Saturday, June 30, 2018

Before and After Photos of Cast Iron Bench Parts

Today was hotter than the hubs of hell.  Oh my goodness, I would work a little then sit in the shade and drink a bottle of water, then work a little more.

My goal was to get the cast iron bench parts clean, prepped, and painted.  Tomorrow we will build the frame for the back and then we can cut slats for the seat. Nothing will be bolted into place until Monday when R can go and buy stainless or anodized bolts.

We will probably bolt everything together and then take it apart so I can prime and paint the wood.  So I predict a bench reveal on Friday. 
The first step today was to clean the pieces.  I used a brass bristle brush to loosen dirt and remove surface rust.  I then washed each piece with a wet cloth and allowed to dry before I started painting. 
I discovered an area where there was some flash, that was a result of the casting.  I tried using a file to get rid of it but it didn't even scratch the surface.  So I had R use a grinder with a cone shaped bit to grind off the flash while I went and bought us a couple of tacos.
Before with flash.

After with flash gone.
      When I left to get food, Morrie was sitting in his Taz chair.
  But when I came home he was waiting in the driveway.  He knows that when the human leaves in the afternoon, they usually return with a bag of food.  Morrie loves fast food.
By this time, the saw horses where I am doing the spray painting, were finally in the shade. The cast iron pieces were too hot to spray paint when they were in the sun.  I followed the same procedure as yesterday's spray painting and painted the back or bottoms of the pieces first and then the top.
And if you forgot what the cast iron bench pieces looked like before I is a quick reminder.
Bench $40.00
2 cans of black satin spray paint $6.00
Total $46.00

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Prepping and Spray Painting Garden Stool and Candle Holders

This evening I spray painted the garden stool and candle holders in black with a satin finish. The photo below is the before photo.
Whenever I spray paint anything I always do the underneath and the bottom edge first.  This way I do not mess up the paint on the top when I flip it over.  I noticed that most bloggers spray the top first and I can never understand why.
While the inside and the bottom edge of the garden stool dries I moved on to the candle holders.  These needed a little prep first but nothing a little sand paper couldn't fix.  It was mostly rust and what looked like the remains of a felt pad on the feet of the holders.
I, of course, started with the bottom of the holders. After they were sprayed and while I waited for them to dry, I moved back to the garden stool.  The garden stool took two thin coats and it is now ready for whatever I decide to do with the top.
I now moved back to the candle holders and finish spraying the top side.
I used 1 1/2 cans of spray paint that cost 6 bucks for 2 cans.

Tomorrow we get started on the cast iron bench.  I would like to have it all prepped, painted, and the back wood frame assembled so when R goes to the nut and bolt store on Monday for stainless bolts/nuts etc, we can then assemble it and measure for the wood slats.

It is suppose to be very hot tomorrow so we will hang out in the shade and drink a lot of ice capps from Tim Horton's.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

My Latest Scores and Future Projects

The constant heavy rain yesterday and the heat today didn't keep me from picking up several great pieces for future projects.  

The first thing I picked up was a metal garden seat for $15.00.  It will get a coat or two of black spray paint in a satin finish to match my patio furniture.  I am also mulling over the idea of adding a top to make it more of a small table than a seat. 

My sister has this same garden seat in white.  I think the original price ran around 50 bucks. 
The second items that I picked up were two wrought iron candle holders.  The wrought iron matches the wrought iron details on the outside of the house.  I have several ideas for outdoor candles but will have to wait until I decide which type of candles I want to use before I can fine tune my ideas.  The candle holders were 5 bucks for the two of them.
Finally, I picked up some very heavy cast iron pieces for a bench.  It is missing the wood slats but that is not a big deal.  We can always use more seating out in the yard and this should be perfect.  Again, I will spray paint the cast iron parts in black spray paint in a satin finish.  The wood slats will be painted dark grey to match the house.  I am hoping that we can find wood in our scrap pile but the pickings are getting very slim when it comes to lumber in 1X thickness.  Also, I think it needs to be clear pine because any wood with knots will not work.  Clear pine in 1X4 is relatively inexpensive so that is a plus. The cast iron bench pieces were $40 for all of them.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Replacing a Broken Handle on a Sledge Hammer or Mallet

