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Old 11-19-2016, 02:23 AM   #1
peddler
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Default Novice Author -How to Book on Reclamation

My name is Forrest Charnock and I am new to this forum and to desktop publishing,

The reason I joined is that I am writing a book for the first time and have no clue how to go about it. I am using SoftMaker 2016 on Linux. Since I was a 14 my father had me and my brother out collecting building materials to use around the house , for out buildings ,and to sell. We did everything from dismantling bridges to use for pier and beam foundations ,removed all the wood floors from a middle school etc.
I discovered people selling antique flooring and beams at a profit. I started acquiring a few houses here and there and did well selling the floors. A friend of mine installed floors and one of his clients wanted enough antique wood to floor the entire historic Rice Hotel in Houston Texas. Then I decided to put my entire efforts into reclamation . It became more profitable and a lot more fun than cleaning carpet and selling vacuum cleaners, The book will be a how to for a person with average carpentry skills to quickly,safely, and profitably dismantle small buildings and remove the surface flooring from large ones.
Anyone I am terminal and want to leave something to say I was here and help support my church support missionaries in the Middle East, any pointers on how to organize the book and make it easy reading would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance !
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Old 11-19-2016, 11:09 AM   #2
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With respect to organizing the book, perhaps think about the order in which a house/building is going to be dismantled and use that as the organizing principle. Also perhaps giving some thought to the preparation that goes into getting a house/building ready to be dismantled. Additionally, what tools are required--both physical tools and intellectual tools.


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Old 11-19-2016, 02:10 PM   #3
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I've no experience with book publishing, but given your subject matter, you would certainly enjoy reading a book called A Reverence For Wood by Eric Sloane.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486433943/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

The Amazon blurb doesn't make it entirely clear, but it's written partly as the story of how Sloane and a neighborhood handyman/carpenter/craftsman disassembled an old (New England, I think) barn.

   
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Old 11-19-2016, 03:30 PM   #4
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Default Thanks for replying Terrie!~

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie View Post
With respect to organizing the book, perhaps think about the order in which a house/building is going to be dismantled and use that as the organizing principle. Also perhaps giving some thought to the preparation that goes into getting a house/building ready to be dismantled. Additionally, what tools are required--both physical tools and intellectual tools.


Terrie
That is pretty much what I have been doing. One thing that would really help is to find a free program that I can use to make simple sketches of the special tools and jigs I have learned to use and also created over the years.There are some Mennonite carpenters here who offered to tear down a house, as I would do it, so I can get some video and stills of the fast way to dismantle while saving the materials and remaining safe. Some of the tools are no more complicated than a string figure drawing ,unfortunately I am stick figure challenged,

Last edited by peddler; 11-19-2016 at 03:33 PM. Reason: information
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Old 11-19-2016, 04:08 PM   #5
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Thanks Steve:

It is always good to be knowledgeable about your business . I was never much into old barns but I did my share and it is a popular subject. One idea It gave me was offering the book for sale on line w/ more vigor. My first thought was to market it primarily through home centers alongside their how-to books. Any one interested in that book or similar ones that popped up with it is a prospective customer. One interesting fact about the history of the old growth trees in Early America is that King George had his men put his seal on all the heart pine,{ long leaf yellow pine} over 24" in diameter forbidding them to all others, South Carolina patriots tarred and feathered the King's men. This was 6 months prior to the Boston Tea Party and was the first open revolt by the colonist.
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peddler View Post
One thing that would really help is to find a free program that I can use to make simple sketches of the special tools and jigs I have learned to use and also created over the years.
It really depends on what you want to do. If you simply want to get sketches into a book, you could make the sketches by hand and then scan them. In other words, you would have what looks like photos of sketches, and these would reside on your computer for you to place into your book. If you want to actually draw on your computer it is a bit of an investment in hardware, software, and time spent learning.

   
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:29 PM   #7
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It really depends on what you want to do. If you simply want to get sketches into a book, you could make the sketches by hand and then scan them. In other words, you would have what looks like photos of sketches, and these would reside on your computer for you to place into your book. If you want to actually draw on your computer it is a bit of an investment in hardware, software, and time spent learning.
That might work on one of them but as I have very little feeling in my hands most of the jigs would require a much more skilled person to draw them adequately. I have us ed a few simple drawing programs that would work. Perhaps finding a person with those skills would make more sense.
There are plenty of free , simple , drawing programs for Linux and Windows I just haven't been able to find one simple enough for me yet, I used to have one I could make pretty fair dimensional drawings to scale with. It was an old windows program but I have forgotten the name of it. Also I had on old Gateway Tablet PC that I installed Wacom on so I could draw and paint with it. It was stolen by someone that did not realize it was too old to be worth anything.. It cost me a pretty penny when I bought it in 2006. If I could find one a bit newer I would buy it . Sometimes the OS gets corrupted or they lose a hard drive and the reinstall disk and sell them for peanuts Installing Wacom is rather daunting to most , on Linux ,terrifying. It's really not that hard.A great thing about Linux is it will often pay to use an old computer that would be a bad investment with Windows or Mac is that as long as it runs you don't need a hard drive or fast memory. I have an old machine I blew th e hard drive on so I installed Puppy Linux onto a 16 gb flash drive, It has Libre Office already and I added SoftMaler. It is incredibly fast and does everything I need it to. That machine would barely boot Windows if at all. If I can find one I just have to remember the program I used that set up grids to draw with and then don't show when you save it. It started with a J in Windows and a Y in Linux if I remember correctly. I never tried using a USB tablet screen that plugs in to your machine. You got me to thinking Andrew,Thanks!

