Dillon Nichols

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since Feb 18, 2015
Victoria BC
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Recent posts by Dillon Nichols

I haven't got enough bandwidth to get the video to load, so, based solely on the text:

I don't think the verbiage is nearly concise enough.

A great kickstarter pitch should make itself clear really quicky. Plenty of room for details after the prospect understands the bones of the thing.

Here, I have to read, and read, and read, to sort of understand what the heck the kickstarter is for.

Here's how that went:

Ok, it's about homestead businesses. Cool. I wonder what sorts?

OK, that doesn't seem like the greatest way to describe it. It's about some company called PermaEthos building 'a rich library of courses relevant to homesteading'. Sounds ambitious. Maybe the kickstarter should be more focused...

Is there enough interest? Well, that would depend, what are the courses, are they good, or mostly shiny fluff like many I can think of?

OK, FINALLY it tells me what the first course is about. Homeschooling. I have no kids, or plans, and thus not a lot of interest. Maybe the others will be more interesting.

Whoops, we're not moving on to the next course, we're talking Big Picture again. Sounds like at first this will be more like a tour than in depth courses info if there is 'potential' for intensive courses.

I like the idea of a tour. But why is it on kickstarter? Seems like that would be more at home on youtube with a patreon account...?

Still don't know about any of the other courses...

OK, moving on, now it's.. more about the Ponders, who are just course one? Skimming, looking for the next course... Whoops, 'See exclusive interviews with the Ponders and the folks they visit.' OK, so the Ponders are the ones doing all this, not just the subject of the first course! Wait, are they PermaEthos or is that someone else??

Hey, cool windmill tower, too bad there's no info about that...

Aaand that's it! Still don't have really a solid Who, What, Why for the project after reading the entire spiel.

I feel like most people would have stopped reading sooner.

Separate gripes:
1) I would echo the concerns about info from distant places being of lesser utility, that certainly rings true. If it was really about business aspects, I would be interested in a more generalized course including things like evaluating markets, navigating regulation, financing, and insurance issues, etc... with case studies to illustrate. Courses based on a single location sound potentially too narrow to be broadly useful.

2) I dislike streaming, I hate physical DVDs, and I hate low res versions. The rewards only let me buy the whole package as HD download... why can't I pick out which content I want and have it as an HD download?

Hope that is more useful than depressing. Good luck!
9 months ago
I caved and bought one; I had an immediate need to built a spare tire mount, and found a good deal that convinced me not to piece one together.

I have ZERO experience welding prior to this, and LOVE having the capability. I run it off the 2x 12V 'house' batteries in my van, switched over to series and disconnected from the van; they've been fine.

My bitching about the cold switch was misplaced; it IS just a high power relay wired to the trigger, I didn't realize this from their description.

I used some beefier wire to add another ~12ft of length, I think for most uses 20-25ft is nice.

I do have some misgivings though when it comes to build quality. It seems generally cheaply and rather crudely built; the provided wiring is all cheap untinned stuff, and the lugs are hammer-crimped. You know, the shitty sort intended for use in a home shop by someone who can't be arsed to buy a $50 hydraulic crimper...

The plastic is cheesy, and doesn't give a solid impression. The wire feed adjustment dial is poorly placed and constantly getting bumped by accident.

The branding makes a huge deal of it being a American Made Product... but they used cheap chinese knockoff components everywhere that I can identify them. The Anderson connectors are not genuine, but unbranded copies. Hypocritical IMO.

The fairly short warranty is void if you don't send in your paperwork; not uncommon, but still lame.

So, in short, I love it... but I feel like it should be possible for someone to build a better quality version of the same thing, for the price. Or, that someone could build this quality for rather less money.

There is also the Broco GOWELD, for around twice the money; it's a fancier unit with an onboard computer handling speed control.
1 year ago
One of my favorite sayings seems very applicable here, you've probably heard it somewhere...

Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.

I usually think of interactions like this as a wonderful opportunity to improve the quality of people I interact with, in the simplest way possible; culling the bad apples.

Carrie, the picture you paint of interactions between various income levels sounds pretty great. Yet, I can't agree with your stance that it is necessarily disrespectful to decline a paid trip if proffered.

Carrie Graham wrote:
If they offer and you refuse, you are basically choosing not only to live a non-traditional impoverished lifestyle, but you are also choosing to exclude them from your lives.   It would be different if you were blaming them for not wanting to help you, because they are richer, that would be selfish. But if the gift they offer you is to pay for you and your children to attend family events like everyone else, then I think you disrespect them by refusing.

