Showing posts with label amazon ads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amazon ads. Show all posts

Sunday, January 9, 2022

New Reviews - Five Books

Last year, I managed more than 52 reviews. Most of them were sci-fi-themed as I reviewed a ton of Helen Mary Hoover books. Technically, she is a young adult author but also ticks off the science fiction and young women coming of age in bleak future tropes. I love them. I hope to finish up the last of her books this year. 

I've got a great start this year, having tackled 5 books in 15 days. Well, 5 novels anyway. I read a few more than that if you include gamebooks or science lectures. Back in 2016, I graduated with my Bachelor's in History. I would typically read a book a week per class. Each 16 week semester I would chew through 45+ books, not counting textbooks or articles, or other reading materials. Two or 3 books a week is a nice slow pace for me. It makes the content easy to digest.  

All but one of these are classics, being over 20 years old and must-reads for the science-fiction or fantasy buff. The odd man out is Inhibitor Phase by Alastair Reynolds as it was published in 2021. 

My intention with this post was to have all 5 reviews done before posting. But that turned out to be more time-consuming than I anticipated. As I post more reviews, I will add more links. Additionally, I would like to rework the top page bar at the top of my blog to break down reviews into categories, so that Traveller Fans don't have to pick through fantasy books and vice versa. 

As a part of the digestion portion of these readings, I also plan to have a post about science fiction weapons that are terrifying. Niven, Pournelle, and Reynolds have stuff in their books that is absolutely insane and somewhat based on reality. 

In addition to all of this, I also have several new sources for books beyond physical or electronic books from Amazon. I have my favorite two or three local bookshops, but those aren't available online. Abebooks is an excellent resource. I will be sharing each of these with you as a part of the review process. 

With Amazon, you have physical books, ebooks, and Audible books. One attractive feature of Audible is the ability to purchase the ebook along with the Audible version. I have done this a couple of times and found it less useful than advertised. I probably won't do it in the future. 

If you need an Audible account, click the link below. All clicks to Amazon result in remuneration to me, which supports These Old Games. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Book Review - This Time of Darkness by H. M. Hoover

Title: This Time of Darkness
Author: H. M. Hoover
Year: 1980
Pages: 161 page booklets
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Born in 1935 between Canton and Alliance, Helen Mary Hoover was the daughter of teachers and naturalists. Her ventures took her from sea to shining sea, from LA to NYC before she settle down in Northern Virginia to write. 

This Time of Darkness is yet another book which sits in the middle YA fiction. It was published in 1980. Of all of Ms. Hoover's books, this one withstands time perhaps because it follows a simple formula of place and becoming. 

Meet Amy and Axel, two 10 year old citizens the City. Or maybe they're 11. Doesn't matter, no one in the City cares for these children. In one moment, they make a choice to escape the City, to go outside. In the rain. The City is like Corrasant turned literally on its head. Amy and Axel must use all of their resources to escape. As they climb the ramps and prowl the halls and corridors looking for the tunnels that lead outdoors, they discover the many secrets about the City and themselves. 

They are pursued by the Authority, Crazies and secretive Watchers on their quest to escape this dysphoria life and explore the great Outdoors. 

This Time of Darkness is a dark, but quick read. As you can tell from the description, this tale could be a sourcebook for 1984 or the Paranoia RPG.  

This is the portion of the post where you click the link which goes to Amazon and I get compensated if you buy. #Ad

Or you could get this book as a part of one the Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans. Kindle Unlimited Memberships offer access to 1 million book titles like This Time of Darkness, or current magazines and Audible Narration for your books. Best yet, it offers a 30 day trial so you can test it out before you buy.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Building a Gaming Tool Kit, Rules Agnostic

To be truthful, this is an excuse to go shopping on Amazon. I thought I would share all of the stuff I accumulate for RPG gaming nights. This is the portion of the post where if you click the link which goes to Amazon and I get compensated if you buy. #Ad

First things first, I have an addiction to notebooks. I always have one on me to write down new ideas for gaming and one at the table to take notes. 

The first item is tiny notebooks. These are 3.5" x 5.5" and have a loop for a pen or pencil. They look like miniature hardcover books.  

Next up, grid paper. I have stacks of these A5 Size 30 sheets journals. They are 8 1/4" by 5 1/2". Perfect for tiny maps. 

This next item was an accidental purchase, but still very helpful. Paper folders, 50 of them in multiple colors.
To top off the list of paper goods, I have reams of paper. This is perfect for printing character sheets and background information.

