Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

Done is done

Posted by joeabbott on December 15, 2013

Yesterday was a slow day but I did complete three projects that have been ever-so-slightly haunting me over the past few weeks (months?).

imageThe first two were little jobs I’d left myself around the shop … which is the third bay of our garage. As more of these little jobs get put on hold, the more cluttered our day-to-day life gets and it’s hard to be happy in a messy space. At least for me!

The first of the little projects was simply to stitch up the bottom on a leaf-hauling sack! The image to the right is a high-quality Fiskars Kangaroo Garden bag … we have some of those we got on sale, but mostly we have cheaper versions. A heavy metal wire wraps around the bag and is captured by a nylon sleeve, giving the bag its shape and allowing it to stand up. At the bottom it wraps completely around, providing stand-alone support. These are great but we do (i.e., Suzy does) so much gardening, wherein those bags are loaded with debris and dragged along as we weed, that the bottom wears out.

When it’s the actual bottom that gives up, it’s time to replace; when it’s the nylon sleeve holding the wire, I’ll put it aside to mend.

If I counted my time as money, the financials do not work out in favor of repairing these; but I’m “green” enough that tossing more materials into the landfill doesn’t feel justified when I can get a bit of heavy nylon string and a leather darning needle and throw a few loops around the wire to lock it back in place. Which is one of the jobs I did yesterday. It was more than a few loops, however: a full 2/3 of the wire on the bottom was exposed.

The second minor project was to add a wooden locking block onto my clamp rack.

I was going to write up a short (as with all things I write, it started getting long just in my head) write-up on the physics behind my clamp rack and why it needed a lock block. While it was an enjoyable mental exercise for me, I’m sure it would have been tedious here, so suffice it to say that I found my clamp rack slumping a bit and in need of a way to keep it from starting to droop: enter the lock block.

The pictures below should explain it a bit better. In 1) the block is completely engaged; in 3) it’s completely opened; step 2) shows an intermediate stage where I’ve given it an eighth of a turn.

1) image2) image 3) image

It’s a simple hardwood block that I sawed a notch from, drilled through, and installed into one of the support braces with a 1/4” lag bolt. The block will spin about and engage the rack on the top corner, keeping it from slumping. Simple, easy, and it just took months to do it. I can be lazy, you know?  🙂

imageSo what was the big project? The lighted chicken! Yup, done. It may not be placed in the best spot and we may move it, but the work behind lighting it is completed. Yay!

I started the afternoon with the chicken form cutout, the picture painted, and the holes drilled in:


I used a 3/8” hole but I had to trim up all the lights. Each one had a small, plastic clasp on it that would hold the bulb into the wire outlet, ensuring a positive lock. To keep this feature, I’d have to drill much larger holes and so I snipped it off.

imageimageimageIn the picture to the far left, you can see both a nested light and the “wire outlet” that is empty. That little clip thing was easy to nip off with a small wire snips … I just had to do it about 150 times! The picture on the near left shows what a nipped light looks like.

The next step was to turn the chicken around and ram the 150 or so bulbs into their respective holes. My fingers got awfully sore so a pliers helped to push home some of the tighter fits.


imageWe thought the paint added a lot to the image … the outline of the shape made the chicken appear to be wearing a snood! But with the paint, it looks a proper hen. To help things when it was dark, we opted for a white outline but colored the feet and beak with yellow lights and red lights for the comb. Very un-chicken-like, we chose blue eye. Unfortunately, every single picture I took of the creation after it was placed was blurry! My simple phone camera just wasn’t able to figure out what to focus on when the lights were lit!

imageAnd that was my yesterday! Full of relaxation and I still managed to get a couple of projects out of the way! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you find the time (and motivation) to knock out a few projects on your list! Hope to see you again soon.


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