ShopTalk Sunday: Rain Tests, Shop Sound Systems

A third of the way into January, the rains have returned to Texas. 

Those couple of weeks rounding-out December, were nothing more than sucker-punches for the unwary.

From the outside project table, under the off-square rannygaboo (Americanized from the more proper rannygazoo) rain cover, there were projects lined up as far are the eye could see:

The highly organized pile on the left is some field wire while the metal barrels are awaiting the “master’s touch” with the plasma cutter.  Two will become burn barrels, while the third metal barrel will be fashioned onto a barrel stove kit.  Plastic barrels will be serviced (remnants used to start spring brush piles) and then refilled with stabilizer and 55-gallons of diesel each.

Fortunately, that’s not our topic today.

The real story this morning is about Artist-in-Chief Elaine’s artistic eye.  Which saw that there might be some shortcomings to my Grow Room project.  One of which is rain screwing up the view of trees through the roof:

Still, accepting the visual obfuscation (along with some of my own donations) the roofline is complete now:

Unfortunately, even though I managed to get this project underway and half-way to completion, she spied the storage room.  Oh boy!  Another project.

This one began by whacking down all the yaupon trees around it:

The Artiste wants this to match the house color, as well.  Shouldn’t be too much of an issue, however.  As soon as the rest of the stumps are cut and the new trim work in place.

Rain and a sore right shoulder (rotator cuff, feels like) from lifting overhead has slowed the frantic good weather day work pace a bit.  Rain works for me.

Shop Sound Systems

If you remember, the main workbench in the middle of our shop, has a 2-by-4 overhead which holds more crap than you can shake a stick at. 

On the far side is the screwdriver rack, hammer rack, and to the left of this view are the power tool racks with two each impact drives (Skil, Hitachi) and their mating drills.  Somehow a battery power circ saw and a zip saw made it onto that rack, as well.

Focus now, if you please, on the central portion of said 2-by-4 to scale this morning’s class project:

That brown area is a 1/4 inch ply light shade so the light goes on the work, not in my eyes so much.  Above that is a police scanner (for the genuinely full-time paranoid) along with an Alexa Echo box.  Burglar alarms aren’t shown. (Do I have idiot written on my forehead?)

Also, into the mix, let’s now toss an old stereo that works fine – bought on our sailboating honeymoon up in Nanaimo, B.C. back in 2000.

Off in a corner are (yet another) pair of reliable old Bose/Interaudio’s that sound acceptable, unless you’re running seismic shock testing with your subs.

Since we didn’t have any success bending space-time with sound (lack of persistence, I suspect, since the math and logic is good) I have a total of six or eight of these bad boys sitting around.

Now the Design Parameters

Here is my project list, from lightweight quickies all the way up to IPO’s.

  • Lightweight:  Hook up four speakers only to the stereo, turn on the low power FM transmitter in the recording studio at the house and play my own playlist off the MP3 collection and using ZaraStudio – Radio automation software to roll the right tunes along.  Maybe set it up for time, news, weather, and such off the internet, as well.
  • Medium weight:  This version would skip the Zara work but would add in Bluetooth devices to pipe the music source (Amazon Music) over to the (old) stereo and thence to the speakers.  This might sound like the lightweight version, but my luck with Bluetooth (except in our airplane for some reason) has been terrible.  Worse?  The BT devices would not be used but 2-5 times a week.  And now we’re talking battery life, or outlets  and switching with another Smart Switch on the home automation network which has already sprawled onto our three wireless networks here.  Which might just push me over the edge into mesh networking and now we’re completely losing track of the “working with hands” and back into computers and virtual shit which obviates the whole point of a shop.  EXCEPT that with two 3D printers and the CNC machine (with laser), doesn’t that sound sort of like building The Holodeck? Without the advantage of a Star Fleet Academy degree in computers, however…
  • Heavyweight version:  I take a leftover computer (we have a couple) and a leftover monitor (there’s a 40 inch, NOT UHD, and hardwire everything into a kind of “shop central control.”  If you’ve been around broadcast facilities, picture a cross between a video editing suite and audio production room.  Except here, it would be part audio production space, part CNC control center, and piping my choice of Alexa, Zara, or iHeart around.  But, doing this, I want to maintain the audio levels under voice command so not sure if I can jigger that together under Win10, or whether Alexa still has to be wired or BT’ed in.
  • Ultra-weight leading to an IPO version:  We figure out how to build a shop sound canceling system into the center of all this.  It would feature:
    • Multiple sound sources (Alexa, Zara, iHeart)
    • CNC and 3D printers under voice control.
    • Auto-muting of machines when the phone rings (on Alexa or on the landline…)
    • And when nothing is on the entertainment channel, counter-waves of sound are generated by a half dozen mics around the shop to neutralize machine noise.  Similar to the panels of active noise cancellation but dialed in for the big central shop vac and for the table saw, shaper, sanders are being used.
    • Oh, and a $139.00 price point and 10-wire installation…

OK, I gotta swear off, change brands, or buy some more power tools!

