ShopTalk Sunday: Brain-Hand Balance, Ground Screws

Brain-Hand Balance?

Been spending too much “time in the chair” lately.  There’s a lot to be said for personal time-logging.  If you jot down precisely what you’re doing – four times an hour – you can quickly come up with a Brain-Hand balance number.

Yesterday, for example, was a 98% brain day.  Only 2% body movement.  Today, 2-hours of writing and a couple of comment approval windows later on.  But, overall less than 3-hours out of….what…12-hours of action living time? Exclude Drinks, convo, meals, and a movie on zombie-vision account for another 2 to 4.

With luck, today will be a “75% Hands day.”  I seem to run best when rolling 50-50, or thereabouts viewed weekly.  Days like Saturday (ugly server issues, resolved, and the RSS feed should be back to normal now, too) will happen.  100% head work.

I think that’s why people (in a funny way) enjoy such things as minor natural disasters.  If not overtly (because they can get back to their hands working, again), then because at a subconscious level, our inner selves know living “purely  inside the head and making up shit” (like invent stupid mental nonsense like Judgy and Woke).  The inner self will project a “balancer” into life on either side.  See Allegory of the Cave again, if not following.

Ground Screws?  Project Plans

Before I tell you the plan, let me lay out the problem for you.

There is a project which has been calling to me ever since I built the small recording studio onto the north end of our house.  10 by 20-feet.

It has been my plan – from Day One – to expand off this wall and turn it into a wild-animal-resistant lettuce garden.  It’s why this part of the compound has never had a “finished” look to it.  The wall behind the water barrels is the west wall of the studio:

Now, here’s how you use a good graphics program  It will allow you to have something of a look at your project before investing a dime.

I use Corel Draw but you could use Inkscape or whatever.  Simply import the graphic, lock its position.  Then used the square and rectangle perspective handles to….oh, what should we do first?  Put a roof over the space?

Doing this is a great planning tool.  Because, as you can see, the gutter presently in place, will have to come off and be moved downhill to catch runoff from the revised extended roofline, which is great because that will be piped to an elevated *(back wall) water storage system.

Which means three 100-watt class solar panels will make the “lettuce room” and the medium swamp cooler, able to hold around 85F tops and here comes the Romaine for salads all summer instead of a few weeks…

Next Step in Project?

We continue working with Corel a bit (Home and Student, go ahead…)

The object here is to spot construction issues ahead of time and design unique, best of class, solutions.

Again, this is just import picture and lock.  Add perspective to 4 rectangles, then apply transparencies to suit.

All of this (roof, sidewall, and we’ll see about the door) will be polycarbonate panels.  Not particularly good R-values (very little), but if solar is driving air through (*cooled, at that) then heat retention isn’t much of an issue.

If I put in the small box stove (thinking about it) out there, then it is technically too big for the space.  Even run low, it would likely benefit from having something besides water barrels being thermal mass…

Ground Screws

Now comes this week’s Big Boy (Big Girl, Big Race, Big Gay, Big Nonbinary,  and whoever I missed) Toy.  Ground Screws.  (Not the May 1st kind…)

Got into these while looking for a lazier alternative for the lettuce room foundation.  Wow, are these cool!

American Ground Screw: Ground Screw Installation Instructional Video – YouTube

Here’s the low-down on them:  They look like a perfect answer for my construction project. because you can find them on the Zon along with TractorSupply.  For now, I’m  leaning towards a different brand which is galvanized.  I don’t know why the Zon would have the powder-coated version, but we do galvanized.

Thing is, I could either a) do the foundation with ground screws, or b) hire a helper to run the concrete mixer and  buy the (makes my head hurt) bags and bags of Quikcrete.

Versus 200 for the screws and way less work…

The small  ground screws are in the $26-$50 range each.  But hell, these would work great for a small house, too.  The mind reels.

Point is, I’ll order up six of ’em and keep you in the loop as this latest creative fever works its way through the brain-fog.  Galvanized.  I don’t trust powder coast or the Easter Bunny, anymore…

Material Handling

Two mentions about sheet goods in the small home shop.

