Showing 1 - 10 of 25 posts found matching keyword: diy

This is what I spent my May building: new stairs for the front porch!

Eight days a week

Not bad for someone whose best tool is a keyboard, if I do say so myself.

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In 2003, my grandfather gifted me a backlit 1975 Ingress-Plastene Coca-Cola clock (Model G017) that he had been storing in his garage. The light still worked, but the timekeeping didn't. I took it apart and tinkered with it a bit, but for reasons I couldn't recall, I never got around to finishing the repair and the clock was put, in pieces, into storage in my garage. Like grandfather, like grandson.

In April, looking for something to do between programming jobs, I finally decided to finish my decade-old clock restoration project. Having forgotten why it wasn't working, I started over at the beginning. I spent $20 on assorted parts to replace the missing winding mechanism before I re-discovered that the original motorized movement was worn out. Then I remembered why I didn't fix it 10 years ago: the company that made the electric motor stopped making clock parts in the 90s.

Time for work

Unwilling to give up a second time, I took to the Internet. Replacement Lux series 2350 movements are available periodically on eBay for prices as low as $25. In fact, the whole clock is common enough enough that I could buy a replacement between $50 and $250, depending on condition. But I didn't really want a replacement; I wanted the clock that my grandfather once owned to tick once again. Besides, I couldn't really trust 40-year-old parts to keep working any longer than they had in my clock.

So I went ahead and spent $40 on a new electric movement — Made in the USA™ — with a set of hands that mimicked what I had. (The original had a sweeping second hand and the replacement steps, but beggers cannot be choosers.) It took a bit of tinkering with a drill and a vice to make the new, shallower movement fit with the original florescent lamp interior, but it worked out well enough in the end.

It's always 2:55 o'clock somewhere

After nearly 15 years, I finally have a working grandfather clock. Now my mud room looks like a little league snack bar, and that's just the way I like it.

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Last year, Mom replaced the chain link fence around the driveway with a cedar fence. It looked good, but I just couldn't live with its natural wood finish. I just had to paint it white. (Relax, Tom Sawyer. No one whitewashes anymore.)

It took a lot longer than I would have thought (rough-hewn cedar swallows paint by the gallon), but I have to say I'm very satisfied with the finished product.

Tom Swayer would be appalled: I did it myself

I must admit, something about a white picket fence says "American Dream" to me. If this is what Trump's wall looks like, I think I'll be okay with it.

(And so will July.)

I can put Baby in a corner

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I'm thinking about painting my bedroom. This is the approximate current color:

Someone thought this color was a good idea

Disclaimer: I did not choose that color. I never met the person who chose that color. I'm terrified of the person who would choose that color.

If it was up to Mom, the walls would be beige. Or tan. Or eggshell. Or ecru. Mom loves her neutrals.

If it was up to Dad, the walls would be white. Dad, a former real estate agent, would paints all walls white. It's almost a mania.

(How they could live in the same house long enough to have two children remains a mystery to me.)

Obviously, I don't want more green. To prevent clashing with the big red Georgia flag on my wall, pinks, lavenders, and oranges are out as well. Personally I'm thinking blues. Something like:

I'm feeling blue

If I can ever make up my mind and paint the room, I'll provide pictures. In the meantime, don't hold your breath.

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Tired of throwing away blue jeans when the seat ripped, I finally decided to learn to use a sewing machine. Unfortunately, my pants were so bad, they killed our machine. Rather than go without, Mom spent an ungodly amount of money on a new electronic machine that's smarter than our television. With my pants now fixed, it's time to turn my attention to my 20-year-old leather jacket.

One less Black Bag Superman in the world

My jacket is a copy of the costume worn by Superboy in the classic "Death of Superman" comic book storyline from 1993. That includes the mourning armband on the left sleeve. The armband I've been using for decades is the actual armband bundled in the polybagged edition of Superman #75. As you can see, it's in bad shape. (I have a hunch these things weren't really meant to be worn for 20 years.)

