The manly way into heaven, if it existed, which it doesn’t

Firstly, to quote Granny Weatherwax, “I aren’t dead”. I’ve taken a swerve into making my daughter a carbon-fibre violin case for her rather nice violin so the car stuff has been paused. The case is a heavy bugger, with four layers of carbon, two layers of aramid and a 5mm core in. What it is though, is proof against a claw hammer, as hard as I can smack it. Repeatedly. Over an egg. For a professional musician,  lightness is very much secondary to protection, say from being left near a car and driven over, or dropped. When a quality instrument can cost thousands, weight becomes less of an issue.

Now, to my quote above. Nick from Project Binky believes that the way into heaven is to have the most tools. I agree with him. One of the things I’ve found making the case and working with CF is that the best way to cut it is with a diamond tipped blade, and I went looking for something that did the job well. I found the Exact Saw. Not only would this tool get you into heaven and cut angels, it would allow you to also cut a path down so you could party in hell when you fancied it.

I watched a couple of the advertising videos and thought … meh -“If it’s half as good as you are making it out to be, I’ll be impressed”. Pish and tosh. it’s all that and more. Hook it up to a vacuum and plunge away. It’s really safe – it would take a conscious act of idiocy to get your fingers near the blade. Mine came with about 20 cutting disks of various nefarious purposes and it chews through anything I put in front of it. As an example, I was cutting 19mm particle board at the weekend. Admittedly I only have a 12mm plunge (on the saw, missus, on the saw) but I did a cut from either side. It flew through the wood, was far less stressful and much straighter than a jig-saw, and far-far safer and less terrifying than a rotary blade saw thing.

So buy one – cut your way into heaven, gut an angel.

Best tool ever

So, I was watching An MG is Born and I saw them using an air chisel to separate a panel from the surrounding framework where it is either spot or stitch welded.

When I’ve done this in the past on the footwell, it’s been a nightmare of screwdrivers, hammers, buzz-saws and angle-grinders. This time around, it was way easier. The passenger footwell still needed to be cut out (the large bits) but the separation around the welds was way less painful. Just choose the right bit and get in there with the chisel. Best of all, it was only £12.99 from screwfix.


It’s also perfect for amateur dentistry.

Heath Robinson Compressor Arrangement

Hmm – going to be time for ‘interesting plumbing“. I’m going to run two compressors in parallel to get the air-flow I need for soda-blasting. Lorraine (My sister) is bringing the extra airline plumbing parts I need, and I have a new soda-specific flow-metering valve and 50kg of soda. This means I can get the air-flow I need for about £100, rather than having to buy a compressor at £380. Fairly pleased with that. What’s more, I can now bypass the oiler when I need to so I have really clean air for the soda and lubricated air for the power tools.

Tomorrow is going to be a blast (geddit?). Pics and vids will follow.

The only thing that is going to be slightly tricky is getting the Y argon cylinder out of the way to fit the compressor. It’s chained to the wall for safety.
The plan is to professionally clean my engine at home, and I’ve now got all the bits to make it shiny factory new.

Things to remember when getting stuff sandblasted, involves duck tape.

So, I’ve sent more parts out to the sand blasters and powder coaters and I forgot a cardinal preparation rule, and have paid a minor price for it. I’m writing this post as much to remind myself as inform anyone who may be going down this route.

So, if there’s stuff you want protecting, you don’t wrap in in duck tape. You wrap it in newspaper, then you wrap over the newspaper with duck tape. If you just wrap with duck tape then the heat of the coating process melts the adhesive and sticks the tape much more tightly to your piece. Hence you wrap the paper around it first. What you get back is a really stiff mess that can be easily cut away.

If you wrap it in paper and only seal the ends with duck tape, then there’s a chance the blaster will go through the paper, and very find sand at 90psi will get everywhere.

In my case, it went into the steering column top bearing, which couldn’t be removed (due to the weld-on quick-release boss). So, I’ve washed it out, air blasted it and now I have to hope for the best (i.e. pack it with LM grease). it doesn’t really do much – just provides a loose top mount for the column. Worst case of all is that I ditch the column outer and use a rose-joint at the top to support it.

