Many people in the world long for a life in the country, lived on their own terms, close to nature, honest and hands-on. But too many of these people find that homesteading is harder, less fulfilling and more painful than they imagined. Learn how to thrive on the land without burnout, despair and failure.
MPX chugs from coast to coast pulling a car-factory-on-a-trailer, and we learn how much power we need for a 5,000-plus pound payload.
The first step in our high-mileage pickup project: an "aerocap" streamlined cover for the bed. An aerocap gives the biggest bang for the buck.
Almost 30 years ago I made one of the best decisions ever when I began my homesteading adventure. It's no "Little House on the Prarie" but you can see it from there.
MAX isn't just streamlined - MAX has its rolling resistance down to a minimum too, thanks to low-drag tires and lubricants. Here's a video to show how much it matters.
Making wooden replacement handles for tools is easier than you think.
Blogger Steve Maxwell offers tips and a video explaining how to choose and use a router table.
One of our readers made a fiberglass and carbon fiber roof for his own home-built MAX high-mileage sports car, and here's how he did it.
MAX won an award at the 2014 Maker Faire Bay Area for...gosh, we don't really know, but it was best in its class.
Download Steve Maxwell’s free list of tested and approved deck stains that have worked well in field tests.
How a hopelessly damaged apple tree has delivered lessons of hope since 2007.
Learn how to eliminate mold growth in your home and improve indoor air quality by using Concrobium.
For two weeks, I tested a hybrid vehicle. My family liked the car, I liked the car and without a doubt, the Ford C-MAX Energi is an amazing ride.
Here’s what to look for when purchasing a portable table saw for DIY building projects around your homestead.
My MAX car got licensed with the local DOT to run on vegetable oil fuel and pay its proper taxes per gallon. Each state has its own rules; here's how we do it in Oregon.
Join Steve for a no-cost 75 minute video tutorial on building and managing a root cellar
Steve shares 11 years of his experience with the newest mainstay power tool in the world, and offers three free chances to win an impact driver.
MAX doesn't have a front license plate, and here's why Jack would like to keep it that way.
Steve explains a little about why he chose to install reclaimed cast-iron radiators, including a video tour of his installation.
Watch Steve tell you his homestead story and how his two trucks have helped make good things happen.
With a few key supplies, you can revive worn wood flooring without heavy-duty sanding.
If MAX is a bit too Spartan for your tastes, here's a homebuilt high mileage sports car that's a bit more plush - a Mazda Miata with a Geo Metro engine - and it's coming to the Mother Earth News Fairs.
A searchable index for the MAX Updates posts, and a few more thoughts on the Progressive Automotive X Prize.
Our friend Pat Sweeney has built himself an Electric MAX - a DIY Locost with a DIY electric power plant.
A big crowd likes MAXine better than MAX, and I’ll see you soon, at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash.
Steve explains why building a scale model is such a good way to design homestead structures, and how to do it.
The first civilian-built MAXes are nearing completion, and here are a couple of them that are rolling under their own power.
The second attempt at weatherproofing MAX involves a convertible top which flips open to get in or out of the cockpit. Not perfect, but not bad.
When I designed my wilderness cabin back in 2009, I knew I wanted to go the extra mile to achieve beauty, and that included an attractive roof. If you’re interested in creating a roof structure that’s well insulated, pleasing to
MAX finally got a deer deflector, after three years of writing about how much it needs one. It'll give a bit of extra rollover protection, too.
Does 100 mpg fuel economy justify cross-country recreational travel? Maybe so and maybe not, but I need to be careful—increasing fuel efficiency can increase fuel consumption if you increase your driving, too.
Steve explains how our pursuit of environmental sustainability can also drive us crazy if it's not put in the correct philosophical context.
An introduction to DraftSight, Dassault Systèmes' 2D CAD software. It's professional quality and it's free, and Jack is converting all the MAX fabrication drawings to DraftSight .dmg documents.
MAX gets a temporary mash-up of old and new style body parts (the new nose is at the fiberglassers' having a mold made so we can make more of them) to get road-legal for a trip to Canada.
Steve shares his time touring a plant that makes the kind of blades homesteaders use every day,
Talking about the back up generator failure along with recent golf cart modifications.
Jack has dismantled MAX's body and is making molds from the body parts, so other MAX-like car builders won't have to duplicate his work.
