Sunday, July 23, 2017

Carport Post Rot

Our home has a carport supported by three 4"x4" cedar posts, and one 4"x6" cedar post. One of the 4"x4" posts, and the 4"x6" post, are exhibiting severe dry rot at their bottom ends. Here are views of the 4"x6" post's problem.

That's what happens when a paint film fails and acquires little fissures that can admit rain water. Water wicks in readily, but the largely intact paint film prevents the water from evaporating readily. What you have is a situation where the paint is actually worse than useless. Naked cedar would at least dry out quickly after being wetted, and wouldn't be nearly as inclined to rot.

I don't care to have to replace that entire post. The post is quite tall; jacking the peak of the carport's roof to accommodate post replacement would be problematic, to say the least.

So, I went with reinforcement of the post's base by way of 2' lengths of pressure-treated 2"x4" and carriage bolts. Here's a view of the the reinforcement applied to two sides.

And here it is with all four sides' reinforcements installed.

That still leaves me with exposed voids at the very bottom corners. I'll fill those with expanding foam, then prime and paint the whole repair.

# # #

# # #

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Brightening Up A Drab Dragonly

In nature, dragonflies are quite the colourful little creatures. This dragonfly garden ornament is anything but.

It's just begging for a paint job

Dragonflies have always struck me as having an almost metallic quality to their colours. I found a picture of a dragonfly that's a good example here.

I checked out the colours in Canadian Tire's rack of spray paints, and didn't find anything close. Then it dawned on me that the automotive touch-up paints might be the place to look. My wife and I looked those over together, and we found a colour called Brite Teal[1] that looked like it would do nicely. Here's how that turned out.

Not bad. (That's one coat of grey primer, with two coats of Dupli-Color's Brite Teal.) The eyes ought to be black, though. That's the missing finishing touch. I must attend to that.

Eyes Painted

Here we are with the dragonfly's eyes painted with Tremclad gloss black.

Much better. That detail brings the fly to life.

The Other Dragonfly

Our garden has one other dragonfly. It's a big one, with a wingspan of about one metre.

The fly is about the same colour as the tree trunk that it's perched on. I should have enough paint left to give that fly the same treatment as the smaller fly got.

- - -

And voila.

Now that's a dragonfly if ever there was one.

* * *


[1] Label reads: "CBGM0546 Brite Teal. Canadian Tire P/N 047-2420-8.

# # #

# # #

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Viza Cruze Scooter

A garage sale find.

As you can see, it's in pieces, and whoever took it apart lost the fasteners, so this is going to be challenging.

Allegedly, the engine has no spark. I'm not even going to try to investigate that until I've come up with a bench-mount for the engine. I want to be able to work on the engine at a bench, not down on the scooter's chassis.

- - -

 Here's the quick-and-dirty rig I came up with for a bench-mount.

It's just a steel flat attached to the engine by a single M6 screw underneath, then c-clamped to a small bench. It's adequate for spark testing, and that's all I'm concerned with right now.

And the outcome of my spark test was to confirm that, yes, there's absolutely no spark. So. the next step will be to obtain a replacement coil module, and try that out.

- - -

My son has ordered a coil from China. Here are two views of the original coil

Note that the coil is mounted such that it's inaccessible for air gap measurement. Installation of the replacement coil will be a trial-and-error affair to achieve a more-or-less correct air gap.

- - -

While I'm waiting on the part's arrival, I suppose I should record some information about the scooter and its engine.


Made by VISA MOTORS LLC (Limited Liability Company). As best as I can make out the I.D. plate, the model is CZ-2BS, VIN is Y60682 and Model Year is 2013. The I.D. plate is a cheesy affair, hand-written with a ballpoint pen, so those items could be in error.

From what I can see on the internet, VISA MOTORS LLC is no longer with us, so factory support is out of the question.


A model KY171 from Keyang Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. of Korea. There's a rather odd entry on the I.D. plate -- "(MAX) 1.7PS/7000RPM". I don't know what to make of '1.7PS'. On the starter it says, "33cc ENGINE DESIGN BY MITSUBISHI".

