Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two kinds of wood work

Now that the back door lintel has had the outside hewn off it, and I planed the flat sides smooth, it's time to fit the door frame into it. I started that process by drilling out the wood with a forstner bit, and then started chiseling out the bits to make it square.

In an unrelated scrounging project, I got a batch of oak pallets from a car distributor place. I think they're actually Japanese. I intend to take them apart and see if I can use the thin oak strips, glued together as cabinet fronts in our kitchen. We'll see.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surface preparations

Besides the cobbing and gardening and rainwater system, we keep working on other aspects of the house. Lately we did a bunch of treatments to different pieces of wood that will be in the house:

Here's Melissa, checking over the first coat of varnish on some of the loft beams. Sometimes you have to scrape off some of the built up gunk before doing another coat.

I oiled the loft post with tung oil, and Melissa thought one coat already looked pretty good:

Then there's the many different shelves, lintels, and covers of stuff that will be made of wood, and need coats of varnish. Melissa does a good job of that stuff:

The big back door lintel (the piece that will be the upper cross piece, holding up the wall above the door) is from a huge log off-cut piece that I had milled a couple years ago. We dragged it up from below the garden, and I had to hachet off the outside layer that was mostly charred from some forestfire, from maybe 60 years ago:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Water Collection Support

Well, it worked. Kind of. The fact that we had 8.1 inches in 24 hours sort of stressed the untried system a bit. I had some blow outs, and a number of slosh overs, but now that things have calmed down, everything is working smoothly. I'll have to rebuild some aspects of the system so as to be able to handle incredible volumes like this, but not right away.

Specifically, I had to change the placement height of one of the 'first flush' systems, so there was better drainage, and the screens in the gutters couldn't really handle the volume, so I got some crud in the tanks. Still, it's all smaller than 1/4", so it's not too bad.

We staye inside most of the day, other than my going to check on the ditches by the road, we had a nice day by the fire. Evening came around, and I got out the sherry, homemade crackers and homemade slightly-dried cheese. Not a bad way to end a wet day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"First Flush" System: designed, built, and installed!

So, here come the rains, and I wanted the whole rainwater cachement system up and running. The tanks are in place, the tubes are place, and finally, I had to get a 'first flush' system in place.

A first flush system is a way to take that first batch of water that hits the roof and dispose of it before it gets into the tanks. That's where most of the crud is: bird poop, pollen, dust, air pollution, etc.

I did some reading on the inter-tubes here, and decided I could make one myself.

Here's me, waiting for Melissa's help to install the thing (there's one for each tank):

It's 4" PVC, with rubber pipe reducers to a 3" pvc pipe, creating a bottleneck near the top. There's a screw off cap at the bottom, to allow me to let the crud out. Later, I'll make a slow drip system for that, so the whole thing will be automatic.

The above and the below pictures explain best how it works. You can see in the above picture, you can see I've cut holes in the top of the pipe (above the bottleneck) for the insertion fittings to enter the PVC. (the inlet is slightly higher than the exit) Those gray fittings attach to the black hdpe pipe that has the rainwater flowing in it.

The rain pours in, filling the pipe, and raising the float to to the "bottleneck" get it? the plastic water bottle is a float that cuts off the flow to the pipe after the first 5 gallons or so , and then the rest of the water just flows over the top of the bottle, and on into the tank.

Here it is attached into the whole system. Hope all goes well!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Water works

Much of the last few days have been about the rainwater collection system. After going down to the neighbors and dragging something close to 700' of 1 1/4" hdpe pipe off a giant metal spool (that I had to run a chain through the hub and chain to a fence post while Melissa drove the truck and pulled the hose - sparks flying, lots of noise - no pictures though) we started connecting the rain gutters to the tanks.

Here's the pipe going from the south roof to the western tank:

And here's the eastern tank with the hose connected to the northern roof. You can just see it going along horizontally above the ladder:

Here's my screening system for the gutter spouts: 1/4" screen, with two sets of window screen behind it.

Tomorrow, shopping for parts for the 'first flush' compoents.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Some real boring stuff

Melissa took a picture of clay soaking in buckets of water, getting ready to be put into the wall mix. Not very exciting, but informative:

Me working on the mortise of the loft cross beam. Boring, get it?

$1 tool rescue

Had a moment last week, so we strolled the flea market. A woman had a pile of rusty tools "anything $1!" and so I dug through it ...