Archive | Tools RSS feed for this section

Kitchen Aid – Aid

15 Feb

This post is a follow-up to the post “All Mixed Up”
It will make a lot more sense to you if you read through that post, first.

This happened a few weeks ago but I’m finally getting around to writing about it. We got the parts we had ordered to repair the mixer and completed the repairs, I made sure Corinne took plenty of pictures along the way, and that’s what kept from writing. She was taking plenty of pictures to begin with, and then I kept saying “make sure you get this, make sure get that” so we wound up with like 60 or 70 pictures of the repair process, which is quite overwhelming. But, I’m going for it now.

With our new gear (and backup new gear) in hand, we were ready to begin.

The first step was to remove all the old grease.


At this point I could remove the tower, which is the assembly that contains the offending nylon gear.

Once that was out I could continue cleaning out all the grease, especially the grease that had become liquid from excess heat. I also wanted to try to avoid any incompatibility issues between the old grease and the new so I really spent some time cleaning it.

Once we were all clean I went on to removing the stripped out gear from the tower. I used a punch and a brass hammer to drive out the roll pin that holds it on the shaft.

You can see how the punch fits through, as illustrated with nice clean new gear.

The old gear is removed from the shaft, a little more cleaning and then the new gear is installed by driving the roll pin back in until it just barely sticks out on each side. The new gear is coated with grease as is the shaft before it is installed in the tower.

After that the tower is reinstalled so it meshes with the other gears. And then it’s time to gob the whole thing up with lots of nice, new, food safe, NSF approved, grease.


Then it’s time to put the cover back on the case, which requires a little finagling to get all the various gears to line up.

A punch through the beater shaft allows me to rotate the gears a bit, which lets the top of the case finally drop into place. You can see that I am having the time of my life in this picture.

All the screws that hold the case together are reinstalled.

The planetary assembly can then be reinstalled, which is held in place by another roll pin.

After that the little chrome trim ring can be hammered into place, I used a nice clean dead blow hammer so it wouldn’t mar the surface.

The last thing to do was to reinstall the electrical cover and cord strain relief.



And of course, just one more step…



Stihl Working

8 Aug

The chainsaw we have, which was donated to us by Corinne’s Dad, has been out of commission for some time because the bolt that holds the bar on was stripped out. More specifically, it’s actually a stud and it was actually the aluminum casing of the saw itself that was stripped out. Aluminum is a great, lightweight material but it is relatively soft and therefor threaded holes are easily stripped out if over-torqued. I think this was the case due to the missing chain tension adjuster mentioned in an older post. I was a little nervous to tackle this repair for two reasons; first, if you screw up the repair you don’t really get a second chance and second, I didn’t have the necessary tool to do the job. OK… who are we kidding? I think everyone knows that I’d just see that as a reason to get another tool. I tried to resist, though and asked the mechanic next door to work to see if he could repair the threads. After about a month and a half of him being sorry he didn’t get around to it every time I stopped by I took it back and took matters into my own hands. I went and searched out a Heli-Coil kit to fix the threads. I wound up getting it at County Line Hardware in Huntington, which is right around the corner from my old apartment. As always they were very helpful and were able to determine what type of thread size I needed (Metric 8 x 1.25) and supply me with the needed kit to do the repair.
Follow along as I go through the repair step by step:

The first step is to drill out the damaged threads with a specific size drill bit that is called for by the tap. (I didn’t take a picture of this) It’s important to try to keep the drill bit as true to the direction of the original hole as possible. Then you take the tap in a tap wrench and basically screw it in to the hole you just drilled. Again, it is crucial to keep the tap aligned properly. I actually was a tiny bit off but luckily it was close enough to get away with.


The tap is essentially a hardened bolt which cuts new threads, it has recesses to catch the metal shavings as they come off.


Here is the newly tapped hole.


This is a look at the actual Heli-Coil itself, with the installation tool and the tap in the background, it is basically like a spring where the exterior fits perfectly into the cut thread and the inside fits the bolt that fits the original hole. The little tang sticking in to the middle is how the installation tool drives it in.


The installation tool has the same thread as the bolt that will go on with a little notch that engages the tang so it spins it in rather than just threading through it.


This is a view of the fully inserted Heli-Coil, the thread is now repaired. The tang is broken off by inserting a hardened punch and giving it a smart tap, it has a little notch in it so it breaks off easily.


The last step is to install the original bolt or stud into the repaired hole.


I actually wound up replacing the stud with a brand new one because the original nut was a bit stuck on and it was easier to get a new one for 85 cents rather than fight with the old one.

