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f13.net General Forums => Serious Business => Topic started by: Polysorbate80 on December 01, 2017, 07:16:28 PM



Title: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 01, 2017, 07:16:28 PM
Do we have a thread for home improvements or other such bullshit?  I cannot remember.

Anyway, over a year ago I decided it was time to get around to building a bar in the basement.

Step #1: Figure out what I want to build.  I wanted a Tiki bar, and  I got a great deal on a slab of Koa wood

(http://i.imgur.com/I9RPkmB.jpg)

Looks like shit as a raw flitch, but at $1800 the price was right.  Fortunately it arrived - the weather warmed up, my driveway got slushy, and the driver of the delivery semi didn't have the balls to gun it up the slope.  He managed to get himself unstuck eventually...

Here it is partially planed and sanded, rubbed with denatured alcohol to show the color and texture.

(http://imgur.com/HejothO.jpg)





Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 01, 2017, 07:16:49 PM
Step 2:  PROCRASTINATE!!!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 01, 2017, 07:24:00 PM
Step 3:  Finally get off my dead ass and decide to start again.

So, next thing to do is build a big ugly box in the basement

(http://i.imgur.com/K3lzoVX.jpg)

That thing is entirely 2x10s and 2x8s.  Why?  Because the goddamn bar top is oddly shaped and forces me to have a small base.  There's barely room for anything other than the kegerator in there, so no point in making shelves or cabinets.

And Koa is super-dense.  The slab is 250 pounds, easy. 

It is also not anchored to the floor.  The slab under that laminate is concrete, and I hate putting anchors into that shit.  So the box needs to be heavy to counter an off-centered, very heavy slab.

There's also a hundred-pound sandbag inside that thing, just because it was left over from another project.  I figured, why not?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 01, 2017, 07:26:27 PM
Step #4: Make box less ugly.

The bamboo to wrap it just arrived this afternoon, but I haven't had a chance to get to it yet.  So here it is cleaned up a little with some trim, from the other side where the kegerator is visible.

(http://i.imgur.com/o2dMtsh.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 01, 2017, 07:30:38 PM
I said the slab was heavy?  I had to load it into the tractor's bucket to move it from the shop to the basement, and wrassle it in.

I'm waiting on victims to help lift the goddamn thing onto the base

(http://i.imgur.com/A1S5LIL.jpg)

The painter's tape is covering a bark pocket I want to preserve.  Unfortunately my epoxy won't arrive until next week at the earliest, so I need to hold it in place until I can pour.

I'll also be filling most of that void visible on the lower end, but leaving room to run beer tubing up through.  It's not a defect, it's a feature...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 01, 2017, 07:34:03 PM
The end that sticks out will need to be supported, for stability and to reduce the risk of breakage.  I purchased a tiki to put under it

(http://i.imgur.com/KiLH1Z5.jpg)

but I dunno, I think this one might be too tall.  Might need to remove a head...

Seriously, it's like half an inch too tall.  It was that or buy one way too short and have to build a base.  So, surgery is in the works for the tiki gods.



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: rattran on December 01, 2017, 08:26:00 PM
I built a 8x10 winter shelter for the ducks today, 4' of it covered, the rest will be 1/2" square hardware cloth. I'll get some pictures tomorrow. Stick-frame construction is hard work, but it goes fast and at the end of the day you have a building, so it's satisfying.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: MahrinSkel on December 01, 2017, 09:37:02 PM
I'm planning on building some furniture, with my only tools being a 12 inch double compound sliding miter saw, a 20V impact driver, and an orbital sander. Starting comparatively simple (3 level 46 inch wide entertainment shelves) and working up to monstrous (king sized platform bed with headboard and footboard).  All red cedar, stainless steel deck screws (except for a few honking big truss screws on the bed), and black iron flanges and pipes.

Have the tools, waiting until I feel like renting a truck to pick up the lumber (I don't think 4x6 rough-cut red cedar timbers will do well in a VW Jetta). I'll post pictures of the disaster progress when the time comes.

--Dave


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: veredus on December 03, 2017, 01:08:26 AM
I built my wife a headboard and nightstands out of pallets a few years ago. It was my first project and decided to tackle it when I realized it would be a shit load cheaper to buy the tools/hardware needed and build it myself. Actually thinking about making a new set since I know so much more now and feel I could do quite a bit better job. But here it is.


(https://jtrhow-ch3302.files.1drv.com/y4mvwEQYyE9mCo9jeHrNEt9vT9Li-he1WHe6anHJ1e4Lxi1JAe-wSu3-FIMNk-JCJAIyiyUWNp1U1IIK2uMBNmNrsiUm0TLLOvAz6TSwf7t3RWcsS1JAxqEDSlnzjsV_duWVvKSdqZOgeSDLgY1YoSHz0veqkt_2FaKNegx7OhqKjkt6gkEUQEBV-c2uCt1Af4PDpIHAGEQn7B65Nvos30CJw?width=4032&height=3024&cropmode=none)

(https://ae4qww-ch3302.files.1drv.com/y4mUd4pjIZtLSsxJatuzgorHH_IyBbfCX-KC71kuhJgNhfthQqyyMt46naC5aCYRKRmAxObwRlsVbq9S0tOJiWQ2UE2UIk98m8pg1XM7xt7S7MWneFjhwQjX-UMKsLyHAa2rRUp74wJch_ehds16WYbLClTij_6UzD-3Z-BD0aB39vYOWommQRm7LHeNw2uQIk-OQVk-YfRY02GKIcEkz56Aw?width=4032&height=3024&cropmode=none)

And one of the nightstands pre stained.
(https://m8lrqq-ch3302.files.1drv.com/y4mIuWUA4yGEMXJaNUFj3PX8R7CCu6rF4uW3YWMJ5udeBFAWjMGMzrDHrrijU8kXCWM5kLA--KUfXWxmB8nt0yu3grEXWnAHmSgZH2Nh3j02Pbwo3htVuP62ncoNp7cjicqCfFTnz8dK9DixX4QbxuRLND-A3FhK-rafr81OjYBj8esMiqQXvvu8FKlbuQvvi17o4dnZ14EJPGQZtdhGMEZ2g?width=4032&height=3024&cropmode=none)




Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 03, 2017, 02:07:57 AM
I know a couple of people whose entire houses are furnished in a style not unlike that; the "distressed wood" look is popular around here.

Step #5: Tiki Trephining

I got a couple of friends semi-loaded on wine and they foolishly agreed to help me lift the bar top up into place.  One of them also gave me a good idea--get a couple of small 8" tikis, mount tap handle threads in them, and use them on the tap.

Before attaching the slab to the base, I wanted to get the tiki in place for a leg.  It was only slightly too tall, and all I planned to do was strip the finish off the top, bore a couple holes for pegs (and corresponding holes in the bar top), and then trim a tiny bit off the base of Mr. Tiki.

Holding a 6" diameter tiki in place on a saw turns out to be tricky, the damn thing slipped and I trimmed off too much, leaving it slightly too *short*

All I had on hand to build the base back up with was 2x10 stock.  I wound up making a boot for it by marking out a 7" circle (the diameter of the tiki base) on a chunk of 2x10, routing it out 3/4" of an inch deep.  Then I marked an 8" circle on the same center, rough cut the circle with the saw, and smoothed it into a pretty decent circle on the belt sander.  The tiki is hand carved anyway, so being slightly off-round actually fits with the rest of the piece.

I had to (very carefully) trim slightly more of the tiki base to get the combined tiki/base to the right height, but it works.  I stained it, put it in place, glued it up and then in a moment of paranoia decided someone will eventually get drunk and kick the damn thing, so I added some metal brackets to stiffen it up.

That done, I put in the lag screws from the cabinet up into the top to fix it in place.  Whole thing is probably 600 pounds by now.

After that, staining the bar base, and then enjoying the fumes while applying bamboo.  One piece down, 80-ish to go:

(http://i.imgur.com/DqYlt7s.jpg)

I need get a different blade for my scrollsaw; the ones I have are for rough cutting.  Not the best thing for thin-walled bamboo.  It tends to bind.

This is as far as I got before the smell drove me upstairs for the night

(http://i.imgur.com/7dT1xw6.jpg)



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on December 03, 2017, 09:57:57 AM
I hope you plan to never move, because that bar is going nowhere.  :why_so_serious:

Looks cool though.  I like the rough shape of the bar top and the tiki support looks like it turned out great.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on December 03, 2017, 11:46:36 AM
I am very envious of that tiki bar.  More than once I've fantasized about setting up my den (which currently functions mainly as storage/staging for garden projects) as a tiki-themed entertaining area.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 03, 2017, 02:00:40 PM
Do eet!

Don't get me wrong, I love gardening, but you can use a shed for that (and they're super easy to build, as long as you don't have weird building codes or something)

The nifty thing about the tiki decor is that by it's very nature it's ok to be a bit rough around the edges, so one needn't spend tons of time fretting about small imperfections, as long as it's put together soundly and safely


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on December 03, 2017, 03:18:37 PM
The main obstacle to doing anything useful with my den is that it's five doorways all opening onto one small room.  It's basically Sigil, the City of Doors.  One item on my stack of possible projects is to round up five artist friends and ply them with food and drink and get them each to paint one of the doors in a different style.

(https://i.imgur.com/yVmevRp.jpg)

So maaaybe a bar could fit along that right hand wall?  But then there's noplace to sit (I have a couch in that space now, and as you can see pretty much every other piece of floor needs to be open to foot traffic or it gets super awkward).  Unless... bar stools?  Might work.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 03, 2017, 03:49:44 PM
Tricky space...might depend on what could be done about the doors, and how large you need

Could the bedroom door on the top side be rehung to open into the bedroom?

Do you need a door into the stairwell, or could it be removed?  No way to reverse that one.

Is that an exterior door in the upper right? Looks like it, and would make sense if you're storing gardening stuff there.  You'd have to get a custom one or do some modification to get one that swings out, they pretty much all swing in.

It's still not a huge space but then a small group of people could sit there wihout being targets for doors, and you could move the stools behind the bar when it's not in use.  No cabinets behind, but underbar storage might be enough unless you need a sink or some such.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Merusk on December 04, 2017, 07:38:32 AM
That's not a den.. that's an entry hallway that's just large enough for furniture. Yeow.

I'd share pics of my latest project, but y'all might just be too weirded out by it. It's come to light that I was in deep denial about a lot of things in my marriage, the least of which was how much utter CRAP had been sitting around. Trying to de-clutter has revealed some pretty "wtf" things and my place looks that much worse for it.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on December 04, 2017, 09:51:16 AM
That's not a den.. that's an entry hallway that's just large enough for furniture. Yeow.

I'd share pics of my latest project, but y'all might just be too weirded out by it. It's come to light that I was in deep denial about a lot of things in my marriage, the least of which was how much utter CRAP had been sitting around. Trying to de-clutter has revealed some pretty "wtf" things and my place looks that much worse for it.

Okay, now you're pretty much obligated to show us some of this stuff. You can't just drop a teaser description like this and leave us hanging!  :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Strazos on December 04, 2017, 08:03:37 PM
It's fine as long as you don't go full nerf.  :why_so_serious:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 06, 2017, 10:20:01 AM
I honestly don't know why I thought applying 80+ pieces of trim would go quickly.

(http://i.imgur.com/xMp7ApG.jpg)

Still waiting on those photos, Merusk  :grin:  If it makes you feel better, I can post one of my "junk room".  Somehow one of the basement bedrooms got turned into junk storage.  It's buried three feet deep in a complete disaster of random stuff, almost all of which likely be best disposed of through fire.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Viin on December 06, 2017, 10:36:28 AM
Awesome woodwork. We had a dining room table built by a woodworker/carpenter and it turned out really great, I envy the skills and tools to pull those projects off!

I finished my long term project this summer (pic spoilered), and now I'm searching for something else to start. Might build a canoe (https://www.bearmountainboats.com/products/canoe-kit), but haven't decided yet. This aquascape (http://forums.f13.net/index.php?topic=19928.msg1482361#msg1482361) was my mini-project this summer, which is still a work in progress but not very involved at this point.



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Merusk on December 06, 2017, 10:37:52 AM

Still waiting on those photos, Merusk  :grin:  If it makes you feel better, I can post one of my "junk room".
Been trying to build a shareable folder because Dropbox doesn't let you share anymore and I don't want to download them just to reupload to something like imgur.  New workflow development is a bitch when you just don't have time to play around like you used to.

I think I've got it, but I can't test again until after lunch. Just taking a quick "mental break" before diving back into work.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 06, 2017, 10:54:03 AM
Cool plane, Viin!  Slap some WWII nekkid lady nose art on that thing


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Merusk on December 06, 2017, 12:39:33 PM
Apple could make this harder to share but theyíve done a good job making it a pain in the ass already.  Hereís some photos of the basement

https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0J5qXGF1fMAg6

All those boxes got moved when we moved 4 years ago.  They are all being donated or thrown away. I did this exercise last year for half a day and the Ex did it with the boxes you see here. At the time she said all these were necessary things for us to keep. I didn't question at the time, I was tired of arguing. Yeah...

The Glasses/ kitchen pantry I did last weekend.  I had  5.. 5!! sets of plates for 6-8 people. I now have one set for 6 people. The plastic cups were more evidence of this, and some were old cups dating back to a 1998 Disney World trip.

The shirts have been 'air drying' at the laundry spot for about 18 months. I've since thrown them into the donation pile.

The baby books? My youngest is 14 at the end of the month. No, I have zero idea why those are still in my house.

Missing:
* The moldy wallet I found.  I recall throwing my old wallet away quite well. It was tattered, torn, and worn-through. Daughter told me the Ex picked it out of the garbage.
* The 2011 phone books from KY I found when throwing stuff away 2 weeks ago. Wtf.. we moved old phone books 60 miles for zero reason.
* The pile of ferret shit under my stairs, hidden behind several boxes. I didn't want the goddamn rodent. I despised it running around the house. Guess I had good reason. I'm going to need a respirator and tyvek suit to clean it up. I nearly puked when I found it last night.
* The box of ornaments I'm missing. The Ex claims we didn't have them and they got lost 'in the move.'  Funny, I remember hanging Chewbacca, My son's Brass ornaments, and my X-wing ornament last year.
* The old component stereo. Also gone missing suspiciously since last year. Hey-o.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 06, 2017, 12:48:03 PM
Looks like a lot of unpleasant work but it's not even close to the worst I've encountered.  One guy I foolishly agreed to help move, I swear he was using old pizza box piles for furniture  :ye_gods:

I live in an area where I could drag most of that outside and apply fire with reckless enthusiasm (I'll have to record and post video when I torch the old chicken coop), but I suspect you're not in the same boat.  Which is a bummer, because watching it all go up in clouds of cancer-causing smoke is highly satisfying.

Edit: Yeah, the ferret shit is maybe in the running.  They're cute little bastards, but they stink so much


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Merusk on December 06, 2017, 12:52:44 PM
The clothes, sheets, towels, and a lot of the old toys are still in good shape. I made one Honda CRX-load donation to Salvation Army already (the telescope, infant toy, etc)  There's at least three equal-sized loads that need to get taken in the next few weeks.

Those that aren't are getting thrown into old, crumbled boxes for disposal. Garbage day last week had 4 "large" moving boxes of additional crap. This week looks like it will be about the same.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Bunk on December 06, 2017, 01:56:51 PM
Looks like my parent's basement, but less cluttered (seriously). They still have numerous unpacked boxes in the basement and garage from when they moved there 16 years ago. I am very much dreading my Dad's upcoming retirement, just because I know they need to move in to a smaller space.

All the stuff in this thread is cool, but very depressing for an apartment dweller who grew up in a big suburban house.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 13, 2017, 12:37:12 AM
My epoxy finally arrived, but it was too late in the day to mix up a test batch.  That, and I sorta lost the pipe I'd planned to run up through the wood from the kegerator to the beer tower  :oh_i_see:

So I left it in the care of my assistants

(http://i.imgur.com/47Uqpnf.jpg)

And decided to start work on the sideboard.  Since the bar has no internal storage, I need a place to put glassware and booze.

The large shop isn't a good place to work with glue or finish, being full of cats.  So I spent an hour or cleaning out the dust and spiders from the smaller shop and moved the saws and drill press over.

There of course is no koa wood here in town.  The local hardwood selection was pretty uninspiring in general--there was plenty of it, it just had no character at all.  The only piece that spoke to me at all was a piece of 8/4 African mahogany.  Not quite enough to make the whole top for the sideboard from it, so I had to punt and get a second piece to fill it out.

So it's roughed into shape and glued up

(http://i.imgur.com/oG43LEE.jpg)

Looks like shit under the metal halide lamps.  It's a tradeoff, there's tons more light in the small shop but you can't trust color.

Here it is moved into the house, cleaned up and rubbed down with alcohol while the glue dries. 

(http://i.imgur.com/bCy6woq.jpg)

Tomorrow while the epoxy test cures, I'll haul this thing back out and smooth it.  By hand, unfortunately.  I need to get an electrician to beef up the power in the shop while I'm at it, I'd love a large jointer and planer but I don't have a free 20 amp circuit...



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 14, 2017, 05:31:41 PM
First rule of epoxy:  no matter how much tape you use on the first try, the epoxy WILL find a hole and drip  :oh_i_see:

One more small pour on the big bark pocket should do it, then a little sanding and on with the finish.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 15, 2017, 11:06:57 AM
These guys really need names, any suggestions?  I wanted "Drunk" and "Disorderly", but that got vetoed  :oh_i_see:

(http://i.imgur.com/pWiqlfv.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on December 15, 2017, 11:26:33 AM
OMG that's fantastic.

I suggest "Don" and "Vic".


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 15, 2017, 11:47:25 AM
Don the Beachcomber/Trader Vic?  That's a good choice


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on December 15, 2017, 11:56:21 AM
I was going to explain the reference and then I thought "guy's building a tiki bar in his basement, he probably knows who I'm talking about."   :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 15, 2017, 12:10:17 PM
Well, the two honestly didn't occur to me until you mentioned them, so you beat me there. 

I blame the lack of rum.  Why is the rum gone?  Wait, it's not, I've got one bottle of Koloa left.  Time to drink it before I get back to Kauai on the 26th!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on December 15, 2017, 03:54:29 PM
Shits and Giggles. Because the one on the right looks like he's pooping and the one on the left looks like he's laughing.

This is why I'm not allowed to name any of the pets.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Khaldun on December 18, 2017, 09:14:26 PM
Hic and Cup?

