Monday, September 29, 2014

backwards and forwards

First up, a correction and final report...last week's reported bees were actually hornets (I did see a couple of bees in the area leading to the misidentification, but the nest I dealt with was hornets (they are also now dead...))

We go directly from the dead bugs to the project that's been "dead on" bugging me! I actually got the doorway removed and that part of the wall fixed this week, and that bought me to this weeks philosophical moment... the inverse iceberg principle! We've already talked about the iceberg principle, basically for any project there is more to do than what you see... Well, the inverse iceberg principle is that sometimes there is less under the surface than you think... in this case the studs between the foundation wall and the door frame were less solid than the door frame (literally only one nail was left not rusted through and the bottom of the post had rotted). Once I got the door frame out, I removed the post with one hand. The old door frame looked like an early pre-hung door, unfortunately the bottom edge was actually under the cement of the floor and the frame didn't survive removal. So, I'm either building a new frame of buying a new pre-hung door (since I could use this door to replace one on  the outside workshop I'm leaning toward buy a new one). speaking of the door frame here's what I found under the door frame and post...

The little room has a separate slab floor that was poured at a different time from the rest of the basement. That bottom layer is actually dirt...

Here's the thing about the inverse iceberg principle, when it comes to projects the inverse principle proves the iceberg principle (there's more work than you see because there is less structure than you see!).

So, I got the doorway out of the way and did the cement work. The floor is now solid there and, if I drew a nose on it, the repair looks like the outline of Grue from Despicable Me (which is OK, because certain people (Lisa) have called me Grue...)

Speaking of Lisa, she has safely arrived in Baltimore and will be doing two conference presentations this week. Next week I'm planning on having her report on the conference and why it is better to order blue crab in Baltimore than in Pocatello.

Ok, so nothing uber exciting this time, but that was this week... maybe I'll do a mid week report with something cooler... in the mean time, for those of you  who haven't met Grue (or those who think he's funny)

Have a great week

Monday, September 22, 2014


Ok... so... the cement work that I said was going down two weeks ago... well it's happening later this week... this time for sure. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls with the help of weather and these so called humans, didn't get the cement work done as planned, but it is coming.

I actually did get the demo of the wall started, then I discovered that the folks that put the HVAC in decided the top of the door frame was an effective way to support the HVAC line, so I had to stop and get a hanger for that... weather and drama ensued and it's going to happen this week.

Two other pieces of sad news... the weather issues included an early freeze that took out the tomato and pepper plants. (Luckily I already have plenty of cayennes drying :) .

As an additional part of the fun I had a run in with a beehive today while trying to cut the lawn... five stings, no anaphylaxis... Vengeance will be mine! (actually everything is in place for vengeance I'm just waiting for first thing in the morning where low light and low temp will have the bees at their least active)

{um Patrick... you do posts with pictures, where are the pictures} Tired of looking at the wall... The above is all the fame the bees get, but yes there are pictures, and a shop experiment of the week!

Back in the good old days you could walk along the beach and find beach glass, pieces of bottles (and better yet glass fishing floats) that had been broken and worn by the sand. Unfortunately as time has moved on  less glass is being used and more people are picking up trash on beaches, so there is less beach glass to find (oh, and I don't live anywhere near a beach!) So, last week I set out to create "beach" glass with my tumbler.

This is some of the first batch... The process works and I'm working on improving it.

Now if you are interested (crazy?) enough to do this you'll need some tools. I've already mentioned the tumbler (see previous posts for info on tumblers and silicon carbide grit) and you'll want some course grit (I use 60/90 split grit for this).

You'll want some other tools too...

Safety gear is a must! And no I'm not kidding with the face shield and goggles. Shrapnel constantly drives scientists and engineers nuts because it just doesn't follow the same "laws" of physics as the rest of us! And we will be making shrapnel. In fact meet our shrapnel makers!

The five gallon bucket contains as much shrapnel as possible but some will get out the top. And yes that is a good old "daddy class persuader" my eight pound sledge hammer (note if your man hood (or woman hood I don't discriminate!) is threatened you could use the 16 pounder, but I want to work a little more precise and detailed than that ( and sledge hammer in the same sentence...???))

Now collect some glass bottles to put in your bucket.

