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12-volt lighting

Last month in Studio wired I showed you my breakthrough getting my studio 12-volt emergency lighting operating. I accomplished a couple of refinements recently. Besides the obvious advantages of having lights regardless of power grid failures, my 12-volt LEDs provide lighting options in addition to, instead of, or in combination with the various 110-volt lights I have installed. Prior to connecting up my antique meters, I was running on a gut-feeling that I had to be real conservative in my use of the 12-volt to avoid excessive depletion of the batteries, thus shortening their lives. The meters tell me I was wrong by A LOT. While modern digital meters consume almost no energy, my antique analog meters have a […]

my first Instructable

I have seen a few that captured my interest, but what really caught my eye was their contest for first-time Instructable authors. They didn’t mind at all that I had published most of it here in one way or another and at my own instructable website The Fixer .biz. So I re-crafted my coffee making posts into one targeted to their audience. I do think that exercise improved the product. https://www.instructables.com/id/Roast-Your-Own-Super-fresh-Gourmet-COFFEE/

minus 18

It is probably my fault. Yesterday some great friends helped me blow insulation into our attic. I still have not personally visited the attic, but it doesn’t take a certified HVAC engineer to ascertain the need. I observe the snow melting off our roof, the prodigious icicles hanging from the eves and the 90%-efficient gas central heater’s inability to heat this house without the woodstove’s help and know our ceiling insulation is way below adequate. While a licensed HVAC contractor could double the price, they could not significantly improve the result. Tiny-town supplier Darby Distribution includes free rental of the chopper-blower with purchase of insulation – two pallets worth in this case. Their price beats Home Depot while delivering […]

“How To” collection

Here is another batch of links I have been saving up for … uh, I dunno why I save such things, but here they are. Make your own glues This really clever article, thinking and practical recipes is a great find. I know I want to save them all, and gather up these ingredients. Good Things To Keep On Hand For Adhesive Making Flour Alum Corn Syrup Salt Glycerin Gum Arabic Clove Oil Gelatin Containers With The Ability To Remain Airtight Squeeze Bottles For Dispensing Easily and Precisely The Best Glue Alternatives and Substitutes ———————————————– Can You Make Soap Without Using Lye? (Here’s a Secret, Easy Way!) Natural Body & Home When I first became interested in making soap for […]

tool tango

We are a couple months shy of five years since we started our move from our big subdivision home in Kuna, Idaho with my self-insulated, 5-car-garage shop to the Conner, Montana cabin. I spent the majority of that time estranged from my major tools. I had visitation rights, but the tools were not where I lived. I will never forget the gratitude I owe the great friend who housed them in a fully functional shop for me eight miles away. But, they were not where I lived. Today I am doing the happy dance around my tools. First things first, I fired up the mongo wood burner. Spotty insulation keeps my shop from getting real warm on cold days, but […]

I did math today

I have been off the air for A LONG TIME. As most of you know, I try to remain connected to the amateur radio bands – those folks who will still be able to share information over significant distances when the phones stop working. Since we began the move from our riverside cabin to The Homestead, I have been off the air. My FCC-licensed radio stations have been silent, and worse, unlistening. I have worked at remaining sanguine about it. As I continue to progress on EVERYTHING THAT HAS TO BE DONE, the radios I packed away several months ago will reappear … when they are supposed to … in the right order, in the grand scheme of things. […]

fresh roasted coffee

This morning is the one where I savor the coffee I roasted yesterday. High-end roasters consider their coffee ready 14 hours after it was roasted and too old after 48 hours. I compromise by roasting about once a week. I don’t notice any degradation in flavor as the week progresses, but the day after roasting is deliciously exciting. Today is that day. My how to instructions: Text and photos of my roasting with links to suppliers.

barn boiler

My barn shop has a huge boiler-heater-woodstove that strikes me as well suited for powering a freight train across the continent a century ago. I’m thinking it might be just a bit much for my barn, though with the hopscotch ceiling insulation, my little fires in the middle of this only get the workspace up to 50 degrees or so. The limiting factor in this installation is overheating the nearby sawdust-board wall. It has scars from prior excursions into the way-too-hot zone, and I did feel it too hot to handle when I had a cranking-good fire going one time. Thus I must settle for less heat and scheme on better sealing of the ceiling. Besides, when I’m working, 50 […]