Martin Amell

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since Dec 14, 2017
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Recent posts by Martin Amell

Confession time..I haven't had a drivers license since 1994 and have logged 1000s upon 1000s of miles since then, all 100% wreck free.
I live in SC, but all of my banking and social security information is tacked to my son's address in Ohio..
Now he did move once and forgot to put in a change of address for all my stuff which kind of screwed me up with social security for a while, but it's all fixed now.
If you trust your family (big IF with a lot of families) it shouldn't really be a problem. You can also use general mail if you're traveling a lot and pick your mail up at various post offices around the country..  How to go about general delivery..
I used general delivery quite a bit as a young man back when I still thought hitch hiking cross country was a good idea. I've since completely given up on hitch hiking as a viable transportation alternative..
2 years ago
The Mrs. and myself have been mulling this idea for some time now, but one issue came up and that is we both love our alone time especially when we're not exactly getting along. I usually head out to the garage/shop in those times and she sits at her computer doing her stuff and she also works from home with her computer doing legal work as a scopist. In case you don't know what a scopist does they take court transcripts from court reporters and turn them into a easily readable format. Court reporters use a machine similar to machine shorthand so most isn't legible. (in case you didn't know)  
Now we love each other and I wouldn't want anyone else at this point in life, but our house is entirely too big for us and we're considering liquidating everything for retirement and taking our show on the road, but it still comes back to having our time alone and I want some kind of workshop.. Tough to have with a mobile tiny home.
We've also considered a trailer workshop with a motor home.  The problem with this is I seriously doubt she would want to drive a motor home with a trailer behind it.  I could do it, but we like to split driving time and I'm 100% convinced she couldn't back up a trailer if her life depended on it. She can't even park her little PT Cruiser unless it's a big  open parking lot and even then it's a cringeworthy event..Yeah, motor home with a trailer could be a disaster in the making..
Now, we don't HAVE to travel long distances with everything so I'm thinking of a tiny home that's movable ,but based somewhere with a garage / shop that's leased or rented..  We really want to get out from under the burden of home maintenance, lawn care and the rest of the bs that comes with it. We're getting up in the years and I'm not sure how much longer I'll even want to putter around in the shop. I'm getting less and less interested in building stuff and with a tiny home there's only so many places to put the stuff I can make.. How many kitchen tables and chairs could we possibly have in a tiny home?  Lol
So many ideas, so little time to work out the details..
I'm actually thinking about putting my entire shop and all my tools in storage so my kids can squabble over all of it after I kick off..  
As for the Mrs...she's a packrat extrordinaire..  I'm not sure she really understands just how much of her crap she'd have to get rid of.. I was living out of a suitcase when we meet and before then I lived in a tiny room at the Y for a long time so I know I'm suited to tiny home living. Her on the other hand???.... Major major lifestyle change..
2 years ago
I absolutely have to pass on the cold.. Me hates the cold..
As a young man I had the brilliant idea of hitch hiking coast to coast in the dead of winter more than a few times. The last attempt had me stranded on a stretch of I-75 somewhere near Cincinnati when the temperature dropped to below zero. The ice and snow had been plowed off the highway till there became a 10-15 foot barrier of solid cold and it was of course night time so nobody could see me standing 10-15 feet above the roadway.
I finally succumbed  to the cold and sat down on my duffel bag and fell asleep as I could no longer feel the pain of freezing.  
For some reason I still don't know to this day someone saw me up there, stopped and carried me to his truck while I was still unconscious and saved my life. I woke up a few miles later and he dropped me off at an all night diner where I stayed till the morning and made it the rest of the way home in Dayton Ohio. I've hated and even feared the cold ever since then.
Oddly enough I had traveled to California and back on the trip and nearly died just about 40 miles from home..
Needless to say I won't be taking any ice cold showers now or any time in the future. I also won't be hitch hiking in the winter or any other time of the year unless there is absolutely no other alternative.
2 years ago
It probably wouldn't hurt to just spray the inside and outside of each can with a good quality metal primer then possibly a coat of epoxy if you have the loot for the's quite expensive, but would last forever..
Be forwarned that if you plan to shoot epoxy be sure to clean out the spray gun every time and only mix small amounts at a time as it sets up quickly.
Nothing is more frustrating than attempting to clean epoxy out of a spray gun after it sets up. It's really not worth the effort once you reach that point..
Anyway, the cans wouldn't rust..
2 years ago
Hmmm..I wonder if I could monitize all the stupid jokes I've written on various forums over the years. Perhaps my lack of willingness to actually bother to get around to monitizing my stupid jokes? It seems that other people like to read about my expoits of basic laziness..
I'm not completely lazy. I do do work. I'm just better at not doing it than I am at doing it.

