Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Cabinet/pantry repair

Opened up the pantry cabinet to find a bit of a mess. 

The side of the cabinet let go, causing the shelf pins to bend, break and pull out of the side of the cabinet. 

Oh, for disclosure, this is the 2nd time it's done that, I just drilled the holes a little more and put in different pins and in 2, long dowels.  Maybe it's time to fix it. But how, when there's only access to 2 sides. 

It's 30" wide and 23" deep, about 4 feet high (the bottom section was affected, not the top) and holds a lot of stuff. Too much stuff, actually. 

Here's what I did: remove everything from the cabinet, sorted for gluten free or not. Tossed a cardboard can of bread crumbs from 2013. Pulled out the shelves, sat and stared for a while. 

Pull out the fridge and spend some quality time cleaning both the fridge, walls and the floor...It's not been out since 2005. Found some cat toys.

Devise a plan: replace the pins on the left with cleats, and add cleats to the back, and that way, screws can be driven thru the left wall into those cleats to hold the wall tight. It's fine in the front, as the oak face frame has held together. 

Just do a little measure, a little math, some cutting, drilling and screwing. Took a long time to do, partly because to get to the basement when the fridge is out of it's hole, you, well, I, have to go out the front door, around to the back door and down the stairs. I only forgot a few things, a few duplicitous trips. 
 Use a stick as a spreader bar clamp to wedge the side back into place.

The pins and holes on the right side are ok, so I didn't fix it. 
I imagine that the hard part will be getting Dawn to not put everything on one shelf, packed just as tightly together as possible. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dandelion jelly

I've got way too many dandelions. I know, I know. just spray. But you have to spray a lot for a couple years before they are gone. Due to being #stuckathome I've heard a lot about how nutritious and wonderful dandelions are...so I decided to pick some for jelly.

It's good exercise, get lots of fresh air, etc. Basically, just pick the flower, and get your scissors ready. 
Once they're picked, you use one hand to hold the petal part and scissors to separate them from the body, and this is when an observant sort will realize that dandelions are a lot like a thistle. 
Add water and bring to a boil, you're making a tea, or infusing the water with the dandelion-ness (essence) Once it boils, turn off heat and allow it to steep, overnight. No point in getting in a hurry about this. 
BTW, seems like the best time to pick dandelions is early to mid afternoon, unless it's hot, and then do it whenever they are in the shade.
I had picked the pot full of flowers, it was about half full once cut. And after I strained and squeezed out the 'tea" 

Adding pics from the phone makes it layout weird. When cooking, the tea smelled like broccoli. Once strained, it smells like and tastes like canned corn water. 

To make jelly, take some tea, add lemon juice and pectin, boil. Add sugar, taste. Adjust as required: more lemon juice, more salt, etc. Boil again. Put in jars. When it's cooking, it smells just like honey. Maybe it's due to me using some brown sugar with the white sugar. Dunno. 

I read a couple posts from people that made it, for one it didn't set, so she used it as honey. I figured if it didn't set that's what I'd do, too. Or as syrup. It might be great in a cocktail.  I also read a post about batter frying the flowers. 

It might be interesting to use the "tea" as vegetable stock when making soup, but I'm certain it's not worth the effort. While it didn't take too long to pick the things, it did take a long time to cut them. I imagine flavor of the tea is influenced by the amount of green that stays on, the amount of dog pee and the number of ants that hang on for the transfer. 

I picked every blooming dandelion in my yard. The next day there were just as many blooming. No wonder they take over an area. 

Try it.....you might like it.

Straw bale garden

A few years ago, I jumped on the straw bale garden bandwagon. A guy from MN got interested in it, devised a bunch of stuff, wrote a book or 2 and got somewhat famous. 

He has a FB page.

Fame, fortune. etc.

You may remember that I had a community garden plot a block over, but the property sold and we gave it up. I did enjoy the garden, and Susie had found this straw bale guy and tried it, with some degree of success. 

The only area in my yard with anywhere close to enough sun is on the north side, at the bottom of a hill, against the neighbor's chain link fence. So....I prop my bales against the fence, and used the fence to support my watering system. The straw holds a lot of water, but it holds it at the bottom of the bale, and the plants (most of the plants) grow from the top. You can put plants in the sides and bottom, too, if you want.

My watering system is some rebar bent on the ends 90*, slid into conduit welded to more rebar. That rebar is stuck into the ground and wired to the fence. The horizontal rebar has some bedframe angle iron welded to it and those lawn sprinklers that oscillate back and forth, in a big wave. You can adjust it so it's just one way, or just the other or just the center, etc. I mounted them upside down, set to the center, or just off, so that it rains onto the garden and not the lawn. I don't want to mow any more often than I have to mow....It works fine, or did........this year I acquired another bale. 