Har and Dehar?

Bottoms and Up?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on December 19, 2017, 08:22:11 PM
Mister and Hipster


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 20, 2017, 12:39:14 AM
Christmas party is Friday, Iíll take a vote.  Daughter wants Herp and Derp, son suggested two Pokemon I canít remember  :oh_i_see:

Kegerator is loaded with IPA and pale ale.  Had to dial back the regulator to 8psi from the expected 10-12 to slow the pour and cut the foam, but I think thatís just due to the system not stabilizing yet (or the microbrewery carbing more than I expected). Iíll have to tweak it again tomorrow when itís settled.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Sky on December 20, 2017, 08:19:32 AM
The main obstacle to doing anything useful with my den is that it's five doorways all opening onto one small room.  It's basically Sigil, the City of Doors.  
That's my living room, 5 doors in a roughly 16x16 room. Except one of the doors is an oversized french door to the patio, there's a large picture window, and the wood stove basically takes up an entire wall. This year I've tried to integrate a reading chair and it's thrown everything into chaos.

Oh, "Statler" and "Waldorf"


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 20, 2017, 11:04:52 AM
Daughter's new suggestion: Garfunkel and Oates

Top finish is complete, had to use panorama mode to get the whole thing in frame so yay distortion!

(http://i.imgur.com/WShjzdH.jpg)

No substantial progress on the sideboard yet, too much time spent cleaning house


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on December 20, 2017, 11:19:36 AM
Looks awesome!  You gotta repaint that room now though.   :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 20, 2017, 11:39:59 AM
Before paint would be replacing the counters with granite, and replacing the terrible wall tiles by the wood stove with island-themed stuff.  Which would be a lot of work, since it'll be a lot of random-sized tiles and cutting of others to fill the gaps.  Probably swap the appliances for stainless as well.

I'm not sure how I ended up with those ugly tiles in the first place--somehow the contractor wound up picking them, and then didn't actually finish installing them.  I've got a giant gap where the stovepipe meets the wall, and the outlet covers won't go on.  Longer screws will fix the latter, but the former requires getting out the tile saw and doing some surgery.  

The stove itself has to stay.  It's my backup heat for the house, and temps will be down to around 15-20 during the day and 6-10 at night for the next week or so.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Sky on December 20, 2017, 11:48:19 AM
Before paint would be replacing the counters with granite, and replacing the terrible wall tiles by the wood stove with island-themed stuff.  Which would be a lot of work, since it'll be a lot of random-sized tiles and cutting of others to fill the gaps.  Probably swap the appliances for stainless as well.

I'm not sure how I ended up with those ugly tiles in the first place--somehow the contractor wound up picking them, and then didn't actually finish installing them.  I've got a giant gap where the stovepipe meets the wall, and the outlet covers won't go on.  Longer screws will fix the latter, but the former requires getting out the tile saw and doing some surgery.  

The stove itself has to stay.  It's my backup heat for the house, and temps will be down to around 15-20 during the day and 6-10 at night for the next week or so.
WOOOD STOVE STAYS

Can you put a collar on the pipe?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 20, 2017, 12:11:28 PM
It's collared where it goes through the drywall.  I'm thinking that's why the contractor (or his minion, some of them weren't too bright) left off that bit of tile.  They couldn't figure out how to get the tile to lie flat over the collar or cut it to fit a round shape.

Me, I would have moved the collar out to sit over the tile, and used it to hide where the tile was trimmed  :awesome_for_real:

Edit: found a photo that had the pipe in it.  It's been this way for over a year, I should just fix it myself but I keep foolishly hoping he'll get back to it.  He is slowly finishing up all the little things, but it's ridiculous.

(http://i.imgur.com/NseNjHg.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on December 20, 2017, 02:37:45 PM
jessica

&

rabbit


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Cadaverine on December 20, 2017, 03:09:57 PM
Blips and Chitz.

Gonzo and Duke


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on December 20, 2017, 05:47:40 PM
Sweat and Tears.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Viin on December 20, 2017, 08:43:16 PM
Moe and Curly


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on December 21, 2017, 08:51:43 AM
Yin and Yang.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: rattran on December 21, 2017, 05:04:26 PM
Micky and Finn.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Cadaverine on December 21, 2017, 05:28:41 PM
Drunk & Disorderly


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 22, 2017, 06:46:26 PM
That was the first suggestion I made, which got immediately shot down  :grin:

Wanted to get further with the sideboard for the bar, but I wound up spending the morning burying a horse.  Got a call last night from the neighbor saying our horse was in distress.  She had a bout of colic a couple months ago but we got to her in time; this time it was too late and she had to be put down.  I don't have an excavator, but a neighbor was kind enough to help out.

I did get a couple of the legs rough fitted.  This would go way faster if I glued & screwed all the parts, but I can't make myself cut too many corners, even though the wood (other than the top) is cheap lumber.  Need to clean up the fit, then two more legs to go.  After that, fit on the base and shelves, and then the back.  I plan on doors over the center shelves (so I can lock the liquor in, daughter is a teenager now...) but I'll probably put them off until later.

(http://i.imgur.com/oR80pdr.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 24, 2017, 10:03:02 AM
Samwise is the winner (once I explained who Don and Vic were), but Bob and Doug came in a strong second

I had to bring the sideboard in the house for the glue to cure (it's 6 degrees F outside), but it's together enough to function as a shelf

(http://i.imgur.com/z0CJ0ra.jpg)

I hoped to get the back on as well but I needed time for baking

(http://i.imgur.com/BUSuthg.jpg)

Linzertorte turned out deeelicious.  The crust recipe was a little to fragile to properly weave the lattice (-style points) but I think adding a little more moisture to that half of the dough ball would solve that next time.  Definitely on the "bake again" list!

Won't get any more done until I'm back from Hawaii in January.  I hope to find some bar stools while in Kauai, there's a guy in Hanapepe that makes great Koa furniture.  At least I hope so--he's an older guy, I hope he hasn't retired or anything.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on December 24, 2017, 01:12:40 PM
I'm so enjoying vicariously living through your pics, Poly, but I'm afraid I'll need to sample that pie/torte in person to properly assess it's flavor.  I'll message you my address and expect expedited delivery.  :drill:

(aka looking awesome!  I like the dark-light-dark of the sideboard top there.  It's a nice effect.)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on December 26, 2017, 07:39:35 PM
Wait, did you mention you had to bury a horse in that thread?  :ye_gods:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on December 26, 2017, 07:55:44 PM
Wait, did you mention you had to bury a horse in that thread?  :ye_gods:

My exact thoughts....


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 26, 2017, 10:37:50 PM
Yes, I did. There is now a horse buried in my lower pasture :oh_i_see:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Father mike on December 27, 2017, 01:05:38 PM
I had to bury a cat in the last month, and it was more labor intensive than I remembered.  I sincerely hope you have access to a backhoe.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 27, 2017, 02:36:01 PM
Neighborís excavator.  Heavy equipment is the only practical optionóyou a hole large enough to bury a horse with three feet of soil to keep from attracting scavengers.

Plus itís snowy and cold back home. Princeville is warm and only occasionally rainy right now


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on December 27, 2017, 08:09:01 PM
Stools ordered!  Heís got a backlog though, might be summer. Going to have to buy some substitutes to fill in until then


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on January 11, 2018, 10:54:35 AM
Back in town, back to work.  Got the back on and started the trim (I'll be putting bamboo on the sides as well to match the bar)

(http://i.imgur.com/11JvPGT.jpg)

But progress was slow--I got sidetracked having a beer and unpacking my loot

(http://i.imgur.com/q5m4I7l.jpg)

There was actually more--gave away two bottles of spice and two of the dark, and there's still a couple bottles that haven't been unpacked yet.

I'm fully aware I may have a problem  :oh_i_see:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on January 12, 2018, 01:58:17 PM
Watch out for Pirates


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on January 12, 2018, 03:06:57 PM
I am a pirate at heart.  It's ninjas I watch out for


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on January 12, 2018, 03:44:00 PM
So when are you inviting all of F13 over for a party?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on January 12, 2018, 04:07:21 PM
Not sure who wants to come to northern Idaho to visit, and right now is cold and slushy...

For those who don't live on the Palouse (and I think a couple other f13'ers do) the best time to visit is late May.

That's usually when our annual crop of lilacs and kittens comes in  :awesome_for_real:

(http://i.imgur.com/jf4vGFf.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/PidQJ8Z.jpg)

(nobody can have the cat.  Opal is too much of a sweetie)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on January 17, 2018, 10:48:41 AM
(http://i.imgur.com/B1XK9JH.jpg)

Nearly done, I've got the door glued up but I need to smooth it, and I need to put in the racks to hang the stemware from.  I'm in less of a rush on all that, since I've got an unexpected house guest living in my basement.  It's not my place to discuss my friend's issues, but without counseling he and his wife will almost certainly wind up divorced.  Hell, it might go that way with marriage counseling, but we'll see...

BUT:  it was a good excuse to buy that larger TV I've been looking at for the basement.  The kids watch TV/play videogames on the 60" down there, and I don't want them in his face all the time, so I moved that television up to the second floor where their rooms are, and bought a 75" as well as a wall mount.  Costco had entirely reasonable rates for 4k Samsungs in that size.

(http://i.imgur.com/qVwtgjb.jpg)

I've avoided putting up the wall mount there in the past since that's a wet wall, and fucking up and drilling into the pex tubing or a drain pipe would be a disaster.  Wound up taking the better part of an hour to triple-check and measure, and it worked out.  It still winds up looking small, since the wall is 13'8" from the corner to the doorway, and about 16' altogether.  Putting in the speakers for surround sound will take up some of that open space.  I still need to order the receiver and speakers, so that'll be a while.  The rear two for the 7.1 will unfortunately have to be in-ceiling speakers, which isn't ideal, but it'll work.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on January 17, 2018, 10:52:34 AM
Not sure who wants to come to northern Idaho to visit

not me


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on January 17, 2018, 10:53:47 AM
Not sure who wants to come to northern Idaho to visit

not me

I expect that to be the opinion of most reasonably sane people  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on January 18, 2018, 08:24:40 PM
In one thread Polysorbate80 built a tiki bar, buried a horse, and he's now taking in a boarder.

I mean you're keeping it interesting up there in crazy ass Idaho at least!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Yegolev on January 19, 2018, 03:49:09 PM
I don't know about northern Idaho, but I love Yellowstone.  Convincing the wife to visit what amounts to a random internet dude might be a tough sell, but I figure once the boy goes off to college everything is fair game for me.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on January 21, 2018, 06:52:08 PM
Door on? Check!

Glasses hanging?  Check!

Knick-knacks tossed on?  Check!

Tasty beverage to enjoy?  Check!

(must add paper umbrellas to amazon shopping list)

(http://i.imgur.com/7WUVB3W.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/Lz4pHxP.jpg)

Convincing the wife to visit what amounts to a random internet dude might be a tough sell, but I figure once the boy goes off to college everything is fair game for me.

In all fairness, I do have bodies buried out in the back 40  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Yegolev on January 22, 2018, 01:44:08 PM
There is a horse buried in an adjacent field, so we could be brothers!

I generally don't bury things.  We have a cleanup crew that is mostly composed of possums.  The cats murdered something and left about 1 pound of charnel on the porch.  After 24 hours, it was completely gone.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Yegolev on January 22, 2018, 01:45:14 PM
I'm repairing christmas lights.  That's kinda useless and possibly a project.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mosesandstick on January 22, 2018, 02:23:24 PM
Tasty beverage to enjoy?  Check!

That looks amazing, and I have to ask, what's the cocktail?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on January 22, 2018, 03:07:47 PM
Variant of a Lava Flow, which is in turn a variant of a pina colada with strawberry puree added.  This one has mango puree in it as well.

There's lots of recipes on the web for Lava Flows, most of them call for banana.  DON'T.  It overpowers everything else.  Wave the banana at the blender and then put it back in the fruit bowl.

I'm still playing around with my personal recipe, it's not quite "there" yet but the gist is:

1 cup or so Semi-frozen strawberries and coconut milk pureed in a blender
Semi-frozen mango, ditto with the milk/blender.  These should both be able to be poured slowly, not too thick/thin.  I'm tempted to try this with raspberries as well--raspberry/mango sounds intriguing.

1 cup of frozen pineapple
One small can of Dole pineapple juice (fresh is better if you have it).  I think they're 6 oz.
~ 1/2 pint of vanilla ice cream
Coconut cream or coconut milk--cream is heavier, richer and sweeter, but I don't like the way it blends, and the cans are an inconvenient serving size.  I use coconut milk, the exact amount I'm still working out, but then add sugar.  About 1/8 cup right now, more if you want it sweeter.
1 1/2 ounces coconut rum, and 1 1/2 ounces dark rum.  Warning:  I use Koloa rum--their coconut rum is 40% ABV, stuff like Malibu is about half that alcohol-wise.  Also, the Koloa dark has a very strong note of vanilla that works well with this.  Careful with substitutions. 

Throw in some ice and blend.  Add ice and keep blending until it's your desired thickness. 

While you're slowly pouring that into a glass, also pour in the strawberry and/or mango.  Since I don't have three hands to hold all of them at once and had to swap around, it didn't "flow" around the sides and turn out as pretty as it usually does, but stir it a little with the straw and it will.

This will produce 3-4 good sized drinks, not too stiff so good for lightweights.  If you want stronger ones, use some 151.  Too much liquid dilutes the mix, requiring more ice, and then you lose flavor.  A little coconut extract might fix that; I don't have any on hand.  I think I'll order a bottle and try it--sacrifices must be made in the name of alcoholic science, yo!

"Boat drinks" like this are not technically considered "Tiki", but eh.  They're tasty  :awesome_for_real:  I'll post a "real" recipe when I get the proportions sorted.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on February 11, 2018, 12:44:53 AM
I had this built for my daughter last year.  It's more than a one-person job, so I didn't tackle it myself.  Plus pouring concrete and all is a pain in the ass, I'm totally happy to have someone else do that

(http://i.imgur.com/02128WH.jpg)

One drawback to building a new house here is a lack of mature trees suitable for tire swings.  My daughter loves swinging--it's kind of her Zen thing--but she's too heavy for kids swing-sets and we needed an alternative.  This is based on a design I found from some company based in Australia or New Zealand.  I forget which.  Aussie F13ers please don't threaten murder.  Here it's done with engineered beams rather than the tubular steel the original is produced in.

The one weak link is the locking ring that holds the chains to the d-ring bolted to the beam.  Found that out yesterday when the ring wore through, it's got an 800kg capacity but it's softer than the d-ring.  Which is fine, it's a $4 part, I just need to plan on replacing it periodically so I don't have to swap it out in winter.

Mid-February is not the preferred time to have to deal with it.  It's just above freezing outside but it would be easier if it were colder and the ground were frozen.   I needed my tractor to lift the tire & chains up while reattaching the swing to the new ring, but it turns out my tractor battery isn't holding a charge.  I left the tractor out behind the chicken coops last time I used it, which meant I had to drive my pickup out to jump start it.  Since the ground is not frozen, the truck sank into the mud while it was stopped and couldn't get traction.  So after jump starting the tractor I had to use it to drag the pickup back to the driveway  :uhrr:

Lifted the tire with the tractor, used a ladder to climb into the bucket (never advisable, don't try this at home kids) and got it all put back together with a couple of trips into the house to get feeling back into my hands.   Then took a nap for a couple hours and have spent the evening drinking.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on February 11, 2018, 12:48:29 AM
Really all I've learned here is you own a tractor.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on February 11, 2018, 12:50:24 AM
They're amazingly useful for those of us who live in the middle of fucking nowhere  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on February 11, 2018, 12:52:45 AM
Alright then, things I need:

Tractor


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Teleku on February 11, 2018, 08:13:50 AM
It sort looks like you made a child trebuchet....


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on February 11, 2018, 09:01:39 AM
No, but an actual trebuchet is on the list of eventual projects  :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on February 11, 2018, 11:59:29 AM
 I also thought it was a trebuchet and was like BEST DAD EVER.  But that's still pretty goddamn rad.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on February 11, 2018, 04:50:37 PM
Yep, I was on the trebuchet bandwagon as well until I read further. That's an awesome design idea, actually.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on February 19, 2018, 09:54:24 PM
Okay, I mentioned a while back that this thread had inspired me to do something with my den (which has to this point mostly been a storage space for garden stuff), and that it's too unfortunately too small to set up a tiki bar. 

Behold the fully operational music nook!

(https://dl.dropbox.com/s/q3aji8af156yhg5/2018-02-19%2019.28.22.jpg?raw=1)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on February 20, 2018, 06:28:58 AM
Lava lamp!  :grin:  Got one of those hereóno vinyl collection though :(


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Khaldun on February 20, 2018, 06:54:04 AM
I was thinking that you could potentially swing pretty hard into the wooden beam, but then I remembered that's true of a tree-limb swing too. So carry on.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on February 20, 2018, 03:33:45 PM
Lava lamp!  :grin:  Got one of those hereóno vinyl collection though :(

My dad gave me most of his old Beatles records more than a decade ago, so I've had a vinyl collection for at least that long, and I haven't had a decent stereo to play them on in all that time.

Now that I actually have a stereo and a decent amount of shelf space for more records, I have the perfect excuse to start browsing record stores.   :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on March 12, 2018, 10:30:41 AM
Don't know if this is a project--more of an Un-Project?

Anyway, this morning's edition: Solving Your Problems With Fire

Or, How to Channel Your Inner Beavis (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/1f/Beavis_BeavisandButtHead.png/222px-Beavis_BeavisandButtHead.png)

Because really, how many of life's issues can't be solved with proper application of excessive heat  :why_so_serious:  

(Disclaimer:  Open burning is legal here this time of year, and I ok'd it with the local fire department anyway)

We replaced our original chicken coop this last year.  I needed more space next to the shop for another lean-to to park trailers, and the old coop was in terrible shape.  Poorly designed and built, lacking insulation, with the floor rotted out, it wasn't worth salvaging.  I chainsawed through the supports and when the guys brought in the lumber for the lean-to, I had them lift up the whole thing with the telehandler and drag it off next to the field.

