K Rawlings

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since Jul 05, 2017
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cat gear building
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Leatherworker, rigger, slow tv enthusiast, jill-of-many-trades
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Ontario / Nova Scotia, Canada
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Recent posts by K Rawlings

Yeah, it's not eliminating electrical need, but it's reducing it significantly, since we'd be using a freezer anyway, and fridges draw a lot more energy, day and night. Plus, and it's a nominal issue, I hate the sound of a fridge. Is it just me, or are they really noisy?

When we have normal winters, I could leave the water totes outside for mother nature to freeze them for me. But the past few winters it hasn't been consistently cold enough to rely on that. We're in the process of building an off-grid house, so the freezer would be one of the few loads the solar power would need to deal with. Some day I'd love to try the old fashioned earth-bermed storage in straw method.

I remember seeing in a old book from long ago a two storey design, where the fridge storage is actually on a dumbwaiter which sits below, in a small sub-level 'room' filled with ice. When you need to open your fridge, you'd raise the dumbwaiter box up to the kitchen, grab what you need, and lower back down. They stocked the iceroom in the winter, and presumably it lasts the summer.  I've been enchanted by the idea ever since. I used to have a pic of the diagram, but I just went searching and can't find it. If it reveals itself, I'll post it here.
2 weeks ago
Another idea for tarp material. This time of year, at least in the northern climes, you'll start seeing boats removing their shrinkwrapped boat covers. We used to live on a boat, and every spring we'd see dumpsters filled to overflowing with heavy duty plastic shrinkwrap. Grab those suckers. They're often already preformed into a large (30+ ft) curved boat-shaped covering. Sometimes there's a bit of extra shrinkage left in them, which you could wrap around your frame and apply heat to finish off the forming.

And for those of you concerned with the serious damage from wind on tarps. Yup. Friction is no joke. But even in really rough winter storms (in Canada, we stay moored to the dock for the season) that shrinkwrapped plastic on the boat sustained no damage from the wind.

You can be proactive and ask someone before they remove theirs if you could help with the removal, or even do it for them (which they'd really appreciate), which enables you to cut it into the size of chunks best suited for your project. Just make sure you wear shoes with light-coloured soles before you prance around their decks making black marks all over...

Please, go out and visit your local marina! Now's the time.  It broke my heart seeing those huge masses of plastic going straight into the garbage. Also in the fall you'll find unused offcuts from the shrinkwrapping process, which you can then use on smaller project for perfectly formed, shrunk-to-fit covers. The stuff is quite durable and handles UV pretty well.
3 weeks ago
Not sure if this is the right place for this, but after watching the 'Quest for a negative carbon footprint' video,  thought I'd share my experience eliminating at least one electric-sucking appliance from normal modern life here in NA - the fridge.

My partner and I used to live on a sailboat (by the way, that same sailboat is for sale - very inexpensive - if anyone's looking to live off-grid-ish but can't afford a homestead yet) and did so for eight years. The 'fridge' on it sucked, so I explored nautical alternatives, one being the once ubiquitous icebox.

Now iceboxes on boats also suck, because they're almost always badly insulated, awkward to use, waay to small, and don't keep things very cold for very long. So I built a super-icebox, chest-style, based on a design by Larry Pardy. It was around 32" x 22" x 24". It was 4" of pink rigid foam insulation, layered every 1/2" with aluminum foil to reflect heat, and fiberglassed to finish the final layer. Then it was installed in one half of a bunk, handy for the galley. I'm not a cabinetmaker, so the lid construction leaves a lot to be desired, but I did try to insulate it. Tip: never use red oak for cabinetmaking. Good grief!

We purchased those standard commercially available iceblocks, not sure how big, maybe 8" x 14" x 6" or so. I kept temperature measurements for a year, measured from the top shelf, figuring on that being the warmest part of the unit. In the summer two of those would keep the icebox at 8 degrees C for five days before replacing the ice, with wintertime conditions (it was next to the hull, which was in icy waters) one block would suffice every five days, for a steady 8 degrees C.

