Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mini bike tour

Accompanied by a German and another Chicagoan, I took a mini 3 day bike tour around northern Wisconsin.  I mainly wanted to test out my bike and see how it handled under a load of gear.  Here are some pictures:

Here is a practice round with my bike loaded.  Notice the homemade kitty litter panniers:

Does the green bag make my ass look fat?

Test ride over...

Lakewood, WI.  Our first two nights spent roughing it in a nice lake house (Waubee Lake).  

Two Matts having a beer on the pier...did I mention all three guys are named Matt?

A different two Matts...

We were cruising along fine with the guidance of a paper state of Wisconsin map until Matt C. decided that his "smart" phone would provide better directions.  We ended up on a dead end logging road.  

After a U-turn and about 10 miles down a gravel/sand road we emerged from the woods to find Johnnies Resort.  With a rain storm coming, Johnnie, aka "Muskie," had a cabin, pizza and beer.  Perfect.  

Back to the first two Matts, not looking happy.  

Johnnie also has an amazing view of Lake Wabikon and a dozen hummingbirds that hang out in the window.

Johnnie's Resort is one of the only buildings on this lake. 

One hummingbird, notice the large bee/wasp in the bottom right of the picture.  The bees seemed to scare off the hummingbirds.  

German Matt, relaxing...

After staying at Johnnies, we decided to bike to Crandon, WI in hopes of having a nice quiet breakfast.  Unfortunately, it was Labor Day weekend, which included some sort of Nascar truck rally/parade/race.  These little trucks were extremely loud and the town was over run by fat men in neon racing gear.

The German got a good taste of middle 'merica!

Our bikes at a rest stop somewhere between Crandon and Lakewood, WI.  

German banana break:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kitty Litter Bike Panniers

I am currently shopping for some Ortlieb panniers for the rear of my bike.  However, they run upwards of $125 used.  While I shop around, I made a cheap alternative.  Panniers from 5 gallon kitty litter containers.  I stole the majority of the idea from Crazy Guy on a Bike.  However, I did deviate from his plans slightly.

24" reflective sticker:     $2.98
5/16 x 1" Hex bolts:      $1.09
5/16" - 18 Hex nuts:     $2.56
5/16" x 1-1/4 washers: $1.98
10" mini bungees:          $2.47
cold shut hooks:            $4.76
Total:                           $15.84

Kitty litter boxes: donated by Dave S. - the only man I know who owns a cat and would admit it.  
First a look at some of the tools and supplies.  Clockwise form top left: cold shut hooks, hex nuts, hex bolts, washers:  

Bungees and reflective tape:

these bungees were later returned for the ones below

Real bungees...

A picture of the Kitty Litters boxes.  They came in sexy reflective colors:

Mikita drill

Here is a look at the hooks applied to the buckets with the aforementioned hex bolts, nuts and washers.  A better look comes at the end of this post.  I drilled 7/16" holes to receive the 7/16" hex bolts. Since I am drilling through plastic I put a washer on either side (inside and out) of the bucket.  

Here is a shot of the panniers hanging on the bike just by the hooks, sans and bungees.  (Notice the bike is hanging on a (sexy bike work stand I previously constructed.) 

Here I cut the 24" reflective tape into four 6" pieces:

A look at the reflective tape applied to the buckets:  

Last, a final walk around video.  The video shows more clearly the hex bolts and the bungees that hold the buckets securely in place. 

Bike Work Stand

My bike needed some repairs.  It is a true pain in the ass to repair a bike without a proper bike work stand. I was not willing to pay $175.00, $190.00, or even $59.99.  So I decided to make my own bike work stand, using only materials in my garage.  

Total cost of project: $0.00 and 1.5 hours of my time.  

First, a picture of some of the tools I used. 

SkilSaw - refurbished via Ebay

One war club and one chisel...

My favorite canvas (see the pallet bench), a pallet:  

I used two pieces from the pallet, one of the main supports and later on one of the 1x4s.  

First stage: main beam sitting in my vice, parallel to the ground.  

This picture shows the main arm of the bike work stand being leveled.  The notch I originally cut was for the width of the bike frame.  That changed later...

Here is the final notch, 3 1/2" to match the width of the 1x4 from the pallet.  

Here are 1x4s from the pallet, the front of the 1x4 has a notch to match the width and depth of my bike's front stem.   The overall length from the square end of the 1x4 to the short point of the notch is 20 13/16".  The space on my bike is 21".  I cut it a little shorter to make room for some pads/towels to stuff in and prevent scratches.  

Another shot of the work stand set up:

Here is a walk around video of the final product.  I added some small bungee cords to stabilize the front wheel as I work on it.  Also notice the towel under the bike to prevent scratches to the frame.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Off ice hockey target

Impromptu project: creating an off ice hockey shooting area for my nephews.  First we built a simple goal out of 2x4s.

Dom sealed it with polyurethane   It was straight out of Karate Kid.  Have to put in the work first.  

Mike bought this mat from the world wide web.  It is actually a backstop mat for a baseball field.  Conveniently, it measures just a shade bigger than 4' x 6', the exact size of a hockey net.  

A couple of deck screws and washers fastened the tarp to our frame.  The tarp is taut, but loose enough to deaden the pucks on impact.  

A shot from the back...

Mike also picked up a golf practice net to catch errant shots.  

Getting ready for the first trial run.  Mike has an old piece of plexiglass to shoot off of...

A video of the little guy testing it out...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Farm House Table Build

Here is a hipster farmhouse table Bill and I created.  This post has a lot of pictures and a few words.  The pictures speak for themselves.  

Here is some of the lumber we started with.  Some Douglas fir 4x4s and regular old 2x4s.  

Plowing out some notches in the legs of 4x4s:

Notch on the top corner of each 4x4 leg to hold table top frame.  

Here the legs are starting to take shape.  

We used Bill's sleek new jig to bury and hide all fasteners on the table.  

The rough frame of the table top support starting to shape up

A close up shot of the buried screws.  This is a 2x2 cross support to hold the table top.  

Foosball table?  No...

We used two 24 foot Dougblas Fir 2x12s to create pieces for the the table top.  

We made our own 2x6s out of the 24 foot 2x12s.  Here they are just laid in place to get an idea of how we are looking. 

Another shot of the table top 2x6s laying loosely in place.  

...and another...

This is a shot of the biscuit jointer we used to keep the various pieces of the table top together.  

A shot of the biscuit joints. 

We glued and biscuit jointed the 2x6s together and held them overnight with a various array of clamps and ratchet straps.  

We also notched out the table base and added some arms to each end.  This will allows for a longer table top and consequently, two more seating positions.  

Here is the main part of the table top with the straps and clamps removed.  

We added 2x8s to each end - running across to complete the table top.  Similarly, these were glued, biscuit jointed and clamped to the other pieces.  

A picture with both 2x8s on and clamped...

Here I am starting to sand the 4x4 legs and stretchers.  

A close up of the 4x4s down low. I used the palm sander to take a little bit of the sharp corner off.  

The most important and coolest part is giving the table that "distressed" look.  It is akin to buying new jeans in the 1980s and then immediately ripping them.  Here I am hitting the 4x4s with a chain to create "the look."

Lastly Bill stained the table with a dark coffee brown floor stain and added a layer of polyurethane.  We will sand and polyurethane it a few more times.  Here is how it looks, almost done...

Check out the chain marks...