Tag Archives: DIY

This is why you don’t buy cheap-ass tools.

bent chain whip
That $8 chain whip may work for removing a cassette from a freehub, but it’s woefully inadequate for loosening a fixed cog after months of mashing up hills. Bent out of shape without budging the cog. Even the rotafix method barely got it loose.

Coming soon: a DIY chain whip with some serious leverage:

DIY chain whip


Homemade Cadbury’s Egg. Nailed it.



Breadbox charging station complete. Now I can charge all the things.



Partially completed breadbox charging station. #UfYH


There are many things I’ll do myself. Tooth replacement is not one of them. #DIY

Quick and dirty tablet stand

I was using the Nook last night to display a recipe and needed some way to hold it up. “Sure wish I had a stand for this” says I. “Yeah, that would be good,” says Claire, who continues prepping dinner. I go out to the recycling bin and bring a piece of corrugated cardboard in to the kitchen table and start cutting. “What are you making, Dad?” Without turning to look or missing a beat, Claire says, “He’s making a stand for the Nook.” She knows me so well.

To make the stand, I folded a piece of cardboard in half and eyeballed the general shape of the legs, the notch to hold the tablet, and the height of the back. I then put the tablet on the stand and cut down the back until it rested at a comfortable and secure height.

In case your wondering, the recipe in question was tomato salad with anchovy-lime dressing.

Oarlock Retainer, Part II

oarlock retainerI went to the lake a couple of weeks ago, and I got to try out my new home-madeĀ  oarlock retainers:

I suppose this post would be a little more informative if I had had some problems, but in fact they worked just as I had anticipated. They dropped easily through the oarlock socket, and then the crossbar settled into its level position. From the rowing position they were completely invisible, and as you can probably see from the photo, they didn’t interfere in the lease with the function of the oarlock.

oarlock retainerI then tested what happened when the oarlock was pulled up out of the socket, and the oarlock hung from the retainer. (If I’d though of this five years ago, I wouldn’t have lost that first oarlock at Fort Morgan).

oarlock retainer

oarlock retainer

Originally uploaded by ted_major

Years ago, when I first launched my sailboat, I took it to Fort Morgan on the Alabama Gulf coast. As My father and I were rowing out from the boat ramp into Mobile Bay, one of us caught a wave and the oar lock went over. Bought a small trolling motor shortly thereafter and haven’t really used the oars much.

More recently, however, I built a rowboat, and I’ve been using split rings to keep the oarlocks in the socket (learned my lesson!). I liked the idea of oarlock chains, but paying nearly as much for the chains as I paid for the oarlocks offended my tightwad sensibilities.

Here’s my new solution: a bit of takeout chopstick (one chopstick made enough for three retainers, enough for my new pair of oarlocks and my orphaned extra), some tarred marline, and a bit of sail twine for whippings. I used an anchor bend on the oarlock and a topsail halyard bend on the stick, but I don’t think the knots are critical. I hope to get out on the water this weekend, so action photographs should follow soon.