email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hose Reel, Part 2

The turntable drove me completely crazy!  I watched 3 youtube videos about how to install them and none made much sense.  So I went back to the workbench and turn the pieces around in all directions seeking some way, seeking some understanding.

Think of it this way.  Put a slice of ham between 2 slices of bread and THEN put mustard on the ham without lifting the bread or pushing it in sideways...

I went crazy!

I attached the turntable to the top and bottom pieces of wood in all possible ways.  I even considered the turntable was sold cheap because it was non-functional.  But I knew it wasn't.  It was MY failure to comprehend the one BIG HOLE.

When Sir Issac Newton was trying to figure out the orbits of the planets, he tried many geometric shapes.  And he hit on the right one, but made a simple math error and rejected it.  Looking back later, he figured out his error and solved the problem.

I looked back too.  And realized I had it right once but didn't realize it.  Not that I'm like Newton, but we all make mistakes and find we were right at some point and didn't realize it.

I figured it out...

I can't possible explain, but I could show it.

All I can offer is some pictures...

IT SWIVELS, IT SPINS!  There are a lot of wrong holes in it, but it WORKS!  And with new wood, I could do it again better.  But it works.  I got mustard in the sandwich without lifting the bread, LOL!

I bought heavy duty lag screws to attack the hose reel to the top piece.   I drilled the holes to attach it.

But before I do that, I need to create a solid platform to attach it to the existing 4"x4" post.   More of the same size scrap pieces glued and screwed to the post and cross pieces across those.  But that's another day...

My friends say I "overbuild" things.  But my stuff doesn't fall apart after a few years...  I would have designed the Pyramids just as they are...  LOL!

Wait til you see the finished product...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hose Reel

I bought a hose reel a few weeks ago, not sure exactly how to attach it to anything.  The instructions say it MUST be attached to a wall or affixed to the ground.


I decided I wanted it to swivel, so that I could pull the hose off in different directions.  My initial thought was to put a 2" metal pipe in the ground and set a 3" PVC pipe on top of that so that would rotate on the metal pipe with some support structure to hold the hose reel.

That got kind of complicated, and PVC pipe is not the sturdiest stuff.  So I let it sit in my mind a few days.

I was shopping for other stuff at the DIY store, and noticed a little 4" turntable (aka Lazy Susan) and thought, "Hey, I have a 12" one of those I bought at a yard sale years ago because I thought it "might be useful".

But I couldn't figure out how to attach it to a post AND attach it to the hose reel.  The internet is an amazing thing.  Ask the RIGHT question, and some other people know the answer and even do a video showing how.

I had figured out how part of it worked.  There was a big hole in the bottom that allowed access to all the smaller holes.  But I still couldn't see how to get at both the top and bottom since it seemed the holes got covered by a board no matter what I did.

Sneaky tricky stuff, but it all had to have a purpose.  The big hole was the key.  And not attaching the hose reel directly to the turntable.  The video I watched showed about using the big hole to allow access to all the other small srew holes.  I got THAT right.  But then it showed attaching 2 square boards to the top and bottom and THEN attaching your "whatever" to the top baord.

DUH!  Slapped forehead.  And the video even expected that.  It said "you can't do it the way you want to directly".

So I needed 2 boards suitable for outside conditions.  Well, I could buy a sheet of pressure treated plywood and cut it to size.  Or use stuff I had.  I didn't have anything 12" wide.  But I had scraps of 2"x8" boards leftover from building the framed garden beds 2 years ago.

But I had to attach 2 pieces of it twice together (a top and a bottom).  Gluing wasn't sturdy enough.  But I had a "biscuit joiner" I bought 20 years ago and had only used once.  AHA, I had a reason to use it!  A biscuit joiner cuts oval shapes in the edge of a board and you gkue precut ovals into the cut slots.

I ran the scraps of wood through my planer to make the surfaces flat and exactly the same thickness, used the plate joiner to cut slots in the edges and glued in the biscuits (ovals).  Clamped them tight and held them flat with clamps and weights.    The wood ovals swell up from the moisture in the glue and the squeeze-out gets between the boards and hold even more.  He stuff makes 2 boards are solid as one larger board.

Naturally, I forgot to take pictures (and I had my camera in my pocket)!  But I can replicate some of it to make sense of all this text.

And that is where I stopped for the day to bring some deck plants in because of the first hard freeze of the season.

