Tys Sniffen

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since Nov 05, 2012
Northern California
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Recent posts by Tys Sniffen

In a continual attempt to use what I have rather than buy new stuff, I have a little puzzle.

I have a simple cast iron box-type stove with a 6" diameter hole at the top.

I have a batch (3 3ft sections) of 8" triple wall chimney for outside the house.  

I can get all I need of 6" single wall for inside the house.

QUESTION:  does anyone think I'll run into trouble with my draft if I have about 9 feet of 6" that then flares out to maybe 9 feet of 8" pipe?  

that is, it's going from a good run of smaller tube to a good run of fatter tube.   all straight line, no turns.  
4 months ago

John C Daley wrote:I suggest putting Corrugated iron horizontally on the outside, with sheet insulation between the iron and the OSB.

  THAT's a cool idea.   perhaps combined with some parts with a natural plaster.  
5 months ago

I can come up with WAYS to use this thing - yes, writer's retreat is a perfect example of what I'd like... or,  short-term rental or something similar.  It's how to get it to a point where someone (even me) would want to spend time there.

answers to questions:

Electricity:  there's the beginnings of wiring, with some outlets and some totally inappropriate ceiling lights.  We're off grid ourselves, and this structure is too far - 200 yards? - away from our house AND our house has as a just-big-enough solar array for us.  And, there's no real way to even put solar panels on this thing, or near it, given the hill and the trees.  That wiring was designed to run with a gas gen. (lovely, right?)

Plumbing:  zero.  no in, no out.   I'd do composting toilet anyway.

Propane:  if I get this thing up and running, yes, a propane tank would be part of the plan, for water heat, stove, fridge.

Outside sheathing:  yes, you're right, that's not OSB, but that plywood designed for exterior.  Still... not ideal for this permie/naturalist guy.

Insulation:  yes, I can buy something, anything, but I'm hoping to get ideas on ways to use salvaged/scrounged or natural stuff.   I don't need much R-value, as it is CA, but in winter, this thing sits in the shade all day.  cold and damp doesn't make for a happy writer.

Loft:  no, there's no stairs.  yes, I think it was set up as a sleeping loft or storage area.  Still, there's not even that much storage.

Thermal Mass:  I *might* do some sort of cob-surround for a cast-iron wood stove, but given the small space, I don't really need to.  (I think the main room [2 car garage] is 20x24 = 480 sq ft)  so if it was insulated enough, the stand-alone wood stove will do fine.
5 months ago
added an interior shot.    One piece of however I'm going to finish this, it's got to be super fire resistant.  
5 months ago
So, I wonder what this group would think about my situation.

In taking over a neighbor property, I now am the owner of a badly thought out not-quite-completed building.    To describe it:

- on a concrete slab, basically a 2 car garage closed in
- it's typical store-bought 2x6 stick frame with OSB sheeting on the outside
- besides the 2 car garage part, there's a hallway on the south side - storage room and potential bathroom, I guess
- it has a roof, but seems to have been built with the idea of putting a 2nd story on it - the ceiling rafters are 2x12s, at 16oc
- the current 2nd story is a short loft, 5ft at the peak.  (pretty useless for anything but storage or a sleeping cubby)
- it sits nestled into the NORTH side of a hill
- has a chimney in the roof, but it's in a stupid spot.
- no plumbing, no electrical, no insulation, no propane
- too far away from my other buildings to be a useful workshop - and I have one already.

I have some ideas on how to loft part of the ceiling and add some round-wood posts and beams, but that still leaves me with the rest of the issues.

facts about the area:
northern CA, where wildfire is a huge issue.  Super hot in the summer, not too cold (freezing a couple times) in winter.  damp, wet winters.

We built our own cob house and continue to do a lot of natural building, but I don't know what to do here.

So the question is:  How do I work on this building to make it something useful?  The only really useful thing would be to make it some sort of residence, or, I guess, office-type space.    So that means finishing it or knocking it down.

- what can I do that would be 'permie' for insulation?  for interior surface?  

I'd love to do something unique and natural and fire-safe and inexpensive... and ideally not years and years of work.  ha.  

added photo of exterior as attachment here.

5 months ago
this is sort of a general 'permies' sort of question, but since I see that there's a fibers section, I thought I'd try here.

you know those awful, typical, ubiquitous blue tarps?   they last a year or so, start tearing and degrading and become a mass of little ribbons that last forever and get in everything.

I'd love to know of a product that was a real, high quality tarp.  the sort of thing that you could drag over a brush pile without ripping, something that could be outside in the sun and rain for a year and not degrade... and also something that remains water proof.

any ideas out there before I start gluing stuff together myself?

I should be more specific:

this is for RAISED BEDS, in a mild climate (northern CA, where it barely freezes and we do winter crops [greens])  

my question is not HOW to till, as I can easily turn stuff with a shovel or broad-forked pitch fork.   My question is whether to do it at all.  Some would argue to NOT DISTURB the soil PERIOD. and just add compost on top. I'm trying to figure out if that's a good idea... I can do some side by side experiments, but I'd like to hear about others' experience.

1 year ago
I get a lot of the 'no till' ideas for in-ground gardening that are promoted here.    In ground is not an option here, for a number of reasons.  We've been doing raised beds and big containers for a while.  

I grew up with a victory garden mom from the Great Plains and we lived in a solid clay river valley, so annual spring tilling was a standard thing.   So I was continuing the tradition.

My raised beds are filled with 100% 'man-made' soil  -  years of my hand-turned hot compost piles added over the years.   I also now side dress with worm leechate.  I'm thinking I'm doing pretty well...

but now I'm hearing about how it's actually WORSE for my soil to hand till it, and instead I should leave it be, and just add compost on top?  

I have the potential for invasive roots coming up into the beds, which is another justification for tilling and fluffing.  but I'm open to input.    thoughts?

1 year ago
As my kid reaches 4 years old, I'd like to think that the major 'ding' damage from her flailing around is coming to a close.  

so how to repair my white, lime-washed, natural plastered walls so that the repair doesn't look like a franken-scar?  

here's a recent blog post with a batch of photos: ideamountain

and here's my attempt to drop a photo of a pretty typical ding here:

simply wetting it down and attempting to put some plaster back in has not been a great success.  it's been about 5 years since this plaster was put on... seems like it's not too pliable anymore.

and of course we live here, so replastering seems like a crazy idea....   any suggestions?
2 years ago

Ardilla Esch wrote:
On the earthen floor, I put a wood floor finish (Bioshield Hard Oil #9) on top of the fully cured linseed oil treatments.  That really helps the durability of the floor (and it looks good).  You may consider doing that.

We waxed with bioshield beeswax mix... do you think this could be put down on top of that?

and what's the process? that is, how long does it take to dry, how stinky is it? can I put it on one part of the floor and live in the house at the same time?
2 years ago