Tool of the Week: Draw knife

By Micah Summers

At The West Seattle Tool Library, we’ve been thankful and fortunate to receive a large number of unique donations.

Over the last year, we’ve received everything from 100 year-old, vintage tools to those that have barely been touched. Today, I’m writing about one of our many relatively unique tools, the draw knife, which is a tool for wood carving.

A long (typically 6-12″) blade is secured between two handles. The user pulls, or draws, the knife towards himself along a rough log or long piece of wood. Common uses are to debark wood or to shape furniture, boat spars or virtually any larger, carved wood piece.

A draw knife tool had one of its handles replaced seemingly decades ago but remains fully functional and a lot of fun to use.

Based on its construction, this particular draw knife likely dates between 1920 and 1940. It is just one of 1000+ tools available now at the West Seattle Tool Library, which is free to use and run mostly on member donations.

Visit us at for more information or to take a look at our inventory.

Status Update on Myrtle Reservoir Park (to be, soon)

What’s with the Myrtle Reservoir Park?  Information is abstracted below from the Seattle Parks and Recreation website for the Myrtle project.  Update!!  The fences around most of the perimeter of the new park are now removed and the playfield is accessible.

We are making steady progress towards completion of the new park at Myrtle Reservoir. Construction of our new park is almost complete and we are eager to open this site to the public as soon as possible.

The lawn areas have been recently seeded and we want to protect these areas from foot traffic, but we also understand the community’s desire to have access to this new park. In the next several days we will be testing and commissioning our irrigation system and doing final cleanup work.

We also will be installing temporary protective fencing and signs within the park to direct people away from the newly seeded lawn and to protect SPU facilities. We are working closely with SPU to install fencing as soon as possible.

Once these things are done we will selectively remove construction fencing at the entry pathways, opening the park pathways and play area to the public.

Parks is planning on this “soft opening” soon after the above work is complete. An official public opening celebration, yet to be scheduled, will follow the “soft opening.

The design incorporates recreational elements and ideas suggested by the community members, Parks staff, Seattle Public Utilities and the Seattle Design Commission. The design includes an open grass field on top of the lidded reservoir for informal play with a pathway circling the field and ADA accessible pathways.

The children’s play area will feature open toy structures to enhance visibility and provide for better security. A viewing plaza north of the lid will include an interpretive element indicating High Point’s elevation as well as that of other prominent hills on the Seattle skyline. The slopes of the reservoir will be seeded with erosion tolerant Ecoturf which includes a mix of grasses and flowers.

[mappress mapid=”257″]

Ride Transit? SDOT Wants You To Take Survey

The City of Seattle is updating it’s Transit Master Plan.  This is the same level of city-wide planning as went into the Bicycle Master Plan and the Pedestrian Master Plan. If you ride transit in Seattle – a bus or a train, Seattle Department of Transportation wants to hear from you.

Please take a few minutes to complete the Seattle Department of Transportation’s transit survey. The survey takes only about 3 minutes to complete, and your input is instrumental to SDOT improving transit service.

Through better understanding your needs and how you currently use the bus, SDOT and King County Metro can make the changes to the bus service in order to make them more convenient and able to better meet your needs.

In addition to English, the survey is available in these languages:

Here is the link to the survey, and again, it takes only about 3 minutes to complete:

Save Your Turkey Fat & Recycle for Biodiesel Fuel

Help protect pipes and save money by recycling used cooking oil and fats.

Wondering what to do with the leftover fryer oil and kitchen grease after the big holiday feast? Don’t pour it down the drain – grease sticks to the inside of sewer pipes and can build up to such a point that it blocks the entire pipe, leading to expensive and unpleasant clean-ups.

The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks has partnered with General Biodiesel to provide residents with a safe, environmentally-friendly way to dispose of used cooking oil and grease so it can be recycled instead of ending up in landfills or drains.

During the holiday season, General Biodiesel will provide several convenient drop-off locations throughout King County where people can bring their unwanted cooking fats and grease. Locations are open 24/7, and there is no minimum amount. For a complete list of drop-off locations, visit

To ensure safe and secure transport and disposal of your fats and grease, King County and General Biodiesel suggest putting the cooled material from fryers, pots or pans in a sealed container.

At the disposal tank, slowly pour the grease into the collection container to avoid splatter and mess. Be sure to close the community collection tank lid when you’re finished. Take your own containers home and leave nothing behind but the oil you deposited.

  • The King County Solid Waste Division (SWD) provides garbage transfer, disposal and recycling services for residents and businesses in all of King County, except for Seattle and Milton. SWD also provides household hazardous waste disposal options and recycling education programs for its residents. Learn more at
  • General Biodiesel is a Seattle-based renewable energy firm that aggregates, refines and transforms regionally generated feedstock into sustainable fuel. The company tagline of Generating Positive Energy™ reflects both what they produce and their commitment to making a meaningful and measurable contribution to the environment, people and communities they serve.

The Energy Blog – Will Washington State Enable China’s Use of Coal?

By Andy Silber

The Pacific Northwest: China’s enabler to Climate Destruction

We in the Seattle and Washington are doing all we can to reduce climate destroy emissions, right? We have a utility that is carbon neutral: we started the effort for Cities to commit to reaching the Kyoto standards; the Prius/Hummer ratio is through the roof; we recycle and shop at farmer’s markets and on and on and on.

