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Welcome to Project Gridless!

Hello! Project Gridless is dedicated to off the grid living, foraging / hunting / gardening for food, traditional survival skills and modern tips for alternative energy. Please Follow, Subscribe or Like.

Living Off the Grid, according to Popular Culture

Television / YouTube

Television likes to romanticize the notion of living off the grid... resulting in "TV celebrities / YouTube celebrities" like...

  • Ed Begley, Jr. from the show "Living with Ed" on the Home & Garden Television (HGTV) network.
  • Daryl Hannah (actress) promoting off-grid living from her home in Colorado.
  • Cody Lundin (self proclaimed survival expert / "Dual Survival") who lives in a solar earth house in Arizona.
  • "Survival Lilly", an Austrian-Anglo YouTube survivalist with a very popular YouTube channel.
  • That guy who never talks from Primitive Technology, another popular YouTube channel. Dunno his name because he never talks about himself - never talks at all, but his videos are quite good. (But he sucks at archery.)
 
Daryl Hannah's Home Colorado

Literary

Books do the same thing, but there is a stronger tendency to fictionalize the idea. eg. Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, etc. Not real people, just fictional characters in survival situations.

Even children's fiction like the boom "Hatchet" really amounts to the same thing, fiction. Now there must be books out there which are "true stories", but none of them really stand out as being good. eg. There are a number of biography books about that idiot American Chris McCandless who starved to death in Alaska, but seeing as how he got sick and starved to death for sheer stupidity I don't think that is a good example. He also wasn't an off gridder. He was more of a hiker / survivalist - and he didn't even survive.

There is likely poetry on the topic of living off the grid, but nothing worth mentioning.

The Media

Behold what the Guardian (UK Newspaper) thinks of people living off the grid. They look practically homeless. Clearly the Guardian (and their photographer) has a very different opinion of what "off the grid" living looks like. Like hillbillies in the USA, who live that way due to poverty - not by choice.










Conclusions

Thanks to popular culture I don't think the vast majority of people have a positive or accurate opinion of living off the grid. They are either romanticizing it, trying to make it seem more exciting, or depicting it as mere poverty.

Toronto Crossbow Range, More Discussion

Email received October 29th:

Hello 
My name is Wolf and I came across a discussion that you would like to open a crossbow range. I would like to get into the sport but I can't find a space in or around Toronto to shoot a crossbow. Any advice or help is appreciated. 

Thanks

Wolf B.
 
 
 
 
Hello Wolf!
 
Yes, this is true. I do want to open an indoor crossbow range / archery range. It would operate like a private gym with gym memberships for members to cover the cost of renting a location / renovating it / maintenance / hiring people to supervise it. Part of it would be supplemented by having a crossbow / archery store.
 
To get it up and running however we need at least so many annual members to make it financially viable. So far I have had 41 people sign up for a waiting list. Do you want to add your name to the waiting list?

If so I need the following from you:

  • Full Name
  • Email
  • Phone #
  • Do you prefer a monthly membership ($100) or annual membership ($800)?
In the meantime I usually shoot in my garage or when traveling up north. If you can find other friends who are into crossbows and possibly have access to a location where you can shoot in a more wilderness location, even better, although admittedly that would be further away from Toronto and lack convenience.
 
Wolf's Den near Barrie has a range (not sure if they allow crossbows, but I am guessing they do). Considering your name is Wolf that could be a fun place to check out, although again Barrie isn't very convenient. At least it gives you another option for a possible place to shoot.
 
Regards,
C.M.


Researching the Best Way to Design an Indoor Crossbow Range

There are a number of ways the crossbow / archery range could be designed... Here are some photos I found on Google which I am using for research purposes.






How to make a Floating Shipping Container Home

Three years ago I wrote a post titled How to Buy, Design and Build your own Shipping Container Home.

Shipping containers, for those who are unfamiliar, are large steel containers that are placed on large ships for transoceanic journeys and also on to trains and flatbed trucks, thus allowing companies to ship lots of goods from Point A to Point B to Point C using different methods of transportation, but without having to remove the goods from the shipping container because the container itself is swapped from ship to train to truck.

The containers are also in abundance, making them afordable to buy one and they can be used to make surprisingly affordable homes by stacking them together, welding them together, cutting windows out of them, and so forth. The process of building a shipping container home saves on a lot of the expenses compared to buying a normal home.

