Saturday, December 13, 2014


Welcome to the Green Lever, a site about saving resources and reusing materials. The projects covered are those we use in our daily lives and the 'alternative' energy articles are real case studies from our own house or those of friends. You can find a full introduction to this blog here



Make Your Own Ecological Greetings Cards

By using this method, which combines stencil, hand-painted additions, collage and d├ęcoupage you can easily produce multiple cards but each design will be individual and thus more


Re-roofing a Tiny House Including Carpentry

The tempest of 1999 destroyed a great raft of tiles, which came off like falling dominoes, all the way along the front of the main more

Renovating our House - Sourcing and Using Ecological Materials

You may be eating organic food, exercising, managing your weight and stress levels but you can still, in effect, be being poisoned in your own more

Sourcing and Using Lime/Hemp & Lime/Linen Mortars

Like all organic matter linen and hemp react to their environment so although there are some indications as to the quantities used to make up plaster, there are no more

Using Natural Earth and Mineral Pigments in the Home and Garden 

The Alchemy of Artists' Materials - whether painting  a leaf motif or a window frame, it's  so much more fun than opening a tin of more

Mixing and Using Lime Mortar

I’ve used lime mortar a lot in our present house firstly because it is obviously appropriate to a 300 year building, as it is sympathetic to the original  build of stone laid on a bed of clay more



A Few Guidelines for Collecting Pallets

I thought it might be helpful if I shared my five rules to make it easier for you to obtain the basic more

Pallets - The Low-down - Where, What and How.

So you've been round to your local big chain supermarket and they've told you all their pallets are reusable... read more

How to Dismantle Pallets for free Carpentry Wood

The first thing to do with your pallet when you’ve got it out of the car is look underneath it and see if the nails attaching the planks are more

Dead Bicycles - A Valuable Resource

It has become increasing clear that we live not only in a throw-away society but one in which an ever increasing obsolescence is factored into manufactured more

Windows for Free Part 1 How we glazed our house.

There is a massive resource out there just waiting for you and you'll be helping the Planet at the same more

Windows for Free Part 2 Replacing a Double-glazed unit.

We luckily recuperated a pair of these double-glazed units some ten years ago and I made a frame for and fitted one of them into our sitting more


The 5 Euro/Dollar/Pound Greenhouse

Home-made low cost greenhouse designed to use free untreated pallet wood. How to build a viable, safe, year-round food production more 

Home-made, Low Cost Glass Greenhouse from Free Recuperated Windows - Design

The idea for the greenhouse was to have something that was both decorative and more

Home-made, Low Cost Glass Greenhouse from Free Recuperated Windows - Construction

Although it is a large sized greenhouse and in itself quite an imposing feature, it actually fits very well into its surrounding more

DIY verandah-style greenhouse, sunspace, draught lobby

I love this greenhouse, it seems so right in the surrounding rural scene and it's made from an interesting eclectic mix of recuperated more


A Simple Home-made Honing Guide for Plane Irons and Chisels. Part 1 

Maybe a shudder runs down your spine at the thought of school geometry but there is an elegance in being able to reproduce angles very accurately and more


A Simple Home-made Honing Guide for Plane Irons and Chisels. Part 2

This method is to enable the beginner at sharpening to get a feel for the correct sharpening angle by using a home-made low-cost more

A Simple Home-made Honing Guide for Knives

This method is to enable the beginner at sharpening to get a feel for the correct angle by using a home-made low-cost more

Accessory for my Simple Home-made Honing Guide for Knives

For the smaller blade on my Swiss Army Knife,it is harder to keep the straight edge against the flat face of the blade so read more

How to save time when cutting pallet wood. The Plankmaker's Holdfast.

As I was about to start building a new hen house and had 30 pallet planks I needed to cut more

Hand-powered Sander - Precision Picture Frames

From time to time I need to cut mitred corners for picture frames. This is something I find impossible to do free more


Home-made Guillotine from Scrap Metal

Fruit crates are in constant supply in our home and we've used a lot of them in our projects, for storage and chicken more


Pallet Wood Hen House/Chicken Coop & Prototype Tiny Tiny House - Part 1 Construction

We designed and have already built one of these coops not just as accommodation for the hens but as a prototype we could build here in the workshops... read more

Pallet Wood Hen House/Chicken Coop etc.,. Part 2 Dismantling & Foundations

Leaving the dear old home, the old coop started life as the quail run...The foundations of the old house will be recycled for the more

Pallet Wood Hen House/Chicken Coop etc.,. Part 3 Erecting

This simple idea also means that the project can be handled by a person working on their more

Pallet Wood Hen House/Chicken Coop etc.,. Part 4 Erecting cont.. & Finishing

It's bigger and roomier than their old one, never again will I design or make a hen house which doesn't have space for us to stand upright! ... read more

Hen House/Chicken Coop Mark 2 Pallet Wood Roofing

In the past, I have used tongue & groove as a roof covering, prior to the final waterproof layer because it makes a homogeneous, more


How to Make a Simple Fuelless Cooker or Hay-box

Here's a quick and easy way to use less fuel, less water and still have a tasty and nutritious meal from a cardboard more

