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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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Budget Workshop Project,Relaxing

How to Charge Your Family’s Electronics In a Pinch!

1 Feb , 2016   Video

This project starts with a battery in good shape. I have used a small lawn tractor battery from Costco ($39.00). It worked OK until I managed to scavenge a 12-volt 55 amp-hour sealed battery for free (sealed batteries are ideal for inside use, no off-gassing, safe). The next step, find a 12-volt DC Power Outlet Adapter with alligator clips ($9). Normally features a 5′ long cord and a built-in fuse. In a pinch, you could use an extension cord with a designated positive and negative wire, but the DC power adapter will be safer. Clip the corresponding colored alligator clips to the battery terminals (red to red, black to black) and insert a 12-volt USB charger into the round outlet. You are finished! You have created a simple charging system. When not in use, just unhook the alligator clips for the battery terminal.

100watt-inverter If you want to charge something bigger, like a laptop or a small LCD TV, look for a 12-volt power adapter with an AC plug on it. It can easily fit into the outlet. I sourced a 100-watt Black and Decker Power Inverter for $19.00 at a local big box store. This particular model does not have an internal fan, so it doesn’t waste power when the electronic device is not in use. It also has a light on the unit that indicates the battery charge. This micro system works great when you might need to charge the main battery bank with a small generator/charger, but the kids still want to watch a movie. It also ran my wife’s MacBook for a whole day before she replaced her aging laptop battery.

Black and Decker 12-volt power inverter:

12-Volt DC Power Outlet Adpater:

12-Volt Sealed Battery:

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Heat and Cooling,Relaxing

Stage 1 of the Cowboy Hot Tub Project

2 Jul , 2015  

Stage-one-of-the-cowboy-hot-tub-700-layers Wa-hoo! Completed stage 1 of the Cowboy Hot Tub!
Found a large, used, galvanized, livestock water tank on craigslist for $200. I’ve seen new ones for $350 – $700. It measures 10′ long x 3′ wide by 2′ deep. Holds a bit over 300 gallons. No leaks and it’s in fairly good shape. Originally, I wanted to make a wood hot tub out of Western Red Cedar planks, but the cost of Cedar has almost doubled since last year. Plus, as a first timer, it would probably leak. This way, I can start with a tank that hold water and then add rectangle frame, insulation and dress the outside with 1″ x 4″ Cedar.

Shay-inside-cowboy-hot-tub For some gas money and a couple hours of his time, a good neighbor, and myself went out and picked up livestock tank with his Ford F150 pickup truck. (I wish I had a truck, it would make life so much easier!)
Plan to use our old Blaze King wood stove to heat the water. (The wood stove actually has water coil that runs through the firebox, but it has a crack in it.) The factory that actually makes the stoves is only 50 kilomters away. Sent an email off to Blaze King, but have not heard back. I’m guessing they are “talk on the phone or visit in-person” type of company. I do have some spare flexible, 1/2′ copper coil. It could be wrapped around the stove pipe. Have to see which is easier in the short turn.

Sadly, since there is a campfire ban on, so the project is on hold until the end of the summer.

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Mother Day Project- Re-paint Cedar Adirondack Chairs

11 May , 2015   Video

For Mother’s Day, my spouse wanted to get some much-needed chores finished around the house. One of them was to put a new coat of exterior paint onto some 10-year-old Adirondack chairs. Since these were some of the Cedar Workshop’s earlier designs, it was quite a task to pull them out from winter storage, wash, repair and put a new coat of exterior paint. My son was a big help.

We used an exterior rated paint by Behr. PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA® Exterior Satin Enamel. I have always liked Behr paints, even before Home Depot made the smart move and snapped up that line of paints back in the late 1990’s.

This video can be found on the new Cedar Workshop Shorts YouTube Channel. It will be another channel that will have short videos about odds and ends.


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A Neighbours New Years Gift – 1978 Ski Doo 300 Citation Snowmobile

22 Jan , 2015  

This a follow-up video to Snow Blowing in Winter Wonderland. On New Years Eve, one of my neighbours, Mike, dropped by and mentioned he was really pleased the driveway was clear. He said he made it easier to get into his cabin. As a thank you, he gave our family, a fully functional, 1978 Ski-Doo 300 Citation snowmobile. He hadn’t used it for a while and wanted to give it to our kids. The amazing thing was, even though he hadn’t started it for 5 years, he put some fresh, mixed gas into the gas tank, primed it, pulled few times and it started. Wow! That was a totally awesome and a sweet New Year Eve’s gift. (Thanks Mike & Kim!)

I found this blurb from the website 1978_SKI_DOO_CITATION_APRIL_05_1_6A_PP2509_2
“Just introduced this month is the ’78 Citation 300 snowmobile by Bombardier under the Ski-Doo label. It is 329 pounds compared to the Olympic’s 386 lbs., and has more power in it twin 294 cc fan cooled Rotax engine than the Elan 250. The retail price is suggested at $1,445. The new sled has a 29-1/4 inch ski stance, is 90 inches long an overall height of 35 inches to the top of the windshield. It also has an alloy frame, Mikuni carb, rubber track with imbedded fibreglass rods, shocks for skis, disc brakes, and five gallon fuel capacity.”

This particular snowmobile may be a  little long in the tooth, but ideal for the kids to learn on. Mike said that it could barely reach 30 mph, but it was lightweight and easy for the kids to move.


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