I hadn’t started a fire in my living room in over a decade.
It wasn’t an ordinary wood burning fireplace though. My house has a boiler and the previous homeowners had installed a heat recovery system, called Hydro Fyre, which fed the heat from the fireplace back through the boiler and out to the rest of the house. It sounds good in theory, but with the number of pipes running over the top of the fire, it seems like it was a chimney fire waiting to happen. Look at how loaded with soot everything was!
After they removed the old system and cleaned things out, a direct vent gas fireplace insert was installed. I got the Escape model with the black Firescreen front, made by Heat & Glo. The interior panels are a patented FireBrick technology, which produce up to 25% more radiant heat than a metal interior. Even on the lowest fan speed it really throws out the heat! A remote control makes it easy to change five flame heights, four fan speeds, and three levels of ember illumination. It’s a slick unit.
I love how it transformed the look of the entire room. Why did I wait so long to get this?
I’ll call this phase two of a living room remodel after getting Mitsubishi mini-splits last summer. Several more projects are planned whenever an item arrives, which is supposed to ship near the end of April.
Last week a Mountain Dew sign caught my eye while browsing. It had an odd character and a slogan that sounded familiar. I knew I had to get something like it for the walls in my shop. After some searching through FB Marketplace, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and Google it didn’t take long to decide I wasn’t going to spend the kind of money it takes to get an original rusty Mountain Dew sign. I went back to the sign that sparked my interest and ordered it.
The colors, artwork, and being embossed are all quality. It’s a really fun sign that now lives on my shop wall.
This journey doesn’t stop there though. I thought the style of the art was familiar and it was. Back in 2015 I saw a different Mountain Dew sign while I was in Park City, Utah. I was pretty sure I’d heard/seen the slogan “It’ll tickle yore innards” as well and sure enough, it was used on a bottle of DEWshine I drank back in 2016. The same hillbilly character was appearing everywhere! His name is Willy, which makes a lot of sense when you learn Mountain Dew is actually slang for “moonshine.” (source) Here’s an early (original?) commercial.
Mountain Dew was invented in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1946 when Barney and Ally Hartman, of the Hartman Beverage Corporation, first debuted their new soft drink at a Gatlinburg convention. The drink’s trademark became official in 1953. Originally, Mountain Dew’s flavor was lemon-lime similar to 7-Up or Sprite and it was created by the Hartman brothers primarily as a mixer for hard liquor. In fact, the name “Mountain Dew” came about because the brothers joked that when mixed with liquor, the drink resembled a fine Tennessee moonshine.source: “It’ll Tickle Yore Innards!”: A (Hillbilly) History of Mountain Dew
…it was not until 1960 when Tri-City’s manager, Bill Bridgforth, changed the flavor to the citrus-lemonade flavor we know today, that the drink began to soar. As Bridgforth put it, “it took off like a cat hit on the tail with a hammer.”
I’m so glad they changed the flavor.
Ya-hooo! Mountain Dew!
Pease-out was project #32 of the Boldport Club. This kit is kind of boring one, since it’s main purpose is a tribute to Bob Pease, an expert analogue designer. Adjustments to the potentiometer change the output frequency of the LM331, which can be observed by the flashing LED.
It was a simple build and removes another project from my todo list.
With my updated hobby room and new soldering station, I’ve been itching to do some electronics. I have several kits saved up from 1-2 years ago and the first one to get back into it was Stringy from Boldport. It’s a kit that synthesizes notes with a PIC microcontroller in either acoustic or electric guitar.
You need this in your life. Trust me.
My wood storage got out of control. Something had to change.
First I wanted to build a lumber rack on the opposite wall of the room. I remembered watching John Heisz make a simple one on YouTube, so I followed what he did almost exactly. I already had plywood strips the correct width, so I chopped ten to 30″ long. Then I whipped up a simple tapering jig on the bandsaw to make quick work of cutting 20 arms out of old wood.
I ran the arms through the planer and rounded them on my router table. I also rounded the plywood edges because they were rough. After a lot of repetitive gluing and screwing, the pieces were assembled.
I drilled holes and preloaded all 60 screws to make it easier to put them on the wall.
I stacked two at every other stud and loaded it up!
It’s so nice to see what I have and be able to easily access everything. I didn’t expect it to be so full already though!
