Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleaning Up the Yard

Right now is the time to successfully pull unwanted small trees and shrubs from your site in such a way that they will not grow back. You will need 20 feet of 5/16 or 3/8-in. chain with a "grab" hook at one end and a "slip" or " round" hook at the other. Place the slip hook end around the offending brush or small tree and hook it to the chain, forming a lasso. Hook the other end to a part of your car, truck, tractor, or ATV. Be sure to pick a part that will not get ripped off or bend easily. Pull the vehicle forward as slowly as you possibly can. The object is to slither the roots out of the ground without breaking any of them.
The true measure of an adult is whether he (can you get me out of this one?) has the patience and sensitivity to pull a dandelion out without breaking the root (which will quickly grow back ).
This technique ensures that the site will hardly be disturbed (no ruts, excavator gouges or piles of dirt or brush inextricably fused), and the topsoil will remain in your yard, not hauled off to a land fill. The job is done with far less fuel and carbon imprint. The brush will be relatively soil free and can be chipped for insulating mulch or burned to sweeten an acid soil.
To learn to be a thoroughly thoughtful designer, effective steward, and competent builder of your own future, not to mention having a darn good time, join us for the..... Design Build Class May 10-21, 2009!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wood Stove Tax Credit

Now through the end of the calendar year 2010 you can receive a tax credit for a biomass fuel stove used for heat or for heating water. The credit is 30% of the cost of the actual woodstove (installation included) up to $1500. You can purchase more than one stove and receive credit on both of them -- up to $1500. The stoves must have a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75% as measured using a lower heating value.

The law defines "biomass fuel" as any plant-derived fuel available on a renewable or recurring basis, including agricultural crops and trees, wood and wood waste and residues (including wood pellets), plant (including aquatic plants), grasses, residues, and fibers.

We do not know of a comprehensive list of qualified biomass stoves. The best way to find stoves that qualify for the tax credit is to ask your retailer. To verify tax credit eligibility, ask your retailer to provide the Manufacturer's Certification Statement (a signed statement from the manufacturer certifying that the product or component qualifies for the tax credit) for the stove you plan to purchase or search on the Manufacturer's website.

Shelter Institute carries a number of wood stoves that qualify for the tax refund and we are happy to provide price and availability. Please call (207-442-7938) or email for additional information.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Photos From the September Purely Post & Beam Class

WOW! What a spectacular week in Maine with fourteen students from as far reaching as Holland. We began by drafting the building to scale to get a sense of the structure we would be cutting and then went right out to the shop to begin cutting the timbers to length! Check out these great photos of our week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wood Stove Best Practices

Wood stoves are a great way to supplement or even entirely heat your home in the winter. As with any type of heat, the key to a successful heating season is a well tuned and efficiently operating system. Join us for a one hour workshop about the best practices for wood burning stoves, including stove selection, fuel selection, placement in the home, installation, venting and general maintenance.
September 26, 2009
2:00 pm at the
Shelter Institute Classroom
873 US Rte One Woolwich, Maine


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beautiful Door Mats: A Greener Choice

This is the ideal mat for a Maine home or for a home whose inhabitants wish they were in Maine. Each mat is unique, made out of retired-float rope: rope used to secure multiple lobster traps together along the ocean floor. This rope is being replaced by a weighted rope and was headed straight for the landfill but entrepreneur and Shelter Institute Graduate Penny Johnston developed the Maine Float Rope Company which takes this old rope and turns it into beautiful door mats. A portion of the proceeds of sales of these mats goes to organizations and projects that help protect the Northern Right Whale, support Maine Lobstermen and implement environmentally sound practices in the Gulf of Maine. • colorful and pleasing to the eye• trap dirt, mud, snow and sand like no other mat • cleanup is a snap, just shake the mat our or hose it down• virtually indestructible easily withstands all kinds of weather • Do not absorb water, nor harbor insects • Resistant to mold and mildew, salt water and sun • Reversible for twice the wear, boaters take note, our mats even float!• Handmade by local craftsman, each mat is one of a kind! Please note that because each mat is unique we cannot specify color they come in a variety of bright and vibrant colors. If you have a preference you can request either a bright or a muted tone and we will do our best to fulfill that request.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Purely Post & Beam Class

Join us for 5-1/2 invigorating days where you will learn how to select, care for and use the best timber framing tools and create beautiful timber frame joinery. We'll spend the first morning learning how to draw the building to scale both by hand and on the computer. We'll spend the next several days in our comfortable shop laying out the joints on the timbers and hand shaping them in the timbers. Our in-house engineer will present the basics of beam sizing and joint selection to ensure that your timber frame structure is designed to support itself as well as the many pressures of wind, snow and ice. Walk away at the end of this class with a thorough set of plans for re-creating this building, the knowledge and skills to do it yourself. And as part of the alumni of the Shelter Institute, we are always available to answer questions and assist you through those complex building processes. Join the thousands of Shelter Institute grads by taking this next Purely Post and Beam Class: September 13-18, 2009 Sunday 5:00-8:00 pm, 8:30-5:00 Monday through Friday.