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RE: Orchard startup! Pointers please (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: mrclint on 09.08.2014 at 02:48 pm in Fruit & Orchards Forum

"Hi I just got handed the ultimate opportunity for a gardener.... Land!!"

The ultimate opportunity for a gardener is a mild and sunny climate. It's fairly easy to work around poor soils, small spaces and a multitude of other obstacles, but inclement weather is a huge limitation no matter what size lot you have to work with. I grow a lot of food year round on a fairly small lot in a sunny, mild (leans more toward hot/dry at times) climate.

That said, consider reading up on Backyard Orchard Culture and The Art of Successive Ripening, because even if you have a lot of land it will be a good idea to start out small & manageable. Tending to fruit trees is specialized work that requires a learning curve, planning, etc. Next, check out Recommendations for USDA Zones 5-9. Locating a good, local independent nursery (not a big box store) will be a huge help as well. Lastly, grow things that you and your family like. It will do you no good to grow things that no one will eat. Good luck!

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clipped on: 09.20.2014 at 01:46 pm    last updated on: 09.20.2014 at 01:46 pm

RE: Small Orchard Design (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mr.ed on 08.11.2009 at 05:04 pm in Fruit & Orchards Forum

IMHO �..I would take into consideration air flow, and where low lying frost pockets are. Also how drip irrigation would be layed out (if being used). Plant in order of pollination to get the best possible pollator nearby. Leaving enough separation so a tractor can get through, and to decrease pest or disease spread. Staggering harvest may also be helpful to you.

You could find info on some of this, on the net.

layout
http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/fruits/om100.pdf
http://www.pwarb.com/garden-orchard-design.htm

Some space saving ideas
http://www.orchardchronicles.com/2009/02/the-high-density-home-orchard-hdho/

layout
http://www.taranakifarm.com/blog/?cat=12

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1401.html

bagging principals
http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/article/6/

helpful book

http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/GrowingVegetablesFruitsNuts/3485.aspx

Raspberries basics
http://www.backyardgardener.com/plants/graspberry.html

Blueberry needs
http://www.canr.msu.edu/vanburen/e-2066.htm

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clipped on: 09.20.2014 at 01:33 pm    last updated on: 09.20.2014 at 01:33 pm

How much space between raised veg beds?

posted by: michael_in_chicago on 02.03.2014 at 08:41 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Can anyone weigh in with some comments? I'm moving to a new house with a new garden. My current veg bed area I created myself with raised veg beds and spaces between them at 12-18", yes, inches. It is far too small, I realized later.

At the new place, I'm thinking of spacing them 3' to 3.5' apart. Anything I need to consider - size of garden carts, etc.?

Thanks.

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clipped on: 07.01.2014 at 07:52 pm    last updated on: 07.01.2014 at 07:52 pm

Finished Kitchen: Circa 1840 Working Farmhouse, IKEA Budget Reno

posted by: brickmanhouse on 08.19.2010 at 01:46 am in Kitchens Forum

Hi all,

Well, we've finally got a (mostly) finished kitchen! This kitchen's been in the planning stages for 8 years and I've been in and out of this forum for just about that long-- wow, time flies! Whether I've posted or just lurked, the information I've gotten here has been INVALUABLE.

I can unequivocally say that my kitchen would not look anything like what it does without this Forum, and for that I offer my profound gratitude-- there is, quite literally, no way I could have done it without all of you, past and present.

So, here are the photos of the finished result:

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

For the entire album with detailed photos, just click on the link below any of the photos above!

Here are the details:

Cabinetry: IKEA Lidingo White (with glass uppers) for the perimeter, Tidaholm Brown/Black for the island
Island Knobs & Pulls: Anne at Home Farm Collection and Lewis Dolin Glass Cup Pulls (from Myknobs.com)
Perimeter Knobs and Pulls: Anne at Home Horse Collection, generic polished chrome knobs, cup pulls, and bar pulls (from Myknobs.com)
Wall Paint: BM Revere Pewter
Trim, Hood, and Fireplace Paint: Valspar Bright White (from Lowe�s)
Perimeter Counters: IKEA Butcher Block, stained Black with India Ink and sealed with Waterlox
Island Counter: IKEA Butcher Block, sealed with Watco food safe butcher block sealer
Main Sink: Whitehaus 36" farm sink (from Vintagetub.com)
Island Sink: IKEA single Domsjo, undermounted instead of the usual overmount installation
Faucets: IKEA Hjuvik
Refrigerator: Because we grow a lot of what we eat (so we don't need to store much) and have a large fridge in an adjacent laundry room, we chose a generic small undercounter fridge (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Wine chiller: Sunbeam (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Dishwashers: Kenmore and Hotpoint, both existing and 5-7 years old
Microwaves: 8 year old Kenmores
Island Oven: IKEA Datid 30"
Hood: ProLine 36" range hood (from eBay)
Range: IKEA Praktfull Pro A50
Backsplash Behind Range: Handthrown Williamsburg brick (local brickyard, left over from another project)
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators, Hand Scraped Teak
Island and Sink Pendants: IKEA Ottava
Cabinet lights: IKEA Grundtal single puck lights
Chandelier over the Table: Progress lighting, black 5-light chandelier (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Fireplace: Style Selections 36" Vent Free LP fireplace (Lowe�s, off the shelf)

A few notes about the remodel, just to hit some discussion points I see come up a lot in this Forum:

Our kitchen lives in a big old 1840 farmhouse, which has been part of a working farm since the day it was built. Originally it was soybeans, but now it's part of a gentleman's farm (horses, heritage gardens and poultry), so everything has to be hard wearing and practical. It needs to stand up to heavy traffic, mud, hay, tools, and the occasional chicken (though usually when they wander in, they don't go much further than the family room, because they like the television). That definitely informed our choices for surfaces-- they needed to be hard cleanable, and ultimately easily refinished or replaced down the line.

Because the entire house already has strong architectural elements (huge moldings and built-ins), we worked within the style we already had-- all the kitchen moldings, mantels, panels and cabinets match (or are closely styled after) what already exists in the house. We definitely didn't do a period kitchen (we wanted a 2010 layout with all the conveniences), but we wanted the kitchen to look like it belonged in the house.

The big thing for us was budget-- believe it or not, the entire kitchen was done for UNDER $20K. Four big things contributed to that:

1/ We DIY'ed the ENTIRE project, start to finish. The only thing we hired out was the gas line install for the fireplace and range, because state law requires it. Other than that, all planning, demo, sourcing, and construction was on us. Might be why it took us 8 years. . .

2/ We reused what we could, and scrounged a lot, especially construction materials (which could have been buckets of money, considering all the custom work we did in the space), and kept what appliances we could. It was also a great way to be environmentally responsible on a project that, let's face it, has a lot of non-necessities involved.

3/ IKEA, IKEA, IKEA. If you're anywhere reasonably close to an IKEA, and you're on anything approaching a budget, go check it out. The cabinet quality for the price can't be beat (except for a few pockets of custom cabinet makers), and there are a lot of great accessories, appliances, lighting and other things to be had for a terrific price. As always, you have to pick and choose your items for quality and value, but at least in our experience, it is definitely there to be had for the buyer with a good eye.

4/ We didn't go for major appliance upgrades. Our whole family LOVES to cook (and eat!), and we wanted a great looking, functional space to do it all in, but we just weren't convinced that we needed more than the basics right now. If we want to upgrade down the line, it's easy enough to do, but right now our Wolf budget is standing in our barn eating hay, and our LaCanche budget is steered towards this Show Hunter prospect I have my eye on . . .

So there's our formula for a great kitchen that works for us considering the (kind of odd!) parameters we had. Hope you all can take at least something useful away from our experience.

I've submitted the kitchen to the FKB, and I'll answer whatever questions you've got. . .

Thanks again, everyone!

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clipped on: 02.08.2014 at 01:57 pm    last updated on: 02.08.2014 at 01:58 pm

New Soapstone countertops and base cabinets reveal

posted by: Quadesl on 12.30.2013 at 09:23 am in Kitchens Forum

We employed Humming Bird Woodworks to design, build and install our cabinets and countertops. We went with all drawers except for under the kitchen sink. The corners are dead as we opted for drawers instead. This is the only recent work in the kitchen. The tile backsplash and cork floor by Duro Design were done a number of years ago. We retained the upper cabinets which are original to the house which was built in 1991. We may or may not replace them sometime in the future. For now, we're quite pleased with the final result. Please excuse the quality of the photographs which were taken with an iPhone for convenience, the colors look better in real life.



















