Sunday, October 28, 2012

The kindness of neighbors

I have a couple of what you call less than desirable neighbors, one is simply a bitter mean old A...hole who enjoys bulling all those he can. The other one is a crack junkie, arrested at least 7 times in the last 24 months.... multiple drug offenses and multiple OUIs. In addition to her pyromaniac tendencies she likes to set off firecrackers and run chainsaws at 11 pm or any time the mood strikes her. She also has the proclivity to do doughnuts in the back yard on her dirt-bike regardless of who she disturbs. Just on Friday I had the privilege of witnessing an other one of her meltdowns as she let rip with a tirade of profanities and screams at her tenant that was moving out.....could do without both of those neighbors.
But then you have Bob and Chris Cook up the street.. sure wish we could have more of them. Today on my way to the gas station to fill the Jerry-cans for the generator in preparation for oncoming hurricane Sandy, I stopped to chat with them and they offered up some moose meat. Now that is a rare treat even here in Maine. We have a lottery permit system here and very few folks are lucky enough to score one of 3900 permits let alone get to shoot a moose. This year only about 25 hundred were taken in the whole state. Got about 4 lbs of moose burger and a pound and a half of London broil.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First firing of the new stove

Ground down the paint on the outside of the stove so as not to stink up the garage to bad and hooked it up to the stove pipe.....

and of course could not resist trying it out.... tomorrow I'll get some sand to put in the bottom of the barrel so it wont get to soft over time...
note the addition of the spring to the door handle.... salvaged from a Corvair engine... yes in your face Ralph "unsafe at any speed" Nader....
 a good view of the locking mechanism..
and the front side...
and finally found a good use for the antique floor vent grate I have had kicking around the garage for the last 14 yrs.... an other salvaged item from an old home remodel project.
tack welded some rails to the sides of the grate.. in this case cut-offs salvaged from a piece of garage door closer track..
overall an other great success... puts out a good bit more heat than the coal stove.. Perhaps tomorrow I'll get some stove black and paint it up to keep it from rusting. And the best part is that total cost so far was $8 for a 12 inch section of stove pipe...... got to love that...

Making a handle for the door

a nice piece of 5/8 inch rod sourced from the scrap bucket and heated with the MAP torch....

until it is glowing red hot and soft enough to bend in the vice... a 90 deg bend one way...

then a 90 deg bend the other....and a few hammer blows on the corner of the anvil on the vice while hot tightens up the inside....
followed by some work with the file to make a sharp corner on the inside of the bend....

drill a hole in the door and tack on a couple of washers to keep it in place.....

et Voila..... she locks tight....



Monday, October 8, 2012

Cobbling together a new wood stove out of a propane tank.

 Last week's project....
I have a nice Atlantic Stove-Works #40 pot belly coal stove I bought for $25 a few years back. But it really is not enough to keep the garage downstairs warm when its really cold outside and coal is awful expensive these days. The little stove though nice does not burn wood very efficiently and can't take firewood of any significant size to last for more than 15 minutes.


 So I figured I'd try my hand a building something that can burn wood a bit better. I put in the order with my friend Jonathan the master dump scrounger who has access to the leave-and-take exchange at the Cape Elizabeth dump to be on the lookout for a 40 lb propane bottle and sure enough about a week later he provided the desired one.

First step is using a cold chisel to knock the top ring safety collar off it and saved it for use further down the line. Then make sure it is empty and they never quite are. As the propane leaves enough residue to keep off-gassing and create a real hazard if you put a flame or spark to it. Left the valve open on it outside for a few days and then removed the valve and filled it with water.  Then I drew a nice circle on it and using a sharpened nail set punched several holes along the marked line and finished them off with a 1/8 inch drill bit so I could get the saw-s-all in it and cut the top off.
then a bit of cleaning with the angle grinder
Next step is to fashion a hinge. Using some 3/8 bar stock from the scrap bucket I cut some suitably shaped bits and drilled them with a 1/2 hole using my cheap Harbor-Fright Chinese made vertical mill.

...and grind the mating surfaces on the bits slightly concave to fit the face of the gas bottle lining everything up with a 6 inch long bolt.
then .... weld them on with the crappy stick welder
after some minor adjustments the hinge works smoothly with minimal slop...

...then added some legs, again pipe stock sourced from my scrap pile,
 

 3 legs being more stable on the uneven concrete floor in the garage. I also added a small lip on the striker side of the door to give it something to land against.
Next step is to cut a suitable hole for the stove pipe flue.

...and using the safety collar I originally cut of the top of the bottle I made up a appropriately shaped fitting to connect the stove pipe and welded it all together.
Yes my chicken-shit stick welding skills are not pretty, but it is tight and with hold the stove pipe firmly.
Next step is to add a handle /lock to the door and a damper for the flue and perhaps some vent holes in the door..


*POSTSCRIPT* see the next two posts for more details.