With all this paper, you'll need some writing implements. Let's start "basic" with pencils. Presharpened is the way to go. 

For a splash of color, I like these Prismacolor markers. They are duo-nibbed for fine and wide details. 

For outlining and other detail work, Faber-Castel's pens are perfect.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Books by Rick Wayne

For the longest time, I have run a side panel ad for Rick's books, The Minus Faction and Feast of Shadow series. I'm doing a refresh of the blog and moving them here. All of these books are available on so check them out. 

Very shortly, I will be running reviews of all 8 of them.  So moved but not forgotten. 

As of this moment, I'm spending a lot of time trying to get the garden complete so reviews are momentarily on hold. I can't wait for this brief burst of lawn activity to be done so I can get back to reading and blogging. 

Be sure to check out these and all of the other great titles by Rick Wayne at Amazon. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

New Pens, New Art - Horses, Castle and Figures.

I picked up some new markers on Amazon. These are the Faber-Castell Wallet of 4 PITT Artist Pens - Black and Sepia. Each set has one
  • B: 1-5mm (Brush spread)
  • M: 0.7mm
  • F: 0.5mm
  • S: 0.3mm

Right of the package, I did a quick sketch of a horse in Sepia. The brown is on the lighter side, but that gives you the ability to layer for deeper colors. 

I really like the feel of these pens. They are on the short thin side, but easy to hold. The brush glides smoothly over most types of paper, but I haven't given them a hard test of textured bristol board or (heaven forbid!) newsprint.

These are wonderful pens at the price point. 

Black Sepia

Having fooled around with the sepia pens, I used the smaller nibs to do some sketches in black. I did two quick figures studies and some sort of space fighter. Even the small nibs glide nicely. Almost too nicely. I didn't want to lift the pen, which gave these studies a scratchy look. 

That's my hand, not the pens. 

Man with halberd Swordsman
Later today, I will test them out with another drawing of a castle. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Latest Amazon Find - Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Begins game

I don't know why I like the easy entry tests for games. Today I found the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Begins game. It takes the players on an adevnture in the lands of Neverwinter.

EDIT - It's on back order but I'll get mine on Jan 23th if you are looking to order. 

It's meant for 2-4 players, ages 10 an up. It was about $25, but is on sale at Amazon for less than $15.

It might be the tangables that come with these sets that gets me. The set includes: 
  • 4 mini-figures, 
  • 4 Boss tiles, 
  • 4 20-sided dice, 
  • 10-sided Dungeon Master die, 
  • damage clip, 
  • 4 health trackers, 
  • plastic deck holder, 
  • 20 character tiles, 
  • 4 dungeon boards, 
  • 24 gold, 
  • 4 adventure decks, 
  • item deck, 
  • 4 reference cards, 
  • 8 backpack cards, 
  • 12 gatekeeper cards, 
  • And rules booklet. 

This strikes me as being similar to the Invasion of Theed put out by WotC for Star Wars years ago. 

I'll probably order this one up tonight. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Latest Novels and Test Posting from Kindle and Moto G Stylus

I've been reading a lot. I have a series of novels I'd like to review. I am also trying to combine my Kindle and Moto G Stylus phone so I can post more frequently while on the road. 

I have two books to read and 7 that are done. I'm making a list by screenshotting the covers on my Kindle and loading them up via my phone with the Blogger app. One of my issues with Kindle is the poor imaging handling. People pay a lot of money or put tons of effort into having the best of the best, only to have Kindle regulate it to a see once cover or a tiny image that doesn't play nice with the software. 

First, up on the completed list is a set of books by Rick Wayne. The Minus Faction series is an incredible collection of stories that build to a world breaking peak. Exactly how I will review this is beyond me. The stories build and build, so reviewing one might spoil others. I don't know how to handle that. I'm sure I'll figure it out. 

Copper Knights and Granite Men is by Mike DiBaggio and Shell "Presto" DiBaggio. This husband and wife team are dynamic duo of artist and author. Previously, I reviewed Population of Loss. It was an excellent read. Mike and Shell also caused me to update my own book, Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. I didn't list Illustrator and Stationers among the professions. 

The Feast of Shadows series is next to read. I've only read the reviews and it looks great. 

Tech notes: One of the glitches I have encountered is my phone and Kindle don't sync as quickly as I would like. In the Blogger app, there is no good way to cancel out of selecting an image. Deleting incorrect images is also an issue. As you can see below, I picked the wrong file.  

