By Chadwick MatlinPosted 05.31.2011 at 1:10 pm 2 Comments
The U.S. Forest Service has battled fire with fire for nearly a century, but it wasn't until the past decade that backburning--in which professionals set brush alight before a wildfire does--became an exact science. Wildfire experts call this science prescribed burning, and its practitioners are known as burn bosses. Here are three increasingly precise tools to stop a wildfire cold.
I've always thought it would be funny to build scale-size exploding grain silos for a model train layout. I've also had problems recently with pilot flames blowing out in some of our larger blow-something-flammable-through-something-on-fire projects. Both of these things made clear to me that I needed a good source of high-voltage sparks. So I built a buzz coil, a project derived from the ignition on a Model T that you can toss together to satisfy all your sparking needs with a just a few common automotive parts.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I keep at least one Variac around at all times as a prop, should a sci-fi / horror movie erupt without warning in my shop. The Variac, besides looking like an electronic torture device, is a specialized type of autotransformer. An automotive ignition coil, the part under your hood that generates the super high voltage needed to fire the spark in a spark plug, is another. I cut one in half with a bandsaw to see how it works.