This post was edited by Quadesl on Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 9:34

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clipped on: 01.05.2014 at 08:43 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2014 at 08:44 pm

Bluestar Hood news...

posted by: jsceva on 03.22.2012 at 04:34 pm in Appliances Forum

Haven't seen this posted by anyone, but I just saw that as of last Friday Prizer-Painter (i.e., the company behind Bluestar) officially bought the rights to the designs from the recently defunct Independant rangehoods...they have a website up at Prizerhoods.com, using all the old Independant photos, drawings, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Prizerhoods Website

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linky
clipped on: 10.11.2013 at 05:15 pm    last updated on: 10.11.2013 at 05:15 pm

RE: Installing vent hood - Bluestar Pyramid hood (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: thull on 06.05.2013 at 03:36 pm in Appliances Forum

We don't have a BS hood (VAH), but their instructions were to install a mounting strip across the studs and then screw the hood into that. I used a 1x6 with the top corners at either end cut off (due to pyramid shape).

This strip is screwed to the studs over the drywall and then our backsplash is tiled around it (and up to ceiling). The hood sits about 1/4" off the backsplash as a result. You really cant' tell unless you look very close.

Not sure what you're shooting for, but you might want to install your strip (or blocking between studs) and then drywall around/over it if you want the hood flush against the drywall.

Doing something like this would give you the most flexibility to pre-drill the holes in the hood, then get it up and leveled before putting the screws in. Less worrying about hitting a stud under pressure.

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clipped on: 10.11.2013 at 05:04 pm    last updated on: 10.11.2013 at 05:04 pm

RE: To foam or not to foam....and other insulation advice needed. (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 03.13.2013 at 12:00 pm in Building a Home Forum

well well lexmomof3,
took 4 months, but you got here!

upgrade from minimum efficiency produced.
your best investment with the longest payback
& savings is conservation.
correctly sizing the hvac system & upgrading
effeiciecy is the right thing to do.
GET A LOAD CALC.
after all the decisions you don't want to
lose out of comfort & affordability at the
hvac stage. this is the one piece of equipment
that effects everyday comfort & the biggest
comsumer of electricity in your home.

if you are all electric. heat pump.
once you get into 15 seer variable speed
units are available. vs air handlers do great
at controlling rh.
if gas, 90+ for your foamed attic.
a/c side 15 seer.

I find the 'sweet spot' of savings & efficiency
to be 15 t0 17 SEER.
even with ductwork in semi conditioned space,
mastic seal of everything. no duct tape no foil tapes.
returns air tight. make sure this is in bids,
and inspect to be sure you get what you've
requested & paid for.
remember low man on the job runs ducts. make
them take the time to size & install correctly
then seal so that the air goes into living space.
you aren't sizing to condition the attic.

have bids give good (14 seer)
better 15-17 seer
best 17+ seer bids.
then compare pricing & features.
instead of wifi tstat which seem to be the rage
now as apricy upgrade go programable & set
it & leave it alone. put your $$ in the efficiency.

over the years I've seen a lot of folks build
a lot of homes. some get it and put the $$ in the
things you don't see, others build for show
& use minimum specs.
the former have low utility bills & comfort.
the latter have uncomfortable expensive show
places that the later spend thousands trying
to remediate.

go for it now. its cheaper in the long run.
best of luck.

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clipped on: 09.21.2013 at 01:49 pm    last updated on: 09.21.2013 at 01:50 pm

RE: cellulose or spray foam? R-value limit? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 09.07.2013 at 02:11 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

Is that true? no,
you still have to have inches of foam that equals R-value required by code.

closed cell has a higher R-value per inch than open cell.
but both have to meet required R-values.
talk to another contractor that is honest about his product, too much of that 'performs like R-30" you can't put in 3or 4" of foam and call it R-30 it either is or it isn't.

I'd save the foam in the walls money & put foam sheathing boards on exterior, conventional insulation in walls and air tight drywall to the interior, a thermally broken stud wall with added R-value, less expensive insulation in studs & air tight to interior.

I recommend foam for attic rooflines quite often.
in my hot humid climate we use open cell 7" thick.
fills rafter bays, covers faces of rafters, puts the
equipement & ductwork we stupidly put in attic inside
an unvented semi conditioned attic.

tradeoff for tighter, better insulated house is lesser
sized hvac system. bigger isn't better. manual j to
determine size of system as opposed to 400-500
sq ft per ton sizing.

best of luck.

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clipped on: 09.20.2013 at 05:20 pm    last updated on: 09.20.2013 at 05:20 pm

Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists)

posted by: buehl on 04.14.2008 at 02:56 am in Kitchens Forum

First off, I want to give a big thank-you to StoneGirl, Kevin, Joshua, Mimi, and others (past and current) on this forum who have given us many words of wisdom concerning stone countertops.

I've tried to compile everything I saved over the past 8 months that I've been on this Forum. Most of it was taken from a write-up by StoneGirl (Natural stone primer/granite 101); other threads and sources were used as well.

So...if the experts could review the information I've compiled below and send me comments (here or via email), I will talk to StarPooh about getting this on the FAQ.


Stone Information, Advice, and Checklists:

In an industry that has no set standards, there are many unscrupulous people trying to palm themselves off as fabricators. There are also a number of people with odd agendas trying to spread ill rumors about natural stone and propagate some very confusing and contradictory information. This is my small attempt at shedding a little light on the subject.

Slab Selection:

On the selection of the actual stone slabs - When you go to the slab yard to choose slabs for your kitchen, there are a few things you need to take note of:

  • Surface finish: The finish - be it polished, honed, flamed antiqued, or brushed, should be even. There should be no spots that have obvious machine marks, scratches, or other man made marks. You can judge by the crystal and vein pattern of the stone if the marks you see are man-made or naturally occurring. It is true that not all minerals will finish evenly and if you look at an angle on a polished slab with a larger crystal pattern, you can clearly see this. Tropic Brown would be a good example here. The black spots will not polish near as shiny as the brown ones and this will be very obvious on an unresined slab when looking at an acute angle against the light. The black specks will show as duller marks. The slab will feel smooth and appear shiny if seen from above, though. This effect will not be as pronounced on a resined slab.

    Bottom line when judging the quality of a surface finish: Look for unnatural appearing marks. If there are any on the face of the slab, it is not desirable. They might well be on the extreme edges, but this is normal and a result of the slab manufacturing process.


  • Mesh backing: Some slabs have a mesh backing. This was done at the plant where the slabs were finished. This backing adds support to brittle materials or materials with excessive veining or fissures. A number of exotic stones will have this. This does not necessarily make the material one of inferior quality, though. Quite often, these slabs will require special care in fabrication and transport, so be prepared for the fabricator to charge accordingly. If you are unsure about the slabs, ask your fabricator what his opinion of the material is.

  • Cracks and fissures: Yes - some slabs might have them. One could have quite the discussion on whether that line on the slab could be one or the other, so I'll try to explain it a little.

    • Fissures are naturally occurring features in stone. They will appear as little lines in the surface of the slabs (very visible in a material like Verde Peacock) and could even be of a different color than the majority of the stone (think of those crazed white lines sometimes appearing in Antique Brown). Sometimes they could be fused like in Antique Brown and other times they could be open, as is the case in the Verde Peacock example. They could often also go right through the body of the slab like in Crema Marfil, for instance. If you look at the light reflection across a fissure, you will never see a break - i.e., there will be no change in the plane on either side of a fissure.

    • A crack on the other hand is a problem... If you look at the slab at an oblique angle in the light, you will note the reflection of the shine on the surface of the stone. A crack will appear as a definite line through the reflection and the reflection will have a different appearance on either side of the line - there will be a break in the plane. Reject slabs like this. One could still work around fissures. Cracks are a whole other can of worms.

    • Resined slabs: The resin gets applied prior to the slabs being polished. Most of the resin then gets ground off in the polishing process. You should not be able to see just by looking at the surface of a slab whether it was resined or not. If you look at the rough sides of the slab, though, you will see some drippy shiny marks, almost like varnish drips. This should be the only indication that the slab is resined. There should never be a film or layer on the face of the stone. With extremely porous stones, the resining will alleviate, but not totally eliminate absorption issues and sealer could still be required. Lady's dream is an example. This material is always resined, but still absorbs liquids and requires sealer.

    • Test the material you have selected for absorption issues regardless - it is always best to know what your stone is capable of and to be prepared for any issues that might arise. Some stones indeed do not require sealer - be they resined or not. Baltic Brown would be an example here. It will not absorb one iota of anything, but it is still resined to eliminate a flaking issue.

