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Project Gridless's Most Popular Posts, 2015

Last year I made a post on December 31st 2014 titled:

During which I made a wee promise to make similar posts in the future.Well, here we are. It is December 31st 2015, and here are the list of the most popular posts from 2015.

While off grid real estate and archery were the big topics in 2014/Prior, the big topic in 2015 was definitely Archery, taking both the top spot and 6 of the top 10 spots, and therefore dominates this 2015's list of the Project Gridless's Most Popular Posts. Part of this is probably due to me writing more posts about archery. So blame the author.

I should also note however that the top post was so ridiculously popular that it was more popular than the other 9 from the top 10 combined. It just went viral.

#1 - Compound Bows made of Wood - Went viral. Woot.

#2 - 12 Architectural Types of Off Grid Homes

#3 - Hinterland's Who's Who

#4 - Where to Buy Exotic Woods for Bowmaking

#5 - Dr Seuss Wood Cabins = Awesome

#6 - Bizarre Crossbows - Vertical, Takedown and Ridiculously Powerful

#7 - Are we due for a new Ice Age?

#8 - The Toronto Archery Club / Archery Lessons in Toronto

#9 - Vintage Wood Stabilizer from Damon Howatt

#10 - How Compound Bows are Made / Bowtech in Oregon

I should note however that the 2014 list is *currently* still more popular than everything from 2015. As popular and as viral as the post Compound Bows made of Wood is, it still has not reached the point where it has surpassed any of the top 10 from 2014 or previous years. Chalk that up to staying power and the fact the older posts continue to grow in popularity, whereas 2015 is comparatively a newborn (even though 2015 is almost now over), will need time to catch up to the popularity of the older posts.

Below is the list from 2014 / Prior if you wish to compare:

#1. 25 Examples of Off the Grid Homes + Green Architecture - 2013.

#2. How to find off the grid homes - 2012.

#3. The Treehouse Idea - 2011.

#4. How to Buy, Design and Build your own Shipping Container Home - 2014.

#5. PVC Longbows and Double Limbed Bow - 2013.

#6. 8 Real Estate Websites that Specialize in Off The Grid Homes - 2014.

#7. How to make your own Bowfishing Reel - 2014.

#8. Making a Homemade Crossbow - 2014.

#9. 100th Post of Project Gridless - 2014.

#10. Tillering and Staining my New Longbow - 2014.

How To make a Self Feeding Fire

Need a way to feed a campfire over a longer length of time?

The above method will keep a fire going for many hours, and require only 4 longer posts and 4 shorter posts to set up. Once going it can burn for 12 to 16 hours before requiring additional logs to keep going.

Bowyer Lessons with Mike Meusel, Part Zero

I will soon be taking lessons in bow making with Mike Meusel, a local bowyer in Toronto who teaches bow making. For each lesson I am planning to post photos of the progress made, and possibly videos of the process.

For those people who like DIY projects, learning to make your own bow for archery is a pretty good skill to have, and an enjoyable experience in my opinion. Having made bows since the age of 10 (many of my early bows broke easily) I have never NOT enjoyed making a bow. Even if it breaks I still enjoyed making it.

Thus it will be interesting to be making bows and have actual lessons in the craft.

For those who don't have a local bowyer to help you out, I recommend the following books:

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible - Volumes I, II, III and IV. Yep, four volumes of amazing-ness. Worth every penny.

12 Architectural Types of Off Grid Homes

Below are 12 different architectural styles of Off Grid Homes that are part of the growing trend of "Off Grid Living".

The Redneck Camper

The Found Pieces Home

The Modern Architecture Home

The Shipping Container Home

The Stonemason's Home

The Greenthumb's Home

The Gypsy's Home on Wheels

The Hobbit Home

The Treehouse Home

The Underground Bunker

The Traditional Cabin

The Sandbag Home

Dr. Seuss Wood Cabins = Awesome!

Wow. These cabins are really awesome. They are made by Dan Pauly of Rustic Way, whose rustic architectural style makes the cabins look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. The cabins are made out of recycled wood from old barns / old sheds / etc.