A while back I wrote a post about changing a broken handle on a shovel and how easy it was to do.  Today we replaced a broken wood handle on a small sledge hammer/mallet.  It is just as easy but it is a different procedure.
We were in the middle of something when R asked me to go get the small mallet.  It was then that I got a good look at the condition it was in and it was bad.  A big chunk of wood was missing and R had added a small deck screw to hold it together.
I had a 5 dollar off a $25 purchase at Ace Hardware so I asked him if there was something else we needed to make the $25 requirement.  R pulled out another shovel that needed a handle so that was enough for me to use the coupon. Make sure to take your mallet with you so that you buy the correct handle.

The shovel handle was $14.95 and the small mallet or hammer handle was $5.59  so I still needed around 5 bucks so I bought a couple of Japanese beetle attractant which brought the total to $32.56 then minus 5 bucks for a total of $29.21.
First off, before you head to the cash register with your new handle make sure that the little metal shim is taped to the new handle.
Here is the top of the old handle (the oval area) and you will need to use a drill bit to remove some of the wood so that the old wood handle can then be pushed out using a punch. 
It is easier if you use a work mate style table to hold the mallet in place while you drill and then use the punch and a hammer to push the old handle out.  You can also clamp the mallet head in a vise.  Don't clamp on the handle because you want the handle to fall out when you use the center punch.
Use the center punch to push the old wood handle out of the mallet head.
Test fit the handle.  You will probably see that it is too big.  Now is not the time to rush this part.  Sand a little off the edges on the very end.  R likes to use his belt sander placed upside down and clamped in the workmate.
Keep testing and sanding.
Always wear safety glasses or cheap sunglasses... LOL.  Wearing them tucked onto the neck of your t shirt will do nothing for the protection of your eyes.
Getting close but not close enough.
See the dirt?  That is where it is rubbing and will give you an idea where to sand.

We might be close.
Now you can insert the shim into the factory cut slit in the handle.
Insert the small end of the shim into the slit.
Yes, that is a can of cat food.  It was the only way to keep Morrie from jumping up on the workmate to see what was going on.  He is so nosy and not in the least scared of noisy tools. 
Use a chisel to countersink the shim and you are done.

A new handle for $5.59 is much less expensive than buying a new hammer.  Plus, as my husband says, there is nothing like old tools.

Tools needed

Drill motor and drill bit
Sandpaper or sander
Center punch
Clamping device like work mate or vise
Safety glasses

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Japanese Beetle Trap Hack

I've been using this hack for the last two years and have had great results.
What makes a Japanese Beetle trap better than using an insecticide?  The trap uses a sexual attractant rather than a chemical which is bad for the environment and bad for you, too.

Also, there is the argument that by using an attractant you will lure beetles from other yards into your yard.  My thought on this is that all Japanese Beetles are bad and as long as they go into the trap (and they will) who cares whence they came.

A Japanese beetles lives between 30 to 45 days.  Females feed, mate, and lay between 1 and 5 eggs.  Then they repeat this process every 24 to 48 hours until their life span is completed.  So you can see that if you do nothing the beetles will multiply exponentially.

I was late putting out traps the first year.  The second year I put the traps out as soon as I saw a few beetles.  But this year I am putting out the traps before I see any beetles.

The University of Minnesota Extension

According to the above chart I better get my traps ready pronto.  We usually start seeing them around July 4th but I want to trap as many as possible so I need to be ready.

Japanese Beetles defoliate trees when they are beetles and eat the roots of your grass when they are in the grub phase.  So they are doing damage even when you can't see them.

How do I know if I am actually decreasing the population of Japanese Beetles in my yard?  First of all, whenever I dig in the soil I look for grubs.  Every shovel full of soil revealed multiple grubs when we first purchased this house.  I now maybe find only 1 or 2 grubs every year when I dig.

