Jack Edmondson

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since May 05, 2014
Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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Recent posts by Jack Edmondson

See Hes wrote:Hi all,

5. What other features should a hedgerow have?

In the US Midwest the old saying is "Horse high, bull strong, and pig tight"  for the perfect hedge.  If a horse can't jump it, a bull can't push through it, and a hog can't squeeze out of it, then you have done it right.  Here Osage Orange was used a lot.  


It has nasty thorns and grows very tight and dense when trained.  In Europe I believe hazel is more common.

I don't have any experience with Zone 11, but osage will go in zone 10, so I don't think it would be much of a stretch.  Osage also can tolerate the drought conditions the Plains can experience, so wet/dry season cycles should not be an issue.  The only deficit is lack of marketable product.  While osage is a very hard wood with a high BTU content for heat, only the female plant produces a fruit, known as a 'hedge apple'.  They are not very tasty as they are high in tannins.  Horse will eat the fruit, but not a favorite.  The wood is very durable and does not rot or decay (or very very slowly) even in contact with the ground.  Makes great handles and small work working.  Coppices well for burning with one of the highest heat release of all wood.

I have always thought bamboo would make a great barrier, although slow to establish.  Cut cured culms woven into living standing bamboo would make an impenetrable wall once established.  Then a thorny vining plant could be trellised onto to it for a deterrent.  
1 month ago
I can't hurt to use an enzyme liquid to put biology onto the clog.  There are products that one mixes with hot water to activate the enzymes in solution and pour down the pipes.  The enzymes colonize the solids and feed on the clog.  No different really than your septic tank process.  The cost is low and there is no detrimental effects if it is something else.  Try that before you call a plumber.

As an example:
1 month ago

I am speaking my opinion here as someone who spent decades in Houston.  The main reason Houston is full of slab on grade foundations is due to cost.  Houston is a home builder's paradise and has been since at least the 70s.  Slab on grade is cheap and fast.  That is the main (only?) benefit.  Also since basements are a no go due to water table, they make sense.  

Foundation repair company abound in the area.  If we still used 'phone books' you might be amazed at the number of people who work in the business.  These companies stay in business because major foundation work is very common in the area.  So the builder is getting cheap and fast, while passing the long term maintenance cost on to the homeowner.  That being said, I don't think slab on grade is a solution for cob or a reasonable approach to expansive soil, unless one is flipping the property to a long term buyer, which I assume is beyond the context of the natural building conversation.

I am not saying slab on grade is bad for cob.  Just saying there are other, probably better, approaches to slab for cob.  
1 month ago

I feel for you.  The vinegar will work.  Coke will also work.  You will be surprised how quickly the torx will come back to its recognizable state with a little acid bath.  There was a thread on here not long ago about removing rust.  Yes, you will need to oil them or paint them at this point.  Clear nail polish will also work, but will rub off with use.  Once rust starts, you can't ever get it to stop until you seal the surface from oxidizing.  

As far as suggestions, not many options other than a plastic case to keep things organized while in the car.  The bags are less obtrusive, but hard to keep dry.  

I found the previous thread here:

Permies rusty tools
1 month ago
I have been told that one can boil the bones to loosen the flesh.  Don't have any personal experience.  However, it will weaken to bone, so don't do a hard boil or for a very long time.  
1 month ago
You need to scrape the hide to get all the flesh and membrane off the pelt before curing it.  One can use a knife blade pulling it rather than slicing it to scrape.  A cabinet scraper works well, just don't put a large bur on the edge.  A smaller bur will take the flesh and leave the hide.

As for what you can make, that is up to one's imagination.  I 'coon skin may not go very far by itself; but you are learning a valuable skill.  

Rather than letting it decompose in soil, you may want to try worms or flesh beetles.  
1 month ago
A 2 sided multi-grit stone is usually a synthetic stone.  Basically a grit material 'glued' together.  Water is usually hard on the binding material if stored for long periods of time.  The good news is they are not expensive.  Try soaking it, and if it starts to break down; replacement is easy and inexpensive.  
2 months ago
Keep in mind there are lots of types of stones.  Not all have the same care.  Natural (or Arkansas stones) are different from Japanesse water stones which are different from 'synthetic' stones.  Research your stone's characteristics.

What are you using?  Is it backed or mounted?  
2 months ago
In the shipping industry metal banding straps are used to secure loads.  At destination these are cut off and discarded as trash.  They are also somewhat of an occupational hazard as they are a tripping hazard and lead to cuts, as they tend to flop about when being moved.  Bottom line, people want to be rid of them as quickly as possible.  Go to lumber yards, appliance centers, etc. and talk to receiving folks.  A plate of cookies or other gift helps.  Ask them to put aside any metal strapping and you will pick it up promptly.

These straps range from 1/2 an inch wide up to an inch.  They will take a weld readily, and are plenty strong for temporarily or permanently holding cooperage.  They are usually 20 to 22 gauge flat metal but have plenty of tensile strength to hold and secure heavy material.  Compressing a bucket or barrel will be fine as long as a good weld or connection is made.  The one downside might be the thickness.  One might have to use a drift on the edge to tap them in place, as there is not a lot of edge to catch with a hammer; but a hardwood dowel will do the trick.
2 months ago

Alex Kosmicki wrote:
I was hoping for some input as to if the two posts would hold up to high tensile woven wire or if they needed some bracing.

The posts will hold fine.  It is their connection with the ground that is the challenge.  When you sink your post holes, cut a trench at a 90 degree angle to the run of the fence wire.  Bury a log that touches (tangent) to the post in the trench at right angle as deep as possible so the post is supported low in the ground.  As for the top of the arch there are numerous ways to secure the two posts using timber framing techniques.  A bit of carpentry work will need to be done, but a mortice and tenon joint will hold the two together and give it a more organic look.

Sounds like a fun project.  Here is another thought.  If you are several years out from completion of this project, why not grow a couple of osage trees in place!  As the samplings come up train them to bend in the shape you want; and train them to intertwine at the tops.  Once the roots are established and the tops have merged you can girdle the trees so they stop growing or let them continue to develop character.  Either way those gate post are going no where for many decades, as osage is slow to decompose, living or cut.
2 months ago