Tests (especially for Absolute Black) (using a sample of YOUR slab):

  • To verify you have true AB and not dyed: Clean with denatured alcohol and rub marble polishing powder on the face. (Get denatured alcohol at Home Depot in the paint department)

  • Lemon Juice or better yet some Muratic Acid: will quickly show if the stone has alot of calcium content and will end up getting etched. This is usually chinese stone, not indian.

  • Acetone: The Dying usually is done on the same chinese stone. like the others said, acetone on a rag will reveal any dye that has been applied

  • Chips: Using something very hard & metal�hit the granite sharply & hard on edges to see if it chips, breaks, or cracks


Measuring:

  • Before the templaters get there...
    • Make sure you have a pretty good idea of your faucet layout--where you want the holes drilled for all the fixtures and do a test mock up to make sure you have accounted for sufficient clearances between each fixture.

    • Be sure you test your faucet for clearances not just between each fixture, but also between the faucet and the wall behind the faucet (if there is one). You need to be sure the handle will function properly.

    • Make sure that the cabinets are totally level (not out by more than 1/8") before the counter installers come in.

    • Check how close they should come to a stove and make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter.

    • Make sure they have the sink/faucet templates to work from.

    • Make sure have your garbage disposal air switch on hand or know the diameter

  • If you are not putting in a backsplash, tell them

  • Double check the template. Make sure that the measurements are reasonable. Measure the opening for the range.

  • Seam Placement: Yet another kettle of fish (or can of worms, depending on how you look at it, I guess!) Seam placement is ultimately at the discretion of the fabricator. I know it is not a really popular point of view, but that is just the way it is. There really is more to deciding where the seam would go than just the size of the slab or where the seam would look best in the kitchen.

    Most stone installations will have seams. They are unavoidable in medium or large sized kitchens. One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum. It seems that a good book could be written about seams, their quality, and their placement�and still you will have some information that will be omitted! For something as seemingly simple as joining two pieces of stone, seams have evolved into their own universe of complexity far beyond what anybody should have fair cause to expect!


  • Factors determining seam placement:

    • The slab: size, color, veining, structure (fissures, strength of the material an other characteristics of the stone)

    • Transport to the job site: Will the fabricated pieces fit on whatever vehicle and A-frames he has available

    • Access to the job site: Is the house on stilts? (common in coastal areas) How will the installers get the pieces to where they need to go? Will the tops fit in the service elevator if the apartment is on the 10th floor? Do the installers need to turn tight corners to get to the kitchen? There could be 101 factors that will influence seam placement here alone.

    • Placement and size of undermount (or other) cut-outs. Some fabricators like to put seams in undermount sinks, some do not. We, for instance will do it if absolutely necessary, and have done so with great success, but will not do so as general practice. We do like to put seams in the middle of drop-in appliances and cut-outs and this is a great choice for appearances and ease of installation.

    • Location of the cabinets: Do the pieces need to go in between tall cabinets with finished sides? Do the pieces need to slide in under appliance garages or other cabinetry? How far do the upper cabinets hang over? Is there enough clearance between the vent hood and other cabinets? Again the possibilities are endless and would depend on each individual kitchen lay-out and - ultimately -

    • Install-ability of the fabricated pieces: Will that odd angle hold up to being moved and turned around to get on the peninsula if there is no seam in it? Will the extra large sink cut-out stay intact if we hold the piece flat and at a 45 degree angle to slide it in between those two tall towers? Again, 1,001 combinations of cabinetry and material choices will come into play on this question.

    You can ask your fabricator to put a seam at a certain location and most likely he will oblige, but if he disagrees with you, it is not (always) out of spite or laziness. Check on your fabricator's seams by going to actual kitchens he has installed. Do not trust what you see in a showroom as sole testament to your fabricator's ability to do seams.

    With modern glues and seaming methods, a seam could successfully be put anywhere in an installation without compromising the strength or integrity of the stone. If a seam is done well, there is - in theory - no "wrong" location for it. A reputable fabricator will also try to keep the number of seams in any installation to a minimum. It is not acceptable, for instance to have a seam in each corner, or at each point where the counter changes direction, like on an angled peninsula.

    Long or unusually large pieces are often done if they can fit in the constraints of a slab. Slabs as a rule of thumb will average at about 110"x65". There are bigger slabs and quite often smaller ones too. Check with the fabricator or the slab yard. They will be more than happy to tell you the different sizes of slabs they have available. Note, though, that the larger the slabs, the smaller the selection of possible colors. Slab sizes would depend in part on the capabilities of the quarry, integrity of the material or the capabilities of the machinery at the finishing plant. We have had slabs as wide as 75" and as long as 130" before, but those are monsters and not always readily available.

  • Generally, it is not a good idea to seam over a DW because there's no support for the granite, and anything heavy placed at or near the seam would stress the stone, possibly breaking it.

  • Rodding is another issue where a tremendous amount of mis-information and scary stories exist: The main purpose for rodding stone would be to add integrity to the material around cut-outs. This is primarily for transport and installation and serves no real purpose once the stone is secured and fully supported on the cabinets. It would also depend on the material. A fabricator would be more likely to rod Ubatuba than he would Black Galaxy, for instance. The flaky and delicate materials prone to fissures would be prime candidates for rodding. Rodding is basically when a fabricator cuts slots in the back of the stone and embeds steel or fiberglass rods with epoxy in the slots in the stone. You will not see this from the top or front of the installation. This is an "insurance policy" created by the fabricator to make sure that the stone tops make it to your cabinets all in one piece

  • Edges: The more rounded an edge is, the more stable it would be. Sharp, flat edges are prone to chipping under the right (or rather wrong) circumstances. Demi or full bullnose edges would almost entirely eliminate this issue. A properly milled and polished edge will be stable and durable regardless of the profile, though. My guess at why ogee and stacked edges are not more prevalent would be purely because of cost considerations. Edge pricing is determined by the amount of work needed to create it. The more intricate edge profiles also require an exponentially larger skill set and more time to perfect. The ogee edge is a very elegant edge and can be used to great effect, but could easily look overdone if it is used everywhere. We often advise our clients to combine edges for greater impact - i.e., eased edge on all work surfaces, and ogee on the island to emphasize the cabinetry or unusual shape.
    Edge profiles are largely dependent on what you like and can afford. There is no real pro or con for regular or laminated edges. They all have their place in the design world. Check with your fabricator what their capabilities and pricing are. Look at actual kitchens and ask for references.


Installation:

  • Seams:
    One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum [StoneGirl]

    • A generic good quality seam should have the following characteristics:
      • It should be flat. According to the Marble Institute of America (MIA) a minimal amount of lippage is acceptable (1/32"), but conscientious fabricators all strive for a perfectly flat and smooth joint.

      • It should be narrow - as in smaller than 1/16". (I think the MIA stipulates no larger than 1/8", but that is pushing it - and only if the fabricator bevels the edges of the seam, almost similar to the edge of a stone tile. This is, thank goodness, not a standard practice any more!)

      • The color on either side of the seam should match as closely as possible. On regularly patterned stones like Ubatuba for example - there should be no variation. On stones with variation in colors or veins, the match should be made as close as was humanly possible.

      • Vein direction should flow. The MIA suggests a single direction of vein flow, but it is acceptable IF DISCUSSED WITH THE CLIENT to change vein direction on a seam if no other option is available. This would happen in book matched slabs - you will have a "butterfly" seam in this case. In other cases, the fabricator could put a miter seam in a corner and change vein direction 90 degrees. This is usually done with extremely linear veining like Bamboo Green, for example, but this is something that should be discussed with the fabricator and agreed upon by the client.

      • The seam on the finished edge of the stone should NOT dip in and create a divot in the edge. When you run your fingers over the edge, you should not be able to feel the location of the seam at all.

      • The thickness of the slabs on either side of the seam should be equal (or feathered out so that there is no discernible difference)

      • The glue in the seam should be of a color that matches the stone as closely as possible. Glue joints that are too light or too dark will show up something terrible. The idea behind tinting the glue is to try to make the seam "disappear" or something relatively close to it

  • Checklist:
    • Check the seams for evenness and smoothness.

      • Make sure that the seams are neat and clean.

      • Make sure that the seams are not obvious.

      • Make sure the seams are butted tight

      • Make sure that there are no scratches, pits, or cracks

    • If sealing is necessary (not all granites need to be sealed):

      • Make sure that the granite has been sealed

      • If more than one application of sealer was applied, ask how long they waited between applications

      • Ask which sealer has been used on the granite.

    • Make sure the sink reveal is consistent all the away around

    • Check the gap of the granite at the wall junctions.

    • Check for inconsistent overhangs from the counter edges

    • Check for chips. These can be filled.

