IQ versus MQ – Multiple Shop Notes

Several items on the Sunday morning coffee list. You pour while I muse.

IQ Versus MQ

The couple up the “mountain” from us became parents a couple of months back – as we were reminded when a post card of their ‘work product’ arrived this week.  Cute kid.

While Elaine and I talked about the boy’s future in uncertain times ahead at cocktails last night, it occurred to me that he enjoyed something of a “lucky birth.”  You see, Life’s  not all about IQ (intelligence quotient).  There’s another kind of quotient that is  at least as important.

MQ –  mechanical quotient.  Thinking versus doing.

This child – is already lucky.  Mom works for the local school district, meaning there is no doubt she’ll make sure the child excels in school.  IQ? No worries there:  Educators tend to have “brighter than average” children for the simple fact that in their households, reading (*knowledge acquisition) is a top priority.

Equally important, though, for an uncertain future is the huge amount of MQ –  mechanical quotient – the young ‘un will receive.  Dad’s been a journeyman mechanic at the high-end German automaker (M) up in the metroplex.  Now he’s making a solid living as a master wrench for a local company.  Toss in skills like hunting (bow) and fishing plus the million-and-one skills around a working farm (yes, even tree farms have welding projects) and you can bank on a high “MQ” young adult to be along shortly.

People don’t think much about the balance between IQ and MQ.  But it’s become apparent to me at a personal level.  When at peak personal productivity, I find getting out into the shop is not only rewarding but sometimes almost  necessary to keep up the  pace.  Some people “doodle.”  I head for saws and welders, and 3D toys…

Elaine picks up sketching pencils and pad, or tosses free weights. Mechanical outlet, right?  My friend Gaye heads for colored pencils.  People are bounded by their IQ and MQ.

ATR – Shop Notes

Done with Tool Stands

(ATR: Around the Ranch)

Neighbor is getting some free tool stands today:  One small, one medium (unassembled, NIB), and a larger one.

This fell out of my “dream shop redesign” – still something of a train wreck, but there’s light.  I’m making benches everywhere.

The smallest of the tool stands illustrates their space-inefficiency.

It’s top is 8″ wide and 9″ deep – depending on how you arrange it.  72-square inches of tool mounting space.

Now it happens that this stand looks a bit like the Eiffel Tower.  Despite the small tool space – which was fine for the grinder that was on it – the bottom is 20 1/2″ square.  That works out to 420.25 square inches of floorspace as the legs spread out down to the shop floor.  Along the way, there’s one metal tray of a shelf.

The ratio of “tool space” to “floor space” is 5.83 to 1.  That is, I get about a 20% usability and frankly, that sucks.

There’s a little value in the open shelf, but in a mixed media shop – where you’ve got the occasional clouds of sawdust all over, open shelving is terrible.  Even with a “blow tip” on  the air hoses (overhead, along with the central vac and power) it’s still more “detail work” to clean up well.  I love project time and have no use whatsoever for cleanup time.

Because stands have bracing?  Can’t put anything under tool stands.  The well-designed (I hope!) large L-shaped bench that is replacing two tool stands, will have plenty of clearance under it for two electric welders and the plasma rig while the two-by-four top (which will be glue-lammed) will hold metal working tools:  Two grinders, a buffer, circ saw sharpener, chainsaw sharpener and maybe the sheet metal bending brake.

Using tool stands-only would eat twice the floor space, cost significantly more, and require a lot more cleaning time.  On a wood bench, some one-by’s and luan sheet will make you cabinet covers for very little coin.  And they can provide some stiffening – resistance to horizontal displacement – as well.

Tool Waxing?

Been studying the problem of tool rust a good bit.  This is the second summer that we’ve run the swamp cooler in the shop a significant amount of time.  

Tools in drawers have been virtually unaffected.  However, the working surfaces of the cast iron table top machines, are another story.

There’s been plenty to watch:  Hardest hit has been a 1/2″ small shaper (Harbor Freight, 10-years old).  It’s not in the direct path of the cool (moist) air, so it’s something of a rust mystery.  May have something to do with the quality of Chinese steel 10-12 years back, however.

