Peter Ellis

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since Apr 04, 2013
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Recent posts by Peter Ellis

I have a YouTube channel and have put up a few videos. I want to be much more consistent, but it takes more energy than I can consistently muster.
4 months ago
"Sealed" has to be understood in context. A pond that does not hold water reliably isn't a pond, it's a hollow, or a hole in the ground or a pit. So if your pond has water in it year round and it isn't being continually refilled by a fast flowing spring to make up for what is being lost 8nto the soil, then the pond is "sealed" functionally.
On my site we have vernal ponds that appear in low areas when our water table breaks the surface of the ground. But if I make a hole for a small pond, it will only have water in it when the water table is above the bottom of the hole. Our sand will not hold water. To have a non-seasonal pond here, we have to take action to seal the sand. The dam on a pond isn't watertight either, if you want to be technical about it. It restricts the flow very severely, but water will move through an earthen dam. Just really slowly. ;)
7 months ago

Jt Lamb wrote:I'll be looking into this further ... thanks for the tip!

I have a need to "build my own" sawmill, and just have too many problems with a purchased (big expense) or home-built engine-based (yet another engine) bandsaw version (like most commercial sawmills).

So, I was considering building a "circular sawmill", electric-motor driven ...

I actually have a vertical bandsaw ... now I am inspired to experiment with that ...

Shouldn't be too hard to lower the work area "cutting portion" of the sawmill (where operator stands), and have infeed and output areas level to the ground ... once timbers roll off the assembly line, a nifty shed roofing the whole thing is within reach! Most of my immediate need is square timbers (4x4, 6x6, 8x8 ...)

Thanks again!



It's entirely possible to have an electric motor on a bandsaw mill. Commercial versions offer them.  Your best bet on a vertical bandsaw that might do what you are looking for is to find an old industrial model.
It would require an extremely powerful handsaw to do this at any significant scale, in addition to questions of raising logs of any significant size up to the bandsaw table.
The bandsaw's throat height is another limitation. 14 inches is a large bandsaw throat, but a small log for milling.
I got the Granberg Alaskan mill and am building a 105 cc saw to use in it. My 76cc Husqvarna can do milling work but I wanted a bigger one to dedicate to the mill.
And then there was radio silence.... hope nothing went wrong.
8 months ago
My wife and I are in Alleghan county, about an hour from GR. Also about an hour from KZoo. About equally inconvenient to either urban center ;) If you do FaceBook you might look up Van-Kal Permaculture. It's a pretty active group with a bunch of permaculture folks hanging in SW Michigan generally. Peter Bane and Keith Johnson are in Muskegon.
8 months ago

T Blankinship wrote:I fixed a Husqvarna chainsaw about two years ago. I had to replace the fuel line and clean it up. I made a mistake when I took apart the chain break housing. I could not get it fixed so I ordered a new chain break housing. Having working safety features on a chainsaw is a good thing. Does the Farmertec MS 070 have safety features like a kill switch and chain break pre-assembled? Or do they need to be put together by the buyer?



The 070 design dates from 1968, as I understand it. Predates chain brakes. Has a kill switch. I probably would not use this saw outside of the milling context because it does not have a chain brake.
8 months ago
Quite a few things going on here. Did you notice that the piece broke right off almost in the middle as you were splitting it? At that point the billet was eliminated from possible handle status. There were knots in the piece at both top and bottom. One of the knots is part of why and where your handle split when you tried to chisel in the wedge.

You want clear wood with as straight a grain as possible for making axe handles. That's one thing. You want to saw the kerf for your wedges. Driving a chisel into end grain is a splitting technique, you will split your handle doing that. Your wedge wants to push the handle against the sides of the axe eye, not the ends, so make your cut for your wedge in line with the axe edge, not perpendicular to it. You get much more are for pressure and friction pushing the sides out rather than the front and back. Use hardwood wedges the length of your axe eye front to back and make them three quarters the depth of the axe eye. Cut the kerf just a little deeper than the wedge is long.

An axe handle is a complete thing, not just the part that goes into the axe's eye. Make a handle that fits your hands and flows from the pommel swell up to the neck just below where the head sits, then tapers smoothly into the axe eye. Without the axe head in place, the handle should be a flowing continuum from top to bottom. It's not just appearance, it's functionality and strength. That sharp angular shoulder you made, where you put a tenon on your piece of wood and fit it in the axe? That's a good technique in wood to wood mortice and tenon joinery. But in hanging an axe, it creates stress points where things will fail.
Here's a link to someone who, if you can be patient with his presentation, can teach you a tremendous amount about how to fit an axe to a handle.  


The other thing that was very apparent in watching your video is that all of your tools are seriously in need of proper sharpening. Not intending to be insulting, trying to help you improve your work and avoid injuring yourself. The kind of force you were using with that huge drawknife (I've never seen one with a blade that deep before) is difficult to control and that becomes dangerous. A drawknife should be razor sharp, able to easily shave paper thin curls off of a piece of wood. Same for chisels. Sharp is safe, dull is dangerous. Again, control is the key to safety, and sharp tools are much easier to control, because you can do the task with much less force.
8 months ago
We're not doing a turf roof on our place. Otherwise, those were all skills needed for building our house here in Michigan ;)
8 months ago
Walnut oil, flaxseed oil (just food grade linseed), rub it with beeswax (I think melting the beeswax and dipping is overkill, but just my opinion), spoon butter - a cream/paste made by blending the polymerizing oil of your choice with beeswax, or nothing at all.
I put a finish on spoons and treen that I'm putting up for sale because people like the look of finished pieces better. Once you start using it, and washing it, well, either you're re-applying finish quite frequently or it's an unfinished piece again before very long at all ;)
8 months ago