Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Shipment of Robert Sorby Tools at Shelter and Intro to Woodturning Class This Weekend

Shelter has just received a a huge shipment of tools from one of our favorite tool companies, Robert Sorby, which produces an extensive selection of high quality woodturning, woodcarving, and woodworker's tools in Sheffield, England.

Many timberframers who have spent time at Shelter are familiar with the 3" and 2-3/8" Sorby slicks we carry. Like all Sorby tools, it's finely crafted. The heft of this tool makes it unique, and it's preferred by those who like to put some weight behind their work. The well tempered steel provides a durable edge that is easily sharpened.

In addition to Robert Sorby chisels and slicks, we also carry their woodturning tools. Call, email, or visit Shelter if there is a Sorby tool you have questions about or would like to purchase.
Ken at work.

If you've interested in wood turning, but haven't gotten the nerve up to start collecting tools, then come to Shelter this weekend and spend the morning with turner and carver, Ken Hatridge of Tree Trunk Designs

Ken is offering his Introduction and Demonstration of Woodturning class on Saturday, April 27, from 9 am to 12 noon at the Shelter Campus. The class is $45. Registration is available online and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

During the class, you'll be able to see Ken's expert woodturning techniques, learn about his favorite essential starter tools, and discuss qualities to look for in a lathe. Ken will also discuss wood species, layout, and design as well as tips and techniques for you to try in your own workshop.

Ken is trained in the art of woodturning, strives to continually learn more, and experiments with new skills and techniques. He has been trained in cabinetry and millwork, is an active member of the Southern Maine Woodturners, and is a member of the American Association of Woodturners. Frequently Ken does woodturning demonstrations at meetings and shows.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reasons to Consider a Composting Toilet

It's the time of year when we start to receive requests and questions about our composting toilets at Shelter.

Composting Toilets are an excellent option for the sanitary disposal of waste when plumbing, water, or electricity are not available or easily accessible. We see composting toilets used in cottages, boat houses, garden sheds, pool houses, barns, remote offices or guest spaces, and coastal cottages where a leach field isn't permitted. Another common locale for a composting toilet is in an older home where toilet waste needs to be removed from an overloaded septic system.

Some households are converting from conventional flush toilets for environmental reasons. Toilet flushing is the single largest water use in the average U.S. home (according to the EPA), accounting for about 30% of total home water demand. More than 4.8 billion gallons of water per day is flushed out of homes in the U.S. That is a significant environmental burden on fresh water resources, municipal sewer systems, or home wells and septic systems. And if the state of our current infrastructure doesn't improvesee the grade here—composting toilets, or something like them, may be much more common in the future.

Visit our store to see the Sun-Mar Composting toilet display models in person to get a feel for the size and shape of the toilets. Our knowledgeable staff has first-hand experience with the Sunmar composting toilet line and can assist you with sizing, installation, and maintenance questions.

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Book on Sustainable Beekeeping at Shelter

Christy Hemenway, founder of Gold Star Honeybees, has published a thoughtful and innovative guide to beekeeping titled, The Thinking Beekeeper: A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives. The book has been chosen as a Mother Earth News Wiser Living Choice and is being touted as the definitive do-it-yourself guide to natural and sustainable beekeeping.

Christy has offered her Top Bar Beekeeping class at Shelter, and we have seen a significant increase in interest in beekeeping. With honey bee populations under threat (see this recent piece in the New York Times), many are choosing to help sustain this small and vital part of our ecosystem by providing a pesticide-free home for bees in their backyard. If you're getting started beekeeping or are an experienced beekeeper and looking for guidance, we highly recommend this book, which is available at Shelter or online at Shelter Tools.