Looking for answers to these questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Caelma, May 7, 2005.

  1. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

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    I sure hope everyone out there is having a wonderful week-end :)
    Here is a bunch of questions for anyone who would
    be kind enough to answer.

    1) Generators? What does one look for when wanting to buy a generator?
    Will they run the following? And what size to get?
    sewing machine? Toaster? Washing Machine? Fridge? Electric fence?
    Say a generator holds 2.5 glas, how long does that usually last?

    2) When preparing trees to make a home.
    Why do you take the bark off them? What is the name of the tool
    one would use? Once the bark is off should the trees/logs be
    allowed to dry and if so how long? Should they be treated with anything?

    3) Water, Is it best to store a tank underground? Above ground?
    What does one do to prevent freezing in the winter?
    Can snow melt be used like gutter systems to save water?
    If just being used to wash clothes, water animals and take baths
    does it need to be treated? What types of containers should one use
    to store water?

    4) What is anyone experience with propane stoves and
    propane fridge's?

    Suggested websites and books for cabin building?
    Water use?
    Making your own fireplace?
    I have more questions but will give these a chance to be answered.
     
  2. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    We have propane fridge, stove and lights in our cabin. I love them. The new fridge is efficient. It was more expensive than an electric fridge.

    When the old stove here at home died I replaced we replaced it with propane. I like the instant heat when you turn on a propane burner. When you turn off the heat the heat is gone unlike an electric burner that takes much longer to cool. When the electric dryer died we'll replace that with propane also.
     

  3. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    Bark removal is necessary to prevent insects in the house, a 'draw knife' is the two handled tools name. And there is another called a 'froe', think of an ax with the head on sideways rather then perpindictular in a garden hoe shape. Logs need to dry for a year or so depending on the moisture present when you cut them down. Too short of time right now to answer more.
     
  4. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ............(1) Gensets.....(2) types of gas , (1) the Loud , contractor type will be the cheapest but are NOT acceptable for RV parks OR in Most nat'l Forest campgrounds because you really can't get any sleep if they are running . (2) the new gas gensets made specifically for Quiet , efficient operation are RV and Forest camp ground acceptable and will hold their value alot better as salable Used units . The NEWEST gensets currently entering the market are the INVERTER type that supply clean , stable AC power that is Almost as good as your power company provides . This is the type you should spend your money on as they supply clean power for voltage sensitive items like computers , TV's , etc . You really shouldn't consider any unit unless it provides AT LEAST 6.5 kw (6,500 watts) of stable power output .
    ......................IF , you've got about 8k bucks to invest , then you should seriously consider the ONAN Diesel gensets that go from 5.5kw up to 12 kw . The 10kw and 12kw units Both produce maximum power at 1800 rpm . Slow engine speed translates into LONG ENGINE LIFE . These particular gensets will probably last for 20,000 operational hours with Regular maintenance . They are the Ultimate genset for the individual who is living off the grid . You get what you pay for when it comes to buying generators .
    ......................Yamaha makes a 6.5 kw , 2 cylinder Diesel genset that is priced at 4k the last Time I checked . This unit would also have a very long service life if it received regular maintenance . It comes in its own protective metal enclosure and is relatively quiet . ..fordy.. :)
     
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..................Most folks who researched the "off grid" lifestyle will more often than NOT see that you should utilize Propane for the cooking and the fridge and Wood for heating with Propane as a Backup system .
    ..................Then , you will interface a Solar system that will have (4) sources of power inputs , (1) solar panels , (2) Wind generator , (3) a gas\diesel\propane genset , And...(4) a Battery Bank to store the energy provided by both the solar panels and the Windgen . Then , you need an Inverter to convert the voltage from both sloar panels and windgen from 12\24\48 volts Dc into 120\240 volts AC . Plus , you need an Electricial Referee to monitor all the various Souces of power and keep the system running smoothly ....this would be the Controller . NOTE.....there are numerous manufacturers of specialized appliances that operate on 12 volts DC. Most appliances in RV trailers are of the 12vdc catagory . They are NOT cheap but very available . You just have to sit down and evaluate how much power you will need to maintain a certain "Comfort Level" and then have someone design a system that fits your budget and your lifestyle . fordy.. :)
     
  6. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    In my experience a genset just isn't going to cut it for day to day reliability. Especially for anyone who is not able to take it apart and repair it on the spot. A really good one is very expensive. You would be lots better off going with solar panels and a battery bank with an inverter for the sewing machine. Propane fridge works quite well, I've used them before and was pretty happy with them. You might need to do a little seasonal adjustment on some of the older ones, but get someone who knows how to show you, it isn't hard. Propane stoves are good. Ditch the toaster. You can make better toast in a skillet. I still do, even tho I now have a toaster. Washing machines can be had that will run off solar, but pricey. I have done washing by hand for a number of years. Big things can go to the laundry in town. For the electric fence buy one with a solar charger.

    You can catch snow melt, but your gutters need to be pretty wide. If you have a metal roof, put an L shaped bracket about a foot from the edge and parrallel to the edge to keep the entire roof load from sliding off without melting.

    Poly tanks from a farm supply make really good cisterns. Put a large filter on the intake area made from a package of poly fill. This will catch the junk and keep it out of the cistern. You don't have to bury the cistern, but get a green or black one if it won't be buried. The white get too much algae growing in them. You don't need to treat the water for any use except for drinking. You can boil it and that is all it needs. I have drunk cistern water for years with nothing but boiling.

