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  • Adding a Dust Collection System

    I just happen to have a book home from the library all about dust collection systems. In it, they make good arguments for 5" metal ducting. Main reasons are matching air flow to the capabilities of the collector, and eliminating static issues. Your ideas for starting with the HF unit, then providing upgrades for filter and chip collection, as well as a good design for DIY blast gates, would make an excellent combination.

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  • Concealed Gate and Latch

    Here on the wet side of Washington State, I can lose a pressure treated post in 5 years to ground-level rot. After pulling out a hedge, and needing to build fence sections between nice shrubs, I wanted permanency. I haunted a local recycler, collecting used galvanized schedule 40 water pipe from 1 1/4 to 2 inch diameter. These were set in concrete, with the long 2x supports, salvaged from a deck someone tore down, simply bolted on, using through holes drilled into the pipes. Super solid, but we wanted a wood look. I just used some cheap fence boards to build open, 3-sided boxes to wrap the pipes. Simple butt joints, and a little DAP 230 caulk as glue/sealer. Before the fencing was added (cedar grape stakes here), the wraps were fastened by screwing through the 2x material with 3&qu…

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    Here on the wet side of Washington State, I can lose a pressure treated post in 5 years to ground-level rot. After pulling out a hedge, and needing to build fence sections between nice shrubs, I wanted permanency. I haunted a local recycler, collecting used galvanized schedule 40 water pipe from 1 1/4 to 2 inch diameter. These were set in concrete, with the long 2x supports, salvaged from a deck someone tore down, simply bolted on, using through holes drilled into the pipes. Super solid, but we wanted a wood look. I just used some cheap fence boards to build open, 3-sided boxes to wrap the pipes. Simple butt joints, and a little DAP 230 caulk as glue/sealer. Before the fencing was added (cedar grape stakes here), the wraps were fastened by screwing through the 2x material with 3" deck screws. Those screws are hidden by the fencing. Before installing, I treated the wraps with water repellent, as well as the caps I cut for their tops. Photos are current, with wood weathered silver and everything holding up great. The combo of no rot and wood look satisfies both myself and the boss.

    Thanks, Liam and Bales. There is still just about one place where a couple old guys find splittable old cedar logs, and they split and re-saw these at their place way out in the woods. You see in the middle photo how the ends of the stakes wander different directions. One secret to the overall appearance is the middle long board. Even when the new stakes had a bow, three nails let me install them pretty straight, and they were not able to warp much as they finished drying. If new 1x6 fence boards have a lot of knots, that might be a good idea even for that material. At my old retired age, I don't want to have to do anything over again that I can prevent.

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  • Build a Wooden Fence and Gate

    Thanks, Seamster. Out here in western Washington, we have a place at the beach, where I'm about to cut into the screening around a raised a porch and make a gate. Rain is an issue here! Look up Hoh rain forest, just north of our place, to see our environment. I think I'll use my framing flat, with lap joints, so there are no holes or dents to catch water. And of course, it will be pressure treated. I always appreciate your well-presented projects.

    Seamster, it's your usual clear job with great photos. Thanks. I picked up the comment on your deeply countersunk screw holes for end grain in the main gate frame. However, I noticed that you also really recessed some screws where 2x material was fastened into the uprights, where the cross grain typically provides a good "bite." I usually feel that a 3" screw through a 2x into a 4x provides plenty of holding power. Could you comment on why you used that technique? Also, have your deeply countersunk holes at the top of the gate caused any issues catching your occasional rain and keeping the wood wet internally?

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  • Pi Tape - Easily Measure the Diameter of Anything

    You've just resurrected a forestry tool that has been used for generations. We call it a diameter tape, or D-tape. It is used to inventory trees, measuring the diameter directly at "breast height," designated as 4 1/2' above the ground. A typical commercial tape is steel, has a pin to anchor it into the bark, and markings on both sides, as you suggest. The diameter side is marked and subdivided as you describe, while the opposite side is a "normal" measure. Since trees are never perfectly round, and the actual height it's measured at affects the measurement just a bit, we don't worry about the thickness of the tape. The relatively thin tape is simply pulled around the tree, and laid so the smart end passes the zero mark edge to edge, and the measurement is easily…

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    You've just resurrected a forestry tool that has been used for generations. We call it a diameter tape, or D-tape. It is used to inventory trees, measuring the diameter directly at "breast height," designated as 4 1/2' above the ground. A typical commercial tape is steel, has a pin to anchor it into the bark, and markings on both sides, as you suggest. The diameter side is marked and subdivided as you describe, while the opposite side is a "normal" measure. Since trees are never perfectly round, and the actual height it's measured at affects the measurement just a bit, we don't worry about the thickness of the tape. The relatively thin tape is simply pulled around the tree, and laid so the smart end passes the zero mark edge to edge, and the measurement is easily taken.When I was taking mechanical drawing, back in the days of paper and pencils, we were taught a mechanical way to divide an odd length into equal parts. You might search for this. It could be useful to establish fractional or decimal markings between your whole numbers.

