Coping: With Winter Coming, Shop Projects…

I came in from the shop, where I’ve been going through the woodpile.  As I explained last week, this is not something to be taken lightly.

There are now four kinds of wood in the Ure household.

One is scheduled for construction projects.  This wood is generally, or more feet in length, free of nails, and worth using on any project.  Outside is the treated wood version of this type.  Think of it as an annex.

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Long time ago, Echo Zoom sent me one of their “rocket stoves” and then a funny thing happened, though I can’t remember how: A second “rocket” type showed up.  When he comes by Friday to labor on the gutter project, OM2‘s boy will no doubt pick up one each rocket stove for their ranch.

But that gets me to pile #2.  This is wood that is solid, like no plywood because I always worry plywood smoke will make my pechewzelwhacker fall off, or something.  And the wood can’t have been primed, painted, stained, or preserved. When all those conditions are met, it gets cut up and tossed into a five gallon bucket which will wait for the next emergency.

A cloudy day, but not too cold emergency, and one without power.  That’s because on a cloudy day, the SunOven won’t work. If it’s too cold, then the big ventless propane unit goes into the house and a catalytic propane on a 20-pounder goes into the gym/guest room.  That’s only if it’s cold enough to freeze pipes, which usually amounts to 24-hours a year.

The third wood pile is useless.  Too short to much damn use for anything.  I built a box out of 3/4 ply (7X17X9 tall) and while I’m sure there is somewhere I could hang it (like a catch all for small air tools, nozzles, and crap like such-all) it would be neater just to clear off the shelves in the air tools, nail gun, and glue cabinet.  You see how this is going, right?

Then there’s the “Elaine Pile.”  This is some of the oddest stuff you ever saw.  Thin slices (2-1/2″) luan ply, dowels, and bamboo enough to make you think you’re in Asia.  But woe to the man who questions what’s in that pile.

Cleaning the shop up has uncovered three more decent-sized projects.

One is the “rediscovered” of my “box wood stove.”  It’s one of those foot & a half square, 30-inch long jobs made out of cast iron and a single layer of refractory brick in the bottom.  I remember buying it, thinking it would be a grand long-term inflation indicator.  New it was $99-bucks with tax.

Just for the halibut, I went snooping at what they’re going for nowadays:  US Stove 1269E Small EPA Certified Cast Iron Logwood Stove, 54,000 BTUs is pushing $400 bucks.

I’ve been thinking of selling it, since it has appreciate more than  my lone gold coin, here lately.

Another gem I can across was my double-barrel stove kit.  This is a series of metal casting that will let you turn a 55-gallon drum into a stove. It’s the Vogelzang U.s. Stove Bk100e Bsk1000 Stove Barrel Stove Kit which these days will set you back $87-bucks, more if you want the double-barrel version.

I can’t imagine being without a collection of empty, useable 55-gallon drums on a ranch, but for those who don’t have a home assortment (a few 42 barrel types are nice, too) you can buy one from Amazon for (gulp!): $110!!! Vogelzang DR55 Drum, 55-Gallon. I don’t know as there’s anything sacred, blessed or holy about this one, or not.

A little more research discovered a $55 barrel kit: US Stove BSK1000 Cast Iron Barrel Stove Kit. When you fire one of these up the first couple of times, plan on not getting usable heat.  You’ll have the doors and windows open  – the roof too, if you can – because the paint burning off them is miserable.

The not bright, but venturous can skip the hole-drilling with either a 9 MM but hollow points will make a mess.  .22’s work if you then file them out.

Speaking of esoterica in the shop, got an air file?  $28-bucks for a Central Pneumatic Air File With Flat Cut, Half Round, Round and Triangular Files.  Just the ticket if you are…um…lazy like Ure friend is.

To go with it, since we’re talking lazy-man metal work: $24 bucks will get you a High Speed Air Metal Saw.  And then, to clean up all the goobers, you’ll have to have an air grinder kit. Another $24, please: Compact Air Die Grinder Kit (with 1/8” collet, 1/4” collet, three aluminum oxide mounted grinding stones and two wrenches).

Assuming you have some .22 longs to punch in holes to a barrel, that might be the quickest way to get an inside stove. Yes, you have permission to use STOVE BOLTS, lol.

But you see, this is where having a shop gets to be fun.

Honey, darling, dearest, I need a plasma torch to make my stove so I can burn all the boxes all these tools are coming in….”