This may seem reasonable if relations are generally smooth, and there are not strings attached... but this is sometimes not the case in my experience. I certainly have relatives I would never accept financial assistance from, whether to visit or for other purposes. It would come bundled with a lifetime of condescension and an implied acknowledgement of inferiority. 'Free' money from these people isn't something I could afford the psychological cost of.

Melissa Parker wrote:
I know they think we are weirdos... but they think we are nice weirdos... and that's good enough.

Well, and who would want to be normal anyway? How boring...

It's all relative anyhow; normal compared to who? When I was wwoofing last fall, someone remarked how nice and normal everyone on the site was... by the prevailing societal standards, none of the people there were particularly normal.. but we were similar enough to each other that our oddities seemed normal.
2 years ago
Like all the best questions, the answer to this one is of course... it depends!

If your cob is structural(holds the roof up all by itself) you certainly can't just knock down a wall without serious work to stop the whole dang thing coming down on you.

OTOH, if you have a timber frame(or whatever, something aside from just cob) supporting your roof, you probably can knock out just about any walls you want. Sure, it's solid and monolithic, but it's earth, not stone. You can take it apart with hand tools. And after you tear a wall apart with a mattock, the debris can go right into the mix for the new cob you need, instead of into a fire or dump like a stick-frame wall!

Easier yet, what about adding without knocking down any walls at all? Adding complete rooms would seem pretty efficient; a good sized eat-in kitchen with sleeping loft could be the entire house, to start with; rather than expanding by knocking down a wall, you could add additional rooms next to it, either by attaching to a secondary door, or by building in front of the main entrance and moving the entrance into the new room. Extra thick interior walls aren't really a problem unless you're dealing with fairly severe lot-size issues...

The main potential complications, as far as I can see, would be the roof and the foundation/drainage.

As far as the roof goes, in my area I see a lot of shitty add-ons to stick-built houses with terrible roof-lines. The original house is usually gable-roofed and single story, oriented with the roof sloping towards the street and back yard. To add space as cheaply as possible a shed-roofed expansion is stuck to the back... but to have enough headroom, the pitch must be unreasonably shallow, and the connection point is often very awkward looking as well as a potential leak spot. I've also seen the same thing with other types of roof; a pyramid hip roof added onto like this is dreadful.

Simply building a gable roof with the slopes facing the side yards would allow easy expansion to the front or rear. For a small structure I'm a big fan of a simple shed style roof, which is easy to expand in 3 directions.

Of course you could also build your initial room with some sort of roof that is not well suited to expansion as built, like a pyramid hip roof, and deal with expansion by lifting the initial roof to a height that allows proper slope of additional roof space. You could also build more roof than you need from the beginning, and enclose the covered space gradually...
2 years ago

John Polk wrote:Sounds yummy.

(Not so sure that I would call it a 'sports drink' though.  Most sports drinks have electrolytes to replace those lost through perspiring.)

I wonder if there's a permie-ish way to add in the electrolytes?

I've been drinking a lot of kombucha(sweetened with honey and berries) this summer in lieu of sports drinks/juice. My low-tech/lazy approach to try and cover electrolytes when I'm sweating my ass off has been to eat something salty and a banana, to cover the sodium/chloride and potassium, since I know those are high on the list of things lost in sweat... probably not a very complete solution though.
2 years ago

my only problem with free lumber is either where to store it or how to say no to more

What a terrible problem to have!

Nice ideas for sources, will have to keep them in mind. Free lumber around here goes *fast*; I don't usually bother when I see it posted on craigslist etc, because it will almost always be gone before I can arrive, even if it's just 20 mins away.

My favored lumber yard has a scrap bin you can loot... but I've never seen any decent wood in it. We're talking nothing over 18" usable length...

Other than for making compost bins, I have never understood the fascination with taking apart pallets for the wood because better scrap wood seem so common.

I'm not a big fan of taking apart pallets for the lumber outside of special circumstances, but there's just so much beyond compost bins that can be done with them! Within the couple months I've used pallets to make 5 tables and a raised garden bed; none of them were disassembled, some were trimmed with a hackzall. Benches, fences, and crude animal shelters are also easy builds.

(As far as special cases go... I've scored some lovely 8' full dimension 4x4 posts out of pallets... no idea what they were carrying, but it must have been heavy as hell!)

2 years ago
Hi John, welcome to the forum!

Just how big is the span you're dealing with here?