Robert Maxwell shares a story about how switching gears resulted in beauty.
Steve explains how he and his 11 year old son grew a crop of wheat entirely by hand, and why this is something you should try, too.
Robert Maxwell shares tips on maintaining motivation.
Steve explains the basics of refinishing wooden stairs, including an easily renewable finishing strategy.
There are many more ways than ever to earn income without ever leaving the homestead. As energy prices rise, earning the money you need without traveling is key to success. It just might not come from the place you expect.
How much power and performance does a car need for a guy to get a gal's attention? According to MAX fans, not very much.
Robert Maxwell explains how to build your own limestone foundation for almost no money.
The tail end of MAX's bellypan (diffuser) gets tuft tested, and the attached video shows the results. This was the finishing touch that got MAX its 100 miles per gallon on the highway.
Robert Maxwell discusses why he chose self-directed education over formal college, and how this option might work for others, too.
Robert Maxwell discusses the benefits of a rural lifestyle.
Young homesteader Robert Maxwell explores his discoveries as he moves toward self-sufficiency and homesteading.
See a video on how Steve finishes interior wood with waterbased stains, and why you might want to think beyond just brown colours.
Why pre-1960 race cars were more efficient than post-1960 race cars, and thus a better example for high efficiency highway cars.
To improve MAX's versatility, the passenger seat is removable, which converts MAX from a couple carrier to a cargo carrier.
A video demonstration of MAX's windscreen, which deflects air around the driver's face with minimal aerodynamic drag.
A discussion of three power tools to prep your logs or timbers for building.
MAX at its first autocross. Hey, it's a sports car, right?
A car's electrical consumption adds to its fuel consumption. For MAX, turning off the headlights improves fuel economy by roughly 4 mpg.
A surprising benefit of MAX's streamlining is the increased luggage space.
In my 7,500-plus mile adventure in MAX this summer, one lesson really stands out: Haste Makes Waste.
Steve explains how one practical guy invented a way to burn pellets efficiently without an expensive pellet stove
Learn how to sharpen your chainsaw properly with a file and guide
The "High Mileage Car Show" at the latest Mother Earth News Fair, and the pleasure of driving a fuel efficient car.
MAX gets a lightweight belly pan under the engine, to further reduce aerodynamic drag.
Steve shows methods he's found for extending the life of new roofs and decreasing their environmental impact
Jack took MAX to a local car show and found that even if they're not looking for high mileage, folks think MAX is cool.
On a summertime cross country trip from Oregon to Ohio, I restricted MAX's radiator inlet air a little at a time, demonstrating that very little inlet area (28 square inches) provides sufficient air for cooling.
Steve explains what he's learned over 20 years of using generators and monitoring advances in design.
MAX ran with the motorcycles in the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge, with surprisingly high marks--127 miles per gallon. Surprising to the author, at least.
Steve offers a few thoughts on line trimmers and brush cutters.
We're cleaning up the details on MAX. One of the finishing touches is clear streamlined headlight covers, and here's how I made them.
Learn how to install ceramic tiles that'll never let you down.
Steve got curious and shares the results of a gruelling endurance test he completed to compare cordless tool battery performance
A simple, practical and easy option for priming seasonal water systems.
MAX got a smog test at an Oregon DEQ Vehicle Testing Station, and passed with high marks.
Steve shares an approach he installed at a friend's place for easing the burden of priming seasonal water systems
MAX got some new lager diameter wheels. They should do the job and the price was right, and as a bonus, they look terrific.
MAX has very low rolling resistance, as demonstrated by this three year old kid pushing it around the building.
Learning from experience, I've put some impact-resistant structure on the back of MAX.
By making a pattern and a mold, we can now reproduce rear fenders as needed.
Some burglar wanted my Millermatic 180 more than I did, I guess. Here's why I liked it and why I'm going to get another one.
Steve shares current results and recommendations from his 20 years of observing and applying deck finishing products and techniques.
Steve Maxwell spotlights the three myths that prevent people from realizing the full value of the self reliant lifestyle, and how to dispel them
Have some fun in your garden this year and grow something giant!
A short lesson and video on stacking firewood in round piles
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, sheds light
on a new rural Canadian invention, Seg-Ins Big Bed, a truck extention that
improves cargo capacity.
Using MAX to test a tubing streamlining material, resulted in a significant reduction in drag.