If you can, put the thinnest sheet goods between a couple of sheets of 3/4″ or other dimensionally stable sheets.  Use one of your quick clamps at each end.

Some materials (like 1/4″ birch ply) bend all over hell-and-gone if not stored in a well supported plane.  (Or boat, lol…) [rimshot]

Next trick is to have materials spaced off the floor.  If you leave 4-feet (6′ is better) at one end, then when you need material for a project, you slide out the victim plywood onto a conveniently (not put away) paint can… Engineered Laziness!  By God, that’s a business model, ain’t it?

After this, it’s a simple matter of taking one of your battery-powered Skil or B&D saws and whacking cutting-off what’s need.

Of course, now comes the squaring problem. (A “meet on the” hint?)

So the “hunk” (the wood, not me, lol) then goes to the table saws where it’s dimensionally precisionfied (z’at a word?).  What’s this picture shows is a lesson of?

See it?  Use a good aluminum drywall square.  Because this is how you get the dead-to-nuts line on one side (free-handing on a table saw is NOT a recommended practice.

But 20 passes on the jointer would have too much tear-out.  There are just some things are ugly processes.  Over time (like 3/4 of a century, for instance), you can learn to “hear the motor pitch” and run a pretty straight line just on that.  Because you adjust the feed-angle to keep the motor turning up as high as possible.

If the motor begins to drag down, your feed angle is wrong.  About in here, you are getting the signal “Get ready to hold tight!”  Because if you don’t the piece on  the table saw can get away from you.  Machines tell us their intensions.  You just need to listen to what they’re telling you.

Elaine and I talk about this kind of thing all the time.  Hard to convey that sometimes – and you don’t get many chances – if YOU’RE NOT TOTALLY IN CHARGE OF THE TOOL, go get someone who is.  She’s getting there.

But you see a lot of people – especially those head-dwellers from Keyboard Purgatory – who want to namby-pamby a job.  No! No! No!  Be in charge or die, kiddies.

Ever wonder why people in “the trades” listen to country music?  Because there are certain operations in any trade where you need to literally have a firm grip or lose it.  Country music has a firmer grip than, oh, urban. Classical is an accident almost certainly.  OK for boring glue-ups but nothing else. Mindless rock works.  Golden Earing, Van Halen….uh…..

Can we always find a safer way?  Sure, but we don’t have all year on some of these projects.

For liability sake, never free-hand on a table saw.  And when you ignore this advise, get a grip at all times.  No pointy edges towards you.  A wide, flat surface is as good a “kickback” teacher and generally no hospital or aid buggy ride is necessary.  It may make you “smart” a bit.

In the Shop Today

Been  a busy week out here in the tall pines of East Texas. Leaves have just about finished coming off the trees between the house and the shop.  18″ deep in places, so as soon as breakfast is in, I’ll be mixing up gas and getting after those.  That’s no way to be “poplar.”

One of those “single point of failure” items on the tractor came in from postal and storage, so the week ahead might see the antenna field re-leveled.  Bush-hogging is fun.  At least it was from youth to 55.  Then something changed.  Chair beatings, oh, you know, get old?   70’s roll a little dif. fo sho.

What broke?  Came off.  There is a castellated 1″ (14 tpi) flange nut (1-1/2″ socket) that holds on the stump-jumper plate and getting it was an unwelcome delay of game.  Though, $23 for a single nut and cotter pin suggests Bitcoiner might consider hardware as an alternative bubble.

I generally don’t mow fields until the middle of January to first of February.  Between now and then, the animals (*deer) need all the cover they can get.  Since we have no hunting on the property, and my neighbors are one-a-year bowmen, our area has, over time, become a kind of safehouse zone.  As soon as there’s the first hint of spring, season will be over and the trash-brush will be whacked.  But, not before.

For now, no deer meat.  But that $74 prime rib is coming up to room temp and should keep the wolf away from the door another day.  Need to eat it to make room for the turkey to begin warming to us.  It’s the time of year we “hot-sheet” the bottom shelf of the fridge.  Previous to the prime rib, a large corned beef was the previous tenant. Haven’t signed up a new guest for when the turkey moves on, but I’ve been scanning the meat cases in town.

