Shop Time?
First dog watch, 4 bells (6:04 pm)

I just got some pricing on polebarn kits. I've been thinking about building one and using it as a woodshop—I have plenty of room in my back yard for it. I'm surprised at the prices, they're a bit lower than I thought they would be! Apparently I can get a 24x32x12 pole barn kit for just over $5k. Unfortunately, that doesn't include any concrete, which can be fairly expensive.

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Ultimate Rubber Band Gun
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:08 pm)

A lady I worked with years ago had a cool desktop rubber band gatling gun. It was nothing compared to this:

Unfortunately the Disintegrator rubber band gun website is now serving out 403 errors (probably due to being woefully beyond its transfer limit).

17 Jan Update: Their site is up now.

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Another Must-Have
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:36 am)

I want one of these kits real bad.

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Portable Constellations
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:16 am)

I've had this link for a long time, but have never posted it. NASA has a cool page on how to make constellations in film canisters. Personally, I would add a red LED inside the canister with a small watch battery and mount a switch on the outside so I could project them from each canister. Great for amateur astronomers or for teaching constellations.

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Sweet Decoration Idea
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:55 pm)

I had this crazy idea a while back and I just can't get it out of my head. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with this. You need a 3-5 inch deep shadow box with a fake shotgun mounted in it, a box of shells, and a big wicked-looking knife. On the glass, etch the words In case of zombie attack, break glass.

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I Can’t Wait
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:29 am)

… until my next DVD drive dies at the office! I now know exactly what I'm going to do with it!

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The Little Compressor That Couldn’t
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:25 am)

Last Friday night I went out looking for 1/2" crown staples to finish my ceiling framing project for the library. After going to Lowe's and Home Depot with no success, I began to be doubtful that I would find the right staples. Saturday morning I went to Coeur d'Alene Power Tool and they said that the type of staple I'm looking for might be found at some shop in Spokane. Apparently the pneumatic stapler I have (on loan) is old and staples aren't really made for it anymore. so I ended up buying a new stapler that uses 7/16" staples instead (which are apparently half the price of 1/2" staples despite their 1/16" difference in width).

Moving on with the story, I started my construction off with an attempt to shove a nail through my left hand's middle finger. I thought I had just hit it pretty hard with something, not realizing it was a nail, so as I was shaking it around trying to deal with the pain (and saying a few choice words—nobody else was around) I found that I was spraying blood all over everything, so I headed upstairs to bandage it. I washed it out, poured hydrogen peroxide in it, administered a dollop of neosporin and wrapped a band-aid around it. The band-aid wasn't staying on very good, so I wrapped that in masking tape. Now I was in business and could really start working.

I nailed up the first 2x2 down the library wall the long way, leveled it up and kept going. I nailed up more along the ceiling, then cut up OSB and stapled another 2x2 to the bottom of it. I then stapled the OSB+2x2 to the 2x2 mounted on the ceiling, then stapled another piece of OSB to the bottom of the wall-mounted 2x2 and the hanging 2x2. Voila, box one complete. It's about 8" tall by 16" wide by almost 19 feet. Then I had to do the other side.

After about 7 hours, the air compressor I had started working overtime just to keep up. I finally stopped working because I was afraid it would break or something. So I have the two short sides left to do, but they'll go quickly, both sides are less than 8' each, so I only have to nail up two pieces of 2x2 before I can build the boxes.

I expect MS will be collecting his tools today, so I won't have them anymore, but I can borrow my dad's compressor—it's a lot bigger anyway.

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Lowe’s Loves Me
Forenoon watch, 3 bells (9:35 am)

Well the spree went pretty well. My in-laws showed up to "help" look at stuff, and pick out different fixtures. Or was it to help us spend money?

Anyway, we had a manager (Mike) help us with everything, he was very cool, and really took care of us. He followed us around with carts, loaded stuff on them, dropped them off and got new carts, and provided great information on a wide range of topics.

Let me see if I can estimate what we bought:
Bosch inline water heater (my favorite purchase, I must say)
Flow-through furnace mount whole-home humidifier (because I hate the dry winter static electricity)
70 various 2x4s (mostly 8 feet long, some 10 and 14)
60 sheets of drywall
250+ pounds of drywall mud
2 buckets of topping mud
750 feet of drywall tape
6 gallons of pvc paint primer
10 lbs drywall screws
Many tubes of construction adhesive and caulk
Cement nails and gun loads
Electrical stuff (single and double gang boxes, light boxes, switches plugs, GFCI plug, 250' 12/2 romex, etc)
5 light fixtures (1 bathroom light/fan combination)
2 ceiling fans
3 six-panel doors in casings
1 set glass panel French doors
Bifold doors for pantry and linen closet
Cedar closet lining for linen closet (mmmm, smells nice!)
90 feet of base moulding
90 square feet of wonderboard, thinset mortar, and grout
120 square feet of tile for the bathroom and shower
10 square feet of 4x4 slate tile for the pellet stove stand

I'm probably leaving some things out, but this is the gist of what we purchased. All in all, we spent just under $6k. And my builder wanted $12k to finish the downstairs for me...

PS I also special-ordered this really cool shower head, the Westbrass spider shower head!

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Pantry Construction
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:10 am)

I finished my pantry last night, except for a few screws (I don't have the right size) and some bifold doors. The shelves are in and secure. We now officially have a ton of room in our pantry for bulk food storage.

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This is insanely cool
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:17 am)

Go check out Block I Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC): How to build one in your basement
—the original guidance computer for the Apollo spacecraft. The PDFs have tons of color pictures, this guy is off the charts cool. If I had the time, I'd totally build one, just to have it!

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Clock Plans In!
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:02 pm)

I got the clock plans in that I've been talking about yesterday afternoon. Can't wait to go through them and get started!

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Trebuchet Time
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:12 am)

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to build a trebuchet. I decided last night after a particularly difficult time installing Windows XP Professional x64 on the new AMD 64 x2 box I ordered at work that I needed a break from the CRTs. So I went to Lowes on my way home to pick up some hardware I needed and then just got caught up in buying what I needed for my trebuchet. Instead of popsicle sticks, I decided to use 1x1" poplar. Instead of a small desktop model, I built a 12" long, 7" wide trebuchet with an 18" throwing arm in my shop. I have a bar of steel I'm going to cut up and put in the counterweight basket tonight (I cut the pieces out and glued them together last night). The frame is built and put together. I still need to attach the counterweight basket (hinged, so the weight drops straight down, making the best use of gravity), and then create the sling and projectile holder with the release trigger.

I'll have pictures soon.

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Clock Plans, Part Two
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:24 pm)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to build a grandfather clock out of wood. Today I ordered the plans.

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Desktop Trebuchet
Forenoon watch, 1 bell (8:41 am)

Here are instructions on how to build a desktop trebuchet. You know you want one...

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Make Your Own Grandfather Clock
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:12 pm)

This is so cool, I'm going to have to get a copy of the plans! ClockPlans has plans and kits to build your own grandfather clock or wall clock almost completely from wood!

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