Shop to It: Tool Slut Sunday

The Best (& Worst) Boss is? US!

One of the treasures of being raised in a “firefighter family” is that everyone “worked on the off-shift.”  Sure, a lot of union jobs in the 50’s and 60’s were paying  enough that one person working in a household could “get by.”

But fire, police, and other first responders (including medical) types are not easily satisfied with just “getting by.”

They also understand that to  get more out of Life, there’s a simple formula tested over centuries.  You just  need to do MORE.  

As the late motivational guru Dr. Earl Nightingale put it – in order to have exceptional  income, you must provide exceptional service .

If you can’t, simply putting in twice as much work will do.  Sometimes, getting ahead is just a matter of the “other team” failing to show up.  Which is why  gutting it out almost always wins in the long haul.

On weekends around here, we try to focus on new and creative ways to “get ahead” working for that toughest boss of all:   Ourselves.

A key part of “winning?”  Is having the “right tools” and knowing how to use them.

New Tool of the Week

God knows I don’t need another tool.  Knee deep in ’em, already.

But, there I was this week flipping through Amazon and a little outfit by the name of ReciProTools caught my eye.  The reason’s an interesting story in itself.

Fact is, I’m aging.  Not quite 72-yet, but that’s coming up in three months, or so.  Which occasions ways for me to plot and plan ahead of time how to keep going for another 20-years after that.

I’ve been inspecting every physical action in the shop, ham radio department, yard, garden, and so forth with one question in mind:  “How Can It Be Done Faster and Easier?”

With several “wood projects” coming up, the matter of a wood rasp came along and with it The Question:  “Does anyone Make an Electric Rasp?”

There are plenty of straight-line sanders around.  You can put just about any flavor of abrasive tape on them and do things like fine metal ands glass body work, for example.  For this,  something like an Eastwood Straight Line Air Sander Tools Dual Piston Paint Remover Pneumatic 2100 RPM would do the trick.  You can find more spendy ones, or less than the $94 price point of this one.

You have to be careful with air tools, though.  5.2 Cu.Ft./min at 90 Lbs. pressure isn’t going to happen with a tiny “pancake” compressor.  Big compressors, like big vehicles, aren’t cheap.  Big ones need a separate circuit…the knock-ons go on…

So adding a straight-line sander didn’t solve the modest anticipated “electric and metal file problem.”  I was after more than abrasive papers and tape could deliver.  Then it appeared…

A Bit of Skil

Turns out Skil makes a small rechargeable recip saw.  And while we already had the (corded) BLACK& DECKER Electric Hand Saw (which I told you about when it was $43…Well, they’ve gone up to $61…but there is no inflation (of course, not! Right…).  But, it didn’t eyeball as being something that would work with this new Riciprotool gem of my eye:  Which was for $11 the Reciprotools Reciprocating Saw Tool Adapter.

The way this is used is pretty straight-forward.  You “chuck up” the adapter like it was a recip saw blade.  On the front of it is a 1/4 hex socket (like on an impact driver).  To drop into the socket, Reciprotools makes a modest variety of snap-in files.

A wood rasp, a combination half-round and flat metal saw, and a rat tail file and I figured to be set.

Now all I need to do is figure out where these will live in the tool collection.

Problem is – if you work with all kinds of materials – good ideas like the “general tool cart” – begin to run out of room.

Next weekend, BTW, we will be kicking around shop storage…so bookmark that edition…  Cause of the problem?

New Tools = New Storage

The reason we look at storage next weekend is we have discovered that if you have a real interest in DOING then that means a lot of TOOLS and they need to be taken care of.

Take the collection of new goodies this week.  Here’s the starting pile:

Since there’s a 2 amp-hour rechargeable battery, this recip saw needs a 110 volt power outlet that’s not already in use.  There may be one in the house.

And the charger (while it looks like he-man stuff to the tool-newbie) it’s larger than it needs to be.  If I can run my Kindle with a matchbox-sized charger, why does this have to be larger than my other chargers?

I tried to standardize on one brand of tools (since the ones with chargers) take up space and with a single brand, you can swap batteries.  But now, I’ve gone and done a second brand (beyond Hitachi) and the fear is this will lead to Tool Hell damnation, I’m just sure of it.