Vintage Wood Stabilizer from Damon Howatt

In the past myself and a friend experimented with making our own wooden stabilizers for archery and testing out how well they worked.

Below is a vintage wooden stabilizer made of rosewood and steel from Damon Howatt (circa 1970). It comes with an internal steel spring mechanism to further reduce vibrations. I came across this rare find on eBay, but I chose not to bid on it because I felt the price was too steep. Plus I felt I could probably make one myself, so I have added this to my Woodworking To Do List for Winter 2016.

Buying Antique Longbows and Recurves

Lately I have been purchasing vintage bows on eBay. So far I have purchased:

Ben Pearson Lemonwood Longbow #601, circa 1942. 20 lbs.

Roy Rogers Longbow, 1952. 20 lbs.

Ben Pearson Cougar #706, circa 1967-68. 35 lbs. (In 1969 Ben Pearson switched to a 4 digit model system and the 706 became 7060.)

Black Hawk Avenger, circa 1972-74. 40 lbs.

Browning Wasp, circa 1975. 50 lbs.

Black Hawk Avenger
Note that only two of these bows are good for hunting large game. The Black Hawk Avenger is adequate for hunting whitetail deer, whereas the Browning Wasp is good for hunting whitetail deer, elk, moose or black bear.

The Ben Pearson Cougar could be used for hunting small game (eg. rabbits) or for bowfishing.

When buying vintage bows I feel it is important to stress that you probably don't want to putting these bows under a lot of stress (especially the older longbows from the 1940s or 1950s) because they are technically antiques.

The Roy Rogers Longbow - which I feel is the most fragile of the bunch - I will probably only shoot in my garage and will keep it hanging on the wall the rest of the time. It is more of a collectors item.

The Cougar, Avenger and Wasp however will get to see a lot more action since they are reinforced with fibreglass. As will the Ben Pearson Lemonwood, which is surprisingly fun to shoot. Being made of lemonwood it can take a lot more pressure and stress than various other bow woods.

Shooting vintage bows is really no different from shooting modern bows with similar designs. The technology hasn't really changed that much despite the decades, and depending on the brand name of the manufacturer it was made to last the test of time. The biggest trick is that you should never overdraw a vintage bow. Stick to 28 inch draw or less, as that was what it was designed for.

Earlier this year a friend of mine broke his old Ben Pearson recurve bow from the 1980s - it was comparatively new, but he was drawing it back near his ear to a distance of 32 inches or more each time he pulled it. That bow was only designed to be pulled 28 inches, at most 30 inches. Pulling it to 32+ all the time meant that its days was numbered and when I heard that it broke it was a sad day, but it was a little expected to happen eventually because of the distance he was pulling it so often.

If you have an old bow but never learned how to shoot it and are looking for archery lessons in Toronto contact CardioTrek.ca. Have a great day!


I also later purchased the following:

Ben Pearson Collegian, circa 1965. 35 lbs.

Mike Meusel, Bowyer Lessons in Toronto

I have signed up for bowyer lessons from Mike Meusel in Toronto.

I have been making bows using my amateur bow-making skills for 26 years now, so this will be the first time I am getting proper training by someone who is really good at making bows.

Cost? $300 CDN.

Lessons? 5 to 6 sessions, each session is 4-5 hours.

What do I get? Any bow(s) that I make during the approx. 20 to 30 hours of bow-making experience.

Afterwards? I have purchased 2 pieces of walnut and 2 pieces of cherry so I can work on making 2 walnut flatbows and 2 cherry flatbows during the winter. So my plan is to learn Mike's method of making bows and then apply that new knowledge when I am making the 4 new bows during the winter.

Mike also sells longbows, flatbows and pyramid bows. For a custom made bow contact him using the info below.

Are we due for a new Ice Age?

I find Ice Ages fascinating. Not just because of the scientific value of understanding how Ice Ages work, but also because of the survivalist element that goes with surviving in the harsh elements of an Ice Age.

If we look at the timeline for past Ice Ages are actually quite common, whereas Interglacial Periods (like the one we are currently living in) are quite rare. You will also note that Interglacial Periods usually don't last that long. Mankind has managed to flourish during the last 14,000 years because of an unusually long modern Interglacial Period.