The tabletops I’m most focused on are the Rikon 10″ bandsaw and that still new-in-box when I bought it 1978  Toolkraft shaper.

Tried several approaches so far:  WD-40 makes a rust-inhibiting protectant that does OK on the metal lathe.  But, it didn’t seem to work as well on the wide open flat spaces of table tops.  Not sure why.  Another approach was Bo-Shield T-6.  This is an anticorrosion product developed either at (or by) Boeing.  Forget the whole story, but it is dandy on non-ferrous.  Not quite as good on steels.

The product I’m trying now is a high carnauba paste wax.  Don’t know how it will work in the long-haul, but it already is showing some value on the band saw table.  Being wax, the workpieces don’t require as much “Armstrong” and that results in smoother work. Smoothly sliding work –  I can use all the help I can get.

The idea of “monthly machine waxing” has been around as long as metal table tops.  But it may become part of the routine here.  The wax I picked is called  Griot’s and it’s little change from a $20-bill at (sic) Amzoon.

Overhead Shop Accoutrements

Since the shop roof is open, the plan over these “improved work areas” is to add 4-foot LED shop lights.  Easy enough to put in “drop downs.”  Nothing more than a two-by-four, with a short brace at 45-degrees for stability.  Run some #12 and an outlet.  I figure to daisy chain a half dozen overhead outlets and drop power down.

People have odd tastes when it comes to wiring “balance” in a shop.

A fellow who likes wiring will put in a wire run for each tool and proudly proclaim “No power problems or blown breakers, no matter how many machines are running…”

Admittedly, there’s a  certain logic to it:  When you’re talking tools that eat a fair bit of power (like a table saw, planer, or shaper hogging out a deep cut) you could overload and pop breakers.  Here?  There’s no foreseeable reason to be running a second high-draw power tool  at the same time.  Round hole rounder, anyone?

The one exception is the big central vac system.  Which is on the same circuit as the swamp cooler, so it’s loaded pretty well, maybe 10-Amps, or so.  I noticed on a really hot day last week while using the jointer on the same circuit that the breaker popped.  Darkness as a machine spins down…not an ideal OSHA deal…

Whether there’s a payback to putting in an additional outlet?  The jointer will runs fine as is, so long as I don’t push the feed rate too much.  Faster feed rates load the machine and increase current…  By slowing down a bit, no wiring change needed.

The Groundsman  Report

Gotta say, I’m tickled with the lawn results this year.  I’d been running on the #4 setting on the riding mower (out of 6 possibilities).  It worked well until we got into the really hot (*and somewhat dry) July-August window.

I let it go a couple of weeks – and that seemed to keep it greened up better – may have something to do with holding more dew in the mornings – and just did a mowing Saturday at the #5 setting.

Looks great.  Fairway kind of look and a good deal greener than many homes in town.  There’s a time to cut a lawn short, but green in summer can be improved by leaving the scalping instincts parked.  We’ll go back down to #4 and even #3 in a few areas.  Low cut before the onslaught of leaves to blow.  Makes for faster work there.

New Material Alert?

Ever hear of RichLite before?  I hadn’t, either – and I considered myself a fair “home handy bastard” until I stumbled overs the RichLite discussion in the Family Handyman travel trailer rebuild in the recent issue.

Turns out, it’s a wood particle and resin mix that’s been around for 70-years.  And frequently used as the tabletop material in science labs (and in school labs, too).

I know – how could I possibly have missed it?  Well, maybe I just haven’t done enough kitchens to go looking?  Or, maybe I just like the challenge of traditional p-lams (Formica and WilsonArt?).

Go take a look at the RichLite website and sniff around a bit.  Environmentally friendly, too.  A 1/4″ thick and contact-cemented covering for workbench tops of either two-by or 3/4″ ply could fit the dream shop.

What’s the point of working our asses off if we can’t  buy dream pieces at least once in a while?