The first year I tried it I had 2, I think. Last year I got 4, and put what was left of the previous year's into the old recycle tub. so that measured 12', and worked great with the sprinkler. This year with another bale, I may have to turn the sprinklers over to get more use of the arc. 

Susie wanted a more automated system, and I had the brilliant idea that shower heads would be ideal. So we bought some fittings, some shower heads, I supplied some hose,  and since she had a broken ankle and Dawn had also recently had surgery, I put it together. I didn't work too well....not enough pressure, not enough water, something. The water just kind of dribbled out. Maybe her house has a bad prostate?

What is the point of all of this? Once upon a time when I was picking up pallets and free wood, I got 4 panels at a fireplace store, must have been a crate. They laid around for a long time, and then. THEN! I got an idea.  I put them alongside the bales, which shades them and also protects them from wind and of course that helps them to not dry. 

This year we planted a zucchini and a cucumber and a climbing flower. Hopefully they'll all climb up the fence and watering rebar. I might put some twine as vertical runners. We also planted a poblano, a jalapeno, 2 red bell, an orange bell and a couple of other peppers. A cherry tomato and early girl tomato.  I bought .58# white and yellow onions, at $2/lb.....so hopefully we'll have some onions. 
I also need another tomato cage, and I'm thinking about building one from wire. Just because I don't have enough frustration in my life.

So there it is, a tomato cage and onions planted. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

broken handle

Several years ago, when the city rebuilt the next street over, I picked up a bunch of oak timbers that the fire hydrants were shipped/delivered on. 3" x 4", white oak or live oak or something similar. Heavy, dense and hard, lots of interesting grain. 

I used the table saw to cut it down to the turning blank, and turned the handle. I tried a different shape this time, made it big, left it heavy, for more mass and hopefully more control of the tool. 

With the old lathe, with a 1/2hp motor and a very old vbelt, I didn't worry too much about needing a lot of control. This big lathe has a 2hp motor, serpentine belt, and believe me, it commands respect and caution. 

Wow, I got off topic fast, huh. 
Instead of the grain running lengthwise end to end, the grain switches direction where the nails were and where it broke. Yes, I was not using the tool as it was intended when it broke, but we're not going to talk about that. I've learned my lesson, for now, anyway. I smeared some yellow wood glue on it, after making sure there was no sawdust in the way, clamped it together over night. Works, good as ever again. 

FYI, the tool is made with a piece of shaft that I got from Steve, from where he works. Grind a flat spot on the end, drill and tap a hole and screw on a carbide cutter.
I get some cutters from AZCarbide, and some from Cap'n Eddie Castelin. 

Monday, April 06, 2020

top 10 list

How about another top 10 list?

gas grill
cream cheese
free wood
indoor plumbing

Friday, April 03, 2020

Genesis grinder

I went dumpster diving yesterday. 

Diving is not really accurate, since I hardly ever climb inside, but I almost did yesterday, but employing the use of some 2x4 levers, I was successful retrieving a 4 1/2" Genesis angle grinder. It was missing the extra handle that screws into the head area of it, but no matter, that's the easy part. 

Genesis brand....never heard of it. But,  of course Uncle Google was aware of it, and told me that I could get one at Home Depot, Amazon, and some other scumbag place that I don't remember or patronize. 

HD charges about $40 for one....so it's not the cheapest thing available....Harbor Freight holds that honor, if you use a couple coupons, you can get one for about 8. And for what I do, it works pretty well. 

I plugged the Genesis in, and turned it on. Actually, the switch slides, but whatever, and it came on, sounded normal, smelled normal. It has a cut off wheel installed, and that works too. The only obvious problem, aside from the missing handle, is the spindle lock button is damaged, broken, etc. 

So, I found some wood, I found a bolt, I found the lathe and some epoxy, made a handle and will put it all together. You can jam a screw driver in the right place to lock the spindle, and the wrench from my Skil grinder that Val gave me 20+ years ago fits. Maybe the ideal thing for this one would be a cup brush of some sort, so it doesn't have to be changed too often.  

I love it when people throw away perfectly good tools.....I neglected to tell you about the Makita circular saw that I found.....missing the cord. It too works great.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

speaker boxes

I was in my woodshop this morning, and  a Journey song came on. Send Her My Love. Of course I had to turn it up. But one set of speakers didn't survive the experience. They came from a radio/cdplayer that I had in my massage office for a while, 4 ohm, 8 watt. 4" speaker, but a pretty big box. I use a Sony receiver that I've had since 93 or 94....that's hooked to a phone found on a bus, being used as a wifi tablet, playing Pandora radio. 

