Tag Archives: DIY

Weird Thrift Store Haul

I don’t have a clue what this thing was originally intended to do.

Neither did the people running the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

I watched the value reflected in the price tag for about six weeks falling from the original $50 to $14.95. 

Every time I went in there I folded it, unfolded it, stood it up this way and that way, squinted at it trying to figure out what it was for, but seeing other possible uses the people who designed it never thought of.

This thing is a tough, expensive piece of work. 

It was evidently intended to lock something in, or out.

And clamp to something along one side.

Whatever it might have been, it’s about to become a part of something else.  I pointed out to the manager that it’s been there at least six weeks.

He picked it up and examined it every which way, same as I’d been doing.

What do you suppose it is?”

“I figure it’s a way to block off the wind going through the chainlink door into my chicken house.  They just added a lot of extra parts.”

“Five bucks?”

“I’ll take it.”

“Bring me some eggs next time you come to town.”

Old Jules

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Confession Time

Confession #1: I’m in almost daily communication with the team of Toyota mechanical engineers who designed the 1991 Toyota 4-Runner and the Japanese Toyota assembly plant worker who tightened the starter-bolts on the one parked across the meadow jacked up and partly dissassembled.

Those men don’t need to have a command of the English language to be laughing and giving one another the high-five while saying:  “Hahaha you Yankee pig!  You’ll never get that starter off!   Hahahaha!  We nailed your young ass good!”

Although that bolt head is the ‘easy’ one, this American can’t get to it with any wrench yet invented for a straight-on shot.  The mechanical engineers made sure of that.  But the guy working in the assembly plant lacked sufficient confidence some can-do American wouldn’t come up with a way to put a wrench on it, so he torqued it down with a cheater-bar, thinks I. 

Trying to get it loose repeatedly already has the grim prospect looming that I’m going to round off that head.  If that happens I might as well take a cutting torch to the whole shebang and use it for a new chicken house.

The engineers did their job and the assembly-line worker did his.  Now where did I leave that right-angle cutter and 300 foot extension cord?

But they had a backup plan.  I’ve been talking about the easy one.  This one I can’t even get into a position to see, but I think that might be it, back where I have to stick the camera in to try to get a view of it.  I can’t think of a single way I’ll ever get a wrench anywhere near it.

Confession #2:  I am the stupidest person you’ll ever encounter writing a blog on the Internet.  The proof is enshrined here:  The Communist Toyota 4-Runner.  “But there it is.  Hot diggedy damn!”  “Easy!  Easy money!”  “Man, people pay good money to get to do a job as easy as this one’s going to be.”

*Old Jules

*Old enough to know better.

For Want of a Nail – Something Worth Knowing Chainsaw-wise

If you own a chainsaw and it has a primer plunger or bulb similar to the one above you might give some thought to keeping a spare around.

I’d barely started cutting when this one developed a crack and allowed air into the fuel line.  I shrugged, puzzled over possible ways to plug the air leak and decided it probably couldn’t be done because of the oil and gasoline.  So I asked Gale to pick one up for me in Kerrville the next day.

The place he went had a bag of these things of 87 different sizes.  It wasn’t enough to know the saw model and make.  No way of matching anything without the actual item to compare it to.  So a $5-or-less has now taken several days out of getting firewood cut and those dead oaks threatening buildings and roofs onto the ground.  Oak Wilt, Firewood and Sawmilling

There’s no wind today and I think if it weren’t for that piece of plastic I’d have both of those down and cut to firewood lengths by mid afternoon.  I’m going to pick up a spare when I get a replacement.  That saw’s got a lot of miles on it and it’s been a good one, but maybe it will figure it can’t die final-like until it wears out that extra primer plunger bulb.  Cheap insurance. 

And if the saw goes kerplunk and leaves me with one of those little hollow plastic bulbs on my hands I can probably rig a way to use it for something else if I live long enough.

One more bug on the windshield of life.

Old Jules

 

Making Your Own Colloidal Silver – Almost Free

For those who use colloidal silver as an antibiotic for themselves or pets, but who haven’t yet discovered how to avoid bankruptcy buying it from health product stores:

This 4 fluid oz bottle was purchased in 1995 at a cost of $23.49 from a health product store.  I’d hate to even speculate what it would cost today.