Today I am going to do something similar... except we are going to be looking at Floating Homes. Building a houseboat makes some good economical sense as you don't necessarily have to worry about buying land, instead you just need a boat, a place to potentially dock your houseboat, and you need to make sure the thing floats.

So lets start with some images so you know what I am talking about better - so pay attention Do-It-Yourselfers, this is a DIY project worth considering.











A Few Tips for Building your own Shipping Container Houseboat
  • You have to be doubly sure your home will float.
  • You have to design it in a way that it will stay stable - even if it were to suddenly weigh more on one side of the houseboat, you want a system devised so that it stays stable and afloat.
  • The shipping container is not going to float by itself. You need to build a raft capable of supporting it. This raft should be capable of supporting the weight of the shipping container, but a lot more weight just to be certain.
  • Just because the shipping container is one specific shape, doesn't mean the final shape of your houseboat needs to be a giant rectangular box - instead find ways to add triangles and curves to the shape of the architecture. Make it more interesting.
  • Want a bigger home? Just get two shipping containers and make the raft twice the size.
  • Want a really big home? Get four or more shipping containers and add a courtyard to the middle of the square.
  • Try to build it close to where you plan to launch it. Makes it easier to transport to the launch site if it already nearby.
  • Find a lake that is known to be calm - you wouldn't want a place known for its turbulent waves.
  • Remember to figure out how much space you need for your water filtration system, sources of electricity (solar, wind, gas generator, etc), and anything else you need.
  • Include extra space for "unknown" as you might end up needing something else in the future and lack the appropriate storage space for it. If you end up not needing it, good, it is just extra storage space that you can use for whatever.
  • Design it in a manner so that you can possibly expand it in the future.
  • Remember some parts of the structure may require maintenance, and it needs to be designed in a manner that makes it easier to maintain.


Good luck!

The Problem of Teardrop Cable Sets

When it comes to repairing old compound bows, one of the things that comes up is Teardrops - a tiny part that attaches the cable to the bowstring.

Modern compound bows don't have this problem as they don't even use a Teardrop connector.

However for older vintage compound bows, this is an issue for a number of reasons.

  1. Teardrop connectors have a tendency to snap the cable where it meets the edge of the Teardrop.
  2. Once broken, good luck getting the old cable out of the hole where it snapped. Trying to drill a cable just spins the cable around without actually removing it.
  3. Nobody makes new Teardrops - there are zero manufacturers. To get a "new" Teardrop you need to buy old compound bow parts.
  4. All modern compound bows use a different and more modern system for attaching the cable / bowstring.
 Thus restoring a vintage compound bow using the Teardrop system is problematic. You have to start thinking outside the box because you cannot even find the normal parts to replace it...

But there are alternatives. Cable clamps and similar items - the trick is finding one that allows you to clamp the cable, is lightweight, and allows you to attach the bowstring - which means some of the clamps you end up looking at will either be too heavy and/or make it difficult to attach a bowstring.

Diagram of Vintage Compound Bow
Hmm...

So in order to fix this properly I really need to be inventive.

I need to invent a new part that replaces the Teardrop, allows you to attach the cable to the bowstring, and simultaneously protects the cable from rusting again in the future.

Which has me thinking about materials.

Wood? Might snap.

Metal? Can be tricky to work with.

Antler? Possibility. I have spare antler laying around and I know where to buy more if I need more antler in the future.

And antler is pretty tough.

Industrial Plastic? A 3D printer could simply print the part I need.

The Teardrop shape by itself is ideal, but what it really needs is a sheathe that goes over part of it which protects it from moisture: A second layer which is durable, flexible, and does double duty by holding the cable in place better while simultaneously protecting is from moisture.

To be continued...

How to remove cigar smell from wooden bows

So a friend on Facebook was asking about how to get rid of an old cigar smell that was clinging to a wooden longbow they had purchased. They had tried cleaning it multiple times, but could not get rid of the smell.

While the example listed below works on wooden bows, it can also be used on furniture and a variety of other wooden objects.


Steps to Remove the Cigarette Odor from Wood Bows

  • Begin by mixing 1/4 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Mist the surfaces of the wooden bow.
  • Wipe away any excess moisture to avoid spotting.
  • Allow the piece to air dry completely.
  • Repeat as necessary, vinegar is great at removing odors.
  • When finally done and you can no longer smell any cigar or cigarette smell, dry the bow completely and then oil the wood with tung oil, mineral oil, linseed oil, gunstock oil, deer grease, or similar oils. See also: How to Oil a Wooden Longbow or Flatbow




How to turn an one piece recurve bow into a takedown recurve bow

I found a broken recurve bow (a Stemmler Jaguar) at the archery range a few months ago. I have been planning to either fix it or turn it into a takedown recurve bow. Or if that fails, I have two backup plans.

