Tag Archives: Skid Steer

Running Septic Lines


Posted on May 4, 2016 by

We needed to hook up the septic side lines to run from the bedrooms and garage to the main central line coming from under the basement.  The original plan had these running under the house, but the plumber suggested that it would be much easier to run the line outside the house completely…  At some later point, we also decided to run the bedroom electrical along this outside line.  Of course, this all required some digging.  Gota love that nice soft sand.

The Video

Some details

The Stack:

The bedroom septic line had a further run and needed to be below frost depth, so it connected at a lower point on the stack.  Then I connected the garage line at a higher point.  However, I thought it would be a good idea to slope it more and get deeper than I had to…  Some plumbers say that you shouldn’t slope too much because the solids and liquids will separate and you will have clogging problems.  I have done my research and determined that was not true (just a plumbers wives’ tale) so I didn’t mind sloping it more.  However, after making the stack connection with the Y-pipe shown in the video, I decided that I didn’t like the angle of the connection.  Basically, these pipes are designed to connect at closer to perpendicular or maybe 5 degrees off.  My original connection was maybe 20 degrees off.  It was probably sealed, but it didn’t look great and I didn’t want to take any chances.  I ended up cutting off that Y-connection and extending the stack so i could connect at a higher point with less slope.

The Shortcut:

The plumbing and the electrical in the bedroom wing both connect in the laundry room, very close to eachother so they can exit from the same hole and follow the same trench…  However, I didn’t measure conservatively enough and although the electrical cables could reach the panel, I was worried about being a few inches short of making final connections, so we ended up digging a short cut trench for the electrical cables. At least we could still re-use about 2/3rds of the trench.

The Electrical cables:

Earlier, I had experimented with other kinds of cable, running thru conduit. This time I was using cable that was certified to be directly buried.  It was still in conduit where it came out of the garage (because it is not certified to be encased in concrete and because I didn’t want a potential leak above the floor anyway), but then came out of the conduit below the footings level.  I basically wired it according to above ground code with the required depth below the footing and bushings, etc. After burial, it will only further exceed code.


Just some pics…

Front Steel Columns


Posted on April 28, 2016 by

In this segment, we mark and place the front columns and the curved I-beams that form the framework for the entry and green house sections.  Most of the time-lapse footage was lost some how, but I did have some pics…

The video

Surplus Steel

I bought the columns from the surplus steel place in my area.  The cost was low enough that I didn’t mind a few imperfections.  No regrets and I will probably do it again.  I did put tape over the holes to keep wasps from moving in.

Trouble with the Forks

When I bought the skid steer, the guy who sold it to me said he also had a beat up set of old forks that I could have for 200$.  New forks cost 3 or 4 times as much, so I told him to send those with the skid steer even though I hadn’t actually seen them.  At first, I just noticed that the back board was a bit damaged.  After using them, I also noticed that the two forks were actually different thickness (miss-matched set) and had bent slightly differently and I was having trouble holding things level.

We didn’t worry about the back board, but my father and I fixed the “uneven” issue with some torches (and lots of patience) to heat up one of the forks so we could bend it to match the other.

But all that time, I was using the forks to lift heavy things, so I didn’t notice the 3rd issue…  When you apply loads the other way (pushing down on the forks), the locking mechanism is supposed to hold them in place.  However, the top ledge that holds the locking mechanism in place had been slightly stretched upward and increased the tolerance by maybe 1/4th of an inch, and that was enough for the mechanism to actually detach when the load was pushed the other way.

While setting the second I-beam, The beam got hooked on the bent back shield and wouldn’t let me lower the forks.  Since this flipped the load direction, it also shifted the locking mechanism down 1/4th inch relative to the forks and they detached from that top edge.

With the load direction reversed, the forks detached from the skidsteer

Those Forks are a few hundred pounds of heavy steel, so rather than just let them fall off and possibly damage something on the way down, we strapped them to the quick attach mechanism on the skid steer so we could still lower them carefully.

The final fix was to weld 2 pieces of angle iron across the top of the quick attach mechanism to remove the gap so it won’t be unlocked by a reverse load.

Final view. There will be windows under most of those Ibeams and a Front door under the left most one. Earth covered in grass, etc. will be above.

Finished the basement studs, strap and lath


Posted on July 26, 2014 by

This week, my parents drove down 4 hours (from Canada) to help me out for a week.  We got in the remainder of the steel studs and finished the lath and strap.  Here is the timelapse video;

I had actually hoped to get to the shotcrete this week, but, as hard as we worked, we still have a few more days to go.  I also have not yet got ahold of my Shotcrete guy, which is not a good sign…

For the next few days, I will try to get the rest of the rebar and electrical in place.  I am still waiting on the N-12 pipe that I plan to use for the earth tubes and duct work.  It should arrive soon.  I am also getting a pair of tires and a few other parts to fix up my Skid Steer.  Meanwhile, I am a bit concerned about the budget and getting very concerned about the schedule.  It has been such a cool summer that I am guessing we will have an early and cold winter.

But at least the house is looking pretty cool.

SteelStuds Panorama




Many lessons were learned over the past few weeks that I will eventually write down.  One of the key lessons was that you have to brace and then strap before you add the lath…  I will write out more after I see how things turned out with the shotcrete.  I am concerned that the lath may bulge inward (like an overstuffed quilt) and make for a very difficult inner surface to plaster.  I am still pretty confident that the lath backing is superior to the rigid insulation backing that Formworks uses.



In the sourcing area, I had a few ups and downs.  One thing was that I bought another ton of #4 and 20 pieces of #3 rebar and found that I was billed almost double what I had paid for a ton in the past.  I should have haggled.  I won’t let that happen again.  I also bought several tools for working with rebar.  I had to buy them on Amazon.com because none of my local stores carry them.  Some worked very well, such as my (made in China) rebar hickey.  Others didn’t work well at all, such as my (also made in China) wire twisting pliers.  I also had some hiccups ordering the earth tube pipes, but those details are as boring as they were frustrating.

I spent a starry night out at the property with my father and two boys.  Of course, I checked out the North Star (Polaris) and confirmed that I was off true north by about 5 degrees (toward magnetic north instead).  Oh well, I probably should have set it up via the stars instead of the combination of a smartphone app, a compass and a map of magnetic declination.  Five degrees won’t effect performance much.

My bank swallows are feeding their chicks.  It turns out that hungry chicks are even noisier than mating swallows.  I got some pics and video here.

I asked my father to help me with an anti-theft device for my Skid Steer.  Apparently, they are very often stolen from building SkidSteer_AntiTheftsites and then used to steal other stuff.  This is made easier by the fact that one key fits most skid steers of the same brand.  This was my fathers solution.  ==>

Actually, as effective as removing the front wheels is, my father is an automotive electrician, so he came up with something much better than that, but it is top secret.  Taking off the tires was just to get new ones…  It turns out that I would need new tires to drive Over the Tire Tracks anyway, so lets see if they help me get around on the sand without the expensive tracks.

Earlier in the week, we did actually use the Skid steer to move some dirt around to level the port-o-potty.  The kids each drove it (sitting on my lap) and really enjoyed it.  Of course, their mother was not around for that, so there are no photos.

That’s it for now.  Later this week, I will be going out with friends to work on rebar and electrical. Actually, I think these are tasks I can also do on my own if I have to.