john smith

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since Aug 14, 2010
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Recent posts by john smith

Okay I'd like some responses by people who use hand tools if possible.

9 years ago
I've been having a discussion with a friend about hand tools vs machines.  I am satisfied that a scythe is as fast or faster than a mower, and more versatile, and that my maul can split wood as faster or faster than a splitter.  I use a small cross cut saw on old braches, and feel a larger one would be as good as a chain saw for logs, though I've not used one for that purpose yet. 

However, the main thing is that my friend feels a tractor is a necessity (though she doesn't know how to use one) for fixing roads and moving dirt, because that's what she was told by a neighbor.  I've only used a maul and hoe for moving around dirt.  So I'm curious about this for my personal purposes.

How do hand tools, such as a maul and hoe, compare with a tractor in the fixing of roads and moving around dirt?  I'm looking for some encouragement in this regard.  Thanks.
9 years ago
I'd check your water bill, and see if that would make any difference.

Here the difference would be small.

What they do is charge $60 a month, before you use any water at all!  It's basically an illegal property tax, for owning or living in the property.  Then if you use 1 unit of water a month, 748 gallons or one hundred cubic feet, the charge is $3 for that.  So you can use 25 gallons a day, for $3 a month.

It's like if you went to get a gallon of gas, and they charged you $63, but if you got 2 gallons of gas it would be $66, and so on.  And if you got no gas, it would still be $60 just for living there.  I have talked with them about this and it's like talking to a rock, because they are cleaning up charging for nothing. 

They are getting $7,200 every 10 years for nothing.  Why change?

I would like for as many people in the community to know about this as possible, in the remote chance the rate would become equitable.  However in the meantime I am doing this for me, and because it's the way that I wish to live, regardless of them or anyone else.  Also the city water is contaminated, with fluoride and whatever other noxious chemicals they wish to dump into it.
9 years ago
I called GE regarding their product Silicone 1 Clear for kitchen and bath, which says 100% Silicone on the tube.  I was planning to use this supposedly inert product on the gutters, and for patching the barrels. 

I asked how this product could be 100% silicon and safe since it contained methylthriacetoxysilane.  They replied that Silicone (being a trade name) contains other elements besides silicon.  I said well what about this methylthriacetoxysilane.  That does not sound safe to me.  The reply was "that is Silicone" and is perfectly safe (chemically).  The rep said SiliconE would be fine for the gutters, but aquarium chalk would be better for underwater use, only because the SiliconE might break down under water.  I since have looked this product up, obtained the MSDS report, and found this product is NOT SAFE at all.

WARNING!  May be harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.  Irritating to eyes, respiratory system and skin.  May cause central nervous system depression.  There are a number of POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS listed.

Petroleum Distillates ............ 10-30% by weight
Methylthriacetoxysilane .......... 1-5%

Treated Filler ......................... 5-10%
Dimethylpolysiloxane ............. 60-100%

It is very strange they consider this product of theirs to be safe!!

I will be returning it to the store.
10 years ago
Tel, thank you for that information.  I like the sand filter idea the best.
Did you get river sand, to make sure it doesn't contain salt?  I'm wary of commercial sand, as it often has additives. 

Where did you get the 50g barrels?  I've only one barrel at this point, and would like to get food grade for the rest.  Hopefully I can find them for a reasonable price.

Links on the left at lead to various images and descriptions for building slow sand filters.

I'm looking into the cost of covering 1/4 of the roof with metal, for better rainwater production.  If anyone has experience or ideas regarding metal roofs, let me know.

10 years ago
1 micron sediment filter $2 in bulk
1 micron carbon block filter $7 in bulk - each set should last for a year
I've got 5 old housings just laying around, and have most of the fittings with the housings.

Total cost ~ $20 not including the ceramic filter which is around $40.

Do you happen to have photos of your sand filters and what you put into them?
I've seen some designs with granulated carbon in the middle, which can get quite pricey.
10 years ago
Here's an idea for a cannister rainwater filter.  Let me know your suggestions.

screen > settling > take water from middle of barrel (perhaps 2nd barrel)
three stage filter > sediment > carbon block > ceramic (berkey etc) > unpressurized tank

The filters can be connected with 3 standard size RO housings, taken apart and arranged in a triangle, perhaps upside down, with right-angle fittings, with 1/4 inch tubing looped down from one right angle fitting and back up to the next.

There can be a 1/4 ball valve to turn the water on and off before it goes into the housings, which can be set in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, or just left connected together in a row.  In the latter cause the ball value would be inserted into the side of the barrel, with the housings on the outside of the barrel, either inside of a bucket or not. 

The water from the housings can go to an unpressurized tank, which can be a 5 gallon bucket, with a float valve to turn the housings on and off automatically as the water is used.

This works similarly to an RO system except 1) works by gravity instead of high water pressure, and 2) has a ceramic cannister instead of an RO membrane.  Rainwater already has a low TDS, so there is no reason for an RO membrane in this case.  It would be better if the ceramic filter had a carbon filter before it instead of granulated carbon in the middle, but I think a system like this would work well.  What do you think?

10 years ago

Len wrote:
Here is one that says it addresses shingle tar:
Using 5 gallon plastic buckets. I have seen other plans using these too.

This is awesome, thank you for the helpful information.
The shingle tar scribd document is not showing up.

[url=]concrete sand filter
[url=]sand filter cleaning method

[url=]bucket filter instructions PDF
[url=]home made gravity filter (berkey type)
[url=]indestructables design showing bottom connections
[url=]charcoal gravel sand bucket filter for rooftop harvested rainwater PDF

Gravity filtration systems have a much longer contact time with the media, vs water pressure systems with only a few seconds.  The longer contact time results in greater removal rates of contaminants and pathogens.  I think the same would be the case with regular sediment and carbon filters.
10 years ago

Ardilla wrote:
ou could dig french drains beneath the dripline of the roof that drain to planted mulch basins.

Yes the french drains are great.  I'm digging them with a mattock and hoe, pulling the top soil up, pulling the clay down into berms, making a huge cup in the middle.  It's great exercise.  The gutters are only for above the patio and front door, the water going to areas between berms and swales.
10 years ago

johnlvs2run wrote:
This is really good quality drinking water, except for the sediment, and which might contain some bacteria.  The roof is composition shingle, so there's a little shingle taste in the water, which must be suspended particulates.

For clarification, the 13 tds (total dissolved solids) is great drinking water quality, considering no filtration at all.  The roof shingles, bird crap etc is the issue.  The water does taste like the roof, not good at all.  It's the UNdissolved solids that I'd like to remove, including all the harmful bacteria. 

Len, that's a good idea about fermented foods, but there'd need to be a lot of kimchi juice to change that large a quantity of water, and there's nothing to digest , so the good bacteria would probably die. 

Sediment and carbon filters would help, though they don't remove all the harmful bacteria.  There are some alkaline water filters on Ebay that might neutralize the bacteria.  Has anyone tried one of these?  What I'd like is a system to pour the water into, to get about a gallon of drinking water for each day.
10 years ago