The previous owner of this Stemmler Jaguar evidently thought it was beyond repair or salvaging.

Photos of the Broken Stemmler Jaguar

The bottom limb cracked and delaminated. I wrapped it in clear plastic hockey tape at the archery range for ease of transportation/storage (and to prevent splinters).

Some people might be tempted to epoxy the broken parts, and that could potentially work if it was just a case of delamination. But because the limb also cracked, epoxy would not be enough. The cracked section would need to be reinforced and retillered. That is a lot of extra work for a bow that will possibly never shoot properly ever again anyway.



45 lbs. It would have been a nice hunting bow before it broke.





How to turn a broken one piece recurve bow into a takedown...

1. Cut the limbs off...

2. Drill holes into the ends of the limbs. Glue washers on the front of the limbs to reinforce them.

3. Saw off the top and bottom parts of the riser so there is a flat angle suitable for attaching the limbs. (Be careful about measuring the angle and cutting it correctly.)

4. Drill holes into the flat angles for bolt inserts. (If you cannot find bolts / inserts, you may have to drill the hole right through and use washers / nuts on the belly of the riser.)

5. Glue the bolt inserts with Titebond 3.

6. Attach everything with the bolts.

7. Test to see how well it works.

No guarantees it will work perfectly.
  1. Be careful your brace height doesn't end up being really low, so a sharper angle may be required if you want to have a more normal brace height and prevent wrist slap.
  2. Poundage at 28" will have changed dramatically.
  3. Bow will be more compact / less forgiving of mistakes. Pros and Cons.

The Backup Plans

 In the event that the above plan doesn't work, I have a backup plan. Remember, what you are doing is basically an experiment. Expect it to fail. Having a backup plan is handy.

Backup Plan #1

Make a crossbow stock with a front suitable for attaching recurve limbs to.

Voila, takedown recurve crossbow!

Backup Plan #2

Cut the widths of the limbs down so that they would fix a normal takedown riser and line up the holes to match where the holes on a takedown riser is. (I plan on lining this up during step 2 up above, that way if the first plan fails this part will already be ready.)

End result, new set of limbs for a takedown riser.

Backup Plan #3

Firewood. Last resort. I would prefer it doesn't come to this.

Future Note

I will update this page in the future when I have photos of the transformation process. Hopefully the first plan works so I don't need to resort to any of the backup plans.

Broken Jennings Compound Bow - Totalled, Write-Off

Email from someone with a broken compound bow looking for repairs:

Hi: Would you be able to fix (replace) a broken limb on a Jennings Speed Master XLR? 

- John.







My Response:

Hey John!
Thanks for the photos.
So I am looking at it and I would have to say that the limb is a write-off. Zero chance of repairing that. Depending on the shape / materials, it is sometimes possible to try and make a replica of the limbs - but doing so in this case would be cost prohibitive. So expensive that it is more than the cost of just buying a new bow, with no guarantee that the new limb would bend properly just like the old limb.
You have two options:
A) Try to find the same model of bow which has the limbs intact that you can use for spare parts. At least then the limb would bend the correct amount.
B) Sell your bow for spare parts.
If you decide for the latter I recommend stripping the quiver and the sight off of it and I will give you $20 for the rest of it. I can use the pieces for repairing the bows of other people in the future.
Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
projectgridless.ca

Diamond Infinite Edge Vs the Bear Cruzer

So I was repairing a compound bow for a client, in this case the Bear Cruzer shown below, and I decided it was an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the following two bows:

The Diamond Infinite Edge

The Bear Cruzer


So lets compare their stats first...

Brand/ModelThe Bear CruzerThe Diamond Infinite Edge
Year Released20162014
Speed310 FPS310
Physical Weight3.6 LBS.3.1 LBS.
Brace Height6 1/2"7"
Axle-to-Axle Distance32"31"
Let Off75%75%
Draw Weight5-70 LBS5-70 LBS
Draw Length12"-30"13"-30"
Price$299.99 USD$249.99 USD

So what you see from this is that the two compound bows are practically identical in terms of stats. Same draw weights, same top speeds, same let offs, the axle distance is only 1 inch of difference, physical weight and even the prices are similar.

Performance wise they are basically the same bow.