By using the method illustrated in the first picture you can turn out a gallon of stronger solution for a fraction of a penny.  Just be sure you use unalloyed silver.  Not Sterling. 

Old Jules

Dead Tree to Beer Mug – Gale’s Mesquite Project 1

Before

 Could have been firewood.

The process:

Find a dead tree

Cut it to length

Mark approximate centers for lathe

Make certain your last will and testiment is up-to-date, don your face protection and body armor, adjust the lathe to the slowest possible RPMs and mount the future beer glass in the lathe.

Finding that lowest speed is important.

Change tools and readjust as the cylinder size is reduced.  Gradually the RPMs can be increased.

Trim off everything that isn’t a beer mug

When it approaches the shape you want prepare the end for the talon chuck.

The talon chuck holds it by the end so you can begin hollowing out the vessel.

Note the protrusion at the base to serve as a grip for the talon.

If your material is mesquite some filling might be needed at this point.

Gale’s been using chrysocolla for that job lately

Now you’re ready to begin hollowing it out.

A closer view:

Gale prefers to use a drill press to take out part of that center plug because it’s awkward and the speeds of the material vary and directions reverse at the center.

Then back to finishing the rough mug.

The rough part of the job done, cheated death and any more of these one more time:

Other finished, or near finished vessels:

There’s not much money in it for him, though he sells a lot of them.  But you have to admit there’s something magic about turning a dead tree into a wine glass or beer mug.

Sometime soon I’ll show you some of his silversmith work.

Old Jules

 

Building A Salvage Chicken-Hilton – One Man Band

Follow-up construction details:

I’ve mentioned and shown pics of the chicken-house built from discarded shower doors, etc., several times here.

“A chicken-house fabricated entirely from salvage, discarded shower doors, camper shell roof, refrigerator shelves, whatever came to hand free”

White Trash Repairs: Throwing Down the Gauntlet

From the ground:

I said when I made the post I’d be talking more about it, but way led onto way and I never got around to doing it. 

This was a one-man-band project.  The footprint of that structure has about an inch-or-less of topsoil over hardpan caliche or limestone.  Digging holes for the uprights wasn’t something I wanted to contemplate.

I knew I wanted the pickup camper as a roof, the shower-doors as part of the walls, wanted uprights with lateral stability without digging into limestone.  But otherwise it was plan-as-you go, driven partly by material availability.

Those lower walls are two sides of a huge packing crate I picked up for $5 from a guy in Kerrville.  Bought 30# of large lag-screws [$1.00 per pound] from Habitat for Humanity Recycling Store for the project because I anticipated difficulties in the lateral stability department.  The shower doors were free.  The 4x4s were from the same guy who sold me the packing crate.

I used the crate-sides to get three of the uprights generally in place by bolting them together.  Trust me when I tell you this ought to be a 2-man job.  I fudged on a lot of things by not paying a lot of attention to right-angles because I couldn’t be two places at once and knew I wasn’t going to live forever.

I took about a week building it, but probably it could have been done in a day with two people working.

As you can see I trenched below the lower walls and dug to bedrock, only an inch or two, to level the lower walls and provide a base for the corner posts.

Before putting the camper shell on top I built an interior frame and stabilized it with a steel bed frame salvaged from a junk pile:

Once that was in place I ran the front bumper of the truck up against it from whatever angles I could get to it, hooked a chain to the uprights from other angles pushing and pulling it with the truck to test the lateral strength.  We get some high winds and I didn’t want it coming down, even if the additional strength the camper shell structure would add became fractured.

I constructed a lean-to ramp using 4 2x12s and positioned the camper shell diagonally on it, skidded it up with a come-along until I had it in place, then bolted it to the top frame.  As I was finishing, Gale dropped down to see how I was doing and helped a lot during the final positioning of the shell.

The camper shell was missing the door, so for ventilation I used salvaged refrigerator shelving.  It keeps the predators out but allows a good breeze.  But to keep out the water I added the additional planks at an angle sloping away from the roof runoff.

Other than that there wasn’t much to it.

Old Jules

Three Dog Night– One Man Band