The ODWS Project

Since we don’t have a (spawn of Satan) Building Department out here in the sticks (which is what makes it like The Garden of Eden before apples), we can do anything we want around here without pulling permits.

Not that we’d mind a $2-permit to put in two outlets, like this mixed 110 and 240 lash-up on the outside of the shop door for outdoor welder, plasma cutter, and whatever else we feel like, power.

But I don’t think government can do ANYTHING for $2-bucks anymore.  By now, there’ve got to be heapinbg layers of political correctness bullshit laid on, too.  None of this is cheap.  But? I digress…

The ODWS is short for the Out Door Work Shop.  Part of our delightful LTBES of adding rain resisting square footage.  One assumes you know that the LTBES nomenclature means  Lean-To-Building-Extension-Systems.

Or, in less jargonistic red-neckian terms:  Lean-Tos.  Outside of the otherwise neat shoe space  du Ure, we see ample opportunity to really improve our rainy weather workflow:  Imagine a roofline and 4X4’s in blue here:

[User note:  Yes!  As in “YES! Ure moves the gas cans well away from the welding table before use!  He only seems to be a complete idiot!”]

The “rough metal work” table is made of some T-post, cut down to size years ago.  On top of it are a couple of (now broken) 16 X16″ cement pavers (replacements are under the table).  Off to the side, you’ll see there’s a  stainless steel table – 4-feet long that looks like this:

I don’t know why people buy wooden outdoor furniture anythings when this little beastie is at Amazon for $118 bucks.  SUNCOO Stainless Steel Table 48in.x24 inch.  You can’t beat that with a stick.

Outdoor Work Space Rap

Obviously, I won’t be using this nice, new table for the two things I do the most of outside; namely spray painting and cutting/welding. 

On the other hand, it will be ideal for projects that I don’t feel like working on inside the shop or when every surface  in there has projects (WIP, manufacturese for  work-in-progress).

For example:  Need to slap a new carb on one of the chain saws.  Drain, move some inside WIP around?  Risk smell of gas near the power center? No…toss on the outside bench and wheel the tool cart out.

Clean and change string on the weed whacko?  Assemble something and it’s a nice day outside…Things that won’t fit through the door or be easily carried when done and where I need the tractor to move it later?

Well, you get the idea.

When we first moved out here, there were no “overhangs” and “lean-tos” around.  Now, they have sprung up like weeds and they are really practical.

I don’t know if you have a building department (our condolences) but they “cross the line of [govt] control” to us when they transition from working on safety issues (“No 20-foot or longer blind/no-exit hallways in your building plan…”) to making art and taste decisions (“You need a 8-12 pitch on that roof”) to making dumb allowances for the sake of profits (“Sure, go ahead as use 14-2 with ground for that 15 amp circuit…”).

The correct answers?

  • All good with no blind hallways  at all .  Reasonable fire safety.
  • If I want a 4-12 pitch, I know the leak and snow load calcs so don’t tell me what to build with my own money.  Easier for an olde fart to fall off an 8-12 than a 3-12 which is what some mobile homes are.
  • And anyone using 14-2 wire is a cheapskate or a fool.  OK, Both. If you’re going to wire, by God, use real wire.

Red Bull, not red-flagged is how we roll in the woods.

Wire  Stories

This gets me to a ham radio discussion.  Years back.

Guy I knew used a 150-foot run of cheap (back then things were) Radio Shack RG-58 “on special” coax wire.  Couldn’t for the life of him figure out why he didn’t have a  bodacious signal.

This particular wire was less than drinking straw diameter.  Replaced with high-end (thick as your thumb) big-boy coax,  and suddenly it worked OK.

Same thing is true on things like welder and shop equipment.  If you’re going to take the time to pull cable, use 12 or better 10 and don’t chintz.

Anyway…off to work on some 3D printing projects.  Flip over to my https://ultra-make.com website for a discussion of how much you can get from one roll of filament…

Remember on the weekend the best hard-ass boss you’ve had is who?  Yourself.

Write when you get it all done,

George@Ure.net

28 thoughts on “Shop to It: Tool Slut Sunday”

  1. George

    I’m up early, 4am. I see you are too!