Like I said before, I'll figure it out. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Kindle Fire 7", 16 GB

I decided that if I wasn't upgrading the computer this year, I might as well update my Kindle. I had a Kindle Fire 7" inch with 8 GB of storage. As I am an avid gamer and download a lot of files from DriveThruRPG and listen to a lot of podcast, the 8 GB of internal memory was horrible. I was ending up with just 500 mb of memory and not every file I have or want. The 8 GB Kindles only have like 5 GB of storage before adding apps and books from the Amazon store. Even offloading apps and files to the 16 GB SD card wasn't working for me. 

However, the 7" size was perfect for me and I tricked it out with a hardcase with keyboard and stylus. The keyboard case is made by ZAGG and connects with bluetooth. 

The case left a little slop on the edge of the tablet, but it was perfect for holding the stylus. 

The keyboard and stylus combo was nice and responsive, but the lack of storage space hampered my use as a microcomputer. I just didn't have the apps necessary to get any work done. Painful. 

Since I was so invested in the 7" model, I went with a Twilight Blue version so I could reuse all of my accessories. This model is subsidized with Ads. For $15 more, I could have turned them off. I am not really a part of the Amazon ecosystem, but I decided to keep them so I know about new books. The Ads are far less pointed than Google Ads, so it's infrequent that I see something I want. But still, there is a chance that I could come across one that is useful. 

My primary purpose in this upgrade comes from a reader who wished epub had caught on over proprietary formats and pdfs. I intend to take a stab at updating my DriveThruRPG offerings in epub format. I need a good tool to see if the results are user-friendly.  Epub is superior to pdfs, but the real question is, do I have the skills necessary to create them. 

The new Fire is currently updating and pulling down all of my stuff from the cloud. Later today or tomorrow, I'll post about my new workflow now that I have a faux microcomputer available to me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

David Macaulay Series on Amazon

Amazon has the David Macaulay series of books at a great price. The books range in price from less than $6.00 to just under $20.00. I love this series of books as they are wonderful reference materials for a variety of games and models. They are informative as educational.

Even better, they have a collection of 5 DVD which bring the books Mill, Castle, Pyramid, City and Cathedrel to life. This one has a hefter price tag, around $100.00 for the set. If you shop around, you can find the individual DVD for about $12-20 each. 

Ads provided by Amazon help fund this website by remuneration. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Quick Switch Sci-Fi - Invasion of Theed

Last week, I posted a bit about Star Frontiers. I've got a strong urge to play a Sci-Fi themed game. Star Smuggler is all played out. I'm still waiting on some friends to play Traveller, but our county just shut down due to the pandemic scatter all of us to the winds. I was going to introduce my Star Smuggler characters to the Star Frontiers worlds, but the rules are too far apart to port anything except name and general talents. 

Then I saw Invasion of Theed from 2000 sitting on my shelf. I got it for Christmas one year, poured over it for a bit and forgot about it. Surprisingly, you can pick it up on Amazon for less than 20 bucks. 

Now, it's actually exactly what I am looking for. I had thought it was a super boxed set module, but it isn't. The set is basically a starter set. It's everything you need to play WotC's d20 Star Wars. They billed it as an adventure game, but it's more than that. 

In the box is two booklets, a start sheet, counters and tokens, a folio of character sheets and maps. I don't know if dice were originally included, but requires the standard D&D dice. Apparently, it also came with a Chewbacca figure, but that is long gone. 

I have a thing for maps and artwork, but this set's clear winning component is the character sheets. They are full color, two-side 11x17" sheets with all of the statistics you need plus gameplay hints. I had no idea they were this good. 

I now have the urge to buy a large format printer/scanner combo. 

I'll point you back to my review of the d20 Star Wars Core Book. I didn't set out to write a review, but this set is easily a five star product. Maybe even a five gold star product like Nate Treme's Moldy Unicorn. I don't give those out easily, maybe one every year or two. I'm pretty surprised at that, because I didn't think much of it when I received it back in 00 or 2001. 

As an abridged rule set, not much is missing. Since your using pre-genned characters, you don't need to roll anything to start. Oddly, the characters stats don't appear on the front of the sheet. And that's not bad. The front page mentions all of your combat abilities so it doesn't matter what the stats are. 

Another oddity of the rules are the lack of armor class and such. All actions are determined by "a roll". No "attack roll", no "saving", no "fortitude" stuff, just a target number and the word "roll". 

The DM facing material is the same way. Which makes this more of a complex board game or linear programed adventure. It seems very suitable for solo play, which is what I aim to do. As near as I can tell, every simplified rule conforms with the Core Rules, which is nice. 