BRG Drivers!

If you don’t know BRG is British Racing Green, then Ray’s overnight gem of a post at the bottom of our Tool-Slut/Maker’s “Hot Deals” tip sheet won’t be of interest.  But if you know your Wentworths from you Whitworths, then bottom of Hot Deals – UrbanSurvival is of extreme interest.

On the other hand, if your interests are more domestic, might try one of these: Lotos Supreme LTP5500D Non-Touch Pilot Arc Plasma Cutter, Dual Voltage 110V/220V, 3/5 inch Clean Cut, Brown (55AMP Digital).  Yes, that’s right:  Cut up and haul off.  Then get something worthy of your time, money, and attentions.  (I did a partial on a ’39 Chevy, which ended up going to a lawyer when that 30-year ago nuclear event went off; me, bitter?)

BTW, notice how cheap stick welders have gotten on the ‘Zon? : hot start welders…,(For those of us who are wire and gas fans and have terrible eyesight… Artists run stick…)

Write when you get rich,

43 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Rain Tests, Shop Sound Systems”

    • I’d like a good Lycoming 0-320 (I have the prop and spinner, thanks)./

      All I need them is assorted aluminum pipe and plate, plus a lot of practice welding AL and an airboat comes to mind…

  1. Bear on the boat:

    You’re going about this all wrong. Break out the BBQ and face chairs _away_ from to-do stuff. Make lists (for others). Update your wave count (them was the days, longwaves).

    How many tools do you really need?
    A: all of them …

    • Alrighty now how many tool sluts own North Bros. #31 Spiral screwdriver&Bits or a #41 Push Drill=Patents 1880s? You got to have them!

  2. Appears there’s a real decline and from what I read elsewhere, liberals are trying to down play it. Kinda blows their narrative. :)

    I see you like BOSE. Yep, vintage is the best. Don’t know what happened over at BOSE, they just don’t make’em like they use to. Maybe it was like the day Stradivarius (somehow) lost that sound quality, who knows?

    Had a pair of BOSE 301’s with that cool “Direct Reflective Sound Technology” – WOW !!

    I paired those up with a pair of Sony SAVA 10 speakers, and hooked those up to a big screen TV that had an incredible sub woofer, back in the 1990’s

    Don’t know if that system moved space and time but it certainly moved things at a distance off tables, and pictures off walls. Even cracked a 55 gallon aquarium. – I lived in an apartment at the time and though my neighbors were impressed, they were pissed that I was causing such destruction, even with the sub turns way down. Oops !! – The police were impressed and noted what I had … and fortunately only got a “warning” to keep it down. Lol !!

    But with all that, the sound literally moved around as if it were alive. You could feel it and hear it move past and around you, as if dancing. Voices and individual instruments flowing around the room. One of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. Cool as hell :)

    Sometimes, (like now) I kick myself in the butt for getting rid of all that but, back then everything I owned was for sale, if the price was right.

    Just when I thought technology was gonna get EVEN BETTER, they went cheep and charged more. UGH !!


    • As I recall the 301’s were bookshelf speakers but the real mac daddy was the 901’s.
      And as long as we’re talkin’ speakers, what about those Altec-Lansing “Voice of the theater” speakers? I worked at a radio station (WVLK, Lexington) and we had one in the production room.
      Around here we had to settle for 4 Polk towards, 2 of which are paired with a pair of Sony SSU-351’s a neighbor gave me.

      • VooTs were forever on my wish list, but so was building a bowtie-shaped theatre room to justify them. The latter never happened, so…

    • That sound positioning was the same effect I got from my Polk SDA-SRS + Polk 5’s.

      There are times I miss the ’80s and ’90s…

    • Fall 1970. My college Prof. was an extreme audiophile. Four Bose 301s in the living room corners, with a pair of Macintosh amps for four discrete channels. He invited a select few of us students over for dinner one night. Miles up the road in Minneapolis, two of the FM stations had made a true 4-channel recording of the local symphony and agreed to broadcast it in quadraphonic. One station had left channel front & rear, other station had the other side. Sitting in the middle of that living room with four Bose in the corners was the most magical audio experience I ever had. Close your eyes and you were sitting in the middle of an orchestra.