Last edited by peddler; 11-19-2016 at 09:09 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:05 AM   #8
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That would have been the trees suitable for masts for navy ships, as I recall. Interesting bit of history; thanks.

As to marketing your book, I wonder if some kind of tie-in with groups like this would be worth looking into:

http://www.buildingvalue.org/

Building Value is a local non-profit that trains young people in construction and demolition techniques. They do actual demolition projects and other related stuff. The place is funded by selling materials that they've reclaimed and that other people drop off for resale rather than just trash.

Our contractor had them remove an old deck for us before putting up a new one, and at around the same time, I found some bits and pieces for another renovation project that I couldn't find anywhere else, at least not at any reasonable price. Heh ... I suppose the sweat equity, steel wool, paint/rust remover and paint I invested in the heating vent grille probably bumped the price over what I might have paid for something ready-made, but oh, the satisfaction ... ;-)

   
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
... as I have very little feeling in my hands most of the jigs would require a much more skilled person to draw them adequately. I have us ed a few simple drawing programs that would work. Perhaps finding a person with those skills would make more sense.
Perhaps a local community college would have students who would help with this as part of their course?

Check for local colleges > courses > instructors and ask if this is possible?

   
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:45 PM   #10
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Default Building Value ? I don't think so.

Steve , you are correct to a point for the use of large Heart Pine Timbers in shipbuilding but American White Oak made the best mast ,Long leaf Pine the best planking and it did make more than adequate masts. South American Iron Wood is so hard is is used to this day to make block and tackle to rig ships , it is also virtually decay free under the worst conditions.

Another interesting American Hardwood is Honey Mesquite. The roots are used to make the worlds finest tool handles, The Navy specified it exclusively for all it's wood working tools until the 20's and it had become so rare when miners discovered the root of one they would literally dig up as it was far more valuable than gold ore, and several tropical hardwoods have similar properties. One of my favorites is Usage Orange or as it is called in my neck of the woods Bois d^ Arc which is French for the Wood of the Bow, It as a bright and quite beautiful orange heart wood layer that many indigenous Americans used to make their fine long bows with. My father and one of his brothers used to do the same. They required great skill to build . They were roughed out and then fine tunes 1000's of an inch at a time with a spoke shave. They were beautiful, deadly accurate , powerful and surprisingly easy to draw when balanced perfectly. My father used to make jewelry pieces such as hearts, rings etc. to inlay into jewelry boxes. etc,In Texas where I grew up and you built a house on wooden blocks the banks would only loan you the money if you used Bois d^ Arc {pronounced bow-dark} as it will last over 150 years in direct ground contact. As you can tell I am a wood freak :} .

As far as Building Value they get grants to make a business that could never be run like that without them and deprive creative and hardworking people an opportunity to make an honest living. 2 similar organizations I dealt with were the Green Project in New Orleans 9th Ward after Katrina and Habitat for Humanity in my home town of Houston. I did some business teaching the E.P.A. how to remove wood floors and those they hired messed if up so bad they left the 9k ft they did reclaim on a dock in Virginia and virtually gave it to me to get rid of it. Anyone in the business , including myself, could have easily and profitably brought in a hard working crew and gotten 9 times as much of the flooring, it was nice material. The E.P. A. flew me up to Hartford Conn. to speak at a conference on reducing the waste stream. Aside from 2 companies that sold tub-grinders to turn scrap lumber into landscaping mulch or boiler fuel I was the only one that actually did anything other than collect grant money. I was a huge hit because I had pictures of numerous 18 wheeler loads of material being prepared for shipment across the US , Europe, and Asia. Afterwards we went to eat and they all asked me how a I got all that grant money . When I told them I never received any and they were shocked that their fair haired golden boy was actually and evil trash profiteer capitalizing on their god, Mother Earth. A professor from Berkeley said his plan was to force everyone to keep EVERYTHING they ever bought and it's waste products ,viola! , waste stream eliminated. I replied jokingly we could cut it in half simply by eliminating 1/2 the population , he thought it was a reasonable plan but I truly believe he was serious about killing off 1/2 the populace, I had to leave. My one friend in the E.P.A. who was sincere, if hopelessly naive ,was very apologetic.

