Thursday, May 27, 2010

OMG I Have a SHOP!

The second last day of my "vacation" and I finally got into the shop. Actually I was outside the shop. I finally got around to spray painting the cast iron garden furniture I am refinishing. The boards for the 4 chairs have all been cut and finished for about 2 weeks now. I still have to buy and cut the wood for the bench seat though.

I got to use the Mastercraft HVLP sprayer kit and it worked really well. It's a good thing the spouse bought me that ginormous DeWalt compressor. Anything less just wouldn't have cut it. The spouse even had a go at spray painting after work. Because I did all the set up and clean up the spouse was "impressed" at how easy it was and how well it worked.

Spraying outdoors was good and bad. The good was I didn't need a mask and with a giant plastic sheet there was no "over spray" to worry about. The bad was the million maple keys blowing around the driveway that kept getting stuck in the paint. Hopefully they will just brush out when the paint is fully dry. It's fine for garden furniture but next time I will have to set something up "in shop".

I'll have to post pictures later. All this yard work and painting leaves me whipped at the end of the day. It's been unseasonably hot this week as well. I have the sunburn to prove it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things That Just Work?

We bought a Dyson DC25 Animal Ball vacuum cleaner. It wasn't just because of all the hype, I actually tried one in store and was pretty impressed. It does a fabulous job on floors and carpets and it will suck up a hairball from 2 feet away. This is important when you have 3 cats. But I have to ask myself is ANY vacuum cleaner really worth $700.00?

While I can't argue the power and ability of the Dyson, I will say that for all the "engineering" that went into making it, it came out rather cheap.

It's 100% plastic with the exception of the motor and some of the connections are pretty wimpy. The air intake for the dust collector is a rather flappy thin piece of rubber that basically just "rests" against the canister. Is this really an "air tight" connection?

The hose is way too short to use properly with the removable wand and while the ball does make it incredibly maneuverable, you won't get that head too far under anything.

I LIKE my new Dyson a lot. I am really glad it comes with a 5 year warranty, because frankly, I don't think it will last that long. We'll see how well that warranty is honoured. But I do think it is way over priced. Even at half the MSRP, I would be feeling a little uneasy about it.

Friday, May 21, 2010


It's the Victoria Day weekend in Canada. The holiday that signifies the official start of summer and gardening season for Canadians. And like most May 2-4 weekends they are calling for rain. Our big plans for the weekend were to bring in about 20 cubic yards of topsoil to level the back yard and to paint the garden furniture. Neither of those are going to happen in the rain. Then of course there is the gardening, and the patio repairs and finishing, the new sod to put down over the topsoil, some minor deck repairs and the shed to paint.

I have indoor project lists that grow endlessly and get done rarely. There are still 2 closets and a utility room to make over. I have to build a Murphy bed for the sewing room. There is still a fold away laundry folding counter for the laundry room somewhere on that list. New stairs for the hot tub. A computer work station. A new headboard for the new king size bed. The laminated flooring waiting to be put in the bathroom. And a box to make for my nephew's cremains.

Why can't I seem to find the time for any of this? Some of the delays involve money of course. But this week alone I haven't seen the inside of the shop for more then 5 minutes. Where does the time go?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hurry Up Spring!

It seems I am suffering from a "woodworker's block" in that I can't seem to find the motivation I lost. I have a couple of things to blame for this, one of course being the weather. We were treated to a taste of spring with a week of nice weather and of course all thoughts turned to the outdoor projects like the yard work, pond maintenance, etc. As the ball got rolling on these projects, fall decided to make a quick return and the weather turned cold and wet.

I had started redoing some cast iron and wood garden furniture we had; replacing all the weathered wood with some new cedar and repainting the cast iron frames. But I want to spray paint the frames with my HVLP sprayer and of course I cannot do this indoors. So while I have all the wood cut and sealed with 3 coats of boiled linseed oil, the project is at a standstill until the weather decides to cooperate again.

And of course the joints of my body despise cold and wet weather whether I am outdoors or not. This does not make for motivation.

It was great during the nice weather to have the garage door open again and to give the shop a good blow out. But as usual when working in confined spaces it didn't take long to mess things up again once I started on the garden furniture. My biggest woodworking bane is having to do a "clean up" before I start every project because I am not very organized when I work and things get left everywhere. That's a bad habit I will have to work on curing. I'll add it to my long list of other bad habits.