I was waiting on my friend to come light it up, since she has some pyromaniacal tendencies, but since she's a nurse her schedule is crazy and we couldn't find a good time.  This was probably the last good weekend with snow cover and no wind to keep it a safe burn, so up it went.  For reference, this is an 8 x 12 building, with about another 12' x 6' x 4' pile of accumulated burnable waste piled in front.  I forgot to get a picture of the whole thing before ignition  :heartbreak:

(http://i.imgur.com/6PF3vab.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/MjhMwXr.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/lG26HTu.jpg)

It's burned down considerably more from that last one, after being stirred a few times with the tractor bucket.  After it cools--it's still hot this morning, 24 hours later--I'll sift out the metal for recycling.

Bonus pics, Morning Moose--they don't normally let me get this close without running off.  No fire in this one:

(http://i.imgur.com/stJfEf2.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Khaldun on March 12, 2018, 08:34:16 PM
Fun!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on April 23, 2018, 03:34:42 PM
A couple years ago I bought some pavers to use to make a seating area off the downstairs back patio.  I then wound up having to have the front walk re-poured, so while they were doing that I had them pour a slab to extend the patio.  That left me with a bunch of pavers with no home.  I wound up building a firepit with leftover retaining wall block, and surrounded it with the pavers.

With a 4'-ish firepit in the center, it made a square about 14' on a side--comfortable seating for four, but a bit snug if guests were over.

This year, I found another pallet of the same pavers at the building supply store

(http://i.imgur.com/nlKX4JU.jpg)

That's about 3600 pounds of pavers.  The cat was absolutely no help in moving them.

(http://i.imgur.com/mvbAlbq.jpg)

Here's the original area as I begin work with my unwilling assistant, who is learning that when her grades drop due to failing to turn in homework she's "volunteering" to help me with manual labor.  The grades took a marked improvement shortly after this  :grin:

(http://i.imgur.com/sWWq9AK.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/NQFEVSU.jpg)

Here the project is mostly done, with and without chairs for perspective on size.  I need to finish cleaning up the dirt piles, and fill a little gravel around the edges.

Also note the need for a little herbicide.  Apparently I didn't get enough polymer sand into some of the cracks, and I have a few patches of unwanted greenery as a result.

After that I also need to put back in the holders for the tiki torches.  I had sections of PVC pipe sunk into the soil on the corners and midpoints of the sides, then filled the pipes with sand.  It makes putting the torches in and taking them out much simpler, but they all had to be pulled during the expansion.

Bonus Pic: Adding figs to the orchard this year.  I have no idea how they'll do, I've never seen anyone try to grow them here but they're a hardy variety so it should work.  I've got them in pots so I can bring them into the greenhouse during the winter to keep off the worst of the freeze.

(http://i.imgur.com/ey8ClH9.jpg)




Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on April 23, 2018, 05:51:01 PM
I'm envious of your unlimited space to work with.  Every now and then I browse listings for empty acreage up north with the idea of building a wilderness retreat and/or artist's studio -- usually I get brought down to earth by remembering how long of a drive it'd be any time I wanted to get up there, how much I hate driving, and how many unfinished projects I have on the measly 2250 square feet I already own.   :awesome_for_real:

My latest project has been reconfiguring the water feature in the middle of my backyard wildlife pond.  It started out as an island with a waterfall and planted areas
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/qta8ypark6mr80q/2017-05-17%2009.30.56.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/qta8ypark6mr80q/2017-05-17%2009.30.56.jpg)
but the planted areas got mauled by raccoons. 

After that I built a castle on top of the island foundations and ran the pond pump up through the middle of it and put plants on top
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/0d9ch2ar178khha/2017-08-09%2009.28.32.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/0d9ch2ar178khha/2017-08-09%2009.28.32.jpg)
but the raccoons were just barely able to reach up to the top and get themselves up there and maul everything again.  After I built the castle up a little bit higher they had noticeable trouble getting up there (I have motion activated cameras out there so I can study their shenanigans), and after I built it up a little higher than that they stopped trying.

So a couple of weeks ago I proceeded with a full on rebuild, keeping the unscalable height but also making it narrower so that they have more water to cross on top of that (they can theoretically swim but in practice they really don't seem to like getting in the water and won't cross it unless they're pretty sure they can reach dry land in one hop).

The worst part was slowly deconstructing the old castle and its foundations -- lots of backbreaking labor moving bricks and cinder blocks, and on top of that having to dredge out the muck (I'd used a lot of the standard peat/vermiculite mix that I use for potted riparian plants -- bad move, do not repeat).  The one bright spot was getting to meet the frog (hiterto unseen) who's been chirping outside my bedroom window since spring started.  He was nestled in the moss on top of the castle, safe from raccoons, and I startled him when I was in the process of deconstructing it.

(https://www.dropbox.com/s/dzkgvj9cb18mmpv/2018-04-09%2015.49.01-2.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/0d9ch2ar178khha/2017-08-09%2009.28.32.jpg)

Here's the castle pulled down to the original foundation, before I had to start the really ugly work of scooping muck out of the cinder blocks and then dragging the blocks themselves around:
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/nmnvv1qwuv5xefg/2018-04-09%2018.51.53.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/nmnvv1qwuv5xefg/2018-04-09%2018.51.53.jpg?dl=0)

And here it is with the rebuilt narrower foundation:
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/lngljl8js6adshv/2018-04-10%2016.25.50.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/lngljl8js6adshv/2018-04-10%2016.25.50.jpg?dl=0)

The really fun part was having had a lot of time to rethink the plumbing and reintroduce the idea of having a waterfall.
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/re63sf5u8msf831/2018-04-11%2014.27.09.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/re63sf5u8msf831/2018-04-11%2014.27.09.jpg?dl=0)

Finished:
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/w5uuld6q0m4kbdh/2018-04-11%2017.44.39.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/w5uuld6q0m4kbdh/2018-04-11%2017.44.39.jpg?dl=0)

The newly rebuilt version doesn't have any soil at all; I filled most of the interior space of the castle with clay pebbles (the kind normally used in hydroponic setups) with a coco fiber lining to keep them in place, with several inches of long-fibered sphagnum moss on top to use as a planting medium.  Water gets circulated up to the top by the pond pump so the whole thing stays saturated and acts as a bio-filter.

As a bonus, all the stomping around I did in there didn't disturb the wildlife too much.  Mr. Frog is still out there chirping, and the improved bio-filtration provided by the redesign has resulted in surprisingly crystal clear water, so I'm able to see things I couldn't see before -- I did not know until a couple of weeks ago that I had fish living in this pond, for example.  I'd caught a couple of tiny fry in a local creek last year, released them into my pond, and hadn't seen them again in all that time so I assumed they probably hadn't made it -- now they're a thriving family of at least six.  I netted the mama fish to get a better look at her:

(https://www.dropbox.com/s/qephr9ten1gvr3m/2018-04-18%2009.02.41.jpg?thumbnail=1&tw=800&th=800&tm=ABSTRACT) (https://www.dropbox.com/s/qephr9ten1gvr3m/2018-04-18%2009.02.41.jpg?dl=0)

Might be bad news for the tadpoles, but good news is I now have year-round mosquito protection without needing to use dunks.   :awesome_for_real:  The next project might be building a dedicated seasonal frog pond...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on April 23, 2018, 07:38:37 PM
Castle Samwise is fantastic!  Itís giving me ideas for what to do with the girl-pouring-wine statue/fountain I was given last year if I can plan out a tower  :grin:

Frogs are great, thereís a lot of ponds within earshot and itís nice to sit out on the stoop and listen at night.  There were tree frogs in the area years ago but I havenít heard of anyone seeing any recently.

Iím also looking into buying a used shipping container, doing some excavation and EDIT:  nevermind, too much work to reinforce.  Scratch that plan.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on April 24, 2018, 08:18:58 AM
I'm seriously jealous of you both.  Polysorbate for having so damn much land to play around with (although it's in the land of snow so no thanks!) and Sam for a having a castle in his backyard pond. 

I got a good chuckle out of the unwilling apprentice though. 


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: CaptainNapkin on May 07, 2018, 11:25:29 PM
Wo, another tractor owner on f13... do we need a tractor thread?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on May 08, 2018, 12:30:12 AM
Inspired by Poly's first post in this thread, I came across a big pretty slab of redwood at an antique store today and decided that I'm going to turn it into a bar for my officemates.  Here it is sitting in my garage:

(https://www.dropbox.com/s/amzrcf5uzlml709/2018-05-07%2018.38.28.jpg?raw=1)

Haven't figured out yet how to support it.  One thing I have working in my favor is that it's light enough for me to hoist on my own, so lifting it onto whatever base I can construct isn't going to be too hard, and I'll be able to futz with it if I need to make adjustments.  I like the idea of doing it on the cheap and building a rectangular base out of a couple of scavenged pallets, but given the irregular shape it might be better to buy a little lumber and construct something more form-fitting.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on May 08, 2018, 08:34:11 AM
I initially thought you were going to say you'd taken up wood sculpting and was turning that into a seahorse, because that's what it looks like.

A bar would be really cool too though.  Maybe have the base be a half circle, with the opening along the longer side of wthe wood (the left in the pic), but you might still need something to support that little jutting peninsula section.  A fancy bracket kind of thing if you don't want a leg of some kind?  That looks like a gorgeous piece of wood!  :drillf:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on May 08, 2018, 09:03:35 AM
That is a nice pieceógood score!  I canít quite get a feel for the size, is that about 5í long?

Iíd be tempted to do something single-pedestal, cocktail-round style although itís big enough to be tricky.  If I had a working bandsaw Iíd try a curved leg kind of like I think Rhyssa is describing.  Or maybe a more rustic post or weathered stump, but then that involves finding another piece of wood  :oh_i_see:

Getting it to all balance and stand stable is the trick.  Might need to experiment before you put the top on, needless to say avoid damaging/refinishing the top of that if all possible.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on May 08, 2018, 09:36:51 AM
Little over 5' overall; there's room for maybe a 48"x18" rectangle under the main bulk of it.  

My current thought is to build a trapezoid sort of shape with 4 4x4 posts and a few 2x4 stringers, panel the front (which'd be the base of the trapezoid) with something rustic/distressed-looking, and make a foot rail out of pre-cut iron pipe.

(edit) spent some time messing around in Paint to try to visualize how a base built out of right angles would fit under this shape.  The longest side of the base ends up being 5' across.
(https://i.imgur.com/DuvVXM9.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on May 10, 2018, 05:38:00 PM
That doesn't leave much knee space around most of the bar, but with the piece being that narrow you might have to forgo that anyway (it's less than the recommended 12" around a lot of mine, more like 9-10")

Eh, grab some inexpensive wood and knock it together and see how it plays out.  Definitely put storage space underneath--I wish mine had it, but it's all full of kegerator and sandbag ballast.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on May 10, 2018, 06:35:55 PM
Definitely put storage space underneath

Ya, my thinking was I could do the 2x4s in three levels (counter height, foot height, and one between) and put shelf pins inside the rectangular area to provide a couple of levels of shelf that are reachable from behind the bar.  Be plenty enough room to stash some bartending essentials.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on May 13, 2018, 12:46:34 PM
So, we made the decision a month back to go solar, and last week I started clearing out the space for the ground rack:

(https://i.imgur.com/sulsHfj.jpg)


That's the top of a hill about two hundred feet from the house proper. Going with a ground rack because the house isn't angled right to use roof mounts, and is too shaded to boot. Not much more than scrubby pine in the way on the hill and me and my chainsaw are making short work of them. The camera in the picture is actually pointed northeast, so those deciduous trees are going to be behind the panels.

If anyone is interested I'll chronicle the process here. I'm actually pretty excited about it, and will be doing as much of the install DIY as I legally can. We're still in the permitting process though so I'll be holding the actual construction up until the local bureaucracy approves everything, but nobody says I can't get a head start on site clearing...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on May 13, 2018, 01:26:19 PM
Iíd love to hear about it. My house isnít in a good location for solar, but Iíve got my eye on a windmill for power generation at some point (we have pretty consistent light wind) and will have some of the same power connection issues you might have to sort out.

Plus chainsaws are fun.  Unless they generate Jimbo-type stories  :ye_gods:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on May 13, 2018, 02:45:40 PM
Iíd love to hear about it. My house isnít in a good location for solar, but Iíve got my eye on a windmill for power generation at some point (we have pretty consistent light wind) and will have some of the same power connection issues you might have to sort out.

Plus chainsaws are fun.  Unless they generate Jimbo-type stories  :ye_gods:

Since you brought up chainsaws-- my old reliable finally crapped out on me (right before I took that picture above actually) and I decided to embrace the future and replace it with an electric.

Best thing I've done in a while. I love the thing. 40 volt 16 inch, one battery goes for about two hours of work -- which coincidentally is about when I'm ready to take a break too, so I'm fine with that. No problem at all cutting down those scrubby pines, although I will say I haven't tried it on anything over about eight inches in diameter. But it's perfect for around the house brush clearing.

No more drop starts. No more mixing fuel. No more tinkering with the carb for an hour while my project window slips away. I'm in love.

Howso is your house not in a good place for solar? I see a pretty nice line of sight all the way to the horizon in your photos, and you can do like I am and just put the rack holding the solar on the ground. Makes it easier and safer to work on too.

Or are you just too far north to make it worth it?

Speaking of those pics, nice job on the firepit! Unfortunately, that reminds me that I "volunteered" myself to build a new firepit at my daughter's house, so I need to budget some time/money in for that too. That wide patio you built around it looks pretty nice too, dammit, which has convinced me to do the same thing -- it was going to be just a narrow ring of pavers. Plus she's got a toddler so the "pit" needs to be higher...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on May 13, 2018, 03:08:04 PM
I have loads of space for it, including a nice south-facing pasture.  4-5 months of the year, though, I donít have enough sunlight for solar to be worth the trouble of keeping the snow & ice off the panels.  The prevailing winds that make wind power attractive would snowdrift the racks pretty consistently I think.

A windmill and a backup generator system would do a better job for us.  I donít think I could ever go fully off-grid without rethinking the house a bit.  For instance, while I love my geothermal hvac system (itís extremely power efficient overall) it takes a lot of amperage at 220v to start up from locked rotor.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on May 14, 2018, 05:54:12 AM
Front garden renovation: Phase 1

The front flower garden is looking like shit.  The cats and chickens have wrecked the micro-sprinklers, weeds are rampant, and Samwise has given me motivation to get started on the pond/water feature I'd like to put in.  It's a bit of an odd space anyway, you can see the box for the water right in the middle of the path, and the electrical service box is just out of frame to the right next to the sasquatch statue.  And of course the "don't dig here or you'll die" sign.  I don't know why I don't take that out.  I know where the power line runs  :uhrr:

Todays portion of the project was putting in the path in the middle.

(http://i.imgur.com/6fwAEbD.jpg)

It's way easier to get around with a path and easy access to the water line.   I used to have one but it was just some leftover pavers and got all jacked up when I had contractors trench a new line for water over to the orchard years ago.

The side off to the right is ribbon grass, pampas grass, iris and lavender.  Trust me, it's all buried in there under the trash grass that's sprung up around it.  I'm taking out what isn't supposed to be there, covering it with landscape fabric to slow down the inevitable regrowth, and piling cobblestone over that.  I moved a yard and a half of stone, then got tired and drafted the kids into helping with the last half yard.  Holy shit, you'd have thought I asked them to build the goddamn pyramids by hand to listen to them complain...

It's also a looooot of wheelbarrow loads of gravel.  Which the cats have been using for a litterbox, yay!  Little bastards.

The rose pavers are just some artsy things made by a local guy who does concrete artwork.  I have several of his items scattered around.  I should get his concrete version of the sasquatch, the one in the photo is resin and the color is all fucked up from the sunlight---it looks ok in the photo but IRL it's gotten bad.

He didn't do the pot laying on its side, I got that from a local garden place years back.  I needed to move it over to make space for the path.  Turns out, it was full of ants.  Several ant bites later, I got pissed and dumped it out to encourage them to find new residence.

Between the pot and the wheelbarrow there's a couple of daylilies; I'm thinking the fountain will sit back in there, aimed in towards the center left side of the garden for the pond.  Cause, y'know, power line on the other side and all  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on May 14, 2018, 11:54:03 AM
I like the pavers, and if my wife sees them she's gonna want some like them. I already use a "cobblestone" mold to make kinda natural rock looking pavers out of poured concrete. Note: the "terra cotta" pigment from Home Depot is actually "pink," at least when I mix it.

Aren't you worried about the water access being a trip point?

Also, you're really making me want a tractor. It's the one outside expense I haven't been able to justify yet, not having a working farm or livestock (other than a load of dogs and cats and one overly friendly fox).


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on May 14, 2018, 12:42:01 PM
The water is (and has always been) a nuisance, but this is more for access than serious travel and making that gravel deep enough to abate it would be quite literally a pain.  Having the pavers not flush with the gravel either helps; I notice everyone's tendency is to step on the stones and not the gravel.  I put them in just deep enough to keep them from moving around when stepped on.

It'll piss me off more when I'm dragging the hose through and it catches.

The tractor was purchased the winter we moved in.  At first I thought, "eh, snowplow can wait, I want a new pickup."  Then it snowed about 16" one night.  Goodbye $25k for a tractor.  That's a 7' mower on the back at the moment.  I really, really want to get the backhoe attachment so I can indulge my inner little boy and dig lots of holes  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Viin on May 14, 2018, 04:03:16 PM
I wish I had enough property for a tractor! Nice work, my wife does all the landscaping/gardening around our house and it's finally starting to fill in.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Count Nerfedalot on May 14, 2018, 09:16:24 PM
just a suggestion, but wouldn't it work better to bend the curve a little deeper or shallower so the utility box was at the edge of the path instead of the middle? you could even hide it under a rock then


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on May 14, 2018, 10:39:28 PM
Going a bit further to the right between the water/electrical boxes would have been a good idea.  I think my brain was in a bit of a rutóIíve just always treated the box as a stepping stone.

Rather than moving the whole path though I think iíl just push that side out further and leave the rest where it is.

Edit:  Y'know what, maybe I just widen the whole thing around there, and put a planter box or something over that spot.  Needs to be something movable in case I need access, but that shouldn't be a problem...just need to think of something.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Count Nerfedalot on May 15, 2018, 08:30:31 PM
one of your little statuary things maybe?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 03, 2018, 03:31:15 PM
Had a birthday party for a friend at our house, so I had to finish the firepit...here it is in action, with faces blurred to protect the guilty.  The men are all inside drinking beer at this point, they came out later.

(http://i.imgur.com/JkZa5em.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on June 03, 2018, 04:33:22 PM
Is that your daughter on the trebuchet, er, swing?

