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Handy Tricks Episode 9

Picture of Handy Tricks Episode 9
Handy Tricks 9: Oodles of random tricks! More will be added randomly!

To see even more handy tricks, check out the rest of the saga at
Handy Tricks 8: Island Handy Tricks
and Handy Tricks 7: Bike Mods and Projects
and Handy Tricks Six!
and Australian Handy Tricks
and Guatemalan Handy Tricks
and Yet More Handy Tricks
and 40 More Handy Tricks
and Fifty Handy Tricks.
For a bunch of things that didn't work, check out How Not To.

First collection of tricks:
Damon checks out the riggers for his new rowing shell.
0. The boat is carved from pink styrofoam insulation and covered with fiberglass.
1. The boat is up on plywood boat stands made by Vincent Bachet.
2. They are padded with carpet scraps.
3. Damon made the riggers from chunks of aluminum tubing fiberglassed together.
4. The oarlock pins are stainless tube, lashed on with kevlar roving that's then soaked with epoxy.
4a. After some use they slipped. He drilled holes through kevlar and aluminum, sunk screws to pin them in place.
5. The handles of serious oars are not varnished or painted. They are left as bare wood. Apparently that is easier to grip and causes fewer blisters.
 
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Step 1: Check Cloth for water-proof-ness

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Star is making a tarp for ultralight camping. She checks the cloth porosity by trying to suck air through it.
If no air goes through, there's no porosity and the coating is continuous. It's waterproof.

An Ojibway Indian showed me the same method to find leaks in a birchbark canoe.

Step 2: Nicopress Crimping Stand

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Jon Pompa crimps cable stay ends.
He clamps the crimper in a vise so it's less work to use.

First he uses the vice to deform the sleeve and hold the cable and thimble in the right place.
Then he crimps several times from outer to inner. The crimping lengthens the nicopress sleeve so the tail of the cable ends up fully enclosed. That way no "fish hooks" hang out to snag and cut you and your stuff.

Step 3: Light Tent

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To get good diffused light on your projects use a "light tent". It's just a white cloth thing with some lights shining on it.
The plain white background makes the object of interest stand out.
Also it makes your file sizes much smaller. Plain white requires no extra data to represent even if it's a billion pixels. Gravel or grass in the background, on the other hand, makes your photos into cluttery data hogs.

There are couple of light tent instructables.

An upside-down card table with a sheet thrown over the legs would make a good light tent.

Step 4: Vodkavocado

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Here's the latest taste sensation.
It's also good with honey. Start there. Avocado, water, and honey makes a great drink.

There isn't a wrong way to make it. Except with cocoa. Chocolate goes on the side, along with the leftover food feast.

The name needs work. Maybe outsource that to Serbia. They seem to have a thing for names like this.

Step 5: Thermostatic Controlled Electric Skillet

We live in a degenerate age. Our stoves are wasteful and clumsy.

Here's a superior electric skillet from the dark ages. It has a thermostat.
A thermostat controls temperature. That means your food doesn't burn, even if you forget about it for a while. It doesn't burn, so it doesn't give you gut cancer.
It doesn't burn, so it also doesn't stick to the skillet. So cleanup is easy.
The electrical controller pulls out so you can put the rest of it in the sink or dishwasher.

It cooks faster than a regular skillet due to the thermostat. When you pour your two dozen eggwhites in, the thermostat senses the cold, and turns up the power. So there's none of this burn-wait-wait-burn thing going on.

It's more efficient than a regular skillet/burner combination due to better heat transfer. These heating elements are embedded in the bottom of the pan. A regular stovetop, by comparison, couples heat to the pan poorly and wastes electricity.

Step 6: Surface Mount anti-oops device

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Star says: Henry Hallam uses a piece of double-sticky tape on the edge of his desk to keep track of small parts while fixing/assembling things, as well as for surface mount parts - you can open the pack without spraying them everywhere.

Step 7: Star's Travel Sewing Kit/ Floss

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Star says: I made the coolest traveler's sewing kit:
combined dental hygiene kit!

Step 8: Solar Music Helmet

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Star doesn't have to change batteries on her mp3 player anymore. Here's her swank solar powered music helmet. She's got airline headphones permanently attached to the earpieces, the mp3 player attached to the back of the helmet, and a solar panel on top to charge it. she replaced the boost chip on the solar panel so now the mp3 player charges over USB.

Step 9: Water Feed for Stone Polisher

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Ken Matsumoto in San Jose makes massive stone bowls. Here's one of his polishers. He took a regular hitachi polisher and added a water feed with a ball valve and quick-detach fitting.

