SaveOurSkills.com 2.0

This is the obligatory introductory post! I’m not going to drone on about the philosophy of the site too much. This site is about taking action, so this post will be mercifully short.

I’m very excited to be taking over as webmaster here at SaveOurSkills.com. My name is Nick LaDieu and I am a 32 year old web developer living in western Pennsylvania.

Right now I would consider myself to be a product of modern society. I don’t fix my own car, heck, I don’t even fix my own bicycle! I’m part owner of a software company and I’ve never changed the oil in my car or even put on a pair of brake pads.

Why in the hell would I decide to be the webmaster of a website called SaveOurSkills.com?

There was a DIY ethic in this country that our grandparents and great-grandparents took for granted. This self reliant attitude has been lost to my generation, however the knowledge still exists and is making a comeback.

I have decided that anyone can become self-reliant in this modern internet connected society and that includes myself.

Let’s learn together.

Please drop me a line:

Building a Solar Dehydrator

By: Archer

Finally finished my solar dehydrator. Started it last summer, completed most it, then ran out of summer. Decided to finish it last weekend.

Initial tests showed that on a 85+ day the inside was over 125. I need to tweak it a bit, want to add a few more air holes between the heater box and the food box (engineering mistake here… ). I also want to paint some cans black and put them inside the heater box. I also need to use some type of cooking paper since I’ve learned that the aluminum grills sheets may react to certain foods. This is made from scrap wood I had and the plexiglas I picked up off of Freecycle.

Read the Rest of this Article

Dewalt Battery Recycled

By: HumeMan

After reading an article in last months Back Home Magazine about re-using dead drill batteries, I decided to try it for myself. Cordless drills are the great, but if you are unable to recharge them due to a loss of power or you are too far from an electrical outlet, you’re out of luck.

Taking a junk battery that no longer works, I’ve given it a cord, perfect for attaching to your 4wheeler or car battery. This battery no longer works. It’s worn out and can’t hold a charge.

Read the Rest of this Article

How to Bake Standing French Loaves from Scratch

By Cohutt:

Not much to it really after you do it once or twice

1 pack of yeast
¼ tsp sugar
1 cup of water +
3 ½ cups of unbleached bread flour
¼ cup rye or whole wheat flour
3 tsp salt

Proof the yeast in ¼ cup of hot tap water by stirring it with the sugar

Add the cup of water to this when it bubbles up some

Put flour in food processor with a plastic dough blade

Turn on processor and slowly by steadily pour the water/yeast mixture in until the dough forms a ball that runs around the bowl a bit.

Let it rest for 5-10 minutes

Check it- if sticky/wet feeling to the touch add a tiny amount of flour and run the processor.

Once it is soft to the touch but no sticky, turn on the processor and have it turn the ball 30 times – 30 laps. If you do much more the dough will overheat.

Let it rest 5 minutes then turn out on a lightly floured surface and pound flat, fold over, repeat about 30 times.

Read the Rest of this Article

How to Change Your Car’s Oil at Home – DIY and Save $

By Jon Martinez:

Changing your own oil is a good way to save money over the quickie lube places, and it is fast becoming a lost skill.

Fortunately, doing an oil change is not rocket science. I change my own oil at home and I’d like to share a couple of tips that have helped me to make this process easier and less messy.

Here is what you need to get started:

  • Motor Oil. I use 4 qts for my Toyota Corolla. It costs $20.42 for 12 qts at Sam’s Club, which comes out to $6.81 for each oil change
  • Oil Filter $4.39 at Advance Auto Parts
  • Filter Wrench I use the kind that fits onto a ratchet wrench. Get the right size to match your filter. You can also get a dedicated oil filter wrench at the auto parts store
  • Funnel For filling engine with new oil
  • Crescent Wrench or Ratchet set For removing the oil pan drain plug
  • Oil catch pan with spout For getting rid of the old oil
  • Empty plastic bottles With wide mouth for taking old oil to be recycled. I use old kitty litter bottles, but you can use any bottle or container you like.
  • Rag For wiping up spills
  • Ramps or Jack For lifting the car. I use plastic ramps, a lot of people prefer metal. Your call.
  • Jackstands or cinder blocks For safety- keep the car from falling on you. I should really use these, but I haven’t yet…
  • Large piece of Cardboard for protecting your driveway (optional)
  • Rubber Gloves for keeping oil off of your hands (optional)

After all of the one time purchases on this list, it costs me about $11 for each oil change. Cheaper than the $20 or $30 of the quick lube joint. And I don’t have to deal with pushy salesmen trying to upsell me air filters.

Read the Rest of This Article

Fire starter 4.0

By No Prob Rob:

Everyone has got their favorite fire starting method. Over the years I have had various fire starter kits. I think I have finally refined it down to something lightweight, simple, weatherproof, and some added functionality thrown in as well.

I start with the supplies needed for the build. I decided it wasn’t much trouble to go ahead and make a dozen to give as Christmas gifts as well.

Here are the materials required:

  • geocache container 9/16″ diameter X 2.75″ long ($1.79)
  • 1/8 ” X 2″ ferrocerium rod ($1.35)
  • JB Weld
  • Cotton Balls
  • Petrolatum Jelly
  • Fish hook
  • 30 lb test braided nylon fishing line
  • hacksaw blade

Read the Rest of this Article

How to Build a Traditional Clay Oven

By Synaptoman:

I have embarked on a project to make a traditional clay oven. The design is thousands of years old and ruins of clay ovens have been found on all of the continents. Because I hate doing things normally, I decided that my clay oven would be built on a timber base and stand proudly on my deck, where the whole family could help with the bread baking, pizza making etc.

Read the Rest of This Article