DIY and Large Projects

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DIY and Large Projects

This group contains instruction for items that do not necessarily fall under the subject of crafts, but are larger projects or things to do that are not considered crafts.

Members: 14
Latest Activity: yesterday

Most posts are Native American based or themed.

This group contains instruction for items that do not necessarily fall under the subject of crafts, but are large projects not considered crafts.

All members are encouraged to submit projects.

Most projects will be to large to be posted into "Comments"
Look for them in the "Pages" section to the right.  ------------->

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Comment by Chief Walks on April 11, 2019 at 9:08am

Common Mistakes When Lighting a Fire
Be sure to avoid these exceedingly common mistakes when lighting a fire.

Sorting tinder, kindling, and fuel before lighting the fire will ensure that you have the right materials on hand as the fire starts.

Unsuitable Fuel

It is easy to make mistakes with fuel selection when you are inexperienced or working under stress in difficult conditions. Make absolutely certain that the wood you are collecting is dead and dry, not merely dormant for the winter or recently cut. Remember, when you saw firewood, the sawdust from the middle should float down and not be clumpy. As a rule, dry wood will feel light in weight relative to its size.

Being Too Slow

If you are too slow to add fuel, the fire may burn out before it has spread. There is a balance to strike here. You don’t want to smother the fire and exclude oxygen by piling too much fuel on, but on the other hand, there is no need to add twigs one by one. Handle it firmly.

Fiddling

Many healthy fires are loved to death. They are extinguished by too much unnecessary titivation, especially during the lighting process. Prepare everything as described, put a light to the tinder, and resist the urge to interfere with it. It wants to burn! If you move sticks around too much in the early stages, you will spread the heart of the fire too thinly and it will die. Keep the embers together.

A Flat Fire

Flames like to burn upward. If you place firewood on the kindling and make the pile too flat, it will smolder and cause irritating smoke. Strike a match and hold it horizontally. Then hold it at a steep angle, and you will notice it burns faster and brighter. The same goes for a large fire: Lay fuel on at a slight upward angle.

A Tepee Fire

The opposite extreme to a flat fire is this common misconception of how to build a fire: a tepee-shaped fire. It is often seen in illustrations, probably because it is easy to draw. In reality, it is neither easy to build nor reliable. Although it is a shape that burns brightly when it works, it is not a style I would recommend. The sticks are leaned up against each other and are therefore prevented from collapsing into the fire. This often results in the center of the fire burning out while the sticks leaned up on the outside are left merely scorched.

Packing Fuel Too Tightly

This can prevent a fire from burning efficiently, or even smother it completely and put it out. When you lay fuel on, make sure the flames have air space to lick up between and around each piece. A good example of this is when you burn old newspapers or magazines in a bonfire. Even if they are thrown into a raging inferno that lasts for several hours, once the fire has gone out you can often rake through the ash and find perfectly legible, unscorched pages.

Comment by Chief Walks on April 11, 2019 at 8:35am
Comment by Chief Walks on April 10, 2019 at 6:43am

Building a Stone Retaining Wall

Most of the work of building a retaining wall is in choosing the right stones.

A drystone retaining wall is cheaper and easier to build than a mortared wall, having no footing or mortared joints. It isn’t as strong as a mortared wall, but, when built properly, can support a slope. The drystone retaining wall is more natural-looking, especially when built of aged stones rather than those freshly quarried or dug from the ground. Also, moisture seeping from the soil bank held by the wall will allow lichens and mosses to grow better on the drystone wall.

The first course of a stone retaining wall is typically about 6 inches high.

1. Start the retaining wall with stones 12 inches deep, set against the earth bank. This layer, of course, can be any height but would typically be about 6 inches. Fit the stones so they’re tight at the face, and fill any spaces up against the bank with soil, tamping it firmly. This first course is a good place to use stones that have rough faces since these can be turned down and the soil dug out to fit. Reset the layout string to keep the front faces of the stones even and straight.

Keep the face of the retaining wall plumb and lean each

course back into the packed soil at the back of the wall.

2. The second and succeeding courses of stone should be level and the faces plumb. Use increasingly deeper stones for each level, so that each stone lies on the ones below, with some of it extending onto packed soil at the back. Avoid running joints.

In keeping the face of the wall plumb, you’re actually leaning the wall into the hill, holding it in place. Because each stone also slopes slightly into the bank, any frost-induced movement will be countered by gravity.

Seat capstones solidly, because they'll get walked on.

3. The top course, the capstones, should be the full 24 inches wide (front to back) for stability. Choose these carefully and use wedges of stone to seat these solidly, because they’ll get walked on. They can be any thickness, but being large, choose thin ones so you can handle the weight; 2–3 inches is about right.

Comment by Chief Walks on March 25, 2019 at 9:14pm
Comment by Chief Walks on March 14, 2019 at 6:00am
Comment by Chief Walks on January 29, 2019 at 1:58pm
Comment by Chief Walks on January 29, 2019 at 1:49pm
Comment by Chief Walks on January 29, 2019 at 1:48pm
Comment by Chief Walks on January 29, 2019 at 1:43pm
Comment by Chief Walks on January 29, 2019 at 1:43pm
 
 
 

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