Also, I have noticed less Japanese Beetles on my roses and fruit trees.  Defoliating a tree or bush stresses it.  It doesn't kill it outright but repeated defoliation can eventually kill part or all of a tree or bush.  

The first year I put out traps I would gather at least 1 gallon of Japanese Beetles per trap every week and I had out 3 traps.  I trapped for 4 to 5 weeks.  That's a lot of beetles.

The second year I put out 2 traps and collected 1/2 gallon in each milk jug every week.  So you can that the number of beetles has dropped.

On to the trap itself.  I use the Spectracide Japanese Beetle trap.
I replace the bottom portion of the bag with an empty plastic milk or fruit drink jug.  See how the bag narrows and then flares out again.  I make my cut about 2 inches beneath the narrow portion of the bag.  You keep the top portion of the bag but attach a gallon milk jug using a twist tie.  Tie beneath the threaded part of the milk jug because this will help to keep the milk jug attached to the plastic bag.
Add your attractant after you have the milk jug attached because it works so fast that beetles will be dive bombing you to get to the attractant.  The attractant smells good, kind of like cloves.  When you buy your bags make sure to get an extra attractant for every trap you put out.  The kit comes with one but I find that they only last about a month.

Next, I attach the trap to a tomato cage.  Why use a cage?  It keeps the trap from blowing around in windy weather, it helps when you need to mow because it can easily be moved, and you can move it if you think it isn't seeing enough beetle action.
That round disc on the yellow portion is the attractant.

I remove my milk jugs the night before trash pick up day.  I save the milk jug cap so all I do is remove the twist tie, put on the cap, say ewwwwwwwwwwww, and then throw it in the trash.  Why not use the bag and dispose of the bag.  First off, that would require buying new bags that are smaller than a milk jug.  I have seen beetles crawl out of a filled bag before. With a bag, they can crawl out of if the bag gets ripped in the trash truck.   Ewwwww
Look at how many are in this plastic jug!!!

With this method you will only buy the attractant every year.  FYI look for the attractant at the end of summer when it goes on sale.  The attractant is sealed and will last as long as you do not open it.

FYI this method does not work with the traps that have a ziploc bag.  I found those to be the least effective in keeping the beetles in and not touching you when changing the bag.  AND again if you use this type you will need to buy more bags. 

How does the trap work?  If you have ever watched a Japanese Beetle then you know that they are not the most graceful of flyers.  The beetle smells the attractant and flies towards the sexy odor.  They fly right into the yellow plastic, they drop down into the container, and then they can't fly back out. 

You will need to change your plastic jug if it starts to smell from decomposing beetles.  That odor will over ride the attractant and they will not be drawn to the trap.

Where do I place the trap?  Place it away from the trees and bushes that they like to eat the leaves.  I sometimes move my traps around if I find beetles in an area where I do not have traps.  You will soon know where the hot spots are in your yard.

I remove my traps once the beetles disappear, which in our area tends to be mid August.

I hope that this helps you to rid your yard of the Japanese Beetle.  This insect shouldn't be here.  It is not indigenous to the U.S. and by trapping you are helping to keep the Japanese Beetle from destroying fruit trees.  There are at least 300 species of plants that are a host for the Japanese Beetle.

Happy Trapping


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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Removing the Flat Roof on the Back Room

I probably should have said 'Removing the Flat Roofs' instead of roof.
Before photo

Yesterday the first roof came off.  It consisted of a thin rubber membrane and an underlayment of Homasote.  That exposed another layer of rubber membrane.

Today the second layer of rubber membrane was removed and exposed ANOTHER layer of Homasote.  Under the Homasote was ANOTHER layer of rubber membrane but that layer was thick rubber.

Guess what? Yup....another layer of Homasote.

But good news.  When we stopped at 630PM, we were down to the original green cedar shakes.

We have a huge pile of debris on the deck to clean up tomorrow.  The debris will go into large trash cans and R's doctor says we can dump it in his dumpster.  Thanks Doc!!!!

