Thursday, December 29, 2016


Hi folks! This blog has been dormant for a long time. It stands as a record of my early online writing, and lots of my farm adventures, my first car, and my first woodgas build. For those reasons, I won't be reviving this blog.

However, I am still writing! If you want to read all about my more recent woodgas adventures, visit and look for my posts. There are more than a few. I've had another woodgas truck, sold it too, and now have two more gasifiers in the works.

I just started a new weblog for a homesteading project, along with my sister Maggie. We're saving up for land, and eventually plan to build a small homestead.  You can read all about that, and follow our journey on the new weblog.

Thanks to my loyal readers! Hope to see you down the road. Drop me a line anytime:

Chris Saenz

December 29, 2016

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Truck Update

So it's been about a year since I finished the truck down at Wayne's. How has it been all this time?

Well, first off I ran into a problem where the gasifier was overheating. Turns out it was a bad weld joint deep inside, and air was mixing with hot gas - making a cutting torch effect. Not good inside a thin-walled gasifier. So I got to repair that this spring back down at Wayne's place! It was a wonderful visit and we also mailed out his book, Have Wood Will Travel. Now I've driven it home and round about Frankfort for a while, it's back in service! Everything's looking good, over 3,000 wood miles on it now.

So I'm thinking about selling it and moving on to another truck build, a Dakota this time. Before I can sell I need to have it in good shape. Argos is also coming up so I want everything to be solid and reliable for that as well.

Some photos of recent progress. I painted some PVC under the hood:

And I moved some of my gauges to the dashboard:

Got the slider window repaired. Can you tell which side is plexiglass?

That's all for now. I'll keep on truckin with wood, and try to post an update every now and then. Just a reminder, if you're interested in woodgas at all, check out Drive On Wood, the site where I spend most of my time. There's tons of free info, and time tested plans for the Keith gasifier too. Yada yada.... OK, it's a plug for the site. But it's still worth checking out.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Book

Well, somehow three months have slipped by since my last post. I've been hitting it hard this winter, trying to finish up a project. And here's the result:

+Wayne Keith's new book Have Wood Will Travel is finally done! We've printed, autographed, and mailed out nearly 300 copies. I have a stack of orders here to ship out as well, and more are pouring in. We'll probably need another small print run before Argos. +MOTHER EARTH NEWS is planning to review the book and even carry it in their bookstore. Exciting!

In order to autograph all the pre-ordered books, we had them shipped to Alabama. Reshipping them to me would have been fairly expensive. So I drove the old truck down (on gasoline) and we squeezed in a gasifier repair visit along with the book mailing. Wayne and Lisa Keith are very gracious hosts, and made me feel right at home. The weather was cold and wet most of the week, but we made do.

After a week long visit, I made the trip home on woodgas power! It was 400 miles this time (we've moved to Frankfort now). However old trucks are not exactly reliable, no matter what fuel makes them go. Woke up to a flat tire the morning I wanted to leave. Backing it up towards the compressor, it came off the rim. Got that fixed, and started down the driveway. Then the battery died. Made it onto the freeway, and everything was running great. Then I had the alternator go out about 30 miles from Wayne's place, requiring a rescue mission in his woodgas V10. Trip to the parts store and $80 later, I was back in the drivers seat, and waved goodbye to Wayne and Tally. At about 2 pm I finally started on my 8 hour trip home.

And later on the way, I got pulled over - not for speeding, but for a burned out brake light. The officer was quite friendly and interested in the gasifier (as he handed me a citation for $30).

Now home safe and sound, I'm trying frantically to get caught up from the pile of orders and other work that has piled up in my absence. I was able to check in fairly well from the road, but many things are best left for the "big computer" at home. I was very happy with the Chromebook's performance on the road. I kept up with all my emails and site administration, reviewed photos on an SD card, moved videos from my new flip camera to a portable drive, made video calls back to the family, and uploaded to Youtube. Pretty normal laptop stuff. The Chromebook never flinched. However I do wish there was an option to have it "always on" during uploads or USB charging. It falls asleep pretty quick, even with a Google Hangout running.

All in all, my February has been busy and exciting. I'm hoping March will slow down a bit, but then April will pick right up again and by then my attention will be on the Argos meetup. I've got a list of things to fix up on the old truck before I go. We'll see how much I can get done this spring!