Life goes on - Summer 2017

That little red 3 wheeled car was built in England Jermyn on top gear drove one. It was one of the funniest shows drove it right through the office at the bbc. I still don’t know how he fit in it…


Milking the ole work truck to fix a leaky trailer tire :grinning:



I hope l catch some tar on my new system, it sure is handy!


Ha! Ha! Summer gone now here.
Drought break rains started three days ago. First gentle and easy. Now rather energetic and active. Five waterspouts videoed and put up off the coasts. Two area small&weak tornadoes now. The five farmers lost barns not too happy. Snow accumulating now in the mountains 5500 feet and above. River flows now starting back up. Fall migrating fish will love this.
You’all US mid-west should be happy - this cold front energy seems to be getting steered up into Canada.

I’m happy. I was able to fire up my whole-house dehumidifier for the first time on wood two days ago.
The one dog and cat loving the bones warming red radiant glow heat just like me.
The other dog and cat “escaped” outside to stay cool.
Too each, thier own.
tree-farmer Steve unruh


Whooo doggies!!! 92 degrees out today. My shop is in a steel Quonset building and it’s hot enough in there to roast a turkey Wish I had a bottling machine so I could bottle up a little of this weather and save it for January. This is almost enough to make me believe in climate warming – almost. TomC


Hi Tom if you find a way to bottle up some of this heat I 'll buy some of it from you in January myself - Larry o. West Branch Mi.


Simple idea for chunker


It is a very bad day when forgetting to take the morning memory pills causes you to loose your nuts.
I was trying to cut, rough split a pickup load of fire wood between Pacific rain storms sessions.
Plastic cover peeled back one edge of the huge machine stacked butts, tops and shattered sections pile. Gased and bar-oil topped up the saw. Finger nail test said the chain was still plenty sharp. Third cut and the side cover fell off followed by the bar. That has never happen before.
I have this MS440 saw set up 29" medium-long bar. Have to back off slack the chain on hot shut downs to not cold chain side overload the crankshaft bearing. “Forgot” to tighten the nuts back up from the last-use slackening. Darn! Tweeked a bunch of the chain drive teeth. By the time I had all of those flat filed deburred the inland east wind had come up. We zoomed up to above 80F, full sun quickly from down-mountians compression air heating.
I do not do full sun working above 80F well anymore.
Worked anyways to finish out that load-up.
Ha! Rounds will roll. Dodged a few rolling down from a 36" diameter log section stacked up at shoulder height. Then one edge caught coming down redirecting sideways stopped by my shin. Ouch!! Too hot to have had the cutting chaps on.
Keep working Stevie-boy. Get that pickup done, loaded, and parked in the wood shed BEFORE tomorrows for sure rains.
86F by then. Had the screened cutting faceshield up a bit for ventilation and to cut some of the by then late afternoon sun glare.
Wham! Limb stub piece chain flung back nailing me in the mouth. That hurts. And bleeds.

I believe I may stop saying wood-swaeting and call it wood-bleeding instead.

tree-farmer Steve unruh


That like buttom means no like for me on this one. Wow Steve you got beat up on that wood sweat. (Wood bleeding) work out.
Glad you got it all done before the rain, but man, be careful we need you for many more years of wood gasification wisdom and knowledge on this site. And I know your wonderful wife and family needs you more.


Glad you’re ok SteveU, be careful…



Got my squash harvest yesterday. 4 pallets covered sitting in the barn for the skins to harden. In a week or so I will move them to the basement

There will probably be another pallet if we get another week or so without a frost. There where alot of too small to harvest squash.


Well fall approaching and we are having your first Fire Gathering at the house in the back yard tonight. Lots of friends coming over that we haven’t seen in awhile. A cool evening around a fire.


My son Luke and I went to a training at Equip International in North Caroline this week. Got home last night. Learned how to build eco shell concrete dome structures. Pretty cool stuff.

Didn’t get many pics of Luke since he was holding the camera most of the time. He got sleepy in the tree waiting for the rope to come up.

Now I have to add another project or two to my list. Who was saying something last week about that?


Is the whole structure made with shotcrete? What is the cable above for? Nice!


OK, Billy,
That thing is super-cool! I have always wanted to build something made out of Ferro-Cement (Check it out, but beware of deep internet rabbit-hole ADHD Alert!!..). This structure looks like it has a minimum of steel re-inforcing, and a very thin shell. Please expound on the design / build! How do you get in? :grin:

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Yes Don, the whole thing is made from sprayed shot crete, except the foundation which is a concrete slab. Mike, it actually has no steel reinforcement at all. It has some 1/4" chain for anchor points and some embedded T-nuts to attach anchors to, but that’s all the metal in it.