Since we already have a wiring guy (me) and since we have 220V in the shop, I’ve been looking at a plasma cutter.  The prices on these have come way, way down.

For example, check out the PRIMEWELD 50A Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Automatic Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2″ Clean Cut Portable which runs about $289.  The only drawback to this is it’s a contact tip type plasma torch.  The alternative is a hundred bucks more: PRIMEWELD 50A CUT50DP NonTouch Pilot Arc Air Inverter Plasma Cutter Dual Voltage 110/220VAC 1/2″ Clean Cut.

If you have any strong opinions on touch vs. touchless plasma torches and have REAL hands-on experience, please let me know which way to lean on this.  I love welding and with the temps this week (and for the next three) still up in the too hot to glove-up for long, it’s getting on time to tune up the metal-cutting band saw, toss a new wheel on the metal chop saw, and start eyeing our scrap heap with lust.

Winter doesn’t have to be a girly-girl, run to the Sunbelt deal.  There is always the option to put a stove out in the shop, turn on the compressor, put a coffee cup on the stove, top it off with the Thermos, and air tool yourself into believing there’s a point to all this.

My “dream project” – once we get the next couple of books done – is to get an old junker car and make a “rat rod.” Always admired the work of George Barris.

Yeah, I know:  Why a rat rod, for heaven’s sake, after owning a string of Porsches.  Like the time-worn joke:  You know the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine?  (Has something to do with the one has the pricks on the outside).

People who make their own cars, ground up, are a lot like airplane builders.  Makes it more exciting to drive (or fly) what you yourself have built.

And that, my friend, is why God made shops, hangars,stoves, coffee, winters, scrap lumber, cardboard, compressors, plasma, and hardfacing rod.  Everyone oughta plan to use several more bottles of shielding gas before going to the Big Sleep.

After we get done hacking space-time, that is.

Do one spouse-project for each of your own and it’s amazing how fast tool acquisition schemes can pay off.

And this week’s Tool Slut Find of the Week:

Write when you get rich,

7 thoughts on “Coping: With Winter Coming, Shop Projects…”

  1. george
    your small box of 3/4 Ply is about the size of a small stereo speaker, which is what I have used.
    Imagine it as such and you will see what I did.
    Fill the back of it with about an inch of grey duct seal goop. On the front, hang a clip board with a square cut out the size of an air gun target. then put a convenient handle like a drawer pull on top.
    Now you have an indoor “silent” airgun target for your B21. The duct seal absorbs sound and shock of the pellet hitting. They will build up on the back and you can scrape off the XS to add to the wheel weight bucket.

  2. Hey George, If you are thinking about a plasma cutter first don’t be cheep spend a couple bucks more and get something on the low end of Lincoln or Miller, Eastwood also sells some good stuff (parts &service). Next get a good water separator for you air system, moisture in the air just kills the tips on a plasma, a couple of good straight edges the right thickness for your tips out of scrap steel(they will get destroyed over time LOL) and last but not least always use it in a well ventilated area w/dust mask! Safety First! And if you want to get a really super tool for your shop look up a TW 90 belt sander I don’t know how I lived without mine!

  3. Hey George, you see that White Zombie? 0-60 in 1.8 seconds.

    Love to build a rat rod! One day whenever I have time. Fyi the ptb must be reading your website and saw my request. Got a private message from a super hot 5’1″ brunette yesterday. Ha ha ha ha. Have a date Friday night!

    That was quick delivery! Now about that money. Lmao!

    Time to get back in the gym. It seems we are down to working 60 hours a week with less of a commute. Much more managable.

    Off to grab 18 gears.

  4. If you do purchase a plasma cutter it is very important to have dry dry air. We used a toilet paper type filter that was easy to change out. Motor Guard M-30 1/4 NPT Submicronic Compressed Air Filter
    Worth it in the long run. Also get at least six extra tips. The filter would be a great addition to the shop and the filter medium is cheap but not reuseable for intended first use. Great as fire starter material after it drys again.

  5. Don’t worry about the burning paint fumes causing an abrupt loss of your pechewzelwhacker. There is a solution if that should ever occur.

    As you may recall my oldest son once suffered an impact to his Tallywhacker(same thing)by a baseball and in the course of his hooting and hollering announced to the entire world in a screeching 7 year old voice that he would have to get a new one. When asked where he would get it his answer was naturally the Tallywhacker store. Never found this store but with the state of the world anymore I would bet there are some out there.

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