Sunday, July 31, 2016

New Pedal Board Day: Homestyle Edition: Part 1

Ever since my SKB pedal board broke down, I've been looking for a new pedal board.  I bought a power supply with the intent of either buying a Pedal Train or Gator pedal board.  However, the one's I've been looking at cost $150.  Honestly, I just can't swing that, so I turned to the internet for help.  I looked into building my own pedal board.

It turns out there is a very easy way to make one.  It's with the help of Ikea.  You take the Hejne HM-35 shelf, and make it into a pedal board.

So here's what I am dealing with:

The shelves come in two packs.  So if I screw one up, I can always use the other one.  Now to cut it down to size.  I wanted it to fit into my old SKB pedal board case.  So I took measurements of the old case.

So now for a little trim.

I took off one of the wooden bars, and shortened the other ones.

Here I took the former piece on the side, shortened it, took out the nails with the cutoffs, and then re-nailed it to the shortened pieces of wood.  I hope that made sense.  Either way, the above is now perfectly cut to size.  Now to make it angled.

Now to put the feet on.

I used wood glue and screws to hold down the angled feet.  I used the clamps to hold it in place while I worked on it.

Since this is a soft wood I made sure to drill holes before I put in the screws.

I used three screws on each side.  That along with Titebond wood glue should be plenty enough.

Here it is on the ground.  It doesn't rock or anything.  So I'm doing well so far.

And it still fits well in my SKB case.  I'm really starting to dig this.  Now it's time to paint.

Here you can see my "hi-tech" painting station.  I decided to use some paint we already had.  But first I used the primer. 

The wood was so porous that it was just soaking up the primer.  So I kept putting on more as I was trying to fill in the hard to reach places.  Now I will let it dry for a while before continuing on with the project.

So stay tuned.  I will post a "Part 2" for this story. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cuts Like A Knife.... (But Really, It Does Feel So Right.)

So my friend Matt has a neat hobby.  He makes knives.  I always thought that was a neat hobby.  I mean, I build guitars, and that involves wood and electronics.  But knives require both wood and metal working. 

So I've always been in awe of those who make high quality knives.  I remember watching a program on the Discovery Channel about a man who was a renowned knife maker.  His specialty was knives that were thin like fillet knifes, but could bend side to side without breaking.  It really surprised me at what a high quality knife could do.  It would bend without breaking, but still be extremely sharp.

Matt asked me if I had any black walnut or was planning on getting any.  I had to check my woodpile, but it turns out both Matt and I were in luck.  I had one piece in my pile that was clearly marked black walnut.

It turns out he needed black walnut for making knife handles.  So, I asked him how big he needed the wood blanks, and he let me know that they needed to be 12 inches X 4 inches X 3/8th of an inch.  I was wondering if he was working on a machete with pieces of wood that big.

So I got out the wood and went to town on the bandsaw, thickness planner, and thickness sander.  After all my work, this was my results.

The blank on the left is mahogany.  Matt didn't ask for it, but I decided to show him what one would look like.  Him and his family where happy with the results.  It was then they informed me that one of those blanks where not used for the side of one knife.  It would be cut into quarters, and then used for two knives.  So I felt better about only having one piece of mahogany. 

I was worried that the knots on the wood would be a problem, but Matt said they would just add character.

But the gift giving was not over.  It turns out that Matt had a present for me.  This:

Whoa!  It's almost too nice.  Really, it's just too nice.  This knife is so sharp that I was cutting steak, and it cut the plate.... in half.  And that plate was made an actual plate, not a paper one.  This knife was so sharp that when I was washing it, it cut the water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Yes, it's that sharp.

So I am thankful for the gift.  I know they're made to be used, but dang, I don't know what I am going to use it on.  Maybe if I get a hunk of giant dead animal flesh?  Or the leg of some sort of biggish animal?  I just have to make sure I don't drop this knife on my foot.  I'm sure it would go right through. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Hey Mama, Don't Rock Me. Don't Rock Me One Bit.

Have you ever heard a song so much in your life that you wished you never heard it again?  Well, as much music as I listen to it's bound to happen.  But think about this.  Have you ever heard a song so much, but it never actually heard it played on the radio?  That is something to think about it.

I go to a lot of open mic nights and local shows.  So I tend to hear a lot of the same songs.  Here's an example.  Down here in Florida you are guaranteed to hear something from Jimmy Buffett.  It's just gonna happen so get used to it. 

But something struck me kind of strange when I started going to open mics.  I kept hearing this same song that I'd never heard before.  Now admittedly, local radio here in the Tampa Bay area is notorious for only playing classic rock.  So if anything new comes out that isn't Top 40 pop or classic rock, it is lost to the bay area. 

So what is this song I kept hearing? 

It turns out that it's called "Wagon Wheel" from "Old Crow Medicine Show."

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying it's a bad song.  It's quite catchy.  But it's very odd that I seem to hear it played out so much, but not on the radio. 

And speaking of radio, it turns out that, "Old Crow Medicine Show's" Ketch Secor wrote the song with Bob Dylan, but lots of other artists have covered it.

Like Darius Rucker (Of Hootie and the Blowfish):

Even Irish singer Nathan Carter got in on the act:

Even Sheryl Crow has played the song along with many, many others.  I won't name everyone since this list will start to get quite long.

When I started writing this blog I didn't realize I wasn't alone in my thought.  My searches took me to the Wikipedia page where it seems a lot of folks agree with me.


It has become such a popular cover song at musical gatherings, venues and events that some discourage its performance.

The article also goes on to say that it has become almost as big as "Freebird" in terms of requests at bars.  So again, it seems that I am not alone in my opinions. 

So, in the end, I will leave it at this.  Hey Mama, don't rock me.  Don't rock me at all.  I can go the rest of my life without hearing that song. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

HVAC - Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Part 3

My work continued on our A/C system at the house.  It started with a trip to Home Depot.  Since I needed to replace the insulation on the pipes outside, it was important to pick up some new insulation and zip ties. 

I was so focused on my work I forgot to take pictures, but believe me, the old insulation was falling apart.  It just completely fell apart in my hands.  So I put the new insulation on, and tightened it down with zip ties.  I feel pretty good about it.  Here's the "after" pictures.

The hardest part was just getting around to the back of the units.  The concrete is very hard on the knees.  Luckily, I remembered an old towel I had, so I tucked it underneath my knees. 

I also got back to cleaning the inside coils.  Again, I forgot to take pictures.  But here is what it looked like before.

I talked to my HVAC Instructor Raul yesterday, and he told me to NOT take it out.  Just leave it where it was.  Go ahead and hit it with coil cleaner, and let it sit for five minutes.  Since it sits in a pan, I could use the water hose on low, and the water would drain down the pipes.  I had my shop/vac on standby for any water that made it out of the pan, but not much managed to get out. 

For reference, this is your friend:

So now it's time to let the system run for a bit, and see if everything improves.  It's already gotten colder in the house.  Now it's time to see if the electric bill comes down a bit.  Since this is about the hottest time of year in Florida, the difference should be really noticeable.  Hopefully things will turn out for the best, and I may be able to write part four of this blog.