ShopTalk Sunday: Batch Up Your Projects! It’s Spring!

[Reader Note:  My life-long “brother by a different mother” of 70 years – the Majorfinally made it home from Mexico – where his wife suffered a burst appendix almost a week ago.  They got in around 10:45 PM last night.

“Thanks my Bro’ for your support and the prayers of so many of your readers – it means a lot…!!!”

Being stuck in a resort town wouldn’t have been a bad thing, ‘Pulco, under better circumstances.  But – dammit – Life don’t ask some things!  Our thanks as well.]

Part of today’s edition of STS was lashed together late Friday.  Because I need every minute of daylight (for the whole weekend) to get all the projects lined up for this timeframe, to get cranked-out in a timely way.

While there are a ton of smaller “gimme” projects (transplant two Gardenias) which keep getting slid to “tomorrow” *(which was crossed off as done Friday), the fun stuff this week has been prepping for a super high-output weekend on the operating end of power tools.  Here’s a walk-through of the set-up leading into the frenzy:

The Main Point in a Nutshell

There’s an old saying:  “If you want something done, give it to a busy man. Political correctness changed it to person over the years.  But it’s still true as ever.

Was it in one of the Peoplenomics reports a while back?  I explained that before computers came along, Management Science had a lot of emphasis on span of control.

See, back in the Twilight Dawn of overpopulation (pre-computer) it was assumed that one Supervisor (or Manager) could only effectively supervise 7 or 8 people.

By the time I was rolling out of my serious journo days (early 1980s) and getting into sales management, it had become clear that one person with a computer could manage thousands.

You go back and look and – no kidding – everyone in Microsoft could (at one time – directly email (and interact) with Bill Gates, for example.

Obviously, something had been missed in this “Management Science” stuff.

What Was Missed?

Simply? The idea that in the Age of Computers – which became the Age of Phones – which became the (horribly morphed) Age of Singular Focus, things were number of workers based, was DEAD WRONG.

What we’re REALLY talking about is NUMBER OF PROJECTS.

Thus, here it is – 4 AM on a Sunday – and I’m already up and “working the day.”  When 90 percent of people have the God-given good sense to sleep-in, right?

Point is, Pappy (R.I.P.) always taught me the basic core thinking that gets me out of bed every day:

  • First, there is no reason to work harder for someone else than you work for yourself.  Unless you’re a fool.
  • Second, there will be plenty of time to rest in the grave.  Which gets to another aspect:  If you live to 90, that’s only 32,850 Days.   People live, work, and pursue their own greatness in a pretty slip-shod manner, considering the time-value of Life!
  • Last, but not least, is our “rules of Process.”

When you have some Big Projects coming up, you don’t need to “rest up for them.”  That’s pure LPBS.  (*Lazy Person Bullshit.)  Fact is, the more you work, the more skills and experience you’ll have.  

Therefore, even when retired, you need a good slate of Projects in your WIP (work in progress is what WIP means in manufacturing) cue.  Each Project has a “definition” along with “Supplies” plus “tools required.”  Doesn’t hurt to have a formalized plan of some kind.  And enough time allocated to reasonably get everything done.

Ure’s Next Big Project?

That will be a new deck, stairs, concrete paver-block patio, and some neat rebar railing I have in mind.  Excuse to buy a TIG welding rig to round out the welding stable.

Want that to happen in about 3-week’s time.  In East Texas, anything done after May 1 is likely to be on the sauna side of working – hot and steamy.  Experience says when its humid, working in full sun, over about 83 F on bigger projects will generate enough sweat rolling into the eyes that mistakes can be made.  Cool and collected is more out style.

Big Projects are supported by smaller ones.  Planting gardenias this week was a short 15-minute “supporting project”.

Lawn mowing season is also here (a first pass will possibly take place before it rains later this week).  In the meantime, there’s a  ton-o-fun on tap today, as we “Picked up our hammer and saw…”

Homemade Biochar Project

While rolling through YouTube videos of how-to amp-up the garden room’s veggie output this week, I stumbled on a number of clips on making biochar.

Basically, it’s nothing more than charcoal (*without starter and additives baked-in) that has been run through a grinder.

Making biochar seems to be a disease – people get almost – and in some cases beyond – obsessed with it.  Fanatics…useful ones, though.

To begin, you’ll need one of these:

leaf mulcher biocharing

Yep – standard leaf mulcher.

Next, you go to that high end 50-pound sack of charcoal you bought for the outdoor woodfired pizza oven and syphon off 10 pounds or so. The kind with no additives – critical point!  This is placed on your “right-sizing charcoal device with manual impact adapter.”

hammer to bush big biochar

(Which only looks like a concrete topped workbench and hammer!)

Under the mulcher, you slip the first thing handy that’s big enough to capture finely chopped charcoal.  It’s a terribly messy project and clouds of black dust will be formed. I did it on the lawn figuring it might help.

