Friday, December 21, 2018

Posts almost up, by spiderweb

After I got the posts up around 6 feet off the floor, I decided to move to a winch system.  Of course, I didn't think this was possible, because I didn't think I had a good anchor point.  And then I realized I could use a giant C clamp and clamp it to the concrete stem wall, creating a loop the winch hook could connect to.  Then I used tons of this flat cloth rope stuff I had just been given by an electrician friend.  (1800 pound strength!) He gave me a full bucket of cut offs from his job site. 

I also tied the joints together as they were going up, because I wanted some flexibility, but I didn't want them to pop apart.  
The last 6 inches to get them into place was tough. I had to jack up the whole ceiling with 3 different jacks at the same time and then really pull the posts into place. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

New West Window

Well, I'm getting even worse at taking before and after photos.  Here's all I could find for a picture of the small window on the (left) west side.  This was taken before I even cut the french doors in.  That's a gas grill under a cover, for scale. 

And the new window going in, not yet trimmed up:

From the inside: 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Lifted Lift

Nothing special to see here...  Turns out the loft ceiling is pretty high up. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

New Chimney in

Well, I had to move where the wood stove would sit in the cabin.  Where the previous chimney was placed didn't make sense.  In that spot, instead of trying to remove the flashing, I put in one of those tube skylights.  Here is the pipe coming up through the hole, getting the roof brackets put on:

Once I got the cone flashing on (much harder than expected, as it seems the 10" cone is NOT really designed for a 10" double wall pipe) I did the collar and lots of extra goop on all the screws and edges.   You can see the original chimney with the skylight in it in the background.  

The final chimney is straight (I seem to have leaned when taking the photo) and is made up entirely of parts that I already had, or were part of the original chimney.  I might put side brackets on, but this system is already pretty stable.   The bricks nearby are just to hold the shingles down while the roof goop dries. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Notchin' to it

Getting ready to put up some beams, working on a long scarf joint. 

That's a lot of wood to remove! 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A bit of leveling

For whatever reason, the driveway to the east of the cabin is a touch higher than the slab of the building, and then curves down to it... a perfect way to have water flow underneath.

So, out comes the shovel and the rake.  Over a number of days, working now and again until I got bored, I've moved the whole patch downhill.  The neighbor dog seems to approve. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Skylight Super Flashed

So, turns out pictures of each little process of putting in a skylight aren't that interesting, so here's the finished skylight.  I decided to go big on the diverters. They are glued down, but I'm thinking I'll leave the bricks there anyway.   

The roof itself also has a nice view.   I'm hoping that almost all the water that would touch this skylight by flowing down the roof will not even get to it.   

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Skylight Getting Started

Well, I made a hole in a perfectly good roof.  Now to finish the flashing around the curb and get the bubble skylight on there.  Won't be done until I can get to the store and buy a bunch of roof goop. 

Door Project - done, and windows

Painted, trimmed. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Door project, in process

So, of course it wasn't a simple thing.  I ended up cutting down and finding lots of rebar.  So, there was a lot of sledge hammer work.  It took all day.

The interior doors were also a huge challenge, as it turns out the floors were different heights, and the rebar made it hard to run a single line. 

The concrete chainsaw made a pretty big mess inside as well, but I did manage to get the doorways clear.   My arms hurt just looking at these photos.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The Cabin Project - Doorways

Well, the next batch of work is about the cabin on the upper property.  This 'closed in garage' needs to be made into a nice cabin that someone would enjoy living in while being energy efficient. 

The first batch of stuff to tackle is to fix the doors. In this picture, you can see I've cut a space for some french doors to go out the west, and you can see the two side doors -one will be a pantry and one will be the bathroom.  Notice the concrete lip.  That's a problem. 

Outside view of the french door hole, and the already in, new bigger window in the upstairs sleeping loft.  Still need to put trim around that window. 

Close up of the concrete lip. Yes, there's rebar in there too. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Starting anti-fire prep

Well, we never really stop.  But, took a picture of today's raking below the yurt.  Every year I work to get a bit wider swath cleared.  And then I compost the leaves. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A happily burning WVO in my Lister Gen.

Just a little review of how things are working well with my listeroid 6/1.  I'm so happy with how things are, it almost seems like I'm going to get some bad luck by talking about it, but, I'm not superstitious.   

First, I have the standard 6/1 Listeroid running a typical Chinese 3KST alternator. 
The Alt has a *8"* pulley on it, so with my typical flywheels, I'm probably running at around 600rpm

I took the simple voltmeter off of the shaky alternator and mounted it (in a tea tin as a nod to the Brits) in a spot in my gen shed that's easy to see.   The switch in this image is for on/off to push power to the house battery bank.  I used to sometimes hook up a gas gen and push in AC and forget that the other alt was connected.  The house would try and turn the alt! 