Aided by paying our property taxes this week.  I won’t try to explain ag tax advantages to the silly-in-the-city, but let’s just say, with the .PDF’s of the cleared checks for the parcels, we have a second reason for “Thanksgiving!”

Ham  Antenna Notes

When the north antenna field is done  (and likely before  – that’s what ADHD is all about, right? – I’ll use a drone to put a fishing line over an 85-foot pine.  From the top of that one, another line to the 70-foot level of a different tree will provide an ideal installation site for the BuxCom OCFD.

Got the 3,000 watt version of it 5-years back and although I only ran it for a few months, it was a very good antenna.  And that was next to the tower…

Been working on the “absolute/best/perfect” antenna and the OCFD modified into a kind of Windom with a radiating 22-foot section of vertical coax down from the antenna holds great promise.  If that pans out super well, I will double size it for 160 meters.

Much focus in the research this week calculating impedances from 40-90 feet and figuring out which balun to use.

Huge fan of Nelson Antennas which makes a really good choke balun which will be those 22 feet down from the T-top.  That area should radiate vertically  but without the choke, the common mode is horrible.

As much as our SuperAntenna design has worked well, antennas are like sports cars.  Yeah, I’ve gotten tired of Porsches. You may not be so lucky with airplanes, I keep thinking on that one…

And on the radio side, about the only antenna I haven’t put up yet is a cubical quad. So a 2-element Cubex and new rotator maybe for Year 73.  Maybe in 2022.  Depends on how the SpringWars go.  More solar?  More antenna farm?  Can only spend it once…

For now, likely to order another pallet of panels.  I’d like to be at the 10 kW of solar level before the world blows up.  Likely to it all, since paper’s value is always dropping.

Write when you get rich,

36 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Brain-Hand Balance, Ground Screws”

  1. Cubical quads stink. Spindly as hell, wind or ice will make it an unfixable mess. Yagi better choice in my humble opinion. I never had a quad live through a winter yet. Gave ’em up. Strong yagis are easier to build than strong quads.

    – 73 –

      • Dam Man – denigrating and tempting She (s) who must be respected ?

        Going to be laughing my ass off when that Alberta Hooker cums hooking on down east TEXAS wayz this Winter. Man, you got some steel, chrome plated Ballz on you G.

        Dont forget to keep your personal keys/recovery seeds in a separate, very secure place, separate from other hidden and or submerged caches of “money”. No Bitcoin ? No problem – , krakken are reliable crypto exchanges’ – ready to On Board new “bitcoiners”.

        No BTC for G – cause he is already fooling around with the most unhinged, tulipized mania of a market that is the S&P/DOW/NASDAQ…classic pot calling kettle black.
        – Chief Many Hahas sayz ” he who trades in fictional markets, gets eaten by the fu bear. Just gotta ask Ureself – “well do I feel lucky today?” if aint feeling it – advise to use Caution. Never have I seen anything like this in 40 years of investing & trading the stock market.

        * explanation or understanding how dammit janet (smellin something burning) yellen and or g-roam kerPOWell can say to Americans with straight face that INFLATION is Transitory !!!???
        WTF Over? transitory ?
        Like the $100 billions in Repo every month transitory ? Like REAL 10 year rate being around -4% – thats NEGATIVE interest rate. I think we are penciling in about 10 % rate inflation – that is rolling. transitory? These people are worse than Stoopid – they are Lying, like everything else it seems..

  2. A couple of quick observations:
    – You’re going to lose the small window in the other building. Does that matter?
    – You’re doubling the roof area being drained. Will a single downspout handle all the flow, especially after an East Texas gully-washer? Shed roofs can be notoriously leaky if the water isn’t carried off fast enough and could even back up and leak into the existing recording studio.
    – If you go with anything other than a traditional foundation, I suggest extending each wall with a couple of feet of critter fence into the ground. Including the existing wall of the recording studio. If you’re growing something tasty, the varmints will try to get their share.
    – Use raised bed or bucket gardening. Your back will thank you.
    Good luck and watch out for gravity storms. The wife says that no one over 65 should EVER be on a ladder. Healing is much slower when you’re older.