He also has a gallery that shows really amazing art. If you're anywhere near San Jose you must see it.

The final photo is a commercial polisher that feeds water straight down the middle of the shaft.

Step 10: Silent Disco

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Star went to England. She wrote: I learned of another Cambridge cultural gem: the "Silent Disco". Picture forty people in a room, quietly dancing together with headphones on. The typical setup is two DJs each playing music simultaneously, and you choose which of their (non-beatmatched!) jams to dance to by a switch on the headphones. That way, you can adjust the volume for your own comfortable easy listening, as well as choose the music you prefer. Fergus said it was really strange to lift the headphones off your ear to talk to someone, and hear the near complete silence in the dance hall. Yet, it's so popular with Cantabrigians that Friday evening's Silent Disco was sold out, so we went to a pub called the Man in the Moon instead."

I had an idea like this, or more likely heard of it somewhere. In that version you'd use a low-watt FM transmitter and the dancers would wear headset radios. It could be a mobile disco, and bystanders would wonder what this crowd of dancers was up to or on.
It didn't occur to me that you could have multiple music selections at once. The mind perceptually synchronizes unrelated sounds and motions, so probably it would look to you like everyone was dancing to the same music you were hearing. One of the TV stations in my hometown got jammed by the college radio station. You'd see a basketball game or whatever, but you'd hear music from the radio station. It always looked like the players were dancing to the music.

Step 11: Shark Repellant

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Star sent me this photo.

This is a bag of military shark repellant from Britain.
The instructions say "squeeze bag to produce dense black cloud. Stay in centre of cloud."
That doesn't sound like very good snorkeling.

If any shark experts are reading this, please comment with your favorite shark repelling methods!

Step 12: Shopping Cart Dolly 2

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This fine cart appeared on our premises recently. Someone cut the sides of the basket off, just leaving a lip to stop things from sliding off. They welded on two upright posts at the front to keep it from sagging. It's very useful, by which I mean it actually gets used a lot.

Step 13: Shopping Cart Dolly 3

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Here's another dolly made from a shopping cart. It's just big enough to carry an overloaded garbage can to the dumpster. And just high enough to prop something heavy on while it's being moved.

Step 14: Detachable Shipping Container Door Shelf

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I wanted a shelf on the door of my shipping container. Then I realized I could hook a unistrut shelf bracket into a channel in the door. I shoved blocks behind the bracket to hold it at the right angle. Done!

Step 15: Bulletproof Bike Tire

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I was given a bike with bulletproof tires, but never knew it. The rest of the bike got scavenged for parts. I tried to take a tire for another bike, and realized it had no stem! The innertube had been filled with some kind of rubber. Probably a two-part urethane of just the right durometer hardness.
After a lot of grunting and messing around I got it off. Here's what the innertube looks like.
It's a lot heavier than an innertube full of air, but I never noticed when it was on the bike.

I've heard this is what they do for armored cars and other vehicles that need puncture resistance.

Step 16: Get the Customers to Clean Up

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Hawaiian Airlines has this sign in their restrooms.
It didn't get me to clean the place, but I didn't trash it as much as I usually do.

Step 17: Ceramic Sharpening Stone

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The rough bottom of a ceramic vessel makes a good sharpening stone. Here I'm sharpening a pair of scissors. A sharp pair of scissors makes a nice sound. Also it cuts well. Look carefully at how the bevels go together before you sharpen scissors the first time. If you grind on the wrong thing you'll make your scissors worse rather than better.

Step 18: Head-Sized Steam Tent

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Stephanie Simpson wanted to get over a cold. So she made this head-sized steam tent. She filled the basin with boiling water, a few drops of eucalyptus oil and some camomile tea.

Step 19: Mobile Internet Connection

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Jennifer brings her Clearwire ISP box with her when she travels. Here she is in the Honolulu airport plugged in and online. There's coverage most places she goes. There's no charge for roaming.

Step 20: Paint Stick Stain Sampler

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What a great way to display what shade of stain you'll get on blonde wood.
When the display gets changed, the color samples can be given away to mix paint.

Seen at Pagano's Hardware, Alameda CA.

Step 21: Inside a Propane Tank

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Looking for a fluid level sensor? Here's what's inside a propane tank.
The obsolete kind with a round knob on the valve anyway.
The float linkage raises and lowers a pushrod that goes up into the valve.
Inside the valve on one side it's attached to a magnet. You can see metal filings stuck to the side of the valve there. They move when you move the float.

The tank filling machine must have had a hall sensor to detect the position of that magnet.

WARNING!
Don't cut up propane tanks unless you know how to do it safely!
That means fully purging all fuel and vapors and filling the tank with water first.
You'll look and hurt bad if your face gets burned off!

