Goodby Pencil Sharpener


During a major project there is nothing like landmark moments.  Here is one of those moments.  I have unmounted the pencil sharpener from the kitchen counter.

You are looking at the only dark wood in the house.  I was wanting the aged bar counter look.  I have no idea what species an old bar would have been constructed from.  I have decided to use Maple.  I will be putting a few layers of wood wax that should assist in longevity.



If used on a residential home the warranty would be 50 years.  (As a kitchen counter? I’m guessing none.) . I think waxed maple should distress and age nice.

Contact cement was used to secure the boards in place.  I spread a moderate layer on both the boards and the base.  After the cement layers became ‘sticky’ the maple was pressed and locked together.  After setting for a few hot days (it has been hovering around 100 here in Southern Idaho) the fumes have finally cleared and the planks are secure.   I should be able to resume working inside the house again.

I still have to trim around the edges and sing, but this is my moment.  I have decided on Poplar to match the fireplace mantle.

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Vents for the air handler

After installing a traditional vent in the bathroom ceiling for venting I decided I did not like the look.  All this custom wood work did not need to be distracted by a rectangle in the ceiling.

Now the bathroom is vented by pulling air through holes in the shower curtain rod.  This allowed be to avoid making more holes in the walls/ceiling.

Fresh air can be pulled into the house by opening a gate valve located in the upper storage area.  (Like the one under the sink but smaller.). When open air can be drawn from under the house through 2″ tubing and through a filter.  There is an outlet vent as well in case windows have not been opened.  (In the cabinet near the outside door with the battery.)


intake vent

The main intake vent (the owl) is located near the floor and door where the air should be the coldest in heating weather.  The copper pipes on the ceiling and in the loft are also intakes but move a smaller volume of air.

The outlets are near the ceiling behind the roosters.


The Roosters (and owl) were cast-iron trivets designed for hot pans to sit upon.  It took a while by I was able to grind the feet off then drill screw holes (see the eye?) so they could be fastened flush to the walls.


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Cleaning up the cabinetry

Yesterday was about cabinets and a few details.

Turning these:

into this.


Pine door.

Then I tidied up under the kitchen cabinet.  I wanted to hide the 4inch venting hose and the OSB that was on the wall before the cabinet was installed.  There is still a little to go, but you get the idea.

I also managed to get the toe-kick installed on the front.  Now dropped items cannot roll into the abyss.


Toe kick under kitchen sink.

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Just a short note on how painful it is getting spray foam out of your hair.  It has been since childhood so I don’t remember all that well, but I think this was worse than gum.  (And I have less hair for it to stick to.)

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Copper Shower Curtain Rod

I’ll just get it out there: Lead-Free Solder is horrible to work with!  I miss my old friend lead.

After taking numerous measurements and drawing three designs, I built number four.  The first layout was done on top of the bathtub.  Now I had to do is figure out where I could ingress into the ceiling in order to mount it.  I had to ensure I was not hitting any of the rafters.  I don’t believe 5/8″ holes add to the strength so I wanted to miss them.

Once I soldered the fittings together (out in the carport) I cleaned up and re-sanded the copper best I could.  Here are before the cleanup and now mounted onto the ceiling.


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Tiny goes on a diet

Chief Pinkstaff used to drill into us: “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.”  I have not seen the man since 1992, but today those words popped into my head again.  I was laying on my side under Tiny sawing off 84 pounds of steel.  A task that would have been much easier when I purchased the trailer.  (You know, before the floor and walls were attached.)

Back at the beginning...

This is when the rack should have come off.

I can only say good things about the Sawzall and battery I used to do the work.  The blades are another story.  After four blades (the 5th one is still usable) the battery still has nearly a full charge.  Finally a battery worth attaching to a reciprocating saw.


Don’t forget your safety glasses. Steel goes everywhere.

The steel in question is (was?) the rail assembly designed to hold the loading ramps under the trailer.  The ramps have been consumed by the Lemon Basil in the garden  (Out of sight…).  I only see them in the winter when the leaves have fallen off the plants.

Here is the removed rail assembly along with some cut shots:IMG_20170708_143729363IMG_20170708_143808633

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Now for a beverage…

After finishing up the tail and brake lights I was able to pull the wire for the refrigerator inverter.  Because I’m designing to be off-grid/dry camp, I need the refrigerator to run on the 12 volt system and not 120 volt grid power.  A dedicated 750 watt inverter is now mounted under the ridge in the storage area.  This allows lots of cooling air as well as keeps the large wires out of sight.


The inverter positive voltage comes from a 6 gauge stranded conductor tied directly to the deep-cell battery.  While running the fridge only consumes about 140 watt, but the startup surge (from the inductive nature of the compressor) can be over 400 watts.  The non-sinewave AC also contributes to a little efficiency loss.  But, I cannot justify a true sine-wave inverter for a $150 fridge.

The inverter ground (negative) is bolted to the frame using the correct connector.  It took quite a bit of sanding to get to the steel of the frame.  A 1/4 bolt with nylon lock nut was then used to tie the connector to the frame.  The battery negative has also been tied to the frame in the same manner.  (Matching the brake battery configuration although the brake battery is not tied to the interior system at this time.)


Outside temperature was a little over 100 when I finished up.  The inside of the house was hovering between 91 and 94 depending which thermometer you looked at.  Within an hour the fridge was down into the 40’s.


‘Out’ is actually inside of the fridge.


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