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  • Adjustable Gripping Hitch

    Interesting knot. As others have already pointed out, it appears to be similar in use as the taut line hitch. One advantage to the taut line is that it can be easily tied to a line under tension, as is often the case with tent and tarp guys. This knot kind of looks like a form of prussik tied around the standing end. When I saw the description of "gripping hitch," I first thought maybe the loop would close around something, like a bundle of sticks, and hold it tightly. It appears now that the term refers to the "gripping" of the standing line, similar to the taut line hitch. Is this correct? If so, it might be helpful to have at least one photo of the knot under use, showing it gripping a tight line holding tension on something.

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  • Firewood Rack Using No Tools

    Glad I could help, Clas. I live in western Washington. Out here, the most common firewoods are Douglas-fir and bigleaf maple. Both have about the same heat value. The fir burns cleaner, leaving little ash, and is great in a stove where you can control rate of burn. The maple burns slower in open air, making it great for open fireplaces. Both woods are sold around here in full cords - you seldom see a face cord advertised. I felt it important your followers know the difference, so they understand what they are actually buying. A face cord of 16" wood, for instance, is only 1/3 of a full cord, and will likely cost around half the full cord price. The vendor still has to cover his time and expenses for the delivery.It's also worth noting that a full cord of green wood weighs a…

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    Glad I could help, Clas. I live in western Washington. Out here, the most common firewoods are Douglas-fir and bigleaf maple. Both have about the same heat value. The fir burns cleaner, leaving little ash, and is great in a stove where you can control rate of burn. The maple burns slower in open air, making it great for open fireplaces. Both woods are sold around here in full cords - you seldom see a face cord advertised. I felt it important your followers know the difference, so they understand what they are actually buying. A face cord of 16" wood, for instance, is only 1/3 of a full cord, and will likely cost around half the full cord price. The vendor still has to cover his time and expenses for the delivery.It's also worth noting that a full cord of green wood weighs around 3,300 pounds. Seasoned, it can drop to around 2,000. Anyone selling you a pickup load of wood and claiming it's a full cord is either badly mistreating their truck or stretching the truth a little. Best to just measure it and calculate volume, when it's neatly stacked. Wood tossed loosely in a truck or trailer cannot be measured in cords. At the price of good firewood today, those folks building your rack will want to get full value for their purchase.

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  • Firewood Rack Using No Tools

    What a great design! I don’t think I’ve seen so many builds on anyother Instructable. Reading comments, Isense some lingering questions. Maybe Ican help.Measuring wood – a cord ofwood is a tight stack 4’ wide, 4’ high, and 8’ long, containing 128 cubic feet(4x4x8). A “face cord” is a single stackof wood 4’ high, 8’ long, and as deep as the length of your wood. Say your wood is cut 16” long (1.25’). A face cord would contain 4x8x1.25=40 cubicfeet, or about 3/10 of a full cord (40/128). To determine how much your rack will hold, multiply the height of yourwood stack times the average length (average the top and bottom lengths) timesthe length of your wood (in feet). Divide the result by 128 to get the number of full cords you can store. For example, say you make your rack of 8’long t…