Stay upwind and wear PPE & N100 breathing protection. Unless you’ve previously landed a billion-dollar film part in a doc about Black Lung disease…

Next, you will take some scoops of the dust and ultrafine charcoal flakes and sprinkle them onto your veggies in the square foot gardens, like so:

(The black circles are the hanging pots which are seething with radishes!)

Notice the color of the top – top dressed soil – looks darker.  But you don’t stop there.  Because as top dressing, it will only dry things out a bit.  Which gets us to a teaspoon of Fox Farms liquid organic (not too strong, these are seedlings, remember) and give them all a good spraying. No more than a teaspoon per gallon.  I went with 2/3rds teaspoon per gallon.

The problem you’ll also be facing (if you’re following along at home, in an identical climate, assuming you made a garden room along with us), is that the Romaine will now be coming up like a weed.

Consensus on the web (which is a dangerous idea in itself!) is that a small pair of scissors is to be used to cut out excess plants. Eat the snippings – as microgreens.  There is some semblance of order beginning to appear here:

Yes, that’s right:  One tomato plant per square foot.  Cold for them still, but they’ll be along soonly.

More as we grow along…

Chill’d with the Chiller

Got down to about 40 on Thursday night, but Friday was sunny and we were thrilled to see the garden room up to almost 86 degrees.  We want to stop it about there.  Time to turn on the swamp cooler and instantly things began to chill down.

Remember, the new garden room was designed to make a nearly perfect, no mold *(cedar and ozone, thanks) environment for the plants.  After taking the end cap off the north exhaust screen and letting the chiller run for 5-minutes or so, there was definitely a temperature drop.  Humidity came up – which is how swamp coolers work. Right on plan.

After a good half-hour, the temp was down to 77F and 57% relative humidity…and all this while the fan was only on low.  The main reason for this prequel project was the temperature-sensing outlet will be wall mounted and will be set to come on when the temp gets up to 84, or so.  That way, it shouldn’t run all the time, even during the (days from hell) part of summer in East Texas.  Running on high got the room down to 70F.

Wild-eyed Ure’s next idea:  Making a printable (STL 3D printer project) to put a 12V pump and lines to a champagne or beer cooling tub.  Be a damn shame to let all that cold water go to waste, right?

Printing What?

Warmer temps during the day means the CR10 V2 3D printer farm was brought back online this week without requiring constant baby-sitting.

Still, it’s getting cool enough, with lows into the 40s and a heat range of 30F hot to cold, that I’m finding for PLA prints like this one, the nozzle temp is running 225C and keeping the bed at 60C during prints give a good mix of bed adhesion (the 60C) and proper layer-bonding (the 225C).  In the summer, when the shop comes up to summer operations temp (75-ish with real solar powered a/c, we will likely back the bed down a few degrees.

We’ll fire up the Ender-3 later.

Project Ahead!

This one – another raised bed – big one – and cheap because most of the materials are farm leftovers.  Some old tin, treated 4-by-4 posts and exterior screws…

All inspired by this Haxman video:

Oh-oh!  See where this is going?

I will take pictures as I go, but the general idea is the project today should lay out in simple steps:

  • Cut the corner posts out of 4X4.
  • Apply a couple of cross ties of 2-by-4.
  • Lay a 2-by-4 rail around it on top.
  • Calculate required dirt:  32 sf of space 2-feet deep, so about 60-65 cubic feet…so a little over two yards of “dirt-dirt.”
  • Then in comes the leaf mulcher.
  • The local bagged compost and about 10% charcoal will be mixed and layered in the top 6 inches, or better.
  • Into that will go a good helping of Perlite and Vermiculite because the soil (from down by the gun range berm) goes off to clay…
  • The top couple of inches will be turned over with some starting soil, amended with (more) charcoal and what have you.
  • Then a dousing with Fox Farms onto the top charcoal layer…more mixing.
  • While the plants (32 of them) come up in their CowPots in the greenhouse.

Some of this will obviously spill over.  But the bed and the planting strings ought to be a decent goal for the weekend.  Because this is in competition with?

The OTHER Project

Its taking this ungodly messy area (but right in front of the a/c):

And turning it into my “small tools workstation” with these tools:

Old-school Dremel Table Saw and a good Sears scroll saw.  PLUS just arrived this week:

Yes, tool sluts, this is a $25 class good deal on eBay.

Works dandy and brings me back to the day when the Major and I were building stuff as kids.  God-awful racket when running.

And, after 60+ years, the blades included had rusted through on a couple.  But, no worries.  WD-40 time. Lesson here is small blades rust.  Oil after use.

Going to use a cheap box of leftover laminate flooring for the bench top.  Lordy Almighty!  P-Lam for counters is expensive.  *(No, wait…they’re watering down the money but the effect is identical!)

Go thee hither now and ponder how to line up YOUR weekend so you can roll with cool projects like this, remember the secret is Logistics.  You get all your plans, parts, labor, cut-outs, and the real time-sinks done well in advance.