    • Make sure the top drawers open & close

    • Make sure that you can open & close your dishwasher

    • Make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter

    • Make sure that you have the appropriate clearances for your appliances

    • Check the edge all around, a good edge should have the following characteristics:
      • Shine: The edge polish should match the top polish in depth and clarity. The edge should not be milky, dull, or waxy.

      • The edge should not have "waves". Eyeball along the edge. A good edge should have a mirror like reflection and be fairly flat. Waves that you can see or feel are not a good thing.

      • The aris (very top of the edge) should be crisp and straight, even on a bullnose edge. Once again you can see this by eyeballing along the very top end of the edge profile. A wavy, dippy aris is poor craftsmanship.

      • A good edge will have a consistent profile. It will not be larger in some spots or smaller in others.

      • A good edge should also have NO tooling lines. These will be fine lighter/white lines running along the edge. This is a mark of a poor edge polish, of a CNC machine that is not set correctly, and a lack of hand finishing. This is common when a company has only mechanical fabrication (i.e., CNC machines or line polishers) and no skilled hand fabricators to finish the work properly.

    • Run your hands around the entire laminated edge of yor counters to make sure they are smooth

    • Check surrounding walls & cabinets for damage

Miscellaneous Information:

  • More than all the above and below, though, is to be present for both the templating as well as having the templates placed on your slabs at the fabricator's
    If you canot be there, then have a lengthy conversation about seam placement, ways to match the movement, and ways to color-match the counters that will be joined at the seam

  • Find a fabricator who is a member of the SFA

  • When they polish your stone for you don't let them wax it. It will look terrible in 2 months when the wax wears off.

  • Don't use the Magic Eraser on granite--especially AB

  • Any slab with more fill (resin) than stone is certainly a no-no!!

  • When you do check for scratches, have overhead lighting shining down so scratches are easier to see

  • Don't let them do cutouts in place (granite dust becomes a major issue)

  • Granite dust can be a problem...some have heard of SS appliances & hoods damaged by the dust, others have heard of drawer glides being ruined by the dust

  • If you have wood floors--especially if you're in the process of staining or finishing them--make sure that they don't spill or drip granite sealer on the wood floors. Apparently the sealer interferes with the stain or finish process.

  • Suggested Prep for Installation:
    • Remove any drawers and pullouts beneath any sections that will be cut or drilled onsite, e.g., sink cutouts and/or faucet, soap dispenser, air gap, instant hot etc. holes, cooktop cutouts.

    • Then just cover the glides themselves with a few layers of blue painter's tape (or some combo of plastic wrap and tape)

    • If you make sure to cover the top of the glides and attach some of the tape to the cab wall as well (to form sort of a seal)and cover the rest of the glides completely with tape, you should be fine.

    • Usually the fabricators will have someone holding a vacuum hose right at the spot where they are drilling or cutting, so very little granite dust should be landing on the glides. What little dust escapes the vacuum will be blocked by the layer(s) of tape.

    • When done w/installation, remove the tape and use a DustBuster (or similar) on all the cabinets and glides

  • Countertop Support:

    • If your granite is 2 cm thick, then there can be no more then 6" of of unsupported span with a 5/8" subtop

    • If your granite is 3 cm thick, then there can be no more then 10" of unsupported span - no subtop required

    • If you need support, the to determine your corbel dimensions:

    • Thickness of Stone - Dimension of Unsupported Span = Corbel Dimensino

    • i.e., an 18" total overhang in 2 cm would require a 12" corbe; the same overhang in 3 cm would require an 8" corbel

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.19.2013 at 11:20 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 11:20 pm

RE: To zone or not to zone... (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: ionized on 07.05.2013 at 02:41 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

If you do a search on mini split (mini split, mini-split) and Sanyo or Mitsubishi, you will easily find info about alternatives to high wall mounted equipment. I have 2000 sq feet near New Orleans so it is hot and humid here. I have seven rooms with one unit, 6K or 9K, per room. I have high wall, but I wish I had put a ceiling recessed in the smallest room (dining room) and it is obtrusive in there. All of the associated plumbing and cables are run in the stud space and under the house rather then trough exterior walls. All but one are mounted on interior walls.

I like the way my system works for the most part. I would not go back to ducts. There are a couple of drawbacks. I can not do a true set-back with the remotes, only a timed start/stop. Can't do a hard-wired t-stat either. For the heating season, I would like a real set-back. We don't do much heat here so it is not such a big deal. I believe both of these things have been changed for Mitsubishi high wall and you always had those options for ceiling recessed and ceiling hidden.

One thing that came out of the sun that I should have thought of is that maintenance is more time-consuming. I have to keep seven filters clean rather than swapping out one dispo filter now and again. It is not a big deal though.

In heating season they high-wall units turn into good ceiling heaters in the default programming. The blower slows way down as they approach set point. A ceiling fan or setting the air handler manually to a higher speed fixes it. Keep in mind that I have an open crawlspace and a poorly-insulated house that I am working on.

Some of the benefit is lifestyle-related. It is just my wife and I so we just condition the rooms that we are in. I like the way it throttles back. Humidity control is great.

It is easy to run parts of the system on portable generators. At low speed inverter-driven motors are very efficient compared to other types of variable speed. I think that the start-up surge is way less too. I was running two outdoor units with one indoor unit each plus a refrig and chest freezer and a couple of lights on a Rigid Rd6800 genset. I went for a couple of days and I was considering trying to add an additional indoor unit to see if it sagged, but the power came back on.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.19.2013 at 11:09 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 11:09 pm

RE: heat pump mini-split new construction (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mic111 on 07.19.2013 at 11:05 am in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

I can't help with most your questions but I can relay some of our experience.

Doing alot of the installation yourself is probably a good idea if you have the skills (good at following instructions, detail oriented and very strong). It is very hard and the installers we encountered aren't particularly good at following the installation instructions, causing problems down the road. I found the installation manuals pretty easy to follow but there was alot of physical work we could never have tackled.

I did not find any good comparisons of equipment. I did tap into some of the installers forums where they chat with each other and didn't see any big red flags for the name brands like Mitsubishi, LG and Fujitsu. We chose Fujitsu because it had the type of indoor units with the sizing we wanted for ceiling and wall units. I think you would be fine with any of them.

For reference we paid $16K for two outdoor unit and five indoor units so your pricing isn't that far off.

Be sure not to put any units over the bed. You want to locate bedroom units in areas that won't blow on you while you sleep.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.19.2013 at 11:06 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 11:06 pm

RE: Building new home - HVAC options (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 07.29.2013 at 10:40 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

spray foam in rafters for an unvented attic..it is an option.
it allows the hvac contractor to do a regular install instead of configuration of fur downs/trey ceilings etc.
but...unvented foam sealed attics are Semi-conditioned,
not conditioned. the ambient temp & temp inside of the foam sealed attic are usually within 10 degrees of each other.
and, the tradeoff for spending 3x the cost for foam is smaller tonnage hvac system. so hvac co needs to be on board.

using foam covers a multitude of building problems..oversized holes for plumbing & electric. IC instead of ICAT recessed lights, oversized cuts at bath fans, stove vents, fireplaces not sealed off in attic and thermal bypasses all become non-issues when the air & thermal barrier is moved from attic floor to roofline.

as we put more efficient hvac equipment into attics,
we have to be careful. these units produce colder air
(our issue in summer) and plenums condnesate in an vented attic. this is one of the reasons that foam has become such a strong product, because now the attic isn't
as hot, and colder air in the plenum doesn't cause as much condensation in foam sealed unvented attics.

I'm trying to get my page online for videos up and running.
I just uploaded video of an open cell foam install. the videos show how to seal the roof to attic floor (soffit/eaves) connection properly, how to seal at passive turbines on roof (for existing homes) and the last is after rafter bay has been foamed, how to come back & fill in voids & low spots.
later this week I hope to have time to get it up and ready for viewing. drop me an email & I'll share the link. I'm getting pros & cons as to making it open to public...which I'm inclined to do...but have gotten feedback against it...so for now..you'll need a password.

as a homeowner you have to be very selective in chosing
a foam company. it isn't the owner/salesman that makes a good install, but the person doing the install.
if they rush...they miss areas, if they move too slow the job takes longer.
temps of mix,combo of chemicals, roof temp & moisture content all have to be consitered.