Engine efficiency depends on rpm (among other things) and slower isn't always better. More wisdom from the Honey Bear.
Carbide saw blades last a long time and typically perform very well. Learn about two ways to keep them sharp and effective.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, outlines some suggestions on how to become an expert carpenter who can work with wood anywhere.
MAX got a new set of high efficiency Goodyear tires, and a second set of wheels so we can do comparison testing. Will the difference be detectable to our low budget testing technology?
Hybrid cars save fuel by shutting the engine off at idle (among other things). Does MAX burn enough fuel at idle to be worth the effort? Our honey bear can tell us.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, explains just how easy it is to install laminate flooring yourself.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, raves about his favourite hand held torch tool, the BernzOmatic Quickfire Hand Torch.
Volkswagon's high mileage (1 liter of fuel per 100 kilometers) car is getting closer to production. Expect to see 100 of these available to the public in 2013.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, share his make do tool tips with fellow DIY homeowners.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, guides an inquiring homeowner on how to find the right circular saw.
Technology marches on. It comes at a price, but a FloScan fuel consumption and mileage meter could give me instant feedback on MAX's fuel efficiency.
Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, provides tips on splitting firewood for home heating via woodstoves or fireplaces.
Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, answers a homeowner’s question about how best to apply a smooth finish to wood furniture.
Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, answers a homeowner’s question about how best to apply a smooth finish to wood furniture.
MAX gets a low cost, high accuracy, and none too attractive fuel gauge. Two out of three ain't bad.
MAX gets a couple of cheap and easy thermoformed headlight protectors, to keep light from getting out and rocks from getting in.
We're looking at a handful of low cost improvements, and since MAX is undergoing repairs at the moment, this is a good time to make them.
A treatise on the difference between a gasoline engine throttle and a diesel "throttle," what that means for MAX, and how the difference was overcome.
An after-the-fact analysis of MAX's accident on the way to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair, and the dangers of "getthereitis."
Jack McCornack tells the story of how he got lost in the Oregon outback and how MAX was damaged such that the DIY-, super-fuel-efficient car couldn't make it to the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Seven Springs, Pa.
Managing Editor John Rockhold chats with Jack McCornack — creator of MAX, the DIY and 100-mpg hopeful car — to get his post-FAIR thoughts.
Here's why MAX won't be at the FAIR. Sorry.
So here you have it: MAX with a crumpled rear fender, crumpled trunk section, a turn signal bashed out, a door knocked loose, and a flat tire. It's fully reparable, but not today, and not in time to drive to the MEN Fair.
En route to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, Jack listens all too well to GPS and ends up on dirt roads in the Oregon Outback.
MAX is getting prepped for paint, and all the essential bodywork is done for the new, streamlined roadster body.
Craig Henderson and his Avion high mileage sports car went from Canada to Mexico at 119.1 MPG. He plans to produce Avion kits.
MAX is back at the shop, awaiting diagnosis and correction of an overheating problem, plus some additional body work before its next venture.
Jack missed Rally Green and MAX has a mysterious overheating problem.
The clock is ticking and I've been taking some shortcuts on getting MAX ready for Rally Green ... and some have turned into long cuts. I need to work smarter, not faster.
In the interest of making MAX a smidgeon safer, I've added side bumpers to the passenger compartment. Here's why I made them this way.
Results of the long-awaited cooling system test, which shows how little air MAX needs through the radiator.
The Rally Green starting flag drops in Knoxville Iowa, Sunday August 15, beginning a cross country fuel economy rally ending in San Francisco the folowing Saturday. MAX will be there and going for the gold.
A primer on fiberglass mold making and molding fiberglass parts, using MAX's nose parts (hood and bubble) as examples.
There's a new automotive fuel efficiency contest coming up -- the Rally Green -- and now MAX has a tachometer, a digital wonder called a Tiny Tach.
More progress on MAX's streamlined body, using a laser to make curved body parts fit on a flat frame.
MAX's bodywork continues, as Jack modifies the race car nose to fit over the Kubota engine.
We're modifying the Lola race car's nose to fit MAX's chassis. The first step is cutting the nose down the middle so we can move the fenders apart a few more inches, which will let us steer enough for parking and other normal street activities.
MAX's classic race car skin remains a work in progress. Jack wants MAX to look Lola-esque, but not too Lola-esque.