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    What a great design! I don’t think I’ve seen so many builds on anyother Instructable. Reading comments, Isense some lingering questions. Maybe Ican help.Measuring wood – a cord ofwood is a tight stack 4’ wide, 4’ high, and 8’ long, containing 128 cubic feet(4x4x8). A “face cord” is a single stackof wood 4’ high, 8’ long, and as deep as the length of your wood. Say your wood is cut 16” long (1.25’). A face cord would contain 4x8x1.25=40 cubicfeet, or about 3/10 of a full cord (40/128). To determine how much your rack will hold, multiply the height of yourwood stack times the average length (average the top and bottom lengths) timesthe length of your wood (in feet). Divide the result by 128 to get the number of full cords you can store. For example, say you make your rack of 8’long timbers, the distance between the tops of the ends is 10’, and you cutyour wood 18” long. Your 4’ long endslet you stack about 3 ½’ high. With anaverage length of 9’, you can store 9x3.5x1.5=47.5 cubic feet, or about 0.37full cords – rough a third of a cord. Three racks like that would handle a full cord of delivered firewood.Blocks – one response notedthat you should use concrete blocks. Commonly available cinder blocks are smaller aggregate, weigh less, andare less strong that true concrete blocks. Also, concrete is relatively weak, especially in tension – pulling apart– when it’s fresh. Concrete takes a full30 days to reach specified strength, and will continue to get a little strongerover time. If you get a cinder blockfresh from the plant, you may have the cracking problem one respondentdescribed. If all you have are cinderblocks, use older ones if possible. Fora sure thing, find true concrete.Treating the uprights – in apressure treated 2x4, the treatment penetrates the end grain well. If you place them factory end in the blocks,rot should not be an issue. If you cut atreated 2x4, you can see the treatment does not get into the middle of thewood. If you do this, or if you haveuntreated material you’d like to use, treat the ends yourself. The best way is to use a wood preservative,typically a water based copper solution, often green or brown. Using a disposable container like the bottomof a gallon milk jug, pour some preservative in, and then stand the cut ends inthe liquid. Go do something else for atleast 10 minutes, no harm if you forget them. The wood will draw in the treatment, and it will remain there after itdries. I treated the ends of mygreenhouse shelf legs 10 years ago, and they are doing fine on an often-wetgravel floor.Hope this helps you use thisnice design.

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  • Bowling Ball Wood Carving Vise

    A giant ball and socket joint! What a great idea. A couple suggestions to make it maybe a little easier. First, in step 3, you might want to specifically state that the ball should be positioned so that the concrete just comes up to the "equator" line of the ball. If someone had it a little too low, they would have to chip concrete to remove it, and the available tilt angles would be less. That's implied when you pull the ball out later, but pointing it out could prevent issues. Second, I understand you were using the fairly large pipe you had on hand. However, a 3/4" or 1" schedule 40 (standard threaded pipe stock) iron pipe would seem to be quite strong enough. The benefit would be that you could find a spade or auger bit that would drill the hole in one step…

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    A giant ball and socket joint! What a great idea. A couple suggestions to make it maybe a little easier. First, in step 3, you might want to specifically state that the ball should be positioned so that the concrete just comes up to the "equator" line of the ball. If someone had it a little too low, they would have to chip concrete to remove it, and the available tilt angles would be less. That's implied when you pull the ball out later, but pointing it out could prevent issues. Second, I understand you were using the fairly large pipe you had on hand. However, a 3/4" or 1" schedule 40 (standard threaded pipe stock) iron pipe would seem to be quite strong enough. The benefit would be that you could find a spade or auger bit that would drill the hole in one step. This would likely be safer and less messy. I always look forward to reading your posts - your good ideas are well documented.

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  • Draw Better Curves With Spouting Whales

    Re: "you can't adjust it in tiny increments." Look up instructions for a knot called a taut line hitch. It's a basic scouting and seafaring knot that holds where you put it, but slides to take up or let out length. Scouts learn it for putting up an old-school tent. Pound in the stakes approximately, tie the knot, then adjust for tightness. I use it in everything from 1/2" line to mason twine. In this case, some nice braided nylon twine will work well. Cut a piece around 1 1/2 times the length of the stick. Secure one end, and run the other through a comfortable hole. Tie the taut line hitch, then pull on the string and adjust the length in the smallest increments you like. Then use your wonderful whales to hold it in place and make minor tweaks. Should make a han…

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    Re: "you can't adjust it in tiny increments." Look up instructions for a knot called a taut line hitch. It's a basic scouting and seafaring knot that holds where you put it, but slides to take up or let out length. Scouts learn it for putting up an old-school tent. Pound in the stakes approximately, tie the knot, then adjust for tightness. I use it in everything from 1/2" line to mason twine. In this case, some nice braided nylon twine will work well. Cut a piece around 1 1/2 times the length of the stick. Secure one end, and run the other through a comfortable hole. Tie the taut line hitch, then pull on the string and adjust the length in the smallest increments you like. Then use your wonderful whales to hold it in place and make minor tweaks. Should make a handy combination.