So, silly me.

The good news is that you can get universal-joints blasted and powder coated (think steering column lower linkage). Rather than try and protect them, I just thought I’d take a chance and if they were mullered then I’d make my own.

They came back looking lovely, and the gentlest of turns cracked the seal around the joint mating surfaces and they work a treat. The heat when setting the coating didn’t make any grease leak out of the seals. Some good news then.

Using my scissor lift to its near maximum potential

So, I suppose there’s a rule here.

This is a picture of my car chassis, 5ft up in the air to put the new pedal-box at a sensible welding height. I’ve never had it this high, but it makes a difference.

What you see are a pair of hydraulic pallet-lifters bought from ebay for under £100 each. They’re stable as buggery (or rum, sodomy and the lash) and each is rated to 350KG. Bearing in mind the fully laden car with me in it tips the scales at under 700kg, all is groovy.

Normally, I have one of the scissor lifts much nearer the front but without the engine in, it balances quite nicely where it is.

ebay and evil taps

So, a while back, I decided to sell a kitchen tap (unused) on ebay. This is neither here nor there. The important thing is I was bored and didn’t think I would get anyone to buy something as mundane as a tap.

In order to get past this lethargy, and because I was bored, I listed the tap as evil, and wrote a fitting description. It’s worth reading to the best bit, which is the Q&A session at the end – I did get asked some really stupid stuff but 346 impressions:

The Listing

I have had a change of plans in my kitchen and so have a full mixer-tap fitting kit to go on sale. It starts at a pound and has no reserve.

It’s brand-new and includes every last part you need to fit it to your sink. I have found in the past that taps are a great way of putting water into things, and this one will not dissapoint. It mixes, and it stops the water coming out when you’re sick of it.

It has quite a heft and is chrome plated is wipe clean (on the outside) – ideal for a sparkly kitchen, or for clubbing someone/thing and wiping the blood and or fur off easily. Taps: the gift that keeps on giving.

Mother’s day is coming up I can’t think of a greater way of expressing your love than the gift of a tap – for a mother it’s the equivalent of giving a bloke a can of WD40. Who could say no to a gift like that, or if you’re Norman Bates – it’s the plumbing/diy equivalent of a good sharp spade.

Shipping: It’ll go Royal Mail (God Save The Queen) first class, and if the postage is any more than £5 then I’ll cover the difference – your tap based costs are capped in this turbulent financial market.

Payment – oh, pay me any old how, but paypal is preferred. I don’t mind cash or cheque, but you will need to allow time for the cheque to clear. It depends on how desperate you are to start your new journey into tap and pipe based ownership.

The Questions

Q: Could this tap (or faucet as it might be known by some) be used to simply fill a sink or bowl or even a bucket with water of a predetermined temperature and not for any evil purposes or is it destined only for darker purposes ? yours, Pete. 29-Feb-12
A: Dear Praffen Great question. With a suitable mounting position and adequate feed of water, this tap will send the water in a pre-determined direction until you are sick of it and you can turn it off. HOWEVER, when it talks to me at night, it does express a preference to be mounted at the top of an altar in the middle of a huge, moist jungle. This is merely positioning and I’m sure if you were to mount it to a sink, keep a pot plant nearby and occasionally allow the water to run through it hot, you will simulate the rain-forest and appease the tap, lest it take you over and night and become your new god. It is also worth bearing in mind that most taps like to retire to the kitchen sink of a discerning person such as your self after a hard life of evil deeds, and the most they will do in their life is flow water in a menacing fashion rather than command you to go through the isolated car-parks at night, clubbing doggers.

