Category Archives: Divestment

Getting away from cheap crap, worth nothing, destined to landfill with the speed of light.

The beginning is here

This is a group I am a member of. It was started by one of my personal heroes: Dean Clifford and his brother Darren. The name is Earth stewardship and it is closed group, you can become a member by contacting the group, I think basic membership is only CAD 10 a month.

The coop operates on the portal : www.gotfreedom.is and by joining this website you will be able to direct your membership towards specific group, like earth stewardship. The group uses the money to purchase land, farming machinery, build houses on that land etc. Basically to start a new way of life, because this one that we currently have, clearly it is not working very well.

Dean and the rest are pioneers in the new world, it does sound “out there” but so is everything else, political situation is fucked 6 ways from Sunday and these guys are done waiting, I am proud to be a part of that project.

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Easy steps to starve big corporations

Now this can come as a small surprise to be found on the website like this, sort of diy thingy, but divesting from this madness that we are all in is very much connected to the topic of sustainability.  It is no brainer that big corporations destroy our land, poison our food supply and the waste that they are generating is all the way to the upper lip now. How does that exactly help to divest them, as a last resort of modern voting-with our dollars instead of “ticks” on the ballot.

Every day you shop, you make a choice, choice that will send the business blood-money to a corporation that works very hard to profit beyond anything. Buying fresh produce instead of boxed, coloured shit, that is so unhealthy that the box itself has more nutrients than cereal in it. Buying fresh, local, if you can-support local markets, where people sell organic produce, poison free. These people grow real food, it might be slightly more expensive as the small farmer can not afford mass production, but definitely will be much more beneficial to your body, than anything big corp can provide.

There is another thing that divesting is all about, and this part may come a little hard to comply with: do not buy shit you do do not need. Period, there is not much else to explain in that part, if you do not need another pair of designer jeans that will cost you a weekly pay-simply do not buy it. Luxuries, crap that we do not need are heavily taxed and that means the very corporations messing up our lives will be getting their money to grow and if a corporation grows, it becomes more powerful and sinister. Today it is not governments that run countries, it is companies, corporations that buy and sell politicians like muppets, use them to looby their ideas and dispose them like rag dolls.

If we wait for governments to fix our lives, we will be waiting a long time…

Once  A.Einstein said: you can not solve a problem with the same state of mind that created it.

It is up to us, not government to change things around, they have proven themselves to be clueless a thousand times already.

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Every little helps…divestment continues.

How about instead of spending little more on useless crap we do not need-instead, we divest little more each year? Maybe planting a small garden where you could grow chives and other small things instead importing them from Peru (how is that for a mind f….k?!?!) Most people living in big cities think that this garden idea is a thing of a past, or at least a thing relevant to the people living in rural areas. Not necessarily I would say.  Of course the amount of space within a city place and a farm is nowhere near comparison, but trust me, there are ways of making in possible to eat a fresh carrot right off your soil.

Simple veg planters can be made out of pallet wood you can literally collect for free behind almost any shop in the city. Internet is full of instructional videos of how to build one of those and it does not require any sophisticated tools to accomplish that, almost caveman toolbox would be sufficient.

Once you have one of those, get some GMO free seeds and viola, pretty soon you will be eating something that not only tastes better but is certainly a lot more healthy for ya.

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Kitchen spice rack

Sunday morning on the way to my shop ( yah, I am dork working on Sunday) I found this cool and fresh long board pallet. I decided to use this for a project for my kitchen-a spice rack. Wood was really fresh and completely dry, it must have been indoors and just disposed, maybe hours before I came across.

It took me about 15 minutes to break it down and take it to my shop for de nailing process.  After that I cut it to size and trimmed edges on my table saw to make sure I can put them together into a nice and fit wall. I also sanded the back with 40 grid, to make the bottom side nice and smooth.

I have then started applying colours on top side of the UNSANDED boards, black chalkboard spray paint is the way to go, it is super easy and dries in seconds.

Make sure not to spray too thick, as this will prolong the sanding process and time, before you get the desired look.

All sprayed and sanded smooth with 180 grid and an orbital sander. Some cast iron elements will  make this more practical and improves the looks a lot. I will put some hooks on that pipe for pans and other stuff to hang on.

Before assembly, last thing I did was to stain the boards separately and then sand them with 180 to give them tile like looks. If you do that before you assemble the wall-you will be able to expose the edges, otherwise it would be impossible to get that once all boards are tied together into a wall.