      • I bought a Panasonic discrete quadrophonic receiver in 1970 or ’71 — 4x12w amps, and would do discrete or phantom at the flip of a switch. The phantom 4-channel was done by reversing + out-of-phasing the 2-ch and piping the result to the rears. (I used this same “technique” several years later when I designed and implemented a “4-channel” car stereo.)*

        I had an ancient Garrard changer to which I fitted an Audio Technica quad cartridge (old timers will remember the ATs and the funky beveled shape of their needles) then I acquired several discrete quad albums, the only one of which I remember was Joni Mitchell’s “Hissing of Summer Lawns…”

        *I used two cheapassed Pyramid EQ/amps and Chinese knock-offs of the Infinity aluminum mini bookshelf speakers paired with Utah 8″ full range rears. I demoed it by dropping a tape of Yes’ “Leave It” (from the album “90125”), which was performed a cappella except for a snare drum, and the sound system would blow people’s minds when that snare went overhead from the LF to the RR channel and the ending flam would sound like a gunshot – only in the left rear. It was an incredibly inaccurate sound, but incredibly neat to hear, because to the listener, it sounded like they were in the middle of the band or orchestra, instead of 4th row center…

  3. Rains? I’d luuuuv to see some precipitation around here! It’s gone from lush to dust bowl in about 2 months so we’re back to feeding. Typical boom and bust in W. Texas.

    Bill Filed In Washington Would Authorize ‘Strike Force’ To ‘Involuntarily Detain’ Unvaccinated Families: ‘They Have Already Set Up The Internment Camps’

    The Washington State Board of Health may soon amend state law to authorize the involuntary detainment of residents as young as 5 years old in Covid-19 “internment camps” for failing to comply with the state’s experimental vaccine mandate.

    According to W 246-100-040, “a local health officer may invoke the powers of police officers, sheriffs, constables, and all other officers and employees of any political subdivisions within the jurisdiction of the health department to enforce immediately orders given to effectuate the purposes of this section in accordance with the provisions of RCW 43.20.050(4) and 70.05.120.”

    The “emergency detention order” legalizes the isolation and detainment of American citizens who fail to voluntarily comply with Covid gene therapy shots “for a period not to exceed ten days.”
    Scott Miller, a Washington-based Physician Assistant who runs a private pediatric clinic, lost his medical license in October for providing over two thousand critically-ill Covid patients with Ivermectin, vitamins and other effective treatments. (I wonder what happened to the doctor he was supposed to be working under? – Bill)

    Miller will provide testimony during the WSBH 8-hour Zoom meeting on Wednesday to warn against mandating the experimental shot for children and present data showing acute vaccine-related injuries and fatalities.
    Still struggling with the ramifications of having his medical license revoked for saving lives, Miller wonders how many innocent families are going to have to flee the state to find basic freedom that was once ubiquitous in the states if this so-called emergency legislation is passed.

    “I was up at 5:30 this morning. I got a call from a woman in Ohio whose husband is day eight [Covid-infected] just crying asking me, ‘Can you please help, we are desperate.’ It is devastating knowing that I could have easily treated him as I had hundreds of people outside of Washington prior to the emergency suspension of my license for prescribing life-saving therapeutics,” Miller told The Gateway Pundit in an exclusive interview. “I can no longer actively help those families in need and it breaks my heart.
    Washington’s Democrat Governor Jay Inslee is currently hiring a “strike team” to run the quarantine facilities.

    “Isolation & quarantine strike team consultants” will earn $3,294 to $4,286 monthly for their services, according to a description posted in September at, confirming the state’s plans for Covid encampment.
    Strike teams will “provide for the needs of travelers” that stay at the facility, which is located in Centralia. The strike teams will also be tasked with “responding to emergencies, training contractors and new staff, and providing guest support as needed,” the job announcement explains.
    Gov. Inslee issued another threat to his unvaccinated constituents on Wednesday, warning new measures will be taken to address a 146 percent increase in cases in the past week and 46 percent increase in daily covid hospitalizations statewide omicron surge.

    “Now is the time to re-double our efforts against this virus” he chided.
    Yet, at least 76 percent of Washington, 5,793,378 people, has received at least one vaccine dose, while 5,193,988 people or 68% of Washington’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to USA Facts.

    The state has also partnered with corporate retail giant Amazon to create a web portal to assure patients regularly test for Covid at home, The Olympian reports.
    Clif was saying a few videos ago that the next several months will see a huge push by the government for compliance in vaxxxing that is going to be pure misery for all concerned. We are, indeed, living in interesting times.

    • Again with the COVID? Can’t we give it a rest (at least on Sunday)? Sheesh (testosterone enhanced)!

