Archive for category Home Ec

Primitive Screwheads

Painting the patio railing required removing the short section on the garage, which stalled with a thoroughly galled / corroded nut on the 2 inch bolt going through the wall. Deploying a Dremel slitting wheel and bashing the slit open with a cold chisel saved the day, as shown in this staged reenactment:

Patio railing - square head bolt - extraction
Patio railing – square head bolt – extraction

It seems square head bolts have gone out of fashion, at least in the 3/8-16 size seen here, over the last half century:

Patio railing - square head bolts
Patio railing – square head bolts

I reused the lag screw with no qualms at all.

The local fastener emporium had square bolts ranging upward from 3/4-10, which wasn’t much help. Amazon has ’em, if you spend enough time rummaging around in the debris from its search engine, at a buck apiece in lots of ten. Fortunately, a local big-box home repair store had 3/8-16 hex head steel bolts and square nuts, so I needn’t start from scratch.

Start by turning off the hex head:

Patio railing - square head bolt - removing hex head
Patio railing – square head bolt – removing hex head

Thread the end, starting in the lathe and ending with a die turned just barely enough to accept the nut:

Patio railing - square head bolt - threading
Patio railing – square head bolt – threading

Epoxy the nut in place and sand it to rough up the surface finish enough to hold the primer:

Patio railing - square head bolt - lineup
Patio railing – square head bolt – lineup

Yeah, that’s a nasty little zit. Fortunately, nobody will ever notice.

Prime & paint the railing, affix it to the garage wall, then prime & paint the bolt:

Patio railing - square head bolt - installed
Patio railing – square head bolt – installed

Thing looks like it grew there; tell nobody about the zit.

The yellow blotches decorating the shiny black paint come from the pine trees across the driveway. The first day of pine pollen season corresponded to the second day I intended to paint; the dust clouds were a wonder to behold.

Bonus Quality Shop Time!

The far end of the railing around the patio has a bracket against the house siding with a hole intended for a 1/4 inch bolt they never installed, perhaps because there’s no way to maneuver a bolt into the space available.

The threads on the 3/8-16 bolt may be wrecked, but turning the shank down to 1/4 inch isn’t any big deal:

Patio railing - fake bolt - thinning shank
Patio railing – fake bolt – thinning shank

Part off the head with a stub just long enough to fit into the bracket, epoxy that sucker into the hole, and paint it black:

Patio railing - fake bolt - installed
Patio railing – fake bolt – installed

The square post on the left goes down to an anchor in the concrete patio, the railing is welded to a 4 inch column a foot away, and the end of the railing isn’t going anywhere; the fake bolt is purely for show.

And, yes, the dust atop the railing is more pollen from the pine trees responsible for the weird green-yellow reflections on the vertical surfaces.

No boomstick required!




Kitchen Blender Base Spacer

We don’t use the blender much, so the most recent bearing replacement continues to work. I never got around to re-making the overly long shaft spacer from the first bearing replacement, which I compensated for with a spacer kludge cut from a random chunk of bendy plastic sheet.

Which we put up with For. Eleven. Years.

The blender recently emerged from hiding and, with my solid modeling-fu cranked up to a dangerous chattering whine, I conjured a real spacer:

Blender base spacer - Slic3r preview
Blender base spacer – Slic3r preview

It pretty much disappears into the blender base, which is the whole point of the operation:

Blender base spacer - installed
Blender base spacer – installed

When the bearings fail again, I promise to make a proper shaft spacer and toss this bodge.

The OpenSCAD code as a GitHub Gist:

Not that it really deserves so much attention …


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Dryer Vent Adapter Rebuild

When we bought this house, it had its original clothes dryer, which was vented directly through the wall with a few inches of 3×10 inch square duct. Alas, contemporary dryers use 4 inch round hoses, so I conjured a round-to-square adapter from a length of air handler duct:

Dryer Vent - end view
Dryer Vent – end view

I’d used … wait for it … duct tape to hold the end caps on, because I knew I’d be taking it apart to clean out the fuzz every now & again. The most recent cleanout occurred when I noticed the end cap had eased its way out of the adapter, releasing warm fuzzy air behind the dryer.

