July 23, 2014

Making Shelf Etc... Very Tricky...

Hi,

After all our home woodworking posts about birdhouses, bird roosts, feeder mounts, and the woodworking that goes into them (Google on eBirdseed.com and woodworking), I figured it was about time to hit you with a bit of engineering and woodworking trickery. My problem was to mount a shelf (two actually, but one will suffice for explanation) in a finished garage without the help of studs using just scraps. Ready? Here's the finished shelf and window: Note that the shelf has a level on it...

shelf from afar 420 IMG_8063.JPG

And here it is in a closer look...

shelf close up 420 IMG_8062.JPG

Now, before you say "Big whoop" understand that the shelf is bedrock solid... But how can that be? Here's the tricky part... Without studs, I didn't have a lot to work with, but I did have the following:

  • EZ-Ancor drywall hardware... (Mollies will work too...)
  • The bottom of a secure rail (the horizontal piece of trim below the window)
  • Possibly well-placed shelf supports
  • Glue
  • Inclined planes
Here's the skinny... The sneaky part is to trap the shelf in three dimensions. (Can you see where this technique has wider usages???) Deep breath now for the details...

  1. I needed to cut the shelf snug between the vertical stiles of the window trim...
  2. Next, the shelf supports had to be carefully milled such that their grain was 90 degrees to the EZ-Ancor attachment screws that go into the wall...
  3. Once you have the supports, you need to bore them for those attachment screws by drawing the appropriate alignment reference lines across the grain and drilling using a bit just slightly larger than your screw diameter (Here is where exceptional caution comes in... A drill press and sufficient clamps must be used to stop movement of the support...)
  4. Alrighty then... All that being done, temporarily place the shelf and supports into position (complete with a level) and use a small Phillips head screwdriver to slightly dimple the wall where the screw diameter hole emerges...
  5. Remove the shelf et al and use an awl to mark for the pilot hole for the EZ-Ancor about 1/64" -- 1/32" above the dimple... Now set the EZ-Ancors...
  6. Go back to your drill press, and clamp and drill a hole big enough to allow passage of the EZ-Ancor screw but leave about 3/8" for screw shank only...
  7. Test fit... If you've done everything just right, the shelf will be level and will start to snug when you tighten the screws into the EZ-Ancor
  8. Lastly, put glue onto the back shelf edge, the back face of the shelf, and onto the tops of the supports, and assemble... Now drive the screws...
The ploy is simple: use the inclined plane of the screws into the EZ-Ancor and the rail and stiles to 'trap' the shelf. Add to that a quality glue, and you have created a three-dimensional monolithic structure... And that is one strong puppy... Told you it was tricky...

Something to think about by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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July 19, 2014

The Jelly Eaters

I knew it! I knew we had something different this year visiting our jelly feeder. I only caught glimpses of him at first, and thought he was simply a juvenile Baltimore Oriole whose coloring hadn't fully come in yet. But when I noticed a few other oriole-type birds in a lemon/lime color hanging around the feeder as well, I knew something was up.

400_orchard female photo 2.jpg

Having lived so long in New England, one gets used to the brilliant neon orange of our regular visitors; so when I realized we had some new kids on the block, I hit the trusty Internet in search of more oriole information. And lo and behold, a life list first for me: Orchard Orioles.

They look different: a bit smaller, and more of a rusty robin-breast orange. They sound different: none of the cackling chatter or clear "Peter! Peter!" call, but more of a whistling song. They behave differently, too -- much shier and more prone to flitting away at the merest breeze lifting a curtain edge. Made it incredibly difficult to get photos, let me tell you.

resized_oriole comparison.jpg

But I did get some!

And apparently just in time. It seems that they head back to their Central American wintering locales by mid- to late July.

So allow me to introduce our new temporary neighbor, the lovely Orchard Oriole.

400_orchard photo 1.jpg

Eating jelly by the feeders,

Mrs. CapeCodAlan


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Comments

Really nice pics Mrs. CCA. Thanks for posting them.

Mrs. CCA replies:

" It was quite a trick to both get the photos of the two birds, and then merge them into one shot. Somehow, PowerPoint messed up the .jpg format... But we made it happen...

Best, Mr. and Mrs CCA

July 11, 2014

More on Finishing the Garage...

Hi,

Sorry I'm late on yet another post -- finishing the garage is turning into quite the bear. (You can read more about the project by Googling on "eBirdseed.com, blog".) Take a look at the shot below... I wanted a wall-length Shaker peg board for shovels, rakes, and whatnot, and that's what we made...

420 SHAKER PEGS.JPG

Next, we finally had to decide on the ultimate use of the space would be... Here's a rough drawing of the footprint...

420 plan view 2014-07-11_113358.jpg

It just so happens that if you were sitting with your back to the garage door, the 9.5' half wall (circled in red below) would be roughly 160" away -- the ideal distance for a 50" or 55" HDTV... Hmmm... Can you say "home theater?"

420 small wall IMG_7941.JPG

But how to mount the TV? Well, we could secure to the top of the half wall, or we could suspend it from the ceiling using a hinged system such as the one below...

420 swinging tv 2014-07-11_111131.jpg

A release/tug on the rope (indicated by the up/down arrow) would, via pulleys, raise/lower the TV for viewing and storage purposes. Beyond that, Mrs. CCA's Microsoft Surface could be connected to the TV turning it into a mega-monitor for the home office.