The axle difference means the Bear is about 3% more forgiving, but the Diamond has 3% more maneuverability in thick brush. So Pros and Cons.

The Bear Cruzer has 1 inch extra in terms of minimum draw length, but that will only matter to you if you if the bow is for a really, really small person. eg. I just measured and my son has a 10 inch draw and he is less than 4 months old.

The Diamond Infinite Edge was designed to be a bow that was perfect for beginners of all ages, and a broad range of draw lengths / draw weights. As a result of such adjustibility, the Infinite Edge became a huge commercial success.

The Bear Cruzer is basically just a copy.

In an effort to capitalize on the commercial success of the Infinite Edge, Bear came out with the Cruzer model and to my knowledge, it has been commercially successful.

Meanwhile Diamond also came out with the Infinite Edge Pro, the Infinite Edge Pro Package, the Infinite Edge SB-1, and various other models like:
The Prism - With a higher let off and lower max weight.
The Atomic - Designed specifically for children.
Basically, Diamond has been gearing part of their marketing strategy towards children, teenagers and beginners. They still make plenty of other bows specifically for adults (as does their parent company Bowtech), but they have made huge inroads with respect to growing a clientele amongst children and teenagers.

And the fact that Bear Archery Co. is copying them shows that there is a lot of money to be made.

Back in 2014 I bought a Diamond Infinite Edge (mine is shown below, which I refer to as "Burnt Rubber") shortly after it first came out. I chose it because I wanted a compound bow that was super adjustable, easy to adjust, and I wouldn't need a bow press at all. I later used that same bow to take 2nd place in a compound bow archery competition in 2016, beating people who had more expensive bows than I did, and I nearly took first place but screwed up in one round which severely hurt my score - which only goes to show you that it is the archer, not the bow, which matters the most.

With respect to Bear, I have a great love and admiration for the company. They have a great reputation, great warranties, and I own two Bear recurve bows.

Next, lets compare them visually.

Left, Bear Cruzer - Right, Diamond Infinite Edge

You can easily tell the Bear Cruzer is slightly longer, axle to axle. Pros and Cons to that.

Different Cam Shapes, but still similar in some respects. For legal reasons they should not be identical.

The stabilizer that came with the Cruzer vs the NAP Apache stabilizer I added to mine.

The sight that came with the Cruzer vs the Trophy Ridge sight I added to mine.
The arrow rests are a Whisker Biscuit vs a QAD drop away arrow rest.

The peep sight ripped off the Bear Cruzer (client said they would fix that themselves), vs my peep sight which has been reinforced with extra serving. I am a firm believer in reinforcing the peep sight so it doesn't move around much.

The two bows side by side, once more.
NOTE - This doesn't mean that one bow is better than the other, with respect to "just the bows" without all the attachments they are still pretty much identical. The Bear is still more or less a copy of the Diamond. (I imagine for legal reasons they probably had to change a number of things on purpose.)

In case you are curious, the client requested their bow be set to 29 lbs. Mine is set to 55 lbs.

With respect to my bow you can see it has been heavily modified.
  1. New NAP Apache stabilizer.
  2. New QAD drop away arrow rest.
  3. New Trophy Ridge sight.
  4. Reinforced the peep sight with extra serving.
  5. Wrapped the handle with pleather for extra comfort.
  6. Not shown here, but I also got a nicer side quiver for it.
I don't need a wrist sling. I am not in the habit of dropping my bows.

I do fully endorse people to modify their bows however. The stabilizers, sights, etc that come with a compound bow straight out of the package are never the best. They are pretty "basic". They will work more or less, but they will never work as good as the mid range or higher end equipment that is available.

Take the Whisker Biscuit for example. It is okay. It works. But you will never get the same kind of accuracy that you can potentially get with a drop away style arrow rest.

Conclusions

Honestly, the two bows are so similar that the biggest differences will depend on what you decide to do with it. Modify it? I fully recommend doing that.

These days you cannot even get a new Diamond Infinite Edge. You have to get the Pro version, the SB-1 version or some other similar model. The original "classic" model is no longer available.

I do have one issue with mine... Every time I shoot it there is a faint whiff of burnt rubber. Hence why I gave it the name "Burnt Rubber".

I also fully endorse giving your bow a name. Any good bow deserves a name.

Happy Shooting!

PS. If you are looking for compound bow repairs in Toronto, talk to me. If you compare my rates to other locations, you will find I offer the best rates on all repairs.

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