May the force be with you...
... And so with you. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Christmas Request - Lego Millennium Falcon

My daughter has asked for the Falcon for Christmas.
Click to Purchase

I found one over at It comes 1353 including 7 mini-figures from the Solo Movie. 

I'm not sure if this is the right one. Knowing my daughter, she likely means the larger set - 7965. lists it as hard to find, but I found it at Amazon. 

This set has 6 mini-figures and 1254 peices. I don't know... I have a bad feeling about this.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Chessex Dice on Under $10.00

I love Chessex Dice. Well, I love all dice and these 9 sets are on my Amazon wishlist. The great thing about the Amazon wishlist is the ability to price check things. This way, I don't go too nuts and buy high when I consistently sell low. 

Anyway, I have to have those Blue Weather Dice and the Tiny Pink Dice Set. Those are the best. The prices aren't bad at all and I can't wait until tomorrow when I can place an order.

Ads provided by Amazon help fund this website by remuneration. 

One of the interesting things about my site is, I run The Tek web stats every month. It is a listing of web stats and sales I do on products. Realistically, it takes very little money to keep my site going, but it's real easy to spend more than hosting and url costs if I don't watch myself. The wishlist combined with my Tek Stats keeps me honest with myself so I don't go crazy with the purchasing. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Endless Quest Books at Amazon

In February, I was looking at these series of books on Amazon, so perhaps it's time for a little #TBT. 

I love these choose your own adventure style books. Since then, I noticed the price dropped on a couple of them. Back in March, I realized I'd have some time on my hands so I picked up a few of these. The prices were better on Alibris, so that is the route I when. However, they did not have all of the titles, so Amazon has a better selection.

The links below are paid ads and will take you to 

Endless Quest Books

Ads provided by Amazon help fund this website by remuneration. 

Why not try Amazon Prime today and save on shipping, plus get great music and videos? Get 30 days free by clicking the link below.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Making An E5 List and Checking It Twice

I haven't jumped to e5 yet, but last year I picked up a nice Humble Bundle. I can't use that content without the core books. I received a $5.00 gift card for Amazon and will probably start with the Handbook.

Of course, I'll need these the DM's Guide and the Monster Manual, too.

Is there anything else I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

I could use this as an excuse to buy more dice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

D&D Titles on Amazon are Buy 2 Get One Free

My affiliate links aren't really working for me, except DriveThruRPG's links over on the left (and right). 

I figured I take a last stab at Amazon on Prime Day. They are offering:

Get 3 for the price of 2. Offered by (restrictions apply)

Add 3 items from the selection on this page to your Shopping Basket via the "Add to Basket". When you're done shopping, click the "Proceed to Checkout" button. The Offer will be automatically applied to your total customer order value at checkout if you are eligible.

They only have a handful of titles, but the savings is pretty good. Use the link above to get the deal or navigate to the website and check out all of the books in the section. 

I get remuneration for link clicks via Amazon, so thank you again for helping keep this blog going. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 8

Jesus, how long does it take to build a house? It's like a have a contractor issue or something. I've had a lot on my plate lately. Sorry for the delay. 

I picked up some more materials for this build. I need some stone for the exterior areas and I found some interesting stuff at the Dollar Store. These white rocks are the right size for this model, but the wrong color. 

I'm going to fix that in this post. 

Anyway, these rocks are white and somewhat crumbly. I could paint them and seal them, but pure white will stand out like a sore thumb and paint will be too unnatural looking. So I am going to dye them, 

I could use ink or something, but that will have the same problems as paint, the color will be too sharp. Instead, I am using coffee and a ball jar. These thing will have to be sealed, but the colors will be natural. 

Anyway, All I am doing is add warm coffee on top a handful of rocks. The material seems dusty, so I expect it's rather porous. 
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

Add the rocks to the jar.
Pour on the coffee. 
Tea also works.
Now add some used coffee grounds.

Now I'll seal up the jar, give it a good shake and leave it sit over night. The liquid coffee will stain the rocks to one shade, while the used grounds will stain everything it touches to a different shade. This is not labor intensive, but it is time consuming. 

Tomorrow evening, I'll open the jar, drain off the ick and rinse them. Old coffee grounds are a good stain, but they smell bad. I'll leave them on a towel to dry for another 24 hours. I could warm them in an oven, but they may smell bad. 

Check back tomorrow to see the next step. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 7

I'm really amazed that I have a 7th post. I've been busy lately.