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  • How to Install Figure 8 Table Top Fasteners

    I've seen these fasteners for years, but until your intro photo, I did not realize I have a ready source for them. In a past life, I worked on motorcycles quite a bit. Drive chains wear, and are a routine replacement item. A Figure 8 fastener could substitute for a motorcycle drive chain side plate. Flip side - a worn out chain is a free source for hundreds of the fasteners. A cheap chain comes apart easily with a "chain breaker," like a small gear puller that pushes the pin out of the side plate. On tougher chains, you may have to grind the ends of the pins off, then push or punch them through. Free hardware, and reuse keeps the material out of the waste stream. Score!

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  • RandyPerson commented on Makerneer's instructable De-nailer Deflector
    De-nailer Deflector

    An idea to help with misalignment - draw a center line that runs at 90 degrees to the direction of the slot. This will be visible both above and below your board. Starting parallel to the long sides of the slot, draw lines at intervals, say one half or one inch. Do them in pairs, and make each set of lines different. Different colors, or solid, dashed, and dotted for instance. Then, when aligning the nail for removal, eyeball that it's between two lines of the same color or design, and you'll be very close to the center of the slot. No more surprises!

    All good ideas are subject to improvement! One could also use radial lines, say every 45 degrees, that all converge at the center of the slot. Anything that lets you "see" that sweet spot through your wood.

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  • RandyPerson commented on andrea biffi's instructable Wood Gear Toy

    Many years ago (30+?), we got our son a commercial gear toy. It was sturdy plastic, had gears of different sizes but matching teeth, and each gear was mounted on a backing plate with its axle. The main board had one side of Velcro, and the back of each gear had the mating side. Several gears had holes drilled so a handle could be inserted to function as a driver. This allowed the gear pattern to be changed infinitely, encouraging experimentation and creativeness. He enjoyed it for a long time.I'll bet anyone who could make this could take the extra steps to develop their own similar display. And some colorful painting would really get things jazzed. If you made the gears with simple ratios (1:2:3, for instance), you could paint the larger ones in double and triple sections. That w…

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    Many years ago (30+?), we got our son a commercial gear toy. It was sturdy plastic, had gears of different sizes but matching teeth, and each gear was mounted on a backing plate with its axle. The main board had one side of Velcro, and the back of each gear had the mating side. Several gears had holes drilled so a handle could be inserted to function as a driver. This allowed the gear pattern to be changed infinitely, encouraging experimentation and creativeness. He enjoyed it for a long time.I'll bet anyone who could make this could take the extra steps to develop their own similar display. And some colorful painting would really get things jazzed. If you made the gears with simple ratios (1:2:3, for instance), you could paint the larger ones in double and triple sections. That would make it easy to see what different combinations yield in terms of speed and power.

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  • Very nice re-work, with great ties to your past. I especially liked the legs. Two simple operations created a really dramatic design, which complements the unique character of the catalog desk really well.

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  • Great concept for gravity experiments. If you're more interested in the experiment than 3-D printing, consider working with the ever popular Pinewood Derby racer platforms. Sets of wheels are readily available, and the chassis could be easily modified or made from scratch. A huge benefit is that there are multi-lane race tracks stored in schools and garages all over, so it shouldn't be hard to get those veggies rolling!

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  • In step 4, you're running a nut, not a bolt, along the new tap.No grinder? Cut the grooves with a triangular file.This tool gives you a threaded hole you can re-use at least a few times. If you just want to sink a machine bolt into wood, you don't really need to tap it. Just drill the hole undersize, like a 3/16" hole for a 1/4" bolt. Maybe flare the start of the hole if needed, then just thread the bolt in. The steel threads will compress the wood fibers and you'll get a good bite. I've done this mostly with softwoods, like hemlock and Douglas fir. Do a test before trying on very hard woods.