From the desk of the Superman Revenge Squad

Rather than track down and unbag another copy of a 20th century comic book — I refuse to admit how many times I've already done this — I decided to make my own from superior materials and a 21st century sewing machine. I got lucky that Jo-Ann's had Superman pajama fabric on sale. I was planning on having to cut my own "S" shield.

Superman. Still dead after all these years

The finished product turned out pretty good, considering that the first time I'd ever used a sewing machine was two weeks ago. Now I'm ready for a bigger project: repairing the jacket pockets. I look forward to being able to carry pocket change again.

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I have a Cub Cadet LX1040, and I have to say that its Kohler motor has been a truly unstoppable beast. However, I can't say the same about the cutting deck. It's been... temperamental. The mower has been in the shop for 4 of the past 11 months, and when it broke again last week, I decided that it was time I learned a thing or two about lawn mower repair.

Maybe I should have cleaned it while I had it apart

Quite frankly, there's nothing complicated about the mower deck. Just some pulleys and springs that adjust the tension on the timing and PTO ("power take-off") belts. The biggest problem in repairing one is figuring the anchor points for everything, which would be easy if you'd ever seen one in full working order. But who takes the deck off a new lawnmower? Next time I buy one, I will.

I have to give full credit to Cub Cadet customer service. After I determined that my latest problem was a bearing failure that required a new pulley, their website helped me find and order the replacement part with little trouble. I had the part in less than a week and operating a day later. So how come every time I take my mower to the shop, it's there for at least a month?

So that was my day: repairing a mower, cutting the lawn, then going inside and making Rice Krispies treats before sitting down to watch some football. That's a manly enough day for anyone.

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Before I painted the outside of my house, I helped a friend with the inside of his. We stripped some wallpaper, repaired a fence, replaced some worm plumbing, and then we tiled the bathroom. Take, for example, this tile tub border:

Randy had to make sure that the tiny accent tiles were distributed randomly

That pattern was repeated, more or less, around the shower off camera to the left. All in all, I think it came out nicely, even if I would have chosen different colors. (Should a bathroom look like it's at the bottom of the sea?)

Anyway, it's been a busy month, so I'm taking a few days off from diy projects before I start on painting the garage Twilight Gray, Quartz Stone, and Firecracker Red. Painting won't be so much trouble, but before I can begin that, I have to move everything out of the garage. Then at some point I'll have to move it all back in.... And that can all just wait a few days.

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So what did I do in June other than watch a movie every day? I painted the house.


The one advantage of a yellow house is you can't tell when it's covered in pollen


Don't tell anyone, but I Photoshopped those shutters. I haven't actually put them up yet: they're still in the garage.


Yes, the patio was green with fuchsia doors. No, I don't know why.


The Georgia Red doors were my contribution to the color scheme

But I did not remove those trees. The one in the back was removed to replace the septic system last August, and the ones in the front were removed last week as part of an extensive landscaping plan that is gradually reforming the yard.

I'd love to rest on my laurels and relax (by which I mean "watch more movies"), but Mom already has me painting the inside of the house. There's no rest for the wicked!

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I called a service technician to look at the garage door because it wouldn't respond to the remote. I could tell you about everything I had done to try and fix it, but instead I'll cut to the chase: the remote battery was dead. Money well spent.

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Our neighbor was having trees cut down in his yard, and he asked if we would like some of the wood chips. We said yes, and the next thing we know, a truckload of wood chips was dropped on our front yard.

Ok, whatever. Big deal. That pile doesn't look so big. I'll just go outside with my shovel and wheelbarrow and try to move it off the grass. Then it started raining, and it turns out that a dump truck's worth of wood shavings is a much bigger pile than you might expect.

Needless to say, I'm now looking for someone to help shovel some wood shavings. Anybody know anyone who owns a bulldozer?

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To be continued...