Dennis Country

Dennis Country

Welcome to my blog ...

Please send me an email if you wish to leave a comment. My website includes sections on the environment, green woodworking and some industrial history photos from Gwent, UK.

Cheap Extractor Fan Filter

MiscellaneousPosted by Dennis Hopkins Thu, March 03, 2016 09:10PM
After a few years one of my ceiling extractor fans wasn't working well, and I found that the fan and ducting had become clogged with fibres drawn in through the vent. It was hard work to remove and clean the fan and replace the ducting, so I decided to put a simple filter behind the ceiling vent to reduce the need for maintenance. For a filter, I used a couple of cable ties and some mesh similar to that used to package fruit (in this case the mesh packaging of a new duct section). The photo below shows the "press fit" filter in place in the frame of the ceiling duct - some fibres have been caught after a period of use.
Of course it's important to ensure that the "filter" cannot impact the fan blades - here the tension of the cable ties holds the mesh in place at the start of a 1 metre long duct. I made a second filter, shown in comparison with the partially clogged one in the photo below.


Stock Fence Strainer Post Strut

MiscellaneousPosted by Dennis Hopkins Fri, July 31, 2015 10:15AM
In this thrilling installment I've included a couple of photos of my trial of a way of installing a straining post strut, based on a method described in the Forestry Commission online booklet "Technical Guide - Forest Fencing" (60 pages, not fully studied yet). In this method the strut is not embedded in the ground. I placed the end of the strut on a flat stone, secured with a nail through the "thrust plate" stake. The stake is tensioned towards the straining post using strands of wire, but there seems to be an error in Fig. 5a on page 7 of the document - the wire should be on each side of the strut.

I thought an advantage of this method was that the strut may be less liable to rot, and the wire could help prevent the strut slipping laterally. I'm not sure about using a nail to fix the strut to the stake, but I used one having pre-drilled the stake to reduce any tendency for it to split. A possible disadvantage to consider is that animals may get caught in the straining wire, but a section of stock wire could be fixed to the normally unwired side. As usual, I failed to line up the struts on the straining post, but perhaps that may weaken it less.
Note: This was part of a relatively short fence (10m + 30m) which didn't require a very high tension, hence the small diameter straining post and short struts).



Eclipse 2015

MiscellaneousPosted by Dennis Hopkins Fri, March 20, 2015 07:33PM
I snapped this image of the partial eclipse in south Wales on 20 March 2015 at about 9:14am. I held binoculars in one hand to project an image onto a garden bench, camera in the other hand - surprisingly something recognisable was captured!



Garden Screens

MiscellaneousPosted by Dennis Hopkins Sun, June 02, 2013 09:57PM
Just made a "rustic" screen to put in front of a mahonia shrub which blackbirds had decided to nest in - to give in a bit more protection against cats etc.. Commercially available "wattle" screens can look impressive, but it's possible to make your own, especially if there is some suitable wood to hand.
This screen was thrown together quickly (obviously), and is about 5 x 5 feet (150 x 150 cm), has hazel uprights, with willow and hawthorn brush wood woven horizontally. This should last a couple of years, but could be made more durable depending on the types of wood used (woven split hazel rods are traditionally used). A jig is useful to hold the bottom of the vertical stakes in place during construction. In this case, timber about 7ft x 4ins x1.5ins (210 x 10 x 4 cm), with holes drilled at about 6 ins (15cm) intervals. This would normally be removed after building, but this one has been left in situ.Another rustic screen (my preferred and only type), with tools and jig.


Snow Shoes

MiscellaneousPosted by Dennis Hopkins Mon, April 01, 2013 11:02PM
These are some strap on snow shoes I made from hazel and willow a couple of years ago. I used wire to bind the sticks together - more traditional materials could be string made from nettle or bramble stems
The wood was green when I made them, and is now well seasoned. They are cheap and lightweight, more emergency equipment rather than for long distance. An improvement for the next pair would be to make the horizontal pieces a 'U' shape and weave into the sides.
They worked for several 100 metres where the snow was not continuous or partially melted, and should have done more in "good" snow. It's useful to carry string etc. to carry out repairs if required. A two strap binding method worked, and I found an old cycle inner tube was also effective as a fastening.