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  • I recently wired a full 2-car garage with plastic conduit, and needed to make dozens of custom bends. In the past, I've used a heat gun, but my old one died, and new ones are not as powerful. Must be some rule about protecting us from ourselves. The old one would hit 2,000 F, and the new one stops about 1,250. That said, it works if you are simply patient enough to keep it moving and wait for the heat to penetrate the full thickness of the pipe wall. A fully warm pipe will sag under its own weight.What I needed was a heat source that was easily controlled and put out a large volume of heat. I used a small propane-powered infrared heater, as sold in sporting goods departments for providing portable heat. Installed on a standard 20 pound (5 gallon) tank, it's very stable. I found th…

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    I recently wired a full 2-car garage with plastic conduit, and needed to make dozens of custom bends. In the past, I've used a heat gun, but my old one died, and new ones are not as powerful. Must be some rule about protecting us from ourselves. The old one would hit 2,000 F, and the new one stops about 1,250. That said, it works if you are simply patient enough to keep it moving and wait for the heat to penetrate the full thickness of the pipe wall. A fully warm pipe will sag under its own weight.What I needed was a heat source that was easily controlled and put out a large volume of heat. I used a small propane-powered infrared heater, as sold in sporting goods departments for providing portable heat. Installed on a standard 20 pound (5 gallon) tank, it's very stable. I found the best heat actually in a rising column just above and in front of the glowing element. Move the pipe back and forth through the heat, turning constantly. I was able to completely soften up to 3 feet of pipe in pretty cold weather. Let it get nice and limp, then form. I easily made complete U shapes, coiled it around 4x4 columns, and stuffed it into odd spaces. I worked with both 1/2" and 3/4" schedule 40 PVC.If you want to add a connector to your formed pipe, and are heating near the end, here's a tip. Slip a connector onto the end just before bending. The cool plastic fitting will keep the end of the pipe from becoming oval, and you'll have no trouble when it's time to glue up.

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  • When you re-tighten the axle nut, be sure to push down and forward with the wrench (which you did in the video). You'll be working with the adjuster bolt, and the adjustment won't change. If you start with the wrench up and pull back, you can move the axle and tighten the tension even more, and also tilt the wheel as you pull the adjuster on that side away from it's seat. And when the friction isn't enough, you'll be really startled when the axle snaps back to re-seat the adjuster bolt.In my experience, the stamped marks are usually pretty good, but it won't hurt to back up and squint along the wheels. Your eye can pick up a very slight misalignment that you might not catch from the marks. Some detail-oriented folks even like to stretch a string from front to back to make sure the wh…

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    When you re-tighten the axle nut, be sure to push down and forward with the wrench (which you did in the video). You'll be working with the adjuster bolt, and the adjustment won't change. If you start with the wrench up and pull back, you can move the axle and tighten the tension even more, and also tilt the wheel as you pull the adjuster on that side away from it's seat. And when the friction isn't enough, you'll be really startled when the axle snaps back to re-seat the adjuster bolt.In my experience, the stamped marks are usually pretty good, but it won't hurt to back up and squint along the wheels. Your eye can pick up a very slight misalignment that you might not catch from the marks. Some detail-oriented folks even like to stretch a string from front to back to make sure the wheels are perfectly aligned.As to replacement, here are two quick checks. Once adjusted, you should not be able to pull the chain off the rear sprocket much at all. If you can grab it at the back, near the adjuster bolt, and pull it away from the sprocket, the chain needs replacing. New sprockets have symmetrical teeth. When your teeth start looking more like a circular saw blade, the sprocket is shot. You'll typically go through 2 or 3 chains before you need new sprockets. Regular lube and adjustment will prolong the life of both.

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  • You mentioned heating the shaft to try to remove a press fit pulley. Heating metal expands it. Heating the shaft would only make the fit tighter. Had you heated the PULLEY, the hole would have expanded, and you might have succeeded without using the puller. Same trick can be used for reassembly. Heat the "hole" part, keeping the shaft cool. You may be able to slip things together, and they will bind tightly as the temperature stabilizes.

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  • Just had a bath sink that needed maintenance, so thought I'd try it. Pushed the stuff down, and plugged up the pipe completely. Pulled the P-trap (easy with today's plastic fittings) and began pulling the hair rope. About 12" long, after it broke. Cleaned out more with a stiff wire hook, and it may go down the pipe, too. Just shows that you should be prepared to go further when you try this technique. If you don't have a bucket and some large pliers to break the trap, you may trade a slow sink for one that's totally stopped. Or force a big wad down the line to meet up with it's buddies at a really inconvenient place. What's your crawl space like?

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  • Here's a suggestion for the leveling issue. Check out sites discussing Kite Aerial Photography (KAP). In the days before cheap drones, that was the way to get views from above. Anyway, they need to sling cameras on a platform that stays level as the kite, and the line it's attached to, moves through a range of angles. They long ago came up with a clever system of lines and eyes or pulleys that achieves this. Your answer may be waiting for you from an unexpected source!