More later...

Monday, November 6, 2017

An Old Project Done

Sometimes, I buy stuff for a project and never get around to it.  Sometimes it is funny just seeing the stuff sitting around for months or even years, thinking "I really need to get that done:.  Sometimes, it is really annoying, like when I look at a bag of bolts and hooks or some stuff and have no recollection what I intended to do with them.  And sometimes, I know what they were for, but I did something different to solve the same problem.

At least THIS time, I knew what the parts were for and still wanted it done!

Twentyfive years ago, when I was building the fence around the backyard, I needed sawhorses.  I bought these cheap aluminum brackets you screwed 2"x4" boards into, and the sawhorses were flimsy.

Ten years ago, I bought some sturdier-looking brackets with a unique way of attaching boards.  And they sat around at the back of a shelf every since.

Hang in there, there WILL be pictures...

Yesterday, I looked at them and decided to just "get them built"!  The poly-something brackets are nicely designed.  They are specifically molded to accept both 2"x4" or 2"x6" boards, and you can bolt wider tops on if you choose.  The bracket is also molded to hold 2"x4" legs at a proper angle with heavy-duty poly wedge blocks that are ridged to dig into the boards a bit.  The box even has a convenient chart to tell you how long to cut the legs to get about a dozen possible heights.

So yesterday I went to the DIY store I went for a 2"x6" top.  The 2"x4" pressure-treated boards  (P-T boards because they are for outside use - I have fancier adjustable stuff for shop use) I found there were JUNK (twisted or bowed)!  I chose the best I could find.  But when I went looking for the 2"x6" board, I discovered better quality 2"x4" boards next to them.  So I returned the junk boards to the bin and selected the good ones.  $1 more per board...

So with my perfectly straight boards, I went home and and cut them to length.  That was enough for the afternoon and I had other things to do.

Today, I went to assemble the parts.  The first thing I discovered was that the 2"x6" top board didn't fit in the pre-molded slot.  I had tested a bracket with a regular 6" board, but apparently, pressure-treated wood gets a little bit swollen in the process.  So I had to shave off 1/8th" from the ends using the table saw.  Same with the 2"x4" legs.  Its a bit ugly, but it's just a sawhorse.  If I had it to do over again, I would have just ripped 1/16th" off both sides.  And it actually would have been easier.  Ahh, "hindsight"...

But everything fit eventually.  I marked the spot where the 6" top needed a 5/16" hole drilled for a carriage bolt to attach the top through the poly wedge to hold the legs in place and set up my drill press to get the holes perfectly straight. 

And then discovered they should have said an 11/32" because I had to hammer the bolts through the board to get them through.  Well, I suppose they figured not everyone has an 11/32" drill bit.  I do, but hammering was easier than drilling all the holes slightly larger.  I do not object to "brute force" on rough projects.  And carriage bolts are designed to be hammered into place.  They have a 1/8" square shape intended to be pushed into the wood to keep them from turning.

Holding 2 legs AND placing the poly wedge was a bit tricky while I placed the large wing nut of the bottom of the carriage bolt, but a shoulder was a sufficient "third hand".  I have gotten used to doing things that require 3 hands, LOL!

Tightening the big wing nut between the sawhorse legs took some creativity.  I finally figured out that using a large screwdriver as a lever got 1/3 turn and a large pliers got another 1/3 turn, repeated over and over.  There are some things that are hard to describe but obvious when you try them.

Anyway, I finally got that wingnut so tight that The Hulk couldn't pull those legs loose.  And even then, I might put a couple of 2" screws through through the poly bracket and into the legs. 

And the instructions suggested that added crosspieces of wood across the middles of the legs would improve stability.  Naturally, I did that.  But the legs are at angles.  So, feeling a bit "perfectionist", I wanted the crosspieces to match the angles of the legs and not stick out. 

One little tool I love is an angle tool.  It is nothing but 2 pieces of metal with a wing nut tightener at the connection.  You loosen the nut, set the 2 pieces to match the angle you want, and bring it to the tablesaw to match the angle of the miter gauge to the saw blade. 

It worked perfectly, and I even used scrap PT 1"x3" wood (intended for but not used on the compost bin project).  After I screwed THOSE on the insides of the legs, I sat of the sawhorses and they didn't give at all!

Now, finally, PICTURES...