I don't know how speakers work. Magnetism, electricity, etc, magic.  I know that my meters don't show anything when I put them across the wires. 

I mention above that the speakers are in a pretty big box, considering the size. I'm aware there are calculators available, to tell you what size box to make. And if you should ventilate it or stuff it or or or so many variables and options. 

Long time ago, I bought a pair of speakers, with the intention of putting them in something. The honda? the pickup? I really don't remember....it's been more than 10 years, but the speakers were right where I left them.  Still in the box, ready to go.  I think they are 40 watt, and there's no marking on them to indicate ohms. 

Speaker wire? I'm not buying any fancy speaker wire, dumpster wire is good enough for me. LOL.....I lol because this orange wire is WAY more fancy than regular speaker wire. See that it has a metallic shield around the 2 conductors? And it has a ground wire, and it has the string wrapped around there, running the length of it to add strength and to get in the way.....I didn't research what the printing on the jacket says, I just know that it's about 22 AWG, which is quite good enough for speakers. 

I'm using pallet wood, of course. I'm not doing much to get it ready....I ran the boards for the top and bottom thru the table saw 3x, that does a pretty good job of straightening the edges. the sides just 2x. I really don't think I'll sand stain or varnish. I'm going to fasten the boxes between some floor joists and enjoy them. 

For the top and bottom, I had to glue 2 boards together, but I didn't measure them to determine how wide to make the box. I did calculate length of box, based on the length of the boards, so I don't know why I didn't think about the width. It turned out ok, the top and bottom are a little bit narrow. 

I glued and stapled it all together, installed with 2 screws thru the center hole. It was a bit of a challenge to hold the speaker, the grill, the screwdriver, the flashlight.....but I got it done, and it sounds great. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Rebar, upcycled.

Rebar, rerod, reinforcing rod, whatever you call it, it's the same stuff....except it's not all the same. I've heard that each foundry makes a batch at the end of the day with whatever they have left over, so long as it meets the minimum standards. And it's pretty good steel, too, holds bridges and buildings together for years. 

In the last year or so, I've developed some interest in blacksmithing, to the point where I went to Harbor Freight and bought an "anvil". I give it the quotes, because it's not much of an anvil. The horn is the wrong shape for a lot of work, and it's too soft and it's too light, but it was cheap and it's better than nothing. 
Mounted on a pine block, which is mounted on a disk brake rotor. Hammer hanger is the lid from a ballast. Wire brush handle is from a ball valve. 

I watch some youtube videos about blacksmithing, and have learned a lot. If you're interested, look at Black Bear Forge, Essential Craftsman, Jimmy Diresta, and there's a bunch of other guys that do a little, too. 

I don't have a forge, and my good torch was stolen by the guy that lived next door, along with a bunch of other stuff, so I heat up stuff with a propane torch. It's not ideal, but it works for small items. 3/8 rebar would probably bend w/o heat, if you asked it nicely. Or used a big hammer. But it heated ok, and bends a lot easier hot than cold. 

Muddy, rusty, but just the right size. We found it on our walk the other day...it was standing straight up in a little pile of snow, dirt and gravel, just waiting to stab a tire. 

I'm making this tool to be used with the wood lathe, it's offset so I can cut a recess in the bottom of a bowl while the tailstock is still in position. I heated it and wire brushed and tapped with the peen to remove the majority of dirt and rust. Pretty simple, really, bend an offset in it to get around the tailstock, flatten the end to mount the cutter, do some grinding, sanding, brushing, and it's done. 

Almost. Still have to drill and tap a hole to mount the carbide cutter. Luckily, Dad gave me a tap and die set a long time ago. 

It would be GREAT if the tap and die set came with a set of proper drill bits. Anyone recognize that yellow rag? It was one of my favorite shirts for several years, a gift from my motherinlaw; she got it from the thrift store. 

Ok, obviously I mounted the cutter before cleaning up the steel. But I wanted to make sure it was going to work before doing the cosmetic work. I see that the handle is just in the pic, too. Dawn made that on my new lathe a month or so ago. I drilled a 3/8 hole thru it, which means I had to drill from each end, which is just about as much fun as it sounds. Neither end was cut square.....but the center marks were still there from the lathe, so that helped.

This is to cut a recess, or the tenon, whichever, on a bowl. I have a Oneway 2436 lathe, btw. I think it could be used with a round cutter to be a hollowing tool, but I'm not sure the 3/8 will be stiff enough for that. I'll prob experiment with it. 

Any questions? comments?