Step 22: Temple Grip Glasses

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Sean C. Upton at the Monterey Bay Aquarium has invented a new way to keep his glasses on his face.
He cut the earpieces short, put soft rubber pads on the ends, and uses them to grip his temple bones. He's been wearing them this way for a month or so and likes it a lot.
It's very Agent Smith.

Step 23: Firehose Ball

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At the Saxton's River Vermont 4th of July Parade the locals play a big game of Fire Hose Water Polo every year.
It is played by the members of the Saxton's River Volunteer Fire Department right on Main St. The winning team gets an award!

Contributed by Cyrus Shaoul

Step 24: Lip Balm Cartridge Belt

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This gent at burningman is armed with an array of lip balm to help protect the innocents from such hazards as UV, caustic dust, and very low humidity. He's helping out at the Black Rock Yacht Club, where people learn to ride wind-powered skateboards. Shot by Star

Step 25: Tape Stripe Hotrod

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These gents in Edinburgh have sexed up their Volvo by adding racing stripes of tape and a number, which are the only things a race car has that are better than a regular car. Good going! You just saved the planet from thousands of pounds of carbon emissions relative to a conventional hotrod.

Shot by Star

Step 26: Scottish Dream Car - Interior

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These gents in Edinburgh have tricked out their Volvo's interior to make it totally up-to-date.
For instance, they've duct - taped a TV to their dashboard.

Shot by Star

Step 27: Scottish Boat Wheels

Tides usually rise and fall much more in the high latitudes than they do at the equator. That means if you park your boat above the high tide, launch at low tide, the tide range is 20ft and the slope of the landing is 5 degrees, how far do you have to drag it? Answer: far enough to wear a hole in the bottom.
Solution: put wheels on your boat. Some of the dinghies here in Edinburgh have the wheels built on permanently, some use a little cart to put their boats in the water.

Shot by Star

Step 28: Artsy ConcreteSteps with Bike Chain

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Seen at a squatter house in Oakland CA.
When they fixed up the front stairs they embedded ornaments in the cement.
Good idea well done!

Step 29: Can-Fence Grafitti

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Spraypaint doesn't show up well on a chain-link fence?
Drink 200 cans of "energy drink" and you'll think of a solution for sure!

Seen under I-80, West Oakland, CA

Step 30: Antifreeze in drain trap prevents freezing and broken pipes

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My dad pours some automotive antifreeze into the sink to "winterize" our cabin.
The antifreeze keeps the water in the drain trap from freezing and breaking the pipe.

Step 31: Soccer Ball Flower Pot

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got a sentimental soccer ball that just got run over by a car? Got a sentimental plant in a flower pot that just got dropped? Put them together!

Spotted in The Mission, San Francisco CA

Step 32: Ultralight Shoes

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My cousins hiked the Appalachian trail. They said some of the hikers did it barefoot. When barefooters went to a store or restaurant there was trouble with the "no shoes no shirt no service" superstition/bigotry.
Some barefooters solved this problem with a magic marker. They just drew sandal straps on their feet and strode boldly in. I tried it recently at a fancy restaurant. That marker is MAGIC! indeed. Next time maybe I'll draw on a shirt too...
SEO-Vancouver3 months ago

How long did this take you to write?

Thanks for the tips

amconder1 year ago
What is it???
sharlston6 years ago
the bullet proof tire you mentioned ive got one it comes in a aerosol can you simply attach the hose to the valve and turn it on and it instanly fills the tire up with a hard green foam
Where did you buy that from? I am trying to do my mountain bike with something similar...
thanks.
abys103832 years ago
Do not pour antifreeze down the sink drain. That crap is toxic as hell and municipal water cleaning systems can not scrub that stuff out and that stuff takes a very very long to break down because of its chemical composition. Its almost the same as that of plastics its chemical properties is extremly stable meaning that it doesn't break down very much if at all. So the environmental and public health impact should be obvious then again I am saying this to a person whom pours antifreeze down a drain. An in case my credentials are in question and am currently a college student majoring in wildlife biology so I just may know what I'm talking about. I've certainly have had to suffer enough going through with chemistry and biology classes to know a bit about this.
techturtle25 years ago
DO NOT POUR ANTIFREEZE DOWN YOUR DRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That stuff will KILL YOU DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, if you drink out of your drain,yeah.
ilpug3 years ago
That idea of sticking drink cans in fences to make art is phenomenal... wish i had thought of that.
Elmundo4 years ago
"Solo" disposable drink cups work really well too. Scavenging enough may take time, but birthday parties and keggers are a great place to find them.