Then you get out to the project site and crush it in no time.

People will be amazed.

Well, except for Vlad Putin.  Understand he’s having a tough time grasping this logistics concept.

Roll on, brothers and sisters – after you drop a comment, of course.  And the winning Lotto numbers while Ure at it…

One for the Road

From reader Ray’s trolling of the web…

A free commercial?  No, a statement of Reality.

Sanity is in exile…but looking to arrange a come-back.

Shut up and write a comment, – the Sunday morning Caffeine Kid

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

82 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Batch Up Your Projects! It’s Spring!”

    • The Australian Language Conversion Plug-in issued and Error!

      “Not clear if this is market advice or sexual complaint in Oztralian. Please correct and resubmit.”

  1. Without trying to sound like Captain Obvious, be careful with the barn tin raised beds. Once you get them filled avoid leaning on the the edges while working them. Those edges are sharp.

    Have you tested your growing medium yet?

    • 1. Putting a 2X4 rail around it for exactly this reason.

      2. Decided to fill to brim with a yard of ($60 yard) premium soil/compost mix – organic from local Tyler tex supplier

      Good calls

      • My firewood rack has a corrugated tin roof, with the smooth side towards the opening. I used an old piece of garden hose, slit down the length, to prevent forehead cuts.

        • Local ingenuity at its finest. Like I wrote earlier this week – Townies are lost, the hillbillies, preppers, rednecks and insects will still be around after the collapse.
          The “cloud” my ass. If data isn’t local, you don’t own it.
          Sort of like lawn enforcement tools of the trade – which the woke joke totally can’t figure.
          Ever strike you as weird the wokees live in Townie with the townies?
          Dumbshititis must be contagious.

      • @ James in Palestine

        “I used an old piece of garden hose, slit down the length, to prevent forehead cuts.”

        I’ve done this, but used a bicycle tire to cover the blade on my Ford portable sawmill.

  2. Yo Mr G-reenjeans,

    Like to recommend considering lining the bottom of Ure raised bed garden with split firewood logs and woody debris..first foot up from ground level.. future investment in rich loamy soil. Due proximity of mushroom capital of the world – ungovernables’ gardens start with “used” mushroom soil, that has cooled off for a growing season prior to garden use. Zoo poo “chilled” works wonders as well, might check with local zoo/petting zoo for availability. Used to be traveling circuses were a great source for zoopoo, mostly “hot” efalump manure, had to let rest for a year or so..

    Winning lotto numberz ?Who needs lotto tickets, when I gave You the money bet (s) of the week/weekend..V for Villanova, V for Victory .

    “Skin in the game entertainment” been very entertaining this weekend. Completed another leg in (1) Futures bet for $200 , versus $189 starting wager on round one game and rolling the winnings each time into next match-up, experiment.
    Total starting amount $389 was residuals from Super Bowl Victory (Bengals beat the odds/ point spread).

    1st two rds were wagered on the point spreads, 3rd game versus Houston, Nova was getting 2.5 pt as road dog, so took the moneyline at +125.
    Also took a small future wager on Regional Championship with some winnings siphoned off after rd1 win..that hit last night! pays for my crane fiasco from earlier in week, and no the trucker broke down in Jacksonville Wednesday night! just got back on road – container will be in shipyard Monday, thx 4 asking.
    So here the ungovernable sits with a fat balance sitting in Fanduel account,(burning a hole in pocket) ,with future Championship bet set to pay off $5200 on $200 wager if Nova some how pulls off another stunna.
    booking the region champ winnings, roll the balance into Semi Final – for as everyone on UrbSur knows – ‘The Cream, Always rises to the Top!”

    Hard ass work, cheering Ure team on to Victory, now where the hell I did leave my brewski ?

      • can use same concept with 5 gal plastic buckets – for Taters.

        tubers store pretty good in dark cool cellars..


      • Re: wood in the bottom of the grow bed –

        I use that technique on our prairie garden too. Entomologist Sister said it stores water for the dry times and lets the fungus, insects etc be active in a base. Mostly the water storage got me to try it. Makes a difference in the plants – even if they are short rooted! Give it a try!

    • I’d consider having a layer of 1/4″ hardware cloth down there at the bottom, or just another piece of tin with holes punched or drilled for drainage. Lots of critters live underground and they can burrow through soil as hard as rock.

      I’d also consider protection from anything else(deer, birds, etc) that can reach and munch on your delectables. I’m not sure how high a bunny can jump.

    • “Yo Mr G-reenjeans,

      Like to recommend considering lining the bottom of Ure raised bed garden with split firewood logs”

      We shared our spare room with a gent that said during the dirty thirties that is what they did.they would like up branches and wood then cover it with straw in top of that soil.I tried it with empty water bottles as the filler.

    • I’m not sure about no side effects of swearing to ease pain. One must consider that unless you are alone, anyone within ear-shot may judge you with possible severe consequences.