The 2 sawhorses...
The poly-something bracket...
The leg crosspieces (showing how nicely the angled cuts match the legs...
 They don't exactly "nest" on each other, but can be stacked...
The box info.  The brand is Crawford and the model is #90.   I looked them up on Amazon and they are up to #90-6, so maybe there are improvements.  And there are similar products from another brand.
Very worth it for outdoor sawhorses.  These might outlast me.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


Today I went around and snipped off all the flowerheads I could find in the meadow bed.  I figure they will do better if I keep them in the fridge over Winter, and spread them out next Spring.  I filled up a continer of rubbed-aoart seed heads.

Then I did the same for the bee/butterfly/hummingbird bed flowers. 

Then I did the same for the odd huge marigold that volunteered this year. 

3 containers of hopefully "self-sowing" seeds and I will try to help them in Spring.  I figure spreading them around rather than just letting seedheads fall in clumps will be a good idea.  We'll see.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


After a good home-cooked meal, you need a good dessert.  I like fresh fruit, nuts, and a taste of chocolate...
And some TV...
And cats on my lap...

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Compost Bin

Well, I thought it was finished, but it wasn't.  The tops were heavy to lift.  And keeping them lifted meant lifting them totally up and over to rest on the fence.  Which annoyed me.

And then I had a totally wicked idea.  Counterweights...

The tops took 17 pounds of upward pressure to lift before (I weighed the lifting pressure with a fishing scale).  So I screwed 2"x4"x6' boards to the tops and added some 6"x6"x53" posts left over from building the new decks (I save scraps and this is why).

Here are the bins now.
The 6"x6" posts are attached to the boards.  I used two 7" lag screws anchored with fender washers up into the posts per board.  Those posts won't ever come loose!
The weight of the posts is perfectly matched to the weight of the tops.  Instead of  17 pounds, I can lift the tops with a finger.
And close them just as easily!
The tops sit upright on their own...
The front slats lift out for easy access to the compost contents.
The slats have small pieces of wood as spacers...
That fit into slots I created by sandwiching a 2"x4" board between two 1"x6" boards ...
 All the sides have braces...
And I even have a barrel of dirt to shovel a couple inches into the bin after every 6" of compostable material.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Looking At New Houses

Every Fall, I wish I had more sunlight for my garden, a little more distance from my neighbors.  And every year, the neighbors' trees grow a few feet higher and hang over the yard a bit more.

But staying has advantages.  No Homeowner Association, all-electric house (and buried cables, so few outages in storms), familiarity, the ease of staying in place,  city water and sewage, dead end street so little traffic, optical fiber internet service, a fence the cats don't climb all around the backyard, and years of landscaping.  I can walk through the house in pitch-black.

But one thing keeps whispering in my mind.  The longer I wait to move, the harder it will be if I EVER do.  And I will get unhappier the longer I stay.

I've emailed the agent to set up an appointment to visit the property I like.


 Inside is open. 

Wondering, since I moved here from an apartment to a new house...  What does it really take to move a whole house?  I can hardly imagine it and it seems daunting!  A 1000 boxes?  How would I even pack drawers of kitchen stuff? 

The last time I moved I had a living room and a bedroom.  Now I have 20 times all that stuff.  Do the movers pack most of it?  Or do they expect to just find everything small in boxes?  What will they do?

I'm only here now because Im afraid of the moving process.  Its unfamiliar and unkown..

Sadly, the times my parents moved us, we just got sent out of the way.  No learning experience there.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The New Samsung HDTV

Well, the Samsung Plasma HDTV repairman arrived Wednesday.  The Samsung Service Center was sure it was a power supply problem easily fixed in spite of the fact that I told them the red indicator light on the set was on.  Well, OK, maybe the power goes there first and then to the TV components.

And I had bought a 24" Samsung HDTV for $138 to use for the week it took for the repair visit (and to show the rest of the system was working).  Half of my TV use is really just listening to political talk shows and science shows, so the small picture was "OK" for a week.

The repairman instantly recognized the problem wasn't the power supply.  He said, if that little red button is on, you have power.  He waved some gadget across the screen and found a tiny crack in the front panel that caused the screen to fail.  "The gas escaped slowly until it failed".    He arranged to have a new front panel shipped, total cost $1,000.

But the next day, I got a call saying that front panel was no longer made or available from secondary sources.  And that Samsung would call me.