There's a Keyang internet presence, but it looks like they no longer make two-stroke engines, so there'll be no help from them, either.

Spark Plug

The machine came with two spark plugs. The one that looks like it might be the original is an NGK BM6A. The other, that looks like a new equivalent replacement, is a Champion CJ8. They're gasketed, non-resistive types with a 3/4" hex.

# # #

# # #

Monday, July 10, 2017

A United Power GG1300 Generator

Well, what have we here?

A garage sale generator that my son just brought me. Let's get it up onto a work surface for a better look.

That's better. Here's a view of the I.D. label.

The machine has issues. The recoil starter's cord is completely unwound, and won't rewind. The carburetor leaks fuel like mad whenever I turn on the fuel supply valve at the fuel tank. I'll tackle the recoil starter first. Here's what I have to deal with.

This should be fairly straightforward. I'm hoping that the trouble is just a starter failure, and not an indication of a seized engine. If the engine is seized, the machine is scrap metal.

- - -

'Looks like a 10mm socket wrench should get those three fasteners off; then I should see something instructive under that starter cap.

- - -

The good news is that the engine is not seized. I can turn the crankshaft, and there is some compression, though not a lot. I suspect that this engine has more than a few hours on it.

The bad news is that the starter is a broken piece of wreckage.

One of its pawls is out entirely. There are a few shards of plastic.

'Time to get the starter inside the workshop, and see if I can salvage it. I don't see a maker's name on the engine anywhere for me to go to the local small engines place with, to enquire about a replacement starter.

- - -

I managed to get the starter operable with only one of its two pawls, so the engine now has a working starter. 'Too bad it won't start.

Spark Plug

It does have spark. The spark plug appears to be some Chinese make; it's a BONON E6TC. 13/16" hex. Approximately 0.025" gap. There was some carbon build-up on it. I cleaned and filed the electrodes and re-gapped it, and it looks pretty good.

Note the poorly centred centre electrode. That doesn't inspire huge confidence in BONON's quality control.

I took the spark plug with me to Canadian Tire, and the parts counter guy there was able to cross-reference it to a Champion Copper Plus L87YC. So now I have a new spark plug for the engine.

Air Cleaner

The air cleaner's cover is held on by two M5 wing screws.

Directly under the cover is a foam filter element, and in behind that is a baffle plate. The foam element is supposed to be oiled. Mine had never been oiled.

Note the orientation of the baffle plate. Behind the baffle plate are two 10mm A/F flanged hex nuts. Those two nuts fasten the air cleaner body and the carburetor itself. With the two nuts removed, the air cleaner body can be pulled off. Note that a crankcase ventilation tube plugs into the rear of the air cleaner body.

Carburetor Removal

With the air cleaner body off, the carburetor's governor link and spring must be disengaged from the throttle lever.

The spring's end unclips fairly easily. The link's end must be forcefully lifted out of its hole. It's ok to flex the link at its centre to help with disengaging it. Here's a view of the carburetor off the engine.

It's a fairly straightforward carburetor to dismantle. A 10mm A/F screw at the bottom of the bowl must be removed to get the bowl off; from there, the rest of it is pretty obvious. Following are some notes on the carburetor, in no particular order:
  • The screw at the bottom of the bowl looks like a mixture adjustment, but it's not. It's just a drain screw for the bowl.
  • The pictured carburetor had sat idle for a long time with old fuel in it, and had acquired deposits inside that had clogged the orifice supplying fuel to the main jet's well. The orifice had to be unscrewed and thoroughly cleaned. Deposits had also fouled the bore that the fuel inlet needle valve resided in, and possibly fouled the main jet's air bleed passageway. I soaked the carburetor's body in lacquer thinner for over an hour to clean it out.
  • The fuel inlet needle valve seems to be prone to bind in its bore, leading to severe fuel leakage from the carburetor. It seems like you have to find a 'sweet spot' in the valve's installation orientation where the valve moves smoothly, and works reliably.
  • Float level is fixed; it's not adjustable.
  • There is no mixture adjustment for wide open throttle operation; that mixture is fixed.
  • The single mixture adjustment screw is for partial throttle operation. Note and record the number of turns that it takes to close the screw before removing the screw. On my unit, it was just a little over one turn.

