Friday, February 25, 2011

Sanding the Phonograph

I started to sand down the old wood from what I had left of the phonograph. It's been tricky because I have been sanding off the old varnish with a coarse sandpaper. I can only use the coarse stuff to get the varnish off and then I have to stop before I start sanding away too much of the wood underneath. Then I use a lighter sandpaper to remove any deep stain or weather damage below the surface.

I would like to use a stripper instead but right now, being that it is -35C outside, opening a door and turning off the electric heat is not a good option. Fumes would be an issue not only for my health but also that it could ignite the heaters. I figure though, by the time I get to summer, it will be safe to open the big door to give the finished cabinet it's staining. Again, right now, in the winter, fumes are an issue even with new varnish.

The good news is that there is still some good pine under all that surface damage. The bad news is that I could be blowing through more than $20 just in sandpaper to get the cabinet prepped for reassembly and final varnish.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Gramophone Project Part Two

Well, it's been a very rough winter in Edmonton this year. I managed to get my garage insulated before the winter snow began to fly and even installed a couple of temporary space heaters. ON a good day, they keep the garage at a 10 degree Celcius level which is okay, at best. Keeps things warm and the paint and solvents from freezing. At different points of December, I had to bring two different vehicles into the garage for various repairs and oil changes. Being covered in snow and crud, they would drop all the crud on the floor and flood the garage with water. Because of the low temperature, it would take a week to fully dry out again. Not to mention that the garage is very sealed so moisture doesn't escape easily.

So, I was a bit delayed on getting any work done in there. I didn't really want to use power tools while standing in a pool of water. Not to mention that paint, stain or glue would not dry very fast in a damp environment. I also couldn't keep any projects on my floor, especially wood as the moisture would definitely ruin them.

So, with the garage dried out and no cars to deal with, I have finally had a little time to get some new work done. You can probably tell from my recent blog posts. I finally managed to completely disassemble the gramophone and see what was still good and what wasn't. I also started assembling the basic frame for the new cabinet. I originally thought that this project was going to be a complete rebuild with all new wood. However, I am now realizing that much of the larger pieces of wood are in much better shape than originally assessed. I even started to sand down some of the main parts to see how bad the water damage was to the wood. So far, it appears that the legs are still solid.

Refurbishing an Old Computer Cabinet

IN January, my desktop PC that I have been using without issue for at least 2 years finally burned out a hard drive. It was a compact design and I came to realize that the case did not allow for adequate airflow around the hard drive. This is what killed it. The drive was hitting temperatures in excess of 50 degrees Celsius.

I set up another system temporarily to take it's place until I could set up a nice new permanent one. The unit I am using now is an older Dell system that is a tad bit slower than the one I was using before. At least it has excellent airflow. However, this old Dell has always been a bit flaky at best and tends to lock up randomly or glitch every now and again. I've tried everything I can think of to get it working at it's best. But, it's an old 2.7 ghz machine and it's not very cooperative when it comes to upgrading and such.

Since I have a few old computer cases in the garage and a lot of very decent spare parts, I am going to attempt to build myself a much nicer and much more cooperative system. I decided that since I was building from the ground up, I would take my time and even customize the computer case itself into something much more original. So far, I have just spray painted the shell and the outer casing of the cabinet. I think it is going to turn out really good when I complete it.

The photo of the inner casing (the yellow part) did not take very well with the first coat of paint I gave it. There was something wrong with the paint itself. I have long since fixed that but I don't have a new photo yet. This will definitely be an ongoing project so I will update you as I go.

2012-10-20 - Update: This computer never really worked out aesthetically and it found it's way into the recycling bin.

Wooden Ring Toss Game

I decided that before Christmas, I wanted to make my two boys something that didn't need batteries and took a little bit of practice to get the hang of. I saw the basic design on another website and set forth to make something similar. I basically made it out of scrap wood that I already had laying about.

I picked up the rings at a local art supplies store. They were originally meant to be part of a bracelet kit that you put beads on. However, they work well as rings for the toss game and are even colour coded to make them easier to keep track of if you are playing teams. There are points written next to the posts for scoring.