I used pocket hole screws and glue to bind the boards into a wall, then I installed a natural wood trim around it. The only thing left to install were couple of shelves for spices and jars. At the very end I put a fair amount of teak oil over it to make the colours more vibrant and that`s it really. The whole unit is super light, and will be a nice addition to my kitchen. Later on, I have changed my mind and installed a shorter piece of pipe on one end, just to make it a bit smaller. And the piece that sticks out-it is for my kitchen apron or a cloth-I always misplace those while cooking:)

It turned out quite good in my opinion, and it was a fun way to recycle some perfectly good wood, probably a day or two from a landfill.

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Best way to break down the pallets.

When I started this business, I have spent a considerable amount of time collecting building materials, most in the form of pallet wood. Those are very easy to find and most of the local businesses are happy to spare some, especially if they are not so new (which is great) or simply damaged in some way.

Once you get to them, next step is breaking them down and the rest of the process (denailing etc). I have tried multiple ways to do this efficiently, from crowbars, to bricks, mullets and whatever else you can think of. Most of the time, it was very painstaking process taking way too much time and effort, until..

Until I have bought a tool called reciprocating saw with long blade, variable speed and 750 W power, my trouble days were over. You can find a lot videos on Youtube on how to use this tool (pallet pal for example) or that tool, but honestly for me-that saw does it.

Simply pry the boards a bit with a crowbar and cut the nails with reciprocating saw-it will fall apart and the only thing you got left to worry about are nails, most important thing is that almost no wood will break in the process. Whilst I was hammering away, jumping on pallets and muscling away with big crow bars, about 30% of wood would break and end up in the dumpster. It is a pain in the butt, because not only the wastage, but also disposal of broken boards.

So, there you have it, in my humble opinion there is no better war that cutting the nails with the saw I mentioned above and getting the nails out later.

P.

A trip to unknown..to get exactly what you need

I made a trip to a very interesting place yesterday-reclaimed wood depot. This place is almost in the centre of a big city, kind of hidden away, behind rusty fence, but oh boy-it is a treat in itself.  For anyone else this place looks like a wooden dump- but it hides true treasure for any woodworker.

All kinds of wood, from big logs, to thick railway sleepers, almost any type of wood,  including exotic. It is a tricky thing to spot it, all of these  boards are covered in dirt,  mud and so on. But a closer look, maybe at the cut off piece will reveal its origins. Those guys working there take their time to pull all nails out before they sell it to you, but it will not hurt to check the boards at the shop, before you put them through your table saw.

One more thing I was amazed about- the street next to this lumber yard-was absolutely full of wood, one the sides, piles and piles of cut in half trees, big branches, small boards, pallets etc.

Now, do not just go and pick up whatever you like, ask some people before you get yourself locked up for theft. But most of the time, these guys let you take what you need, it is rotting there anyway, so why not use to build something cool?

Ready to work:

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This wood has been prepared-cut to size and put through the planner-all included in the price. This was not cheap by any means, it is £10 a meter for the board an inch thick and 230 millimetres wide. So although I am buying wood- I stick to my business model-all reclaimed wood.

And this is what this wood will be used for, just few pictures of progress.

This will be a book shelve unit, all elements able to manoeuvre, you can stack them anyway you like. It needs a finish, teak oil and clear satin would be perfect for that I think.

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The hardest part of the job.

This process of reclaiming wood is truly demanding. Not only collecting pallets, but braking them down and de-nailing boards is something that requires hard work and some tools.  First of all, not all pallet wood is good to work with.

pallet symbols

Ones that have a symbol HT, which means “Heat Treated” are safe, try to avoid MB- this stands for chemical treatment with “Methyl Bromide”- that means there are some chemicals in the wood and they can be potentially dangerous. When you cut them, sand them-loads of small particles become airborne, not a good thing though, just avoid using them all together.

It is not too difficult to get pallets, most of the stores and businesses have tons of them, and quite often they will be happy to get rid off some of them, especially ones that are broken or damaged.

On the picture to the right, you can see couple of electric saws, the green one is especially useful. Now, you can see tons of videos on YouTube of how to break a pallet, but from my own experience using this reciprocating saw to cut nails is the best idea so far. It is a good practise to use a pry bar to make a little room between the boards, so the blade can work easily, this saw cuts through the thick nails like butter.

Next step is taking the nails out.  I try to rescue as much of the boards as I can, and pull the nails out later. Some come out easily, some-not at all.  Some nails are so deep, that if you flip the board and hammer through with the puncher the head of the nail will damage the surface of the board. My advice- leave them in, if you build rustic projects, this little rust and dark nail hole will look awesome after staining it.

These pictures below show how a nail head pops through and breaks off some surface. It is kind of counter productive saving the entire length of the board, to damage it at the very end.

You can always deal with something like that while getting your project together, many times you will need to cut to length, so play around and cut the parts that are damaged or have too many nails to pull them all.

And this is the effect of 5 hours of prep labour.