Now do you see why I've been so busy???

By those bustling feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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July 3, 2014

Shaker/Artisan Garage

Well, finishing the garage goes on (and hence my infrequent entries into this blog!)

In no particular order here are some thoughts accompanied by following pics...

Mrs. CCA wanted the 'Artisan' feel, and you can see it here in this window treatment...

420 artisan window treatment IMG_7886.JPG

One of the corner shaker peg boards temporarily in place for measurement purposes...

420 corner shaker peg board IMG_7926.JPG

How a longer Shaker peg board will look, but for now just on the floor... Note the 45 degree joinery to lengthen the board...

420 shaker peg board on floor IMG_7925.JPG

Love the simplicity of a simple shelf and an old-fashioned general store grabber...

420 shelf and grabber_IMG_7927.JPG

In general, we're shooting for the esthetics or Arts & Crafts, combined with the clean lines and functionality of Shaker...

If there is one lesson I've learned along the way (including this project), is that you design first, and then engineer a solution afterwards. Stinks to be an engineer...

Knee deep in sawdust...

CapeCodAlan


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June 27, 2014

Trimming a Warped Room...

420 window warp_IMG_7886.JPG In keeping with our 'Home Handy Person' theme, I thought I'd share a few of the hard-learned lessons that I've come upon along the way... In this case, those lessons have to do with trimming out an AARP-age garage with floor, walls, and ceiling that have settled into a sort of Daliesque landscape. Here are some possible steps that might just ward off insanity:
  1. Consider the window at left... While the pic doesn't really show it, the wall is not just bowed, but it's twisted as well... That means that adjustments to the top left corner trim will affect all other corners. (Ah, for the good old days when a wall was simply bowed...) Lesson? First know what you're up against. Study the structural elements of the room carefully! What's goofy where?
  2. Write and sign a blank check and walk into a good hardware store and ask for quality levels and squares. Don't worry about the cost... Just explain what you're doing and let the proprietor fill in the check -- you can always donate blood and eat cat food...
  3. Forgive those who built the joint in the first place... While the shot below does a crappy job of displaying the problem, it's there nonetheless -- the sill is out of level by 0.25" over 30"... How do you make that look right?
  4. Speaking of "level"... Remember the three chants of the fixer upper: "Level!", "Plumb!", "Square!"
  5. When reality crashes your perfection party, don't fight... Accept the fact that some things will interrupt the chants above... The trick is to make the best of it, and only you can make that decision...
  6. If need be, use cardboard templates to mock up possible trim orientations. Do the best you can.
  7. An extra set of hands are priceless...
  8. Never forget light and shadow...
  9. Forgive your own sins... It happens...
  10. Finally... Get on with the project!!! True, things can get messed up... But the worst of all is not getting started... Go for it!!!
420 rear entrance garage door sill_IMG_7888.JPG

In sawdust by the feeders,

CspeCodAlan


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June 18, 2014

Crawfish Gumbo???

420 crawfish jumbo_IMG_7807.JPG

Yeah,

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing with this one, but here goes...

Ingredients:

  • Heaping handful of pre-cooked frozen shrimp...
  • Heaping handful of pre-cooked frozen crawfish...
  • Zatarain's spice mix... (Take your pick...)
  • Four cups of water... (Or whatever the rice/Zatarain's calls for...)
  • Just a dash of Tony Chachere's for that 'heart attack' effect...

Stuff all that into a crock pot and let cook for a few hours (be careful not to burn or overcook to the point of mush...)

I don't know... The above might just make a great base for 'gator, snausage, snake, crab etc... (I can see it now... "Honey... Kids... Come and get your mud-bug and snake slop!")

By those mysterious feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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June 17, 2014

Windows 8.x Revisited‏

rt.jpg This is just an update of the April 22 Windows 8.x review...

I've been reading more brouhaha about this new operating system, so I thought (given my added day-to-day experience) I'd give you an update on the beast.

Observations in no particular order:

  • My first review was okay, and IMHO deerves a second look... (The tips about exploring the periphery, the Window key, and right clicking goes a LONG way!)
  • The bad news is that depending on the number of USB devices you're going to need, a USB hub probably will become a 'must'...
  • The good news is that USB opens up your horizons to all sorts of cool gadgets like TBs of storage, mice, keyboards, SD readers, etc...
  • In the case of our RT machine, we're having problems dealing with PDF files. I need to dig into that and figure out what's going on...
  • As the screen shot above shows, Win 8.x comes with a plethora of goodies, and I won't even pretend to claim all-knowing wisdom.
  • Our MS Surface came with Office built in. Our kitchen computer has a 365 day free trial version. Whatever... If need be, you can always buy Office later. No matter how you slice it, it's a 'win'/'win' in my book... Here's more info on Office and 8.x: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/home-and-student/office-home-student-rt-preview-FX103210361.aspx
  • We did have problems with the 'Narrator'. I had to use Task Manager to shut it up...
  • Be own your toes when in IE -- think 'tabs'...
  • For 'copy and paste', 'Ctrl-C' and 'Ctrl-V' are wonderful things...
  • Love that Windows key!

As I stated in the first review, this OS takes time. I wish Microsoft had stuck with the XP GUI and simply fortified it, but that's just me... Still, I can work with it, and for me that's really all that counts. In the case of the Surface, the trade off of funkiness vs. tiny footprint and power is a no-brainer...

Computing by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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