Remember the total glass we need for one load will fit in a quart container (for a 3lb tumbler), but you might want to break more bottles to get some variety in color and shape... Now release some frustration with that hammer! While you're doing that try to make some interesting shaped pieces (sorry we don't have a definitive size answer yet... that depends on your tumbler and what you want to make...)

 There we go, some nice broken glass... now wash that shrapnel out of your hair... and off your cloths... mop the floor... now we can load some in the tumbler barrel. For the first batch I filled 2/3 -3/4 full and used a standard charge of grit. I checked it after one day and ran it for another two.

I'm reasonably pleased with the outcome... but why not experiment more (since I have more glass and all...)

Doing a little research and thinking I decided to try to thicken the slurry, so for batch two I ran three tablespoons of grit and six tablespoons of sugar for two days...

Not really pleased... the grinding wasn't as good (I think one day on the first run did better), so I tossed it in again with more grit and I'm running it till I change the other barrel I'm running, on Saturday...

Some of batch one already has projects waiting and I'm thinking about other ways to play with this: varying time and grit as well as dragging my diamond saws in the mix to control the shape of the pieces that are going in.u
What will I do with it? Well, sculpture and jewelry with brass, bronze, copper (regular and enameled), stainless steel and aluminum (BA and anodized) wire (possible some chain mail in the mix). If I find some stuff that's really worthy I have some silver laying around...

In other news... we are going to pre forgive Lisa for not posting next week (come on, we can forgive her being compelled to give a 50 minute conference presentation at 8:00 AM is punishment enough!). So, I'll take next week and make her talk about her trip when she gets back...

Until next time remember... attack at dawn, that way if things go bad you haven't wasted the whole day!

Update: 9/23/14 Nailed the buggers! In a predawn strike I dumped a whole can of spray on them... No damage to our forces, battle damage assessment on the enemy to be carried out later today (Note: for any NSA/KGB/what ever other forces of paranoia read this I'm talking about stinging insects in my back yard not people! GEEZ! get over yourselves!)

Monday, September 8, 2014

the iceburg principle... or... sometimes you don't see it comming

Ok, so, I've admitted that the wall/workbench/saw project would have complications I didn't expect (by the way the cut down the wall, fix the wall, put the wall back up thing goes down this week....); however, at no point did I expect my house to throw rocks at me!

I'm working on cutting out a crack with my trusty angle grinder so I can fill it with a repair compound... the crack goes just past this rock in the wall and...


It turns out the rock went under the surface... The angle grinder caught it and... Zoom Bang! It goes ballistic! Now, some of you have called me paranoid for wearing a face shield over safety glasses when I run that thing, but this would not be the first time I've had to deal with angle grinder shrapnel! I forgot the iceberg principle, things can be bigger than the part we see. This also applies to jobs, callings, stupid articles you submit for publication (sent that in too, but it may be a while before I hear back (that said I'll hear back tomorrow...)). Fortunately this iceberg didn't rip into anything important, but it does serve as a reminder about safety gear.

Also this weekend we went to the fair... if we had the space I found two sheep that are kind of my sort (they were trying to escape their pen!), a bunny that looked more like a cotton ball with a face, and...

Ok, so I officially can't go anywhere without doing something involving rocks or metal... 

I think they qualify for an iceberg post as you could find those colors in a glacier. They are calcite and destined for some carvings.

One of the big draws was the art competitions including fine art (that's where the sculpture is), needle craft (Duh!), and hobbies/crafts (jewelry).  Found some neat stuff, decided I have to enter next year (I can take these guys...) and discovered some people are rrreeeaaalllyyy obsessed with cake decorating!

Breaking this point in the post Lisa gave me permission to pick on her for not posting next week... but given she has a book chapter do next Monday, a dissertation prospectus that needed to get done and it was the first two weeks of the fall semester (so the campus was struggling to get it's act together) I'm not going to be too critical... Instead I bring you what I've had to do to get Lisa out of work a couple times so far this semester... (and yes I was wearing the costume :p (well, the armor Lisa still won't make me a cloak :-(    ))

Hmmmm, come to think of it I might want to wear the armor when I open up that wall (just in case the house throws more rocks...)

Well, that's it for today and until next time remember... remember... darn it what was I going to say???