I'd expect to see pictures of previous installs, be allowed to go on a job to see the process & to be able to call previous homeowners to see if they achieved savings & comfort after the install. ..yeah...I'm picky!
but I've seen some really bad installs over the years. finding a good company, with an experienced installer...takes time.
as I test the air tightness & measure the depth of the
install, companies locally know that they have to meet
my standards.

here in La., we use open cell foam...what is the type for your area...open or closed?

if you go this route...interview companies. make sure you know going into it that you still have to meet the code requirements for R-values. with closed cell at R-6-7 per inch & open cell at R-4 per inch..the right amount of inches have to be installed. the whole 2-3" 'performs as' is hogwash. 'average' fills are hogwash. you want an install
with no dips (low spots), no voids or gaps & a good seal at the attic floor/rafter area so that no hot humid air enters at
soffit area of the house.

I'm attaching a picture of a good install of open cell.
note that the rafters are 2x6 and are well filled between rafters , faces of 2x's are covered. the bid was for 7", but
at lowest point the foam is 7" thickest point closer to 8".
note the soffit (roof to attic floor) also. this is what is necessary for air seal of attic.

fwiw..the company that did this install, the owner is the installer. in my part of La., these seem to be the people you get the best install from. not so much with salesman
selling job & installer doing the job.

best of luck.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.19.2013 at 11:04 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 11:04 pm

York mini split heatpump

posted by: paintpanther on 07.20.2013 at 05:57 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

Hello forum,

In need of some advices.

We are in the market of a mini split heatpump. We fully understand the japanese brands are the king of mini split. But we have one contractor that we like the proposal and it is for a York Affinity mini split.

Does anyone have experience with York? Please share.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

NOTES:

see thread
clipped on: 08.19.2013 at 10:59 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 11:00 pm

RE: ac system for new home build (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: mic111 on 07.10.2012 at 06:17 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

Ionized,
Thanks for the suggestion. I thought about calling Fujitsu to see if internally blocking one of the vents would void the warranty. Just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. I also feel bad for one of my dogs who sleeps on the floor across from the foot of the bed. She would then be getting even more air. As it is she often creeps off to sleep at the doorway out of the draft. Our other dog sleeps on the bed. Usually he likes to stay down by our feet but with the AC going he will keep moving up till he is even with our heads. We don't keep it very cold. It is set at 76 at night to keep it from coming on too much. But at any temperature when it blows it blows cold and creates a draft.

Your right in that maybe an installer who could have installed the unit in the attic and run the ducts would have avoided this situation. But no one in our area had any experience with that particular unit nor were they interested in doing it. As it was I was struggling to find anyone who had experience with these at all.

And yes we are very happy with the units. Cooling power is unbelievable and the cost is very low to run them. Zoning is amazing. Every area can be set differently and turned on and off as needed. No issue cooling an area down immediately. Plus virtually no noise outside. I can hear the neighbors units and not ours at all. Were on 1 acre lots so the neighbors aren't that close but their ACs are noisy compared to ours. We also have the redundancy with the heating system due to the heat pump functionality in the AC. Could be very valuable if on a cold day our heat system goes out for some reason. This would keep the radiant heating piping from freezing.

I think the main issue with this type of system is the initial cost vs. central air when you already have ducting. With no ducts we didn't have a choice. Eventually we will work through the bedroom draft issue even if we have to buy a canopy bed. Some folks with central air can't cool their bedroom at all so I think most systems have their pros and cons.

Ionized, since you have had both can you compare the operating costs for mini-split vs. central air? I'm curious to know if it is cheaper with mini-split. I think we expected the worst so have been pleased that there is very little cost to operating the system but were coming from using a swamp cooler so don't don't have a point of comparison with what it would have been vs. central AC.

In terms of the point about the aesthetics. With a new build you could completely hide the system. We looked at several options that hide the units in the attic or the wall and you get just traditional looking vents. The only thing that prevented us from doing this was a lack of an installer to take it on. It is called the Slim Duct. Here is a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fujitsu Halycon System

NOTES:

At link: Hopkins is dealer + Safe Air, several in Albany
clipped on: 08.19.2013 at 10:53 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 10:54 pm

RE: Ductless Mini-split Heat Pump (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: daisyblue on 02.22.2013 at 04:53 pm in Building a Home Forum

Thank you for the responses!

Brian Knight ~ Our home is one level (on a slab) with three bedrooms. It will be an open floor plan, just over 2,000 sq.ft. When I said "relatively" air tight/energy efficient I was referring to our quest to balance efficiency with using healthy materials (not a fan of spray foam for example).

We do want to be mindful of proper ventilation/air exchange and have looked into doing something like this (copied from http://homeenergypros.lbl.gov/group/1000homechallenge/forum/topics/panasonic-whisper-green-w-ductless-heat-pump?xg_source=activity):

"Some minisplits may have a small ducted system. Dave Robinson, www.GreenEarthEquities.com buys foreclosed homes in central California that he renovates, using two,1 ton Fujitsu mini-splits. He ducts one to the bedrooms and bath with very limited ductwork located in the hall ceiling. The other unit is ductless, and conditions the living room and kitchen of the one-story ranch homes. There are significant cooling loads with lots of 100 degree weather. His approach of combining ducts and ductless results in simple systems and homes with low energy bills. Dave has case studies posted on his website."
Reply by Dave Robinson on August 31, 2011 at 10:12am
"To be more exact, we use one outside unit (2 ton is the smallest they make in this model - so we use it on everything). One inside unit is the conventional mini split high on the side wall in the main room ... the one that everyone associates with mini splits. The other inside unit is mounted on the ceiling at the mouth of the hallway & delivers air to all the rest of the rooms thru a small duct system that we mount on the existing ceiling of the hallway. So the unit and all the ducts are inside the envelope. Then new drywall is added, reducing the hallway height about 10 inches. We throw the factory filter away and allow a 20 x 30 filter grille right under the air handler to provide a lot more filter area as well as access to the unit without breaking the building envelope. You can see pics of this hybrid duct design at A Good Business? How Long? Plus Ducted MiniSplit Update (Click the right arrow on the photo in the center of the page and it will take you thru a few other slides from that webinar and you'll get to the Mini Split photos). You'll notice we use galvanized pipe. That, along with the oversized return keeps the static way down which is essential for efficiency on these units. This unit has now been in two years. The owner loves it. Zero problems. Has utility bills less than half of his neighbors.

This job also used a Panasonic ERV. We mount the ERV very close to the return of the ducted system and in the pick-up area of the wall mounted unit so all fresh air is circulated by the main system with no additional equipment needed. It works well for us and we have adopted this as our main system. It's the one we specify every time unless we are keeping old equipment that's not too old or too over sized for after our renovation. You'll also notice that we mount the outside unit on the roof instead of on the ground. Lots of reasons."


We are thinking this might work with our floor plan:

 photo FloorPlan1-20-133_zps81921556.jpg


Kirkhall ~ Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I have read more on the HVAC forum. My interest in posting here was to see if ductless mini-splits were at all a preferred choice by those building new homes versus just being used for retrofitting/new additions.


Niteshadepromises ~ "Based on all my research the operating costs are pretty substantially lower which we're looking forward to and hopefully might offset the initially higher install cost." This is in line with what we are thinking too! Good luck with your build!

David Cary ~ The tax credits are wonderful, however, there is that pesky problem of having to pay upfront. With some budget reworking, this may be possible. However, my concern relates to your comment,

"But I'm not sure getting all fancy is worth it.... R20 net walls, good southern exposure with some thermal mass. You won't need that much heat and you shouldn't need a/c."

We don't want to pay for more than we need. The difficulty for us has been determining what our need is when factoring in the passive solar.

I also agree with:

"I've thought about this a lot and I don't know how cold you get but if you have total control of design and southern exposure, your best bet is lots of solar planning, tight house with thick walls. Cover the windows well at night. Then put the money in PV. Code will require too much of minisplits to be cost effective."

To satisfy code, what would your recommendation be for a thermostatically controlled system that is reasonably efficient and cost effective (presuming we could swing the PV)? With good solar planning, another viewpoint is to put in some baseboard heaters to satisfy code. Is this reasonable or silly?

Dekeoboe ~ I'm interested to know what you chose and why?


Flgargoyle ~ As our heating and cooling days are very similar, it's good to know that you think it's a viable option. Though it seems I'm in the minority, I don't really mind the look of the wall units. Maybe it's because I don't find vents and returns all that pretty!


Lori in the NW ~ Thanks for your opinion ~ they certainly are not for everyone!

This post was edited by daisyblue on Fri, Feb 22, 13 at 17:45

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.19.2013 at 10:37 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 10:37 pm

Undermounting the IKEA Domsjo Sink

posted by: brickmanhouse on 08.20.2010 at 07:00 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi all,

I was kind of surprised at the amount of interest that the undermount IKEA Domsjo sink generated in my thread on my new kitchen. It got me to thinking there must be a lot more out there that have considered this particular hack, so I figured I'd try and get some more photos, and give the topic its own thread!

