Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tool of the week 4/18/2009

Stanley Positive Clutch ScrewdriverThis electric screwdriver is on of my favorite tools. It has been in my family for about 45 years. As you see it was around for years before the big fad for electric screwdrivers came about. I have tried several other brands of corded and cordless screwdrivers but always come back to this one. Look at that nice brushed stainless body. They sure don't make tools like this anymore. The strange thing is I have let other use this tool but nobody seems to like it. They complain its too big, too heavy, only one speed, can't seem to get the hang of the clutch, etc, etc.... Well I don't care, I know how to use it and that is all that matters. About a year ago it stopped working. I decided that maybe it was time to replace it. I looked around at all the tool superstores, and tried a few my friends had but none seem to have the feel of my Stanley. So I went home determined to fix it. After taking it apart I determined the cause to be a bad cord. I cut off 6" of cord and rewired it. It is working great again. Do you have a favorite tool like this? Tell us about it in the comments..

Sunday, April 12, 2009

6 Ways to Make a Pattern

The below list contains several ways I use to create patterns for making things. First let me say that I often get inspiration from other projects I see in Catalogs, Magazines or on the Web. If you are like me you often see patterns or shapes that you want to copy to make something.

- Hand Drawn. This is the most obvious way to copy a pattern. Just grab a pencil and start drawing. The main problem is that if you are not artistically inclined it may be rather burdensome.

- Square by Square. This method of copying an image involves drawing a grid on the image to be transferred and a similar or larger grid on a blank sheet of paper. Then copy the image square by square. Copying square by square is easier and more accurate than trying to transfer an image freehand.

- Light Table. If you own one of these they are a great way out patterns. Just lay your picture on them, cover it with tracing paper and make your tracing. Note that this does not work as well when using magazine print.

- Opaque Projector. You might remember seeing one of these in school. Opaque projectors can be used to project images from the pages of magazines etc onto a vertical surface for copying.

- Copy machine. Although not every shop has a copy machine you can often times find one to use. In some cases you may even find on that enlarges. Many home scanners now double as a copier.

- Computer/Scanner/Printer. Home Computer equipment is great for finding graphics via the internet or by scanning an image. Images can be enlarged, reduce, modified and then printed.

In the coming weeks we will discuss each of these options in more detail.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cool Hat Rack

I have a friend who collects hats from US Navy ships. He has a collection of about 100 hats from all kinds of ships. One day I decided to make him a special hat rack to display his favorite hats. The ship is the USS Julius A Furer (FFG-6) and was a Frigate in the United States Navy. For the record it was decommissioned in 1988 and sold to Pakistan in 1989. The ironic thing about this hat rack is that all the hats on it are from Aircraft Carriers not Frigates. You can learn more about the FFG-6 here. The hat rack is just a silhouette of the ship cut out of 3/4" white pine. I added 3 1/2" shaker pegs to hang the hats on then painted it haze gray. Below is another picture of the rack without hats.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tool Of The Week 4/4/09

This week's tool of the week is a pair Husky Switch Grip Pliers. I am a huge fan of multi-purpose tools, provided they perform. These pliers have two different jaws, a Linesman and a needle nose. To switch from one set of jaws to another you simple rotate the handle 180 degrees. In addition, the jaws are spring loaded making it easier to use. The jaws also contain wire cutters ans strippers.Now I'll admit that they are not the highest quality tool, and nothing beats individual tools, but they come in handy in a pinch. These pliers are an excellent addition to a small car or boat tool box where space and/or weight is an issue.