# # #

# # #

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Jobmate Mitre Saw

I picked this up off Kijiji just recently in rather an odd way.

I'd gone looking for just such a thing, and lo and behold there one was. When I looked up the vendor's location, it appeared to be very near to my son's address in Oshawa. So, I emailed my son about it, asking him if he could look into getting it for me. My son got back to me, informing me that the Kijiji ad was his -- he was the vendor. He'd found the item at a yard sale, and was looking to turn it around at a profit. He'd let me have it at his cost.

So, I've got myself a low-end mitre saw. We'll see how this works out.

- - -

'Jobmate' is Canadian Tire's line of economy tools, and in my experience it's remarkably good stuff -- well thought out and well constructed. I have a few Jobmate items in my workshop, and I've been quite favourably impressed by them. Their folding workbench has been serving me well, in spite of its flaws. I'm hoping that this mitre saw proves to be as good as the other Jobmate tools I have. Anyway, let's open up the box and see what we have.

- - -

Here are the box contents.

And here's the saw assembled.

It's a small machine.
  • Blade length is 13 3/4" overall; 12 1/4" effective. Pitch is 14 tpi. (I doubt that replacement blades are available. The saw no longer shows up on Canadian Tire's web site.)
  • Maximum stock thickness (height) is 4 1/4".
  • Maximum stock width at 90°is 4 11/16"; at 45° it's 2 3/4".
It looks to me like those maximums may be a little on the optimistic side.

The saw definitely needs to be attached to a base plank so it can be clamped to a bench top, or gripped by a portable work bench. I have a 1" x 6" off-cut that will do nicely.

The Degrees Scale And Pointer

This is a disappointment.

The pointer is much too far from the scale to be read accurately. One thing I was hoping for from this saw was that it would facilitate cutting odd angles. The pictured arrangement is not too helpful when it comes to setting a cutting angle that's in between one of the detented angles. The only way for me to get what I want here is to fabricate and install a fine-tipped pointer that reaches to the scale; then I'd have an accurately readable degrees scale.

Anyway, I've got myself what may be a neat little rig for cutting common angles on small stock. I'll give it a base plank, make a place for it to reside and give it a quick test.

- - -

Test Outcome -- WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 2017

It grieves me to report that the saw is an utter piece of trash. I sawed the end off a 5/8" x 3 1/2" piece of softwood at 90° with very poor results. The cutting action from the blade is poor, and the angle detent is off the mark and ambiguous. The saw has absolutely nothing to recommend it.

Way to go, Jobmate. My good opinion of your gear is gone.

# # #

# # #

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Small Woodshed

Our home has a fireplace of sorts. It's an old acorn style, like so.

As I understand it, acorn fireplaces are long out of fashion. They're inefficient. Still and all, it is a fireplace, and a fire in it on a winter evening is a very pleasant thing indeed. And in a pinch like an extended power outage the thing could be salvation, in spite of its inefficiency, provided that there's an adequate supply of firewood on hand. So, I thought it wise to finally get around to constructing a woodshed.

I looked around for suitable woodshed plans on the internet, and found an article that pictured a beautiful design. I really like the looks of the woodshed pictured in that article.

That's a beauty, but the article is a bit of a fraud. The plan given in the article is for a shed that's nothing like the pictured one. Emailing the article's publisher about it got me nowhere, so I set about working out a plan myself. That's been an interesting and challenging exercise that's left me in awe of those who can design and build wood structures.

I've managed to draw up the beginnings of a plan for a shed that will resemble the item pictured above. I have enough of a plan drawn up for me to get started on construction, but I don't know enough about construction carpentry to draw up a plan with every last detail in it. So, beyond the initial floor and wall framing, I'll have to make it up as I go along. We'll see how this works out.

My shed will have a 2' by 6' footprint, and stand about 4 1/2' tall at the peak of its roof. Here's a view of the floor foundation completed.

