Posts Tagged ‘diy’

I just installed a new (old/ reclaimed) front door.

Front door after. Left swing inwards. We got this door in very rough shape from a neighbor for $40. After a lot of scraping, sanding, patching, wood putty/ bondo, and new paint, it looks natural in its new home!

Front door before. Right swing inwards.
Ugly old paint and lots of glass as a potential security risk.

Continuing my DIY series, I’ll show you how to re-glaze old windows.

Step 1: Remove the old glazing. I’ve found that a sharp paint scraper will do the trick. If you must, use an old chisel you don’t care about because there is sure to be metal glazing points buried under there just waiting to wreak havoc on a chisel blade. Once you have removed the glazing, take out all the old glazing points, and carefully remove the old window pane. If you are doing this to replace a broken pane, remove it recklessly 🙂   Just watch out for broken glass. Once you have the window frame prepped, roll a thin rope of glazing onto the ledge where the window will sit (pictured below). This creates a good seal for the window, and also cushions it a bit. Rolling a tiny worm of glazing can take some time, so if you really need to go faster, you can use caulk here if you must.

 

Step 2: Gently place the new window pane onto the rope of glazing compound or caulk. Press with even pressure to smoosh the caulk flat but don’t break the window!

 

Step 3: Take your paint scraper (or even a tile trowel with a nice big handle) and push glazing points into the frame symmetrically around the pane. If it’s a small pane, two per side is fine. Bigger panes need more support, so add more accordingly. Try to get the point as flush to the frame as you can.

(more…)

Along with my new roof, I just installed a Solatube skylight. Our bathroom is the only room in the house with no windows. It had one originally, but someone covered it up with a tub-surround years ago. The room is a cave. Even in the middle of the day, you need to turn on the light. So I thought it would be an ideal application of a small tubular skylight. Now it’s bright enough that we only need the light in the mornings and at night. Hopefully we can recoup the money in energy savings, but it will take some time. I went with Solatube and not Suntunnel by Velux or another brand because from everything I’ve read and seen, Solatube is the best. I was certainly impressed with the quality of their product. The inside of the metal tubing is like a mirror! I thought it would just be painted silver or something, but it is literally a mirror. Plus they have good customer service. The day I got home and opened the box, I found that the dome had been cracked in shipping. I called and they were very nice over the phone and I received a new dome in two weeks, free of charge. I got the more expensive model because you can take a 30% tax credit this year. So really, the $300 model is less expensive than the $250 model that does not qualify for the credit. Here are the before and after pictures. Each picture was taken around noon without a flash. Keep in mind this is November in the Northern hemisphere and the Solatube is on the North face of the roof. I imagine it will be brighter come summertime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we need to get our roof done soon. The previous owner bought the house in 1983 and never put a roof on it. Rather than wait until our cielings cave in on us, we want to do some preventative maintenance. What does this have to do with chimneys you ask? Well, most of the roofing companies we got quotes from said that we need to have our chimney repaired before they would do the roof. One offered to do it for $600. I said I could probably do it myself for just a bit less than that. How about $30. Yeah, that’s right. $6 for some mortar, $24 for two ceramic flue liners, and a bunch of free, trash-picked bricks.

I borrowed some books on it and got to work. First I had to chip out all the old mortar and clean up/ remove the loose bricks around the top. Then I removed the old broken flue liners. Whoever repaired it the last time put the larger one in crooked so that the small one that serviced the furnace and hot water heater only fit when they broke one of the sides off. Then it was just a simple matter of carrying all my supplies out of our bedroom window and up to the chimney. Being a rock climber, I’m used to heights, so I didn’t tie off or anything. I was comfortable with that but you may not be. It was my first time working with bricks and mortar, so there was a learning curve. It’s not real pretty, but it will do the job. Here are some before and after shots:

IMG_2322IMG_2327

IMG_2323IMG_2326

I found these Napa Valley wine crates at the Rescue Mission Thrifty Shopper for $3.00 each. Then I got some thin oak and made wider shelves so our spices could fit. I just had to cut the oak to length, drill some holes, and cut in from the edges so that the shelves can twist in between the dowels. They’re just held in by tension, but it seems to work well so far.