My personally made manifold to switch from the store-bought diesel in the standard tank to my WVO 'tank'.  Yes, the filter is mounted on a board, because this replacement filter didn't have the same mounting holes as the original. 

And my fancy WVO heating system, which is just a gravity fed aluminium tube (turns out copper reacts badly to WVO) that runs for a while along the exhaust.  I have a gallon jug of WVO hanging in the shed.  About 3/4ths of that jug will run the thing for 5 hours. 

I was given 10 gallons of gasoline that had mistakenly had a bit of diesel added to it, so I now use that to 'cut' my WVO.  I add about a cup of that gas/diesel mix to top off my gallon of WVO.  I actually don't even wait for my veg line to heat up anymore.  I do start and stop on regular diesel, but once I'm running, I only wait 30 seconds or so before switching to WVO.  I *do* run it on regular diesel for about 5 minutes at the END of the run, just to clean out whatever might have built up.   Oh, and I've added a bit of 'injection cleaner' stuff to the diesel tank, which seems to be working well. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Final wiring of gen shed

So I 'permanently' wired in the gas gen shed, so that a strong wire would be in place to deal with the further distance to the house.  I also put in a switch so that potential charge is not going OUT the wire.  Here's the switch:

and to make the wire, I found a 100' outdoor extension cord with a broken male end and cut it in half and used one half for the positive and one half for the negative, tripling the copper the charges travel on.  The house and the gen each have a ground, so I didn't need to run that in the wire.  It makes for a beefy cord: 

Wednesday, May 09, 2018


Fixing up an old gas grill.  One of the wheels had cracked.  Decided to carve up a new one.  Here's the broken wheel, the board I cute the new wheel from, and 'first draft':

Worked out ok: 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Little Garage for my New Gas Gen

For strange reasons (neighbor sort of broke my other one), I got a new small gas generator and decided it was time to set it up behind the woodshed in it's own garage. Here it is:

The lid is made of round, scrounged HVAC metal pounded flat.  It's on hinges and has a nice rebar prop up stick: 

The side folds down so you can get at the controls and plug things in: 

and of course it has a door, with a latch: 

that opens easily: 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Just some wood

 A couple trees I've moved about 4 stories uphill, and only about 3 stories left to go to get to the axe yard, where I get to split and stack it. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tankless water heater exploration

Yay.  I get to learn MUCH more about my water heater than I wanted to.  Seems to be leaking from somewhere deep inside.  Here's what it looks like when you open it up:

Luckily, the company - Takagi - has a very strong tech support line, and they've emailed me a batch of instructions on how to take apart, inspect, and ultimately replace the part with one they're sending me.   Still, a big project that is pretty vital to the house.  Luckily, we have another water heater and shower down at the yurt. 

Here's the problem area, up inside the thing:


that was hard.  There were about a zillion pieces, all connected in strange ways.  Somehow I managed to get it all the way out, and all the way back together.  and it works!

One thing I'm glad I did was to tape batches of screws together that went for each area, and labeled them.  Working over the laundry machine on an outside deck with cracks in it, I was very afraid I'd drop a part and never find it again. 

home made crossbow

Well, couldn't help myself, I had to try and make a simple crossbow.  PVC prod, redwood stock. 

can put a hole in the tool shed with a light bolt.  If I make some heavy-duty bolts, this thing could be deadly. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Finally built the counter edge the way it should have been.

For a number of years already, this counter edge has been failing to live up to my ideals.  For some stupid reason, I thought it would be cool to have the cob/plaster edge come up and over to the granite counter.  stupid.  Of course it's a vulnerable edge, and, guess where my kid sits and smashes stuff?   Here it is looking horrible:

A while back I'd made a new wooden bumper for it, and spent time oiling it and getting it ready, so that it would match the older bumpers well.  I think that matching idea worked out well.  However, it was also stupid to build the thing in my shop (like a J) and then try and fit it to the counter.   I was most concerned about the way the joint would look *in the wood*, but it turned out to make it much more difficult to fit to the angle...  I should have put in one straight piece, then fit the second straight piece, then worked on the joint.   Well, maybe.  It's true that the way I did it, I know that the joint looks good, and that it's solid (I was able to screw and glue the thing from the inside of the angle) 

Another angle.  Now I'm lime washing the heck out of the whole area to try and get the wall to look a bit better... and I did a re-plastering.  Note above how you can see some of the plaster chipped off when I dug out a channel for the wood. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Meters and Blueberries

Really happy with my cheap new volt meters showing me what the house and the freezer batteries are at with just a quick glance: 

and now I have to figure out what to do with my ever-growing blueberries.  How can I protect them from the birds and the deer?  Will probably just build deer fence cover things. 

$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 ...