      • Yep. Covid, Covid, Covid! If I don’t do it Ray will. Covid and governments don’t sleep when they have your rights in their sights. Taking weekends off is when people are blindsided by weekend events.


      • Yo Strich
        How does the sand feel upto yur neck.
        Wupa phat up ya D-head. Got somthin sacred let it roll-without the sand of course.

      • ” If I don’t do it Ray will.”

        Damn’ straight. The only way to end the lunacy is to keep hammering on it until everyone gets so tired of hearing it they begin valuing the Constitution more-highly than they do, their legislators.

        AG, you’re simply ahead of the pack… ;-)

    • Golly Bill, this is awful.
      Thinking about it, a bit makes one realize that the bill was originated by a person and their name or signature appears somewhere on that submitted bill. There’s your answer. Go find the person/s and open a dialog with them that they understand so they can be swayed back to the straight and narrow path of, good, for the people type of government. Talk nicely and explain how incarcerating people who don’t care to take part in the big medical experiment will alarm them. Point out that the “no thank you” group should be left alone rather than taken prisoner. Show them the love they deserve. They just haven’t heard you yet…

      • As long as they have friends this’ll continue. When herding goats out in the pasture there’s almost always one wayward nanny that leads them anywhere but where you want them to go and the rest follow. Sometimes we just let her go and sometimes we have to take her out one way or another. It’s the same with people. Mass Formation Psychosis is a real tool even though it may not show up in the APA’s Dictionary of Psychology. One day soon people who follow the “finger in the wind” philosophy regarding Covid to make a living will find, in reality, their finger resides in that place where the Sun don’t shine and the Sheeple will see them for what they are. It won’t be pretty.

  4. Yo Mr Tulip Tools,

    How all scheisse gonna work in Ure shop after we be Kalibered, soonly ? Hahaha

    What – you dont think Iran understands is a dish best served Cold.

    As 4 Digital tulips (BTC) – we’ll leave the lights on 4 U, so U can see how the bcn defines what a tool is..

    Just dont look at Ure phone screen..directly – if U bee “vaxxed” ball lightneing, U just neva know what might flash before Ure eyes..

  5. When you build your air boat project please consider adding some fixed wings to either side of the boat. According to a potential customer back in the day adding wings to your air boat will help it fly thru the water. After careful consideration we declined to build the wings. You may want to experiment with this. Despite not consulting with our council or insurance company we thought the better part of valor was to see if someone else would build his project. I.E. we thought he was nuts!
    There is also the fun you can have with a couple sheets of 16oz copper and some tubing and other things but we will save that for another day.

      • Yes but you can actually fly craft. This guy was very questionable in his skills. He was willing to try though.
        We were unwilling to assume liability.

      • With enough dihedral and attention to the CG, it should be relatively docile in ground effect. I do believe that the FAA ignores ground effect vehicles, so you don’t have the limitations of part 103. YMMV, of course. Where would you use this thing?

    • The answers, sadly, are probably the same as those that allowed Hitler to rise to power. Hysteria, mass media, individuals ceding personal power to their alleged “leaders”, and mindless following in the name of safety. The usurpers are guilty but unrepentant. We don’t currently have a “charismatic leader”, though God help us if one appears. The setup was many years of indoctrination to the idea that individuals are powerless and need to follow, rather than being taught self-reliance and leading themselves. In the end, nobody will save you except yourself.

    • William of RR,

      Thanks for the movie tip! I’m streaming it on loan from my library.

  6. While I have a full size hi-fi and TV, I find myself using the desk computer, a 32″ 4K monitor, and a powered Klipsch computer speakers for media 90%of the time:

    The LG 4K monitor I picked up on holiday sale was less than $300. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it works.

    The MS Windows 10 or 11 and Realtek chips produce sound more accurate than my ears can discern. You can probably achieve the same with an older Linux machine. Add-in cards for sound are a possibility. My primary desktop machine is just fast enough to do multimedia on the big screen while surfing on the second 1080 monitor, which allows me to rule over all with one mouse and keyboard, and no switches.

    I keep my computers inside, on a trestle bench which takes up a wall between kitchen and other functions. I like doing keyboard work in a clean climate controlled environment, but to each his own. I have a way to feed cables out into my garage work area if needed, but I usually don’t need it.

    Feeding the output from Ure media desktop to a vintage shop hi-fi should be no issue for a hobbyist. That gives you access to Youtube, Amazon Music, Sling etc. ‘ while you do other work. The other alternative is to use multiple desktops, and juggle switches or multiple keyboards and mice. While I have multiple computers and I/O on my workstation bench, I would rather not be continuously reaching for thingies. Ergonomics they call it.