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  • Been doing this for years. A few tips - just steadying the center of a long piece with a gloved hand will take care of vibrations. The spinning action self-centers the single bevel cut, but a couple quick strokes with a file will put a more centered point on it, if you like. Keep a couple moderate length pieces with your drill, both from fat and skinny wire hangers. Use them for lead holes for your screws, and you will no longer have bit sets missing the small, delicate ones that always get broken. Bonus when running wood or sheet metal screws into wood - since the wire "drills" by compressing the wood fibers rather than removing them, you get a more solid bite from the screw threads. This is especially helpful when screwing into end grain. That's also why clipping the he…

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    Been doing this for years. A few tips - just steadying the center of a long piece with a gloved hand will take care of vibrations. The spinning action self-centers the single bevel cut, but a couple quick strokes with a file will put a more centered point on it, if you like. Keep a couple moderate length pieces with your drill, both from fat and skinny wire hangers. Use them for lead holes for your screws, and you will no longer have bit sets missing the small, delicate ones that always get broken. Bonus when running wood or sheet metal screws into wood - since the wire "drills" by compressing the wood fibers rather than removing them, you get a more solid bite from the screw threads. This is especially helpful when screwing into end grain. That's also why clipping the head of a finish nail and using it as a bit works so well. When the nail "bit" is pulled from the hole, the hole closes up just a bit. This assures a nice, snug fit for the driven nail, while still preventing splitting. Lastly, if you want a slightly larger hole, just flatten the tip a little bit on the anvil of your bench vise. At the sizes we're dealing with, these small "spade" bits do a nice job. And the price is certainly right!

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  • If black isn't imperative, check out the electrical section of your box store for plastic conduit. It's gray, a little more UV resistant than white (although your painting helps with that), and the same material, so your glue will work with it as well.Also, you have a hidden good idea in there. One photo shows joints drilled and zip-tied to keep them from coming apart. Could also use screws and wing nuts. Great technique!

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  • RandyPerson commented on JamesSlater's instructable Dominoes

    A domino is a mathematical shape consisting of two squares together. To achieve this shape, simply trim the 2x4 to 3 inches wide. Then your 1 1/2" x 3" pieces will be true dominos, and look better when you play those 90 degree turns.Experience making routed wood signs shows that paint can wick through the wood fibers, making your holes look fuzzy. To prevent this, treat the wood with an oil finish first. Plain linseed oil works fine. Then, use the big end of a flat toothpick or similar to place a drop of good oil base paint in the hole. It will shrink as it dries, providing a nice solid color. Go through your old odds and ends of paint, make up some test blocks, and see what colors really pop with your choice of wood.

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  • Very workmanlike solution - nicely done. However, there may be an easier cure for others with similar problems. You mentioned another baseboard heater in the room. Do you really need both operating? Often, having fewer feet of heat source just means taking a few minutes longer to get up to heat. If you could do without, just turn off the breaker, take off the access plate at one end, typically just one or two screws, and unfasten the supply wires. Securely tape or wire nut them, replace the cover plate, reset the breaker, and your hot electronics problem goes away. When you eventually move, just hook the wires back up, and your landlord will never know.

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  • RandyPerson commented on wold630's instructable Swedish Fire Torch

    Try laying the log on its side and cutting so the chain saw bar is parallel to the wood grain. If your chain is sharp, it will pull out long shavings and cut faster than trying to rip sideways. Bonus: the shavings make great tinder, or mulch for your plants.

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  • Yes! I have been doing this for years in my home-built dehydrator, based on plans on a great 1970's book, DRY IT, YOU'LL LIKE IT. Here are a few additional tips based on my experience:1. Should be obvious, but use seedless grapes. Seeded ones are for juice for jelly and syrup.2. Moving air dries best. Consider making a simple wood frame with window screening, so the warm air can move by the grapes better. I use fiberglass screen, but metal should also work.3. I wash the grapes while still in a bunch. Then (the tedious part), as you pluck them, give them a little squeeze so they separate from the stem completely, and pop open a little at the attachment point. This allows the moisture to leave. A tight grape takes forever to dry.4. With your air moving better, you can use lower t…