I’m happy to report that I was able to rebuild the chainsaw, install the bar and chain and actually start it. I gave it a test spin and then shut it down to tension the blade a little. Then I made my arm sore trying to get it started again, first because I had the cutoff switch in the Off position and then because it was out of gas! Once I put some gas in it and turned the switch On I was able to get it started and actually get it to idle and I even cut a small branch that had fallen in a few pieces. It seems like the chain could use sharpening or replacement to make it cut well and safely. A dull chain encourages you to push too hard, which can be dangerous, so, as with knives, sharper is safer than dull. Once I get that chain taken care of I think we are good to start chopping down a bunch of overgrown saplings and bushes on the side of the house, maybe even the berry tree by the deck, although I might solicit the services of Derek and his Stihl Farm Boss again if we decide to go for that.

Drilling Jig 3.0

6 Jun

In order to consistently pre-drill the holes for the deck screws without repeatedly measuring I decided a jig would be the best way to have repeatability over the course of drilling 3000 or so holes. Also required was a way to locate the holes relative to the previous board’s screws so they line up with each other.
The first Jig relied on the outside diameter of the smart bit to locate the hole.

This was not quite as precise as it seemed it would be and was heavily reliant on the drill being dead square with the work surface. The nice thing about Jig 1.0 is that if it worked well it would have removed a step from the process, because you could simply pre-drill and countersink in one step, right though the jig. If you use a jig that is only has holes as big as the #7 drill bit then you have to mark the holes with the bit, remove the jig, and then fully drill and countersink the holes.
Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t accurate enough so Jig 2.0 was developed.

Jig 2.0 works in the second manner described but it has been good to us. The jig has a slit running down the middle in line with the holes that reaches to the next board so you can line it up with the previous board’s screws.
The jig has been working fine but it’s been showing some wear and tear from so many holes being drilled, so it was time for version 3.0 with a few revisions based on our experience.
Introducing the new and improved drilling jig version 3.0!

The design is essentially the same but the overall size is reduced to limit interference from the gap spacers and the tiger jaw (we’ll save that for another post). I added a custom made handle, made on the table saw, to make it easier to handle. I also added a bevel on the close side too and a saw kerf so we can also line up the holes to a chalk line on the joists.


Here you can see the size reduction from Jig 2.0 to Jig 3.0


Small Engine Repair

25 Apr

Last weekend when we tried to mow the lawn, I went against all good judgement and used gas that I knew was most likely bad from sitting out all winter into the lawn tractor. And it was. It started running like crap instantly. So then I proceeded to drain the gas tank and the gas tanks of all our small power equipment into our largest gas can.

Getting rid of bad gas is a tricky proposal, as it turns out. Finally I asked our mechanic if he knew what to do with it, and he told me he could take the gas for me in his waste tank. They have a Safety Kleen contract to deal with waste fluids from oil changes and other mechanical work.

Anyway, once I had an empty gas can, I was able to fill up with new, 93 Octane gas. The leaf blower actually requires 91, but I figured the 93 would help everything run a little better if they had any residual bad gas in their fuel systems. So I took the 1.5 gallon can and put in Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer and Echo oil mix and mixed the fuel. I then put some fuel in the weed whacker and the leaf blower, pumped the primers, and luckily they both started pretty easily. I let them run for about 5 minutes and they both sound like they are ready to work!


I put a little pure gas in the lawn tractor, pushed it out of the garage, and tried to start it. Nothing. Didn’t make a sound when I turned the key. I had forgotten to plug in the Battery Tender, and I had tried to start the tractor a bunch of times when I had put the bad gas in, so after checking out a few things I got out the meter and saw that the battery was only reading 2.5 volts. It really should be 12 or 14, so i’m hoping when the battery charges up it will start.

My last task was to see if I could get the old Stihl chainsaw, that Corinne’s dad gave us, working. I have never gotten this chainsaw to start before. I pulled the spark plug, cleaned all the gunk of it, and tested it by grounding out the body of the plug on the metal of the motor and pulling the string. I saw a spark, so I knew that aspect of the fuel/air/spark equation was good. Next was the fuel, so I poured in some of the mixed fuel and brought the saw outside to try to start it. I put the saw on the ground and gave a few pulls. After the fifth or sixth pull it sounded a little close. Then I realized the throttle has a feature where it can be pinned a full throttle for starting, AND I realized I hadn’t turned on the choke. After I did that it started in about three pulls! I quickly released the throttle, revved it a few times, and it was able to hold a decent idle.


Unfortunately, now that I’ve got the engine issue sorted out, there is another issue I have to deal with. There is a nut that tightens down the bar (the thing that the chain rides on), and the cover and the stud has stripped out the aluminum casing of the saw. Due to this the bar is all loose and floppy and won’t stay in place. If it were even possible to use in this state it would be dangerous. I’m hoping the stripped out hole will be able to repaired by drilling out the hole to a bigger size and tapping it for a Heli-Coil insert. I’m going to hopefully find out if this will work by talking to the same mechanic who took the bad fuel off our hands.

