Tag Archives: DIY

Supported spindles

It’s winter and I can’t forage, so I am learning to turn supported spindles. It’s really fun. I modified a broken metal turning lathe and have been practicing on pine because it’s soft and easy. My Wife spins all the time. We have been making and modifying spindles of different types all summer, but the pine spindles are really my first try at making nice spindles. I am switching to chestnut and maple (from the woods) now that I have better idea how to shape them. I hope to have some really cool ones made by the end of winter.

The last picture shows most of spindles including the ones made by the kids and a tree of Gondor one, I made with the 3D printer. The kids are spinning too. Maybe I should learn how to do that next. 😊

Dehydrator update

Solar dehydrator up date.

In my last post on it I asked for some help dialing in the dehydrator. I did not get much advice, but I tweaked some things. In the end I was unhappy with the natural draft. So I added a solar vent fan to even the draft out, and I repositioned it for better sun. That did the trick for herbs. It runs on a 70 to 75 degree day (no rain and a little sun) at about 105-110 Deg and has a good draft. However, rainy overcast cool days it does not work at all. You really need some dry days with a little sun, but I’m ok with that. It really puts out some volume. I have a huge volume of dried herbs now with no real work and no electricity. I will be adding some painted corrugated steel to the solar tray to boost temperatures for fruit. The steel should up the surface area enough to to give me an extra 15 to 25 Deg rise minimum. That should do for fruit slices.

The biggest surprise was how nice it is to hang herbs. I did not get a picture, but you can stager the hanging pattern to get a lot in. I made a bunch of racks from plastic ceiling return grills, but it is faster to just hang things. It adds to the drying time but it’s less work, and there is less chance of the wind messing with it when you put it in or take it out of the dehydrator.

I also want to say that I still find it incredibly fun to build things like this, and to get a feel for them. The dehydrator plus foraging, has given me such an over abundance of herbs that I will be giving herbs away all summer. The picture represents the volume from one unload.

Solar Dehydrator

So, couple weeks ago I decided to make a solar dehydrator as a rainy day project. I went with a down draft style. I think It turned out pretty good, but I am kind of struggling with how to dial it in. I am starting out with just a black box for heat and draft. I’ve seen designs for cans, corrugation and painted mesh, but I want to get some base temperatures and drafts before I spend the time and modify it. I also have a solar powered vent fan from another project that I could add. The vent is also assisted by the shingle roof section, and I may change that. So, this is my setup before modifications. I am posting in hopes of getting some advice from people who have one themselves and have already worked things out.

I will repost the tweaked final design

Hexagon garden box

This is kind of cool. I was making a special hexagon garden box. It will be a pole bean teepee garden for the kids. Anyway, I came up with this modular box arrangement almost by accident. It’s really cool. It allows me to build the boxes in my shop, move them up to the garden! And just slide them together. I came up with a bunch of others designs using the same concept spirals snakes etc. I think it will be fun building method to play around with.

PS I will post an update when the teepee is finished and grown in.