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Monday, November 23, 2009

Boat Canopy - Yet Agin, Part 3

Drat, forgot to get the PVC cement!  I had a can, but discovered it was rock solid.  Well, it was 10 years old...  I tossed it.  But I meant to get new cement yesterday and forgot.  I need to build the top of the base first, and that involves some combinations of fittings, so they need to be cemented and carefully aligned first.  Can't do anything useful until that is done!

For my design, I have to put a 45 degree elbow into a 5-way cross piece exactly perpendicular, then cement in a bushing that changes the 1.25" PVC to .5" PVC.  I think I want to make a jig to assure the correct angle...  Perhaps clamping the 5 way into a bench clamp and having an upright to mark exactly 90 degrees.  Or I could screw some blocks into cheap plywood horizontally.  I'll have to look at both.

I can't decide how long the arch pieces will be until I have the top of the base cemented.  The base is 7'.  So the best arch top might be between 8' and 9'.  But I want to see it physically before I start cutting the top .5' PVC pipe.

May be a couple days before I get around to that.  The lawn is covered with leaves again, the boat is full of leaves,  and I have more spent flowers to cut down for the year...

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Boat Canopy - Yet Again, Part 2

Well, I've hesitated cutting the PVC pipe. I've never used a reciprocating saw, and I've never cut PVC where accuracy was important.

Today, I took saw in hand and went at it! Of course, as I mentioned previously, I set up clamps and a sort of jig. I clamped 2 portable workbenchs so that there was a spot exactky the 5" distance I needed to cut. Then I moved the pipe so I could cut it straight (really easily with the reciprocating saw's guides).

I cut the 1st pipe and checked the measurement... Perfect 5'. I did the other 12 pipes the same way. I got some off by 1/8th", but generally, worked quite well. The slight difference won't make any difference (I'll match side by side pieces to match).

So now I have all my 1.25" pipes cut to the 5' and 7' lengths I need. I'll construct the bottom part 1st. Then I can try out a few roof arch lengths to see how to cut the tops pieces.

The reciprocating saw worked GREAT!  I found one sawblade at the Home Depot marked for PVC (marked as "8/12").  But they were sold in packs of 10, and I sure didn't need that many.   Individual blades were not marked for PVC.  But the 10 pack was 8/12 so I bought a single 8/12 Rigid blade.  That's the one to use.  Cuts through like a hot knife in soft butter, no casting of PVC dust at low speeds, and a nice clean cut!  The DeWalt saw gave a good square cut with almost no vibration.  I was utterly pleased!  No hint of melt, and the burrs rubbed off by hand (I"ll run a file inside and out anyway).


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boat Canopy Project Started

Well, I discovered something interesting about PVC pipes. They AREN'T all exactly 10'. Most were, but some others were exactly 10' 1/4". Not 10' 1/8", or anything else. Just one or the other. That's weird.

So I separated them by length today. I have 13 lengths that I need to cut exactly to 5" (for 26 5' pieces). I need 6 lengths to cut to 7'. So the ones that are too long get cut to 7'. That leaves me 3 "too long" pieces I'll have to trim a 1/4" off, but that's not too bad.

These are the exact 10' lengths:

(Picture would be inserted here if it were possible. Imagine a nice row of identical lengths of PVC pipes). GRRR!

I'm just glad I checked them before doing the cutting.

These are the longer ones. No, they aren't THAT longer. I just didn't line them up against the wall for this picture.

(Picture lengths of identical 1/4" too long PVC pipes than the one benchmark exact 10" length). GRRR!

I sure hope fixes this problem soon! Not being able to show pictures is VERY frustrating...

I made a sort of jig today.

I used my 2 Workmate benches to hold the 10' pipes. I clamped a board across them to make the outside edges exactly 5' and locked the benches together so they can't "drift" apart while the saw rattles them. That way, I can use the benches to measure 5 exactly'. Cool! It works like a stop block.

The distance from the far edges is exactly 5" so I can mark the pipes to cut them. And they are clamped together by a board so they can't change the distance.

I love setting things up to help in the production... That in itself is half the fun of making things.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Photos?

Suddenly, I don't have icons for adding photos to the blog. Is it just me, or something happening across This is really annoying. I didn't change anything.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Boat Canopy - Yet Again

I'll admit it.  I have all the pipes and fitting for the boat canopy design.  I'm just a bit afraid to start making it!  It suddenly feels a bit more complicated than I expected.  It's one thing to design something, but another to actually build it.

The first thing that struck me was how to cut dozens of 1.25" PVC pipes into the pieces I needed.  I have a pipe cutter that you turn around on the pipe and keep tightening.  But doing that for dozens of cuts seemed daunting.  I considered the radial saw, the tablesaw, a hacksaw, and a jigsaw.  All seemed problematic.  I googled a lot of PVC discussion sites and the evaluations of the various cutting methods all had supporters and detractors.  Serious power tools not only toss up a lot of nasty PVC dust, but can make bad cuts, and even spray splinters that get into the skin.  Low-powered tool like a jigsaw are slow and tend not to make square cuts.  Manual saws are s-l-o-w...