    ” “How Can It Be Done Faster and Easier?” ”

    A crazy idea popped into my not fully awake brain.

    Could sawdust be applied to 3D printing technology the way plastic is?

    Instead of all the fancy wood working tools just print it.

    Ure right I need more coffee!

    • I guess you could get a 5 gal bucket of West System and mix in hardener and 20 lbs of sawdust.

      Not sure, but mixed with layers of lead shot, sawdust, more shot be one hell of an orgone machine…

    • It came with some crud on it – 10 minutes in assy with some Krud cutter and bug and tar remover and I was happy.

      I fitting out the outdoor work area, not setting us a surgery for Charlie of Pappa Alfa…

  2. Good morning George. Change those flip covers to Taymac In-use covers for weather proofing. Around $10 in Home Dopey. Any wire used outdoors should be sun light resistant, UF. Try to GFI protect the circuitry. Maybe a rubber matt to stand on too. Utilty companies throw away rubber mats after a year or two. They have to ohm them out and below certain resistance, they are no good for high voltage, but fine for lower voltages such as 120/240v. Nice shop. Blessings

    • Yessir – anything going out the door is on the GFI leg (thoughtful tho for those not so schooled).

      When welding, a used to have one of those Holy anti=fatigue mats – good reminder to order!

      • Just make sure it has a dielectric rating. Like I said, the utilities get rid of the orange matts often and you see a truck, ask them and they may even have one to give you. I have a bunch, and when doing a project, you can throw them down to cover areas around the work, or cover wet areas or just to insulate you. It only takes 100 milliamps to stop one’s heart. That’s 1/10 of 1 amp. Blessings

      • That5 one 10th of am amp was updated in the 1990’s. Under ideal conditions it’s 5 milliamps – 5-1000th’s of an amp! I had to get into all that when working on the HEV Electric challenge where my company was the instrumentation provider for the Argonne national Labs competition. Every mess around with a “voltage prescaler” on a 500 VDC battery pack?? Truly the kind of stuff that demands total (no drinks night before) kind of focus!
        (Most teams used 120 VDC as it was high enough and worked well…)

  3. To follow your work ethic (I believe the more work you do the more work you can do). Been a tool tank for over 45 yrs. and yes I do possess a 350h Porter cable router.

  4. “a little outfit by the name of ReciProTools caught my eye. ”

    If you bought it…it will become one of your favorite tools…
    I use the trim blade all the time..
    You can get a rasp attachment.. I think the rasp attachment I have is dremel that fits ok.

    • And HDT was exactly right, IF all you want to do is go lard-ass and pontificate all day.

      If you want to live on a personal series of movie sets, create novel designs, try your hand at a novel, advance the state of the art in something, and figure a way to rip up space-time and say Howdy God, then it’s gonna take tools and time.

      Bullshitters appeal to the lazy and while HDT’s head was in the right place, environmentally, it seduces the erudite lefties. Lazy following cattle in the main.

      Show me where HDT actually kills and cleans his own meat. No? Hands on buyer, eh?

      Like Huck’s “Pap” in Life on the Mississippi – “Buy a sack of bacon, bag o’flour, 2 jugs of whiskey, a fishin pole…yessir, that’d be the life, huh, Jim?” Or words along in there.

      Life without 3D Imagineering, without wifi, without miracle meds, and without the highest standard of living in ALL of human history. Naw, thanks. Time machine to click out at first flash? Well, jah….

      In the main: Bull shitters throw rocks all the time. While seated.

      Ask ’em how many patents their names are on, how many transcons they have flow as PIC, how many miles under the keel of a boat under their command.

      Comes down to “Doers Do It.” (And then, Sunday afternoon, Doers who Do It do Dewars….

      Can’t all be work, o course…

  5. “I tried to standardize on one brand of tools (since the ones with chargers) take up space and with a single brand, you can swap batteries.”