Is MAX an actual modern-day vehicle, or just a high school shop class experiment? In this update, Jack answers sharp questions from an automotive engineer.
At the time, it seemed like a clear car was a good idea.
A reader recently raised concerns that MAX is illegal in Uncle Sam's eyes. Here's the skinny.
In which Jack departs a little from his fashion sense and MAX gets new racing seats. But not just any racing seats: safer seats with real head restraints.
Could MAX pass federal safety standards for mass-produced cars? Nope. Should that matter?
I hate to say it — because electric cars may be the salvation of transportation someday — but much of the current hype around electric cars is smoke and mirrors.
This potential body style looks hard to beat, in more ways than just physically. What do you think?
Jack explores how to test how body changes affect aerodynamics, and looks for inspiration from Wonder Woman.
All computer data for MAX has been stolen. What next?
In the continuing pursuit of better aerodynamics, Jack takes a closer look at the design of MAX’s nose.
We're excited for the second annual Escape from Berkeley rally. Last year, MAX won the inaugural event from Berkeley to Las Vegas. This year, it's a run for the Mexican border!
MAX needs an aerodynamic and easy-to-assemble roof. Plus it needs to look cool, be cheap, cost little, have a simple design and be reliable. No problem, right? So, do you have any ideas?
MAX Puts the “Ex” in X Prize
Everyone should have a 100-mpg car, and know how to drive a manual transmission. MAX comes to the rescue on both ends.
Perhaps if we had just listened to the deer all along, we never would've ended up in this gas guzzling mess.
Considering deer, it’s time for a roll bar.
In the pursuit of 100 mpg, cardboard is a nice medium for conceptualizing design features, but it has its limitations.
Thoughts on the potentially fuzzy math of mpg calculations.
One would think a car wouldn't need a mechanical inspection at 5,000 miles. But when you're building a 100-mpg car from scratch, and the builder is meticulous, it's wise to look for problems even when there are no signs of problems.
MAX needs 25 percent more horsepower to get from zero to 60 mph in less than 18 seconds. Got any suggestions?
MAX is well on its way to 100 mpg, if the lessons from these 100+ mpg motorcyles are any indication.
MAX's aerodynamic makeover is underway with a new fender design.
From the Science Channel, watch the Brink TV show's spotlight on MAX and its victory in the Escape from Berkeley race.
Sequestered indoors, Jack goes to work on streamlining MAX's body.
Could MAX be the perfect car for driver's ed?
Jack gets a wallop of motivation for a fully enclosed cabin, and looks ahead to a future with inquisitive grandchildren.
MAX turns heads and makes an impression at The EG, aka the Entertainment Gathering.
MAX needs a roof, stat.
It's time to calculate MAX's aerodynamic drag. Enter champagne science on a beer budget!
Brink TV show seeks "low-budget mad scientist." Jack and his MAX project fit the bill!
It's the age-old tug of war between good looks and streamlined, aerodynamic design.
What kind of mpg did MAX get in the race? How did Jack get fuel along the way? How much can you get for a t-shirt and a copy of Mother Earth News? Answers to these exciting questions inside!
MAX debuts by taking the checkered flag of the 800+ mile, no gasoline consumed, Escape from Berkeley race.
MAX wins the Escape from Berkeley race!!
MAX is encountering robust competition at Escape from Berkeley
MAX is hitting 60 mpg. That's better than a Prius, and before we get serious about streamlining.
What does MAX have in common with and old action, adventure, paranoia, social commentary BBC TV series of the '60s?
MAX will enter a race, uhhhh we mean event, and will run on veggie oil.
The fine art of automotive design, especially high-mpg design.
MAX version 2.0 is about to start moving. This may come as a surprise, but Jack is going to try it with biodiesel.
MAX version 2.0 is underway.
MAX is back from the dead after its infamous wreck. So why is the frame gray?
MAX has a three-wheeled distant cousin that's a diesel-electric hybrid.
Breaking News: MAX Totaled
MAX gets a small favor from high-end luxury sports cars.
Conservation over corn.
Is the glass half empty? Half full? Or is there just too much glass? I'm designing MAX to be just the right amount of "glass" for the vast majority of our driving. Here's to efficiency.
We're at work on a 100-mpg DIY car! Come meet MAX and take a seat for what will be a long, but fun, journey.
Cut the confusion that accompanies buying a cordless drill with this information on which drill features and capabilities to look for.