and utilize the draft to encourage air flow.

Just a thought, should work however and better than going two stories
7 years ago
I agree with Kent. As a handyman by trade I often find sliding glass doors removed and stored in a back yard or actually remove them myself. I just removed a set and replaced them with French Doors.

Since the cost is high for buying you might place a add offering free removal or if your carpentry inclined maybe discount a install and replacement if you can have the old doors.

Even if the glass is only conventional pane you can purchase pane (1) in solar specs you need and use the glass door panes for the (2) interior portion. If more filtering is needed after that solar shades work well also with the option of rolling them up in the winter when you want the sunshine to warm the home.

7 years ago