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Thread: Old Arn: Up and Running Again

  1. #1

    Old Arn: Up and Running Again

    It was a busy weekend with 90% of my weekend enduring sheep related stuff, but I did find a few hours of free time Saturday to improve my woodworking shop. Over that past few weeks I have managed to get a permanent ceiling in it, and get one wall sided in, but some of my go-too woodworking machines were down.

    The first was my bandsaw, an old 12 inch Craftsman unit from the 80's. It spun a bearing so I got that replaced, only to find out the motor had burned out which most likely was caused by the bearing failure. So I stuck the only spare motor I had on it, but its a two stage, high speed motor. The saw sounds like its going to the moon when it hits the second stage, but doesn't it saw wood!

    Then I began working on my stationary belt sander; again a 1980's vintage Craftsman Unit. This one had spun a woodruff key out and dinged up the shaft. A little surgery on that with a file, an assortment of pulleys, a change of motors and that was making sawdust again.

    So with those two machines back in the running again, I turned my attention to my 1950's Craftsman tablesaw. That one was making strange sounds that sounded just like a bearing. No big deal, I have done it before so off came the top, the trunnions, and finally the motor and the problem was evident. That too had spun a woodruff key. More surgery with a grinder and file, another trip to the assortment of pulleys I had, and it was fixed.

    Figuring the past hour or so had accomplished a lot, I figured I would push my luck with an old Rockwell 8 tablesaw someone had given me years ago. I had kept it, but never did anything with it, so I figured being in great shape I should use it for something. It is just the right size for the model making woodworking I do. But as I said earlier, my spare motor collection was all used up. Spying my lathe, (an unused woodworking tool) it had a stepped pulley driving it. So I bolted the small tablesaw to the bench the lathe was bolted too and tag-teamed off the lathe pulley/motor. Another trip to my pulley assortment got the ratios I needed. I slapped a new 8 cross cut blade I had kicking around and gave it a test. It could turn a bit faster granted, butit worked well enough as is. I really do like the extra height the saw bolted to the bench gives me. Its at optimum height for dealing with small model parts.

    All in all it was a busy afternoon, but I'm grinning now. With the exception of my Giliom Bandsaw, and 18 inch jointer; every tool in my shop is up and running! Now I can actually make something!
    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 10-11-2009 at 09:35 PM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    579
    4 machines up and running in an afternoon? You should be in the pits at Indie.
    I spent a day about a week ago getting some things squared away in my shop as well. I built a stand for my bench top drill press and the lathe that's been taking up real estate on my large woodworking bench. I don't have the lathe on it yet, and there's still a bit of bracing to add, but it was one of those relatively small moves that really helped organize the shop.
    It seems like i'm constantly dealing with scrap wood - i guess i need to use the fire pit more often.
    So, Travis, any new projects pending? Any models coming up? And, did you ever get the compost heating system going?
    paulh

  3. #3
    I got my slitter about wrapped up. The slitter is done, with finish on it and all that. I even got pictures but I can't upload them on my computer...virus issue I guess. So for the FWW picture police, I got pictures, it did happen, just not posted yet.

    I also got the case for this presentation slitter 90% done. Its all dovetailed together, finish sanded and ready for stain/poly. Then glass of course. I even got the hardware put on, then removed so finish can be applied.

    I was hoping to get to another mini project for my Mom. She has never got a thing I have hand made yet. I was thinking something practical, yet affectionate and completely ornate. I have morphed away from model making and moved on to toolmaking so in the spirit of that, I was thinking a stainless steel and fruit wood made pizza cutter. As I said, completely ornate, highly polished stainless and with a small dovetailed, red felt lined case to keep it in. One of those projects that's heirloom, but functional since they have 9 children (3 original and 6 adopted) with 3 teenagers still in the house. Oh yes pizza parties for the next 6 years for sure. So with lots of brickwork, a chimney to build and making the pot bellied stove I have safe, its a pretty big project.

    Then its on to the heart shaped archway you helped design. That unfortunately must take a back burner as my wife shocked me by saying she was willing to install a wood stove in the house. Its kind of silly to own a few square miles of forest and burn propane to heat your home. But to install one means doing everything right as my parents can attest, wood stoves have clearance issues. (For those that don't know, my parents home burned in June of 2004 from a outdoor wood stove.)

