Building day 10

 Today Wanda and I built the rest of the catwalk around the top of the walls and Wanda finished nailing the metal reinforcements into the top. We are almost ready to stand the rafters, we just need to put up some supports for the gable ends and square the walls and building. The weather is going to be warm this weekend, and I think Saturday is the day that we are going to start the roof.


Thanks to everyone that visited my site this year. I’m hoping to get some better stuff on the site next year.

There will be some building pictures on the site in the future, plus many of the other projects that we’re going to get ourselves into.

I’m thinking about building a windmill, solar water heater, temperature controlled cold room for food, a hydronic boiler, and a jet engine.

I also bought a Micrologix 1000 controller on ebay that I’m going to learn to program and use, I’m also going to build a few temperature control circuits with a voltage comparator (LM311) and a precise temperature sensor (LM35CZ) or maybe a Ford ECT sensor. I’m hoping to have more pictures and more tech on the site plus I may finally get around to learning to build web pages properly.

Here are the numbers for the year so far.

Month Unique visitors Number of visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
Jan 2007 0 0 0 0 0
Feb 2007 0 0 0 0 0
Mar 2007 92 122 429 2150 72.32 MB
Apr 2007 105 157 636 6149 176.77 MB
May 2007 119 277 877 15704 341.59 MB
Jun 2007 137 392 1264 16975 317.62 MB
Jul 2007 134 368 1058 15095 294.93 MB
Aug 2007 199 367 871 12929 319.97 MB
Sep 2007 237 416 832 9758 254.02 MB
Oct 2007 267 332 711 9087 277.68 MB
Nov 2007 349 418 642 10814 292.08 MB
Dec 2007 315 398 702 10519 323.93 MB
Total 1954 3247 8022 109180 2.61 GB


Building day 9

With Christmas over we found some time to do some building today. Wanda and I have been putting metal framing connectors on the joints of the lumber to better attach them together, it’s not necessary but we are in a windy area and 18′ high walls do catch some wind. The connectors are all installed on the bottom plate and we have started to build a catwalk so that we can do the top plates and put the rafters on as well.  I woke up a bit late today and we didn’t get out of the house and to the lumber mart until ten or so. I bought a thousand construction screws, I decided that we would use 14.5 inch long boards to make the brackets for the catwalk then we can take them apart later and use them as fire blocks inside the wall as 14.5 inch blocks are required for that.

Wanda did a lot of cleaning and shoveling snow to access the building materials, then she got to cutting the wood to make the brackets and braces. I assembled a jig from some scrap boards to help us assemble the brackets faster. Everything went rather quickly, Wanda cut the pieces while I assembled then after four or five were built I started screwing them to the building while Wanda built brackets. By four we had the brackets installed on the north wall and the start of a catwalk.

I walked on it, it was a bit scary but I’ll get used to it, it’s lots better than working off a ladder or walking on the wall top.

The frame connectors above connect the studs to the top and bottom plates. The bottom plates are anchored with 1/2 inch by 7 inch long concrete anchor bolts every six feet. The rafters will be toe nailed then attached with hurricane ties to the top plate. After all this we can celebrate when good storms come this summer.

This is the first jig that we used to build the parts for the catwalk, these pieces are all 14.5″ long. They get screwed together in the jig.

This is the second jig that we use to attach the angled part that supports the end of the first piece. This longer board is 34″ long and will eventually be made into fire stops as well.

These are the finished products ready for installation.


And these are the brackets installed on the north wall. I mounted one of them five feet off the ground with only two screws and hung from it, it felt secure, these are mounted with eight screws, they should have no problem holding us up.

Premium fuel

The question of the day is why do people put premium fuel into there car. Unfortunately for 85% of the people out there that use premium, the reason is stupidity. Being a mechanic I know the reasons for using premium and I can also tell you that in a shop full of mechanics there is only one or two that know anything about octane ratings.

So here’s the octane lesson of the day.  Premium fuel is required for higher performance engines that require it. The reason that they require it is due to the higher compression ratio that was built into the engine.

The thing that happens in a higher performance engine is the air and fuel is compressed into a smaller area in the compression stroke of the four stroke cycle. With the same amount of heat inside a smaller area you get a resulting higher temperature in the compressed mixture. This happens around the time that ignition (spark occurs at the spark plug) happens; then the problems occur. What happens is the pressure increases due to the rapid expansion of the burning compressed air/fuel mixture cause the pressure and temperature to rise quickly. The temperature in the cylinder gets higher than the self ignition temperature of the fuel and the fuel self ignites. Here’s where a picture helps lots but I don’t really have one, imagine a flame front (a nice wall of blue flame) propagating away from the spark plug, now imagine a second flame that has started on the other side of the combustion chamber traveling towards the first flame. Well as the books explain the two flame fronts collide they make a knock (detonation) and this is bad for the engine, bad to the point of melting holes in pistons. Personally I don’t buy the flame front collision thing, I think it gets so crazy in the combustion chamber that everything starts to self ignite at the same time, it makes the same clack that a diesel makes when it’s timing is too far advanced.  Sorry if I’m straying from the topic.  The solution for this problem is a fuel with a higher octane rating, the deal is the octane raises the self ignition temperature of the fuel and it also slows the burn rate of the fuel; this causes the fuel to burn slower. It’s the same idea as the type of  powder that you put behind a magnum bullet should burn slower so that the barrel pressures don’t get too high.

