Friday, April 30, 2010

Score!!! free wood

I'll admit it, I'm an addict. I need a twelve step program for craigslist.  Today I came across about five hundred square feet of old mill oak flooring for free.  The boards are anywhere from ten feet to two feet long three and a half inches wide and three quarters thick.  The only way to get the finish that's on the boards is a hundred years of history.  They aren't tongue and grove except for the ends which was hand done, so they are basically like one by fours. 
It's going to be a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end.  I'm pulling the nails through to the back side with a pair of ten-r vice grips  It seems the be quicker and it leaves less damage on the finished side of the wood.  The more I work on it the more ideas I have for it.  First will be the work slash cutting table for the wife, but now I must get back to work. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shelves part two

I decided I wanted something different that just panted shelves for the work room, so I went the Mod Podge way. It was pretty easy you just paint it on, put what you want as the finish on, then paint it again. I wanted it to blend with the colors of the room so I went with a Reader's Digest for the outside.  Then I took the old handles and sanded them down with 240 grit sand paper so the flat black paint would have something to stick to. Putting the handles back was pretty easy I just used the old holes and pop riveted them back on.

Next came the install.  I wanted a clean almost floating look so I opted to drill holes in the side for drywall anchors.  My current anchor of choice is the Zip it anchor.  It looks like a corkscrew and has around a fifty pound capacity.  All I did to install was hold it up to where I wanted it, marked it, screwed in the anchors, then ran screws through the shelf into the anchor.  They came out stronger that I ever thought they could be I was actually impressed. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick fix 1

So... the first picture is what it's supposed to look like. The second one is the aftermath of taking it off in a hurry and sitting it down on the wrong side. Needless to say I was not a happy camper. Growing up my father always had a saying "As long as you're smart enough to fix what you're stupid enough to do, you're good." Today I think I came out pretty good.

The bed cover is made out of some sort of abs plastic. Being plastic I decided just to try to reshape it with a grinder and an 80 grit flap disk. To my surprise it actually went pretty easy. I rounded up the broke side first then made the good side match. I have to say I like it better this way, it no longer has that pointy thing sticking out to try to grab you as you sneak past it in the garage. It's always nice to have a mistake improve things for you. Now,if I only had the time to wash it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shelves from anything

Well I'm needing a set of corner shelves for a work room in the house. With the economy being what it is I decided to hit be basement of holding instead of the local home improvement mega store. Deep in a long forgotten pile I came across these metal drawers. They look like some kind of 1970's library card catalog things.

Demo is first, then planning. The handles were riveted on so I ground the heads off the rivets, and they came right off. A quick once over with a palm sander with 240 grit sand paper prepped them for paint, or what ever else I come up with to finish them. My plan for mounting them is to drill holes in the side and back to run screws through. I'm thinking with about four or six screws they will be quite stable shelves.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tools can matter

I'll start by saying I am in no way paid, or even noticed by by the manufacturer of this tool. I have one tool I do most of my metal cutting with, a Metabo. It will cut almost anything. I use one at work, and I've used it on anything from stainless steel, to granite. The thing that drove me to use it is not actually it's versatility, it's the safety. No tool with a six inch composite blade spinning at about twelve grand rpm is going to be completely safe. The Metabo six inch cut off tool has a clutch in it. You can tell its in actual one when you first fire it up there is a pause, then it spools up. The clutch comes into play when you're cutting smaller or lighter gauge pieces. It keeps the blade from binding and either slinging the part into you, or dragging you into the spinning blade. I've tried every other brand where I work and none compare to this. Yes, they cost more, but so you your fingers. I never pay full price for anything and this was no different. I repaired mine from scrap ones being thrown out at the shop I work for, but a pawn shop would a great route. There is no reason you can't get quality tool on a budget.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ready to roll, well almost..

Started working on the rear supports today. As you can see the conduit was slightly larger than the original support. With a little persuasion from my favorite hammer I got the gap from about a quarter inch to a little more than a sixteenth. You have to make sure not to hit it too hard when you're trying to dolly things over like this, lots of lighter taps will do much better for you. I'm just planning on filling the end from where the old pipe went with the mig welder.

After tacking the last supports up I decided to slap everything together and give her a quick test sit. To my surprise and relief it actually felt pretty good. When I was laying everything out I measured the inseam of my pants and made that the distance from the front of the seat to the petal at its most extended point. On the docket for tomorrow is cleaning and grinding the welds on the frame. I'm going to strip it back down to the frame to make it easier to handle. I'm scared that the clean up and prep for primer will take longer than anything so far, but hey it's just one more step in the journey.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day two of the bike

I finished most of the moch up today. I'm only missing the support form the rear wheel. I started with what I'll call the spine support, the main tube from the top of the steering neck. I simply ran a piece of the conduit from the neck to a cross support I tacked in yesterday. I didn't cut the old supports off all the way I left about a half inch to act as a sleeve to weld the new support onto. The upright from the crank didn't line up exactly like I wanted to so I used a pair of vice grips and a wrench to pull them so I could tack it up. I know I'm not making something to cruse at sixty miles an hour but I still like having my stuff square.

I'm going for the long and lean look and I think I'm getting there. I still need to work on the supports for the rear. Right now I'm looking at cutting the old ones off and rerunning them to the mounting pipe for the seat. I'm thinking that will keep with the lines of the bike I have now.
That's all for today. On the list for tomorrow is finishing the rear supports and figuring out a way to make all of the gearing and brakes work.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Inspiration can burn

Today was one of those days where something just had to be built. As I was walking the so called "project pile" in the basement I came across a ten speed bike and some old conduit. With those bits, a Metabo and mig welder something may be born.

Truthfully I was in more of a hack and weld mood than a measuring one. So much so that I was actually working in my shorts and sandals. Welding splatter on the top of a foot in sandals reminds you you're being stupid real quick. Most of the time when I'm building something random like this I have a picture in my mind I work off of, no fancy drawing or the like. Most of the time things come out close to what I was wanting, but hey that's part of the adventure. With daylight burning I cut down the frame and extended out where the back wheel mounts. My current idea is an extended out almost recumbent style bike. I'm not sure how everything will go as of yet, but something will work out. Now for dinner, more cutting and welding tomorrow.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

First project is tabled

I built this small scale picnic table for my boys earlier in the week. I made it out of four year old wood the builder left in the lot next to us and plans from The wood I had to work with wasn't exactly what they called for but I made the two pressure treated two by sixes and some small pieces of two by fours work. If you want to see more of that, it is on It turned out pretty nice, but it just needed those finishing touches. No, I'm not painting it white and stenciling it.

Being the kind of guy I am, I wanted to go the cheap route. I found a can of red oak stain in the off color bin at the ole home despot for a dollar so it was on.

Not being much of a directions kind of a guy I just went for it. I flipped the table over so the top would be the last thing done, giving me fewer chances to mess it up. Sadly, I didn't have much booze in the house so I couldn't get into official painter mode, but I made do with sweet tea. My method wasn't the cleanest but it got the job done. I used a cheap chip brush and just went to town. The old wood drank down the stain, but I just kept slathering it on.

With the bottom done I flipped it to a good even coat on the top. Make sure you do this on something you don't care about. Getting in all the grooves will be messy, well it was for me at least. Being an outside table I put on an extra heavy coat just to make sure it was good and weather proof. Yeah, I made it out of pressure treated wood but I still don't trust it.

I would say it came out a little darker than I wanted, but I wasn't really sure what I wanted. Some may want to fill the screw holes for a more finished look. I was going for a more rustic look so I opted to just leave them.