Thursday, August 27, 2009


Perhaps the title is a dead give away, but things aren't going well. At the moment I am trying to fix a laptop and the .NET installation is giving me a freaking HEADACHE. This is another Micros**t program that has no business in layman's hands. And the support from Micros**t for installation issues surrounding this update are nil at best. You are pissin me off Bill.

Things in the shop are no better. I am making little or no progress with anything. The days get ate up with things like this laptop, or running back and forth to the big city for stuff. The go kart may be ready by the grandson's graduation from college at this rate.

There is more wood to be had from the relatives who are tearing down their barn, but I can't seem to find or make time to get it. It is a golden opportunity that is going to waste. I already regret it.

It will be interesting when I go back to work 5 days a week to see how I am going to manage what will be left of my "free" time.

Maybe I'm just having a bad day eh?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shop Multitasking

It didn't take long to figure out my shop is not built for doing multiple projects. Right now I have the go kart, rebuilding the outdoor furniture, spray painting a tool box add on, and finishing the under the workbench drawers on the go. It's not pretty out there.

The go kart is not "going" anywhere at the moment. This is a really long dragged out project. The biggest problem is working without a "plan" to follow. When you are making these things up in your head as you go it's not easy to keep all the details in line. I have been using Google Sketch Up the last couple of days to try to sort things out. It actually has helped a lot to be able to draw things to dimension. I now have a little more direction.

The chain drive for the cart is still a sticking point. Getting the rear axle to drive the wheels which have built in bearings in them is not easy. It's going to require some plumbing parts and welding.

I am not even going to touch on what this kart is costing me. I spent $50.00 on bearings alone. It's starting to feel like it might have been cheaper just to buy the kid a real car. But I want to finish this project just to say I did. Whether it works or not is moot.

I picked up a 40 tooth thin kerf Forrest Woodworker II table saw blade at Lee Valley today. It seems that crappy plastic table insert I bought is giving me a headache... literally. It makes a nasty squealing noise as the blade is raised though it. I was blaming it on the cheap DeWalt blade I had in there but it does the same thing with the Forrest blade. Leecraft, the maker of the insert, claims it's "blade or arbor wobble". I don't think so Tim. I don't have this issue with any of the wood zero clearance inserts I made. Guess I'm giving the Leecraft inserts the thumbs down!

I also bought a Milescraft blade changer at Busy Bee today. Now either I am not using enough pressure, or my blade nut is way too tight or this thing is useless. On the first try my saw blade chewed right through the little knobs on the inside that are supposed to hold your blade while you loosen the nut. I am going to try returning it but I doubt that will work now that it's "damaged". Another thumbs down. I'll be very wary of buying Milescraft products in the future.

So as you can see things are progressing as normal for me. Another day, another disaster!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Rona Tent Sale

While we were wasting time in the BIG CITY waiting for the truck to be repaired we happened upon a Rona Tent Sale. That was a big mistake. I found the cordless "drill of my dreams" only because the price was RIGHT! It's a Hitachi DS18DSAL HXP Li-ion 18V Compact Pro Li-ion Driver Drill that was regular priced at $199.00 and I got it for $109.00. It came with a case, 2 batteries and a charger. Now THAT'S a DEAL!

Hitachi offers a 10 year warranty on all their cordless tools. The batteries however, only have a 2 year warranty. That is the part of cordless tools I REALLY despise. Mostly because they usually make the replacement batteries so expensive it doesn't pay to buy them. You might as well replace the entire tool! So basically your tool has a 2 year warranty regardless of what the company advertises. That's total BAIT AND SWITCH tactics if you ask me. It's not limited to Hitachi, most tool makers follow this principal with the exception of Ridgid which if you jump through all the registration hoops, warrants their batteries for life.

I also found a Bosch Colt PR10E router for $69.00 at the tent sale. Talk about my lucky day! The only way it could have got any better was if I had found a Dremel MultiMax on sale. But I am NOT complaining. I also got a deal on some dust collection accessories.

The spouse bought some shelf liner or something..ROFLOL.

Sorry I had to do that.

We made a stop at Busy Bee tools and I found a Drill Press Table on sale as well for 29.00. I got a slightly damaged one that took about 5 minutes to fix so that's why I got the extra discount. However I advise anyone who wants a drill press table NOT to buy this model. It is made from some kind of CRAP MDF that is garbage. It will do till it crumbles which I am sure it will. There is junk, and this table is less then that. Tsk Tsk Busy Bee! I would have returned it but since it was damaged and discounted it was a "final sale". My bad.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shop Day Off

So I wasn't in the shop today but it was by no means a day off. The spouse has been wanting a new screen door for the front ever since switching out the winter glass for the summer screen last May. The air was a bit blue during this feat and I just stayed out of the way. While we were in Home Hardware today looking for some cedar cut offs we found a very nice screen door with a pull down window that has a roller screen built in. As a bonus it was on sale for $80.00 off the regular price of $315.00. So we toted that baby home in a hurry!

This AluminArt storm door is no slouch. It has a very thick heavy aluminium frame that we torture tested on the way home in the back of the Blazer. We had it propped on an angle hanging out the back window sitting on the spare tire. I was totally waiting to hear a loud SNAP as one of the windows cracked when the frame bent. But it got home in one piece without even a dent.

The spouse and I decided to put it up TOGETHER. This is never usually a good thing. The fact that it was the first time EITHER of us had hung a storm door didn't help. Of course mother nature lent a hand with gale force winds. There were moments I expected one of us to be lifted off the ground like a kite.

There is only ONE ABSOLUTE RULE for hanging a storm door. READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!!!

There are reasons you have to follow the steps in the required order. All I will say is DO NOT cut anything before it tells you to cut something! Despite our faux pas we managed to get it hung reasonably OK. The one piece of the top frame is insanely cock eyed, and I have NO idea why. Everything else is very square. The door itself sits flush and seals properly. It came with some very nice brushed nickle hardware for the handles and pneumatic door closers for both the top and the bottom of the door.

The instructions WERE CLEAR, I just thought I knew better and found out to late that once again I was WRONG. They are simple enough for a first timer to be able to complete the job within an hour and a half, but it does take two people. And opt for a day with no wind.

There will be some paint required around the frame now. I'll leave that up to the spouse. I got a new saw, the spouse got a new screen door. Everyone is happy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lazy Sundays

Some family commitments have kept me out of the shop for a couple of days. Today I am having trouble finding my motivation again. But I AM going out there!

The go kart is on hold until I get to Fastenal to buy some bearings. Hopefully they will have the ones I need in stock. It looks like I am going to have to do some welding on the rear wheels as well. I don't know how well that's going to work but I'm going to give it a try. I need to fabricate something to drive the wheels from the axle. None of this is really explainable, but I'll try to take some photos as I do it so it makes more sense in the long run. It's hard not to "over engineer" things.

Today I think I will work on the drawers for under the work bench. They need to be "pull out" somehow but I don't want to put 2" casters on them as I will lose too much storage space that way. This will be some other concoction I will have to make up on the fly.

The drawer joinery has been plaguing me as well. I should just stick to the KISS principal but I am considering box joints. The problem is I am using plywood and it doesn't always rout that well especially with box joints. But I'll give it a shot.

OK, GO TO SHOP, GO DIRECTLY TO SHOP. Yeah yeah whatever. I AM still on vacation after all.