 :grin:

Seriously, that is a nice scene and a great firepit. Nothing satisfies at a party like going outside and setting some fires..

My solar project has been permitted and they should be shipping the goods out to me Monday. There is also some "locally sourced" components (read, not covered by the amount I've already spent) that I need to pick up, but I've still got to wait for the final shopping list they are putting together for me, also due out Monday.

 :oh_i_see:

I had an interesting conversation with the county planning office guy. He was actually really into solar and wanted to see a lot more of it down here, but he was telling me that when he proposed some local incentives for that purpose a couple of years ago he got shot down, not by the old school powers that be, but the local Greenies. You see, these guys showed up at the public forum part of the initiative and demanded that wind (and all other alternate energy possibilities) be included in the incentive package and raised such a stink that the commission, which had been leaning to approve, just shut it down.

Now, you got to understand, we get a *lot* of potential solar energy here, even in rainy times, but unless we're having a tornado we have no real wind to speak of. It's just not something you want to encourage people to spend money on, especially when solar fills in nicely for all the traditional wind power uses -- manly pumping water for irrigation and livestock. But apparently *somebody* wanted to build a windmill (and have a nice tax break from it).

Also   :oh_i_see:



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 03, 2018, 07:56:31 PM
Yup, daughter is on the kidapult/swing in the background.


Our local environmental people have the same habit you describe of offputting folls who mostly would be willing to work with them if the greens had better interpersonal skills


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on June 04, 2018, 09:07:20 AM
I bought a house  :ye_gods:

And that means I have a .5 acre yard that's fairly lush and overgrown, and I have never had a yard or any landscaping experience. I figure this is the thread to go to. I'll end up posting some pics here once I get them, but I figure some of you might be good for advance on how to do a yard that's not huge like a few of you, but has some potential.



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Yegolev on June 04, 2018, 09:43:47 AM
Are you very opposed to hiring someone?  Things grow quickly in GA in spring.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on June 04, 2018, 10:06:16 AM
I bought a house  :ye_gods:

And that means I have a .5 acre yard that's fairly lush and overgrown, and I have never had a yard or any landscaping experience. I figure this is the thread to go to. I'll end up posting some pics here once I get them, but I figure some of you might be good for advance on how to do a yard that's not huge like a few of you, but has some potential.

My yard is less than 1000 square feet; (so... 0.02 acre?), so I have some good experience with doing a "not huge" yard.   :awesome_for_real:  

The book I recommend to everyone on the topic of yard planning, especially if you don't have infinite space/time/money to just try building lots of different stuff, is "Yards" by Billy Goodnick.  I went through a shitton of books that had examples of layouts of various sizes, practical instructions on how to build various things, but his was the only book that actually tells you how to design a yard yourself.  What the pros came up with (after I gave them my list of priorities to work with) wound up being pretty similar to the design I'd sketched out based on the instructions from that book.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on June 04, 2018, 03:19:43 PM
Are you very opposed to hiring someone?  Things grow quickly in GA in spring.

No I'm not opposed at all, I'm going to get somebody to do landscaping eventually I just don't trust them to have good ideas that don't cost a bajillion dollars. I'd rather come in with a plan and work off of that rather than blank slate here's a bunch of money mentality.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on June 04, 2018, 03:53:45 PM
Tell the landscapers up front what your budget is.  There are a bunch of different tiers; the ones who want to do $200k jobs for millionaires won't want to waste any time with you.

Best way to get a sense for how good their ideas are is to look at a portfolio of their work.  That'll also give you a clue how expensive they are.

If I had to do it all over again, though, I'd do more of it myself, especially the design part, and just outsource the really heavy lifting (anything involving masonry and dryscaping).  And I wouldn't recommend putting a lot of money or effort into the yard as soon as you move in -- give it a year so you can get a sense for where water collects when it rains, which spots are sunny or shady at different times of year, what things you like and want to build off, what things you hate and want to change.  Take notes.

I'd been living in my place for about seven years before I finally buckled down to doing a proper landscaping job in the back yard.  I wouldn't recommend waiting that long, but it gave me plenty of time to familiarize myself with what exactly I'd be working with.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 04, 2018, 04:38:05 PM
And make sure you know where the water/sewer lines run around your property.  Deep-rooted plants love to grow into those; try to keep large trees 'n  such away from those in your planning.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on June 04, 2018, 04:38:46 PM
I'm going over there today I'll post some photos.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on June 05, 2018, 10:33:12 AM
Here are the pictures from around the backyard. I went right to left.

(https://s33.postimg.cc/5k4560xcb/20180604_185508_resized.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/5k4560xcb/)

(https://s33.postimg.cc/ymif8v6rf/20180604_185512_resized.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/ymif8v6rf/)

(https://s33.postimg.cc/q48z4ikt7/20180604_185517_resized.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/q48z4ikt7/)

(https://s33.postimg.cc/452khbbor/20180604_185521_resized.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/452khbbor/)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on June 05, 2018, 10:33:54 AM
I finished a project around the house this past weekend.  Literally, I laid edgers stones around the landscaping beds around our house.  :grin:  Did it in phases because my estimate was for approximately 150ish stones and it ended up being 163 total.  Decided to do this because we had some serious washout areas around the house (west side yard was all dirt from washout, east side yard was partially affected but the erosion was much worse.  With the edgers controlling the water flow somewhat and the stones under the downspouts as well, I think it's going to work out and help the problems.  

Phase one - along the front and down west side yard of the house.  50 stones.

Husband put down grass seed once I was done with this much and the side yard is look much better already.  Grass is thin but with repeated seedings will hopefully thicken up more.  And since we got rain for each of the following three weekends after I did this phase, that means I could see where the water was still flowing a bit too much and fix that.

Phase two - around the garage / east side of the house.  Did this phase over Memorial Day weekend when it was dry and the HVAC guys were done putting in the new AC and furnace.  You can really see where the erosion has hit the back corner of the house there.  That's going to need some dirt dropped on top of the rocky Illinois clay to get anything to grow again.  We've had some rain again since I did this section but I can't really tell how well the edgers and rocks there will help under that downspout. 60 stones this time.

Phase three - final run along the back of the house.  There's a few spots of erosion from the water flowing along the natural edging we used to have around the mulch beds, but those will fill right in with seed. 45 stones at first, then realized we were short and needed another 8 stones, so 53 total.


All the washing out and erosion really started when we did natural edging around our landscape areas.  With how the waterflow was in some places, it just took that dirt edge and whittled away the grass until there was no saving some spots.  So I think this will help, plus it looks really nice now.  


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on June 05, 2018, 12:06:27 PM
Nice work, Rhyssa!

Paelos, that's a much more kempt yard than what I was picturing -- looks like you've got some nice paths already in place and some well-established plantings.  (My yard was basically a briar patch when I moved in, not so much as a bare level spot to put a grill on.)  My advice would definitely be to spend some time getting to know it before planning any big changes; there's probably a lot that works well already. 

What sorts of things do you want your yard to be good for?  Growing food?  Outdoor cooking?  Relaxing with a book in the shade?  Wildlife watching?  Croquet parties?  Everything you decide to do when designing a space depends on what you envision yourself doing while you're in that space.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on June 05, 2018, 01:12:45 PM
I'm thinking I want to have a place to sit and read, enjoy a drink, and cook outdoors with some outdoor party areas. I think I'll need some good seating areas for people to congregate while we hang out in the yard.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 05, 2018, 01:52:53 PM
That is a nice yard, Paelos.  I'd consider putting some kind of raised planter in the circular area in that first photo, with seating around it possibly (or firepit, but I don't know how Georgia is on that kind of thing...)

And photo #4 is screaming for a small outdoor kitchen around the periphery of that concrete slab...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 05, 2018, 02:03:58 PM
Rhyssa, my problem is usually buying too much stone and then figuring out what to do with the leftover  :oh_i_see:  Looks good, and the grass will thicken up.  It always looks sparse when it's coming in, once it's grown tall enough to start mowing it'll fill out more.

One thing I did at my house, most of the downspouts empty into drain tile w/gravel buried under the yard.  Water filters out from there into the soil underneath at a manageable rate, and we don't wind up with significant erosion.  BUT:  we're not known for tremendous amounts of rainfall around here, if you get too much it might not work for you.  Plus LOTS of digging, bleh.  I'd like to buy a trencher attachment for the tractor to do that sort of thing, but it's ludicrously overpriced.  Way more cost-effective to rent it.

The only time I worry about drainage much is in the late winter when we get rainfall on top of snow, and then it can cause washout around the culvert at the bottom of my driveway because the adjacent field drains through that spot.  When the contractor re-poured my front walkway, they had some concrete left over so I had them dump it on the downhill side of the culvert; it's worked pretty well so far for keeping the stone in place.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on June 05, 2018, 02:16:10 PM
That is a nice yard, Paelos.  I'd consider putting some kind of raised planter in the circular area in that first photo, with seating around it possibly (or firepit, but I don't know how Georgia is on that kind of thing...)

And photo #4 is screaming for a small outdoor kitchen around the periphery of that concrete slab...

Thank you! My wife wants me to put in a screened patio around that slab, so an outdoor grilling area/kitchen is highly likely.

I do think I'll put in some planters. I also like the idea of what Rhyssa did with those stones to make my paths a little better.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 07, 2018, 02:57:24 PM
Garden Revamp Part 2:  There's Flowers In There Somewheres

I needed to move some of the cobblestone in my driveway to make room for a semi to turn around (freight delivery day)  so I started hacking through the jungle on the other side of the garden.  I've been working laying stone/weedblock around the ribbon grass clusters I want to keep, this time it's the iris and the lavender on the other end of the path:

(http://i.imgur.com/TEylEc5.jpg)

I've had to pull some of the lavender out, it's got so much grass growing through it that it's getting choked out and looks like shit.  Luckily lavender takes well to digging up, parting out and replanting.  Besides the pot in the picture I've got half a dozen other smaller pieces repotted.  They'll stay in the pots probably until next year when I figure out where to replant them.  I love having it in the garden, it attracts LOADS of honeybees (my son is demonstrably less thrilled about that.)

That's as far as I got before the freight shipment I mentioned arrived.  It's not really a project, but it did require transportation and some assembly so it kinda counts?

(http://i.imgur.com/YkQpyIo.jpg)

250 games loaded, with the ability to load more or install other game consoles in the cabinet for use with the controller.  Ghosts 'n Goblins was first, I have never beaten that game...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on June 07, 2018, 04:26:26 PM
Paelos - that does look like a decent backyard that just needs some loving.  Are those paths meant to be there or did the previous owners just wear down the grass and never fixed it?  Biggest change I'd make right off is to remove that bush-thing between the tree and the red bush in pic #3.  That's got the least potential for benefit IMO.  And the reason I like having the stones around our landscape areas now it because it gives definition to the area and contains the mulch to where I want it to be.

Polysorbate - I'm jealous of your irises and lavender!  I wish I had enough full sunlight to grow either without stuffing them into a corner somewhere.  I'd love to have not just more bees, but butterflies as well, and since there's a creek along the back edge of the yard, I'd get dragonflies and damselflies too, which I love.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Yegolev on June 08, 2018, 01:58:29 PM
I'm guessing the dirt areas are from oak trees.  But it's a good start to a yard.

General things I've learned or decided:

Battery-powered lawn/garden equipment is best for me. Gasoline engines are just outside my ability to maintain over a long storage period.  I have a Ryobi 40-watt "trimmer" with a triangular blade which is great at terrorizing unwanted flora.  Would be overkill on a urban yard like yours, but the point is that battery tools are rather mature now.

I have "local" sprinkler controls and eventually the maintenance becomes a problem.  I'd suggest a centrally controlled setup if you are going to install or revise your sprinklers.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Paelos on June 08, 2018, 02:12:00 PM
I'm leaning that direction towards battery tools as well. I can't see myself working with gas engines at this point in my life over a yard that's basically .5 acre.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on June 08, 2018, 02:19:13 PM
If you have one, a Home Depot with tool rental is really valuable.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Yegolev on June 08, 2018, 03:16:47 PM
Yea, we have Home Depot out the ass in The ATL.  Arthur Blank owns both our football teams.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Selby on June 08, 2018, 07:02:57 PM
I use gas for my tools over my 0.5 acre of forest. The battery tools just donít last that long enough for my usage and cords are a pain to use with a 100í extension cord. If you buy ethanol free gas you practically donít have to do much of any maintainence. Iím on year 4 with my current set of tools I inherited from my dad and neighbor - theyíre easily 5+ years older than that.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 08, 2018, 07:17:02 PM
I mow with diesel :oh_i_see:

I also have a mid-sized riding mower and push-mower (both gassers). You wonít need a rider unless you just want one, but donít break the bank on the pushmower.  As long as you donít let the grass get knee-high you wonít need some $1,200 beast.  Iíve been using a $450 Honda for three years with one blade sharpening and it does the trick fine.  Just make sure itís ethanol free gas as Selby said, or your carburetor will get messed up.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Chimpy on June 08, 2018, 07:35:52 PM
I have been mowing with a corded lawn mower since I first started mowing the lawn as a kid.

When I bought a house with a lawn 5 years ago, I purchased one for $150 bucks that has been great. 100' extension cord is able to get the front and sides, then I move it and finish the back. All of my other yard tools (including my little snow blower) are corded electric and work good. Not having to deal with the hassles of buying/transporting/storing gasoline is great.

Fun fact: It is illegal to sell gas without at least 10% ethanol in Illinois. You guys talking about gas without ethanol confused the shit out of me for a minute.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 08, 2018, 08:20:24 PM
You canít get it everywhere here either but itís not too hard to track down.  Tax-free diesel is harder to get, only a couple nearby places sell it (surprising given the size of the farming community, but then they often buy it in thousand-gallon quantities)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: rattran on June 09, 2018, 11:14:03 AM
Chimpy: plenty of places right across the CheddarCurtain sell it.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Count Nerfedalot on June 24, 2018, 09:27:29 PM
Been loving the backyard photos, though not what I consider useless projects.  :grin:  So, I thought I'd show my neverending work-in-progress backyard.  The Countess and I dreamed of building a little house in the woods. Instead we ended up buying a big house in a subdivision built on a former pasture. Life is funny sometimes. So, we grew a forest around it! On our quarter-acre lot.  :why_so_serious:

View from our patio in 2009, less than a year after we moved in. Absolutely nothing in the back yard but a 10x12 cement patio. I'm facing almost due West and this side of the house just baked in the summer. Plus an amazing amount of wind comes down into that basin behind us then funnels between our house and the one on the left. Ripped our siding off that side twice before the contractor (who lives across the street and had some of the slats land in his front yard!  :awesome_for_real:) finally took the whole wall down and redid it with the lapping reversed and the nail gun pressure set properly.:

2010 - a couple of years into The Great Work. First we expanded the patio with retaining wall, dirt fill, pavers on sand, etc.  This shows Phase I of the temporary Great Privacy Wall. And the beginnings of our forest preserve:

Amazingly enough, those two scorched rescue birches in the foreground of the previous pic ($10 each from K-mart) survived as we see here in 2012 along with the patio extension for Phase II in progress:

Another view of The Great Work from 2012, with some of my garden beds in the background (mostly blackberry, black raspberry, some asparagus, tomatoes, flowers, etc):

Skipping ahead to 2018, many buckets of dirt, trees, pavers, rocks, lumber, and backaches later, not to mention Phase II of the temporary Great Privacy Wall. More garden beds in the foreground with herbs, tomatoes, green beans, snowpeas, cucumbers, peppers, and what I think is a pumpkin growing out of the compost bin - that thing has leaves over a foot wide and has doubled in size in the week since I took that pic. More garden stuff (lettuce, herbs, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, blackberries, black raspberries, and flowers) in beds along the fence and along the far side of the house, and fruit trees (cherry, peach, apple, pear, nectarine, apricot, and pawpaw) along both sides.

And a panorama of the view from our patio in 2018. Note the rightmost planter box has rotted away (thus the Temporary part of the privacy wall) and we are reverting to grade level plantings as the wood boxes die so we can actually see the stuff in our garden beds.  Even treated and stained lumber can't survive direct dirt contact all that long - especially when it's a planter box that gets watered regularly!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 25, 2018, 11:07:44 AM
I'm super envious of the trees; they just don't grow that fast around here.  Except for poplars, which are ok for a windbreak but are otherwise giant woody weeds more than trees.  But, since we get winds of 70-100mph several times a year and the local fire department is limited in size, I didn't want to plant any large trees where they would eventually pose a danger to the house anyway.  I've got a couple Japanese cherry trees planted to the SE of the house, and a Korean maple that is rootbound in its pot I need to move to a safe spot, but that's it other than the orchard, and my outdoor christmas tree.

(http://i.imgur.com/XdU9nl7.jpg)

It's a blue spruce that may eventually reach 80' in height.  I figured that would be long after I'm dead, but the local climate suits evergreens.  It's supposed to grow 4-8 inches a year.  It started about 30" high and 8 years later is now over 12'.  I may have to buy a cherry picker to decorate the thing, although eventually I'll need something like that for the orchard anyway.

(http://i.imgur.com/yocrDC8.jpg)

I just mowed, so it's a good time to take a photo where you can actually find the plants in there  :oh_i_see:  I do the raised beds out of redwood, it's held up quite well but is expensive.  The longer one along the fence line you can barely see behind the ladder is treated lumber.  You can't likely convince the local hippies it's safe, but as long as you're not using old scavenged lumber there's not a problem.  Ag Sci lesson for the day:  it really wasn't a problem anyway EXCEPT for root vegetables planted too close to the wood.  Arsenic from the older stuff doesn't migrate horizontally through the soil far, and isn't taken up by plants unless they're lacking appropriate nutrients.  Regardless, there's no arsenic in treated lumber anymore.

Shit, I gotta think about what I've got planted in there...

Outside the fence in the lower left are Cascade and Nugget hops, and horseradish.  They're in barrels on old concrete slabs to keep from spreading; they're rather invasive.  Raspberries are along the fence in the upper left, but they're moving to old livestock feed tanks that aren't really visible on the upper right fence.  Again, they spread.

Right side is the strawberry patch, the wood sawhorse-looking things in there are supports to keep the bird netting out of the berries.  Otherwise they grow through it, and when the netting is pulled back to pick it tends to rip off the fruit as well.

The rows of bushes just above that are blueberries.  They're finally getting to be about shoulder height, much easier to pick...