Organizing the Workshop

4 Jan

I buy tools like a girl might by shoes. If I see one I don’t have, I must have it. I’ve worked very very hard to resist buying some of the bigger ticket items I really want but that takes all the will power I can muster, mister!
I do have lots and lots of small and medium ones and lots of bits and pieces for some of the large and medium ones. Currently they reside… Everywhere! From boxes to bins to corners to shelves to the old bar or even on top of other tools.
Corinne knows that I really do want to have a nice, functional, organized work shop so I can actually use it, and to that end she came through with the gift of a very nice rolling tool chest with a 5 drawer base and 4 drawer upper toolbox with ball bearing slides. I have a similar unit (base only) in the garage for all my mechanic’s tools, but this one was destined for the basement. We picked the base up from Corinne’s parents’ house on Sunday, she and her Dad went on a stealth mission to pick it up and kept it there because it was a tad big for Corinne to hide in her closet.
On Tuesday I was able to slide the big box downstairs and bolt on the casters and handle, and put the little guy on the big guy.
I still haven’t started to fill it yet because I’m trying to figure out the best way to do so so it makes sense. But, once I do I should be able to eliminate about 5 or 6 crates and bins, about 4 or 5 cardboard boxes and countless numbers of my infamous “piles” that tend to make things hard to find and annoy the other person who lives here 🙂


20 inch Werner

9 Nov

After jumping up and down onto various stools and step ladders I thought it was time for an upgrade in our height enhancing equipment arsenal.


This is a standing platform that gets you 20 inches off the ground but also gives you a little room to move around while you’re up there. It’s like a mini-scaffolding. We still have to do whitewashing, trim, mouldings and light installation, so even though we missed out on using it for two days it will still definitely come in handy for the remainder of the dining room projects and others to come.

Meter Reader

15 Sep

Just got a little package in the mail today. (Which is a bit odd, since I believe I paid for UPS shipping. I got an email saying my item was shipped, but the tracking info didn’t actually activate for another 2 days, sounds more like the kind of service you could expect from FREE shipping!)
Anyway this is the item we received…

It’s an hour meter for our new Honda EU2000i generator. (flanked by my Apple Wireless keyboard and Magic Trackpad, more on that in a future post)
The hour meter will allow us to keep track of the time the engine runs to make sure we maintain it on schedule.

On a car you would refer to the odometer but since a generator doesn’t move, you measure the use in hours. If you want to protect your investment with proper maintenance, adding an hour meter like this is easy and inexpensive and takes the guesswork out of scheduling maintenance such as oil and filter changes.

In the next few days I should get a chance to install this and I’ll
Cover it right here.


Belt Adjustment

11 Sep

I was mowing the lawn yesterday when I suddenly realized I was no longer mowing, but instead, simply driving around the lawn tractor. I drove around front and pulled in to the garage to investigate, this was also a good opportunity to try out the new floor jack again.


A bit unnecessary, perhaps, but fun nonetheless. This did allow me to get a good clean look under the cutting deck and inspect for obstructions and damage. Nothing significant but the blade could use a sharpening for sure. When I was down there it became clear that the belt had come off one of the pulleys that drive the blades. Unfortunately it was not as simple as I thought it might be to just slip it back on. I was able to find the source of the dislocation which was a little piece of a stick that got lodged in the pulley and derailed the belt. I needed to use a screw driver to get it out.


Once that was clear and the guard removed I had to raise the deck, as this is the position where the belt disengages by removing the tension. I had to push the deck forward with a good deal of force (I should mention that the tractor was back on all four wheels at this point) to make the belt loose enough to get around the pulley again.
Once that was done I lowered the deck, re-attached the guard and was back at work mowing. This really was not too bad, as far as the cause of the non-functioning mower is concerned. It could have been anything from a broken belt to a damaged pulley, or other things that would have been much more difficult and costly to repair.

On the level

29 May


As part of our tools or deck building I decided it would be good to have a decent level so the deck doesn’t wind up looking like the Cyclone.

The biggest level I have is about 8 inches long so I really needed a big upgrade. We went with a 6 foot Fat Max aluminum level by Stanley. The strong aluminum frame should keep it from bending like some other levels I’ve seen that can let you “cheat the level” by bending it in to place.


24 May


This little guy is another new acquisition for the big project. This is a hammer staple tacker for insulation and house wraps. It’s basically a staple gun but instead of pulling a lever you swing it like a hammer and that force shoots the staple in. I’ve wanted one of these since I was a kid so it’s a silly dream come true 🙂