Write when you get rich,

17 thoughts on “IQ versus MQ – Multiple Shop Notes”

  1. Top G
    You have only a few years age on myself tho I think i have your back on woodworking/construction.
    Johns–sns floor wax dries hard and has been my table-saw (Atlas) excalibur fence lube for over 45yrs. Mitre saw and jig also coated and any other outdoor storaged equip. Does not last forever and re-coats are done as needed. Some of my tools pre-date us-LOL. Use sparingly and allow to harden. Still must sand most projects before applying finish just like any other lube but far less than some soft lubes (WD Gordy)

  2. Gordy is correct about Johnson paste wax for table saw tops. In my searches for lubes and metal protection for many other uses, I have found Hornady One Shot gun cleaner and lube to be my favorite go to it goes on wet but dries up and does not leave an oily film to collect dirt and yet has very good anti-rust protection, good for guns, i will post a link of an extensive tests this guy did complete with photos. an interesting and educational read. This article tests 46 product for corrosion protection

    the All American boy

  3. “Tools in drawers have been virtually unaffected.  However, the working surfaces of the cast iron table top machines, are another story.”

    For the cast iron.. use car wax paste works the best and then similar to a surfboard use wax..or a good teflon..

    For the drawers… camphor tablets. The tools in the drawer will begin to rust and camphor is the trick..Camphor fumes released through a plastic cylinder (like an old pill container) will give your tool box a nice rust prevention coat. The camphor fumes form a molecular film on metal surfaces that retards rust. I drill small holes in the cap…

    As for IQ vs. MQ.. I for one never put much store in IQ as a measure of intelligence.. I believe everyone is a genius in their own way. Years ago I I quit a group because their opinions were that everyone outside the group were drooling idiots..aka droolers.. books expand your universe but they do little for your life. OPPORTUNITY..everyone gets them. But having the ability to take advantage of them..
    Take film.. years ago I had an idea.. I went to my boss at a regional photo lab..and worked out a deal.. I would make up a mailer send them out people would buy coupons for a roll of film for a dime. Then they would send their film in and get a roll back with the coupon the processing cost was less than half with a moderate profit and the cost of the film was included.
    I got with fingerhut to add the flyer with their mass mailings.
    I put every penny I could scrape up to do it..
    Well it was a good idea but to market it and get established the mailing would have to be done more than once. I had to drop it for lack of funds . My boss took it over and did quite well with it. He bought me
    My granddaughter has an extremely high IQ. Heavy into physics shes 13..her parents are wage hour employees she will not go very far because the parents cant afford to help her with direction.
    Most employers go by a sheet of paper.. take some colleges were designed by grandparents just wanting to give their kids and grandkids a future. One particular college most of the kids of granddad go into politics..guaranteed job placement even though it’s well known as a preppy party school that really has very few studies and a really poor library.
    If you have the support and the backing your in..the old saying it’s not what you know but who you know breeds opportunity that isn’t allowed to those without social connections..

    • Unfortunately, most kids going to college don’t understand that a main purpose of going to a “good” school is to make connections and continue them. Few parents realize this outside of those who have already been there and succeeded. Many/most high school kids are not taught the details of building and maintaining social relationships so they can hit the college grind with a running start. I was just encouraged to learn everything and found many classes to be repetition.

      Not everyone is cut out for college. Those running major firms are often college dropouts. We each need to find our own path, and it’s generally what neither parents nor student expect.

      I’m convinced that much of mechanical aptitude is genetic. Of course, it can be refined and enhanced by mentoring parents. I benefited from both. My kids were less interested, but found their own ways.

      • “Those running major firms are often college dropouts. We each need to find our own path, and it’s generally what neither parents nor student expect.”