Q: If I used this tap to make a ritual sacrifice to Sebek, would it still please him? It would be convenient for me as it would wipe clean easily, but don’t want to offend the great crocodile god. 29-Feb-12
A: Dear Benzine Yes, this tap is suitable for all your needs to appease the old gods, and my research leads me to recommend the tap for sacrificial purposes. Indeed, if one is sacrificing under the influence of experience enhancing chemicals, and my tap-sales FAQ does state that in this case the tap will come to resemble a crocodile, which glows. This also means you can show your enhanced knowledge of the fickle needs of the formalities and ceremony required, and appease Ra at the same time. In this way, you get to curry even more favour with both Sebek and Ra. Truly a humble chrome mixer tap (that some could see as neutral in it’s position in the eternal battle between good and evil) can be turned to the most spectacular evil deeds. However, one shouldn’t ignore the universal appeal of a tap – many of the old Norse gods would have been grateful for the use of a good, solid hefty tap when off on the rampage [source needed]. I hope this helps you in your decision, considering there are indeed many gods you can appease by owning this tap, with it’s easy maintenance, wipe free chrome surface.

Q: I’m building an evil hideout, lair if you will. The water supply to said den will likely be evil. Will this tap be compatible with evil water? I’d expect the supply pressure to be enough to inflate a small animal to bursting point. A squirrel for example. 26-Feb-12
A: Hi Jeff. This tap is a supremely compatible tap, and is capable of working with both good and evil water, and deeds thereof. Its also compatible with soft and hard water and even anti-coagulant if in suitable liquid form. The tap is rated to 0.5 bar which is 7.25 psi. I would think 7 psi will do plenty of damage to a squirrel (good choice) but I think that if you’re targeting squirrels, you need to look at things in the evil round. For instance, introducing the tap to the squirrel will make it’s eyes cross, whereas introducing water of of your evil choice will make its eyes bulge. I hope this answers your questions and good look with your enterprises. Happy Squirrel Popping.

Q: How strong is the tap at -20C and below? I don’t want it to become brittle in deep cold, I’d like to take it seal clubbing. 26-Feb-12
A: Hi Schnorberts. This is a very good question and one that often comes up in tap related sales. There are several factors that influence the shattering of mild steel as it approaches the Ductile Brittle Transition Temperature (DBTT), and the standard test for this is the Charpy impact test, typically providing a hard impact at 40J (for mild steel) to test the shatter temperature. For most varieties of steel you stand the risk of shattering below -20C and I would only become really concerned if you were approaching temperatures nearer -100C. However, the Charpy impact test does not translate to your particular circumstances, in as much as a seal skull is relatively soft compared to the impact point for the test. I am further assuming you will be clubbing baby seals (who wouldn’t?) and their skulls will be softer still. Furthermore, the skull is wrapped in fat, skin and fur which will further soften the blow compared to the impact test. If you can provide me literature that gives standard units of hardness for seal skulls, then I will recalculate for you. In summary, I think you will be fine.

Q: I have the same tap fitted in my kitchen but it drips and I ahve been told it requires a new tap washer. Would you be willing to split yours and sell just the washer? 26-Feb-12
A: Hi Predator2000 Sorry, but splitting the bundle would reduce the potential for evil, so it must stand as a full lot.

Excellent use of tools – getting the tub off the chassis

for all your diy surgery needs

So, before the chassis could go to Cornering Force, I needed to get the tub off the car. The tub was riveted in place, and also sat on a thin bed of mastic. If you’re not familiar with this stuff, it comes in tubes and sets like soft plastic. Like a more permanent version of blu-tac. But black. And more Solid. In fact, it makes me start sentences with conjunctions.

Sorry, back to the build. To get the tub off the chassis rails, i needed to drill out the rivets and cut through the mastic. Drilling, no problem, but getting through the mastic… difficult.

I tried a few tools:

  • A Stanley knife wouldn’t cut through
  • A hacksaw didn’t have access
  • A hacksaw blade alone was too difficult to handle, and wouldn’t get through easily
  •  My ( … drum roll … ) 10k RPM air-saw did. It scares the willies out of me to be honest, being a gentleman who’s already had one too many digit reducing incidents.

The execution was simple – get it in the gap and move it slowly along. Result – all the mastic nicely cut through.