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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.

Pump_Battery_for_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

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.

1st_blazing_Fire_for_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

One 1/2″ coil of copper through the campfire

2nd_Fire_for_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

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!

Scott_in_Cowboy_Hot_Tub

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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_block_of_cedar
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 croquetamerica.com 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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Food,Woodworking

DIY Veggie Planter Box Project

21 Jul , 2016   Video

A video about simple box planters for your patio. All the materials were made from scrap lumber and plywood.
A standard 8 feet long by 2 feet wide planter can be constructed over a weekend.

Adding-siding-to-planter If you decide to go the extra mile and add a skirt to the boxes (siding) it might take a little longer, but the results are more professional looking.

For this project, a 2’ x 8’ planter was made for the back wall of our home and an “L” shape planter was made to edge the corner of the adjoining patio. The “L” shape consisted of two 2′ x 4′ planters laid out in an “L” shape. The planters are open at the bottom but covered with landscape fabric and lined with recycled cardboard. A soil mix of consisted of potting soil and mushroom manure was mixed together in each planter.

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End Cuts,Power generation,Wind Turbine Projects

Experimental Wind Turbine Tower – Part 3 – 8 Short Stories to Share

4 Jun , 2016   Video

The video and blog post was Part 3 of the Experimental Wind Turbine Tower Project.

3-Blade-wind-turbine-spraybomb As seen in a previous video, the support tower was raised up into place. The 23-foot support tower would make the process of erecting the towers easier and safer. The plan was to come back, lower the tower for maintenance and remove some of the blades. But, as life goes, we had some commitments on the home front, lack of funds for gas, we didn’t get away for weeks.
But the delay did have a perk, the snow and ice finally melted on the logging road short cut that runs over the mountain. (shaves 45 minutes off the 4-1/2 hour drive.)

We finally arrive for the weekend and I notice right away that the wind turbine was missing a blade and the end of the support pole is really hacked up. Odd, the blades should have not have spun. The auto brake was applied to the controller before we left. I was really miffed, was the controller broken? The electrical cable looked OK. Read on to see what happened.

Broken-blade-for-small-wind-turbine

1. Search for the Missing Blade
I was curious to see what it looked like. Did a walk around and couldn’t find it. Decided I needed help, so I put a $10.00 bounty on the missing blade and my children suddenly got interested. A few minutes later, my son found it about 50 yards from the wind turbine. It had wedged itself into the ground by a bush. It hadn’t hit anything (or anyone) and my worse fears melted away.

Overall plan for the lowering of the old tower

Overall plan for the lowering of the old tower

2. Lower the Tower
The next step was to lower the old metal tower and figure out what went wrong. Used the existing tall, wooden, black pole already attached to the building. Attached a pulley at the top and a few feet below. Did a nice slow lower of the tower with the aid of the car.

3. Blades
During the time we were away from the cabin, we were told there was a big wind storm. A neighbour claimed he saw the wind turbines just spinning like crazy. The result was all the ends of the blades were all chipped and broken. The longest blade was 22-inches and the shortest was 17-inches. Thought it would be best to have all the blades the same length. It would prevent excessive vibration and wobble. Grabbed my hacksaw with a fine tooth blade and cut each blade the saw length.

Closeup-of-small-wind-turbine-hub

4. Tree for a tower
As seen in previous videos, the thought was to use an existing dead/diseased tree for the tower. It didn’t cost anything and it was easy to find. If it didn’t work out, I could just cut it up and use for firewood. Most of the trees in my area are called Lodgepole Pine and stand about 50-feet in height.

tree-tower-resting

During the winter, I found a fairly straight tree with hardly any branches. It was dragged out of the bush and laid up to dry. I measured the tree tower and figured it was about 53-feet long. I cut it down to 42′ feet and should work great.

5. Base for the tower
Didn’t have much time to rig up a proper base for the tower. Decided to use what was handy and utilise the existing 6 inch by 6-inch cedar base of the support tower.

Base

Used a chainsaw to cut two notches for the 3/4″ threaded support bar. Drill a hole through the end of the tree tower and inserted the rod through. The rod would then sit in the groove.

6. The Black Knight
In honor of my younger days of watching Monty Python movies, I named the injured wind turbine, the Black Knight. The Black Knight would endure many fatal injuries, but would declare them “flesh wounds” and continue on. Thought it was a good fit for this project. Here’s a link to a clip about the Black Knight: https://youtu.be/zn82OJKrzzs
I also felt the wind turbine needed a spruce up and gave it a coat of black, rust proof paint.


new-coat-of-black-paint-on-wind-turbine 3-Blade-wind-turbine-spraybomb

7. The No Power Puzzlement
The tree tower would be 20 feet taller than the previous water pipe tower. The 10/3 SOW wire cable had to be removed and reconfigured to work with another cable.  As I was unwrapping a piece of duct table from a joint, I saw that the male and female connect had come lose. Not sure how it happened, maybe when the ice pulled the tower over a bit and the vibrations just worked everything loose. It also explained why the blades were “free spinning”, there was no load from the battery bank and the turbine could do whatever. The best way to fix the problem,  purchase a new 60-feet of heavy-duty cable. But, reality kicks in and I don’t have spare cash to spend on cable. (The cost is around $2.39 per lineal foot.) The piece I have now is 25-feet long and I’ll search Craigslist and garage sales for more. I would have to figure a new way to connect the cables and add a strain relief.
wind-turbine-wires-disconnected

8. Raise the tree tower
The next step was to raise the new, taller tree tower. Attached ropes to all the pulley points. The other end of the ropes were then attached to tow hooks on the cars. Took the necessary safety steps and planned my route and add support in case the tower fell. I then proceed to test the tower out for sag. Tried twice and the tree tower bent like an archer bow. Hmm, a lot of weight there. I got this feeling that it wasn’t a good idea. I needed to add more support, change the place of the  ropes on the tree tower. An extra pulley wouldn’t hurt either. As I was standing there working out the extras, it started blow a cold rain and I decided it’s going to have to wait for another weekend. I’d rather do it right the first time and prevent a disaster. I dismantled the tower, bunched up the wires and put the tools away. There will always be another weekend for projects.
small-wind-turbine-ready-to-be-mounted

Thanks for your patience and following our adventures.

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