Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Half-Inch Nails up the Wazoo

If you take up wall-to-wall carpeting from a floor, you end up with quite a supply of these spiky little strips from the perimeter of the floor. They're 1/4" poplar plywood with lots of 1/2" nails driven through them at an angle to grip the edges of the carpeting that's stretched over them.

My son did me the favour recently of taking up the carpeting from the master bedroom in our home, in preparation for the installation of a hardwood floor. I have a box full of the stuff now. If I take the time to pull all those little nails, I'll be a half-inch nail tycoon. Plus, I'll have some nice kindling for the fireplace.

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And the better part of two hours later, here we are. I have an excellent little heap of half-inch common nails, and a smaller heap of 3/4" ringed nails. (The 3/4" ringed nails were used to fasten the strips to the floor.) Not a bad deal for the price. I won't be writing "half-inch nails" on my list of stuff to buy at Canadian Tire anytime soon.

And here's my kindling.

I've made out like a bandit here.

I won't be counting the nails; that's management's job, and there ain't no management around here, only labour.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Spray-Painting Lathe

I'm making a new standpipe for an ornamental lawn sprinkler. When it's done and ready, I'll need to clear-coat it, and that prospect left me a bit apprehensive.

I'm pretty good at spray-painting, but I'm not a talented 'natural' at it, and I wanted to improve the odds of ending up with a flawless outcome. That led me to construct this crude prototype of a spray-painting lathe.[1] Here's the headstock end.

And here's the tailstock end.

The standpipe is not ready for clear-coating yet, but I did have an immediate requirement to repaint three square-tubing side table legs. I made up a suitable mandrel for them and tried it out. I'm very pleased with how it went. Here are photos of a side table leg readied for painting.

I plugged in the rotisserie's motor, painted a leg and found that the equipment and the method work beautifully. That barbeque rotisserie motor/gearbox has an output speed of about 5 1/2 rpm. I got the hang of it very quickly and got flawless results. I wish all of my ideas would turn out as well as this has.

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The woodworking part of constructing this was strictly crude, simple and utilitarian -- I just wanted a framework that would do the job.

Adapting the drive unit called for a bit of machining work on my metal lathe, but nothing difficult. Pictured below are the items I needed to fabricate.

The square drive adapter was made from 8mm square rod salvaged from the tractor-feed assembly of an old dot-matrix printer. It's 4 5/16" long overall, with a pointy end turned at one end, and a 3/4" long round 'land' turned at the other end to take a short length of 5/16" I.D. rubber tubing as a flexible coupling. Needless to say, this is the sort of thing that calls for a four-jaw chuck.

At the upper right is one end of the mandrel for the sprinkler standpipe shown in the first two photos above. It's a 40" length of 10mm diameter steel rod, with one end turned down to fit the flexible coupling. At its tailstock end, it's simply borne directly in a round-bottomed notch in the tailstock upright. At the lower right is one end of the mandrel for the square table legs. It's a 29 1/2" length of 1/4" diameter steel rod. I built up its drive coupling end with brass tubing and CA adhesive. A short length each of 9/32" and 5/16" diameter tubing glued in place did the job there.

Front and centre is a bearing I made up from odds and ends to bear the tailstock end of the 1/4" rod. It just slips into place in the notch in the tailstock.

When I first tried this out with the square table legs, the rotation speed seemed a little fast, but as I said, I got the hang of it very quickly and now I'd say that it runs at about a perfect speed for the application. As a means of spray-painting long skinny objects, this lathe can't be beat. You'd have to be trying to botch a job on it.

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[1] My son and I had a slight disagreement about how loosely/broadly the word 'lathe' can be defined/applied. He maintained that a lathe is for shaping things on. I maintained that any machine that spins things horizontally for any purpose can be called a 'lathe'.

I'm not certain that I'm right, but I'm older so 'spray-painting lathe' it is.

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