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Heat and Cooling,Power generation

Wood Stove Generator – Part 1

15 Oct , 2016   Video

wood_stove_generator_part1_thumb The goal was to generate a few watts of power off a woodstove, to run a small water pump or charge a 12-volt battery.

Since I’m waiting for some parts for the Cowboy Hot Tub project, I thought I would mess around with some ideas of generating power from a wood stove. The video will be part of series. I have few concepts and need to test them out with the materials on hand.

I watched a few videos and figured out that it wasn’t the best method to making power, but with a strict budget and a few ideas, I might come up with a solution. The video will be part of series. I have few concepts and need to test them out with the materials on hand.
Thanks to the YouTube channels LasquetiDude and jack36202 for the concept.

Music credit: Mob_Battle, by Silent Partner.,

Buildings and Renovations,Heat and Cooling,Relaxing

The Cowboy Hot Tub Project – Part 2

16 Sep , 2016   Video

cowboy_hot_tub_and_woodstove Lots of changes to the project, but the end results was a hot bath in an off grid situation. The first was to move the tub to a better location for my family. The old tub was located down at the lake, which can be tiresome walking up and down the hill to use the washroom, get more beer, etc. The plan was to put it where the current outdoor shower was located in between the outhouse and the guesthouse. The only setback was a large Pine tree was in the way. So, instead of cutting down the tree and getting distracted from the task at hand, I decided to use the existing 5′ long, cast iron claw foot bath as the tub. It was a little bit easier to move around and the water would heat up faster.

The next step was to use something to contain the heat around the copper coils. The campfire worked but it didn’t get hot enough. After my wife’s suggestion, we had a spare wood stove in the guest cabin. The previous owner purchased it and it was not installed. It was a perfect size, not too heavy and it fit nicely in the new space.

cowboy_hot_tub_woodstove inside of wood stove McCleary Kitchen Heater No9 woodstove

Once the tub and wood stove was in place, the next step was to run the 1.5″ PVC water pipe from the main line to the tub. I had to do some careful planning and ensure everything fits the future plans for the water system. (Which was to move the water barrels off the roof and under the cabin. As similar to an RV set up, we would use a 12-volt pump to move the water up to the tap) I was really pleased that there were spare fittings that could be utilized for any kind of angle. Once the fittings are glued, there were no second guessing. Only had one screw up a forgot to glue the pipe together under the guest cabin. Not the end of the world, but I’ll have to keep the psi of water pressure to the minimum.

cowboy_hot_tub_ports The next step was to modify the copper water coil to fit inside the McClary woodstove fire box. To make a water coil, one end was capped and table salt was poured into the copper pipe. The pipe then could be rolled or bent into a shape without kinking/splitting the pipe. With a little time and patience, I managed to form a pretty good coil. The next plan for a coil would be about 6 inches in diameter.  The water coil was placed into the McClary woodstove fire box. The “in” and “out” ports were inserted through the stoves side vent holes.

By this time, it was the end of the day and getting late. I still wanted to test out the woodstove and the water pump. Did a test with a large metal crab pot and ran the water through the line. It took a while to get the fire really hot in the firebox. I’m sure if the water coil wasn’t in place it would heat up much faster.  After 40 minutes and lots of small, dry twigs, the fire really started to make some luke warm water. I threw a couple of dry cedar logs in and stopped for dinner. About an hour later there was some coals and the water circulating was gradually getting hotter.

Music credit: “Rural Stride” by Josh Kirsch/Media Right Productions & “Swamp Stomp” by Silent Partner (YouTube Audio Library)

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Heat and Cooling,Relaxing

The Cowboy Hot Tub Project

19 Aug , 2016   Video

Since it was super hot at the cabin (and no campfire ban), thought it would be a good plan to “test” the Cowboy Hot Tub Project. The goal was to place a hose/copper pipe in the campfire and run it back into the tub. The water would be pumped through the hose and come out warm on the other end. After 2 hours, the water should be a reasonable temperature.
Most of the parts were scavenged, but the stock tank was purchased used from a local farm for $200. The water tank measures 10′ long x 3′ wide by 2′ deep. It has two brace beams to keep the sides from falling out. The 300-gallon water tank was filled with a 1-1/2” PVC pipe from the water line to the cabin. More information about the parts can be found at the blog post on July 12, 2015
Filling_Cowboy_Hot_Tub Once the tank was full of fresh lake water, the next step was to heat up the water to a comfortable temperature. To help push the water, I used a 12 volt DC pond pump. It was hooked up to a deep cycle battery and worked quite good.