    • The wife is wrong! I’ve been doing a lot of roofing and other elevated work over the last 15 years and will probably be installing gable trim today. I’m a bit over George’s age according to my license. We’re being programmed to act old after a certain number of years and I’ll have none of it. Why worry about healing if you avoid getting hurt? Just have a reckless reliance on luck(and God, and nature), and be careful within reason. I did my first solo parachute jump last year. No big deal other than cramming myself into a Cessna with too many others. Yes, I could die, but that’s already a statistical certainty – only the timing is unknown.

      Stay sharp and recognize you have the opportunity to live until you die!

      • Ok. YOU tell her she’s wrong. I’m kinda fond of the location and functioning of my various body parts just as they are.
        Congrats. May all your jumps be safe ones. But I’m with Clint on this one: Why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane?

      • Another George, – Perhaps you have a wife and I don’t because you managed to keep yours! I’m not comfortable with angry women – I have no idea how to respond to them so I avoid the angry ones totally.

        I decided to try skydiving to see what all the fuss is about. I much prefer flying left seat in a good airplane. I was concerned that eventually all the jump schools would require an MD signoff due to my alleged age, and that would be a dealbreaker. I don’t do MD’s. The other thing is that most schools have a weight limit of 200 lbs and rarely 220 lbs for students. I barely qualified after hardly eating for a couple of months – it’s below my optimal weight. I did the jump and landed uneventfully, but really didn’t feel anything other than I’d learned to fly a piece of fabric – at least to the point of solo. I probably won’t jump out of another airplane unless the alternative is worse, but at least I know what to expect. On the other hand, paramotors, ultralights, and sport planes are still interesting if I ever get(or make) the free time.

      • “I’m not comfortable with angry women – I have no idea how to respond to them so I avoid the angry ones totally.”

        Hmm.. I’ve never been with an angry woman.. met one once she worked with me and she was upset all the time about everything.. she had flaming red hair to.. had one as a boss she was angry and devious.. they hired her to cut staff to get it under budget… gave her huge bonuses.. once she cut senior staff. They cut her..
        Shes now at another facility.. cutting staff lol lol

      • “you have the opportunity to live until you die!”

        Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.. sort of reminds me of a friend that had bought the women in his life taser’s..
        He was putting batteries in one while watching the football game and having a couple of cold adult beverages..when hehad this question…just how could a couple of double A batteries stop someone from doing harm… so he placed it on his leg… and pulled the lol lol he said he f ed let white hot pain ..and he heard someone in the distance screaming.. only to realize it was his screams lol.. so jumping out of a plane and screaming as I hurled to the ground is not my idea of probably will increase depends undergarment sales since I’m sure ther will be some streaking in the shorts lol..

  3. Thanks for today’s article. I was hoping you would talk about gardening. The other stuff you do amazes me. The “old” men I know just sit around and drink.

      • I’ll be 69 in Feb – my youngest daughter (36) is trying to talk me into joining her this Spring or early Summer on an Everest Base Camp hike from Lukla. Two weeks of hiking, over 6,000’ elevation gain (from 9,318 to 17,598’) and the constant threat of altitude sickness. I’ve done Mt. Whitney @ 14,498’ in one day (7,000’ ascent from the starting point), and suffered altitude sickness because of that rapid climbcd, so I’m definitely thinking twice about this one. I’m trying to redirect her to a Machu Picchu trek or a segment of the Appalachian Trail.