        So True Mike.. I think I would have gone further if it hadn’t of been for one boss I had.. he sunk me by using the money we were paying to have health insurance to play the stock market.. lost his butt and dealt me the one two punch of death.. pay checks worthless insurance worthless.. the issues didn’t really begin until my ex wife had one of those shields.. caused a lot of illness and medical expenses. the company that produced them went bankrupt .. then the kid fell out of a tree and ran up a half million in medical bills.. It has followed me most of my life.. destroyed my credit .. then without a sheet of paper on the wall.. the better paying positions were always set aside for them..
        Because of that though.. I decided to lend a hand to those that have similar situations.. hence we have someone living in our spare bedroom.. almost always.. usually they were dealt the death blow not out of personal choices but out of events beyond their control..
        I found my place being the strength of others during their weakest moments.. it has been a very rewarding and satisfying career choice. A career choice I wouldn’t have ever followed if it hadn’t of been for those unfortunate events.
        I have met people from many walks of life.. the billionaires I have met.. many didn’t even have a high school diploma.. Most of them failed along the way.. one gentleman was fired by every company he worked for he was living in his car trying to find his way to make money to feed his six kids.. then found his nitch by accident and it took off he created his own company out of despiration with the last fifty bucks he had in his pocket. some of the famous people that I have known they to found themselves because of their lifestyles and the prices that it took. the mother of one had to do things that today is deemed illegal to survive while her kids sang and danced and shined shoes for her patrons. she didn’t regret it.. it was what had to be done.. one owner of a ball team it was his mother that got him there.. he wouldn’t have ever gotten there if it wasn’t for her and her drive..some let it go to their heads some didn’t usually the ones that let it go to their heads were the ones where daddy helped them grow the ones that had to pull themselves up were the ones that remembered where they came from most of them are philanthropists to. my failures were the ones that was right up in my face and I missed mostly children to and that haunts me..I could have been their strength and I failed them….I don’t regret any part of my life and would gladly do it all the same way again..I found my place being someones strength. even though I have read a page or two more than the average I see the potential and the value of others life experiences.. their failures and their successes…..
        most of their growth was from their failures..
        Mentoring parents.. for myself my parents didn’t have a great deal of social contacts.. if they didn’t go to church or someone in the neighborhood.. they didn’t exist..they were sociable but not social.. my grandparents were more social.. my grandfather and mother were in almost every social group you could be in.. they were in the DAR, SAR the other clubs like the Masons etc.. my grandpa was one of the high up in the Masonic order of the Templar knights.. ( I won’t tell my sister but I have his sword LOL his pirates hat well that is what we used it for when he passed on.. it is long gone worn out and gone from childhood games..) My parents taught us that we should be honest , have personal integrity, give a good days work for your wages , always question the accepted norm…
        I love my life.. I am thankful for the trials that I have had in my life.. It gave me strength and opened my eyes showed me the path that i felt was the right one for me.. you don’t know who you are until you have nothing..
        almost everyone in my life that I hold dear is a recycled person.. salvaged and given strength.. It all depends on what you value and how you value it..

  4. I used to keep many hand tools on a huge pegboard. Kept them
    handy and neat. (I resisted drawing outlines.)

    I had some minor rust. Cleaned up easy enough — I never let it get
    too advanced.

    Drill press bed, and table saw surface got WD-40 and a rub down
    periodically. Worked well enough.

    BUT the minor rust on the hand tools STOPPED when I finally
    got a Craftsman Roll-Around Mechanics Tool Cabinet, with many
    drawers. I put the tools back after every session, and I keep the
    drawers closed. The workshop is in the garage, not air-conditioned,
    and is naturally a little humid, being in North Carolina. When I plan
    a work session, I leave the door between the main part of the house
    into the garage open, and put a big box fan in the doorway to blow
    house air into the garage. It works adequately well.

    The killing off of woodshop and metalshop courses in High School
    is a big factor in so very many people being so totally helpless
    with the work of the hand. It’s a form of ignorance.

  5. Sand Bags, Sumps, Styrofoam Flotation Cushions, Signal Flares, Kapok Life Preservers, Safety Boat, Hand Held Comms., Candles/Flashlights, Emergency Weather Radio, Chain Saw..

