Bench Shavings – 5/06/17

It’s been nearly a month since I last posted. I didn’t anticipate that. I also didn’t anticipate only spending a couple hours in the shop during that time. April was a much needed month of cleanup in the back yard. It was starting to get out of control, and over the course of probably a week I was able to tackle almost all the issues. There’s still a branch overhanging the back fence that I haven’t been able to reach. There was just that much overgrowth.

I also repaired both lawn mowers. The push mower required a new carburetor and a gasket, the riding mower a fuel filter and a carb cleaning. I even fixed the power assist feature on the push mower, something that had been broken for a couple years at least. Might help on the backyard hills keeping things tidy.

My attention the past few months has been divided between other passions and pursuits and not woodworking. I started thinking more about getting out and about the outdoors, including offroading and, something new to me, overlanding. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the overlanding videos on YouTube, much more than any woodworking ones.

Something else that has interested me is music. I was able to install a new head unit in my old (now current) vehicle. I get to listen to a wide variety of music, podcasts, streaming music…so much. I’ll have a post on this soon, I wrote it some time ago but forgot to take pics. But even more than that, I’ve restarted my decades-old mission to finally learn guitar. I bought a Fender Squire Series Mexican Strat back around 1995 or 1996, but never made much progress. A few years ago I bought a dreadnought acoustic. A new Guitar Center opening up near me rekindled that desire, and a desire to own my holy grail – a Les Paul.

So, I found an Epiphone version that was in excellent shape and had some extras and ordered it. I also have a new amp on order, because the old bass one I had was busted. So, I have no excuse as far as equipment goes to finally learning. My days will probably be spent doing this where I have a few minutes to spare. It’s just something that has been in the back of my mind for years, and a store close to me finally pushed me to do something about it. Here’s a pic of the entire family.


Unworthy tools

I have a good post for you to follow up on the last one. It just so happened that I had been thinking about getting the Ryobi One+ pruning saw, basically a one-handed, shorter reciprocating saw. I’ve got a few trees that lose limbs on a consistent basis, plus some scrap in trash cans that need to be dealt with. I thought perhaps if I bought one of these it would not only give me the inspiration, but ability to deal with this on a quicker basis.

I was wrong.

It hardly cuts anything, and it certainly doesn’t do it quickly. Perhaps it’s intended for lighter use than I was expecting, but I would have hoped it would have taken care of a 2″ branch or 2×4 with relative ease. As it is, it’s not suited for the task. Perhaps the blade travel needs to be longer. Perhaps, while marketed as a one-hand tool, it really isn’t. Since I already have a full recip saw, I didn’t see the need in duplication. If it won’t perform better than the recip with one hand, I didn’t need it. I certainly can find a better use for $40, and at the speed and vibration I was getting from this tool, I’d rather use a bow saw and do it manually.


Sorry Ryobi. I love you, and you make some severely underrated tools, but this isn’t one of them. The plastic packing materials were disappointing as well.

Yard stuff – 4/6 update

I finally got to try out the Scott’s Snap spreader today, as I put down insect control and Weed n Feed. It was very easy to switch out bags and put the product down. In essence, it’s a fancy fixed rate spreader. The bags could certainly be reused for any product you deem, provided the product is a similar size. Plain fertilizer could certainly go in the empty insect control bag I now have, as I cut it open partially to make sure there weren’t any fancy membranes. There weren’t.

I have to say that this system wouldn’t be at all beneficial to someone with a large yard. The product, expensive already, would be astronomical for a large yard if you didn’t buy cheaper product in bulk. However I had my yard done with both bags of product in under 15 minutes. That’s convenience I enjoy.

I’ll update in May with how well it controlled insects and weeds. Seed planting will be in the fall. Otherwise, it’s back to woodworking.

Yard stuff – 4/5 update

This is a woodworking blog, but most of us also have stuff we have to do around the house. Handyman stuff, and sometimes, turf management. So it is in this post, which you won’t see me venture too far into. I picked up a Scott’s Snap spreader and a couple of bags of product, as Home Depot was having a special that ends today (4/4). Buy two bags, get the spreader free. This could make it as cheap as $26 if you buy two bags of insect control, or $56 if you buy two fertilizer or seed bags. I went middle, bought a insect control and weed n feed for just under $40 out the door.

I’ve never done anything to my grass except mow it up until now, so I’ll have to revisit this topic a few times over the course of the summer and see how the system works. I’ll keep the titles similar so that those who don’t care about it can skip them. I promise it won’t be a lot, and won’t take the place of any planned on-topic posts.

Edit – I got an even better deal later in the day, three bags of seed for $32. Didn’t set out to spend $70 on yard products yesterday, it just kinda happened. I’ll be putting down either the insect stuff or the weed n feed on Thursday, so I’ll let you know how easy it is to do.