...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Luddites’ Lament

So today is a fun day – not one to dicuss my latest screw-up or bemoan the state of American manufacturing – but one to discuss little modern day miracles – things that make this trailer project even more fun than it might otherwise be.

Let’s start with water. My 63 gallon drinking water system, long ago buttoned down under the kitchen floor, does not have a gauge. I just fill it until I think it’s full. I could’ve installed some kind of gauge back in the day but I did not.

So I bought this nifty little $10 device that meters water flow going from the garden hose and into tank #1 (you might remember I installed three 21 gallon tanks in series with 1/2 ” lines connecting them, so I have to fill them slowly as they acheive equilibrium). The meter pictured below provides a read-out of flow rate (important to not overload the system) and total volume.

Sometimes Chinese stuff can come in really handy and affordably
1.4 gallons so far
Look: 5 gallons and the water is exactly at the lip of my Homer bucket. Precise!

So, my next challenge will be to find a meter to record use at the 12v pump end so that I’ll know when my system is almost drained. Keep in mind, this is drinking water only. I will have a seperate system for shower/hand/sink washing connected to an external tank fed by a rain water collection system.

Alright, so on to the next modern-day miracle – Pex plumbing. This stuff is the best thing to happen to indoor plumbing since Thomas Crapper invented, well, the crapper (OK, he didn’t actually invent the flush toilet but he improved upon it immensely). For the uninitiated, Pex plumbing is great stuff and has quickly overtaken copper pipe as the choice for home plumbing systems. It is fairly cheap ($160 bucks for all my components including a $60 crimper tool), easy and requires no specialized knowledge or expertise. While soldered copper might still be the professional’s choice for some applications it would be overkill in mine because my water system will not be under constant pressure. Water will only flow and exert pressure when the on demand water pump (at 3.5 GPM) is activated by engaging a spigot. Once disengaged the system is inert…no risk of a rupture.

Under kitchen counter. Note incoming water line at lower left to be connected to water pump and then split up with one pipe going to OD water heater.

Pipe coming in through wall from kitchen.
Bathroom sink lines ready to plumb and then on and up to the shower. Home Depot only had one 6′ section of 1/2″ Pex in red. So I am just using it at the terminuses. Remember, this is plumbing for dummies.
I then applied window sealing foam to every passage to reduce pipe rattle and wear/tear on pipe during transit.

So the last fun tid-bit involves not a modern invention but simply a product whose acquisition has been simplified by the Internet. I love Baltic birch, a seven-ply artisan quality plywood often used for making fine cabinetry. While it was once sourced in the Baltics, it is now also made elsewhere, like Indonesia. Regardless of its country of origin it was prohibitively expensive for me to use for my cabinetry. Plus, I am reusing lots of original components not of Baltic quality. But what I most love about this 7-ply wood is its edge. It makes for a rich, textured finished. So sitting on my couch, I just ordered up a piece from a wood workers warehouse and got to work. I just ripped 1/4″ strips with my jig saw, stained and then polyed the edges.

So I ordered me a single 3/4″ x 12″ x 60″ piece.
Nice, unfinished edge
Beautiful finished edge tacked and glued to my workstation.

So I’ll just keep stripping down 1/4″ widths and stain and finish them for placement wherever I want a high-end, richer look – like around my kitchen counter. Cool, huh?


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