John Pollard wrote:

John Schinnerer wrote:I love how these topics go around and around and after 20 years the same guesses and assumptions live on and nobody seems to know about resources equally old.

Some actual research (whoever posted there's no science is incorrect) from University of Wisconsin, a compilation of a bunch of stuff, all under the heading "Use of scrap tires in civil and environmental construction" is here:

There was one major report - probably included in this compilation, and I have a hard copy somewhere still I think - that was pointed to by the Earthship folks back in the day. It basically said that used tire material buried in the ground doesn't seem to leach much of anything and since it's buried there's no offgassing and no UV-destabilization. The use case was chunked up tires as part of a subsurface earthen fill and/or embankment material for civil engineering. Any buried tire application is essentially similar, unless there are also solvents in the ground that degrade tire material, in which case the tire is probably the least of the problems.

What might be of major concern is the use of tires on actual cars, where they are a major non-point pollution source spread all over the country and emitting whenever they are driven on, spewing out tiny particulates that move with the air and water.
So for anyone concerned about reducing pollution from tires, the place to start is cars. Forget that old tractor tire planter in Grandma's yard. Minor issue. Do something about all those cars!

We have a winner. The guy behind earthips, Michael Reynoulds, looked into this a long time ago. Tires have a half life of something like 30,000 years when buried in a landfill situation.(one half life used=50% life remaining) There is no way to recycle them but you can re-purpose them. When they're shredded for playground mulch, they still get sun, freezing temps and high temps. That makes them break down pretty quick and then the nasties get in the soil/water. Burning them of course, is way worse unless. There is an industrial recycling process called tire pyrolisis

Currently, burying them is the safest option there is for tires. Burying them in landfills, they get mashed, mixed with other stuff, might stick out of the ground at times and will have rainwater flowing against them. Buried in an earthship, they're kept cool, dry and out of the sun. I don't know think a study of the half life of them in that case would result in. 100,000 years?

Meanwhile, you can make some cool looking outdoor furniture.

As far as out-gassing through the dry soil and whatever you coat your inside walls with, keep it fresh and crack free. I know some old tires guys that have been in the business their whole life and that's with dealing with stinky new tires and seemingly had no health problems at the age of 60 or so.  

Drive less and don't park your tires in the sun.