IMG_2335

Just quit your job? Still at your job, but haven’t figured out what you’re going to do with the other 849 business cards that are stuffed in a desk drawer somewhere? Well I have a solution. Just take all those old business cards with your name and wrong/old phone numbers and e-mail on them and flip them over to the back. See? A brand new blank business card, ready for your creativity. Now you can name your job title as you really are, not what cubicle you sit in. (Dad, Adventurer) in my case.

So I had all these extra business cards that I still wanted to use, but I’m not with that company anymore. Easy, flip it over, search through the closets untill I find my old typsetting kit  from when I was eight, and BLAM! New business card. I threw in a shark and celtic knot for good measure, because I like both of them, and now that I am using the cards for myself, I don’t have to be quite as professional anymore. Here’s how they turned out. (I blocked my phone number because I’d rather not have people from teh intarnets calling me up all the time, no offense)

IMG_2314

When I tell people about how I made my own wallet to protect myself from arphid snoopers, they look at me like I’m crazy. When I say it has aluminum foil in it to block the signals, they know I’m crazy. Like tin-foil hat so the Government can’t hear my thoughts, crazy. And maybe, in a way, I am. Crazy like a FOX!

IMG_2317

RFID, or Arphid in lingua franca, stands for Radio Frequency Identification. They are tiny computer chips implanted in things like hotel key-cards, quick-fill gasoline keychains, ID badges, and easy-pay credit cards. This last one concerned me the most. Ever since I opened a new account a few years ago, my new credit card has the “convenient” Pay Pass option. When I go through a grocery store checkout, instead of going through the labor-intensive process of getting my card entirely out of my wallet, I an just hold my wallet up to the Arphid Reader on the register, and it will scan my card and read all the relevant information it needs. Bank account numbers, my name, date of birth, etc. Quick and easy. Great! Right?

Wrong! With a little know-how (easy to glean from teh intarnets these days), and some cheap hardware, any punk kid can make their own arphid scanner/cloner. These devices are usually about as big as a pack of cards and can easily fit into a pocket. With an antenna coiled in the palm of his hand, an arphid hacker could brush up next to you in a supermarket aisle, and walk away with all your bank account and credit card numbers. You would not feel them touch you, they would just need to be close (2-4 inches). The arphid chips themselves do not actively transmit your vital information at all times, and do not have their own internal power source, but when in close proximity to a reader, they will transmit all they know to whoever just gave them a little wireless elbow in the ribs.

So what can you do about it? Do what I did. Make a radio frequency proof wallet. At first, I didn’t believe that the whole tinfoil thing would work. I mean, I read it on the internet. Home to crazy conspiracy theorist who where tinfoil hats. But I found a site with simple instructions, and more importantly, a way to test it. When you’re all done, slip you cell phone into the dollar section of the wallet and watch as the signal strength drops to zero. Close the wallet completely with your phone inside and get someone else to call it. It shouldn’t ring.* ( the very first time I tried this, my phone rang, and I was mightily disappointed. I made sure the flaps were closed, waited 15 seconds or so, and tried again. No ring.) But the best way to test it is out in the real world. I went to Wegman’s and brought a pack of gum up to the register. When it was time to pay, I said, “Here goes!” and held my closed wallet right up to the arphid reader. Nothing. I flipped it over and tried again. Nothing. I pumped my arm in the air and said, “Yes!” while the cashier just looked at me funny. Why was I happy about my card not working? Still holding my wallet up to the reader, I pulled up my credit card from the little pocket. As soon as it cleared the top of the wallet, the reader picked it up and the transaction went through. Whoo hoo!

So make sure that you protect your privacy by covering your Arphid devices so no one can steal your precious information (and maybe even your money!) You’re welcome.

I found a nice piece of cherry crown molding at the Re-Store, which is run by Habitat for Humanity. They salvage any useful architectural pieces from all the houses that get torn down. So I thought that with a few 45* cuts, they would make some nice shelves. I was right. Although I could have used smaller screws on top. Oh well. And using maple for the cleats inside was a big mistake too. Because maple is so hard, it is hard to work with. You have to pre-drill everything and even then the screws stick and the heads gets stripped. But they came out nice in the end. For $5, I’m happy.

Update: Wow. I was surprised to find out that this post is in the top FIVE results on Google for “home made shelves.” So that’s why I see so much traffic here but nothing about people searching for shelves on WordPress. Well, I hope this was worth the visit. If you have any questions, please let me know. I am far from a master carpenter, but I might be able to help.

img_1811

Things I would like/ need to do: (more…)