The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

How to Forge Steel

“Mike Blue, Randall Graham, Ric Furrer, making steel at Larry Harley’s in May 2006. Lecture and Demonstration. Filmed by Christopher Price of The Tidewater Forge. 9 minutes.”

The inputs are alternating layers of charcoal chunks (1 inch cubes) and iron ore powder. The furnace is based on a traditional Japanese design and is “sacrificial.”


How To Make Oat, Nut or Seed Milk

Nutritionist Samantha Peris shows us how to make oat, nut or seed milk. She uses oats as the main ingredient for the milk in this video.

How to Build A Foundry Furnace For Under $100

From depronfreak: “Built me an furnace ! and created a guide.
I use it to melt silver for casting purposes (max 35 ounces at one time)
Everything in the project costs less than 100 $”

How To Make Flour Tortillas

Here’s a step-by-step on how to make flour tortillas.

The poster, abrahamdiaz writes “This is the traditional recipe made in northern Mexico. Ingredient measurements should be followed exactly as shown in instructions; water quantity may vary depending on desired mixture texture. This recipe makes about 18 tortillas.”

His recipe uses vegetable shortening – since that’s a modern product – that wouldn’t be traditional. Maybe in the past they would have used lard. But he anyway, gives a substitution measurement for vegetable oil.

Here’s mszeineb’s veg oil version:

From Fruit Leather to Fruit Drink

Another use, this one quite old, for fruit leather/dehydrated fruit puree. Apparently, in the Middle East dried apricot puree is made into a refreshing fruit drink.

The fruit leather is reconstituted by soaking in warm water for several hours (overnight) – can also be put into the blender to speed things along – then it is refrigerated. You can adjust the amount of water and add a sweetener if you feel it necessary at this point.

The following videos show two slightly different techniques. A warning that the background music in both is fairly loud (I’d mute it, as there is no talking in either video, just visual demonstration).

Vertical Cargo Carrier For A Bike

From Bruce Thomson in New Zealand:

“A strong carrier with vertical steel bars can carry even a guitar plus a banjo plus a backpack (or similar otherwise ‘impossible’ loads. As in the previous video ‘ Cheapest strongest bicycle trailer ‘ this vid enables you to survive very well without a car.

This vertical rack saves you having to tow a trailer (less weight and bulk, less tyre drag, no need to chain a trailer with your bike). Buy a really strong, wide carrier – sometimes at garage sales or 2nd hand shops, but new at bike shops (in New Zealand about $60, groan, but worth it.)

Ask a friend or any local mechanic to weld a flat bar that extends the carrier to the seat post, and some struts that prevent the carrier wobbling side to side. (Scrounge around or go to a scrap metal place to provide the metal at no/low cost.

Basket can be from an old fridge, garage sale, hardware megastore or a shop-outfitting equipment specialist. For the vertical bars, scrounge a lawnmower push handle or similar. They’re pipe, but strong and lightweight. To bind it all together, tie with bicycle tubes cut with scissors end-to-end.

Also note the bike stand – two legs, so the bike can stand up by itself, very handy when loading. Available sometimes at garage sales, or new from shop in NZ about $40.

CAUTION: As with any car loading, be sure to tie your loads very securely with rubber straps. Risks: Heavy load wobbling in traffic, dangling straps can get into the back hub or derailleur, suddently crippling the bike in traffic.

Tie tight, with some EXTRA straps in case one fails. Then face that deadly traffic confident your load is really secure. At the time of writing my left leg is still aching from the steel pin the surgeon had to put in my tibia bone – at an intersection, the violent snout of a green-light too-eager car broke both bones in my left leg.

Storing Eggs In the Old Days


Eggs photographed by AND12...

Imstillworking gives a really detailed explanation of the different preservation methods that were used in the past, in the absence of refrigeration to store eggs. She also covers salmonella in eggs. egg bloom, the conditions under which chickens lay well, etc. at length.

Here are the results of her experiments:

Antelope Valley Inexpensive BoxBike Build

A boxbike (bakfiets) is a kind of cargo bike popularized in the Netherlands. They can be a really useful way to get around — and to move your stuff around – but they are also very expensive to buy (prices are in the thousands).

Here’s an inexpensive boxbike build tutorial by a member of the High Desert Cyclists Club of Antelope Valley, California:

S/he writes “I started this over two weeks ago and spent $50 total [my emphasis]. It took 2 complete bikes and one old long-john project bike to complete it. Many parts were re-purposed. Cantilever brake bosses were used for the steering linkage along with go-kart heim joints.”

How Much Food Can I Grow Around My House?

Judy Alexander in Port Townsend, Washington (a city of 9,000 people about 40 miles north of Seattle) talks about how and what she’s been growing and gives us a tour. I found the rainwater/rain barrel irrigation system she and her brother rigged really interesting.

Easy Way To Clabber Raw Whole Milk

Wardeh Harmon (Gnowfglins) in southwestern Oregon makes sour cream for her family and soured (clabbered) milk for her chickens and dog from raw milk she gets from the family cow.

She writes, “We get around 4 gallons of milk per day from our Jersey cow. For our family, this is plenty to make cheese, butter, kefir, ice cream and more — plus we have some to share with friends AND some to clabber (spontaneously sour) for the chickens and dog. I figured out a really easy way to get both clabber for the chickens and sour cream for us, with hardly any work at all.”

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