    • LOL guess I will have to learn how… LOL LOL LOL.. I don’t swear.. well once in a while but I never seen a purpose for it.. I think everyone would fall over from shock if they heard me cut loose..

  3. “I stumbled on a number of clips on making biochar.”

    You will have so much fun doing that…. the first time I realized that charcoal is wood baked in an airless environment I was amazed at how simple it was..
    then figured out that ground up.. you can form it.. so grind it up to two gallons of charcoal granuals mix one cup of flour.. then just enough water to make it clumping.. ( try clay kittly litter to.. works.. I use that when I make charcoal pencils.. then turn your stick down drill a hole through it.. and pack it in with a nail that has the point cut off)
    this below isn’t what I used.. ( I made mine and then made a block to cover it.. on that block I had the inserts to the mold that I screwed and glued onto the packing board.. )
    the charcoal will absorb water.. once you have it mixed place it in a mold.. I made a square box with six holes.. and a packing lid top.. with inserts to each cavity..
    fill scrape off the excess and tap the packing board down.. pull up the sides.. (bottom is not attached to the form) and set your charcoal briquets aside to dry…
    use a cup of flour or ground up clay to the charcoal dust.. .. I have been toying with this same idea with wood pellets.. my thought is coal dust is a waste product.. and for a multi fuel stove burns way to hot.. hot enough it caused my control panel to malfunction.. but sawdust is a waste product.. people hate coal because of the exhaust contaminents.. for my multifuel stove I had a burn box made that is just a couple inches higher.. then I would burn coal wood pellet mix.. one part of coal to three parts of wood gives you a nice hot fire that won’t affect the control panel.. by having the higher burn pot.. the exhaust fumes are reburned before exiting the building. Now I did just call the coal company that I buy my coal from.. and asked if they would send me a small bag of fines so I can try it.. coal.. love it at forty dollars a ton.. and the average home using between one and one and a half tons per heating year.. best product ever.. all the stove companies have to do is make the coal stoves into a rocket stove so that the exhaust gases are reburned..
    considering this video.. utility companies go around every year and they trim the branches back from the power lines.. this refuse goes to the landfil where around here you can go and get it for mulch free of charge.. so get a pickup load regrind it.. until it makes sawdust.. then pelletize it..
    if you mix it with coal dust three to one mix..
    the pellet press in this video is one like the one I was given last fall..
    the trick from talking to them is to make sure that the dye is hot enough around three hundred degrees before you put in material to be made into pellets..
    I have two of these to.. with a 10mm dye.. so I get quarter inch pellets..
    I make dog food.. and cat food..
    I will take one of these and try bio waste material into fuel pellets..
    I have made a few of these presses and grinder.. the grinder i made I use to use to grind apples for apple juice.. worked so good and oh so easy..
    I don’t know if Lee is still around or not.. super nice guy you would enjoy visiting with him.. just as crazy as myself… my plan is to make a double compound ram.. I had this wild idea that a child of five could produce as good of a block as a grown man..
    anyway biochar is a fun project.. it has been a long time since I made any.. but fun to teach the kids how it is done.. enjoy your new fun project..

    • Oh.. for my grinder.. I made wood armature.. with stainless steel screws drilled into it.. to churn up the apples..
      you can also make a unit to roll grains.. a grain flaker is really super easy to make.. basically it is two rollers and a tightening adjustment with a handle..when I built mine I think it took a couple of hours…. that you tighten together.. I have a bigger one that I use when making beer.. but super easy to make one.. nothing to it except the rollers and adjustment handle.. you will love this guy..
      works on a budget like I do LOL…..
      the same process if you want to make a panel sander.. to.. multi use .. LOL

      • “Like one of these but with metal wringers…totally with you on this one.”

        Exactly.. depending on how hard the rollers are.. you could even use one of those.. I was going to add a link to grain rollers in the above post.. LOL LOL but guess where they come from..So can’t buy one right now and all of them are sold out.. LOL LOL
        for the compound bio fuel press.. I actually made a smaller one.. for CHEESE… then took some of the good china ( cottage cheese or butter dish) and took a hot soldering iron to it and made small 1/8 inch holes.. so I could press the cheese.. now I have regular forms..
        I have to whip up some canadian bacon this week..
        the recipe is ..
        Pork belly if you want to have regular strips..
        Or a Pork Loin..
        the soak..
        1 cup of salt
        1 cup of brown sugar
        1/2 cup of regular sugar
        1.5 gallons of water
        2 Tbsp of nitrate cure
        1 cup of maple syrup
        2 tsp of Smoked Paprika
        2 tsp of crushed Garlic.. ( I prefer fresh)
        2 tsp of onion powder