The two skids are 4" x 4" MCA pressure-treated wood. They're to be the only pressure-treated parts of the shed -- I think that pressure-treated wood is way overused.

The framing is 2" x 4" SPF (spruce/pine/fir), held together with No. 8 x 3" deck screws. To attach the framing to the skids, I splurged and got Kreg's HD pocket screw jig. Here's a view of that item at work.

I've long been intrigued by Kreg's pocket screw gear, and this was my excuse to finally acquire some and try it out. I'm impressed. The gear works as advertised. With No. 14 x 2 1/2" screws installed, that woodshed floor foundation is a very sturdy construction.


The flooring is 1" x 4" SPF planks, spaced 1/2" apart so there can be some air circulation up through the shed from below. The planks are nailed down with 1 1/2" common spiral hot galvanized nails.

Rear Wall Framing

That framing is all 2" x 3" SPF, held together with No. 8 x 3" deck screws. I expect to be using that size and style of screw extensively throughout the construction of the shed.

Side Walls Framed

Front Framing Less Corner Braces

That centre post is the two off-cuts from the skids. I joined them end-to-end with biscuits and Gorilla Glue to make a long-enough piece for that post. I also used that method to salvage some 2" x 3" off-cuts for studs, as in the following photo.

Doing that saves considerable waste.

Rafters And Front Corner Bracing Installed

Cross-Bracing Installed

I added that cross-bracing because I've decided to go with vertically arrayed board-and-batten siding.

Siding Begun

Here's the first vertical board in place.

That board clamped along the bottom gives me a registration edge for the bottom ends of the siding boards. Then it's easy to mark a board's upper end to agree with the roof line, and cut it with a hand saw just like a real carpenter would. It should look pretty decent when it's all done. I used 1 1/2" hot galvanized spiral finishing nails to attach the vertical board. I wouldn't mind having an air nailer for this, but that's something I've yet to acquire.

Siding Progress

Here's one end of the shed fully sided, with a few battens installed.

The battens are about 7/32" x 3/4" that I ripped from 1" nominal stock. I've attached the battens with 5/8" brads from an Arrow electric stapler. The stapler is just barely up to the task -- I've had to hammer most of the brads to fully seat them.

I carried the siding around the front corner by 1 1/4" for the sake of a more finished appearance.

That's as far as I want to go for a corner treatment.

One Side Fully Battened

Fully Sided

Front Fascia Board

Here's the clamp-up I rigged to allow me to install the front fascia board without assistance.

And here we are with the front fascia board fastened in place with No. 8 x 2 1/2" deck screws.

Next up is the rear fascia board, then the roofing planks.

- - -

Roof Planked And Both Fascia Boards Installed

Now I have to finish off the gable ends with bargeboards. That will be a bit of a challenge. I have quite a few 1" x 6" off-cuts left to me from the backside and roofing planks. I may make up some bargeboard material from those by biscuit-joining off-cuts together to make long enough boards.

Bargeboards Installed -- SATURDAY, JULY 8, 2017

The most mentally taxing work I've ever done in my life. There were three different angles that had to be discovered, and then expressed with the table saw's mitre gauge. One is constantly doing the mental gyrations necessary to keep it straight in one's head the position and orientation of each angled saw cut. Mistakes could easily be made, and would be costly in ruined material.

Anyway, that's over and done with, and I was able to salvage some off-cuts into the deal.

Drip Edges Installed

The drip edge material is Amerimax No. 3715419 from the Home Depot. I just installed it according to what seemed right to me. Information in this 'information age' can be hard to come by and sketchy. Anyway, that should do what it's supposed to -- keep water from wicking back between the shingles and the substrate.

Roof Shingled -- TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2017

In the above photo, the roof is just awaiting its ridge cap. The shingles are GAF MARQUIS WeatherMax 3-tab, charcoal colour from the Home Depot. Only one bundle was needed to do the entire roof.

Done And In Position -- WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 2017

I gave the outside and the floor one application of Thompson's Water Seal. Now the shed can peacefully stand where it is and weather, and test out my assertion that pressure treated wood is way overused.

# # #

# # #