Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chainsaw Maintenance

Saturday June 27, 2009
Chainsaws are one of our favorite tools because they free you! With a chainsaw you can selectively clear your woods of invasive species, you can mill your own lumber to build a house and then you can cut your own firewood to heat the house! Well we know not everyone is into all of that BUT a chainsaw is a pretty handy tool; the only trick is that it needs some maintenance and like every small engine there are a few key things to maintaining it. Of course you can find lots of how-to manuals for using and maintaining a saw but wouldn't it be great if you could have a couple of hours with somone who REALLY know what he's talking about? Pat Hennin will be offering his chainsaw maintenance and milling workshop, a four hour how-to on getting the MOST out of your chainsaw. In the preparation of the workshop we came up with a few key tips to ensuring that your engine purrs smoothly every time you haul on that pull-cord. And in the meantime here are a few elementary tips.

  • mix your fuel carefully
  • clean that air filter
  • try to find ethonol free fuel (good luck) this alcohol destroys the fuel pump and fuel valves
  • always keep your gas tank full between uses otherwise water vapor will get in and clog the carborator
  • don'y buy a geen one because you'll never find it in the woods
  • buy a chainsaw with a short bar you're less likely to cut off your feet; an 18-in. blade will easily cut a 36 in log
  • bring your granberg saw sharpener into the woods with you it is the most pleasant place to sharpen your saw
Pat Hennin started using a chainsaw in earnest in about 1960 when he worked as a lumberjack in Idaho. He had a plot with selected trees for felling in the Targhee National Forest and spent three solid months working those woods. And has practiced tree surgery for 40 years using Mculloch, Homelites and Solo to the new Efco, Jonsered, Husquevarna, Stihl and more. Bring your saw to get very specific instruction.

Monday, June 15, 2009

FREE WORKSHOP: Masonry Heaters

Saturday June 20, 2009 9:30-10:30
Perhaps because we are located in Maine, the thought of curling up next to wood heat is always inviting -- even in June. In fact this early, rainy morning I fired up my own Vermont Castings wood stove to take off the chill. Whether it is summer or winter, people are always asking about alternative heat sources from wood stoves to pellet heaters, gas space heaters, coal and wood fired furnaces in the basement . . . the list is endless. Well we thought we'd quell at least a few of those inquiries with a free workshop about Masonry Heaters.

Masonry heaters combine some of the best features of a wood heat source: the burn efficiency of a wood stove and the heat retention and beauty of a fireplace. When described that way, I wonder why we don't all have them. So, we invited Eric Schroeder, a local masonry heater builder to discuss design, integration with floor plan, construction materials, and even cost of construction and installation. Eric has traveled the world to learn about Masonry heaters and spent the last three years working as an apprentice for a number of different masonry heater builders. Join us for a free one hour session to learn more about whether a Masonry Heater is right for your home or business. Bring your own floor plan and questions and we'll be sure to get you headed in the right direction! And if the Masonry Heater is not the alternative heat source you are considering, what is? We'd like to know!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SketchUp Class

Saturday June 13, 2009
In this two hour session, learn the ins and outs of Sketchup, Google's free computer design program. We'll tour of the software and its capabilities, and do some hands-on guided modeling. Sketchup is a great tool for visualizing spaces. Professional builders are able to share ideas with clients and sub-contractors in perspective, plan and elevation view while only having to create one “drawing”. Sketchup even makes it possible to export your model to your site on “Google Earth”.

The instructor, Patrick Wright, is a self-taught Sketchup artist who has experience as a teacher, homeowner/builder, land use planner, and TimberFramer with the Henin Post and Beam Crew. In 2007, he led a group of novice volunteer modelers who created 45 buildings in Downtown Brunswick, ME. These models have been accepted in Google Earth's "3D Buildings" layer. Patrick's practical building experience helps to bring together the realities of home design and construction with the expertise of computer aided design.

Students should bring a laptop computer to gain the most from the workshop but it is not required. If possible, please download Sketchup ahead of time at: Google Sketchup If you have trouble installing the program, the instructor will help you at the beginning of class (please arrive early). Be sure to bring a mouse, as a touchpad is much more difficult to model with. Non-Refundable Registration: $45 (This Registration fee can be transferred once at no charge. A second request for transfer will result in the loss of deposit.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tool Belts: A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

Selecting the right tool belt takes time and experience. I've watched builder's young and old walk through our doors and try on a wide variety of belts swearing that their selection is the ONLY way to go. I remember when the options were slim to none and you had to choose between a cloth nail apron and a leather pouch with belt and hammer holster. Today's tool belt selection is as wide and varied as pick-up truck selection . . . . and they all let you carry nearly as much as your pickup truck.

Gaius was recently in need of a new tool belt and I had nearly as much fun watching him go through the selection process as I do our customers. He is thrilled with his new setup! In the end he decided on a product made by Occidental Leather; the Stronghold Suspendavest with his own favorite tool pouches and drill holster attached to them.

You know we're not short of opinion around here and of course Gaius came up with his own list of essential features. His first tip is to make a concise list of the tools you carry. His list consisted of:

In the end we came up with a few simple suggested requirements that can apply to anyone:

  • the tools need to all fit into your belt
  • you need to be able to reach all pockets easily without contorting your body
  • toolbelt needs to be light . . . your tools are heavy enough
  • Suspenders are a must . . . they help disperse the weight of your tools

Is there an essential tool that you keep in your tool belt that we didn't include? Let us know: