Joel Bercardin

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since Aug 15, 2014
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Living on land for decades. At times a carpenter, retail clerk, freelance writer & editor, business-association manager. I'm a local environmental activist.
Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Recent posts by Joel Bercardin

Yes, I get your point. When I posted the idea of a modified-tool thread, maybe that wasn't so bad... but I guess I've derailed the thread. My apologies. Since you're on Staff, maybe you could delete any of my posts that have detracted from the thread you started.
3 months ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:Joel: not that I know of. Every time we try to make a thread that would cover a whole category it gets derailed into one or two specific things.

Yes, on Web forums this "derailing" has sometimes been referred to as "highjacking". It's a bad habit, in my opinion.  It leads to a kind of chaotic profusion, because people soon feel they need to start a new thread on the stated, original topic.

But I can think of a number of thematic threads here on Permies where it has not happened.  I haven't investigated this issue to the point where I have any theory about why it hasn't occurred on those threads.
3 months ago
The smartness of what you did is evident. !!  It allows you to be able to choose the appropriate option — the efficient, comfortable one — whenever you want either.

You're on Staff here and may have a better awareness than I do, but I wonder if there's a thread bringing toegether hand-tool modifications? There are so many good practical threads on that using the system's Search function seems to still leave many threads falling through the cracks. I've tried starting a number of theme-type threads where kindred ideas, having an essential similarity, could be posted to (or cross-posted to).

How do you see this?
3 months ago
Hey guys... this is a good topic of the sort that people deeper into homesteading would be interested in. Please cross-post to

Also, if possible, maybe illustrate with some pics.
3 months ago
We've got the same kind of snow here today, Jay... even though we're in a mountain valley hundreds of miles (or kilometres) east of the Pacific coast.

Glad this thread got bumped. We've continued to have the Solstice gatherings here that mentioned in the OP — though cant do it this year.  Friends here are mostly in their bubbles, hunkered down, socially distanced (yeah, like kilometres), and toughing it out through this peculiar time.

But I wish all reading this a happy Solstice & good year!
3 months ago
Jordan, great post. Good job too.  And well illustrated. Thanks.

Jordan Holland wrote:

Brian Kuhl wrote:Excellent idea using that copper as a heat sink!

...I have an old heavy flint knapping tool with a round, copper head that would probably work great for curved surfaces if needed :)

It could work! They actually make a tool called a "spoon" which is a handle with a slightly curved plate of copper that can be held on the offside of a thin weld. I've been meaning to get one, but have always gotten by with scraps of copper. In this case, a scrap I could clamp to the workpiece was better than a handheld spoon.

The thickness of the copper matters also. The thicker it is, the more heat it can absorb. If it's too thin for the job, it can get hot enough to melt and will stick to the weld. I've used brass in a pinch, but copper is much better.

Besides copper scraps... A large, flat thick-copper-bottom cooking pan (inverted) atop your workbench would probably work — if the work piece (saw, or whatever) could balance there, for enough good contact. A lot of larger 2nd-hand stores have old pans of that type.
3 months ago
I learned of a household/garage sale kinda late on a Sunday morning, and drove about 15 minutes from my place to the address. The place was a homestead where the patriarch had passed away, and one of his sons was selling an enormous range of large & small things from the house and outbuildings before the property itself would sell — object being to comfortably relocate his mother.

As well as a cultivator of small fields, the dad had obviously been a mechanic & handyman. There was an unbelievable amount of tools, equipment & parts in his main garage, virtually all coated with an oily patina including rust & dust. I’d been looking for more than a year for some sort of anvil, and I spotted this modest-size one in great condition. Top surface including the horn is a bit shy of 12”  & the weight is around 20 lbs. I decided my shrewd offer would be $15 (which would’ve been a steal, as regional anvil pricing tends to be several dollars per pound). But the son selling stuff said “how does $5 sound?” !!  I was a lucky latecomer to that sale.

After bringing it home, I used a rust buster spray, then a wire brush on an angle grinder to clean it up. I made a mounting plate from plate steel, clamped the anvil & plate to the top of a piece of I-beam. I've set that atop a stand I made from scrap wood.

(I'm happy to revive this thread that reflects an integral institution of rural living.)
5 months ago
I’ll throw this in with the hope that it’s relevant to the initial question & might help someone reading the thread.

We depend on a compressor here — I’m the homestead mechanic, plumber, welder, metal gadget maker, etc. My wife is a sculptor who works in bronze. Our upright compressor is a vital tool. We have it in a shed work area that's partially open-sided to readily dissipate any fumes from processes there, but we’re located in a cold-winter weather region. By late fall, the compressor will start & run sluggishly for maybe 15 seconds with the 30w sump oil recommended by the manufacturer, at which point it switches off the electric motor's internal circuit breaker, requiring a reset of motor — a cycle that would repeat endlessly. But by changing to 20w oil, our useful season is extended. During any real cold plunge, we supplement this by using a small heating pad under the bracket supporting the air pump.
5 months ago

David Huang wrote:At first I was going to metalsmith up something more complicated (and admittedly nicer all around) but then started thinking about the random stuff I already had on hand that could be cobbled together to make one.  I post a shot of the stuff I started with, a vinegar container from the recycle bin, some longer screws and bolts, and a couple pieces of scrap grid beam I've been making for another project.

Hey, that picker's great David! I like it as it is — to my mind, no need for an artful metal piece. It functions, and actually looks interesting too!

Plus, it's inspirational: it demonstrates what can be done with odds & ends, along with a bit of imagination and finesse.
5 months ago
Hey guys,  wonder f any of you might feel like posting pics and some words on this thread:
your homestead shop situation?
5 months ago