    Dont know what U “Piney’s” been doing down there in Cottonmouth County,TX – but U gotz a Double Barrel Hurracans headed Ure way.

    Time to “Batten Down Hatches” mate. Looks as though Ure about to get “rocked”.

  6. George

    “Darkness as a machine spins down…not an ideal OSHA deal…”

    You shop is connected to your house?

    Make sure whatever you do that it doesn’t burn down your house!!

    Being a cheap skate now could cost you plenty later!

  7. My today’s project.. I have a ton of tomatoes.. no canning lids to be had.. ( I bought extra for the past ten years so I’m set.. ) but I am doing something different.. I am going to retort can them. ( canning in metalized mylar bags)
    The only issue is I can only do ten pints at a time. The biggest issue we with retort canning is dont over fill the bags.. they have to stand upright or the seams will split. So I use a sous vide bag stand.

  8. Oh when you blanch tomatoes.. put the skins in a clean bowl.
    Then dehydrate them.. add herbs and spices and blend to a powder. You now have a wonderful soup or recipe powder to add to your dishes. I freeze dry the keeps their beautiful color ..before that I would dry them in a conventional food dehydrator..

  9. Having only a small (12’x16′) shed to work in, my “bench” tools are mounted on uniform platforms which then fit into my resin folding saw horses. When unused, they hang on the wall. Keeping tools oiled and above ambient temperature if possible helps keep the rust at bay. Maybe a wax-based mold release spray? Grass, like any plant, does not take kindly to cutting the entire leaf off. Unstressed, it will recover somewhat, but when hot & dry it can look pretty ugly if scalped.

  10. George: Tried several approaches so far: WD-40 makes a rust-inhibiting protectant that does OK on the metal lathe. But, it didn’t seem to work as well on the wide open flat spaces of table tops. Not sure why.

    Couple years back I had a large can of WD-40 that leaked all the propellant gas out and I didn’t want to waste all the contents (still useful if brushed on). I punched the can and drained out all the contents into a glass jar with a tight top.
    When I went to use it, the liquid had separated into solvent and lubricant. This is likely part of the problem when the product IS NOT SHAKEN before using.
    Not enough of the oils are being dispensed. Solvent goes away very quickly leaving not much on your target.

  11. I use SexWax on my table, band, router tables – and have for years.
    We just wipe hand tools down with WD-40 and plop into tool boxes (ammo cans, Pelican boxes) or hang up the tractor sized ones (1″ and up to 3″) wet.
    Saw/router/planer blades of all types get a gelpak in their boxes, along with spare drill bits not in the index.

    It’s looking like both TS are going to dump some rain on ETEX George – which is wanted!!

  12. “When at peak personal productivity, I find getting out into the shop is not only rewarding but sometimes almost necessary to keep up the pace.”

    I will run 2-6 projects concurrently — work one for a while, then go to another, and I do them “back & forth,” not in rotation. I have no idea whether it makes the total time expense less or not, but certainly lessens boredom and pattern repetition, and diminishes the annoying timesink while one is watching glue dry.

    Remember, WD-40 was developed for the Military during WW-II. “WD” stands for “water displacer” or “water displacement” (can’t recall) and “40” is because it was the 40th formula they tried. It is not technically a lubricant at all, which is why you can spray it in the distributor cap of a “drowned-out” ICR engine and it will then start. It can only lube or protect as well as the petroleum component is laid down.

    Cosmoline is best, followed by beeswax. Neither is a recipe for a good time when you go to use the tool. I use 3-in-One oil or Johnson’s paste wax (you’re probably seeing a trend here, by now) depending on the tool and its use…

    A separate run for each tool is only needed after you hang your shingle and hire an apprentice. However, the vac system should have its own dedicated line.

    I generally cut grass at 2½”-3″ in the spring, then raise the decks to 4″ or 4½” toward the end of July, and may go to 5″ or 5½” in August, if it’s being an especially dry summer. More Sun + less water = yellow-brown lawn when the blades are too short to leech sufficient humidity to keep the chlorophyll happy.

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