The (incomplete) long planterbox I mentioned has kiwi, mulberries, and elephant garlic in it at the moment.  Kiwi and mulberries are immature, there won't be any fruit from those for quite some time.  Plus kiwi needs male and female plants, they're not self-fertile, so it depends on how the pollinators are keeping up.  It's an experiment in progress, we'll see how it turns out.  I might get some beehives to go along the far back fence.  I hate honey, but I'm sure I can give it away.

The other boxes are asparagus (gone to seed for the season), hardneck red garlic, three tomato varieties, three cucumber varieties, yard long beans, spinach (also gone to seed now), onions, shallots, some more elephant garlic I need to transplant this fall, herbs and salad stuff, golden beets, japanese turnips, tomatillos, jalapenos, poblanos, anaheims, and shishito peppers.  The concrete slabs on the corners of the garlic beds are to hold down the covers--after I plant the garlic, I put a chicken-wire frame over the top to keep the cats from digging in the beds.  The young garlic grows through the gaps in the wire in the spring and once it's well established I can remove the frame.  I just am too lazy to carry the 20-pound slabs back to the greenhouse.  I have a cover for the asparagus as well.

The tubs between the beds and the ladder hold grapes.  It's ridiculously hard to get grapes here, and it's not like Idaho has a wine industry to speak of.  I don't know what the ag industry is trying to protect but you can't get them shipped in from out of state, you have to find someone selling them locally and it's hard to do but I've got several varieties acclimating.  They'll go in the ground this year or next.

Next to that are the two mounds for zucchini and lemon cucumbers (and one lone rhubarb)

Behind that are all fruit trees - apple, pear, cherry (that's why the ladder is out there, they're ripening up), apricot and plum.  Should get a nice batch of greengage plum this year, they're my faves.  Yes, Sky, there are honeycrisp trees back there.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on June 25, 2018, 11:17:17 AM
@Nerfdalot

I love what you've done to make that limited space feel more woodsy. I bet it's a nice shady area for weekend cookouts.

@Polysorbate80 What kind of critters is that fence to keep out? Seems low for deer, but kinda heavy duty for rabbits.

Also, you hate honey??? Who hates fresh honey???


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 25, 2018, 11:22:51 AM
It's an 8' fence to keep out the deer and elk, I'm standing on one of the hops barrels holding the phone over my head for the panorama.

I just don't like the taste of honey.  Maybe because my parents used to forcefully home-remedy dose me with it when I was ill as a child.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on June 25, 2018, 11:54:25 AM
It's an 8' fence to keep out the deer and elk, I'm standing on one of the hops barrels holding the phone over my head for the panorama.

I just don't like the taste of honey.  Maybe because my parents used to forcefully home-remedy dose me with it when I was ill as a child.

Well, whiskey honey and lemon do make a great sore throat remedy.

Solar update: Finally got all the components delivered (I would take a picture, but it's boxes on a pallet under a tarp). The thing I thought I would have the least trouble sourcing of course ended up being the worst. The steel piping for the rack mount is too long for me to carry with my truck, but too small a batch to make the local guys happy with delivery -- plus I am in a really bad place to get a truck in and out of. I finally got it done by having a relative in the plumbing supply business.

Now though we're in the beginning of summer in the south. Plus 90 degree temps with knife cut-able humidity, and every day can go from sunny and baking hot to crashing lightning to sunny and post rain sauna in less than an hour. Several times a day.

In fact, this is why I'm sitting here posting this right now, watching the storm blow by outside..


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 25, 2018, 12:20:09 PM
Maybe if they'd added the whiskey part I'd appreciate it more today  :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on June 25, 2018, 12:26:25 PM
Paelos, why did you go for an xarcade over something more... mobile / svelt?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on June 25, 2018, 12:30:39 PM
That was me.

I've already got a ps/4, xbox one, pc and tablets for mobile.  As for size, I wanted a cabinet, and specifically one sturdy enough to handle the abuse my 10-year old son puts out.  He's...not gentle with things a lot of the time.

Yeah, it was overpriced, but it's 500 pounds of ain't-going-nowhere and reasonably well put together.  I've got no complaints other than my middle-aged back can't stand at it for hours without pain.  I need a good stool for it.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on June 25, 2018, 12:39:00 PM
Xarcades can take a beating, but if you ever upgrade, just get a Japanese candy cab. They're fiberglass. Weigh nothing, on wheels, have wheel locks, and are literally made to take a beating from old angry salarymen that smoke.

Also, they're seated height.

But yes, that does fit "500lbs of going nowhere."

Edit: get Windjammers and Nightmare in the Dark for your neo geo emulator. thank me later.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Count Nerfedalot on June 25, 2018, 11:41:27 PM
Yes it's now a wonderful place to grill, or just hang out. Especially on days like Saturday when we had a break from the 90+ heat and had a cloudy breezy dry day with a high of 79. Absolutely perfect.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on July 16, 2018, 11:20:32 AM
Garden Renovation 3:  It's Just a Big Hole.

Seriously, this post is about nothing but a hole in the ground.

Temperatures jumped from the mid-70s to the mid-90s and will probably stay that way through July and August, which means the top foot of soil will be baked hard as a rock.  Rather than hammer through that with a pick this fall (been there, done that, don't want to do it again) I started the new pond while it's only moderately horrible to dig.

(http://i.imgur.com/2iUzGlD.jpg)

This is what I've got to work with. Oh, and a bunch of these:

(http://i.imgur.com/QKpclzs.jpg)

I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL! 

After applying foamy insect death and clearing out the space, I find that unless I tear out a lot more plants than I'd like it's not going to be as large as I originally hoped.  Won't have room for any castles  :heartbreak:

(http://i.imgur.com/OHeVdRS.jpg)

So, roughly 8' in diameter, maybe 2 1/2 feet deep.  That's about 900 gallons of water, and you'll notice it's in full sun.  All day long.  If I don't want all that water to just evaporate constantly, I'll need to add shade.

(http://i.imgur.com/d4782aK.jpg)

This is an ornamental plum.  It's the most compact full-sun tree the local nursery had, about 14' tall and 12' wide when fully grown.  Anything larger risks being an eventual danger to the house or the the waterline on the other side of the pond. I'd have loved something like a Japanese maple, but the sun would fry it.

So I started digging.  I feel bad about digging up so many of these: 

(http://i.imgur.com/KisdSNi.jpg)

Science fact for the day: earthworms estivate when the ground gets dry.  They roll up in little balls, secrete mucus around themselves, and hibernate until the conditions approve.  Lots of these little guys out in that soil.

Several hours of digging and trying to avoid dehydration ensue.  This guy is STILL no help at all.

(http://i.imgur.com/NUeqtc3.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/VCtlv9T.jpg)

This is the hole basically done, there's a little cleanup to do.  The shelf in the rear will stay to hold the fish planter.  I've had plants in it for years, but I'm repurposing it.  The little dude in the photo is a fountain, he'll be spraying water into the fish's mouth.

I have the pond liner but I'm reluctant to lay it in place yet.  Long-term direct exposure to the sun is bad for it, and I'm reluctant to fill the pond right now--it feels like wasting water.  But, I will have to fill it to test for leaks before I start mortaring in stones to cover the liner.  I'll probably get the tree in place, lay stone outside the pond to the edges and then leave completion until it cools off some.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on July 16, 2018, 12:55:37 PM
Won't have room for any castles  :heartbreak:

My pond is only 5' across, so your 8' lake definitely has room.   :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on July 16, 2018, 01:17:31 PM
Glad to see your latest project moving along. Me, I've been waiting for the one towable auger in a twenty mile radius to come back in from its last rent so I can dig twelve damn holes. It's been over a week. The holes need to be twelve inches across and four foot deep, so I *really* don't want to do them by hand in 90+ weather and steambath humidity.

On the good side, more time to build roads in Exiles, I guess....


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on July 16, 2018, 01:41:11 PM
Won't have room for any castles  :heartbreak:

My pond is only 5' across, so your 8' lake definitely has room.   :grin:

Robot Pirate Island demands a Castle Dong-esque scale structure  :why_so_serious:  Also I've got another water feature that isn't in the photo, it's a small statue of a girl pouring a wine jug.  I plan to elevate that one on some stonework and aim the stream into another repurposed planter, which is shaped like an old wine amphora.  Takes up space.

I can't wait to see which cat fucks up and takes a spill into the pond first once it's done...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on July 20, 2018, 01:18:05 AM
Remember that bar project I was talking about doing a few months ago?  I finished it!

(https://i.imgur.com/fomsFZV.jpg)

Gonna select a few whiskies to bring in to the office tomorrow so we can do a proper christening during happy hour.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on July 20, 2018, 10:31:43 AM
Excellent!  Did you do any kind of storage/shelving/whatever behind there?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on July 20, 2018, 11:55:57 AM
There's space for two levels of shelving in the base, including holes drilled for shelf pins, just need to haul out the table saw and produce some appropriately sized plywood rectangles that I can drop in there.  Probably do that this weekend and bring them in to the office on Monday.

Oh, see that foot rail there?  Assembled with parts from Lowes, cost about a tenth what you'd pay for an "industrial style black iron foot rail" that looks exactly the same, and I didn't have to do any pipe cutting/threading to get everything to line up (which I was really sweating until I figured out how I could build it to have a little play in it).  The flanges and tee couplings are 3/4" and the long pipe that forms the actual rail is 1/2", so the outer diameter of the rail slides right through the inside diameter of the two couplings, and end caps on the rail are just thick enough to keep it in place.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on July 20, 2018, 02:19:07 PM
Ready for the grand opening!

(https://i.imgur.com/KkOK4Dq.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on July 20, 2018, 02:28:05 PM
That base turned out really nice, Sam!  I like how it gradates towards lighter at the top, then the nice dark bar top.  Well done!  :thumbs_up:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on July 20, 2018, 02:29:13 PM

Oh, see that foot rail there?  Assembled with parts from Lowes, cost about a tenth what you'd pay for an "industrial style black iron foot rail" that looks exactly the same, and I didn't have to do any pipe cutting/threading to get everything to line up (which I was really sweating until I figured out how I could build it to have a little play in it).  The flanges and tee couplings are 3/4" and the long pipe that forms the actual rail is 1/2", so the outer diameter of the rail slides right through the inside diameter of the two couplings, and end caps on the rail are just thick enough to keep it in place.

That reminds me of what I found a couple of days ago looking for coat racks on Amazon:

(https://i.imgur.com/4TpjIP9.jpg)


Yep, for $32.00 for Prime customers you can have a pile of scrap pipe and a busted gauge and faucet. You get to assemble it yourself too!

I'm in the wrong business....


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Trippy on July 20, 2018, 02:32:18 PM
Ready for the grand opening!
What's the one on the far left? It feels like you need an Ardbeg 10 or something (i.e. a "peat bomb") as well.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on July 20, 2018, 04:36:01 PM
New bar demands Mai Tais.  I prefer the Royal Hawaiianís recipe, except with a full shot of white rum rather than just an ounce, and a vanilla-ish dark rum like Koloa if you can find one.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on July 20, 2018, 08:08:31 PM
Ready for the grand opening!
What's the one on the far left? It feels like you need an Ardbeg 10 or something (i.e. a "peat bomb") as well.

That one's from Seven Stills.  I woulda brought a peat bomb to round it out, like you say, but I don't own any since I don't like em.   :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on August 31, 2018, 09:26:40 PM
NameIt Round 2: Nekkid Fountain Girl

The pond has been largely done for a couple weeks, but I've been waiting on temps to cool down.  Since we're down in the 70s again, I can fill the thing without wasting water.

I've got one fountain in place and plumbed; li'l wine girl needs a name.  Something appropriate for conversation around children, please:

(http://i.imgur.com/Qm6R3MS.jpg)

As is typical of females everywhere (apologies ladies, don't murder me) her, um, rear plumbing channel was too small to accept tubing  :oh_i_see:  I had to step the 1/2" line from the pump down to 3/8" inch to fit. 

I also had to put in a stronger pump.  The orginal pump was solar-powered, with battery storage.  At 500 liters/hour, it wasn't strong enough to push the stream into the amphora out in the pond. 

The new pump is 1500 liters/hour, also solar-powered but with no battery storage.  None of the Amazon vendors sell one that size with a battery, citing bullshit reasons.  Mostly they don't want to ship that much 12v battery.  I could build my own waterproof storage box, wire in a couple deep-cycle marine batteries, and pick up a 100-watt solar panel from Home Depot and run this shit all night, but that's a project for next year.

Stepped down to 1/4", it'll hit the amphora, but then I decided that I didn't need it cluttering up the pond and took it out and went back to 3/8" tubing (yes, I'm fickle.)  At that rate of flow, it'll turn over all the water in the pond in a couple hours.  That should keep down mosquitos.

I'll get pics of the whole thing up when I have the second fountain running.  That one will need minor surgery--it's got 3/8" tubing already in the fountain, but the concrete constricts it too much to get the hose barb in.  I'll need to remove a little to get it plugged in and running.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on August 31, 2018, 10:01:25 PM
"Sunny."


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on August 31, 2018, 10:16:30 PM
Not bad :) Howís your own large-scale solar project coming along?  Ever get the machinery needed?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on September 01, 2018, 11:27:08 AM
Not bad :) Howís your own large-scale solar project coming along?  Ever get the machinery needed?

It's finally moving along. Should have something to post pictures of after Labor Day.

Foundation prep is almost as irritating as trim work, for expense/time vs. visible progress.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on September 01, 2018, 01:03:20 PM
Wine girl reminds me of a nymph.  Calypso?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Chimpy on September 01, 2018, 01:12:44 PM
While not quite the same level of dedication as you guys, I am embarking on a project to gut and re-drywall/insulate the walls in my garage.

The ceiling drywall was hung in the wrong direction, not taped, and sagging; and the outer walls are covered with peg board that is 40 years old and thus, almost useless for hanging anything on.

So probably next weekend I am going to tear out the existing material.

Went to Menards this morning to find out if I buy material today can I delay the delivery and they said "yeah no problem" so I can get the 11% rebate on  purchases which will save me about $40 off their already cheaper than most other places prices. I hate Menards but for most generic building materials they are just so much cheaper.



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on September 01, 2018, 06:25:03 PM
I have a project question: anyone have a Glowforge or other laser cutter and if so what're your opinions on them?

My general read of the situation is that there exist laser cutters that are much cheaper, but they also require a lot more maintenance, whereas a Glowforge (while more expensive and annoyingly cloud-bound) is better for someone with less free time to spend fixing their broken tools.  I've been eyeing them for a while and might pull the trigger soon.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on September 08, 2018, 03:37:28 PM
Okay. Progress report on "Solarize the Woods 2018." Gonna be image heavy.

First thing I did was to cost myself more time and money by trying not to (won't be the first time). I've used one of these

(https://i.imgur.com/LBSYib6.jpg)

plenty of times to dig fence posts and such. One man operable, not too expensive to rent. Took over two weeks to get one though, since the rental situation here sucks and it was high summer with every DIYer in the county trying to get one rented for our summer projects.

Anyhow, turns out what is perfectly fine for a six inch fence post does not work at all for a twelve inch wide four and a half foot deep hole, at least not in the rock mixed with red mud base I've got to work with.

So, after another week of trying to price local construction to dig these twelve holes I need for the foundation, I decide once again to do it my own damn self, somehow. So I rent (after another two week wait) one of these.

(https://i.imgur.com/cCfyU7o.jpg)

I have never operated a skid steer before. I have to tell you that, if you are any sort of nerd at all, you cannot strap yourself into one of these things without feeling like Ripley from Aliens. You don't drive these machines, you wear them. Duel configurable joysticks too -- it's basically the best VR game I've ever played.

Anyway, couple of hours later and the holes are dug, and sadly with no alien to fight I return the Bobcat and get ready to really get to building.

Actually, two more weeks of mixing and pouring concrete later, I'm ready to get to building.

(https://i.imgur.com/HSmkfi2.jpg)

Helper dogs for scale

(https://i.imgur.com/ifj6oED.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/METleHO.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/e1sofsR.jpg)

Now, time to unpack the box of panels and finish the install!!!

(https://i.imgur.com/08IGEp5.jpg)

Uhm. Yeah. Forklift damage that was hidden from my inspection by the shrinkwrap piled around the bottom of the box. Fortunately it's only one panel, and I should be getting a replacement next week.

Went ahead and installed what I had, leaving the last row off until I get the last panel in (and to make it easier to install a last minute J-Box on the rack).

(https://i.imgur.com/pYfyE21.jpg)

Still a lot of work after this, but less heavy lifting. Need to get it all wired up to the house, and I'm going to do a bit of siding replacement at the same time, but I hope not to have as many delays on this part of the project as the last.

So there we go, the future is now, in my woods.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: MahrinSkel on September 08, 2018, 03:46:24 PM
20 panels, I assume in the neighborhood of 300 watts each? Any battery storage?

--Dave


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on September 09, 2018, 12:53:01 AM
20 panels, I assume in the neighborhood of 300 watts each? Any battery storage?

--Dave

Little short of that at 260, giving me about 5200 watts total. Around here that can translate as around 35000 watts on the best days in the summer (and of course, nothing on the worst). As a point of reference, we have a relatively light electricity footprint already with only about 15 or 16 kilowatts a day average residential use.

No battery to start with, but planning on adding some in the near future. I would love to get a couple of Tesla Powerwalls, but we'll see.

Batteries are an interesting issue with solar. The money people will advise you to just forget power storage and sell your overage back into the grid (which we will be doing here too). It's really more economically sound as far as return on investment than to nearly double the cost of your install by adding batteries. But, no batteries means no backup, and out here we can lose power for days after a bad storm. So I'm planning on adding *something,* just so I'm not caught in the irritating position of having kilowatts of potential power during a sunny day but no way to get to it during an outage.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on September 09, 2018, 07:03:06 AM
That looks spiffy; were you able to wrassle all that metal tubing around yourself or did you draft help?  I think back to putting up the kids' play structure one-man style and holy shit was that awkward to do.

The guys I paid to put up the second lean-to on the side of my shop used one of those bobcats to dig the post holes.  Worked great except they had some trouble with the pin holding on the auger.  They redneck'd something to hold it on and still got the job done.  OSHA would disapprove, but everyone came out with the same number of fingers and toes.  I did get a laugh when they were apologizing for "killing" the rosebush that was right next to where one of the holes needed to go.  Apparently they've never tried to actually kill one before.  It's alive and thriving despite having a big chunk of its roots torn out.

I'm in the Pacific Northwest; solar is too weak for a big chunk of the year.  I do hope to install a windmill at some point--and by install, I mean "pay a professional to do it".  Not a DIY-er scale of project for me...