      • “I’ll be 69 in Feb – my youngest daughter (36) is trying to talk me into joining her this Spring or early Summer on an Everest Base Camp hike from Lukla. ”

        that actually sounds like fun Maj…. if you can hike it.. I would take her up on the offer.. You never know when its your time and that sounds like an adventure of a lifetime..
        better than just hanging out in the wastelands like I am..If you decide to join in the hike of a lifetime take pictures and get me a small piece of a stick from a tree with a photo of the tree and you or the daughter besides it.. about ten inches long and as big around as your thumb…. why in the world would an old man like that.. I make pens.. and wanted to make a pen from every country on the planet with a picture of the tree that it came from and the person that was there to pick it up.. if you pick up two.. I will make a pen for you to….

      • “I’m trying to redirect her to a Machu Picchu trek or a segment of the Appalachian Trail.”

        If you get her to change destinations.. I would love to see that one to.. take pictures and of course the stick LOL..

  4. I have been down to a homebrew dipole and verticle the past couple of years. Just too many other projects around the ranch keep getting in the way. Being grounded as it may after the Covid battle and now Covid related Pneumonia I decided to fire up the shack the other day. Hadn’t been on the air since late August according to my log. I knew I would be restricted to the verticle since I could see from the house that one leg of the dipole was down. Not unusual for this time of year. Started to tune up on 40 but nothing would work. Receive sounded like being a million miles away. The antenna is 80″ from the house fed by LNR 400 through a buried conduit. I’m tethered by a 70′ air hose so my range is limited So I asked the wife if she could go over and take a look at the feed line connection. After the exaggerated eye-rolling and “I don’t know anything about that.” she agreed. She came back with “It’s hooked to the thingy on the pole. What is the big round thing on it and why are all those wires sticking up out of the ground?”. WTF?? So I asked her if she would mind taking a photo with her phone so I could see what big round thing” she could be talking about. Turns out there is a large gall at the end of the feed line next to the pl259 so apparently some moisture has gotten in and I believe one of my neighbors who has been helping us was running their brush hog down the fence line hooked most of the radials and pulled them out. AD0YQ is off the air for the time being.
    Midweek Dr appointment to further assess lung damage and wreckage left behind. Now I am told that the damages can continue to occur for months or years following recovery. Great.

    • Dude -Jim you taking/supplementing D3, Vit C, Zinc & Magnesium, Quecertin ?
      Z-Pack is above regime protocol. Especially the D3. Farm hardy and tough as nails I know very well, but the “proper tools for the job’ meme applies here biggly. Wish you the best in Ure recovery efforts, no doubt you will kick this thing. Best of Luck.

      • Yes sir. Been taking all but the Quercetin for quite some time. I believe that it is probably what kept this from hitting me worse than it did. Still cannot determine how this got to me and my wife out here in the sticks. Fortunately, she was not hit near as hard and was able to recover at home.

    • Jim, can you please explain your covid experience from the beginning: symptoms onset, what were they, did you go to a doctor? How long did you wait to go to a doctor, if at all. Any home treatments taken before or after diagnosis? Did the doctor prescribe anything?

      How long did you stay home?

      Did you end up in the hospital? How long were you there, what treatments were given, etc.????

      Did anyone else in your family get it or give it to you?

      What is the follow-up care treatment???

      Thank you.

      Hope you continue to heal and recover.

      • Sure, I answered some of your questions previously.
        Started feeling like a cold coming on. Later a cough and sore throat. Took a covid test that came back positive after 3 days so 5 days from the first symptoms. Advised my Dr office. She sent a prescription for Predisone.
        That same night woke up with a fever of 101.5 and felt like hell. Took an oximiter we had picked up on Amazon and the first readings settled around 85 then the LEDs switched to straight lines. Headed to the hospital, approximately 45 minutes to an hour away. On the way my daughter, the charge nurse at this hospital, called and said don’t bring dad here. If he is as bad as you say they will intubate him and send him to another hospital much worse than here. So we change directions and headed to another hospital 30 minutes further.
        Walked into the ER and it was packed. While the reception was checking me in guess I collapsed and the next thing I knew I was in the ER ICU and they were trying different oxygen masks and starting IV’s.
        Spent 3 weeks in ICU where I apparently went out but came back 2 more times, then another week after I was done with Covid in an extended care unit where I spent every day just concentrating on breathing. I was told I have post Covid Viral Pneumonia. Fortunately, I was not intubated or put on a respirator.
        I was barely able to pass a test by walking 50 feet while a therapist stood next to me watching my O2 level. She said she didn’t know and shook her head when I asked if I passed. At this point, nothing they were doing for me was anything I couldn’t do myself at home so I made it clear I would do whatever I needed to do to go home. They sent me home with O2 tanks and written instructions for my therapy and an O2 concentrator unit was delivered to the ranch. All total over 4 weeks at the hospital, been home 3 weeks.
        I saw my Dr 2 weeks ago and go back in a couple of days. I understand there will be a pulmonary specialist involved some time soon and Pulmonary Fibrosis has been mentioned. Don’t like what I have researched on that.
        My wife also tested positive a couple of days after me. Fortunately, she only had cold-like symptoms and was able to stay home.
        I normally would have tried to fight this on my own but this $20 oximeter was what got me to go when I did.