So that being said, lets say you put premium fuel into your economy car. Without the added compression you won’t have any chance of detonation (well unless you have a dangerously lean mixture or excessively advanced spark timing). So things work the same way as they would normally except that after the ignition occurs the fuel burns slightly slower than the engine was designed for which results in lower power output and reduced fuel economy. Nobody seems to believe this but you will get reduced power if you burn premium fuel in a regular engine. And don’t bother asking your mechanic, unless he is into the tech of engines or builds race cars he won’t know how it all works anyway.

Ok so now you may think well I have a high performance engine I need premium fuel, well my advice is to find out what your compression ratio is and ask someone who knows. I rebuilt a 5.0 Liter mustang  engine that had a full giver race cam oversized valves, ARP everything, fully rollered rocker arms, ported heads, higher flowing intake, oversized throttle plate, shorty headers, aftermarket pistons.  Do you think it needs premium fuel? Well it had stock heads and the pistons were the same style as the old ones, so the compression ratio was stock which the book says is 9.0 to 1 I measures it and I thought this one was 8.5 to one but either way it made around 330 horse power and regular fuel is what it is recommended to burn. Now for my 2.3 liter turbocharged motor with 7.5 to one compression that from the factory is to have 6 PSI of boost but I have it turned up to 16 PSI, the owners manual says to use premium fuel I use regular, it has a bit of detonation at 3500 rpm for a quarter of a second when at full boost and wide open throttle but meh, I haven’t melted a spark plug yet and I’m going to continue to run regular fuel.

Now lets say you have a 4.6L mustang with 9.6 to one compression (sorry all I think about is Ford) you still don’t need anything more than regular.

The well

We have had some problems with the well people, to say the least they upset us by not calling us back when our well was doing the artesian thing all over our yard. Actually the thing that upset us is that when they drilled the well and did the pumping tests I asked them if we were going to have an artesian problem and they said no then looked down the well said “oh crap” and left within five minutes. As they were driving down the road we looked at the well that was overflowing. The other thing that bothered us is that they start calling us to pay, so I kindly ask for them to invoice me for the work done, there reply was, “are you going to be in the city tomorrow, I’ll come by and pick up a cheque from you”.  They run a horrible business. I don’t mind the well flowing over, I understand it’s not their fault, but we’re pushing week three since I asked for a invoice and still nothing.

Since I’m spilling the beans about the well I may as well say that we put a pneumatic plug in the well ten feet below ground, which is below the frost line so that we could install our snappy and pump anytime we wanted. Well, the well guy decided to remove it and extend our casing; the result is that we have a casing (white pipe) sticking four feet out of the ground that has water inside it to the three foot level that is frozen. Now if I want to install a submersible pump I’m going to have to melt five or six feet of frozen ice. I asked him about cutting the casing near the ground and putting a sealing well plug in it, the guy stumbled on his words and said that it would cost a thousand dollars to do that then he advised against it. The reason he deters us from doing this is because the casing that they used has a five inch inside diameter, and it’s very very uncommon, and he doesn’t know where to get a plug for it. Everyone else uses a 4 or a 6 inch casing. The thing that I found is a lockable well plug from a distributor in Edmonton for $26 plus shipping. It’ll be a lot cheaper than the one thousand dollar option and that’s what we’re going to use in our well.

I just want to hand him a cheque, get my plug back from him, and never speak to them again. I just shake my head; you’d think someone that drills wells for a living would have more common sense than to remove my test plug in December. And don’t bother complaining to them, their solution is to seal the well and we won’t owe them anything, I’d do it except we spent lots trenching the well to the house and we would have to do it again to connect the new well.

Don’t get me wrong, they did an excellent job drilling the well, installing the casing, and developing the well. We have 30 gallons per minute of flow, and a water level of three feet above ground. I couldn’t be happier with the well, it’s the service we got from them that they lost my respect with.

Building day 8

We rented a zoom boom today to stand the walls, it was more than $500 for the day, but it was well worth it. We got all the walls stood and braced in one day with the help of some of our best friends. Jen and Tre were there with us the whole day through thick and thin. Best friend Aaron showed up early and worked well past the time that he was to supposed leave. Aaron was great help and I get the feeling that he has done some crane work before. Jen and Aaron found center of gravity and hooked the walls to the forks for me then stabilized them while we moved them into place, everything went very well. The fork truck worked excellent, it had a delicate touch and placed the walls exactly where we wanted them. Calvin and Mark came by for a few hours, and Mark did a lot of the top of the wall work. Later in the day Dave and Christina stopped in to help, I had Dave sawing strapping at the top of the wall, it was a rough job because the sun was down and the wind was up, it was cold. Wanda worked hard all day, she didn’t make it into the pictures often because she was holding the camera but she was doing everything with us.