The green cedar shakes will stay on until the weather forecast is for drier weather.  Right now it says rain for Friday night through Saturday afternoon.  I guess we will find out just how much that original roof leaks if it rains.
The beginning of another scrap pile.  Aluminum scrap doubled in price this past week.  It went from 55 cents a pound to $1.10 a pound.

We will get a chance to work on the secret barn project if it rains on Saturday.  

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Concrete Solar Lamp

I just finished sending in my entry for the Quikrete 1 Bag Wonder contest.  I really enjoyed the process and because of this project I now have several other ideas.
I chose to make a solar lamp using only concrete, a solar light, and items found around the house to make the molds to form the concrete lamp.  It took me a while to find something to form the shade but when I saw the old stainless bowl in the barn loft the light bulb went off and I was now ready to mix some concrete.

The stainless bowl was perfect but I needed to make a hole in the top of the shade to hold the top portion of the solar light.  I used a small paint can hot glued to what would be the top of the lamp.
The mix that I made was stiffer than normal because I needed it to stand on it's own after a short period of time.  I kept pressing and forming until it set up.  I left it alone until the next day when I flipped the bowl over and tapped with a small hammer.  It easily came out because I sprayed the inside of the bowl with coconut oil.
I sanded the edges of the shade before the concrete was fully hard.  The sand paper I used was a medium grit and just took off the sharp edges and slightly rounded the edges, too.
I used PVC pipe to form the body of the lamp and used old throw away food containers to form the two rounds.  The rounds were brushed while under running water to expose the aggregate so that the lamp had two textures.  The rounds were heavily textured and the body of the lamp was very smooth.
Assembly went as followed.....bottom of lamp was a round, then the body of the lamp, then the round with a hole in the center, followed by the bottom portion of the solar light including the stake, then the shade set on top of the glass portion of the shade, and finally the top of the solar light was set into the center hole of the shade.  Eventually the pieces will be glued together with landscaping adhesive.  The lamp is steady without it but better safe than sorry.  I would hate for someone to accidentally bump into it and have it fall on a toe.
 The total cost for this project was $8.59.  $3.10 for 60lb bag of Quikrete + $5.49 for solar light.
The molds were all made out of items I already own.  I also think that I have enough Quikrete left to make a second lamp. 

Now on to the next project.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Hostas Purchased off of Etsy

If you are into hostas as much as I am then you know that your local nurseries and garden shops tend to offer the same hostas with maybe 1 or 2 new varieties each year.  I try to fight the urge to buy online because new varieties can be pricey for very small plants and you also run the risk of buying a plant that either doesn't hold up over the long run (Fire and Ice, Loyalist, Pandora's Box) or in the case of sports, you get a plant that reverts back after 3 years.

I needed a few plants to fill in holes in my hosta beds.  This usually happens when the tag says it is one size and it ends up being smaller.  I also had two hostas die which is very unusual.  What is more unusual is that there were no rotting roots or dead debris.  It might be that an animal dug up the plant and hauled it away.  Who knows what happened.
My usual online method is to buy off eBay or directly from a nursery but this year I decided to give Etsy a try.

  The box arrived in 8 days with a postal holiday and a weekend included so the box arrived very fast.
When I opened the box, I found each plant wrapped in newspaper, with the roots wrapped in wet paper towel and a plant tag attached.  Perfect.
 The plants were all good size.  There were no damaged leaves and all plants looked very healthy.  These are all new to me and I can't wait to see how they look when they reach maturity.  I will be very happy if they are half as good looking as the photos on the tags.

The seven plants that I purchased from the Etsy seller GardensBreeze are......

Firn Line medium light yellow with green center
Sunset Grooves small green with bright yellow center
Restless Sea medium blue with pie crust edge 
Sugar Daddy large blue with cream edge
Winter Snow giant chartreuse green with cream or white edge
Kiwi Spearmint small white/green streak center with green edge
Forbidden Fruit large thick leaves bright yellow center green edge
And finally I have all my concrete pieces made for the Quikrete 1 Bag Wonder Contest.
I will do a final reveal of what I made on Monday night.  Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed.

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