One area where we are pretty good (but not as good as you might think) is the burning of coal. There’s only one coal plant in Washington State, though power is imported to Washington from plants outside the state. We also have a law on the books that makes it impossible to build a coal fired power plant without sequestration (an unproven technology): this law was sited when a permit to build a coal/coke fired power plant was denied. We also have a renewable energy portfolio standard that requires utilities to get 15% of their power from non-hydro renewables by 2020, creating a large market for wind, solar and other clean sources of power and reducing the market for coal and natural gas.

On the federal level very little is happening and part of the reason (or maybe it is better explained as an excuse) is that China is building a huge number of coal-fired plants. China has large coal deposits and it also is importing large amounts of coal from Australia (which is ironic since Australia has already been hard hit by climate change). But China’s industrial maw can’t be fed by just China and Australia, so they’re looking for a way to burn the coal that we aren’t buying anymore. It’s ironic that all of our efforts to stop the burning of coal here just creates a buying opportunity for China.

But we can do something about it. For the coal to get from the mines in Montana to China it needs to cross Washington and there needs to be a port built to handle it. Such a port is purposed for Cowlitz County. All of our efforts could easily be erased by building this port. We all need to contact Governor Gregoire and ask her to stop this from happening.

Alki Bathhouse December Puppet Show

Bring your kids to fun and exciting December puppet shows at the Alki Bathhouse on the beach in West Seattle. The Alki Bathhouse is located at 2701 Alki Ave. SW.

All shows start at 1 p.m.

On Saturday, December 18, Zambini Brothers Presents: “The Tasty Holiday Tale.”

For more information please call Alki Community Center 206 -684-7430. Pre-register on line at or by calling the community center. The activity fee is $5 (pre-registration), or $8 at the door.


Tool Library’s ‘Ask An Expert’ Series Returns Saturday

The West Seattle Tool Library is pleased once again to host the “Ask an Expert: For the Do-It-Yourselfer” series.  This Saturday, December 11, from 12:00 noon to  2:00 pm, at the West Seattle Tool Library, on the South Seattle Community College will have on hand experts in several home construction/home renovation fields.

West Seattle businesses and Tool Library staff will offer up answers to all questions big and small in order to help you along in any and all of your projects.  The experts include:

For more information or to make an appointment contact Micah Summers at

Gift Memberships to the Tool Library

The West Seattle Tool Library is offering Gift Memberships this holiday season. Give someone the gift of sustainability and self reliance! Details are available on the Tool Library section.

DooWah Sisters Playing @ Coffee To A Tea

Sustainable West Seattle is pleased to note that one of our favorite bands, The DooWah Sisters, will be playing this Friday at the Junction.

The DooWah Sisters were the featured entertainment for last years Eat Local Event at the Masonic Lodge.  SWS has worked with the DooWah Sisters (there are real sisters but the band includes many more members) on several projects.

The DooWah Sisters will be playing Friday night from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm  in West Seattle’s coffee and music house – Coffee To A Tea, at 4541 California Avenue SW in the heart of the Junction.

This evening’s special guest  will be Dr. John Bigelow, tubaist.  There’s nothing like rock ‘n’ roll tuba to get the heart pounding and blood pressure peaking. C’mon down for an all-ages romp.

All Ages! $5 suggested donation

Go to for a very groovy map and to sign up for our “Official” mailing list!

[mappress mapid=”262″]

CoolMom Meeting @ C&P Coffee Dec. 8

West Seattle CoolMom is meeting tomorrow night at C&P coffee house at 7:00 pm.

Come and join us for a green holiday discussion and 2011 planning. This is a great meeting to attend for the first time – please come and join us! We will also be taking a sneak peek at the new website and discussing the No-Idle Campaign – for which volunteers are needed.

We will have some yummy holiday treats and of course C&P is always an awesome local spot to grab a nice drink to sip while we meet.

If you are still not properly enticed we will also have some lovely homemade holiday ornament door prizes!

Also Don’t Forget:

Please consider becoming a dues paying member of CoolMom – just $10 per year. If you join right now you will be offered 2 super high value Cucina Fresca coupons! Mmm….

There are still a handful of Chinook books for sale. These are an environmentally friendly version of an Entertainment Book. They are super awesome and if you buy yours from CoolMom, then half of the purchase price comes back to support our efforts. They are $20 each. If you can’t make our meeting this week then contact to get yours before 12/17. More info available at:

[mappress mapid=”261″]

Parks To Announce Denny Award Winners @ Lake Union Park

Annual Parks Recognition Awards – the Denny Awards – will be announced at a ceremony Parks and Recreation is holding at Lake Union Park.

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites volunteers, supporters of volunteers, and the community to the 2010 Annual Denny Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 7, at 6:00 pm at the Lake Union Park Armory, 860 Terry Ave. N

Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams will recognize all nominees, and present awards to winners. Winners will be announced at the event.

Everyone is invited to enjoy great food, unique live performances, and door prizes. This event is free and open the public. This will be one of the last public events at the Lake Union Park Armory before the Museum of History and Industry converts it to a museum.

“Each year, about 40,000 individuals volunteer for Seattle Parks and Recreation, contributing almost 300,000 hours of service, worth nearly $6 million,” said Williams. “The Denny Awards ceremony is our small way of thanking our volunteers for their contribution to making Seattle Parks and Recreation the best it can be.”

The Denny Awards recognize the contributions of volunteers to Seattle Parks and Recreation parks and programs. They are named after David T. and Louisa Denny, who donated land for the first Seattle park in 1884 (Denny Park), where Parks headquarters are located.

[mappress mapid=”260″]