Basic procedure: pour concrete slab for floor. Has a basalt rebar ring beam footer and criss-cross of basalt rope for reinforcement mesh. also T-nuts embedded under each one of those 2x4 clamps on the inside and 5 links of chain embedded every 12" around the outside of the air form.
The air form is just a kind of material resembling billboard tarp heat welded together with a hem at the bottom with a rope in it which wraps under the metal pipe ring that is clamped to the floor with the 2x4 clamps. That is supposed to seal the bag to the foundation, but if the concrete isn’t poured well it leaks. So we made a play dough substance with soap and flour and some other stuff (no salt) and packed it in as caulk between the air form and the concrete.
Worked amazingly well.
You air the bag up with a bouncy bag blower and put a manometer in line to regulate the air pressure to about 8 inches of water column which keeps the bag tight.

Frame a form up against the bag for any openings you want, i.e. doors, windows, etc. tape or screw any electrical boxes or solar lights to the bag that you want. We put a bike rim with aired up tire on top an weighed it down for a vent opening at the top. Also, it will serve as access point when I build one of these for a water tank. When you want to remove, you let the air out of the tire and it comes out of the cement.

Then you spray or trowel a layer of concrete on about 3/4" thick. let that set until hard.

The cable over the top is the rigging for the basalt rope that is run back in forth vertically and horizontally to make the reinforcement mesh which hooks on the chain links sticking out of the foundation. Also used a Dewalt hog ring pliers to attach the rope to itself in a few places. 3 or for runs of rope around the door opening. This rigging cable is just a clothesline and pulleys to bring the basalt rope over the structure so you don’t have to handle it much. It’s kind of nasty fiberglass stuff even with gloves.

Then spray another 3/4" or more if you need it to cover the rope. Then trowel around add-ons, it is thicker at the bottom to cover the chains etc, and around the door opening. After that sits 24 hrs you remove the bag and have an earthquake, fire, hurricane, tornado resistant house. But it only has an R value of about .437 so you need to live in Belize or Puerto Rico to not freeze to death in it. Or else insulate with spray on foam…

white wash or paint to seal. install doors and windows etc…
This is different from ferro cement because it has no “ferro”.

I haven’t personally tested it yet, but the trainers who have built these things say they can hold 1000 lbs every 4 feet.
The picture below shows a really bad idea for the door framing, and the access tunnel and the working ladder.
Normally you would build a dormer for the door that would stick out like an igloo door. They were trying to cut a slice off the side of the dome to get the floor area under the building permit requirements and this was the first try at this door frame idea.

The ladder rests on top on a mast pole that is anchored with guide wires inside the air form. I was amazed how sturdy and comfortable it was to work on. Me and Luke both worked on it at the same time and had no problem at all. Most guys not used to construction heights had a hard time being up there and working at the same time. The tires are there to help get it to the top of the air form without dragging metal across the bag.

That picture makes the dome look shorter. It is in a hole behind us. I think the top is 8’7" from the floor.


I haven’t heard anything about the hurricane that was suppose to have gone up from Mississippi to Alabama. Does anyone live in Alabama with the initials Mr. WK that could fill us in. ?? TomC

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My initials aren’t WK, but It’s raining here. We lost power for an hour yesterday.


Good morning Mr. Tom.

Thanks for asking.

We had about 6 hours of horizontal rain with some light flooding but no damage . The power was out for just a little while .

Edit. This was Sunday morning before the weather got too bad. Some of where I had driven did go under water .


I built a concrete sprayer this morning. Worked out real well so I thought I’d throw it up here in case someone is interested. The sprayers we were using last week cost $150 - $200. This one cost me $36.64 in fittings and 1.5 hours work. The testing took another half hour.

The idea is to be able to construct the technology in a third world country. I did weld a few parts with a cheap wire feed welder, but it could all have been easily done with u-bolts (or wire) instead. I didn’t count the cost of the bolts or the ammo can or the paint in the price because they were just laying around. Cheaper fittings could be found though; I just went to Lowes. Also, if you did have a welder available, you could eliminate the need for the caps on the end and even the tee to make it cheaper.

The box is an ammo can. The bolts are just cheap 1/4" junk bolts that never get used anyway because they are slotted. The handle brackets and the bottom support plate is some framing that I think came out of a big screen tv I used to make a solar cooker. The and the handle itself is a piece of rebar and a thin wall tubing from a lamp or something like that.

It worked better than the store-bought models I used last week with the same size jets. It has a slightly bigger hopper which I like because you don’t have to stop to load it as often. It covers area more quickly. I was only using a cheap oil- less air compressor so I had to stop and let the air build up often. But I am confident enough in the model that I can now move on to making an air form for a dome and to start forming concrete footers. I am also looking for a bigger compressor. We are planning to build two small domes on our campus here for use as men’s and women’s bath houses for when we have groups here for trainings.