Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Monday, July 23, 2018

My happiest times

I usually hang my "yardwork clothes" on hooks on the laundry room door.  The specific contents vary -- but its an old shirt (either a retired [stained!] dress shirt or a cheap t-shirt), pants (either a certain denim pair of shorts, short sweatpants, or long sweatpants), and a hat (the floppy cloth hat [pictured], or a straw hat) -- plus my "tool belt" (pouch for pruning shears; pouch for my keys (shed keys, house keys); pouch for my cell phone (if The Lady phones during her errands, plus for taking snapshots of projects); and a pouch for my utility knife.

A few days prior, I had read a quote in a magazine (wish I could give a proper citation, but I looked, and couldn't find the quote again), where someoneone's mother (or grandmother?) had said that the secret to happiness is to find three things that you like doing -- and then try to do them a lot.

I took the photo because I realized:  some of my happiest moments are when I'm wearing those clothes -- puttering around doing yardwork, or doing some woodworking project -- or wandering back and forth between the two.


Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Compost bin patch

This is me knocking off a project that has been kicking around for a year -- maybe longer.

I have one of those "tumbler barrel" composters -- and a few years ago some critter chewed a hole in one of the corners.  The hole is about one and a half finger widths (an approximation; my fingers, at least), and about as long as my finger.  This means that whenever I rotate the barrel -- you're supposed to turn it three times whenever you add more scraps, just to mix everything -- some of the good stuff falls out the hole.

The difficulty was that I figured I'd have to use a sheet metal patch, and use some bolts (probably six, maybe eight), bend the metal around the corner, get the holes to all line up:  urgh.  I avoid using metal, for a variety of reasons --  and therefore I don't have a good stash of metal scraps.  And non-square pieces can be a nuisance to work with.  In hindsight, probably could've used the sides of an aluminum can (which would've been easier to work with than standard sheet metal).

Anyhow, a few days ago I suddenly realized that I could just use a section of branch:  I have tons of those -- and it's woodworking, not having to cut, then drill through, metal.

It's for function, not being pretty, so I didn't have to worry about cutting it precisely:  I just wanted to crank it out and cover (most of) the hole.

Here's the concept:  emergency patches on inflatable lifeboats use a similar approach.  Plate on the top; plate on the bottom; pull them together through the hole.

I didn't have the forethought to take a "before" photo -- and I couldn't be bothered to disassemble everything.  But here's one "after" view:  you can get a sense of how large the hole is.

Basically, just take a section of branch from the kindling pile; split it more-or-less in half; decide that the smaller "half" should go on the inside; clamp the two halves back together while you drill pilot holes all the way through; separate them and drill larger holes only through the top half (so that the threads of the screws can slide when passing through the top, but still grab the bottom portion); countersink the holes in the top; put in place and screw together.

Another view.  There's a little bit on the end that appears to not be covered -- but actually the end of the stick that's inside the hole mostly blocks it.

And here's a better-lit shot (and from a different angle), about a week later.

A design component is that the left end of the interior piece butts up against a piece of plastic on the inside -- and the right-hand screw (in the orientation as shown) butts up against the right-side end of the hole.  This means that there is no movement end-to-end.  And because the wooden patch is on a corner of the octagonal barrel, there's no side-to-side movement either:  it's wedged into the "V" of the interior corner.  So, it's pretty snug.

Oh:  and I soaked it in some Danish oil before mounting it, just to seal off the pores a bit.  It's hardwood, and because it's near the top of the barrel, it will be able to dry out (rather than rot, which it might do if it was on the underside, with wet compost constantly lying on it).  So, I don't expect it to rot.

It's functional (does the job); didn't take a lot of time; and has (I think) a certain rustic charm.

Most important:  it's finished.  :)


Labels: ,