Anyway, here is the curved and flat wall beams in place. This is kind of testament to the miracle of Tacky Glue. I didn't need to tape, support or pin anything in place.

Great product!

You'll notice that almost nothing is square or even. That's fine. A scale model can be perfect, but I can't help but notice the effort is almost not worth it as people won't touch or hold a "perfectionist model". Also, the run down nature of this build gives the end product a little charm. Besides, if it does break...

Once the roof is complete, you'll hardly notice all the crooked bits anyway. I've been having this debate over whether or not I should place the five cross beams that a real byre house would have. I'm not going to do it as leaving the out makes constructing the roof easier. Funny that models work like that, because these beams would be necessary to complete a real house. Divergent tech for divergent models.

Anyway, I'll throw up a link to Tacky Glue at the end of this post, because it's a wonderful product.
People have asked me about what kind of stryfoam I use. Any kind of styrofoam will do, but I happened to have some sheets of insulation and used those for the base. They were 3/4 of an inch thick and three of them layered together was a good "rise" for the base. The last time I saw this stuff in the store, it was being marketed as a replacement for an acoustical tile, 8 4 by 2 sheets for $10. They'd fill a hole where a tile went, but I can't image they would hold up or work correctly.

Anyway, you don't have to waste good money on a piece of stryofoam. Any salvaged thing will do. The styrofoam floor of this byre house came from the packaging for a TV. Styrofoam isn't easily recyclable, so don't buy it if you have to. Below are some images of things I've made out of salvaged stuff. If you can make stuff from something that isn't often recycles, all the better.

As promised, here is the sales link. Every click and purchase supports this site with remuneration.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Never do I ever... Roll for Random Encounters at Night

There you have it. Page 47 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, Encounters. My copy is stained with the blood of a thousand characters. But hardly any of the blood came from a nighttime encounter. And certainly not a random nighttime encounter.

Back in the day... and when I say "day", I mean from time immemorial to present day... people hunker down at night. Night is not fun unless you are up to something that can only happen at night. Typically, to have a good time at night, you need a plan, not "random". A dinner party, a star watching party, New Year's Eve and so on. Many people would be hard pressed to name a "random nighttime event" that went well for them. 

The same goes for RPG's. Don't waste time on a nighttime encounter roll. It makes the players nervous and edgy, which is sometimes fun. But not once a day, every day. Night time IS fearful, but the playing field is level when everyone fears. Not much moves at night. (Vampires are a story for another time).  

Many epic things happen in the light of the moon. You can't trust your dice to tell you what that is. You make it so. And make it good. 

One of my favorite stories about night adventures isn't even mine. It's the story of the Seventh Galbiana. This was a legion that declared for Otho against Vitellius for the Purple. Otho was coming north to head off Vitellius who was racing south for Rome. Both armies turned to meet, Vitellius' forces facing west and Otho's to the east. They met at dusk at Bedriacum and the Second Battle of Bedriacum was on. It was one of the rare cases where the Romans fought through the night. The Seventh's eagle fell to the enemy in the dead of night, but was saved by one centurion who sacrificed himself for honor. The fighting was chaotic, ferocious and exhausting. 

As the Sun rose, there was a collision of happenstance. The Seventh was on the left hand of the field, facing to the west. They were under command of Antonius, who served in the Legio III Gallica in Syria. When dawn broke, the men of the Seventh Galbiana followed Antonius' lead turned their backs to the enemy and gave a mighty cheer to something in the east. The Vitellian forces, the whole army, not just the ones facing the Seventh collapsed and retreated believing that Otho's reinforcements were taking the field. 

Nothing could be further from the true. All the Seventh was doing was emulating Antonius' Syria habit of saluting the Sun.  

Such thing are random, but not the sort of random that dice generate. If you want your players to enjoy their game, give them something to think about, not something the dice tell you.

If you like such stories, you can read more about this the book 69 A.D. by Gwyn Morgan.

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 6

I wish I had made more progress on this, but the nice weather allowed me to get outside and do some
yard work. Anyway, in the last post, I wrote about making one wall curved and one wall flat. Today, I'll show some progress. It was a lot more intensive than it looks.

Bamboo is not wood.
To make the curved wall, I needed to bend some wood. What they would have done in real life is made a bunch of short posts to create the space. The curve was an illusion of the thatched roof coming down from a point. If I did that, I would need a half dozen posts. I want no more than 4.

The center upright posts are actually made of bamboo chopsticks, so I tried heating up a piece of bamboo and bending it. Bamboo is not wood, so this didn't work out. Even though I made a dozen or so cuts in the piece, it snapped when I bent it but only in the places where I cut.