You know that if you go hang out at a used tire shop (I've worked in the business) you'll find the most of the danger is from mashing your fingers, getting a tire blown up in your kisser and the like.  You probably won't find a lot of super health conscious types working at those places, but will find a lot of alcoholics and druggies .. That's not saying much for the industry. I've worked with hazardous materials most of my life and at 58 I can't say I'm too much more worse for the wear.. I have nervous ticks and other ailments, but most of them could be traced back to solvent exposure and slips and falls and other not so fun incidences..  I doubt that I'm going to die directly from whatever chemicals used tires might have put out.
I get it. Most people want to minimize the risk and for good reason, but at the same time we also have to find the scapegoats.
I painted in a spray booth for years with minimal protection and have the medical documentation to prove it, but my time with tires was probably the least of things that effect my overall health at this point in time.
The toxic release being discussed with tires is a relatively slow release compared with many other things I've been exposed to in my working life. If I had to rate it on a scale of 1 to 100 compared to the rest of the crap I've been exposed to it probably wouldn't reach the double digits. I kind of doubt it would reach whole number territory as opposed to say, shooting xylene based paint for 70 hours a week for 5 years with just a simple $35 respirator to breath through all day long.  
I'm not telling you there is no risk at all, but it's nowhere near the stuff many of us deal with every day on the job. I've been around welders who died as young men or went blind before their kids reached high school. I personally know two who died from lung cancer, but zero who have died as a result of used tire exposure.
It's up to the individual to determine the risk they're willing to take. As I get older I'm less likely to accept the risks, but I'm not working in a high risk profession any longer.
The risks are not nothing. They do exist so you have to weigh the risk against whatever possible gain you may have by using used tires to do whatever you might want to use them for. This is just my perspective.
2 years ago
I'm guessing that wood is white oak which is strong and durable.
Have you decided on what the legs are going to be made from and the joinery techniques?
I'm very partial to oak dowels and NOT those cheapo store bought 1 1/2 fluted kind, but the long 3' pieces cut to fit..
2 years ago
Well, we can all debate what may or may poison us all and the merits of recycling tires, bottles and so on, but reusing them vs leaving them all to rot in landfills and such seems like a no brainer to me.  I'm somewhat willing to accept the trade off. I do a lot of woodworking and have to accept that every time I use a new piece of wood to make something new from it a tree has to be cut down somewhere. I'm not in favor of cutting down every standing tree on the planet, but the wood has to come from somewhere.
Do I accept the bit of poisonous leeching if I'm building a new home vs using the many many alternatives? I don't know all the alternatives and don't have the time to research each and every single possible negative impact now or 50 years into the future.
How many foods have you ever eaten only to later learn about the possibility of getting cancer only to later learn it's healthy for you only to find that you're going to die anyway regardless of whether you eat it or not.. Ok, so you'll live an extra 15 minutes! It'll be the best 15 minutes of the last 16 minutes of your life.
The stuff released by tires IS GOING TO get into the air and water and soil if for no other reason than there are millions upon millions upon millions of them spun around at high speed all around town and the world every single day of every year and those little particles are all around us. At least inside of a wall those particles aren't being tossed out into the atmosphere at high speed  up and down every street from here to China and back..  It's probably worth the trade off if you're ok with that last 15 minutes not being as spiffy as you originally planned.
2 years ago
Be wary of free plans sites as many are related to or spin offs of the infamous Teds Woodworking plans which is a rip off designed to do little more than take your money.
There are plenty of sites with free plans.. is pretty good with lots of free plans.
Another with lots of links to root around for plans and other general woodworking knowledge is
I build a lot of furniture and other things made of wood, but most are from my own imagination or otherwise taken from other plans and modified to suit my needs.
Once you understand the basics of furniture or other types of construction you can modify just about any plans you might find online.
I'm preparing to build a cabinet to store both my wife's collection of different boxes of tea and our collection of coffee cups and mugs. I spent a good deal of time trying to find plans for such a cabinet, but none really fit the bill so I've modified it with a plan from and the rest from the stuff crammed between my ears.. It's made primarily from red oak and will likely weigh more than anything that will ever be stored inside of it...
The term "dammit, I can't remember the word" springs to mind. I had it right before I started typing it and have forgotten the term, but it basically means made to fit..
Anyway, learn the basic techniques and you can design your own furniture or anything else without the need for specific plans..
2 years ago
I'd be more interested in figuring out how to go about finding areas that would permit an organization to build such housing to establish new communities around the idea of sustainable and very affordable housing for very poor people and at the same time establishment of businesses to employ the people who would live in the community keeping in mind that not everyone who would live there would be employable at all.
The only real stipulation put upon the people would be the need to keep up routine maintenance and for those physically and mentally incapable having a program to support them as well as they age, become less capable and so forth.. Yeah, it's the bleeding heart part of me that wants to provide for people incapable of providing for themselves.
I remember the time when I was on the down and outs and there seemed to be no place I could go to build a small home with just my own labor, but also live around people with similar interests and needs.
At the time I was living in a shed in an old woman's back yard and we had discussed establishing such a community, but neither of us had the money nor the physical ability to do such a thing.
My health and lot in life has improved dramatically since that time and the old woman passed away, but those dreams still exist in my mind..
It's always kind of lingered in my mind how to go about establishing a community of this nature. Would it be possible and how many different aspects would need to be addressed?  Everything from building the houses to utilities to sustainability to establishing the criteria for who may qualify. What happens if a couple for example begins building their home in such a community, but through no fault of their own one or both develop physical and/or mental impairments.. How does such a community keep from having to evict them? Would it be even possible to get rid trouble making types?  How could such a community establish its own laws, enforcement mechanisms and so on?
I'm sure there are many other aspects I've never even considered.  I'd be very interested in getting an online community together to explore all of the different issues that might make such an idea possible because every city, state or locality has more than enough people who are always left out of the processes of being able to establish a home and place to feel secure and so on..
Most of the material I've read about building homes usually begins and ends with someone's desire to have their own place never really considering the neighbors and people who are limited by so many different factors.
I could go on and on about all kinds of issues and even the political aspects, but I'll leave it at this and wonder if I'm the only one who thinks about such pie in the sky thinking..
2 years ago