How to Make a Wooden Fuelless Cooker or Hay-box

A more robust model which you can keep to hand in the kitchen or to take in a car to provide hot, nourishing food on a journey. more

Choosing and Using Woodburning Cookers

When we first arrived here the Spartan heating was a massive granite fireplace, the chimney of which, 1.70m by 0.70m more

Heat Pumps - Case Study. Lake & River Water

Anne-Marie and Jean-Louis have always used heat pumps as their principal source of more

Wood Chip Boiler Biomass Heater - Case Study. Organic Dairy Farm

A project that actually lies at the heart of what future energy conversion may be all more

Home-made low-cost stove night storage heater from strawcrete and stone

For some time we have been toying with the idea of changing the heating system in our sitting more

Home-made strawcrete and stone storage heater Part 2 - building the wall

Discussing our previous experience with storage heaters and why we wanted to make our own with ecological materials. And with the strawcrete pad now dry, the stone work begins more

Home-made strawcrete and stone storage heater Part 3 - building the wall cont..

Building the wall and firing up! more

How to Sweep the Chimney - Tips and Strategies

When wood or coal is burned in a fire, smoke is given off, in this smoke are particles of unburned material, tars and water, which are slightly sticky and will adhere to the walls of the flue,read more


Setting up a Dry Toilet System - Facts and Figures 

What is interesting about this bill is that the actual water used has gone from 45 cubic metres to 13 cubic metres, so the water consumed now costs us over two thirds less than before... read more

Pallet Wood Compost Bin for Garden/Household or Dry Toilet

I opted for a completed bin size of 800mm x 800mm x  800mm, the wood used was recuperated from pallets. The unique design feature... read more

DIY Dry Toilet System for  8 Euros or $11  -  The Cabin

A practical design if you want to use this design for somewhere such as; your allotment, social garden, a field or even set up a business making them for others.... read more

Composting Urine Using a Straw Bale. Dry toilets for all climates.

A great way to process dry toilet liquid for around 6 Euros or 5 Dollars worth of materials. .. read more

Humanure - Two Years of Living with our Dry Toilet

Humanure is like death and taxes it's something we all know about but as the elephant in the room, are most loath to mention more


Make a Pallet Wood Creel or Overhead Drying Rack 

Cheap and cheerful engineering in the practical use of recycled, untreated pallet and fruit crate wood - for drying clothes, herbs, more


Home-made Insect Hotel from Repurposed Materials

The Bee Cosy for cosy bees is an elegant green gift for you to make using 99% recuperated more


Home-made Repurposed Wood, Luxury Insect Hotel

Fun to make and fascinating to watch, these insect hotels can make all the difference to the successful pollination of your fruit and more

Home-made Insect Hotels from Repurposed Materials The Gite & The Chalet

Made from repurposed materials, untreated pallet wood, fruit crate wood and general garden debris. To decorate them, we use more

An Insect Hotel as a Utility Box Cover - Design & Construction

The electricity company brought power to the property but sited the ubiquitous supply box right in front of the house. Not surprisingly, she is unhappy more  

An Insect Hotel as a Utility Box Cover - Roofing & Furnishing

The roof was constructed in a similar fashion to that of a house. The pitch was 45°. The gable ends supported the ridge purlins/ more  

An Insect Hotel as a Utility Box Cover - Installing

Having made the insect hotel, its roof and metal posts in 'kit' form as it were, it was time to transport it and put it in place more


Home-made Wild Bird Feeder from Repurposed Materials

This is something to make for your own garden but also we have made and given away many as more

Home-made Bird Box for Blue Tits, Chickadees..Repurposed Materials

Two designs, one requiring a minimum of tools and in particular to obviate the need for a hole saw or large more

Home-made Bird Box for Robins, Wrens, Northern Flickers, Repurposed Materials

In Europe these boxes are expected to attract mainly robins, wrens and wagtails. In the USA there are over 50 more


Make Your Own Indoor Trellis Planter-Part 1 the Base

Many people complain that pallet wood isn't a suitable material for use in anything but rough and more   

Make Your Own Indoor Trellis Planter-Part 2 the Trellis

The trellis back to the planter provides a structure up which climbing plants could grow and provide us with more space for growing more  


DIY Sack Truck Hand Trolley for 1 Dollar/Euro/Pound

How to make a medium duty sack truck (here with 40kg/88lbs on board) from repurposed materials, pallet wood, old (lawn mower) wheels, screws and...  read more


Home-made Greetings Cards, Gift Tags & Decorations from Repurposed Wood

Make and give something original and individual. Includes the recipe for ecological more

Pallet Wood & Old Window Glass for Box Assemblage Art

This like many of our projects is a joint adventure in which Sue and I pool our resources, this time to create an assemblage box for a more

Make Your Own Ecological Greetings Cards

By using this method, which combines stencil, hand-painted additions, collage and d├ęcoupage you can easily produce multiple cards but each design will be individual and thus more


Inspiration from our local area 

We are leaving our children with some really difficult environmental problems, so it's great to see innovative and original ideas like the more