Friday, May 24, 2013


Between the squirrels and the raccoons around here, it's hard to keep a bird feeder in one piece. I'll dismantle that wreckage, and see if there's a way I can reconstruct the shattered tray/platform.

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It's a start.

There are all the pieces I could find, reassembled and glued together with CA adhesive. I'll make a sheet aluminum disk for the underside. That will serve to at least cover the voids, and as reinforcement for the glue-joined pieces.

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Here's the disk cut to size.

The masking tape was for marking the perimeter with a pencil in a compass, so I'd have a nice, high-contrast line to follow with the snips. The centre-hole was cut with a small fly cutter. That aluminum is 0.024" thick, so it was pretty easy material to work with.

I'll get everything clean, rig a gravity clamp and bond the metal disc to the underside of the pan with clear silicone sealant.

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Here's the underside repair completed.

As a further reinforcement of my lamination job, I drilled through in several places and tapped the holes for short 6-32 screws. I installed the screws with CA adhesive applied as a threadlocker. I also drilled through the aluminum at all of the original drainage hole locations, and deburred all of those holes. Here's a view of the top side.

I'll fill those two voids with slow-setting epoxy. When that's fully cured, I'll repaint it, and I'll have a serviceable bird feeder base pan again. I doubt that the birds will mind the flaws.

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Here it is, almost paint-ready.

The epoxy fill turned out fairly well. The reddish stuff is autobody spot putty that I'd smeared over all the seams and sanded. I have a little more of that to do on the outside of the rim, then I can repaint the thing. It won't be flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but it'll serve.

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All Done -- FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2013

Here it is fully repainted and reassembled.

All I need now is a good photograph of 'customers' dining at it, and this post will be well and truly done.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Garden Ornament With Broken Spot Welds

It's quite a nice ornament, but it's well and truly broken. The only practicable way I can think of to repair that is with a couple of twists of wire through holes drilled in the pan on either side of the 'ring'. I have a fine hank of stainless steel wire that I inherited from my dad that will provide me with suitable wire. Here goes.

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That turned out reasonably well.

The only downside is the appearance of the twisted wire ends that there's no concealing, but they're not too objectionable.

Stainless steel wire is ideal for this sort of repair because it's so tough. You can really twist it tightly without fear of breaking it. Copper and steel wire are also useful at times, but you have to be more careful about how tight a twist you make. Toward the left side of the above photo you can see where I used some 20 AWG enameled copper wire to reattach a 'bee' that broke loose. I added some CA adhesive to those two repairs to strengthen them.

Anyway, it's as done as it's going to get -- 'time to get it out where it belongs.

And there we are. That ornament won't be coming apart again.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Advice About Locking Up

If you take your workshop seriously, as I do, arrange to be able to LOCK IT UP SECURELY!

Family members are liable to treat it as a free tool rental outlet, whose tools grow back in the night like mushrooms. If you value your tools, your peace-of-mind, and your good relations with family members, LOCK UP YOUR WORKSHOP LIKE IT'S A BANK VAULT!

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Band Clamp Application

I bought this band clamp long ago at Princess Auto, and it sat in a drawer unused until today.

Today, a little repair job came up that put the band clamp to work to fine advantage. One of my wife's planters had a steel band rust through at one place, and this clamp was just the thing to cinch up the planter's perimeter, while I fabricated and installed a repair patch. Here's a view of the clamp on the job.

(Needless to say, the three corner braces that came with the clamp weren't needed for this.)

After using up all of the clamp's screw travel, I still wanted to cinch up the planter's perimeter more if I could, so I applied a ratchet strap lower down, tightened that, and then reset the band clamp and retightened it, like so.

That got me as satisfactory a cinch-up as I was ever likely to get, so I proceeded with the patch job, and ended up with this.

It'll do. If my wife gets two more years from that planter, she'll be happy.

Anyway, the band clamp proved to work as advertised. It's a well-thought-out, well-made tool.

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Band Clamp Specs

Princess Auto Catalogue No. 8088767.

Strap Width: 15/16".

Strap Length: 10' nominal; actually almost 11', but some length is, of course, 'lost' to the clamp's mechanism.

Clamp Screw Travel: 2 1/8".

Note: For stressful applications like the one outlined above, keep the screw well oiled.

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