This is fair amount of really nice wood, there is quite a few things you can build out of this amount of wood and all it cost me was 5 hours of work. We`ll see what comes up out of this, I will keep you posted.

 

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Weird sources for building material.

I have spent couple of hours on these bed frames, well-the boxes as I call them, because they are not proper frames. Inside of those cloth covered items-you can find some boards, usually pine.

What is interesting is the fact that they are not very well planed or sanded smooth. Why is that a good thing-when you use those for your rustic projects, sand them lightly, keep the surface imperfections intact-after you apply your finish, they will look absolutely awesome. It would be really hard to achieve this look simply by destroying/ageing a nice/store bought board.

Now, I know this is not an easy job, especially taking staples and nails out, but hey- there is no way you will be able to recycle wood without getting some splits in your hands. Buy yourself some decent tool, I just bought a reciprocating saw with the blade to cut metal (nails)- I can not stretch enough how  much easier my life has become.

 

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Look around, the abundance of building material.

I have made some comments regarding how I get my building material, how-if you look around you can find skips full of amazing wood, all shapes and forms, and most importantly-aged and rustic looking.

With this in my, every time I drive home and see a skip full of wood-I perform so called “dumpster diving” . Not literally getting into the skip, but collecting wood that presents no value to anyone any more.

If you intend to build a rustic looking wine rack, table or any other piece-there is no better way to find the proper wood, you can go and buy fresh boards and spend hours “ageing” it, beating it up and staining. That all requires time, money and loads of effort, instead pick up old board, full of imperfections, rusty nail holes and history. Then you ready to work and the nature will give you all you need.

And-you have just saved some wood from going into the land fill or chipping machine.

Action time…

Steering away from the main street.

I have come across  a really cool idea for floor design- paper flooring! It sounds whacked but take a look at the final effect-in my opinion-amazing.

And wait, also interesting part for this project-it costs next to nothing, I guess this lady in the video said- $ 40 a room.  With this in mind, it is not so crazy to redo your flooring every couple of years, put a different design, colour, maybe even use some newspaper to make it pop up, the possibilities are endless.

Now how cool is that, no stress that your dog took a leak on your brand new oak flooring, high heels damage or anything of that nature. It will occur off course, but hey-with $ 40 job-you sure can afford to replace it when you see fit.

 

Useful ideas, occupy small spaces.

There are number of things anyone can do around the house to improve the standard of living, to clean up your food and ultimately enjoy better health-thus avoid public health system that treats everything with paracetamol.

One of those things is a home garden for fresh herbs and if you live in a more spacious place-you could grow some of the veg yourself as well and stop buying chives from Vietnam in your local Lidl.

Home gardens come in all shapes and forms, really the only defining factor for the design is the amount of space you would like to dedicate to this project.

I am not sure how much you like cooking or food in general, but let me tell you one thing, fresh herbs in your dish can make a huge difference, not only visual and taste wise, but also providing some important nutrients.

So take a look at these ideas, people have been doing that for years and even though living in the city does not exactly fit into agricultural picture trust me, there are ways to make it work and get some funky food in the process.

All of these can be build out of recycled wood, like pallets, wine boxes etc. You can integrate this project with your flat, house or already existing garden.

Have fun.

Divest baby

This idea was not originally mine, I adopted (work in progress) from one of my smart friends- Dean Clifford from Canada. Let me quickly introduce you to this way of thinking/living. Most us can see that things are going south, at every aspect of life, so if we do not change anything- we will continue going that direction.

One day, when you have a minute I want you to do a little exercise at home. Look around and acknowledge how much stuff you have, that you can absolutely live without. Open your wardrobe and look at the clothes you haven`t had on for the last 6 years-start  with that and proceed around the house. You will be shocked how much money you spent on crap you do not need. Think how many months, maybe years you had to work, to buy this crap…

I keep butting heads with my girlfriend over shopping for things that do not serve any purpose, like pillows, pillows to make the bed look nice-not to use them as the pillow inventor intended-to put your head on it. What the hell??? Or buying 1234453 pair of shoes, that will end up in the corner and most likely will be never worn, things like that.

One thing I have done, was getting rid of television. It was hard, my favourite shows, games etc. were waiting for me when I got back from work and now I have to talk, read or do something that requires a little more effort than being in alfa state and drooling:)

But funny thing has happened. My mind started to get more sharp, thinking started becoming easy and logic centres are clearly getting back in order. Amazing feeling. The only downward part of this process is the fact of noticing stupidity that surrounds us virtually everywhere.

Try it, if you don`t want to cut tv cold turkey-try not to watch it for lets say a week, then two, then a month and later you will be amazed how could you watch this shit ever in the first place.

That`s a take one on divestment. much more coming soon.

Thanks Dean, I owe you big time. Find him and his work at www.deanclifford.info