We were so pleased with how that worked we're doing it in our rental land dwelling now. I recently finished making a larger version, also 4" thick, but more regular fridge-sized, so we could store our veggies comfortably, not having a root cellar. We have access to a friend's freezer, so we're using that to make ice blocks. In the two months we've had it operational, it's been using two 8"x12"x5" blocks, swapped out every three or four days, to create a steady ambient 8 degrees C in the top quadrant of the icebox. Some day we'll move to a place where we can have our own freezer, and'll be able to freeze larger blocks of ice, which should slow down turnover.

We'd normally have a freezer anyway for food preservation. This way we don't need the fridge. Oh, and one more note of interest. After years using the chest icebox, when we had to go back to normal upright fridges, we hated it. In the icebox, everything is easily accessible. Nothing gets lost behind rows of mystery condiments, and leftovers, becoming impromptu science experiments. I love having a nice, easy icebox again.

Photos attached are of both boat icebox and the new landlubber version.

I'm sure there are design efficiencies which can be made, but this is where it's at for the moment.

Anybody else have icebox experiences?
3 weeks ago
Yes, the little two-wheeled platform idea is rather exciting. I just looked at Princess Auto's offerings, and they have something called a 'panel dolly' which looks cheap and effective. Then make a little platform with a swivel caster wheel on it, bolt on a long handle, and it just might be an easy, light and inexpensive pair of dollies suitable for any length or size (within reason) of lumber.

So that would get the pieces to the spot where they're needed. But hoisting them up? I had a brainwave. Or maybe this is already out there, and I've just reinvented the wheel. Let's assume you want to hoist a beam onto that post you just erected and braced, and there's only two or three of you, and two of you aren't Arnold there. What about a pair of contraptions like this (please excuse the artist) on top of the two posts onto which the beam will rest?

Amy Gardener wrote:Not to deviate to far from the focus on dimensional lumber, I would be happy to describe the low tech methods to move and raise vigas into place. The old methods are transferable to dimensional lumber though the traditional material is round wood timber. All work requires only simple machines. We used the traditional building methods (no tractors or iron tools) to build the beamed roofs on adobe buildings here. It would take time to write this up clearly so if this is not relevant, please just disregard this message.

Bring it on!

Jeremy VanGelder wrote:

Mike Haasl wrote:Maybe a winch on a 4 wheeler or garden tractor to drag them to where they need to go.  Then a gin pole to erect them (Hint, there's a BB in the PEP system for setting up a gin pole)

Hey Mike, do you know where the page for the gin pole BB is? I searched the forum, and then looked through the badge pages for Roundwood, lumber and homesteading and wasn't able to find it.

I couldn't find it either.
Thanks everyone!

We have peaveys and such. Those two person log handlers definitely look, ah, handy. I've seen those log arches, but they do seem a bit pricey. However, it is definitely worth spending the money on good tools which you'll use more than once.  No argument there! Nothing's more frustrating than fighting with the tool rather than just getting the job done. ... Okay, there's probably things which are more frustrating...  drinking tea from a chocolate teapot.. rolling rocks uphill... getting a politician to do the job they were elected to do...

I was thinking more of the ongoing issue of moving the lumber from the (neatly stacked, of course) pile it's in to the foundation upon which one is building, or the second floor, etc.  The gin pole does seem like an option, but it doesn't look very facile. Or maybe that's the videos I've been watching, with people who aren't well conversant with the method.  Problem is, we've only got so much time off work to get the roof up. Argh! All this does make me long for a telehandler, despite the eyewatering rental fee.
Greetings! I'm guessing that folks here who do timber framing have experience with moving their large dimensional lumber around their building site. I searched for previous threads but didn't come up with anything. No doubt it's there, so apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere.

We're building a cordwood house with a post & beam structure, cordwood infill for the walls. Our largest pieces will be 8x10x14, so not too gruesomely heavy.  Most will be 8x8x10. We've got good road access, but the site is on a bit of a slope (10%) and it's all dirt and rock, of course. Renting a telehandler is not an option, since they all seem to be booked up until the winter. So we're back to more basic options. And we're not young hefty people, although we will have some help.

What's your experience with moving your lumber around for positioning, and hoisting those beams up on the posts?

Really appreciate any help!
Thought I'd post a few months of the 2022 calendar our family and friends will be receiving this year for solstice. I admit, I stole several images from the gardening jokes threads, but since the months which include them haven't been finished yet, I can't show you any. Got these done though.
2 years ago