        Heat up half of the water and mix in the ingredients..
        then add the other half once it clears up..
        let it cool.. inject your meat.. then place the meat in a covered container with the cure covering it.. or in a plastic bag.. place this in the refrigerator.. let sit for two weeks..
        then put it on your smoker and cold smoke it for at least two hours .. then fire up the smoker with a thermometer in it.. and smoke it slow and low until the meat reaches 144 degrees… take it out.. put it in a bag or a pan cover and let it sit for one hour..
        then bring out your slicer and slice it up bag it and freeze it or put it in the fridge.. cook it before you eat.. the longer you smoke it the better it is.. don’t rush it.. let it get that nice smoke ring around it.. before you slice it if you like the traditional slices of bacon.. ( Oh trim off all the excess fat of the pork belly before you start this.. I personally hate to fatty of bacon make it leaner) for traditional slices of bacon.. take your smoked pork belly and square it up.. those chuncks cut in cubes and bag them for bean soup.. and freeze it etc.. then slice your bacon..

  4. George

    In regards to “Shop Talk” you should have a look at the YouTube videos of small shops in Pakistan and India that do machine repair and also make new metal items.
    It’s absolutely amazing what these craftsmen can do with simple tools and a lathe. There is not one CNC machine in sight yet they repair large items like a 3 inch diameter hydraulic cylinder with an end fitting completely busted off. By our standards they are rude and crude but they Getr’done in a fast and furious way that used to be the norm in America.
    It’s a pleasure to watch these people ply their trade and help their community exist!

      • If only I could! My Iphone only shows partial addresses. I need to save up my pennies for a new computer.

      • OK, no links but I found titles on YouTube

        Repairing hydraulic cylinder rod || cylinder rod rebuilding process

        This was by PK Mechanics.

        Another one of interest is:
        Excavator hydraulic cylinder rod straighten || rebuilding hydraulic cylinder rod

        This was by Restoration info.

        Both video show what can be done by non high tech humans using low tech methods and getting very good results.

      • I’ll be needing to do that on an old track loader. I have another one where end fittings were busted off both tilt cylinders. Careful grinding and welding got them both back in service and there’s been no further problem. I have another one(why is it always the tilt cylinders?) that has always had bad gouges on the end of the rod and it kills the seals. I’m not quite sure how to fix these, but I was wondering about grinding and then JB weld. I could build it up with weld and grind/emery it to an eyeball finish, but I’m not set up for hard chrome, etc. A new cylinder is about $600.00 and I’m feeling cheap. The machine is worth fixing for occasional use only.

        I’ve watched some Pakistani videos and need to watch more. Meanwhile, I’m finishing breakfast and need to fix fences today.

        I may look for links after dark.

        Good luck to all.

  5. Papa Joe has nicely threatened Vlad, and the WeissHut has dutifully walked it back a tad as sounding too bellicose. Too late. Message Received, and Vlad should be feeling a little less secure. Might not be a Good Thing…

    Corner a rat (or even a mouse) and he’ll rise up and bare his teeth.

    I think one of Vlad’s handiest tools is major digital mischief. (Probably done by proxies for plausible deniability — maybe a lot of proxies.)

    Think about what that means — how many routine daily things may go down with zero notice. Water. Power. TeeVee. Banking. Credit card point-of-sale authorizations, like for gasoline… It could get hairy.

    Despite all the words, comprehensive measures for improving security have been slow to zero in implementation. Our combined digital infrastructure is quite vulnerable.

    So, be prepared for this as is possible and reasonable. Have some cash in small denominations — NObody will want to give you change out of a Green Franklin. Ones and Fivers should dominate. Retail operations will adapt to old cash register or cigar box methods for the short term as systems are restored and better secured — but it’ll be chaos for a while.

    If you don’t have one, get a good AM-FM-Shortwave receiver. It may easily be all you have to know What’s Going On. Get a BUNCH of batteries. I suggest a radio that runs on “AA” batteries, and get a PILE of spares — like a hundred. “AAs” from “Zon come in 100 packs for not too many dollars. Eschew “premium” batteries. Plain old alkaline “AAs” are just fine. “Heavy Duty” regular AAs are crap. Go alkaline, or go home.

    A receiver (or a separate one) that also gets ham radio’s “2-meter band” will also give you excellent local intel. You don’t need to have a ham license or transmit. Listening will be extremely useful. Ask a local ham — they have clubs — for the local popular channels.

    I won’t go all “Tech-Wonk” on you here, but some radios for shortwave have “BFOs” or a switch for receiving ham Single Sideband — which predominates on the ham “shortwave” frequencies below 30 mHz. Nice to have for shortwave, but irrelevant for “2-meter” band — which is FM. You can probably live without a BFO, because most of your intel will come from AM, FM, 2-meter, and international shortwave — in that order.

    For hams:
    7.299 by day, 3.999 by night. (SSB)
    Locally, regionally self-organized. No “Head shed.”
    (There are Official Calling Channels — but nobody remembers what the hell they are. Do You?) 7.299 and 3.999 are very memorable for hams.

    I think Russki digital “fiddling about” may be close.
    Check ‘Zon and CCrane — but DON’T go crazy and over-spend.
    Appropriate, thoughtful, anticipatory response is the word.