As you can see our current Interglacial Period has lasted approx. 14,000 years, and compared to past Interglacial Periods they usually don't last very long and tend to have a sharp peak - the last 14,000 years however have been relatively stable, with mini ice ages roughly every 400 years (averaging 407 years according to scientific estimates).

One of the biggest factors for the rise and fall of mini ice ages is something we often take for granted: the Sun. Sunspots expel heat (solar irradiation) in large amounts and go through cycles that last 8 to 14 years (averaging 11 years per solar cycle). However once every 407 years we get a time period where the solar cycles dwindle to almost nothing, expelling less heat. This in turn effects the temperatures on Earth.

During that time we have a Maunder Minimum - a period of time where there is a dramatic drop in sunspot activity and less heat coming from the sun, which in turn results in the Little Ice Age (a time period after the Medieval Warming Period). During the Little Ice Age the Thames River in London, England froze over each year, record cold temperatures were recorded, huge snowfalls were recorded in North America and northern Europe, glaciers across the globe grew dramatically, and of course glaciers on both the north and south poles grew significantly.

Thus what we can take from this is that the Earth is due for both a mini ice age and also a larger ice age. We might only get a mini ice age, but it is still possible that we could get a larger ice age.

In Canada we got record cold temperatures in 2013, 2014 and 2015 - including the coldest spring since the 1960s. Judging by the reduction in heat coming from the sun we will be expecting a New Maunder Minimum starting in either 2015 or 2026.

To be continued...

How Wolves Change Rivers + Coyote Wolf Hybrids

Watching the video below makes me realize how much deer hunters / coyote hunters help to increase biodiversity in forests.

While the video above focuses more on the impact of wolves on overly rampant deer populations, it also makes reference to coyotes being a problem for biodiversity too.

In Ontario we have a growing deer problem, which is being managed through deer hunting by rifle hunters, black powder hunters and bowhunters - however we have a growing problem with coyotes (and coyote wolf hybrids - sometimes called coywolves or coywolf), which means we need more hunters killing coyotes.

Northern Ontario already has wolves, which oddly enough is part of the problem because they are crossbreeding with coyotes and creating a killer hybrid.

Wolves hunt in packs, but don't attack humans - and when they make a kill the pack eats the whole carcass.

Coyotes sometimes hunt in packs, but they do attack humans (especially small children) - and when they make a kill they eat part of it and leave it for the scavengers.

Coyote-Wolf Hybrids hunt in packs, attack humans, and like coyotes, they kill and don't even eat the carcass. Such is the situation that entire deer populations in certain parts of Ontario have been completely wiped out due to packs of hybrids attacking herds of deer, killing the whole herd, only eating a tiny bit and then moving on to find another herd of deer to kill. Hybrids are basically just killer packs that roam the region killing everything they can find. Including humans, which are more often to be seen as possible prey by a hybrid because hybrids are much bigger than normal coyotes.

The odd thing however is that Coyote-Wolf Hybrids fall into a legal gray area. They are not coyotes, which are governed by the $10 per hunting tag as per Ontario law. And they are not wolves either. There is no law governing the hybrids, they are basically a completely separate species as far as the law is concerned.

So can people hunt the hybrids? Maybe. It is rather unclear. There is no law saying you cannot hunt the hybrids. But there are no laws saying you can either. And if you do so, are you using a wolf hunting tag or a coyote hunting tag? Or should there be special hybrid tags???

It is relatively easy to spot a hybrid too. The hybrids have a more orange-brown colouration and longer noses than wolves, and tend to be smaller than normal wolves. Hybrids have larger than normal paws, jaws, build, longer legs and a more wolf-like tail. See the three photos below:

Whereas normal wolves in Ontario have a much more distinctive white, grey or black appearance, often couples with a wider bushier face. They are also physically bigger.

Purebred coyotes in contrast are skinnier, have longer noses, reddish-brown with white-grey on the bellies. The length of their fur varies on the season, but they often have noticeably less fur than a wolf or a hybrid. Due to their smaller stature normal coyotes rarely attack humans.