Before I get to that will be a standby diesel generator.  A home-sized unit is only a few thousand, plus the modifications to the house's electrical system (but the windmill would need the same ones anyway) and I already keep the fuel on hand.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: MahrinSkel on September 09, 2018, 10:12:53 AM
I'd advise enough battery to keep your refrigerator and furnace (assuming it isn't a heat pump) powered reliably in the winter, about 4 8D or 6 4D (easier to wrangle without equipment). Full "what grid?" battery storage gets pricy, but those plus a 24V inverter to turn it into something useful should only be a few grand. The difference between a little power and no power is huge.

If you want to get fancy, you'll take those off the main breaker box onto their own emergency circuit. You'll need to install a disconnect to keep it from energizing the grid lines anyway, splitting out those circuits at the same time will make things easier, you just put the disconnect between the emergency circuit and the main bus.

--Dave


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on September 09, 2018, 12:12:32 PM
That looks spiffy; were you able to wrassle all that metal tubing around yourself or did you draft help?  I think back to putting up the kids' play structure one-man style and holy shit was that awkward to do.


There is a "funny" story about that. I'm kinda a DIYer to a fault, but my son-in-law was over and he offered to help me lift that first long pipe up on the scaffolding so I said sure. But I was so focused on watching what he was doing that I didn't watch my own feet and I stepped right off into one of the four and a half foot deep holes I had just dug. Scared the shit out of him, my wife, my daughter, the dogs, and my grandkid all standing there, but shielded by the power of embarrassment I was fine. The pipe I was lifting even fell into the hook on the scaffolding so it didn't come down and bash my head in.

So anyway for the rest of the install I made sure nobody else was around.

Quote from: MahrinSkel

I'd advise enough battery to keep your refrigerator and furnace (assuming it isn't a heat pump) powered reliably in the winter, about 4 8D or 6 4D (easier to wrangle without equipment). Full "what grid?" battery storage gets pricy, but those plus a 24V inverter to turn it into something useful should only be a few grand. The difference between a little power and no power is huge.


That is exactly the sort of thing I am researching at the moment. As I mentioned our power needs are relatively modest -- heat is propane, as is oven/stove and water heater. Anything that can keep the freezers and well pump going (and maybe a little extra for the computers and all) would be just fine for emergencies.

Are you solarized too then? This is my first time playing with this sort of thing, and I welcome all advice and links to good deals and technology I should know about. Of course, already committed and invested in the panels and hookup, but I'm still in the decision making stage on energy storage solutions.

In fact, I'm planning to head into the Big City in the next few weeks and talk to a Tesla rep about Powerwalls, in case I want to go biggish money. Two of them would give me well over 24 hours of average use, but would also run me over 12 or so grand, so got to think about that.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Chimpy on September 09, 2018, 12:28:01 PM
You should look into standard lead-acid battery systems for storage. Sure they take up more space than the Li-Ion stuff, but they are still a lot less expensive. Looking at where your installation is, it doesn't look like you are hurting for space. You could just build a little shed to keep them in.



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: MahrinSkel on September 09, 2018, 02:46:57 PM
I rigged up solar for my little RV, which kept my computer, a WiMax modem, and a little fridge working just fine. About 1/10 the scale of what you're doing. But I've done a lot of research into something about 4X the scale for a bigger RV.

Lead Acid is by far the cheapest dollars per watt hour solution at residential scale, especially if you're not going to be drawing from it very often. PowerWall is way too expensive if you're on grid, it's advantages all come from the tolerance for repeated discharge and low weight. Lead acid will only last a couple of years if you're cycling every day. If you want a true 24 hour buffer, you're looking at about 10 8D's, or 16 4D, either way about $2k. There are other solutions (the most efficient being banks of 300 pound 2 volt cells), but they tend to be more expensive, nearly impossible to handle without equipment, and again, not really needed if you aren't cycling daily.

You'll need to replace them every 5 years or so, but it's a standard commodity-grade size that will be easy to find alternate sources for. 48V setups require keeping them in banks of 4 and slightly more expensive inverters and chargers, but will more reliably handle startup loads for things like freezers and well pumps. Higher voltage is even better, but then they start getting *really* expensive.

You can also go with 6V golf cart batteries, which are cheaper per watt hour and common as dirt.

--Dave


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on September 09, 2018, 02:59:42 PM
You should look into standard lead-acid battery systems for storage. Sure they take up more space than the Li-Ion stuff, but they are still a lot less expensive. Looking at where your installation is, it doesn't look like you are hurting for space. You could just build a little shed to keep them in.

A friend of mine built an off-grid vacation home in the mid-2000s with a shed full of lead-acid batteries as his powerhouse; they aren't as small or long-lived as lithium, but being cheap means he can replace them as needed.  He built and tuned a monitoring system that manages power usage and temperatures across the battery bank and alerts him when a particular battery is hitting the end of its usefulness.  It's pretty cool.  Curious whether with advances in batteries over the last decade he'd do it differently if he were starting from scratch today, though.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: MisterNoisy on September 14, 2018, 08:19:37 PM
Lately, I've been fucking around with the more 'constructive' elements of locksport - I'm about to send out a bunch of challenge locks (made from brass rim cylinders I bought for $1.20 each from a local discount building supply outlet) with custom security pins - just chuck the pins in a Dremel clamped to a workbench and hit them with needle files and an Xacto razor saw and you can make some fun stuff.  Also, cashiers give you weird looks when you show up at the register with 30 door locks and nothing else.

Also about to start making myself some custom lockpicks with pinned/epoxied wood handles out of 301 stainless feeler gauge stock - it's sort of like making knives, just smaller.  :D


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on October 03, 2018, 02:42:47 AM
I was home Monday afternoon for one of those lovely "Hey, we'll be there between Noon and 5pm to fix your DSL" appointments (turned out they had me hooked up to a bad port in their system, they could have fixed that without ever coming to my house) when I get a call from my wife:

"Hey, you're home this afternoon right?  The electrician is coming by at 3pm to see about installing that chandelier!"

"That" chandelier was purchased with gambling winnings in Vegas this spring and has been sitting around waiting for installation since then, because I didn't really want to climb up and install an 80-pound chunk of glass and pointy metal bits on a second-story ceiling.  "Sure, I'll be here" sez I.

2:50 pm, another call.  "Hey, can you put up the scaffolding for the electrician?  I kinda told him it would be set up."  Twelve feet of scaffolding is a bit more than a 10-minute setup job, thx  :oh_i_see:

I'm barely into it when the electrician arrives, and we unpack the two boxes containing the light fixture.  First thing we find is that he's a bit confused by the mounting point.  It's not something he's familiar with, not actually surprising since the light is an import.

(https://i.imgur.com/N7JDQW2.jpg)

Ok, I guess next step is to see what we've actually got in the ceiling to mount it to.  A standard light box will only support 50 pounds, but our contractor did know we planned to swap the old hallway chandelier for a new one later, so hopefully he used the right mount...

(https://i.imgur.com/yCkN5JB.jpg)

Scaffold up, you can see why I'm not super happy about working 12' in the air lifting heavy things over my head

(https://i.imgur.com/Qrvj3b7.jpg)

We're in luck--partially.  The box mounts over a crosspiece, not next to it like a normal light box.  I don't know if that's a 2x4 or a 2x6; knowing my contractor and how he tended to overbuild I suspect it's a 2x6, but I can't confirm it.  Popping into the attic I find that there's no access to that small portion of the roof unless you're a 10-year old gymnast.  I could drill through the box next to the wood to peek up past it, but there's not a real need.  On a short span like the width of a hallway, a 2x4 is sufficient to support the kind of weight we're talking about here.

The only bummer is the hole already drilled partway into the wood to accommodate the old fixture.  There's still at least two inches of wood up there, so it could accommodate a lag hook, but thinking about it any hook that close to the ceiling will be a nightmare to actually wrangle the chandelier on to--there's a limit to how far it can tip sideways.

Electrician goes home for the night to think about mounting options, I head to Home Depot to look for 36 LED candelabra bulbs.  The only ones they have in sufficient quantity are either daylight color and/or 40/60 watt equivalent.  The 40 watt equivalent are 300 lumen, so we're talking 14,000+ lumens.  The glass is colored and opaque, though, so it might be tolerable.  I bite the bullet and buy ~$100 worth of bulbs.

On the drive down (it's 40 miles away, but the only hardware store open after 6pm) I have time to think about the mounting issue, and I Junior Engineer a solution:

(https://i.imgur.com/K3OHMw1.jpg)

What we're looking at here is two 5/16" lag eyebolts, inset at a slight angle to reduce the footprint.  Capacity, 250 pounds each.  Between them is a 1/4" Grade 8 bolt and locknut, shear strength just under 4500 pounds. The doubled-up washers and spacers are only stainless, but they're just to prevent lateral shifting.

This is where I mention that this chandelier suddenly has a lot more sharp pokey bits than I remember, and I'm wrasslin' 50+ pounds of metal over my head solo in an OSHA-unapproved manner while cursing non-stop. Luckily only one minor injury, the only bandages I can find are my son's Star Wars band-aids

(https://i.imgur.com/eID9yXG.jpg)

When in doubt, send in the Wookie.  Chewie would understand my pain.

Next day, electrician is back for the wiring hookup.  I could do it, but if several thousand dollars of chandelier blows up, I want someone else to take the wife's ire  :awesome_for_real: 

Oops, minor snag #2:  I mentioned it's an import?

(https://i.imgur.com/GmqU7Ep.jpg)

Darn Euros and your non-'Murican wiring codes.  We have to look it up:  Brown is hot, blue is neutral, ground is still ground.

It's finally up, breaker is flipped, nothing goes up in flames.

(https://i.imgur.com/QiZTONm.jpg)

It is a little brighter than the old one, but still a tolerable level.  With the colored glass it's rather like having the sunset through that west-facing window all the time.  Installing a dimmer woud be the next logical step -- they were supposed to put one on originally, but somehow this kind of shit gets overlooked by the contractors  :uhrr:  LED dimmers will only handle 300-ish watts of power, but at 4.5 watts/bulb we're still within the limit.  It's certainly better than having that thing sucking 1,440 watts of juice every time it's on.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on October 03, 2018, 10:56:05 AM
I'm about to embark on a new project now that fall is here. I live on the side of a mountain and there a lot of rocks. You can see in the firs picture a large collection of them and I am waiting until the ferns die until I can haul down some more.

I'm going to build a 2ft fake retaining wall just above the smaller rock line.


(https://i.imgur.com/EqffCHz.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/8W9VGMI.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/BcFSyRa.jpg)

Straight across you can see there is about a 2 foot or so height between the rock line and the "top of the hill'. This will be a multi year project as I get time to do it. It's pretty long going across. Should be fun?

(https://i.imgur.com/DrnsuPu.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on October 04, 2018, 01:22:58 PM
@Polysorbate80:

I am totally envious that you own your own scaffolding. I always rent, or more usually construct some horror show of ladders and scrap lumber.

Also, how much are you paying that electrician to stand around and watch you work?

 :awesome_for_real:

@Draegan:

That is a very relaxing looking back yard. I really like those ferns as ground cover -- wish our climate here was more conducive to that sort of vegetation.

I'm also envious of your rocks. Not that we don't have plenty of rocks here, but not pretty ones that you'd want to use for edging.

Okay. We do have nice ones in the creek bed, but I'd have to haul them up from the creek bed. What I am saying is that I wish I had nice rocks just laying here within easy reach.

It just occurred to me I may be lazy...


But speaking of me, just got the line for the underground cable trenched out, and I'm sitting here waiting for the replacement panel to be delivered today. I really hope to be drawing power by two weeks from today, hopefully sooner.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on October 04, 2018, 05:33:29 PM
The scaffolding wasn't too expensive from Home Depot, a few hundred I think.  It's a little narrower than some units since it's meant to fit through doors/halls, so it's a little unsteady without the outriggers.  You certainly wouldn't want to put a third level on without them.  They fucked up and sent me the large outriggers instead of the shorter indoor-friendly ones I ordered, so I use it with wheel locks and a prayer if there's nobody there to counterbalance the other side  :ye_gods:

After the discussion the first day, I had everything up and ready to go before he was able to get back the next afternoon to hook up wires.  He wasn't there that long, and these guys are reasonable for electricians.  And not getting the finger pointed at me if the electrical goes south is worth the money  :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on October 05, 2018, 07:32:25 AM

@Draegan:

That is a very relaxing looking back yard. I really like those ferns as ground cover -- wish our climate here was more conducive to that sort of vegetation.

I'm also envious of your rocks. Not that we don't have plenty of rocks here, but not pretty ones that you'd want to use for edging.

Okay. We do have nice ones in the creek bed, but I'd have to haul them up from the creek bed. What I am saying is that I wish I had nice rocks just laying here within easy reach.

It just occurred to me I may be lazy...


But speaking of me, just got the line for the underground cable trenched out, and I'm sitting here waiting for the replacement panel to be delivered today. I really hope to be drawing power by two weeks from today, hopefully sooner.

Yeah that pile of rocks was just 30-50 yards up the hill. Luckily i just have to drag them down!

I think I'm going to start tomorrow morning but I'll have to take a break and coach my daughters soccer game.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: MahrinSkel on October 05, 2018, 09:45:04 AM
I can't help but think there's a way to solve both problems at once....

--Dave


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on October 05, 2018, 02:17:26 PM
Team building exercise!!!

 :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Chimpy on October 05, 2018, 11:33:54 PM
I did the demolition of the shitty sagging ceiling drywall and shitty 40 year old pegboard walls (and fiberglass insulation) n my garage last weekend. My new drywall/insulation is being delivered tomorrow and I am going to hang the sheets on Sunday. Tomorrow morning is re-doing a bit of the electrical in prep and then putting in the insulation.

I have some before/after pics of the demolition on my phone. Will post them at some point when I have time.



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on October 07, 2018, 11:43:54 AM
I can't help but think there's a way to solve both problems at once....

--Dave

Good idea in theory but they're all 5 years old. They can't pick up the rocks of the size I need!

Update:

For reference it's about 2-3 feet in height. Closer to 2 than 3.

(https://i.imgur.com/k3ueR6x.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/C1koP8g.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/04yoKzV.jpg)

Alot less digging than I thought. The issue here is that I need a lot of back fill to fill in the slope and the wall. At first I was going to use dirt but my land is so rocky there are very little places I can just dig up dirt. So I'm using rocks.

Yesterday I did about 2 or so hours work and today I added an extra layer and backfilled a lot of rocks. I hope as I work to the left the slope is a lot more steeper and there will be less need for as much back fill. We'll see. Luckily there are so many rocks it's just navigating the large hill above me. I got a few cubic feet of rock in the time it took me to haul 1 cubic foot of dirt.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on October 20, 2018, 05:34:31 PM
Progress...


(https://i.imgur.com/4tmjTJI.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/Gvp72Zd.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/dL5Jh4q.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/EJYRcLk.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on October 20, 2018, 05:35:14 PM
Next time I'll get pictures from the top of the hill and my source of rocks. The pictures don't do it justice. at the top of the hill (there is no top it keeps going for about a mile) where the ferns thin out is about my roof line of my 2 story home.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on October 21, 2018, 12:44:45 AM
Lookiní sharp, I wish I had a ready supply of rocks. Iíve been buying and moving half a yard of cobblestone at a time in the older beat-up pickup.

On a project-related note, Iím upgrading tractors to a 50hp New Holland model.  Iíll miss the red Case tractor, though (NH tractors are blue), it matches the pirate flag better.  Maybe time for a new tractor flag too...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Druzil on October 22, 2018, 08:47:33 AM
@Polysorbate80:

I am totally envious that you own your own scaffolding. I always rent, or more usually construct some horror show of ladders and scrap lumber.

Bit late to the conversation but I am also envious of the scaffolding.  I normally just do everything with an extension ladder(s) and/or some boards.  For my last siding project I borrowed scaffolding from a friend and it probably took half the time off of my project and it let my kids help out.   As soon as I have room to store it, I'm going to pick some up.


Also Draegan, that wall is looking great.  Cool project!  There's a couple of those rocks that look like they took some serious effort to move.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on October 22, 2018, 09:42:01 AM
@Polysorbate80:

I am totally envious that you own your own scaffolding. I always rent, or more usually construct some horror show of ladders and scrap lumber.

Bit late to the conversation but I am also envious of the scaffolding.  I normally just do everything with an extension ladder(s) and/or some boards.  For my last siding project I borrowed scaffolding from a friend and it probably took half the time off of my project and it let my kids help out.   As soon as I have room to store it, I'm going to pick some up.


Also Draegan, that wall is looking great.  Cool project!  There's a couple of those rocks that look like they took some serious effort to move.

I'll stick to renting scaffolding from the home depot down the street.   :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on October 22, 2018, 09:42:05 AM
I work down hill, gravity helps a lot.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on October 30, 2018, 09:37:37 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/GPkvfgc.png)


That sharply sloped little line represents the first 7.13 kW my first day's test of the solar rig produced. I started it already a bit late in the afternoon, and I still need to chainsaw down another stand of pines that are casting a shadow (sun is kinda low this time of year around here -- they weren't a problem when I started the project). So 7.13 kW is pretty respectable for that short run, all in all. Of course, tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy, but I'm pretty interested in just what I'll be getting for the first all day run, clouds or no.

Made several huge mistakes during the final stretch, two of note I'll recount:

Wire size. My shopping list clearly calls for #6 ground and #8 everything else, but as most of the tutorials I was following used #8 ground (shorter runs I guess) I screwed up and bought that size. I was actually fairly far into the install when I realized my error and had to unpull some of my runs. Whups. Also can't return the #8, so I guess I've got a head start on wire for my next project...

I had a ridiculously hard time getting the system to activate and count the Optimizers. It just kept failing and dropping into Night Mode, which happens when the Inverter isn't reading any voltage at all from the panels. Problem was, I was seeing plenty of voltage with my handy multimeter, so it was kinda aggravating. Then I actually paid attention to the little pluses and minuses on said multimeter. Turns out the DC shutoff mounted on my rack swaps polarity. The wires going in the bottom negative on the left and positive on the right come out the top positive on the left and negative on the right. I still see absolutely no documentation describing that fact -- I guess it was something I was just supposed to know.

So swapped them back and, ta daaa, power from the heavens, hallelujah.