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    Yes! I have been doing this for years in my home-built dehydrator, based on plans on a great 1970's book, DRY IT, YOU'LL LIKE IT. Here are a few additional tips based on my experience:1. Should be obvious, but use seedless grapes. Seeded ones are for juice for jelly and syrup.2. Moving air dries best. Consider making a simple wood frame with window screening, so the warm air can move by the grapes better. I use fiberglass screen, but metal should also work.3. I wash the grapes while still in a bunch. Then (the tedious part), as you pluck them, give them a little squeeze so they separate from the stem completely, and pop open a little at the attachment point. This allows the moisture to leave. A tight grape takes forever to dry.4. With your air moving better, you can use lower temperatures. My unit runs at 95-105 F (35-40 C). The book says lower temps retain more of the fruit's vitamins and other good things.5. One of the best things about this is your choice of grapes. Typical "golden" raisins are from simple green grapes. When you use purple or red, you get nice bold flavors that are great in trail mix, and will have folks wondering why your baked goods taste so good.6. Don't sweat if they aren't all exactly the same. Some will be really dry, others will be a little soft. When stored airtight, like a sealed plastic bag, they will equalize over time. Check in a few weeks to make sure they are dry enough to keep without spoiling.7. Finally, when your screen has that sticky syrup left on it, just take it in the shower with you. By the time you're clean, it will be, too!

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  • If you are crafting, consider whether you need the strength of the solid core door, which is really heavy. Slab hollow core doors are usually available cheaply at re-use stores, or free on exchange sites. 30, 32, and 36 inches are common widths, and if you seek out sliding closet doors, you may find wider. Look at the ends to see the thickness of the perimeter frame. You may need to glue some reinforcing plywood on the thin skin for secure fastening points, but you'll still have a very light but stable work surface.

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  • Thank you, Ambitious. I'm from western Washington, in the USA Pacific Northwest. Gum species are native in the SE US, but often planted around here as ornamentals. They grow fast, and occasionally have to be removed. I'll try to keep my eyes open to see if any salvage becomes available. BTW, one of my plans is to take my stack of discs, neaten up the splits into a nice, straight wedge, and then use one to create corresponding filler wedges. Using the same source log, and adjacent slabs, if I can get a good glue line, I should wind up with a nice, solid disc that is well stabilized. At least, that's the theory. You have some very nice work posted on your Facebook page. Thanks for sharing this Instructable.

    I second naaberle's question. I have a number of log discs around for various future projects, and they all typically get one major radial split, which can open up from 5 to 15 degrees, depending on the species and moisture content of the log. Are yours cut from very old, incredibly seasoned logs? Or is it just characteristic of your down-under wood? What is the species? You may be the inspiration for a bunch of projects if you reveal your secret.

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  • This is a really cool project. For those who want to up their game, I thought you might like a couple shots of the real thing. This is the main disconnect formerly in our 1930's home, rated for 60 amps at 125 volts. The base appears to be slate (a stone product). If it's artificial, it's really heavy, like slate would be. The base is about 6 1/2" x 9", and 3/4" thick (165 x 230 x 20 mm), which makes the instructable shown quite properly to scale. Most of the metal appears to be pure copper, but the clips are springy brass, made to hold the 60 amp cartridge fuses that were the mains for the house. In the US, we have two 120 volt wires incoming that are out of phase (I think that's the correct term) to provide 240 volts. These were protected by the fuses. The center …

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    This is a really cool project. For those who want to up their game, I thought you might like a couple shots of the real thing. This is the main disconnect formerly in our 1930's home, rated for 60 amps at 125 volts. The base appears to be slate (a stone product). If it's artificial, it's really heavy, like slate would be. The base is about 6 1/2" x 9", and 3/4" thick (165 x 230 x 20 mm), which makes the instructable shown quite properly to scale. Most of the metal appears to be pure copper, but the clips are springy brass, made to hold the 60 amp cartridge fuses that were the mains for the house. In the US, we have two 120 volt wires incoming that are out of phase (I think that's the correct term) to provide 240 volts. These were protected by the fuses. The center bar is for the neutral wire, which is not fused. I just had to keep it when the wiring was upgraded. I keep thinking it will be used in some safe, really low voltage (think flashlight battery) application. I'd love to see someone work out a linkage that would retain the metallic clips but operate a modern switch.

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  • Here in the US, baseboard electric heaters were common for many years. As their controls or internal connections wear out, they are often tossed. Depending on the design, they are filled with long coils of resistance wire, some fat, some thin. They are easy to disassemble, and one with the right wire will keep you in nichrome for a lifetime. As a bonus, they usually include ceramic spacers, which can also be useful in designing products that include heat.

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