I decided a reciprocating saw was the best choice.  So I pulled out my never-used reciprocating saw.  It had only 1 saws blade on the kit, designed for metal.  And I had read some reports that said those blades melted the PVC edges and left hard blobs.

So I went to the net to find reciprocating saw blades designed for PVC.  Go ahead and search for yourself.  They are mentioned often, but never specified!  It was a maddening search.  There is basically "metal", "wood", and "multipurpose".   I was so frustrated!

I went to Home Depot yesterday and looked at reciprocating saw blades.  The hardware/tool clerk (manager?) helped.  He pointed out that all the blades fit all the saws.  That helped, I thought I need the same brand as my DeWalt saw.  Then he noticed that there were little graphics on the blades that showed what they were designed to cut.  One had a picture of PVC pipe.  But that was a pack of 10 blades and I sure didn't need THAT many.  He had to go help another customer.  But then I noticed that the teeth description on the PVC blade was "8/12".

So I looked at the individual blades and found others that were "8/12".  It seems to be a pattern of varying teeth.  I bought one!  Yay...

I have a few old pieces of PVC pipe and I will try the blade on one in the next couple of days.  If it works well, I will start cutting Boat Canopy PVC soon.

I've been thinking on how to cut pieces accurately.  I need a bunch of 1.25" pipes at 7', a bunch of 1.25" pipes at 5', a bunch of .5" pipes at 5" and a bunch of /5" pipes at 2.5'.  I think I will have to set up stop blocks on my workbench and use the far end to mark the cut points.  Then I can set the PVC pipes in a pair of Workmate benches set 1/4" part to guide the reciprocating saw in a straight cut.

Assembling all the pieces is going to drive me nuts...

On the other hand, I'm going to be thrilled after I get it all finished.

I'll sure be glad to go back to working with wood when this project is completed!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oops, Been Away...

I can't believe I haven't posted for 3 weeks!  I've been busy, just not with stuff worth taking pictures of.

I planted 400 crocus bulbs.  200 at a friend's place, 200 in my yard.

My parents visited.  That took 3 days of attention and cooking, and 2 days before to clean house and 1 day of downtime afterwards!  I had to watch Science TV for 2 days to get over having to listen to Fox News while they were here...  (Shudder)

I cleared out all the dead tomato vines.  Carefully.  There were disease problems and I tried hard not to leave any vine debris behind.  After I collected all the debris on the lawn and bagged it for disposal. I stacked all the cages far away from the garden.  I don't think fungal diseases do well on rusty metal exposed to cold Winter temperatures.

I raked all the leaves out onto the lawn.  That's right, ONTO the lawn.  I shred them with the mower until there is nothing left but leaf dust among the grass.  It really works well!  Free fertilizer and organic bulk for the soil.  My surface soil was clay when I moved here; now I have 6" of topsoil.  You don't get that by applying commercial fertilizer...

I chopped down most of the spent flowers.  That was quite an effort.  I have a lot of asters, coneflowers, monarda, sedums, etc that are 3' tall.  I had to haul a lot of flowerstalks to the slow compost pile.   And I made sure to leave the seedheads sticking up in the compost pile so the birds can get at them.

The tricky thing was the thistle seedheads I discovered.  They were hidden among the asters.  I cut one and a few seeds fell off.  So I covered the rest with plastic bags and taped them shut, THEN cut them.  I sure don't want those damn things next year.

Related weed subject:  Bindweed.  I was after them ferociously all year.  I don't think a single one got more than a few inches long before I pulled them up.  I know they are perennial and have deep roots, but if they can't grow above soil for long, they will die.

It has been raining for almost 4 days.  Leftover from Tropical Storm Ida.  That has kept me inside.

My cat LC had her annual shots and exam.  But I didn't have a stool sample.  With 3 cats, it can be hard to tell who's is who's.  I closed LC in the guest bedroom Friday (with food, water, and a litterbox of course).  No luck.  Tried it Sunday.  No luck.  LC really likes to "do her business" outside.  I finally had to leave her there Tuesday and Wednesday until I got a poop sample!    I went to the vet Thursday morning, but they were closed.  I had to wait til Friday.  Doing shopping and errands with cat scat in a plastic bag in the front seat is not my favorite thing to do.

But I got it delivered earlier today and the results were negative (she is as clean of scat-identifyable problems).  For multiple cats who like to be outside a lot, that was great news.  And, as LC is approaching 17 years, she might be expected to have some problems.  None there, anyway. 

So things are going well and I have been active.  I should learn to post about things even when I don't have pictures to show!

Back on track tomorrow, I hope.