Not really an error, but another issue that delayed the whole production another couple of weeks was the company that engineered the project for me is based in California and used California codes. Now this makes good sense for them, as it would be impossible to be expert in all codes across the nation, and California has some of the toughest codes around so anything built to them should be over code everywhere else.

Good in theory, but in practice I was constantly running into needing something I would be able to drop into a California Home Depot and pick up, but they would honestly around here have no idea what I was talking about, and I'd have to order some little buck fifty widget and wait on it. For a lot of the structural issues I just checked local codes and downgraded accordingly, but for the electrical, especially the grounding, it seemed prudent to go as close to the original plan as possible.

But all in all a fun project. Family is home now so I'll go into battery plans a little later.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on October 31, 2018, 12:08:45 PM
What's the system theoretically capable of outputting?  I'm curious to see how close it gets to its rated output, but I suppose you really need a year to average out.

I just got the wood shipment for my next winter indoor project, a shelf/entertainment center for the basement to hold all the electronics under the wall-mount tv.  Since I added the receiver for the surround sound, it needs something better than the re-purposed coffee table to hold everything.

But first, a boring mini-project:  I need to re-clean and organize my woodshop, it's turned into a cluttery disaster over the summer and now I can't get anything done in there  :oh_i_see:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on October 31, 2018, 11:50:56 PM
This is good.

(https://i.imgur.com/7r9aamz.png)


On a slightly hazy day with some shading issues still I managed to pull down 22.41 kW. I'm pretty happy with that.

Quote
What's the system theoretically capable of outputting?  I'm curious to see how close it gets to its rated output, but I suppose you really need a year to average out.

Well, that is an interesting question. My panels' maximum output can be 5.2 kWh, but there may be a limiting factor, if I am reading the specs right. I think my Inverter is limited to a max of 4 kWh, which would be somewhat disappointing, although if it bothers me too much I could always string in another Inverter, but I think this will be fine for my purposes. From what I understand from someone living in the same solar band I can expect about 35 or more kWh in midsummer, but down in the teens during bad weather in the winter. I'm actually pretty amazed by the fact I'm still pulling down a useful amount of power pretty late in the day -- a fact which does not bode well for the future of some trees I did not think I would need to trim back...

And I'll see you one messy woodshop and raise you a storage shed with yellow jackets taken up residence, and not in an easy to get to spot...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on November 03, 2018, 01:10:23 PM
Time and lack of rain presented itself. I can only haul rock for 2-3 hours a day it seems. Getting old and fat.

Progress...

(https://i.imgur.com/fl0YNdy.jpg)
This is from the end of the wall, shows you the depth behind the wall.

(https://i.imgur.com/DIoUJ2j.jpg)
This is my source of rocks.

(https://i.imgur.com/rUNnCq6.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/ie8vVqo.jpg)
And if you turn around, this is how high I am.

And now for some fall imagery of the wall.
(https://i.imgur.com/LLCDuDs.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/DhdIDCu.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/rP3ObFt.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/Bt0YFeV.jpg)






Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 03, 2018, 09:03:33 PM
I figured from earlier pictures that your place would be a color explosion in the Autumn, and I was right. Also, nice landscaping over all.

Sigh... I've got to tackle that here before Spring. My yard is a riot of competing chaotic vegetation. I've even got blackberry briers growing out of the juniper. But I like building new stuff a lot more than weeding and pruning and stuff -- I may just have to hire somebody.

What is that red shrub?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Soln on November 03, 2018, 10:54:29 PM
Looking very good.  I expect you get a lot of deer in your area? 


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on November 04, 2018, 06:54:50 AM
There is/was a family of 8 or so that roam the area. They eat everything.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on November 04, 2018, 06:57:34 AM
I figured from earlier pictures that your place would be a color explosion in the Autumn, and I was right. Also, nice landscaping over all.

Sigh... I've got to tackle that here before Spring. My yard is a riot of competing chaotic vegetation. I've even got blackberry briers growing out of the juniper. But I like building new stuff a lot more than weeding and pruning and stuff -- I may just have to hire somebody.

What is that red shrub?

I'm not sure. The wife handles all the names of stuff. Looks like a thin maple leaf almost if that helps.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 04, 2018, 12:10:53 PM
I figured from earlier pictures that your place would be a color explosion in the Autumn, and I was right. Also, nice landscaping over all.

Sigh... I've got to tackle that here before Spring. My yard is a riot of competing chaotic vegetation. I've even got blackberry briers growing out of the juniper. But I like building new stuff a lot more than weeding and pruning and stuff -- I may just have to hire somebody.

What is that red shrub?

I'm not sure. The wife handles all the names of stuff. Looks like a thin maple leaf almost if that helps.

I just realized why it caught my eye: there are fields and fields of that stuff in Horizon: Zero Dawn.

 :awesome_for_real:

I have to fight the urge to slid towards it and crouch...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: RhyssaFireheart on November 05, 2018, 08:45:30 AM
Could be Japanese Maple, maybe specifically a Red Dragon (https://gardengoodsdirect.com/product/red-dragon-japanese-maple/) variety. (random internet link)

That wall is turning out very nice looking, Draegan.  Lots of work but you'll love it when it's done.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 05, 2018, 11:36:39 AM
My wife concurs on the Japanese Maple ID, and warns, dwarf or no, it is going to get a lot bigger.

We actually have a variant in the yard, but as it is tree size and with a different leaf I was thrown off.

Love that red autumn shade tho...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on November 06, 2018, 06:17:02 AM
I'm not sure bigger. We didn't plant it and it's been that size for 2 years when we moved in.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Count Nerfedalot on November 06, 2018, 09:37:50 AM
Japanese Maples come in all sizes, literally, from bonsai to 80+ feet. We have two small ones, one we've had 10 years and has grown maybe 3 inches making it still waist high, with these cool feathery leaves that stay red to reddish-purple. Very hard to predict how big yours will grow unless you know the exact version you got, but unless it's struggling to survive it sounds like it will likely stay pretty small.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 06, 2018, 11:14:06 AM
Huh. I'll have to check in with some local nurseries then. I'd love to add something like that near my new panels, as long as I can count on them not getting too big.

I want shrubbery, not shade...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 07, 2018, 04:44:20 PM
So yeah, I gotta share this with someone. Hope my inspector isn't lurking here...

So even though I activated my Inverter last week, that was in "test" mode (yeah, I tested it over four days -- needed varied weather conditions to get a good feel of the system). So after that I dutifully shut it back down and made an appointment for the Permit to Operate inspection.

Now I don't mind telling you that I've been sweating it. I'm fairly confident in my work, and honestly if there is something unsafe I'd like to know to correct it, but that said this house is pretty old, and I *know* that there are things not to code in some of the older construction. It could (and will, when I get around to it) take lots of time and money to update everything. If the inspector wanted to be a dick he could really add a lot of additional work to get okayed. Plus the California firm that engineered it has been coaching me pretty hard on all the inspection traps that are easy to fall into, so I've been over the entire thing a couple of times a day neatening and tightening it all, and taking care of anything I could see that might trigger the trained electrical professional coming out.

Well, I just passed the inspection. Over the phone.

The inspector did seem to be a good guy, and he admitted that part of the problem was that they had no idea what was what with these newfangled solar power installs, and since it was DIY the liability was all mine anyway. So have fun and don't burn up. Okay I paraphrased a bit, but that was the essence.

So yay?

The next hurdle is to get my net metering turned on, which I couldn't apply for until my inspection, which might take up to 45 days to activate from the power company. They have to physically change out the meter from what I understand. I don't *think* I'm even supposed to run the system until then, but I hope I'm incorrect since I'm wasting sunlight now if the system isn't on. I'll ask tomorrow when I turn in my paperwork to the EMC.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Viin on November 09, 2018, 02:48:15 PM
Nice work. We're looking at a PV array and geothermal (though probably not DIY) to try to get near 'net zero'. Nice to see it's getting to the point the 'average Joe' can understand this stuff if they do the research.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 09, 2018, 08:46:04 PM
Nice work. We're looking at a PV array and geothermal (though probably not DIY) to try to get near 'net zero'. Nice to see it's getting to the point the 'average Joe' can understand this stuff if they do the research.

I'm certainly going to want to hear about the geothermal. I had no idea there were residential sized generators available using earth heat.

I'm going to hold off any more battery discussion until I'm ready to take the plunge. The options available in even a few months should be even more involved than what we have now.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on November 09, 2018, 09:44:03 PM
If he means a geothermal heat pump for heating/cooling, itís definitely a home-sized option.  We had it put in when we built the house.  Geothermal + modern insulation = lower heating bills than a home 1/4 of the size built in 1927. 

The big expense will likely be trenching and laying the coils, especially if you need to go deep (mine are down 7í).

One other consideration for going off-grid:  the heat pump has a fairly high locked rotor amperage at 220 to kick in. But that may vary if you need a lower-tonnage system; Iím supporting a 5000í+ house.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on November 14, 2018, 02:02:59 PM
Recent useless project I've been chipping away at (literally) has been removing paint from the tiles on my fireplace.  Got all inspired after going on a Victorian home tour and seeing the pretty tiled fireplaces (my house is a tiny Edwardian, not a big fancy Vic, but still has some nice little details here and there).  It's a slow process -- I slather some Citri-Strip on before bed and then scrape it off in the morning, and that gets one layer of paint off if I'm lucky.

This morning I finally got my first glimpse of the original tile, under layers of gold paint, pink paint, and teal paint -- cobalt blue!  Never would have guessed something that vibrant was underneath all that gross paint.  So I'm excited now to get more of it uncovered. 

I guess at some point someone decided the glazed tile looked old fashioned and decided to cover it up with ugly paint, and then as styles change successive owners have covered it up with ugly paint in more contemporary colors.   :uhrr:  What is wrong with people?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on November 14, 2018, 02:16:10 PM
People are lazy and not bright?  :grin:

Although I've seen some really, really bad tile decisions made as well.  Hope it tuns out, post a picture so we can see.   I wouldn't want to own a Victorian myself but I do appreciate the colors and detail work that went into many of them.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on November 14, 2018, 02:36:02 PM
I've been tied up lately doing not-useless projects.

In the space of two weeks I learned my mother had a second bout of breast cancer (note, she never ever mentioned to any of the kids she'd had a FIRST bout of it).  And then that it has spread to her lungs and liver.  The prognosis is...barring some weird cancer miracle it's her last Christmas.  We spent a few days in East Moline fixing/cleaning the house, arranging health care, etc. for both her and dad, who isn't physically or mentally up to dealing with it all.

But, she's now back at home and as comfortable as she can be there right now, so on to the delayed fun projects:

This was a mess before I added the receiver for surround sound, but now it's just not working for me visually AT ALL:

(https://i.imgur.com/7QM9cw8.jpg)

I got a nice deal on a matched pair of 11' parota wood boards, cut from the same tree.

(https://i.imgur.com/SyB4xe5.jpg)

They're cut down to 7', with the 4' sections to be used for legs and the center shelf.  This is a rough idea of the project, with wood just laid in place.  That large vertical piece in the center has actually been cut into smaller pieces such as the ones on the end, and there will be a 4' shelf in the center of the whole thing to hold more electronics.  If that made any sense.  Also, I note that the sawdust from this wood seems to aggravate my lungs more than most; definitely need a mask while working with this.

(https://i.imgur.com/Hv33xEX.jpg)

I'd originally planned to use another separate piece for that shelf, but I revised my plan, and decided that rather than cut that one down to fit in the entertainment center I can make a new coffee table for my office with it.  First thing I gotta do with it, though, is epoxy up that crack to stabilize it.

(https://i.imgur.com/OCnfE94.jpg)



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on November 14, 2018, 03:44:29 PM
Sorry to hear about your mother, Poly.  Sounds like you're taking good care of her.

Hope it turns out, post a picture so we can see.

Here's a work in progress pic I took this morning when I caught my first glimpse of that beautiful blue, which so far is only showing up in the grooves because that's where the citri-strip pooled overnight (so now I know that for good results I need to slop it on really thick...):

(https://www.dropbox.com/s/kbtwg3d5opofpf7/2018-11-14%2009.03.38.jpg?raw=1)

For comparison here's the corresponding tile on the other side of the fireplace, with its "original" coat of gold paint (I'm guessing circa 1980s but who knows; I bought the house in 2008):

(https://www.dropbox.com/s/v578xcfzo8kxncs/2018-11-14%2009.03.21.jpg?raw=1)

Will update periodically as the scraping continues.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on November 14, 2018, 03:51:30 PM
Calling baby-shit brown "gold" is being a bit generous, isn't it?  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on November 14, 2018, 05:11:49 PM
It's shiny enough that I can tell they were shooting for gold, but I'm certainly not gonna defend their bad taste.   :cthulu:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 14, 2018, 05:20:46 PM
Sorry to hear about your Mom, Polysorbate80. Hope everything goes as well as it can.

@Samwise. The good thing is that it looks like the original work is nice and will look great once you get it exposed and cleaned up.

I had a recent project where I pulled up all the crappy carpet and underlayer off to expose the beautiful original hardwood floor under--- on no this is a completely rotted mess under here, where generations have just been piling floor on floor to cover it up.

After all this solar stuff, my most recent project is going to be running a propane line to the media room so my wife stops freezing. I can sit in mid-fifties (Fahrenheit) comfortably, but my wife needs a bit more caloric energy in the air, apparently. Plus I have to admit that the current electric fireplace just doesn't throw out all that much heat when it's cold and rainy.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on November 14, 2018, 05:54:44 PM
I had a recent project where I pulled up all the crappy carpet and underlayer off to expose the beautiful original hardwood floor under--- on no this is a completely rotted mess under here, where generations have just been piling floor on floor to cover it up.

I had the same deal when I first bought this house; previous occupants had carpet and lots of dogs, so the damage was severe.  Ended up replacing the parts that were rotted out and then bleaching, sanding, and re-staining everything so it'd all match.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Chimpy on November 14, 2018, 06:17:24 PM
Also, I note that the sawdust from this wood seems to aggravate my lungs more than most; definitely need a mask while working with this.

ALWAYS use a mask when dealing with exotic/rainforest woods, the chemicals in them that make them good for things like outdoor furniture are probably not the best thing for your lungs. You wouldn't snort the dried contents of a can of Thompson's Water Seal, would you?  :grin:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on November 14, 2018, 06:27:56 PM
You wouldn't snort the dried contents of a can of Thompson's Water Seal, would you?  :grin:

You're not my supervisor!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Soln on November 17, 2018, 02:06:43 PM
What do people recommend for portable heaters when thereís no power?  I donít think thereís a viable portable battery big enough to handle a regular space heater.  Prefer not to do gas because of CO threat.

Maybe a better question is what do you do to prepare for Winter power outages?  Thanks.

Edit:  apologies that I wasnít caught up on the thread.  All the best to your Mom and family Poly.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: MahrinSkel on November 17, 2018, 02:17:26 PM
What do people recommend for portable heaters when there’s no power?  I don’t think there’s a viable portable battery big enough to handle a regular space heater.  Prefer not to do gas because of CO threat.

Maybe a better question is what do you do to prepare for Winter power outages?  Thanks.
Good catalytic propane heaters don't have a significant CO threat, but a small generator that can keep your furnace running (assuming you're not on a heat pump) is probably the safest bet, assuming you're up to the wiring involved in setting up your furnace/thermostat to be isolated from your main power.

--Dave

Edit: Camco (natural gas) and Mr. Heater (propane) are probably your best bets


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 17, 2018, 06:52:40 PM
If you're worried about CO I would definitely advise getting a battery powered detector anyways.

Then just fire up a portable kerosene heater a beat the chill.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on November 17, 2018, 07:41:25 PM
We hill folk prepare with fire  :awesome_for_real:

10kw gas/propane generator, two fireplaces on the main floor and a giant-ass wood stove in the basement.  I don't have enough sunlight for solar to be viable half the year, and it never seems to be a good time to get the windmill project rolling (note:  I will not be building that myself  :oh_i_see: )

But I did (almost) finish the new coffee table for my office.  The finish needs a few more coats, but while this layer is still wet you can see what the final project will look like

(https://i.imgur.com/TUbDb1p.jpg)


No progress made on the other project, other than having this one out of the way...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 17, 2018, 09:48:55 PM
We hill folk prepare with fire  :awesome_for_real:

10kw gas/propane generator, two fireplaces on the main floor and a giant-ass wood stove in the basement.  I don't have enough sunlight for solar to be viable half the year, and it never seems to be a good time to get the windmill project rolling (note:  I will not be building that myself  :oh_i_see: )

But I did (almost) finish the new coffee table for my office.  The finish needs a few more coats, but while this layer is still wet you can see what the final project will look like

(https://i.imgur.com/TUbDb1p.jpg)



No progress made on the other project, other than having this one out of the way...


That is a fine looking coffee table!

I know it's wet, but that stain is really bringing out the best in the wood.


As for solar, I'll warn you it's the new vegan, in that I've discovered that it doesn't take much to set me off on the virtues of it. So that said, looks like I'm still getting, even with the short days this part of the season, a nice 25 Kw per sunny day, but, no surprise, mid teens on partly cloudy days, all the way down to less than 4 Kw in the rain and once a miserable 500 watts one day it rained hard from dawn to dusk. I've really got to get a battery bank, but have committed to make no commitments on that until next year.

What's your average snowfall up there in the hinterlands? The panel angle up there might be steep enough to shed accumulation.. Maybe...


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on November 17, 2018, 10:40:26 PM
I had to look it up; average is 4 feet.  Thatís highly variable, though.  Iíve had winters I bothered to plow maybe once, and winters with over three feet piled on the roof all at once.  My roofs are all engineered for 6í of wet snow, so I hopefully never have to climb up and knock it off but it can make a mess when that much slides off the shopís tin roof all at once.  Last time it snapped 4Ē posts like twigs, you wouldnít want to get caught under it.

There are a couple places in town with substantive solar setups.  I should ask the owners what kind of output they average.  I have an entire south-facing pasture after all...but Iím pretty sure wind makes more sense for my location.  Itís done commercially throughout the local area, while solar is uncommon.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 18, 2018, 12:30:22 PM
That's.. a lot of snow. But then, I come from near here:

 :awesome_for_real:


(https://i.imgur.com/iRCzoV3.jpg)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on November 24, 2018, 01:14:29 PM
Bit more progress on the tile.  Looks like the blue glaze was an accent ó I guess huge swathes of garish color had fallen out of fashion by 1925.
  (https://i.imgur.com/nkJRsG8_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium)


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Chimpy on November 24, 2018, 02:09:35 PM
I finished hanging the drywall in my garage this morning. Now I get to mad scramble this afternoon/evening to get the taping and muffing done while we have a brief warm spell today and tomorrow.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on November 25, 2018, 02:49:43 PM
I finished hanging the drywall in my garage this morning. Now I get to mad scramble this afternoon/evening to get the taping and muffing done while we have a brief warm spell today and tomorrow.