I should say at the outset that, while I love IKEA (obviously!) I think they only got it 80% right on this sink, and the 20% wrong is that dumb-looking (and absurdly wide) back ledge, and the unnecessarily thick side ledges. Honestly, if I couldn't have figured out a way to undermount this sink, I wouldn't have bought it-- it's really clunky as they show it installed. Plus that thick side ledge crumb catcher would have driven me insane.

So. . . those disclosures aside, we just undermounted the Domsjo essentially just like we would have any other undermount installation. There are two ways to undermount a sink, with or without a drip rail, and they are COMPLETELY different. If you're going to do an undermount, be sure you're crystal clear on the difference, and which one you want to do.

The Domsjo single bowl is a 24" sink, and we did a non-drip rail installation, so to undermount it, we used a 30" cabinet.

The sink is designed to sit on two metal rails (they come with the sink) that span the width of the cabinet, and screw into the sides. Those rails are too short for a 30" cabinet, so we just reused a spare cabinet part (a plain 2 x 4 would work equally well) and placed it and screwed it exactly like we would have with the metal.

If you look at the top left corner of this photo, you can see the sink resting on the support:

From 2010-0818

The only tricky part is measuring precisely, to make sure that you place the supports at the right height, so that the top of the sink is exactly level with the top of the cabinet.

Once the sink is sitting level with the top of the cabinet, the counter top goes on, and sits on top of the sink and the cabinet. We just ran a bead of clear caulk along the sink/counter seam:

From 2010-0818

Don't forget to drill the hole for the faucet! That part's easy, though. Because there's a faucet hole on the back deck of the sink, all you have to do is trace it on to the underside of your countertop, and cut it out. The sink is drilled for a single hole mount. If you have your heart set on another style, you'll have to use a diamond hole saw and drill additional holes in the sink deck and countertop.

Trimming the sink out was a touch fussy, but the beauty of IKEA is that you can buy doors and drawerfronts seperately, so we could just mix and match, keep what worked, and return what didn't. Throughout our project, we basically treated our IKEA as a glorified hardware store-- it was a monster collection of finished wood, hardware and parts at our disposal, and we just picked out and played with whatever looked like it might work.

To do the apron around the sink, we used a 30" wide drawerfront (IKEA's deep drawer front-- about 12" high). In this photo, you can actually see that the cut drawerfront around the sink, and the drawerfront in the bottom stack under the microwave are identical:

From 2010-0818

We traced the outline of the front of the sink onto the drawerfront, and cut it with a jigsaw. Finish nailed it into place, then installed the airswitch for the disposal:

From 2010-0818

Because we dropped the height of the sink, none of the standard IKEA doors fit exactly, but the 18" set was really close, so we used those, and just added a small filler strip (maybe 3/4 inch?) above them:

From 2010-0818

Undermounting the sink only drops it by the height of the countertop (usually 1 1/2 inches), so not much changes with the interior space. There is definitely room for a pullout in there, or room for a disposal (we have one):

From 2010-0818

If anyone has any more questions about the sink install, I'm happy to answer what I can!

NOTES:

See also IkeaFans: http://www.ikeafans.com/forums/kitchen-planning/43628-finished-kitchen-1840-farmhouse-kitchen-lidingo-tidaholm-2.html
clipped on: 06.25.2012 at 05:45 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2013 at 10:25 pm

RE: Wall mount ironing board (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: lalitha on 07.20.2012 at 10:34 pm in Laundry Room Forum

I used iron-a-way. They have models that swivel as well as stay straight. The installation was straight forward and the best prices were on eBay.

NOTES:

wall mounted ironing board
clipped on: 07.23.2013 at 01:05 pm    last updated on: 07.23.2013 at 01:05 pm

Deer Repellent Study by Illinois Walnut Council

posted by: Strawberryhill on 06.11.2013 at 11:19 am in Organic Gardening Forum

I found a study of Deer Repellents by Illinois Walnut Council on many products: Here's the rating:

Durapel: made from Benzyl Diethyl and Ammonium Benzoate, worked best in all 3 applications, zero damage.

Deer Away (capsaicin and lemon spray): cause burnt death to one tree, plus deer damage.

Deer Away powder (putrid egg solids): good, no damage.

Deer Chaser (citrus pouches that last for 1 year): excellent.

Deer Off (putrid egg, garlic, capsaicin): excellent.

Plantskydd: from Sweden with blood meal & fatty acids: didn't work well, deer damage

Deer No-No (mixed fatty acids): good, no deer damage.

Hot pepper Wax, Coyote urine, and Garlic clips: didn't work, all had severe deer damage. There was another study on corn field by an airport that reported the same deer damage on Coyote urine versus a control.

Surprisingly the cheapest method of 50 cents of a Dial Bar soap, drill a hole and hang one bar from each tree with fishing line: worked well, zero deer damage.

Other successful methods not mentioned by the study:

Some people said horse manure deter deer, some say it doesn't matter. Here's MariJean Andersen 10/7/2008 5:29:47 PM

"I have found that manures and urine do not deter deer. I've seen deer grazing in pastures with horses. The only thing that has worked for me is hanging aluminum pie plates around the perimeter and between some of the plants. We've watched deer graze on the lawn around the garden but never go into it."

Birds were eating fruits from my cherry tree, so I hung those "American on-line" floppy disc on the tree. The shiny reflecting surfaces kept the birds away ... esp. when the wind made windmills out of those discs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deer Repellent Study by Illinois Walnut Council

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.11.2013 at 07:00 pm    last updated on: 06.11.2013 at 07:00 pm

RE: Good soil test kit? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: kimmsr on 10.06.2012 at 06:37 am in Soil Forum

A soil test done by Michigan State University through the Cooperative Extension Service office is $13.00 per sample, others are less, some more. With that soil test you get information about what is going on in your soil and how to correct any deficiencies. A good, reliable soil test cn help save you money by showing you that you may not need to apply certain materials, or maybe not in the amount someone tells you, one reason why many farmers rely on them to guide what they apply to their fields.
in addition to that soil test these simple soil tests can also help.
1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains� too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

Check with your states Agricultural School, the one with the Cooperative Extension Service offices, to find out about having that good, reliable soil test done.


NOTES:

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clipped on: 10.08.2012 at 12:16 pm    last updated on: 10.08.2012 at 12:16 pm

DIY Seed Tape -- It worked!!!!!!!

posted by: dancinglemons on 04.19.2010 at 02:11 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Hi folks,

Last year I read on GW and other places that I could make my own seed tape with cheapo toilet tissue and Elmer's white school glue. Well.......

First -- I thought the glue would go through the toilet tissue and stick to my table. Right! -BUT- I took care of this problem by putting the strips on top of plain old wax paper.

Second -- I thought the glue would not melt after I put the seeds in it and the seeds therefore would not sprout. Wrong!

Third -- I thought the birds and/or squirrels would pull the paper out of the dirt. Wrong!

I put the DIY seed tape in the ground last week with carrot seed and today I have about 90% germination!! Here is what I did.

I folded cheap 2-ply toilet tissue in 1/2 and cut it in 1/2 making 4 strips about 18 inches long (each strip). I laid each strip on a 2 inch wide strip of wax paper. I put a VERY small dot of white Elmer's school glue every 1 & 1/2 inch. I dropped 2-3 carrot seeds on each dot of glue. I left the entire thing until the glue was dry. Yes, the glue does stick to the waxed paper -but- a very slight tug and it comes apart.

From now until forever I will never purchase seed tape again. I made the tapes for the carrot variety I wanted to grow and for the lettuce variety I wanted to grow.

Just thought I would share this technique.

DL

NOTES:

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clipped on: 09.16.2012 at 05:18 pm    last updated on: 09.16.2012 at 05:18 pm

RE: How to germinate a mango seed (Follow-Up #98)

posted by: kineto on 11.09.2007 at 04:27 pm in Tropicals Forum


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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clipped on: 09.15.2012 at 05:28 pm    last updated on: 09.15.2012 at 05:28 pm

Wanna trade garlics?

posted by: Lorabell on 07.12.2012 at 07:33 pm in Allium Forum

I've 6 varieties of artichoke garlics that do well down here in the hot NC weather.
Applegate giant
Red Toch
Translvania
Early Red Italian
Roque Rivier red
Inchelium red

I'm looking for some Creole garlics that also do well down here.
Rose de lautrec
Germinator
etc
I've 5-6 good sized cloves of each in exchange for 5-6 good sized cloves of some creoles.