    – 73 –

    • Look into Newsmax offer of an emergency radio that requires no batteries. For a subscription to their magazine you get gift $30
      emergency radio that powers up on solar, or if necessary, a hand crank.

      It’s quite a handy thing to have around because it not only has an am/fm
      radio, but an emergency band as well. It even has a flashlight.

      Just sit it on a window sill and it will be ready whenever you need it.


      • Ken,

        Might think of something like this one (on sale)

        Were it me buying, it would be this one: May be more complicated, but it’s a soup to nuts and Kaito receivers (which I’ve owned in the past) have been pretty good.
        Especially when you have 25 feet of hookup wire/bell wire (cheap household wire) on em.

        As Wm o RR? about it – I’m a serious ham and all, but for just down and dirty receive in an emergency, crank, solar, and some wire to “reach out with” may be worth more than a snews-smack subscription. Just IMHO

      • Look through the Todderbert reviews for portable radios:

        Good brands to look at are Kaito, Tecsun, Sangean & CCrane, although there are less expensive offerings from Retekess and other lesser known brands which Todderbert covers. His reviews will usually steer you away from the dogs. Decent SW portables are out there for $50 or less.

        A major issue with all the radios is surge protection. It is best to have one or more back-ups in a Faraday cage, and the one you are using in a dry bag when you are not listening.
        Look at Arthur Bradley’s site for instructions and real testing:

        When I store a portable radio, I typically wrap it in aluminum foil, put it in at least one dry bag, and put the whole thing in some sort of improvised Faraday enclosure. If you haven’t built a proper Faraday enclosure, then double dry bag it.

    • “You don’t need to have a ham license or transmit.” – As a friend of mine asked.: If it hits the fan that bad., who is going to know, or even care if you are “licensed” or not ?

    • Beware the Eton Elite Executive. Nice little radio, but it eats AA batteries like there’s no tomorrow. In fact I think mine even eats batteries while it’s plugged in to the wall wart.

      • @Zephyr

        For many years Grundig built some of the world’s finest receivers. They liquidated some years ago and their IP assets were acquired by Eton, Kaito, Tecsun, and Sangean, and added to those company’s already “pretty darn good” radio products. Tecsun and Sangean manufacture the vast majority of CCrane and Realistic (Radio Shack) radios, as well as “private labeling” a bunch of others.

        The four brands are all worthwhile, as is the Chinese interloper Baofeng. They all have both brand-specific and model-specific idiosyncrasies.

        I have an Eton 750 and a Grundig Satellit 800. The 750 is the final evolution of the 800, one of the finest consumer radios ever made, and one of the last Grundig radios made. Its specific intellectual property was purchased by both Eton and Tecsun (Eton sells it as the “750,” Tecsun as the “S-2000.”) Both the 750 and 800 are fantabulous, although my 800 needs a new whip.

        I suggest you look up a radio when you have a question or an interest.

        The FR-1000 is the radio used as the fancy American Red Cross emergency radio. It is AM/FM/Weather, but it is also a full-blown GMRS/FRS two way radio, and probably a lot better than the crank radio WalMart sells…

        Start here:

    • “Might not be a Good Thing…
      Corner a rat (or even a mouse) and he’ll rise up and bare his teeth.”

      I fear the moment he realizes that he has the USA and NATO compounding his progression.. we didn’t leave any exit ramp and made no indication that we would make any concessions.. speeches that have been made..
      Indicates to me that he’s in a corner. The minute he feels he’san island without any chance of escape. It’s all very sad especially when it could have been de-escalated easily and no one made any moves to remove the provoking elements..instead they put up more and made threatening gestures..
      I seen a potential poison pawn trap but so far we haven’t seen the moves.. although it has been eerily quiet.. and the girls from China helping out family at the restaurant..have left the country back to china..
      When we made threatening moves at China I was terrified that it would unfold overnight..but Xi has been calm he did look upset but he’sheld his composure.. even though from what my perspective is that we’re being antagonistic and threatening.. none of it makes sense.. what was it nostradamus predicted a long bloody war.. have to look at stu’s site and re read it..

      • As He who we doff our sandals sez.
        “Everything is a business model.”

        Pooty-poot’s adventure has been Bad For Business.
        The Garks have noticed.

        The Generals have been embarrassed or killed.
        This is… ..unwise.

        …it’s only a question of when to my mind.

        (If I had a red phone, I’d order up a cruise missile through his bedroom window… TONIGHT!)

        Or, as they say in Texas, “He needs killin’.”

        (And if his replacement is as bad or worse, then Rinse & Repeat till ONE of these bastards Gets The Message and plays nice.)

  6. My first weekend project was one of those ‘supporting projects’. I built a chainsaw caddy for my tractor. Tired of wagging the saw around in the bucket and having to take it out to use the bucket.