I ran into my buddy in New Orleans after Katrina working with the Green Project which like Build Value have an endless supply of tax break certificates to buy high end items like mantles, antique doors, windows etc. and put people who have been reclaiming these things to the benefit of the public for long before anyone ”heard of the E.P.A. and removing the most effective people permanently from the work force. They had women in poor physical condition working in the hot sun without proper eye or foot protection and no carpentry skills whatsoever. My biggest peeve in reclamation is seeing people with a board sitting on the ground on one end and bouncing the other off the saw horse. It is unproductive, dangerous and ends up destroying good material. I told my buddy I would train them , he knew it was not working. Told him I wanted 8k for a week plus all by expenses, hotel pier diem , mileage on my diesel one ton and he never blinked an eye, all I had to say was yes. Again I got that sick feeling and could not go through with it even though it would have saved them money as insane as that sounds.

When I was younger a big part of my business was reclaiming wood by dismantling very old houses , once my commercial flooring reclamation and wood brokering business got going well it dropped to maybe 8-10% of my total still a substantial amount of income at a high profit margin. Usually I would bid $300.00 to $500.00 for houses built circa 1870 to 1911 which were almost always framed with very high quality Long Leaf Pine as well as the surface floors, subfloors and even the wall boards. It is brutally hard work to dismantle a house , remove all the nails, cut out any rot , measure it accurately and bundle it professionally. If you know the trade secrets to remove the roof before lunch with 2 guys , build special jigs such as a denailing/bundling table , and use pneumatic denailing equipment it can be done at a speed few would believe .

As far as the salvage rights it was just beer money for or the demolishers, we both knew I would make more than twice that amount day one selling the “goodies” ,bear foot tubs, pedestal sinks , fancy windows ,doors cabinets ,etc. Well I bid on one near downtown Houston built in 1876 ,not the last one I ever did,but they were no longer a significant part of my business thanks to “Habitat for Humanity ”. and sent some old friends and acquaintances to the poorhouse because it was their chief income source and they , for the most ,did not have the collection of jigs and pneumatic tools to do the job as quickly and cheaply as I did.

The last house I checked out and it was perfect , I immediately called my Demo guy and told him to come by and have lunch the next day and I would pay hit the $500.00 This was no large sum at all , I had given him many tens of thousands and only worth of demo jobs I found out about through my contacts and never charged him any commission save the salvage rights. He apologized profusely he had traded the house to Habitat for a 10k dollar tax credit! Where on earth does our constitution allow a government bureaucracy can give tax credits out , in this case putting people on the dole where they were happy to earn their living through hard work.? I was floored, no way I could compete with that nonsense. Later that day Habitat called me wanting to sell me the same house I had already bought, at least in my way of thinking. If I tell you I agree to buy something I have given my word is worth a lot more than $500.00 .

People routinely wired me tens of thousands and a few times hundreds with nothing but a phone call. I had to see this nonsense for myself so I drove by the house and nobody was there ,neither were the “goodies”. Their “store” was a mile or so away so I drove over and they were selling the goodies but only accepted cash,go figure! I informed them I had no interest in giving a government money that would have gone to the demolisher if they did not have all those questionable legal tax breaks to compete against working people . They took offense , so did I. I told them at the least the house was going to cost me at more to process considering giving them the $500 was for no benefit to me because the goodies were worth at least $1500.00 , it was an exceptional house.

Unless I was having problems keeping busy, which rarely happened ,I would spend a couple hours and make a very conservative estimate of what the materials would bring and a liberal one on the cost, in other words I left room for error, things don’t always go as planned. The minimum I would accept is to expect a minimum of $2000.00 a week {this house would have taken 3 weeks} and a maximum 6 weeks to sell all the materials. The numbers were too close , and it was so unfair to have to compete on such David and Goliath grounds I said no. The people from Habitat did not pry up a single board or pull a single nail and despite the . of reasonable value , pretty much everything on houses like that is salvageable save the roofing , old carpets , trash etc. Ten Grand in credits changes the rules I guess. All that beautiful , eternally irreplaceable material , and that of countless other houses is rotting in a landfill and tens of thousands more being added instead of bringing exquisite beauty to peoples homes and businesses.

If I seem passionate about government bureaucracies that put Americans out of business or lose their jobs to enrich people who could care less about people, reducing the waste stream, or giving mankind the beauty God created for us to enjoy a second time you would be right. Sorry for the long post

Last edited by terrie; 11-21-2016 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Edited to add blank lines between paragraphs
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