How-To How-To

If you have any interest in tools, woodworking, or construction, then you’ve probably seen those how-to articles or videos featuring a clean, well-dressed person working in a spotless shop. They have cabinets full of immaculate tools and every form of material necessary for their project within arm’s reach. Their project demonstrates dove-tails, eagle-tails, hen’s teeth, and is finished in the finest of frog hair.

It is the stuff of fairy tales.

I was thinking about this as I completed my latest project: a three-bin composting station. If I was writing a how-to article or making a video about the process, it would look like this:

Construction Of The Three-Bin Compost Station
By Skinflint Construction

Note: It is very important to plan ahead when taking on this project. It took me ten years to build our three-bin composting station. If need be, you could probably get it done in four or five years.

1. Acquire a herd of llamas. This is crucial because when you purchase 20 acres of land, you’ll need a good reason to fence it for pasture. Make certain that you get good quality, pressure treated fence posts ~ you are going to need them later.

CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center2. Purchase property ~ 20 acres should do. Ensure that the land that you buy includes a children’s play structure made of good quality wood such as cedar, preferably sawn right there on the property. Fence four acres of your property.

3. Your llamas will need protection from the bears and cougars streaming out of the woods. Get two big livestock guardian dogs. Build a feeding station big enough for both dogs to eat in at the same time.CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center

4. Notice that your llama herd is mostly an expensive and time-consuming hobby. Sell the llamas.

5. Your dogs, being working dogs, don’t have a job now. Sell them.

6. Post an ad on Craigslist offering your fencing for free to anyone who will come and take it down. However, they must leave the wooden fence posts.

7. Think about the three-bin composting station for six or seven years.

8. Disassemble the wooden play set. Burn the rotten bits and stack the decent boards in the yard until you decide what to use them for.

9. Construct several miscellaneous projects over several years and save the left over bits of plywood in as many locations as possible.

10. Pull random wooden fence posts out of the ground for other uses. “Store” them in various out of the way locations about the property when done.

CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center11. Build a composting toilet outhouse (save leftover tar paper and shingles). Fill, cover, and save two buckets of waste because you’re going to build a three-bin composting station. Someday.

12. Build a tiny house. Install a composting toilet in the tiny house. Start to feel some pressure to build the three-bin composting station.

13. Decide to build the three-bin composting station.

14. Search the property for wooden fence posts. Celebrate when you find the required eight.

15. Cut wooden stakes for laying out the three-bin composting station.

16. After a hard rainstorm, insert the stakes, attach batter boards, and apply string to mark the corners of the three-bin composting station. Ensure that your strings are horizontal and the corners are square. Hose off pants before entering the house.CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center

17. Rest during the ensuing rainstorms.

18. Right before the next rainstorm, panic and start digging post holes for the wooden fence posts. Remove a rock the size of your head from the first hole.

19. Watch the two-foot deep post holes fill with water from the soggy ground.

20. Rig your wet/dry vacuum for wet work and suck the water out of the hole. Quickly insert the fence post. Suck out more water. Ensure the fence post is vertical. Pour in the concrete and pack it down.

21. Repeat this operation for six more fence posts.

22. As you reach for the eighth fence post, notice something odd. Whip out your tape measure and check the length. Mutter dirty dark brown curses when you find this fence post is six and one-half feet instead of eight.

23. Buy another fence post next trip into town.

24. Resume setting the eighth post.

25. Wonder if any of the children’s play set wood might work for the sides of the three-bin composting station.

26. Haul the least rotten children’s play set wood across the property and apply it to one side of the three-bin composting station. Notice that it works great. Notice how soft it is to cut. Apply wood to all sides of the three-bin composting station. Admire your work.CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center

27. Find a scrap 2×6 from the tiny house construction. Notch the center four wooden fence posts to hold up 2×6 beams for the roof. Decide to buy a rip saw. Apply one 2×6 beam to each pair of the center posts.

28. Look at the remaining wood from the children’s play set. Is there enough to make the roof rafters? Decide that there is. Learn how to mark and cut roof rafters.CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center

29. Assemble three sets of rafters for the roof of the three-bin composting station in the driveway between rainstorms.

30. Hoist the rafters up onto the beams of the three-bin composting station. Mark their location on the beams. Place each set of rafters, check for vertical, and toe-nail into place.

CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center31. Look at the remaining wood from the children’s play set. Is there enough for the roof stringers? Decide that there is. Cut the wood to length and apply stringers to the rafters.

33. Wonder if you have enough plywood bits stored about the property for the roof deck. Determine the total square footage of plywood needed. Collect plywood bits. Worry that it is not enough. Dig into dark, shadowy, spider-web filled corners and find more plywood bits. Worry that this is still not enough. Look about the property more. Notice the dogs old feeding station. It has plywood sides. Disassemble the feeding station. Marvel that the screws holding that together were only one inch long. NOW you might have enough plywood.

34. Study the plywood. Wonder how to cut pieces to cover the roof. Trim rotten plywood off. Lay pieces out in the driveway to see if they’ll fit. Cut more pieces and add them to the layout in the driveway. Finally get enough plywood cut to cover one side of the three-bin composting station roof. Repeat for the second side.CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center

35. Remove cat from plywood and carry one load of plywood over to the three-bin composting station. Apply this plywood to one side of the roof. Repeat for the second side. Admire your work.

(The hard part is over ~ it’s all downhill from here!)

36. Find left-over tar paper and apply to both sides of the three-bin composting station roof.

37. Find left-over shingles and apply them to the roof of your brand new three-bin composting station. Congratulations!CopperMoon, CARC, CopperMoon Advanced Retreat Center

Stay tuned for How To Build An 8x10x8 Covered Dog Shelter Completely of Disassembled Pallets While Cutting Off The Tip of Only ONE Finger!

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