Thanks in advance. Patrioticcrafts@aol.com

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clipped on: 08.28.2012 at 10:09 am    last updated on: 08.28.2012 at 10:09 am

RE: Easiest/cheapest way to convert my grassy backyard into a gar (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: jrslick on 08.08.2012 at 12:24 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

When ever I am breaking up new ground for a new garden spot, I wait until early spring. However, I start the previous fall. First I mow off the area, then drop the mower to the lowest setting and "Scalp" the grass. I do this every week in the fall (or sooner). Then I continue to do this during the winter, if it is mild.

Early in the year, I use a tractor mounted tiller and till up the area I had been scalping. Then I deal with the few grass plants that try to come up. I really haven't had much of a problem doing it this way.

Here is a spot I did this to last year and planted this spring to melons.

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Just need to till between the rows and the weeds and grass are gone. Here is a picture of the same spot from two nights ago. The melons were done, there were no blooms so I tore them out. Getting ready to replant something into the plastic mulch.

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Here is a spot I did this to two years ago.

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Another spot, same time.

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I am tearing up "pasture" and not a yard, but it works for me.

Jay


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clipped on: 08.20.2012 at 02:32 pm    last updated on: 08.20.2012 at 02:32 pm

RE: DEER and other animals eating your garden ? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: tammyinwv on 06.18.2012 at 07:32 am in Potager Gardens Forum

I live in the country in WV. I live on 2 acres with woods surrounding 2 sides. We have a lot of deer. One year, a deer chased my approx 50 lb dog across our back deck. Another time we watched a mother deer nurse her twins from our living room window about 20 feet away. They eat our shrubs, hostas,new trees,etc. We hadnt seen our tulips bloom for yrs. tried many tricks. Dial soap, hair, mix of cayenne pepper etc to spray on plants and more. Nothing helped.
Then about 2 yrs ago, I read about Milorganite. I decided to give it a try. I left my front yard as the trial untreated area. I hung knee hi sacks of about 1.5 cups of the stuff in trees and shrubs around the perimeter of my back yard where most of my plants are, and where I wanted a veggie garden. When I tried planting veggies before, all I accomplished was feeding the deer. Anyway, for two blessed yrs I had tulips, hostas and veggies. Nothing was bothered in my backyard. I did see them walking the perimeter tho, and things were still eaten in the front yard, including my new willow rubbed in half. My veggie garden goes untouched. There is no odor from it. Just dont get the bag wet, or you wont want to use it. I found that out when I needed to reapply beginning of the 3rd yr, and wen to scoop some out. Once the bag is wet, the smell is worse than any outhouse you have ever smelled when you disturb it. There is no noticeable smell until you dig in then, but if kept dry, its fine. I couldnt believe that it lasted full yrs. If you have deer problem, give this a try. The sacks in hosery are not even noticeable.
Tammy


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clipped on: 08.20.2012 at 11:51 am    last updated on: 08.20.2012 at 11:51 am

Brands/Products That I'd Use Again

posted by: worthy on 09.19.2007 at 01:57 pm in Building a Home Forum

Gotta have a counterpoint!

My most pleasant surprise over the last few years have been Danze plumbing fixtures. Low-priced vs. competition but very durable and reliable. (Free replacement cartridges too.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Danze Opulence single-handle faucet in copper, Mexican copper vessel, granite counter, Canac Cabinetry, accessories from Bombay Furniture

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clipped on: 07.24.2012 at 09:51 am    last updated on: 07.24.2012 at 09:51 am

Home security system advice

posted by: graceshan on 01.07.2012 at 04:48 pm in Building a Home Forum

We live in a really safe neighborhood, but I don't want to miss out on wiring up for a home security system while we are in the electrical wiring phase of construction (in case we decide we do want a system). Since our new house will be much nicer than our old one, it might be more prone to burglars I suppose. At the very least I wanted to have a camera at the front door since our main living space is upstairs and the front door is downstairs.

Any suggestions? We are already over budget and it's straining a bit. I've heard about wireless options for security or having systems linked to your cell phone instead of a company. I'm just not sure what our options are for this type of thing short of having a security company come in and do all the wiring and having to pay them for service. Have others done pre-wiring before or used wireless systems before?

Thanks,
Shannon

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clipped on: 07.21.2012 at 12:15 pm    last updated on: 07.21.2012 at 12:15 pm

Audio/Video Planning in a new house david_cary please help!

posted by: dreambuilder on 06.26.2012 at 03:20 pm in Building a Home Forum

I know there are several posts relating to this. Lots of great responses from david_cary--wondering if he or others have options for me? We are looking to build in the next year. I want an integrated system for whole house audio, security, lighting, heat/air zones? I would like to either use iphones or have touch pads in walls. I don't necessarily need to listen to different songs in different areas but that would be nice. Also, if you have cable through directv, etc...do you run that with the audio system? What is the benefit to tying that in with your audio--just to let you listen to the tv through speakers? Are there other options than cable? I know some people are using apple tv's etc...I don't want to spend a ton of money--$5k or under--is that possible? Bottom line--can you explain to a novice what systems would be good to start with and what types of wiring I need to make sure are included? Thank you!

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clipped on: 07.21.2012 at 12:08 pm    last updated on: 07.21.2012 at 12:09 pm

Finished Kitchen: Circa 1840 Working Farmhouse, IKEA Budget Reno

posted by: brickmanhouse on 08.19.2010 at 01:46 am in Kitchens Forum

Hi all,

Well, we've finally got a (mostly) finished kitchen! This kitchen's been in the planning stages for 8 years and I've been in and out of this forum for just about that long-- wow, time flies! Whether I've posted or just lurked, the information I've gotten here has been INVALUABLE.

I can unequivocally say that my kitchen would not look anything like what it does without this Forum, and for that I offer my profound gratitude-- there is, quite literally, no way I could have done it without all of you, past and present.

So, here are the photos of the finished result:

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

For the entire album with detailed photos, just click on the link below any of the photos above!

Here are the details:

Cabinetry: IKEA Lidingo White (with glass uppers) for the perimeter, Tidaholm Brown/Black for the island
Island Knobs & Pulls: Anne at Home Farm Collection and Lewis Dolin Glass Cup Pulls (from Myknobs.com)
Perimeter Knobs and Pulls: Anne at Home Horse Collection, generic polished chrome knobs, cup pulls, and bar pulls (from Myknobs.com)
Wall Paint: BM Revere Pewter
Trim, Hood, and Fireplace Paint: Valspar Bright White (from Lowes)
Perimeter Counters: IKEA Butcher Block, stained Black with India Ink and sealed with Waterlox
Island Counter: IKEA Butcher Block, sealed with Watco food safe butcher block sealer
Main Sink: Whitehaus 36" farm sink (from Vintagetub.com)
Island Sink: IKEA single Domsjo, undermounted instead of the usual overmount installation
Faucets: IKEA Hjuvik
Refrigerator: Because we grow a lot of what we eat (so we don't need to store much) and have a large fridge in an adjacent laundry room, we chose a generic small undercounter fridge (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Wine chiller: Sunbeam (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Dishwashers: Kenmore and Hotpoint, both existing and 5-7 years old
Microwaves: 8 year old Kenmores
Island Oven: IKEA Datid 30"
Hood: ProLine 36" range hood (from eBay)
Range: IKEA Praktfull Pro A50
Backsplash Behind Range: Handthrown Williamsburg brick (local brickyard, left over from another project)
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators, Hand Scraped Teak
Island and Sink Pendants: IKEA Ottava
Cabinet lights: IKEA Grundtal single puck lights
Chandelier over the Table: Progress lighting, black 5-light chandelier (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Fireplace: Style Selections 36" Vent Free LP fireplace (Lowes, off the shelf)

A few notes about the remodel, just to hit some discussion points I see come up a lot in this Forum:

Our kitchen lives in a big old 1840 farmhouse, which has been part of a working farm since the day it was built. Originally it was soybeans, but now it's part of a gentleman's farm (horses, heritage gardens and poultry), so everything has to be hard wearing and practical. It needs to stand up to heavy traffic, mud, hay, tools, and the occasional chicken (though usually when they wander in, they don't go much further than the family room, because they like the television). That definitely informed our choices for surfaces-- they needed to be hard cleanable, and ultimately easily refinished or replaced down the line.

Because the entire house already has strong architectural elements (huge moldings and built-ins), we worked within the style we already had-- all the kitchen moldings, mantels, panels and cabinets match (or are closely styled after) what already exists in the house. We definitely didn't do a period kitchen (we wanted a 2010 layout with all the conveniences), but we wanted the kitchen to look like it belonged in the house.