    Go to www.backwoodssolar.com for more info on solar.


    You aren't planning on building this by yourself, are you?
     
  7. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

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    ummmmmmmm YEPPERS :) what I can of it, with a horse or two
    to help me pull up heavy stuff.
    The floors, walls and roof.
    I draw the line at electric and plumbing.

    I had to laugh when you said the above.
    It reminded me of a conversation between my youngest son
    and me. He was all frustrated one day cause his brother calls him to
    his brother to help with this or do that. He doesn't mind but it
    bothers him his brother will not take the initiative and try himself.
    I said to him, son some of us are handy and mechanically inclined
    and others are not, we all have our tallents.
    To wich he replied.
    I had to learn!!!!!!!!! Do you think I knew how to?
    or what to? NO, I asked, read about it and did it. Yeah
    I made mistakes, but at least I tried and I learned.

    Just what you said had me going back to that conversation.
    hmmm(sigh with big smile) Now I know where he gets it from :D
     
  8. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    1. A good generator will cost $8000 - $12000 and will wear out far too quick. You'll need a 2nd job to pay for generator fuel, upkeep & replacement. Avoid them other than temporary usage. Better yet, don't consider a land purchase that doesn't have electricity at the property line.

    2. There are so many variables on building with logs it would fill volumes. I have seen a 60 year old log cabin made of northern white cedar which has its bark on and its fully intact. I have no idea how or what they did for this amazing feat.
    Most (not all) logs need to have the bark removed with a draw knife. If you know what you're doing, you can build with logs that have not dried. If you don't know what you're doing, dry the logs for a year or 2. Allowance for shrinkage & settling is the #1 mistake novices make when building log homes. Your stain should have insecticide mixed in to prevent insect infestation.
    email me or check my website for additional info.

    3. Not an expert on water but have to believe the best setup for a water delivery system is a well with a small pressure tank. Some communities require grey water to be ran into your septic system.....others don't.

    4. Propane stoves are widely used and come in all price categories. Propane refrigerators are generally very small and very costly. An 8 cubic foot propane refrigerator by Servel costs about $1100.
     
  9. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    OK, how much construction experience do you have?

    Nosey, ain't I. LOL
     
  10. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

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    :haha: Not much but by this time next year
    or late next summer I'll have a lot of it :haha:

    Like this wonderful wise 25 y/o of mine says:

    Just getting in there and doing it will teach ya.
    Make a mistake and I promise you, you'll never make it twice.

    Tell you what, he's amazing, they both are.
     
  11. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Might I suggest that you not start with a log cabin? I would start by building a good sized shed. Then stay in that while you begin work on the cabin. This will help you build skills and give you shelter. The house will take lots longer than you planned. They always do.

    Also, get some good books.
    Practical Pole Building Construction: With Plans for Barns, Cabins, & Outbuildings by Leigh Seddon

    Low Cost Pole Building Construction : The Complete How-To Book by Ralph Wolfe

    Low Cost Pole Building Construction by John Ware. Lincoln

    Roof Framing by Marshall Gross


    Wall Framing (Basic Carpentry Skills) by Charley G. Chadwick, et al

    check with your library, they may have these. Buy the ones that look useful. Even if you don't plan on doing pole buildings the info in those books is invaluable for the do it yourself home builder. I have used my copy of Low Cost Pole Building many times for the charts on spans and joists.

    Good luck, girl, hope it all works.
     
  12. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .........this is probably the best website for all things wood and construction with logs and preparation of your logs...
    ........... http://www.forestryforum.com/...fordy :)
     
  13. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    For occasional use okay--but gens get too expensive to maintain after a while. Noisy too. Yep, I'm having a decent weekend. :)

    Lehmans has these stove-top toasters--they have a stainless steel one, try that out...

    Sewing machine...antique ones are fairly cheap, be sure you have plenty of extra parts though as soem parts are no longer made.

    Washing....get an old washing machine with an engine for it or a hand washing unit...if engine one used, put it on a back porch or soemthing--fumes are dangerous! But keep it protected...

    Is electric fence really necessary for your application? Try solar if it is...

    Fuel burn time for generator--depends on specific model you get.

    Depends on how you build--sometimes you don't have to dry them, and, the old cabins weren't usually treated and they stand up well--but it depends on your area, with its weather and insect problems, how you build, and the wood you use.


    Stoves are nice--but ever thought of a wood stove as well? Have both if budget allows it...

    Fridges--those are expensive new--find a good used one, or, just build a root cellar for storage and do more canning, in smaller jars of course so less leftovers to store...

    http://www.rumford.com/chimneyfireplaces1.html You'll find a lengthy essay there on it--good reading, there are also books on it--try this one: The forgotten art of building a good fireplace ; the story of Count Rumford & his fireplace designs that have remained unchanged since 1795 by Orton, Vrest

    Rumford fireplaces are the only fireplace worth the trouble IMO, as they heat well and are efficient for a fireplace--but they MUST be constructed correctly and safely--follow codes, they will help, and follow the instructions in either that essay I linked to or that book--I read the book and it's a good one. Built right, in all details (don't skimp on it-you'll be glad) they are amazing.(a late 18th century design...which beats modern ones!)
     
  14. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    Oh, you'll have to search for that book....it's long out of print I think. Try a library first...