Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Reclaimed/Recycled Wood Bed Frames

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

If you don’t count finding the wood, taking apart whatever it was before, removing the nails, and cleaning it up; then it really only took us a few hours to put these bed frames together.

Oliver’s bed is made from a found futon frame (the nice looking ends), and some cheap, real wood cabinets we bought extremely cheap from a thrift store in town.  The queen size bedframe is made from the same cabinets and a pine futon frame (different than Oliver’s).  Both were designed to have airflow underneath the bed to help with mold issues in the summer.

We’re planning to write a booklet on the different projects we implemented this year, and the design for these will definitely be included, as they were very simple to construct, and in the case of the queen size bed frame, has looots of storage under it.

Making Sandals

Monday, September 13th, 2010

9 people walked away with a new skill and handmade Huarache “barefoot” sandals on Saturday night.  We used the directions from www.invisibleshoe.com and ordered the vibram sole from a wholesaler in bulk.  Total cost for a pair of sandals: $9.  One person used the ripped off soles from a pair of old Chacos, so their total cost was $1 for the rope.

PEX Tubing Rain Barrel Catchment System

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Our rain barrels are finished, full, and functioning. The 1 inch of rain we got over the last 2 days on the 187.5 square foot section of our roof filled them to capacity, which, with overflow space, is about 180-200 gallons.

We used PEX tubing after reading about the potential toxicities of PVC, although, we’re convinced that PEX just hasn’t been tested enough to have found any toxicities, since that just seems how it goes. For the meantime, it works pretty well though. There are no glues to bond, the cuts can be crudely made with a hacksaw, and the tubing is flexible and cheap. All pluses to us, but we weren’t able to find anyone online who has used it on a rain barrel set-up before.

Here’s what we did.

  • Ordered 55 gallon, food-grade barrels from the Memphis (Missouri) Pepsi Bottling Plant. They came to us smelling like the green sweetness of Mountain Dew.
  • Built a frame out of palettes, found wood, and local white oak 4×4′s for the future rain barrels to sit on.
  • Punched out a hole in the middle of the lid which, for some reason, is 3/4 inch threaded- perfect for flipping the barrels upside down and fitting them with PEX adapters.
  • Fit the lids with PEX adapters. Elbows for the outer ones, and Ts for the middles.
  • Put Plumber’s Tape (Teflon Tape) on all the male threads of our adapters and lids to prevent most leaks.
  • Fit PEX tubing along the line to each adapter.
  • Screwed in a hose bib to one of the barrels.
  • Put all the barrels on the frame. (We actually connected two of them at a time, then made the final connection while they were in place on the frame).
  • Drilled two tiny holes in the tops of the three barrels that would not have a downspout connected to them. Big enough to let out the air pressure that would build up from filling from the bottom, but small enough to prevent mosquitoes from access the still water.
  • Cut a hole with a dremel tool in the top of the barrel where the gutter comes down for the water to drain into.
  • Covered the entrance hole with a cut out piece of screen we found and taped it on.
  • Cut an overflow hole in the downspout barrel and fit a gutter piece to it. We cut a flap in the bottom of the gutter so it could slide in and the flap would press against the barrel, then we silicone caulked it to seal and glue it in.
  • Waited for the storm clouds to fill them with the sweet nectar of the heavens (aka rain).

There is one veeeeeery slow leak (the sun nearly dries the leak up as it falls). I have actually yet to see it drip, but water beads on the underside of it and there is a water spot under a PEX T adapter. With that being the only issue, it’s a definite success.

There is sufficient water pressure with the barrels being 3 feet off the ground to use a 50 foot hose to water the garden. We can spray (with our thumb over the end of the hose) the water about 8 feet. Enough to get the job done. If we had put another T adapter on the main line and fit the hose bib there, it theoretically should have had 4x the water pressure, but I’m not positive. We didn’t want to spring the extra 8 bucks for the adapter, and this system seems to function well.

    Rain Barrel Costs for us:

  • Rain Barrels= $40 ($10 each)
  • 4 foot of PEX tubing= $2 (49 cents/foot)
  • 2 PEX elbow adapters= $12 ($6 each)
  • 2 PEX T adapters=$15 ($7.50 each)
  • Hose bib=$6.50
  • Plumber’s Tape=$1.50
  • Rain Barrel Total: $77 or 19.25/barrel
    Frame costs:

  • 6 3-foot oak 4×4′s= $18
  • Palettes= $0

That brings the entire set-up for us to $95. We successfully made a 4 rain barrel, 200 gallon rain catchment system for well under the cost of a single commercial rain barrel.

There will certainly be variations on other’s set-ups, but those were the real costs for us to build our rain barrel catchment system.

Overall the set-up is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and gives us about 200 gallons of water (less than 220 due to the placement of the overflow) to use on the garden when the rain isn’t enough. I plan to put together some kind of pdf/zine on building the rain barrels this way, but if you want to talk to us about this set up and its advantages and disadvantages, or have any ideas on how to improve the system, contact us and we’ll talk rain barrels.