Which they did.  They prorate depreciation over 5 years, mine was 3.7 years old, therefore, I will get 30% back.  Aside from that, I was out of luck and was free to purchase any new TV (or not).

So I read up on the newest 60-65" HDTVs at Consumer Reports website.  The bad news is that there are no more plasma HDTVs.  I liked them; the colors are better and the refresh rate higher than on LED HDTVs.  But the LED HDTVs are better than they were a few years ago.  I set my sights of a particular one (another Samsung - the slightly higher rated TVs were a brand I don't know anything about, and I have all these Samsung remotes, LOL) and went looking.

The nearest place turned out to sell ONLY Samsung!  Well, they have a price-matching guarantee and I had already looked up the prices of the model I thought I wanted and the prices were all with a couple of dollars.

So I was expecting to buy the model from Consumer Reports.  The salesman asked to show me one before I told him what I was looking for.  It was a newer more advanced model.  2160 instead of 1080, many times more pixels, double the screen refresh rate, etc.

I am suspicious of tech advances; some don't mean anything.  But he showed me a special picture on it.  Granted, it was designed to show off color and black background (which creates "depth").  I sure don't know everything about TVs, but it was noticeably better than the same display on the standard Samsung LED  HDTV.

As I said I don't know every about TVs.  But I can follow wiring, and both TVs were receiving the same signal through optical fiber.  Well, if they faked that, they are too good for me to tell.  While the salesman was away briefly selecting the surround sound modes, I looked at the 2 TVs .  The lesser picture quality was the exact model I had come in to purchase!  I had not mentioned that to him.

So I was looking at what I expected to purchase vs one with a noticeably better picture. And I understood why the picture was better.  More smaller pictures equal better picture resolution.  The better TV cost $1,000 more, but came with a 5 year repair guarantee, free delivery, and free removal of the old unit.  That adds up.

I chose the better one.

I was delivered today and the picture is WONDERFUL!  Well, showrooms are designed to make the TV pictures look best.  I know about those tricks.  I watch TV ads seeing the tricks and smiling to myself about them.  But the picture of this 4000k HDTV is really good.  It's worth it.

They tried to sell me a surround sound system.  I didn't go for that.  The Bose soundbar in front of the TV was $700 and the wireless speaker to go behind me and the subwoofer was another $700.  Actually, the subwoofer was so strong, it vibrated the chair and that would have made me nauseous.

I have my TV "audio out" going to my stereo system controller.  My floor model DCM speakers give fine sound after a decade )I don't play music load very often).

But there is an odd effect right now.   I was seeing people speak, but silently.  If I had the TV-only speaker on, they spoke.  Something about the system is separating the audio channels.  For now, I have the TV speaker and stereo speakers both on, But I will have to look at the plugs in the TV control box  soon to see if I can connect them better.

Because right now, If I want to change the volume and keep it balanced, I have to change both the TV and stereo volume, and that's a pain.  There will be a way, I just have to find it.  And I've explored the TV controls and seen many options.  For now, a great picture and good sound is enough.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Not Painting The Fence

And FINALLY, I get around to explaining why I don't want the neighbor to paint my fence on hos side...

I have a personal image of my property.  Let's start by imagining I only lived inside my house.  I don't see the outside of it.  But my neighbors do.  They may or may not like the color of my house, but they agree it is mine and all the sides of my house match in color.  As it occurs, my house siding is dark green and fits into the landscape.  There is no Homeowner Association here to complain, but it is not like I painted it hot pink and added lime green shutters.

So the neighbor can't decide he thinks the side of my house that he sees should be painted beige and could just go ahead and do that while I was on vacation.  I care about my house looking rather consistent in color all the way around.  OK so far?

Now, I think of my fence in the same way.  The entire fence is on my property and and I want it to look the same all the way around.  It, in its own way, partly defining my choice of how my property is viewed by outsides just as my house is.

Having the neighbors view my fence in a consistent color makes a difference to me.  One side being one bold different color from the others just destroys my vision of my yard. 

I understand that my neighbor has a view of his internal yard.  But he should have thought to ask who owned the fences around him before he just had people paint them.  I am probably the only person who knows that all the fences around this new neighbor's property are owned by others.  The only fence he owns is those small parts from the sides of his house connecting to the sides.

And I may be the only person who cares.  But I do care.  I specifically like the look of greyish aged pressure-treated wood.  And I don't want people looking at my property from the outside seeing it of different colors.

I hope that all made sense...