Kevin Swanson

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since Mar 10, 2010
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Recent posts by Kevin Swanson

Satamax, I have a similar center chimney with nearly 10klb of mass in my living room.

I'd like to build an 8 inch batch and have the bell exterior like your first drawing in this thread. Part of me thinks there is too much mass to share a wall with the bell and I should instead insulate the shared wall.

This chimney starts in my basement and footprint is the same throughout 3ft x 6ft, 3 flues. My napkin math counts approx 30klb total weight, an absolute shame and waste of materials it wasn't a mass heater of some sort.

1 year ago
I'm looking to build a large scale(30x90) passive solar greenhouse in zone 5b, capable of being considered a forest garden greenhouse and growing small tropical trees, I'd like to jump 2 or 3 zones to zone 7 or 8. I've read the forest garden greenhouse and it seems that most of the greenhouses that are of large scale end up going with expensive concrete foundations with huge metal rafters in order to have a really large span, the cost of these heavy duty structures is too much.

I'm going to pose some questions here and answer them myself. Please feel free to jump in and provide your own answers or thoughts.

Why do we need so much concrete to build a passive solar greenhouse? I think we could do it with almost 0 concrete or at least just concrete posts in a few spots instead of a full foundation wall.
Can we use a much cheaper structure, such as a hoop house? I think we can use a cheaper structure like a large hoop house that is built to withstand snow load( to example hoophouse). On the north wall and roof, forgo glazing and insulate with spray foam sandwiched between two billboard tarps, one fixed to the interior of the north wall and one as a cap over the spray foam on the exterior.

I would also add frost insulation in the ground around the perimeter of the greenhouse, have insulated east and west end walls as well as a climate battery (GAHT,SCHS).
3 years ago

Ebo David wrote:I love Red Green (thanks for the allusion ;-)  

My personal goal would be to predict the behavior of my own modified design, and then measure where appropriate to post validate.  It is likely that I would not go the full monte on validation, but easily 1/4 of the instrumentation can be used in actively manage the greenhouse operations or passive monitoring to tell me that "Houston we have a PROBLEM".

Hi Ebo,

Are you saying that you are going to work to write some greenhouse automation/monitoring software? I'm a developer by trade and I'd be interested in collaborating with you on this.
6 years ago
I've been wanting to build a greenhouse for a number of years and in my mind come to a similar design as yours. First off let me say I'll be watching this thread very closely, I'm excited especially for the arches, I need to make a jig and arches like you... hopefully I can contribute some things too! A few things I thought of when reading your design.

North wall roofing: Use  recycled bill board material. A guy in my area got his for free and roofed his north wall with it.

Glazing: Solawrap is great stuff, it's been used in the EU for a while and recently available in the states. It gets rave reviews and is super durable with an excellent warranty, light diffusion and insulation properties are excellent as well. As soon as I read about it I was sold over poly carbonate and everything else.

North wall windows: I think you original design of overlapping the arches and having the vents be vertical instead of built into the roof is better. Sealing out water and ice is going to be challenging with a vent built into the roof. Additionally if your vents are ever open during a rainstorm you will get water in through your roof which could lead to erosion inside your greenhouse. I've seen this happen to someone with a hoop house greenhouse and north roof vents built into roof of the northwall.

6 years ago
This appears to be a more up to date site that has this calculator:
6 years ago

Mark Tudor wrote:I have a Wagner that had been sitting in a drawer for a couple years that I pulled out and cleaned off using Sheryl's tips- no self cleaning oven, so I sprayed oven cleaner over it and tossed in a plastic bag to sit for a day. I cleaned that off the next day, wiped off a tiny bit of rust that started after the coating was gone, and then coated it all with the organic, food grade flax oil I bought for this. Wiped it down and tossed into the oven at 450 or so for an hour, then let it cool and repeated 5 more times. After it cooled off the surface was smooth and not tacky at all.

Looked great afterwards, I put some olive oil in the pan and heated it up on low/medium heat (4 of 10 gas heat) and once it heated up I tossed an egg on to cook. It stuck quite a bit, and I saw numerous little bits of coating flaked off. I was using the metal spatula Paul recommended in his article but wasn't scraping hard. After I was done it took some work to clean the surface and a lot more little flakes came off, and almost all of them were around the middle, which is where the flame was sitting when on low.

Not sure if even low heat was enough to soften the surface here, but this was far less effective than the first time I seasoned the pan, which I think was with canola oil around 5 years ago. Not sure if I can scrub the surface down until no more flakes come off, then toss back in the oven to add more coats, or if I need to use the Easy Off again and get it back to bare metal, and then try it again using Alex's idea of heating it to 350 and applying coats that way. I notice the chart shows the smoke point of flax is 225, so aren't we hitting that smoke point anyways if we season at 350? Maybe just not as bad as 450-500?

I had the exact same problem with flax seed oil. I've read somewhere on the internet that flax seed is great for a decorative display seasoning for cast iron, but it flakes off in real world use. When mine flaked off I did as you described(scrape/scrub off the rest of the flax seed that is willing to come off) then season with another oil(canola/vegetable/lard) that doesn't end up flaking like flax seed.
6 years ago
I was treated for chronic lyme disease by a general practitioner who practices chinese medicine. He put me in contact with an herbalist in the VT area (PM me if you want her information, I don't want to abuse the forums by putting and advertisement here.) The herbal supplements got my lyme disease AND chronic mono in complete remission. The last 2 months of the treatment and for 2 months afterwards I suffered from piles. In order to get rid of them I tried drinking tons of water, changing my diet to include more fiber even though it already contained plenty and many creams and suppositories etc etc. I finally worked up to the courage to go to the chinese medicine doctor again and he advised taken a one month course of herbal liver cleanse(not sure if this is a detox), this cleared the piles up and they are GONE!

Now I just need to keep on a good diet and avoid sugar and alcohol to keep it the lyme in remission.
6 years ago
Buff orpingtons go broody and they are a decent sized bird. I usually have 1 or 2 out of 6 total hens go broody.
6 years ago
Dale, do you know of anybody that makes a cordless electric brush saw? One capable of going through 1" saplings?
7 years ago