    The project that is supporting is the clearing of paths through the tangle of wood that the loggers left. Once I get some trails cleared enough for the tractor, I’ll be dragging out oak tops the loggers left behind to use as next year’s firewood (hence the need for a chainsaw caddy).

  7. Omg, that video was hilarious! Having a sense of humor isn’t in favor at the moment, but I am sure glad to see it’s still alive.

      • The joke must be that the guy that is pimping the razors doesn’t shave! Meanwhile, I’ve stopped shaving in favor of a short beard since it doesn’t scratch up women as much. It’s also much less effort.

        A pair of scissors will last much longer than a blade, or even a shaver.

    • The video was memorable, as were the old VW commercials, if you’re an ancient one. The real question is whether or not the commercial will translate to increased interest in the product, and will it contribute to increased sales. It was fun to watch, but I’ll never buy another blade. If I ever decided to shave again, it would be with an electric, and if/when SHTF, I’d stay with the beard.

      VW allegedly changed their memorable commercials(and product) when they didn’t see increased sales from them.

  8. The foam cutter looks like it has a place to put a spool of nichrome. Good idea since all it takes is to get slightly impatient when the cutting speed slows. The wire breaks easily and you can spend more time replacing wire than cutting. Now you need a collection of ‘surform’ tools and a way to keep all the styrofoam dust in check while static makes it fly everywhere. Do buildups with spray pu foam, latex filler to smooth and lots of paint and you have days of fun. I used to sculpt room sized pieces, fortunately, not for myself.

      • No pics, sorry; design by others, so no pics for my portfolio. Mostly rocks and cartoon looking plants and cactus + theater settings. Try Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurants and hotel interior pictures for lots of inspiration and decor ideas to “pirate.” General look is bamboo, driftwood lumber, rusty corrugated and everything held together with rope. Boat parts and surfboards help.
        More foam tips:
        Roofing co.s outsource to businesses that have huge hot wire equipment to cut 4×8 sheets into bevels to make flat roofs slope. That is a good place to pick up scrap or a 6″x4’x8′ sheet if the local lumberyard doesn’t have it, but that is a big city type business.
        Building insulation board sometimes comes prescored to ease cutting, if you carve it, big chunks will fall out and their cut lines have to be patched. Best (and messiest)is the white cheap stuff made with little balls of of foam pressed together.
        Any and every type of saw works to cut foam but knives tend to get stuck in deep cuts and break loose suddenly. No flesh allowed in the line of cut!
        You can cut grooves in styrofoam with a soldering/woodburning iron to inlay low wattage Christmas lights(tack in with hot melt), maybe even improvise light fixtures. Hey, maybe even a room size light crown for groups!
        Keep in mind that gluing styrofoam together, the joint will never have any air to cure and may not stick to the slick surface. I don’t remember what we used, but think specialized. I used double stick carpet tape in a late night emergency, but that only had to last a few weeks. I think I used hot melt as a backup.

    • The PU foam can also be used for quick and dirty repairs on a car body. I never tried using a surform on foam – it’s worth trying. Let it set up, skim with body putty and paint with the closest color of cheap spray or Rustoleum with a foam roller. It’s not perfect, but it’ll hold up for a few years until the car fails from something else.

  9. What I saw on your workbench area was the in wall AC!!

    I need to do the same (Arizona) and I’ve spent the better part of a year thinking about a plan.
    Did you diy OR was it a plan B – hire a pro???


    • GEt it at a big box store and have them put it in the window. It’s a killer one man project.

      The grow room uses a swamp cooler but today I am fighting a leay hose connection and have run out of things to replace – gaskets, pipe dope, tape…

  10. Comrades,

    It really was quite the irony for Mr. Biden to offer his words of wisdom at the Royal Castle, Warsaw, where the conquering Russian czars had held sway as Kings of Poland until 1917. It will be fortuitous if history books do indeed attribute his opening words to Pope Paul II and not Malvolio of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. The latter of course was locked up for madness.

    • Correction:
      Of course I meant Pope John Paul II. Certainly not to be confused with Pope Paul II who permitted the horse races to run along Via del Corso during the Roman Carnival in the 15th century.

  11. The White House was forced to once again clean up highly problematic remarks made by Democrat President Joe Biden during his trip to Poland this week.

    For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

    I posted this yesterday, chopped and reposted today, to offset the good vibes given off by the Lady in Red. According to some State Department wonk [who was] talking in the background, that last statement, construed as a call for forced regime change, is tantamount to a declaration of war. Potato Chip will earn her pay this coming week if she can successfully walk this statement back with the International community.

    The perv in the White House is going to get us all dead…

  12. “Experience says when its humid, working in full sun, over about 83 F on bigger projects will generate enough sweat rolling into the eyes that mistakes can be made.”

