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June / July 2011
The sustainable house PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Shed   

The sustainable houseThe spectacular sustainable "bach" built by Victoria University students in Wellington is for an American competition for a solar-powered house that is “cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.” The house has decks galore for a beach life, acts like the most modern eco-designed home and breaks down into modules that are transportable.
This model design is just of many aspects of what makes up a sustainable house.
A sustainable house is not only well-insulated, draught-proof, dry and warm. It is also one that saves on power use by being north-facing when newly built, but also uses materials and devices such as passive thermal sun-trap concrete strips, solar hot water, photovoltaic cells, efficient light bulbs and energy-star home appliances.
We look at the sustainable house but also how sustainable communities can be built up. We check out double glazing, where you can get free advice from which website and profile the Eco Design Advisors who are free and supported by local councils.

  • The sustainable house
  • Sustainable communities
  • Which website?
  • Double glazing
  • Eco Design Advisors

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Which compressor? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hamish Brown   

Which compressor?Selecting the correct air compressor for a particular job should be a relatively painless exercise. The right choice will provide you with a useful machine that can last for many years, provided you maintain it well. But far too often, choosing a compressor can come down to a random weighing-up of price, cosmetic appearance or misinformation about the compressor’s specification. In fact, the most important thing to consider is the air consumption of any tool to be used with the compressor.
The things you need to consider when buying an air compressor are the same as for any power tool. Firstly, the quality and performance of the compressor will be dependent directly on the price. But you also need to think about several important factors.
1 Choose a good retailer. When looking for a retailer, choose someone you have  bought tools from previously and in whom you have confidence. Buy from an outlet with a good reputation  here the staff have a working knowledge of the products they sell, where future service can be assured and parts and accessories are available.
2 Check the air delivery. Most air tool packaging will have marked on the box the AIR CONSUMPTION of the tool. This is the minimum amount of air required to make the tool operate. When more than one tool is used at the same time, the air consumption of each tool must be added together. The rated output of the air compressor should exceed the air consumption required by the tool.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Making a home-built scaffolding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hugh McCarroll   

Making a home-built scaffoldingI spent last year, busy in my shed building a “personal scaffold.” This is not an alternative to conventional scaffolding but an alternative to a ladder for the person who needs to work safely at height. What makes my “personal scaffold” unique is the post-tensioned wire bracing system. The scaffold is entirely my own idea and creation. I made everything. The only job I had done by anyone else was the welding of the frames.
The scaffold is made of light but strong aluminium tubing. It consists of a base unit incorporating a platform and four adjustable feet so it can be set up on uneven ground, and three modules that mount one upon the other.
The first module consists of two ladder-type welded aluminium frames mounted on the base. The inserts that hold the sections together are a 39 mm OD x 3mm-thick section of aluminium tube, turned down so that the 45mm OD x 3mm standards or constructed frames, will fit over them. The bottom 10 mm of the exposed insert is 38 mm OD to provide a sliding fit on the upper standard. Structurally this is not a problem. The load is essentially vertical with the two standards held plumb one on top of the other.
How did it come about? I needed to re-putty and repaint a box window at first-floor level. The sill of the window is 2.7 metres above the ground and the transom 4.5 metres. Using a ladder would have been extremely difficult. I fell from a ladder a few years ago and, consequently, I am not comfortable more than a couple of rungs off the ground.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Refurbishing my bench plane PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Blackwell   

Refurbishing my bench planeIt’s worth maintaining a treasured hand plane. The metal-based hand plane must be one of the most enduring and useful tools in the kit of any aspiring woodworker. Those of us who take the hobby a little more seriously will have several of them and we will probably argue that we use them all.
I have six or seven but have never bought one. My first one was given to me as a birthday or Christmas present by my parents when I was 11 or 12 years old and this is the plane I am refurbishing for this article.
The Stanley No 5 is often referred to as the “jack plane” because its size makes it the jack of all trades. I have always used the Stanley No 4 as my “go-to” tool but this is probably because this is what my parents gave me when I was young. I own four No 4s now.
Disassemble the plane and clean all the parts. The sole of the plane is where the real business is done and it is important that it is as flat as possible. I usually start with a sheet of 100 grade wet and dry sandpaper and lay it on a flat surface. For this, I use my cast-iron saw-bench table (the experts would use a surface plate) and move the plane backwards and forward. You could glue the wet and dry sandpaper to the surface but I usually either just let it sit there or use masking tape to hold it down.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Gasless wire welding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Holster   

Gasless wire weldingGasless welding using a flux-cored wire is a MIG welding process that relies on a continuous, tubular wire feed.
Some of the benefits of gasless wire welding:

  • Where breeze or wind is a problem, gasless wire is the solution. As with an arc rod, there are no dramas with shielding gas when the wind blows;
  • No need to rent or drag around a gas cylinder;
  • Tubular construction makes the wires very stiff and they have excellent longitudinal strength. Feedability through the rollers and the MIG torch-liner is excellent.

Gasless wire welding was originally designed as a replacement for stick welding, mostly for use outside where protecting gases could be blown away by the wind and higher productivity was necessary. The filler metal for the weld is basically an arc-welding electrode turned inside-out. This mild steel tube or sheath becomes the main filler metal to the arc.
Most gasless wires are renowned for being able to weld over galvanised, painted and rusty surfaces, primarily because of the extra goodies added to the flux. Gasless flux-cored wire is often used in industry because of its “galv-friendly” characteristics. But normal good practice in any welding prep calls for removing as much of the coating, dirt, rust etc as possible, especially when you are welding out of position.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

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