Next, I wanted a rolling lumber cart for sheet goods, off-cuts, and scraps. Doing a Google image search was a bit overwhelming, but I found inspiration from several styles:
- LumberJocks – Small Scrap Lumber Cart
- Woodworking for Mere Mortals – Make a Rolling Lumber Cart
- DIY Montreal – Ultimate Lumber Storage Cart
- Wilker Do’s – DIY Rolling Lumber Rack
I drew up some ideas. Since I already had the lumber rack on the wall, I kept reminding myself I didn’t need space to store long boards. Originally I was set on incorporating an old drawer in my design (first picture below), but it was too limiting. Some of my design choices were dictated by only wanting to use materials I already had.
Instead of doing a final plan in SketchUp I decided to wing it, giving myself flexibility through the build. I took full advantage too by changing several things along the way.
I had bought The Auto-Jig from Armor Tool a week before, which I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. It’s worth every penny and saved a ton of time.
One morning I built the base and cut most of the plywood pieces. Then I assembled almost all of the complicated half before attaching it to the base. On day two, the second side was much easier to assemble. I used the router along with some sanding to round the sharp edges. I slapped some castors on to make it mobile. The last task was making the drawers, which I put together with a nail gun and glue.
Finally it was time to load up the cart and organize everything. Big surprise, it ended up very full!
Sorting through all of the wood was a good opportunity to purge and I ended up with a big pile for the trash.
I can actually use the room again!
This was a very simple build I knocked out one night. I used solid wood scraps for the sides and plywood for the bottom, all 3/4″ thick. It’s about 30″ wide and 18″ deep. The height in the back is about 7″ tall and the front is about 2-1/2″.
Since this was getting painted, the quality of the wood wasn’t a concern and I didn’t need to do much sanding. I used a roundover router bit on all of the edges. I like it when I don’t have to do the finishing work. Turned out nice.
Following up on getting the new hobby desk and organizing the room, I needed something for all of my soldering tools. A lot of the stuff on these shelves needed to be easy to pull out and use at the desk.
The portable soldering station Adam Savage built gave me some inspiration. I could make something to live in the closet when not in use and being portable would allow me to take it to the basement if needed. I measured how much floor space I had available in the closet and hauled everything down to my woodshop.
I cut up some shitty scrap plywood and started playing around with ideas.
Being able to see things in space really helped with my design process. When I had something I was happy with, I made a sketch with rough details.
When I saw it on paper, it reminded me of a wood toolbox with a handle. Makes sense, I guess, since that’s essentially what I was building. I still have a large pile of old oak flooring, so I spent about two hours milling a few pieces down to 3/8″ thick boards. Then I glued some pieces to make panels for the sides, bottom, and shelf.
I picked up a piece of 1″ (it’s actually 1 – 1/8″) oak dowel from Menards for a handle. After letting the glue dry on those panels for a few hours I cut them to size, designed the side profile, and made other pieces. I realized I need to glue up two other panels for the small shelf bottom and a cross piece on the back. I think I only had to recut one small piece that was originally the wrong size. Eventually I had all of the parts.
I sanded all of the faces with 80 grit and then used glue and a pin nailer for assembly. Since nothing here need to support a lot of weight, I went with simple butt joints.
After a quick fit check for all of the tools and supplies, it was obvious I need some way to organize the power cords, so I made a cord wrap from some scraps.
With a palm router I softened the edges everywhere and did a final sanding. Originally I was planning to use a dark stain to match the hobby room’s trim, but after seeing this put together I really liked the lighter colors and the wood grain. I skipped the stain and applied three coats of Minwax Water Based Polycrylic, sanding with a piece of paper bag after each.
I’m really happy with the decision not to use stain. The pieces I selected for the side panels have some great coloring and grain.
All of the tools and materials are easy to access and the station fits well in the closet.
If you have a Bissell carpet cleaner that won’t spray, the heater core might be clogged up. Start removing screws and parts (you can probably find a video on YouTube for your model) until you find a rectangular metal part with wires and hoses connected. For this model it turned out I didn’t need to take the handle pieces apart.
After you remove the wires and hoses, you should be able to pull the heater core out.
Then you can pop off the cover and clean out the inside. I should have taken a picture of the junk that was caked in the channels, but this is what it looked like after I did a quick cleaning.
Then comes the fun part of trying to fit everything back together. 🙂 I had to do it twice because I didn’t route some of the hoses properly. The unit works again though!