      • Just a technical question- and thanks for sharing the details – had you done the 2-part pneumonia vaccine shots beforehand? Curious of having the pneumonia vaxs onboard helps is why the question..


      • Reply to G re: had I done the 2 part pneumonia vax.
        I had not but am scheduled for it.
        That was the first thing I asked when I saw my Dr. a couple of weeks ago. The short answer was it would not have made any difference. l asked the Dr’s at the hospital and my own highly trusted Physician who all say the same thing. Covid has changed the rules on everything. We just don’t know anymore. I asked the Dr who was in charge of me at the hospital if this is permanent. She looked like she was about to cry and told me she did not know.
        I am scheduled to get my first installment of the P vax this coming March which is my next scheduled semi-annual maint visit.

        Bottom line is, and I am preaching to the choir here in this very intelligent and aware group, Turn off and ignore all the politics, threats, lies, and utter BS about this which would be just about any media. Do your own research using only peer-reviewed studies and your data should only reflect yes and no answers not left or right. It is out there, just look. Keep your guard up but be ready to engage medical care sooner rather than later especially if you are older. I am 70. Also scout your medical proivders beforehand to avoid my situation where I would have been intubated and transferred quickly, and in my opinion fatally, if I had gone to the first hospital.
        Stay safe everyone.

      • Jim in MO: Thanks for your descriptions! It just reaffirms my thoughts to start home treatment early… instantly… if you think you have symptoms. Start treatment, THEN go get the Covid test for confirmation, but don’t wait to care for yourself. Got Ivermectin on hand? Be Prepared!

  5. Dam… I love the Ground screws.. those look awesome..
    I think the difference between powder coated and galvanized.. it about the same.. the ground screws that are powder coated use the powder coat that is superior zinc to combat extreme weather .. the galvanized is also great because it uses a zinc coating for protection from the elements.. I guess myself.. I would prefer the powder coated.. when I designed out wind turbine mount years and years ago.. I had it powder coated.. where I made my mistake.. was I cut the pieces out of a cereal box for the template.. I did exact measurements and didn’t account for the thickness of the powder coat.. so I had to breach the coating.. which is where it started to rust.. Now for a nice rich patina if I was to do it over again.. I would go the rusting method.. leave it as steel.. then spray it with a light acid.. let it rust then seal it up spray on a zinc coating.. nice look and durable as all other forms..

    • I love em too, but my better half complains about cold, damp cheeks..

      I of course I just love the effect of dampness and cold on reflexive muscle action of the gluteus maximus ; )

  6. George…,
    1] What are going to / currently use to store 10Kw of solar ? .., and
    2] How about a pic of all the tile work you talked about. Like to see it.

  7. “Galvanized. I don’t trust powder coast or the Easter Bunny, anymore…”

    Putting up ham masts and antennas in the tropical rainforest environment, I don’t trust galvanized anymore! Stainless! I only want to do it ONCE.

  8. Hey G,

    You’ve got the time machine experiments coming up. Is there anyway we can help? There’s still time to drop ship high-end Eastern smoke like….. Myrrh resin or Malana Cream….

    So exciting.

    Are you going to make a per-experiment post?

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