Purebred coyotes normally hunt rodents and are only a danger to small children.

Seeing the images above it becomes easy to tell the two species apart from the hybrids. Please note there will also sometimes be hybrids that are closer to being 3/4 wolf or 3/4 coyote, but they are equally dangerous to anything they consider to be prey.

In Toronto (2013) a coyote hybrid was shot by Toronto police in the community of Cabbagetown, an inner city suburb remarkably close to the downtown core.

In 2009 a young woman from Toronto was attacked and killed in Cape Breton Highlands National Park by a pack of coyote hybrids. She suffered multiple bites from the pack and died of blood loss.

There have been other attacks on people in Toronto and also in Ontario. Usually the attacks are on children, but sometimes the hybrid packs attack adults too. Here are a few of the more recent attacks on humans in Ontario:

January 2012, a coyote hybrid attacked an eight-year-old Oakville, Ontario girl. She survived because she managed to get to their safety of her house.

September 2013, in St. Catharines, Ontario, a coyote attacked an 8-year-old girl. She survived because her stepfather fought the beast off.

June 2014, in Thornhill, Ontario, two adult women were attacked by two coyote hybrids. Earlier the same day, the same two coyotes had tried to attack at least three other adults who escaped to safety.

July 2014, in Gravenhurst, Ontario, a woman was exercising her two American Bulldogs when she was attacked by a coyote hybrid. She and her dogs survived.

Missing persons who disappear in the Ontario wilderness are chalked up by police as unsolved missing person cases and their bodies are often not found, the cause of their deaths are unknown. Attacks by predators or packs of predators make up a percentage of those cases, but the exact numbers are unknown.

Susan Fleming, the producer and director of "Meet the Coywolf" thinks people should not panic or worry about the growing problem of coyote hybrids. She feels education is necessary and that hunting the new species is not necessary - even though the hybrid species is completely eradicating deer in some regions and are attacking humans. Susan Fleming probably has a very closed mind on the idea of hunting animals for the purposes of culling a species that has become dangerously over-populated and has no natural predators to keep it in check. Anti-hunting activists will never understand the need to deliberately cull a dangerous predator.

Wildlife management is a necessity when a new dangerous predator emerges and has no natural predators that can keep its numbers at bay. If the only predator capable of dealing with coyote hybrids is humans, logic dictates that humans have to hunt the hybrid.

Compound Bows Made Of WOOD?!

Below is a selection of videos and photos about compound bows that have been made out of wood - which is unusual since most compound bows these days are made out of aluminum, alloys and carbon fibre in an effort to reduce weight. As you will see most of these wooden compound bows are homemade by people who evidently felt the need to experiment.

The first video here is a bow made out of mostly wood and PVC pipes.

The 2nd video here is made of wood laminates, zinc and more. The maker goes into detail as to the building materials at the end of the video.

The 3rd video here shows a guy who made a bow out of wood - and he shows the process he uses for attaching the 2nd cam on the top of the bow after his 1st attempt at making compound bow with only a bottom cam fails. (For some unknown reason he designed the bow to shoot off a right side arrow rest when it should properly be on the left side.)

Some of the wooden compound bows shown below are made in a factory, but very few compound bow manufacturers use wood these days. If you go looking to buy a wooden compound bow the easiest way to do so is to buy an old one made in the 1970s or 1980s.

At the very least the videos and images shown here should give you some DIY ideas if you want to design and make your own wooden compound bow.

How Compound Bows Are Made - Bowtech in Oregon

The video below demonstrates how compound bows are made at the Bowtech factory in Oregon, USA. One of my bows (I currently have 18 bows) was made in the Oregon factory, so it was interesting to me to see where my bow was actually made and how it was made.

For those people looking to get into bowhunting with compound bows I recommend getting compound bow archery lessons so you actually know how to tune your compound bow properly and proper form with your bow - both are necessary if you want to the best possible accuracy. Not knowing how to tune your compound bow sights / etc and not knowing proper form means you will make all sorts of mistakes (and probably lose/damage lots of arrows) when you could have learned the proper way from the beginning. It doesn't matter so much where you get your lessons from, but you should get someone to teach you how to do it properly.

