clamshell firewood salvaging backpack
Sunday, February 9 2020
Being social animals, dog have a strong sense of fairness. So When Gretchen left for the bookstore with Neville today, I did the usual thing to soften Ramona's FOMO trauma: I gave her a couple vegan dog treats. But then I went one better, and got one of the skeletonized legs off the laboratory deck (where, a couple months ago, I'd put them to get them away from Neville) and cut out one of the joints with the bandsaw and gave that piece to Ramona. It only took her an hour or so to break it into pieces and eat all the marrow it contained. So then I sawed her out another piece. She didn't make as much progress with that one, and eventually Neville got to chew on it when he and Gretchen returned this evening.
When I conducted my first experiment of the day with the cursed Particle Photon, I did so in the laboratory, and it immediately worked without any additional configuration. I'd set it to connect to a WiFi router in the laboratory, and it hadn't worked at all in the bedroom, but in the laboratory it worked fine. This suggests that all the late-stage headaches it had given me were due to its fussiness over the quality of the WiFi. I finally had it working enough to eventually make it into the brains for a weather station, though I'm still not happy about being dependent on the cloud services of Particle.io to make updates to the weather station's software.
Since it was destroyed, I'd been looking for some replacement for the fold-out shelf on my firewood-hauling frame backpack. At some point I happened to notice a small frame backpack hanging with the other firewood-related equipment. It's one of two such backpacks that I bought cheap on eBay before buying the big one that I use today. Given their size, I think they were designed for Boy Scouts or perhaps even Cub Scouts. Though they're not particularly useful as backpacks, I realized that I could use the frame of one for something like a fold-out shelf. But it was a bit big for that, so perhaps it could act more like the other valve of a clamshell going Pacman on load of firewood. Using the small backpack's existing straps, it was easy to attach it to the bottom of my bigger backpack in a loose hinged arrangement. From there, it wouldn't take much cordage to secure a large load of firewood. One of the big problems with the way I'd traditionally done things (using bungee cords) was that I'd had to use four or five of them, and if I didn't do it just right (securing individual lower pieces tight against the frame), the load would sink to the bottom of the pack and form a large cylindrical mass that would (for reasons too complicated to explain) would be difficult to carry. With the new clamshell design, the stiffness of the other "valve" would keep this from happening, meaning I'd have to do much less load preparation. With fewer bungee cords, it would also be easier to put everything away at the end of the salvage.
I tested the new pack by salvaging a smallish skeletonized chestnut oak several hundred feet west of the Farm Road. I assembled a very heavy load without too much effort, and, as always, the most difficult part of the salvage was just getting to my feet with that pack on my back. When I later weighed it, it came to 136 pounds (that includes the weight of the pack but not the saw and it's not a record).
I've been slowly working on the project to build hatches for the holes in the ceiling of the basement hallway. I've only built one hatch so far, and today I wanted to see if I could attach it to ceiling using rare earth magnets. In my mind, this was going to be easy, but after installing a couple magnets with screws in a ceiling joist and a couple steel screws in the hatch, a simple test demonstrated that the magnets were nowhere near strong enough to hold the weight of the hatch. I'll either have to use big expensive magnets or figure out some other way to secure the hatches (like screws or bolts with wingnuts).
My firewood-salvaging backpack after adding the little frame from a cheap Boy Scout backpack.
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