If I was set on a peaked roof, and wanted to avoid putting rafter ties near the base of the rafters to preserve headroom in the loft and an open feel in the full height area, I'd be thinking about a structural ridge beam. In a relatively small building with a loft, a central support post could fit right in a the boundary between loft and open area. Depending on size of structure this centre post might be all the extra support the ridge beam needs... (plus either posts or reinforced stickframe at each end, and the usual bracing)

As Terry suggests, someone with the appropriate background/software/alphabet soup, located in local meatspace, is likely the 'right approved or safe' way to get your design finalized.

In order to have a design that hopefully doesn't need much help once you find that person, I'd be looking around the web for span calculators, and at state/regional standards for live/dead loads. Also would seek published strength info for your specific wood options. The strength difference between your oak and whatever the local place is making dimensional lumber from may be pretty substantial.

I completely agree with Cristo's remarks on overbuilding, too.

Some general thoughts you might keep in mind, forgive me if it's obvious stuff:
The strength of a beam or rafter, all else being equal, increases in a linear fashion with additional width. However, strength is proportion to the square of the beam height.

If you look at wooden I-beams and box beams... the above is why they work.

So, in theory a 6x8 is is exactly the same strength as a beam built up from multiple full dimension 2x8s of the same material, adequately affixed together. In practice I would guess the latter would come out a bit stronger as flaws in one piece won't align across the whole beam.

However, a 4x10 beam would be able to support a heavier load, despite being lighter and of smaller volume. A 3x12, even more so... (At some point the beam is too narrow and needs bracing to avoid failure by buckling sideways, I have no idea where this point is.)
2 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:

Dillon Nichols wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:But be warned, the old view will be going away.

Lame, I'll definitely spend less time here once it does. The new view is super annoying to use on my desktop, and pretty much unusable on my tablet with a low speed connection, which is where I usually am.

Even though the new view can include the old view?  


Dillon, if you give me $100,000 to pay people to maintain the old view, I will keep it.

I love this place, but I don't love it $100,000 worth! Duplication of work is not very permie, hopefully with a few more tweaks the new view will be ready for its new role as the ONE VIEW.(to rule them all and in the darkness etc...)

I admit I hadn't seen that linked post yet. It seems like a step in the right direction for sure!

I think that the main problem with using the new view on slow connections is the thumbnails. If it's not the whole problem it's at least a logical starting point.

If I make a single column dashboard I get a lot less pictures; if I make a dashboard with only 'top forums' included, I get no pics at all... there is really no utility to the forum homepage in that configuration, but at least it can load in a timely fashion! For that matter, I could really just skip ever loading the main forum page and go right to 'all forums' or 'recent threads' to get around the pics.

Problem: when I create this thumbnail-free view, and change to it... the change doesn't stick. The default view loads when I load the page again, and I have to select my thumbnail-free view.

Problem: when I load an individual forum ie 'natural building', I am back to the default view again, thumbnail city. Plus, the dropdown to select my custom views is not present.

It looks like some of the other things about the new view that irked me have been addressed in the meantime, perhaps it's time to give it another chance. I'll check things out from my normal slow connection and see how it goes now.

paul wheaton wrote:But be warned, the old view will be going away.

Lame, I'll definitely spend less time here once it does. The new view is super annoying to use on my desktop, and pretty much unusable on my tablet with a low speed connection, which is where I usually am.
I've got one of these hats, perforated sort, love it. http://www.aussiechiller.com/

I soak it in a sink before heading out to work in the sun. Chug water, then keep dumping water over my head every time I drink, which I do at least 2x as often as feels necessary.

Doing that I've been able to work in midday august sun, high 40s, with no ill effects. Water consumption was 2-3+L per hour, half through me and half to recharge hat every time I take a drink.

Without doing the above, heat exhaustion can hit very fast, and for me tends to trigger migraines to boot, which can cause a truly miserable night and impair my functionality to a degree for a couple days to avoid retriggering them.

I am very careful about hydration, and at least for me find that drinking only when thirsty is entirely inadequate. I carry water with me, always. If I'm doing something where the average person would carry water, I carry extra water; 2-3x what everyone else brings to aikido or on a hike. I've found the extra water comes in handy more often than most of the other stuff I carry(knife, flashlight, first-aid, etc).

I find that other folks are often grateful for a suggestion that they pause for a drink. Lots of us forget, and just because they aren't doing it doesn't mean they shouldn't be.

Of course the very best heat illness prevention method is as Joeseph describes, applying common sense to when you work so that you're doing the heavy stuff in the cool hours, and safely in the shade for the mid-afternoon scorching hours.

2 years ago