Pipe Tobacco Press

Cold Pressing Pipe Tobacco

Here is a quick and easy way to make your own pipe tobacco blends by taking some of your favorites and pressing them into a nice plug.  You will want to make both a large press for pressing 1-2 LB and a smaller press for trying blends of 100-150g. This smaller press will save you from making large batches of blends you might think work but end up being nothing like you would have imagined. » Read more

Carbon Electrodes

Here is a quick and easy way to get your carbon electrodes.  These seem to be fairly more difficult to find or order and there are a number of people who simply use the lead from pencils but here is another cheap and easy source that is often overlooked. » Read more

Forced Patina on Carbon Steel Knives

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Carbon Steel knives are great for getting that razor sharp edge but they do require some regular maintenance to avoid rusting.  There are a few ways to help protect your carbon steel knives however.  You can simply keep them oiled.  Some oils used are Danish Oil, Tung Oil, or even olive oil are all great food safe oils or if your not going to use your knife for food and game prep there are a lot of other oils out there to use.  Another great way to avoid the corrosion of your knife is to force patina on it.  I know it sounds counterproductive but it actually works and can reduce the maintenance of your blade dramatically.

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Wickless Alcohol Burner (Moonshine Candle)

WARNING:  Due to the nature of this project involving fire proceed at your own risk.  I am not to be held liable for any damages or injury to yourself your your personal property.  Always have a fire extinguisher near and use a clean work area anytime you work around an open flame.

With that being said alcohol is a very safe fuel source when properly handled due to its low evaporation rate.

You can use a small paint can or mason jar for this project. You can purchase empty paint cans at most any hardware store and mason jars are seasonal in most stores if you don’t already have dozens laying around.  Drill two 1/4″ holes in lid at about 3/4″ from center of lid. Bend a 1″ diameter loop in the middle of a 15-16″ (or double the height of the container plus about 5″ more) piece of 1/4″ copper tubing and bend the legs so they come straight down through the top of the lids holes like pictured below. You can use the handle of a screwdriver or 1″ dowel to bend the tube around if you don’t have a tube bender. Flattening out the top of the coil is not a problem and actually preferable to increase the surface area to catch the flame but try to keep the bottom where the coil will cross and the elbow to the legs from flattening out.


Wick (yea I know it’s supposed to be wickless)

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How to color Meerschaum Pipes

The best way to color your meerschaum pipe has been and will always be a much debated topic.  Each block of meerschaum is unique and will color differently due to the many variables at hand.  When and where it was harvested, how dense it is, any stress applied to it during harvest or turning, how it is drilled or carved into the pipe before you, what you smoke in it, as well as how you smoke it all play a part into the way the pipe will color.  This makes finding the best way to color your meerschaum more like finding out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop…the world may never know. » Read more

Homemade Laundry Detergent

IngredientsHere is great way to save on laundry detergent by making your own.  This really cuts down the cost of detergent dramatically!  So let’s just get started with some numbers…

Laundry Detergent:
Cost/Year  (1800 oz./year) Assuming a 1.17gal bottle or 150 oz./month
Store Brand:     $119.64
Homemade:        $4.80       (Zote $3.21)
Savings/Year =   $114.84   (Zote $116.43)
Savings/Month=  $9.57       (Zote $9.70)
Store Brand $9.97 (1.17gallon/150 oz.)
Zote made    $.27 ($.22 without baking soda)
Fels-Naptha $.40 ($.36 without baking soda)

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Homemade Fabric Softener

Ok so I decided to try out some new ways to cut the cost of our common household spending and here is one thing I’ve found.  I saw some sites/videos on the internet about homemade fabric softener as well as laundry detergent and here is what I’ve found on the fabric softener.

The recipe I used is as follows… » Read more

Sanitizing – A “MUST” for everyone!

Campden tablets

Campden Tablets (SMS)

(Sodium Metabisulfite) Used to clean must prior to pitching yeast and also makes a great sanitizing solution for winemaking equipment. Each tablet supplies about 75 PPM per gallon at pH between 3.2 and 3.5.  It is good to have a little free SO2 in your wine (between 40 – 60 PPM), so there’s no need to rinse your equipment after sanitizing with this agent.

Crush 14 Campden tablets and dissolve into 1 gallon of water to obtain a sanitizing solution of 940 PPM SO2.
TIP: To crush put on plate and use bottom of a jar or glass to apply pressure.  They crush fairly easy or if you have time just drop in a gallon glass jar of water with air tight lid and they will dissolve over night.

Potassium Metabisulfite (KMS)

Potassium Metabisulfite works well as a sanitizing agent because it is a bacterial inhibitor.  Because there’s no inert materials (fillers) in this form you don’t need as many crystals to make your sanitizing solution as compared to the campden tablets.

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of crystals in one gallon of water to obtain sanitizing solution of 940 PPM SO2.

Storage for Sulfite Solutions

Make sure you store these solutions in air tight glass containers (used gallon glass apple cider or vinegar containers work if you can find them) or you can order gallon and 1/2 gallon jugs from most any winemaking/brewing supply store such as HomeBrewit or Midwest Supplies.  The sulfite solutions will dissipate in plastics but will be reusable when stored properly.  I usually clean siphon hoses by rinsing buckets and then siphoning the solution back to the glass jug.  Due to the fact these solutions are reusable when stored properly they are dramatically more cost efficient than the other sanitizing products (many of which require rinsing afterwards and sulfites do not).  Solutions should be changed out completely annually.

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