The solution, which I should have done decades ago, holds the end caps in place with sheet metal screws:

Dryer Vent - screws installed
Dryer Vent – screws installed

A pair of small clamps held everything in the proper location while I applied a suitable step drill and installed the screw:

Dryer Vent - screw clamps
Dryer Vent – screw clamps

Now the duct tape just seals the gaps, rather than holding against the minimal pressure in the box, and it should be all good until the next cleanout.

So simple I should’a done it decades ago. Right?



Hearphone Deterioration

I bought my Bose Hearphones in late August 2017, so they’re just shy of two years old, and have used them more-or-less daily since then. Although the innards still improve my hearing, the exterior is falling apart:

Bose Hearphones - cosmetic repairs
Bose Hearphones – cosmetic repairs

The conspicuous blue tips come from silicone tape holding the “soft touch” silicone shell together:

Bose Hearphones - detached band cover
Bose Hearphones – detached band cover

The white line seems to be silicone glue holding the hard cover plate to the equally hard base. So far, it’s working, but the two-piece soft cover is peeling away from the very thin adhesive (?) holding it to the hard parts.

The silicone glue under the flexy cover on the control pod along the right earbud cable hasn’t fared as well:

Bose Hearphones - failed control cover
Bose Hearphones – failed control cover

I blobbed ordinary RTV silicone under the cover, ignoring the caveats about acetic acid corrosion, because I don’t have any platinum-cure silicone on the shelf.

When the blue tape wears out / falls off, I’ll replace it with black silicone tape going further up the ring to hold the rest of the soft cover in place:

Bose Hearphones - cosmetic repairs - detail
Bose Hearphones – cosmetic repairs – detail

The ear buds have soft silicone strain relief tubes around the cables. The friction holding them in place failed long ago and, because no adhesive will work with silicone, I wrapped enough double-sided tape around the cables to produce a sticky lump jamming them in place:

Bose Hearphones - ear piece strain relief
Bose Hearphones – ear piece strain relief

A bit of the muck sticks out on both ends and I expect to replace the tape every now and again:

Bose Hearphones - earpiece repairs - detail
Bose Hearphones – earpiece repairs – detail

I also expect to replace the non-replaceable lithium battery / cell in about a year, as they’re now barely adequate for a day’s use.

Fortunately, I can’t see any of this hackery while I’m wearing the things:

my face I don’t mind it,

Because I’m behind it —

‘Tis the folks in the front that I jar.


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Monthly Science: Weight

Progress is our most important product:

Weight Chart 2019-04 - Ed
Weight Chart 2019-04 – Ed

Now that we’ve begun bicycling more regularly, Winter Bloat is transmogrifying into thigh muscle.

The hills around here become noticeably steeper during winter; we attribute the additional elevation to frost heaves …

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We’ll be tackling several long-delayed household projects during the next month. As a consequence, I won’t be doing my usual techie tinkering and will post shop notes only occasionally.

There’s not much to say about scraping, priming, and repainting, other than that it’s an ugly job which must get done!

Turkey on patio rail
Turkey on patio rail

If only we could train the turkeys to scrape the rail …



Fiskars Scissors: Preemptive Pivot Tightening

A new-to-us Fiskars scissors arrived with a loose pivot of a type I’d never seen before:

Fiskars scissors - pivot nut in place
Fiskars scissors – pivot nut in place

The nut fits into the slot in the upper blade, making the nut and screw turn together. Although there’s no torque between the two, the screw had no threadlock and, well, loosening happens.

The pivot parts include a thin washer between the nut and the lower blade to reduce friction between the moving parts:

Fiskars scissors - pivot parts
Fiskars scissors – pivot parts

With a dot of Loctite on the screw, it’s ready for reassembly:

Fiskars scissors - pivot ready to assemble
Fiskars scissors – pivot ready to assemble

After which, a drop of oil made it sooo smooooth.

That was easy …

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