    Yep! Ryobi became my battery tools of choice after I bought the volcano ranch here. Still living in Honolulu, I had a local contractor install new gutter along one side of the house here. When I came to visit the property a month later, the neighbor across the road who watches the property in my absence told me to check out my roof. There, above the car port, the contractor had left his Ryobi hand drill. Upon retrieval, it still had a charge and still ran! This after being outdoors in the tropical rainforest and burning sun for a month. I still got it… and still use it! When I needed a hand grinder, you can guess which brand I bought that uses the same batteries. And my new drill press? Not battery, but it’s a well built Ryobi. My only ‘off-brand’ tool is the small B&D hand drill that stays in the small electronics bench in the ‘closet shop’.

    And I’m with you on wiring sizes. I have a 100 foot roll of 10-3 w/gnd to pull the 240vac line into the ham shack for the linear amplifier. Gawd that stuff is stiff!

    Another thing about buying an old property. The first thing I did was replace ALL the electrical outlets in the house. This is where fires start. They were crusty with paint overspray and used the ‘push-in’ wires that slide around and arc. New outlets and screw terminal wires securely attached everywhere now. I also found a major wiring error where some idiot at the start of the ‘daisy chain’ of outlets around the perimeter walls had cross-fed the black and white wires, so all the downstream outlets were the wrong polarity. Sheesh!

  6. You have an amazing resume George. Very few human beings accomplish what you have. Comparable to Hemingway. Hats off. Many blessings.

  7. and so ends the only 4 good days in USSA every year . Augusta. never seen a more awesome performance in a masters . fully deserved not enough superlatives to describe his win DJ . very proud of ozzie cam smith . great effort . so back to bullsheet again in USSA . like I said I just hope the asteroid shower misses Augusta . couldn’t care about the rest

    • Come on Lenster – U know the only reason you watch the masters is for the chance to see Paulina at the end..keep squirting mate!

  8. Len, what did the rest of us nobodies do that you don’t care if we are destroyed? Many harsh words come from your corner.

    • under your constitution and declaration of independence you recognize right from wrong , good from bad .. warned by the wise men .. so what happens . nothing . just deeper down the sewerage outlet every day . now 320 million yes it is , not this constant 330 million have no right to drag 7.5 billion people from all race and colour into a deep abyss . so really does anyone need a chanting race of self anointed super folks under some banner/flag . last time i read about that it was some crazy dude with a little mo in Europe circa 1939/1945

    • Try to have a opinion in the comments section of the Ny times, yahoo finance ,CNN , google, all any tv or press or newspaper the “Rumor” of a trillion $ bribe to the Obama and the Democrat party signers of the 100 year renewal of the Central bank’s charter of enslavement of the mass of people, in 2017, like 1917 and a pandemic that followed 2 years later, used to defeat a “propaganda unlikable “Trump”..a debt peasant??? Via money laundry and foreign governments, some “friendly”…Imposible….

  9. Not seein’ it. Files have teeth. Dragging one under pressure flattens the teeth and renders the file useless. I can’t think of a way to pressure a file on an out-stroke, without also pressuring it on its return stroke, using this critter. What I’d suggest instead for jobs like that is this:

    https://www.ryobitools.com/power-tools/products/details/18v-one-plus-12-x-18-belt-sander

    If the recipro-file doesn’t work out as well as you hope, you might keep this idea in mind…

    I built a lean-to last summer with my son. He could NOT get it through his head that it *could* have a dirt floor, or that it could be slapped together without mortgaging the house to buy new building materials (although I did spring for eight 4x8x3/4″ sheets of AC2 CDX plywood @$14/sheet, for the walls, because I didn’t have any AC2/CCA40 laying around. Note the price? That was in June of 2019.) The lean-to is an incredibly cheap and efficient throw-together building or extension, and one that’s become underrated in today’s “snooty” world. I see ’em all over the Midwest, a hundred years old, still in-use as chicken or hog houses, attached greenhouses, or field storage for a tractor or implement.

    I often come across stainless tables, as schools (especially) liquidate old kitchen furnishings. I’ve seen ’em go anywhere from $10-$70 depending on size, but haven’t latched on to any, because until I build my processing room, they’d just be yard clutter. Someday though…

  10. oh and you can hit my joint with asteroids as well . just not my house or London and Melbourne . today they are so deep in new trading robots on ASX the whole system blew up and stopped . my inside source tells me they worked all weekend on new trading program . turned it on and blew up because it cant analise real trades . robots are total control . now steve that’s great eh ?

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