Websites for Bowyers

The following list of websites was sent to me by Toronto bowyer Mike Meusel following a conversation he and I had on March 24th.

#1. Tuff Tooth
https://www.tufftooth.com/ for bandsaw blades of every length. (This came up in our conversation in relationship to my two bandsaws and my difficulties finding bandsaw blades that fit my old bandsaw.)

#2. Great Lake Arrow Traditional Fletching Supplies
http://www.greatlakearrow.com/  for arrow supplies. The company sells arrow shafts, feather fletching, nocks, arrowheads, adhesives and tools.

#3. Rodney Wright Archery
http://wrightarchery.com/boutique/  Mike bought a leather side quiver from him. "He’s good." say's Mike. Rodney Wright also sells high quality arrows, bow building materials, bow strings, and a variety of high end longbows and recurve bows.

#4. Marc's Bows and Arrows
http://ironwoodbowyer.com/ – "Probably the best bowyer in Ontario, and definitely one of the top in North America," says Mike. Sells composite bows, longbows, arrows, quivers and much more. Also has a fair chunk of info on bow building techniques.
The photo below is from Marc's website, which I thought was fascinating.


Basically Bows Archery
http://basicallybowsarchery.com/ - This isn't one of the websites Mike sent me because he knew I already know about this particular shop in Toronto, but I felt I should mention it too. Basically Bows sells longbows, recurves, fletching tools, feather fletching, bow string, nocks, arrowheads, tools and more. If you are into longbows and traditional archery, Basically Bows is the place to go in Toronto.


Century Mills in Stouffville, Ontario
+ http://centurymill.com/site/domestic-hardwood-1/ - For both domestic hardwoods and foreign hardwoods, Century Mills in Stouffville sells a variety of woods good for both bowmaking and arrowmaking - and you can easily find them in the right sizes for bow staves, making them easy to browse and find what you are looking for. Mike mentioned Century Mills recently in a different conversation.

The Toronto Archery Club / Archery Lessons in Toronto


The Toronto Archery Club is no longer on Meetup.com, and only found on Facebook.


If you live in Toronto and are looking to get into bowhunting / archery then I have several recommendations for you.

#1. Join the Toronto Archery Club, meet other people who are into archery and bowhunting - which means you can learn hunting tips from your fellow bowhunters. Being a member of a local archery club will get you lots of bowhunting tips and allow you to socialize with other bowhunters.

#2. If you've never done archery before, hire an archery instructor in Toronto. You can get archery lessons in Toronto from CardioTrek.ca or browse some of the other archery instructors available on ArcheryToronto.ca. Having proper archery lessons and learning how to shoot well is a wise investment, regardless of whether you are hunting with a compound or a traditional recurve or longbow.

#3. Get a subscription a bowhunting magazine. There are several different magazines that I recommend:

  • Traditional Bowhunter Magazine (caters to recurve + longbow bowhunting)
  • Bowhunting Magazine (caters to compound bow hunting)
  • TradArcher's World Magazine (caters to traditional archers, including bowhunters)

#4. Join OODMAG's Forum for Bowhunting at http://www.oodmag.com/community/forumdisplay.php?17-Bowhunting. Joining a bowhunting forum certainly is not mandatory, but it is smart to learn from your fellow bowhunters before going on your first hunt. Even better if you can take a more experienced bowhunter or a group of bowhunters with you.

#5. Learn everything you can about bowhunting - both traditional bowhunting techniques and modern bowhunting techniques - from as many sources as you can. These includes local and provincial laws, what you are allowed to hunt and when/where, stalking vs tree stands vs ground blinds, what kind of broadheads to use based on your prey, the benefits of heavier arrows when hunting, etc.

eg. With respect to heavier arrows, they do more damage due to greater momentum. Think of it like this: If someone throws a hammer at you, what do you think will hurt more? A tiny 1/2 lb hammer or a 5 lb hammer? Guaranteed the heavier hammer will do more damage on impact. The disadvantage to heavier arrows is that have a more limited range - but much more power when they hit.

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