    • I like the idea of a media computer feeding a low power fm transmitter. Even in my house, with different sections and doors/zigzags, I can’t hear well from one end to the other if I’m listening to a podcast or music. With decent old school receivers in various rooms, the sound can permeate the whole house. There are no neighbors close enough to be concerned about.
      Bluetooth is a poor substitute since it can only have two receivers in most cases and is overly complex for the mission.

      Thanks for the welder update! I’m much more of a stick welder than MIG. My welders all weigh a lot and it’s about time I got an inverter rig. At least I can grab it and go rather than dragging weight everywhere. Definitely worth investing $130.00 or so. For those interested, this is a good site to get grounded in welding info:

    • Another reason I keep the media separate from the area where I use power tools and sharps is that I when I use potentially dangerous tools, I don’t need distractions.

  7. Speakers? You really need 15″ woofers and horns. Even with everything closed up you’ll hear the sound a few acres over.

    Someone mentioned TVs. My TV is a 65″. The wall behind the TV is plain white as the room.

    I’ve been thinking about painting either a black band across the wall behind the TV or a black rectangle behind the TV so the TV looks framed.

    The graphics would really pop even seem enhanced with the black background.

    I’ve been buying and experimenting with black paints by painting rocks looking for a black, black.

    The blackest black I found so far* is Black 3.0 from Culture Hustle. CH also sells Black 2.0.

    Black 2.0 is very black.

    Black 3.0 is dark black. I painted a sandstone rock and put it out in the yard. A couple of feet from the rock in direct sunlight and the contours disappear making it look like an odd black shape. Weird.

    *I found another black and they recommend using an airbrush for best coating, which I don’t have so haven’t tested on a rock. A soft brush was used for Blk 2.0/3.0.

    This other black is called Musou Black and comes from Japan.

    Musou Black is black-black and absorbs up to 99.4% of visible light if applied with an airbrush. This paint fools the eye. I painted a small circle with a brush (absorbs up to 94% of light by brush) and the eye turned the circle into a cartoon like portal. Trippy. I need an airbrush.



  8. Dane County Tells Fed-Up Residents ‘Because I Said So’ Is A Good Enough Reason For Never-Ending Mask Mandates

    MADISON, Wis. — Dozens of Dane County residents queued up to make their voices heard before the county Board of Supervisors on Thursday night regarding a resolution to halt the health director’s endless mask mandate “until public input and the consent of the governed has been achieved.” After lengthy public comment and debate among the supervisors, the board rejected the resolution on a 29-4 vote

    EXCLUSIVE: Post Office Holds Woman’s Foreign Shipment of Ivermectin at the Request of the FDA

    The Gateway Pundit previously reported that Customs and Border officials captured two small packages of Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport recently. The two drugs would not have raised an eyebrow before the COVID pandemic. But since the Democrats and media politicized the completely safe, inexpensive, and effective medications the Customs agents are on the lookout for these cheap drugs. Meanwhile, Mexican cartels continue to smuggle record amounts of fentanyl into the country this year.

    Massive 145-Country Study Shows Sharp INCREASE of Transmission and DEATH After Introduction of COVID Vaccines

    Instead of bringing an end to this pandemic as promised, the widespread rollout of the experimental vaccines has actually caused a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths across the world, according to a recently published preprint study that looked at data from the 145 of the most vaccinated countries in the world.

  9. One Year Ago, Big Tech Declared Open War On America. Here’s What’s Next

    Big Tech hates us, and they aren’t going to stop. President Donald Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter one year ago this day. In the ensuing turmoil, it’s easy to forget why. Ask near-any self-declared politico around Washington, D.C., and you’ll hear an unsure and uncertain allusion to the Capitol riot.

  10. Mexico charges 7 including top officials in ‘Fast and Furious’ guns trafficking scandal

    MEXICO CITY — Mexican prosecutors said Sunday they have charged seven people, including former top officials, in the “Fast and Furious” weapons trafficking scandal.

    I posted this, but unless two of those charged are Barack and Rahm, I’m not really interested in the arrests, because the Mexican government isn’t really interested in placing the perps in front of a judge…


    A whistleblower in the Canadian province of New Brunswick says that a new “mystery” illness is circulating among young people that is causing swift cognitive decline. Interestingly, it has been happening for the past several years and really started picking up once the “vaccines” for the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) emerged under Operation Warp Speed. The Guardian describes it as “a progressive neurological illness” that afflicts young people with no prior history of health problems or triggers

    Personally, IMO this sounds like political correctness disease, but like with most things, better data might define or yield better results.

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