My hat's off to you if you can do a good job with sheetrock. I've worked with drywall for years and I still absolutely suck at getting a neat job done on the first, second or third try. It used to bother me until last time when I just broke down and hired some "professionals" to do it, and discovered I was paying them to do just as shitty a job as I could have done (although to be fair in like a fifth of the time).


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Chimpy on November 25, 2018, 03:32:32 PM
I finished hanging the drywall in my garage this morning. Now I get to mad scramble this afternoon/evening to get the taping and muffing done while we have a brief warm spell today and tomorrow.

My hat's off to you if you can do a good job with sheetrock. I've worked with drywall for years and I still absolutely suck at getting a neat job done on the first, second or third try. It used to bother me until last time when I just broke down and hired some "professionals" to do it, and discovered I was paying them to do just as shitty a job as I could have done (although to be fair in like a fifth of the time).

My garage had some weirdness in terms of where the centers were on the framing so I had some gaps up to 1/2" to fill with mud. The initial mud job was not too pretty but I am confident that I can get it to be good enough for a garage with just another coat of mud next weekend. It is just a garage after all, and I am going to use 1-2-3 to prime it which helps cover up a lot of sins  :grin:.



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on November 26, 2018, 06:01:15 PM
Samwise - the tile looks nicer cleaned up, even if it doesn't have more color

On hanging drywall:  most of the "professionals" I've seen at it were drunk/stoned/both?  Maybe that's the key...?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on November 26, 2018, 06:14:38 PM
Samwise - the tile looks nicer cleaned up, even if it doesn't have more color

It's been pretty slow going since I managed to expose that first corner -- there's just so goddamn much of the stuff caked on and it takes a lot of elbow grease to get even one layer of it off.  I'm gonna get a motorized scrubber I can attach to a drill and see if that speeds things up.

Also starting to solicit quotes from tile restoration professionals who might just take the rest of the job off my hands.  It was really satisfying to get that first tile uncovered but iterating over the rest of them has less appeal for some reason.   :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Draegan on December 04, 2018, 08:17:56 AM
Drywall is an artform and I'm a shitty artist.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: schild on December 07, 2018, 12:25:12 AM
doing drywall well requires a patience in absolute monotony and horseshit that i am simply unwilling to accept

drywall is horseshit

100% of the time something i'll hire someone to do


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: rattran on December 12, 2018, 08:33:17 AM
Drywall, insulation, and cement work more than a post footing are things worth hiring a professional for.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on December 12, 2018, 09:04:38 AM
Never found drywall to be difficult. Hanging, taping, patching, repairing... just mud and knife technique, and small increments. Guess those 4 years working in construction paid off with some experience. That said... I'd only do it for myself now. No way I'd get caught up in doing a side job for family of friends.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Count Nerfedalot on December 13, 2018, 11:08:08 PM
I've never hung a full sheet of drywall, but I've done lots of patch up jobs covering holes and such, with no real problems. That said, houses, and wood, are never completely square/level/even, and I can well imagine what a b**ch trying to get full sheets to line up right would be. That stuff is not light, either!

One thing that helped, for me, with patching holes and working with small sheets anyway, is using the right spackle and having a little patience makes a world of difference. The old fashioned stuff is the good stuff. You can mold and shape it almost like clay. Sand it smooth to the surround, shape it to fill fancy molding, etc. If you have big gaps it may take a couple passes, with a couple/few hours between, but you can make it completely invisible. This newfangled quick dry foam stuff is crap, and you (I) can't work with it, at all.

True story: one time I was helping with a Habitat For Humanity build, just doing grunt work and such, when I had the opportunity to watch a true master sheetrocker (or whatever they call themselves) at work. That guy was amazing. He could board up a room almost as fast as we could haul the sheets in off the truck.  Measuring the space and cutting them as needed and single-handedly shifting full sheets around into place, including the ceiling !!!!, then holding them there with one hand while tacking them in place with his nail gun with the other. Not a single busted corner, not a single mis-cut, not a single "close enough" annoying gap, not a single nail driven too far and breaking the paper. You could barely find the seams to mud them when he was done.  Sometimes I like to make a joke about work, but this time it was true: "Work fascinates me. I could watch it all day!"  He was a true craftsman, and I am still, 20+ years later, in absolute awe at his skill.  I'd hire him to do any work I needed in a heartbeat, whatever the price. Well, except that was 25 years ago and 400 miles away. I truly hope he found happiness and prosperity in his craft, because people these days just don't seem to give a shit about their work anymore and that really pisses me off. And yes, I'm willing to pay well for good work, it's just ridiculously difficult to find anyone willing to do a good job at any price. It usually takes several tries with each trade, with lots of wasted money and time, and then once you find a keeper he retires or moves before your next project. :(


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on December 14, 2018, 12:33:32 PM
Ain't it the truth. If you find a good general handyman, electrician, roofer, etc, *never* lose their number.

Unfortunately my favorite craftsmen locally are all getting (or have gotten) old now, and it may just be that I'm not out enough in the construction business but I'm having trouble finding anyone quality to take their place.

On the subject of watch while they work, a master mason is also a joy to observe. Watching some dude/dudette casually tossing bricks into the air and trimming them with hits from the trowel is amazing.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on March 22, 2019, 12:07:14 PM
After a long break I've gotten back to the fireplace restoration project and have made enough progress for a good after/before photo (should have started on the right side, lol):

(https://i.imgur.com/EcLdjET.jpg)

The motorized scrubber gizmo has been helping a lot.  It's taking a little bit of the (unglazed) tile off along with the paint and grime, but I don't reckon shaving a half millimeter off the surface is really that big a deal.  Once I'm all done I'll apply some kind of sealant to it.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on March 22, 2019, 04:14:04 PM
It begins...
(https://i.imgur.com/BYiCAvV.png)

So the story begins last fall when the wife and I were chatting about getting a scaly creature pet. We kicked around the idea of a chameleon, but those were a bit complicated to care for with environment conditions and diet, etc. So we were exploring the idea of a ball python. To that end, Black Friday rolled around and I found the terrarium above at PetSmart on sale. Regularly, that tank (36x18x18) is ~$230 but I got it for $120. Started researching ball python stuff as a good nerd does. Got in touch with the local reptile people and started looking into local reptile shows. Set up the tank but was having a hard time keeping the temps up in the tank to where they needed to be over the winter.

Flash forward to February and the wife and I took a trip to Shedd while we were in Chicago for my buddy's kid's birthday party. We got caught by the dart frog and tree frog displays and got to talking about how we both always really liked frogs. I started looking into it and found they are a fairly low maintenance animal to keep once the initial parameters were set up. So I am taking this huge terrarium and building a vivarium to house 4-6 dart frogs. Tore down the snake stuff and am beginning the build which I hope to have fully planted and functioning with waterfall and all the goodies by May. Luckily, the reptile shows we have here also include a vendor or two that do amphibians and 1 guy would breeds dart frogs so I'll have to pick his brain about caveats to look out for.

So starts my useless project addition.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: rattran on March 22, 2019, 04:51:31 PM
I have an employee who lives in Milwaukee, she has a pacman frog in addition to chameleons, lizards, hognosed snake, etc. I think the frog is the lowest maintainance of the lot.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on March 23, 2019, 09:50:16 AM
Gonna do some kind of moss wall in the back there?  I've been thinking about converting one of my tall fish tanks into a terrarium with a moss wall to grow carnivorous plants on.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on March 23, 2019, 12:36:49 PM
Frogs huh? Gotta be easier than fish, right?

You've actually got me considering it, since I've yet to rehab the fish tank into usability again.

Different subject, hey is it time for a solar report?

Pretty happy with the first three months of operations through winter. In money terms, we averaged about one hundred dollars off the bill Dec, Jan, and Feb, with an average daily energy production of ~14 kilowatts. Towards the end of Feb and into March I've been peaking at over thirty. Assuming the summer months give me a higher average (and they really should) the system will pay for itself in seven or eight years, which seems reasonable.

Had one "Optimizer" (some sort of proprietary solid state fanless capacitor stack from SolarEdge) become unreliable, and be promptly replaced. Since I've got a ground mount it was a matter of minutes to replace the failed unit. This is pertinent because lots of people are reporting that the SolarEdge Optimizer has a lot higher failure rate during burn in than advertised, but since they replaced mine with no question I'm good -- unless more start dropping out.

I may have outsmarted myself with the battery backup. By keeping the system battery-agnostic from the start I'm going to have to pay more when I go ahead and add a battery in. And since it looks like my best choice is the LG Chem Resu10H (which the SolarEdge system is designed from the ground up to be compatible with) anyway, I should have just set it up that way from the start.

But otherwise 10/10 would do it again.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on March 23, 2019, 01:12:16 PM
Gonna do some kind of moss wall in the back there?  I've been thinking about converting one of my tall fish tanks into a terrarium with a moss wall to grow carnivorous plants on.

Taking pages of info off youtube, just search vivarium builds. Basically I'm building out the back with cork bark and rounds and tons of spray foam. Once everything is dried, carve the foam however you want and then apply silicon, rub it all over the foam then pour substrate on, I'm using coconut fiber/husk like most of the youtube world does... mainly because it is cheap. Let that dry and touch up any shit spots and you are done. I'm still tinkering with ideas about a waterfall set up which involves the false bottom so I have to plot all those plans out then build (which means put it together then realize I forgot something, then put it back in and realize it somehow doesn't fit...etc).

Today I am swapping out the screens on the top of the terrarium with acrylic pieces to keep humidity high. I should have some pics later if I don't pass out from drinking.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on March 23, 2019, 01:46:16 PM
Be sure someone gets pictures to share if you accidentally glue yourself to anything while drinking!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on March 24, 2019, 10:29:49 AM
I'll keep things as short as possible... finished the lid, though debating whether or not to seal the topside. I'd need a really thin application that I am not sure would be worth the hassle. As it is now, it is fully sealed from the bottom side.

First thing was to rip the rubber gasket off and pry the screen out. Kind of impressed the screen is pretty heavy duty.
(https://i.imgur.com/hnEuNjJ.jpg?1)

Sadly, they applied black silicon to the corners of the screen gasket so there was some fussing around with that. Scoring with a razor and prying out with the screwdriver worked, but it wasn't easy.
(https://i.imgur.com/gjZBEKx.jpg?1)

Cut and fit the 1/8" acrylic sheet to fit panels.
(https://i.imgur.com/8flgsiX.jpg?1)

Set a heavy bead of silicon on the edges and then peeled the plastic off the acrylic and set them into place. Instead of putting weight on the acrylic panels, I let the silicon set for a few minutes and flipped it over to set on some old cd jewel cases strategically placed and let the weight of the lid rest on the silicon to fully cure.
(https://i.imgur.com/TjvtqLe.jpg?2)

After debating how to set up the waterfall part, I decided to divide the tank into a shallow pool part and a false bottom part, separated with a cut piece of acrylic to hold the water to one side. Basically going with a paludarium set up with a twist.
(https://i.imgur.com/YOYDrYr.jpg?1)

Should give me about 2.5 gallons to run the waterfall with its own water source. Letting everything cure for a day or two before testing for any leaks. The exterior seals have already been tested so the divider is the only thing I need to check by filling just the waterfall side.
(https://i.imgur.com/mc49Eys.jpg)


I also picked up some interesting cork bark rounds for the background, but that has to wait till I get the bottom completed before getting nuts with the spray foam.

edit: watering testing now for leaks. Leaving overnight to see if anything slow leaks because those are the ones that kill you in the end.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on March 31, 2019, 08:05:12 PM
Long week of tweaking the foam spray waterfall. Should have pics this week of the progress.

Moving right along... very slowly.

Been taking my time to let the foam set and cure after fucking it up the first day. Got the form where I wanted it:
(https://i.imgur.com/HUfuR05.png?1)

The build up took all week with a new layer on top each day. Once I got a big blob set I started carving away:
(https://i.imgur.com/EGKILhZ.jpg)

Got the top where the water will flow into a small reservoir and then overflow that into a channel, falling down into another channel, then into the pool. The big bubble of foam is a touch up to a large hole that formed in the foam - stuff really turns out similar to bread at the end, with a couple hollow points that need to be filled.
(https://i.imgur.com/EF9SFx1.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/5cg2TBz.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/60WGnN0.jpg)

Put in the false bottom on the planted side and foamed up the sides to secure it.
(https://i.imgur.com/5s7LvTo.jpg)

Finally added the siphon drain access towards the front. This will be capped and covered once the substrate goes in.
(https://i.imgur.com/gGwUtPX.jpg)

Next up is flipping it on its back again and foaming in the cork bark background and modifying the bottom of the waterfall with 'shelves' to mount plants to.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on April 02, 2019, 02:37:24 PM
Ya know, I was thinking about trying a terrarium full of frogs since it'd be "easier than fish."

I think that no longer.

Great looking project though. Really shaping up.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on April 02, 2019, 02:43:10 PM
Ya know, I was thinking about trying a terrarium full of frogs since it'd be "easier than fish."

I think that no longer.

Great looking project though. Really shaping up.

I'm going a little bit overboard with this though, so YMMV.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on April 02, 2019, 03:04:57 PM
I really dig the foam waterfall, especially since I've been noodling on how to create a waterfall effect with the moss wall thing I'm planning.  Not applicable to my use case but I really like the amount of freedom you get to sculpt a channel for the water.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on April 05, 2019, 01:57:31 PM
Finished scraping paint off the other decorative tile on my fireplace this morning:

(https://i.imgur.com/2kgvPmm.jpg)

Lion rampant to the sinister?


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on April 05, 2019, 03:31:42 PM
Werewolf?  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Samwise on April 05, 2019, 05:12:23 PM
There!  Wolf!


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on April 07, 2019, 01:17:07 PM
Onwards toward the maw.

This week was about getting the background and cork set in. First, I modeled it for a stupid amount of days.
(https://i.imgur.com/tNsGu8w.jpg?1)

Then the fill in with foam. Found some pond spray foam which was the only thing they had in black and only one of those so had to stick with just the back with it.
(https://i.imgur.com/CxTFsXG.jpg)

Found some tiny stone substrate I had from my old 10gal. Laid down a nice semithick coat of silicon and pressed the bits into it. Have to wait to vacuum out the excess for it to cure though.
(https://i.imgur.com/edrZZdN.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/VhZi7Al.jpg)

Hopefully coat the rest of the waterfall pathing and basin with those stones this week. Then doing the rest of the foam with coco husk or plantation soil. After that I'll test out the water and adjust as necessary.
Not looking too bad.
(https://i.imgur.com/TmUNDZK.jpg)



Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Mandella on April 07, 2019, 04:24:46 PM
Wish I had something better to say then "cool project," but, Cool Project!

I'm enjoying watching it develop though.

Looks like all my Spring projects are going to be of the yard clearing variety -- hardly interesting enough for photos.

I may get to that long planned back deck this summer though.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on April 15, 2019, 08:05:06 AM
Will update hopefully later, but things are crawling along.

Finished siliconing the waterfall path and top reservoir. Applied a thick coat which took 72 hours to cure and was still smelling a day after so been delayed by that. Water tested Thursday and noticed a small leak (not surprising) in the back. Pathway was fine but the way the water was splashing down the first waterfall, it was leaking into a small spot of yet treated foam.

Saturday I expanded the area of silicon and pebbles up the side to compensate. Finally ended up at Petco and picked up some cocohusk and have started packing that onto the background in all the nooks. Did all that on Sunday so I'll get home today and vacuum out the excess and take some pics.

Getting close... even got 16qts of ABG mix for the planted part of the tank. Should be able to set it up and get everything running by the end of the month once I figure out the best way to reduce the water flow from the pump I bought.

Still need to find a stand/table to set it up on. That might be an ordeal given everything I'd like to use is either too narrow or too short.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Druzil on April 15, 2019, 09:21:39 AM
In the planning stages for setting up a workshop in the new house.  I'm going to be using a portion of the 3rd carport in the garage (see how much I can get away with  :grin:).  There's not much there at the moment so I'm going to need to build some sort of workbench to start with longer term plans for some dust collection and some sort of movable outfeed table for my table saw.  Mostly right now I'm deciding how big/fancy to go with it and whether or not I want it to build in a spot for the miter saw.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: Polysorbate80 on April 15, 2019, 10:46:33 AM
I put my miter saw on its own small table.  Heavy enough to stay put when working but still movable when I need space.

I like having my work tables taller than standard height anyway, so I always wind up building my own.  Otherwise my back starts to hurt from the constant slight hunching over I wind up doing.

I'd have taller counter-tops in the house too if it wouldn't wind up being a problem for everyone else  :oh_i_see:


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on April 15, 2019, 01:43:37 PM
In the planning stages for setting up a workshop in the new house.  I'm going to be using a portion of the 3rd carport in the garage (see how much I can get away with  :grin:).  There's not much there at the moment so I'm going to need to build some sort of workbench to start with longer term plans for some dust collection and some sort of movable outfeed table for my table saw.  Mostly right now I'm deciding how big/fancy to go with it and whether or not I want it to build in a spot for the miter saw.

You want the miter saw spot, but really make sure you have it in a wide open spot... my buddy put his in his basement workshop and can't get any length of material longer than 5 feet in it because of the space.

I'd love all the power tools but renting and not having a dedicated space for it makes it a no go for me.


Title: Re: Useless Projects
Post by: 01101010 on April 15, 2019, 06:51:27 PM
Phase 3 picture update:

These are crap pics because the tank is laying on the back and it's hard taking pics from above. But hey... pics are pics:

Covering the waterfall after hopefully sealing the leak... I mean even if the leak didn't get sealed, it will shortly with the way I am going through silicon...
(https://i.imgur.com/4PfvXMk.jpg)

Top - had some decorative river stones the wife bought awhile back for a plant... stuck them on the rim and will continue that on the lower level.
(https://i.imgur.com/mUBQSI7.jpg?1)

Lots of coco husk and silicon and light patting....
(https://i.imgur.com/uD3BveD.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/F20jiis.jpg)


Now just have to wait to dry and vacuum out the excess. Should be done with this by Saturday.