At Fort Hood, Texas, there were hundreds of yards of messages to troops that were deployed in the fence around the perimeter. They seemed to stand up to the Texas sun and wind really well, too. They were up there a year later when I visited.



silentdisco4 years ago
So true about the mind perceptually synchronizing unrelated sounds and motions - event when two channels are going, to the onlookers it seems as though everyone is moving to the same beat. Silent Storm Sound System throws silent disco events in the states - maybe we'll cross paths at one someday!
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benner815 years ago
I see in the picture you're using RV antifreeze, which is probably propylene glycol.  Regular automotive antifreeze is usually ethylene glycol, which is considerably more toxic.  You should probably avoid pouring ethylene glycol down the drain, especially if your cabin has a septic system.
If S.I. can paint bikinis on supermodels, then why not sandals on your feet!
Ceramic makes a pretty good sharpening surface. I even picked up a large ceramic baking dish at a local store. It has a flat unglazed bottom instead of the normal ring found on most ceramic kitchenware. It's big enough to sharpen a large knife like a machete.
harley_rly5 years ago
theres like, 85 cans there
Hi, Tim,
Since I started baking bread using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day I have gotten into other types of baking and cooking which resulted in my using kitchen appliances from the 1950s. I started out with getting a Sunbeam Mixmaster from my Mother-inLaw and resurrecting my wife's Sunbeam electric fry pan.
I came across this article from e-how while researching methods for cleaning up the fry pan and future appliances for my collection.

These older appliances had many uses, the makers were pretty ingnious when it came to making them multi-purpose.

The instruction manual for my fry pan has recipes for baking cakes, making roasts, hamburgers, and things that you would not imagine you can do with the fry pan.
I discovered that some electric fry pans were also broilers by adding an electric coil in the lid and a grill rack that fit in the bottom.

Until I read your tip, I didn't think about the things you mentioned like energy efficiency and how well it cooks due to the thermostat.

There are lots of uses for these vintage appliances and the more I find out about them, the more I want to add them to my kitchen,

BTW, I discovered the Artisan bread baking method here on Instructables. Here is the URL:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Artisan_Bread_in_Five_Minutes_a_Day/?&sort=NEWEST&limit=50&offset=50

Keep making these great Instructables, I really appreciate them.

P.S. I live a few miles from Saxtons River.
Yep, they sell them at Walmart.
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
gut cancer from burned food? never heard of that... is it true?
well, apparently carbon (charcoal) is carcinogenic
aww..
sonic_dan6 years ago
hey, i'm from cambridge - the Man on the Moon's a cool little pub. my band used to play there too!
Wade Tarzia6 years ago
Here's *my* request: I'd like an instructable on building a foam-and-glass boat like that. Seems to me that would answer some calls I have been hearing for light car-topper boats, something more than a kayak and less than a trailer-sailer. I know people with some serious boats but they are so high-techy they take too long to set up if all you have is two hours for a quickie cruise. I heard one such fella daydream the other day at the beach about a car-top outrigger sailing canoe, very light, 5 or 6 foot BOA. A slim Dow-foam and glass outrigger, similar in build to this rowing shell seems promising. A wet boat, sure, and not terribly comfortable, but just the thing for those free two hours.
TimAnderson (author)  Wade Tarzia6 years ago
Thanks. I don't know why I didn't think I'd find it here ;-) He seems to be missing an important step, though. Not aure sure how he got from thin foam sheets to the nice hull on the table.
sewing kit and double sided tape were the only really clever ones, but the thermostat controlled skillet and solar helmet, whats the handy trick? go buy a skillet with a thermostat? and the helmet could have done with a little more detail or instruction, and i can't even tell what is going on in the first one, maybe its useful to a more specific audience, but all i took from that was cover boat stands with carpet.
dchall86 years ago
In the intro there's lot of discussion. I'm guessing the handy hint is to make the stands out of wood...but I'm just guessing. In Step 2, there is a good reason for leaving the ends out of a Nicopress fitting. If you leave the ends out and suddenly notice that the loose end has pulled up inside the sleeve, you know to throw that wire away because the sleeve is slipping. When you start out with the end inside the sleeve, you'll never know that it was slipping until it releases entirely. When your life (or very expensive equipment) depends on it, you have to have something to inspect for failure. Use two sleeves and leave one cable diameter length of cable extending beyond the sleeve. If you make a mistake, clip the sleeve off and start over. In Step 9 the pictures are sort of confusing. What am I looking at? One piece looks like a grinding machine but there's a lot of clutter to sort through.
Plasmana6 years ago
Wow, you made that quick! :-)