    But the compost furnace...ha bet many of you thought it was such an odd design that it would never be built? :-) Well perhaps, but its definitely a go, I even found a way to have it funded by the USDA. Well sort of. Because I have sheep, and in Maine that requires a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, (another fancy name for a plan to deal with sheep poo) and the fact that I am a Scrapie Certified Flock, I need a composting pad to properly disposal of all the winter accumulated manure. And because to eradicate Scrapie (the equivalent of Mad Cows Disease in sheep), any infected carcasses must be composted since the high heat kills the disease. In Maine, deep burial in frozen soil is just not possible during the winter, so composting the carcass is the answer.

    I missed out on funding last year due to the road that I got. I should be high on the list year for funding for the compost pad though. They will only pay to have the pad designed, built and paid for, but I can certainly adapt what they have built and figure out a way to help heat my home. Because its doing its intended purpose, and I am merely extracting the heat from the compost pad, its not a conflict of interest.

    While not really related to old woodworking tools, or compost heat for my house or shop, we are working on some Wildlife Incentive stuff to introduce an acre or so of blueberries to the farm. All in all I got a lot of good projects going with the USDA. A lot of improvements in both the shop, the farm and with the sheep. Once and awhile (like the compost heating idea) I can incorporate them all. Who would have thought sheep poo could possibly heat a woodworking shop?
    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 10-12-2009 at 11:35 PM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    579
    Seems like you could modify a ground source heat pump to collect heat from a compost field instead of drilled wells. I know it's a bunch of cost and equipment you probably weren't planning on, but i think the idea might be sound - just another way to collect the heat by puting a heat exchanger in the middle of the compost pile. Just need a way to make it so you can turn / tend your compost pile while it's got a coil loop running through it. Any ideas there?
    paulh

  5. #5
    There is a guy selling heat pumps here but I am not so sure they are efficient in Maine, the ground temps here are in the 47 range. Even with my boiler system that uses an efficient 76 degree water to heat my home, that's a big gap to fill.

    Without question you would have to turn the pile now and then, but I think you could do it less frequently if you had a way to add air and water to the mixture. Therefore I was thinking about adding another coil that had air holes in it throughout the pile. That way you could hook up a blower and pump fresh air into the pile to get it to "cook" as well as adding water which is also needed now and then. Its actually surprising how much water is needed to get the right moisture for compost to cook at high temp...I don't know the exact amount but I know its in the hundreds of gallons per ton. Either way, injecting air into the system without actually turning it, would reduce the total number of turnings to a manageable amount.

    I did see one guy that was doing this and basically he took a tank and stuck it into the middle of the pile, added loops of tubing to add in air and water to the mixture surrounding it, then made an insulated jacket for the whole thing. He stuffed it full of grass and wood chips and warmed the internal tank and then pumped that to radiators in his home. I think with a radiant floor system you would do better because the temp of water flowing through the floor would be a lot less.

    I wouldn't actually need my compost system though to heat for an entire season. Even if I could get a month or two out of it, I would be happy. That is because right now is the most taxing part of the heating season. Its 25 outside today, so the boiler is running no-stop to get my slab to heat up, yet around 11 AM it will be warm enough inside the house from solar gain to shut off the thermostats calling for heat. The boiler stops, so the the slab never gets warm. I mean its 47 degrees. Then at 5 PM, the house cools off and the boiler starts up, trying to start where it left off. In this way, early in the heating season it takes a fair amount of wasted energy to get the slab warmed up. If the compost system worked, it would simply be free heat that helped get the slab from 47 to 76. After that, the boiler burning propane would just maintain that temp in the slab. I think that would reduce my overall propane costs by quite a bit.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
    One thing I did want to try, but my wife requested the pot belly stove inside the house before I could try it, was filling the potbellied stove full of organic matter, like leaves, grass, hay, corn and sawdust. In other words a mixture of protein (grass) and nitrogen (wood chips). Because of the upright design of a pot bellied stove, air flows from bottom to top. By adding a blower to the bottom portion of the stove, and inserting a pipe with holes in it up through the center, you could pressurize air occasionally into the stove to get the grass and wood chips to "cook". I know the cooking temp of compost is in the 130-150 range, so eventually the cast iron of the stove would be hot to the touch.

    Would that be warm enough to counteract the heat losses of say my 1 car, well insulated shop? I am not sure. Since the heat is constant and never ending, you would think at some point the shop would be warmed.

    I have seen others do this same design with a 55 gallon drum and firebrick. The fire brick lifts the drum off the floor for air flow. The drum has a pipe up the center with holes in it. The drum is then filled with sawdust and it is lit on fire. As the sawdust smolders, it does not burn excessively, but rather smolders, getting air as it burns up through, giving off heat as it does so. About once a week the guys that have these must restock it full of sawdust.

    I wonder how much heat difference is between smouldering sawdust and cooking compost?
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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