I had bits and pieces of  leftover, 1/2″ soft copper pipe from the old roof top water system. Using a car tire as a bending form, the pipe was bent into a coil. Built up a fire using the “log cabin” style and placed the copper pipe over the flames. It worked pretty well, but the fire needed to be hotter. I moved some the wood around and cut smaller pieces. It let it burn for a few hours and then called it quits for the day.


One 1/2″ coil of copper through the campfire


The next day, I found a roll of 3/8″ pipe. Had multiple coils 4 – 5.

The next day, I looked around the shop and found a decent coil of 3/8″ soft copper. It was wound up in four coils and looked like it would do a better job. Attached the garden hose to the ends and started to work on the fire. This time, I found an old, round BBQ that had holes in the bottom. I looked for shorter logs and split them with an axe. The plan was to create a small, hot fire inside the old BBQ. Hopefully, the heat will be contained.  Once the fire was going well, the coils over the fire. I kept adding pieces to the inside and outside of the coil.
This time, I noticed the temperature was a bit hotter. The extra coils did make a difference. What was really interesting, we the wind increased and blew on the campfire, the temperature increased incredibly.

Hose_in_1st_Cowboy_Hot_Tub Side_of_Cowboy_hot_tub

At the end of the day, it was a  good test for Cowboy Hot Tube project. I know what needs to be improved and I got a chance to sit back and enjoy the project. More improvements will follow in a few weeks. Thanks for watching!


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Wedding Projects,Woodworking

How to Make Lawn Dice for Yardzee

5 Aug , 2016   Video

A fairly easy project that takes a little bit of time to make, but fun to play with friends. Ideal summer BBQ game or an activity for an outdoor wedding.

Yardzee_lawn_dice_holes_drilled It’s basically 5 cubes of wood with a shallow hole bored on each side to resemble large dice.

I used a cedar 4″ x 4″ x 8’ post cut into cubes. The sides are sanded, holes are bored into the wood with a spade or forstner bit, black paint is applied into the holes and then finishing touches are added with many coast of polyurethane.

Takes a few hours, but lots of fun. Enjoy!
Yardzee_lawn_dice_spade_bit Yardzee_lawn_dice_holes_drilled Yardzee_lawn_dice_painting_numbers Yardzee_lawn_dice_finished

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Buildings and Renovations,Hauling, digging, etc

Getting Stumped in July Series

29 Jul , 2016   Video

Getting-stumped-teaser Part 1- The project for July was to remove a stubborn Douglas Fir tree stump. The tree was diseased at the top and had to be cut down last February. The stump had to be removed for a series of steps leading down to the lake. Started digging on the side of the tree stump that was downhill. I thought it would be a lot easier to attack the roots from that angle. At first, the digging was a little strenuous, but once I got through the layer of small roots, it was fairly easy. My kids all came out and leant a hand digging a removing dirt from the hole. They came up with a clever paint-can-on-a-rope-hoist- system. It was good to work together. After the 2nd weekend, we were 3/4 of the way around the stump and had to pack it in for 2 weeks.

Come-a-long Part 2- After the 2 weeks, we came back up to the cabin and managed to get all the roots cut. I didn’t bring the truck up and the 2-ton Come-a-long hand winch but didn’t have enough pull the stump out of the hole. Asked my next door neighbour if he could lend a hand. After an hour or so and the use of his ATV winch, my Come-a-long winch and the bigger Warn winch on his Jeep, we managed to pull the Douglas Fir tree stump to the road. It was hard work, but it was worth it.

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Wedding Projects,Woodworking

Late Night, Quick Fix for a Croquet Set

24 Jul , 2016   Video

The plan was to repair and update an 8-piece Croquet Set. The set was too be rented for wedding the next day. It was to be one of the many lawn activities for the outdoor reception.
When the project first started a few weeks earlier, I thought there was only one handle to be repaired. The bottom part where the wooden thread was snapped off. Materials were sourced and the plan was to fix a few days before the event.
After closer inspection of the entire contents of the Croquet Set, in the box, noticed that three other handles totally missing. Hmm, didn’t factor in extra time and materials for the fabrication of the thread system. Kind of kicked myself for not being more observant.
Had to shift to Plan B. Plan B was to pick up a wooden broom handle from the hardware store, cut it to size, remove the sticker, sand, paint the colour group and seal with urethane. Simple enough, but I only had 3-hours to complete the project.

croquet-set-fix-finished croquet-set-fix-new-paint-on-mallets-revised What is Croquet? According to website, “The game of croquet (pronounced “crow-KAY”) is a tradition of backyard recreation in America, as well as a sport that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.

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