The big thing for us was budget-- believe it or not, the entire kitchen was done for UNDER $20K. Four big things contributed to that:

1/ We DIY'ed the ENTIRE project, start to finish. The only thing we hired out was the gas line install for the fireplace and range, because state law requires it. Other than that, all planning, demo, sourcing, and construction was on us. Might be why it took us 8 years. . .

2/ We reused what we could, and scrounged a lot, especially construction materials (which could have been buckets of money, considering all the custom work we did in the space), and kept what appliances we could. It was also a great way to be environmentally responsible on a project that, let's face it, has a lot of non-necessities involved.

3/ IKEA, IKEA, IKEA. If you're anywhere reasonably close to an IKEA, and you're on anything approaching a budget, go check it out. The cabinet quality for the price can't be beat (except for a few pockets of custom cabinet makers), and there are a lot of great accessories, appliances, lighting and other things to be had for a terrific price. As always, you have to pick and choose your items for quality and value, but at least in our experience, it is definitely there to be had for the buyer with a good eye.

4/ We didn't go for major appliance upgrades. Our whole family LOVES to cook (and eat!), and we wanted a great looking, functional space to do it all in, but we just weren't convinced that we needed more than the basics right now. If we want to upgrade down the line, it's easy enough to do, but right now our Wolf budget is standing in our barn eating hay, and our LaCanche budget is steered towards this Show Hunter prospect I have my eye on . . .

So there's our formula for a great kitchen that works for us considering the (kind of odd!) parameters we had. Hope you all can take at least something useful away from our experience.

I've submitted the kitchen to the FKB, and I'll answer whatever questions you've got. . .

Thanks again, everyone!

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clipped on: 06.25.2012 at 06:02 pm    last updated on: 06.25.2012 at 06:03 pm

RE: Small things that get forgotten (Follow-Up #59)

posted by: Laura12 on 06.03.2012 at 01:19 pm in Building a Home Forum

All the suggestions posted on this thread have been so valuable, though I'm sure many of you (like myself) find your head spinning with all the ideas, so I just sat down and categorized them all!

Closet & Organization
- Plugs in several closets
- Make sure your closet has enough space for both double hung rods, and singles to accomadate long clothes
- Full size broom cupboard in pantry or laundry room to hide all the cleaning items away from sight.
- More closet/linen space than you think you'll need
- Cubbies in mudroom with an outlet in each one
- Motion sensor on pantry and closet lights

Bath
- Plug in master toilet closet for night light
- Outlets inside vanity cabinets (upper and lower) in bathroom for dryer etc.
- Heated towels racks
- Don't caulk the bottom of your toilet to the tile to hide potential leaks
- Make use of the pony wall in a bathroom by turning it into storage.
- Vac pans for hair
- Appliance garage on counter

Outdoor
- Run conduit under the driveway for future wiring or plumbing needs
- Prewire speakers both indoor and outdoor
- Ensure you have hose outlets and power on all 4 sides of your house, and on top of any raised areas
- Hot/cold outdoor water is good for washing pets
- Motion sensor pre-wire for selected exterior lights
- Keypad entry on garage door (Keypad entry on front door is great as well)
- Gas line to grill

Kitchen
- Plugs in kitchen pantry for charging, or for items that may end up living there
- Recess the fridge
- With wide islands put cabinets on the both sides. While they are not easy to get to, they are good for storing seldomly used items.
- Built in paper towel holder
- Custom storage organization in kitchen drawers
- Warming drawer in dining room
- Pantry entrance near both kitchen and garage
- Custom shelves and a place to plug in appliances in pantry
- Plugs above cabinets for Christmas lighting
- Set up for both gas and electric appliances
- Pantry door on swivel
- Pantry light on motion sensor
- Copper tubing for your ice maker from the freezer and until it's out of the kitchen wall
- Drawer microwave
- Knife drawer
- Pull-out garbage/recycling/laundry (for dirty dish towels/napkins/bibs!)
- Paper towel holder in drawer slot
- Drawers for all lower cabinets (more efficient use of space)
- Two soap pumps at sink (one for handsoap, one for dish soap)
- Easy-access place to store frequently used appliances
- place to hang hand towels & aprons

Electrical & Plumbing
- Prewire security system & cameras
- Run wire and prepare roof for future solar
- Run a 2" PVC pipe up from the basement to the attic for future wiring needs, some suggested double conduits.
- Seperate 20z circut with outlets at waist height in garage to plug in tools
- Seperate 20z ciructe for TV and a/v equipment
- Identify areas for low voltage can/rack
- Pre-wring for music and speakers, inside and outside
- iPad controllers in the walls to control whole house music systems
- Pre-wire for generator to essential areas
- Carbon monozide unit on the wall upstairs
- Make sure plumbing in bathrooms are done correctly. One commenter's toilet was placed too close to the tub pipes so I couldn't get the deeper tub because they didn't allow room.
- Cast iron pipes for the plumbing drops from the second floor cuts down on noise
- Take pictures of all the walls before Sheetrock went up so you knew where all the wiring was in case you needed to add or change anything.
- Include a 220V to garage (tools, future electric car etc)
- Measure the location of anything under the slab, and various utilities out in the yard.
- Run an electrical line with a few floor outlets, especially since we have very open floor plan and couch sets are not against a wall
- Plumbed for a built-in drinking fountain,

Lighting
- Light switch to the attic in the hallway (and remember lights in attic in general)
- Solar tubes in areas that don�t get natural sunlight
- In cabinet lights and outside lights on timers
- Make sure you check the cost ratings of ceiling fans
- Check all remotes for ceiling fans prior to construction completion
- 3 way switches where helpful
- Master switch from master that controls all exterior lights
- A master switch at each exit (Front, back or garage), that turns off all of the power to the switches/lights in the house, so that you can turn off all lights without going to each room and/or light switch.

Master
- 4 plug outlets near the bed in the master
- A light switch at the head of your bed so you can turn out the light once you are in bed.

Holiday
- Plugs under eaves for holiday lights, with a switch inside to turn on and off.
- Enough storage for Christmas decorations
- Seasonal closet with hangers for wreaths, and space for rubbermaid storage boxes.
- Plugs for Christmas lights: over cabinets, in stairway, in porch ceiling, under eaves

Heating, Cooling, and Vacuums
- Central Vac with vac pans, if you have hardwood floors - get a Hideahose
- Plan where furnace vents will go instead of letting the builder decide
- Hepa filtration for allegergy sufferers
- WarmFloors heating

Overall
- Read Myron Ferguson has a book out, "Better Houses, Better Living"
- Receptacles for fire extinguishers. Maybe plan some cutouts so they are flush to the wall.
- Where possible pocket doors
- Secondary dryer lint trap http://www.reversomatic.com/category/Accessories-Catalogue/Lint-Traps.html
- Soundproofing where needed
- Stairs from garage to basement
- A phone by the door leading into the garage for those pesky calls when you are getting in or out of the car
- An inside button to open and close your garage door for when guests arrive and its raining.
- Additional support during framing on the top side of windows for curtains
- Power outage flashlights and keep in outlets around around house. Recess these into the space with each fire extinguisher.
- Mailbox sensor to alert you whenever your mailbox is opened so that you're not running out of the house checking for mail when it's not there.
- Ensure builders don't "box" off spaces, where storage or shelving could go
- Make copies of manuals prior to installation and give the builder the copies so you can keep the originals.
- Minimal walls, and lots of windows.
- A laundry room. Not just a hall, or closet, a room.
- Spindles and hand rail made that can be removed for moving furniture
- Handicapped accessible.
- Plan an elevator shaft in case you want to install one later, in the meantime it will serve as storage closets.

Pets
- Plan a specific place for your dog food,
- Place for the kitty box,
- Place for dogs to be bathed
- place for dog crates
- Exhaust fan in laundry room for litterbox

Regional considerations:
- an ante-room, with coatracks and shoe storage, and a way to keep the heat in.
- An entrance to the basement from outside for salt delivery, repair men etc so they don't track thru your house.
- storm shelter to weather the threats your area faces.
- a mosquito system http://www.mistaway.com/watch-the-mistaway-video.html and http://www.mosquitonix.com/mosquitonix
- little covered niche for bear spray at/near each entry.
- Drain in the garage to get rid of the excess water quicker from vehicles after it snows
- Pest line (brand name Taexx) a small tube is run around the perimeter of the home through the framing, and then pest control can spray within it.

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clipped on: 06.09.2012 at 09:44 pm    last updated on: 06.09.2012 at 09:44 pm