I tried again with a piece of balsa wood. This too didn't work for a variety of reasons. I got the exact same result. The issue is, balsa is kiln dried and lacks the moisture content needed to bend.

Anyway, what I got will work, since neither piece broke completely through and through. If it did, I would have gone back outside to get a small fresh stick and try again. Which I might anyway, but not for this build.

Bamboo cracks, not bends. 
Dried balsa wood also cracks.
Now, bending wood requires wood, moisture and a temperature of at least 200 degrees F. Wood is a poor conductor, so you might be able to hold it but don't. You will not be able to hold it long enough to work with it. I took a ball jar lid and rammed the wood inside. I left it to dry over night.

The results were not too bad, so I'm going to work with these. While they are cracked, I can cover this up with the roof and walls.

Now let me warn* you about this technique to bend wood. You need wood with moisture content and some way to manipulate the product without touching it. A steamer is helpful, as are heat proof gloves. I would not trust heat proof gloves against a steamer. Don't hold the wood if you use this method. I simply dropped the wood in a boiling pot of water. If this was a larger piece, thick gloves would be necessary in case the wood breaks in your hands.

Here is how the end product looks. Both are usable, but the bamboo feels like it would break if put under any more pressure. I might use the bamboo for another model as it looks cool.

If you are following along at home and want to try your hand, here are some suggested products from which could help you start your own byre house. Purchasing via these Amazon links supports this site with remuneration.

Foam Cutter Sandpaper Tacky Glue Balsa Wood Styrofoam Blocks

*I don't generally do things that would require a warning or caution, but I managed to remove a chunk of skin doing this and might have burn my palms. This is more a commentary on having diabetic neuropathy as opposed to doing something dangerous. I'm not sure how it happened. Neuropathy is a demon because not only can you have numbness, you can have tingling or pain so you are convinced that sensations aren't important or aren't real. I might have burned myself, or scrapped skin off on the counter top or ball jar lid. I'm not sure which. Just be careful.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 5

Center Beam
Today, things get a little more interesting. I made a small base out of styrofoam and glued it to a sheet paper. I can now use my foam cutter to make holes for the beams to set in.

To assist with the mount of the top beams, I cut a groove down the center of the wooden wall posts. This recess isn't perfectly shaped to the beam but it does provide space for the glue to rest in.

Now it's decision time. Generally, people would have cut down trees then stripped the limbs and bark to get a round post. Do I want to cut these posts into round parts instead of square?

No, not really.

In scale these wall posts are 18" thick while the center posts and beams are less than a foot. That isn't too crazy. Working with my first concept of "found materials", perhaps the abandoned tower used 18" square beams and the current homeowner recycled them. They probably couldn't lift an 18 foot section or the massive 40 beam, so they had to cut down new trees, which explains the two different materials in use.

Having dry fitted everything, I started gluing. For now, I have glued the 5 center posts, the top beam and 12 of wall posts. I didn't glue the end posts because I am not sure where I am going with this. I have two options for a byre house. The end walls can be squared off or curved.

Returning to a bit of realism, a curved wall is harder to construct but is load bearing both up and down and side to side. A flat wall is only load bearing in the vertical. A good push can knock it down.

Both styles are fairly common for a variety of reasons. Strength vs. easy of use. Byre houses can last hundreds of years if properly maintained. Squared off end walls allow the homeowner to easily remove a whole wall without compromising the entire structure. Why would this be a useful feature? The floors were often made of ash and lime over a woven stick construction over a low basement. These floors need to be maintained and replaced, so access down the entire length of the house is a great feature.

It turns out that some historical examples of these types of houses have the rounded wall in the west. It was often constructed out of logs with the gaps covered over with mud. Since animals were brought in the home for security and warmth, it would make sense to have this stronger, yet airier rounded structure face into the wind. The smell... well. I don't know how they got used to that.

On the opposite side of the house was the family space, it broken up from the animal's space by a wall or a hallway. Since I am not showing the interior in this model, it doesn't matter much. There will be a door in the center of the long walls on both sides.

The eastern, squared off wall can have a couple of finishing pieces. Either it can simply be a flat wall, or have a porch-like structure under the roof, which cuts into the family space but has a door. More modern structures might have a fireplace and chimney which closes off most of the eastern end. I will probably make it as simple as possible.

That's it for today. If you are following along at home and want to try your hand, here are some suggested products from which could help you start your own byre house. Purchasing via these Amazon links supports this site with remuneration.

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