    First, a bandana around the head to keep that sweat out of the eyes. Then I wear a broad brim straw “Lifeguard Hat” for sun protection. It’s intense here in the tropics. But when I have to do yard work, I go for long pants, long sleeve shirt, and the above hat. Yep, it’s hot and steamy. I just treat it as my sauna-workout. Once the yard is done, my reward is a cool relaxing shower.

    I got one of those SunJoe mulchers when I started clearing the yard years ago. It’s made for dry leaves and twigs. The tropical green waste I have does not dry out, and is way too wet for the machine. It clogs up almost instantly with green paste. SunJoe sits in storage now, taking up space. I should get rid of it.

  13. Lawyer and Insurance expert analyses data on deaths using the military’s own numbers….

    And, it looks like the ruble will be backed by gold….5000 rubles per ounce.

    It seems to me that this will be mighty harmful to the dollar. If the USA tries to go to war with Russia/China over this, with our military having been cut over the past few years, and the death rate rising dramatically, suddenly, following the vaccine rollout, we will have a problem.
    Note to self: be long on gold and silver.

  14. “Winning lotto numberz ?Who needs lotto tickets, ”

    The one number lottery joke at the gas station… got a buck I have ten.. guess what u he number is…

    Dam you were close.. missed it by one..wanna play again…

  15. The Russian government is offering them fixed amount of rubles of 5000 rubles per gram of gold…..grams not ounces….

  16. Comrades,

    Sometime in 2022 Boeing has said that it will stop production of the 747-800. Three years ago today, one of the two new Boeing 747-800 planes to be the future Air Force One presidential transportation was flown from a Washington state airport to a Texas airport for gutting and refurbishment. Things are apparently not going as planned. Public forums say at least one new plane had small cracks. Nothing terminal but it’s a new plane. Boeing is suggesting the 2024 delivery date may slip by 17 months.

    In January 2015, Mr. Obama’s Secretary of the Air Force with 22 years desk experience had announced the Boeing 747-800 as the next Air Force One with a 30 year projected lifespan. Ten months later Russia’s second largest air carrier, Transavia, teetering on bankruptcy with €3+ billion in debt, had its operating certificate pulled due safety concerns in spite of its ceo being the daughter of a well-placed government mandarin. The current day media suggests Transavia’s 2 of 4 ordered Boeing 747-800 went straight from the Boeing factory to storage in the Mojave desert. Public radar records indicate 2 Boeing 747-800 with Transavia callsigns allegedly flew from Moscow to storage in Spain when the airline collapsed. Interestingly at least one registration strangely seems to carry forward from a Boeing747-400 that Transavia bought secondhand in 2012. Anyhow both 2015 Transavia callsigns sent to Spain subsequently morphed into the future Air Force One callsigns following the 2017 Trump administration announcement that the mothballed Transavia planes were being purchased for the Air Force One project. The aircraft purchase price was said to be “a very good price” that would not be disclosed. Overall the total project is to cost $5+ billion for the 2 planes.

    The president of South Korea began flying in his Boeing 747-800 last November. Of course the interior was refurbished for the purpose as well as having whatever vip defense systems that the geopolitics of that region call for. Public records show that the plane is leased from Korean Air for 5 years at a total charge of about $280 million of which about $90 million is aircraft price and the remainder maintenance.

    Extrapolated over 30 years in comparison to the Air Force One replacement program, one could begin to wonder what has eaten up something like an extra billion dollars in cost for each US plane.

  17. Sunday nights used to be family fare surrounding “The Wonderful World of Disney”.

    This Sunday evening past according to Chris Rock, I missed “the greatest night in the history of television”. Hollywood royalty must have thought for an instant there was some sort of Foreman vs. Ali stunt reenactment until the Fresh Prince of Bel Air showed his chops.

    Rock on.

  18. Sheetcoin over 43900 . Gurus !!! Go long !!!!! USSA Ussa ussa!!!! Dow power nasdaq sand p !!! Australia nz Canada !!!! Willing !!! The schwabster !!! Klaus rules . Biden insets in mouth der der der

  19. yep . listen to all the garbage in this gin joint 2 . thanks george ill be going away now .. its not giving up , i just dont find any point in providing any entertainment for you and your type .. no hard fellings . enjoyed my time visiting here but now it just dont seem right the constant suck up to the evil by just waffling numbers and waves . you were and are a very sharp mind . but now that the world is lost and consumed by evil it just aint fun yada yada and can kicking . peace to you always your mate

    • To Len
      I like to think that you are honest with yourself. That being said I do not believe you can just go “Cold Turkey” on us the friends of your friends.
      Please reconsider and continue to delight?xEnlight us with URE knowledge.
      Pace Lute

  20. Love the Razor Commercial. The Brunette is hotter than the flame thrower.
    I’m pre ordering.

    All they need now is a Will Smith cameo LOL.

  21. George
    I’m reading this late and catching up.
    Not to be too persnickity, but 90 years isn’t 32,850 days,
    It’s 32, 872.5 days.
    You left off almost a month.
    The multiplier to use is 365.25, remember?
    Leap Year!

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