Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wine Barrel Hoop Yard Globe

I've made a few neat things out of this wine barrel that I got for $35 off of Craig's List. So far, a few candle holders, a couple clocks, and a wine rack. Since I broke the barrel open I've had several ideas for what to do with the hoops. If I were to cut them up they'd make nice accents on the candle holders or wine racks. I might even find a way to use them to make Roman numerals on the clocks. At this time, I don't have an easy way to cut them up so I decided to use them whole.

The hoops are oxidized and weathered and should make some wonderful yard art, I believe.  Perhaps placed between the jockeys and gnomes, but in front of the crudely painted, not-so-funny, plywood cut-out folk art.

In an earlier post I commented that my wine barrel anatomy was sub par. Not so anymore. Prepare to be amazed:

Since the two bilge hoops encompass the widest part of the barrel they were the outside of my globe. These were followed in succession by the quarter hoops and finally the head hoops. I measured the diameter of the bilge, quarter, and head hoops individually, multiplied it by (go team hold that line) 3.14159 to get the circumference, and followed that up with some wicked division (by 2 & by 4) to figure out where to drill the north and south pole holes in the bilge, quarter, and head hoops, to make the poles fall on exact opposite sides. I used some extra mounting bolts from my TV for the poles. Unfortunately, I didn't have any nuts that matched the thread so I had to run to Home Depot and spend about $2 for a dozen nuts. I place a nut between each pair of the bilge, quarter, and head hoops and tightened the whole business down with my drill. 

To finish it up, I rotated the bilge, quarter, and head hoops to roughly space them equidistant apart, and then tossed it in the flower garden.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bike Tire Belt

Yesterday I noticed a funny bulge in the rear tire of my road bike. I had a sudden swell of pride arise within me when I realised  I had worn out my first bike tire! It felt just like the first time I had to replace my running shoes. Because I had run 700 miles in them, not because they were the same color as my lawn. I put 2,732 miles on that tire in the last three years, and I'm damn proud of that (in case you're thinking that's not that much, I also put in 2,700 on a spinning bike in the gym). Being this was the first time I had to replace a bike tire I learned this tidbit - road bike tires cost the same as car tires, but are 1/20 the size.

A few years ago my fiance bought me a belt made out of a road bike tire. It's been my favorite belt for some time now. I figure that turning this tire into a belt would be a fitting tribute to the blood, sweat, and gears that tire has been through with me. That tire was there when I was hit by the car. And it was there through the three triathlons I trained for (and the two I competed in (refer to the part about being hit by a car for why I didn't compete in all three)).

If riding a bull for 8 seconds gets you a buckle, I think 200 hours on a bike should get you the whole frickin' belt. So today, I turned it into a belt.

It took me about an hour to make, and as always, I'm sure I can do the next one much quicker.

The hardest part was cutting through the steel cable that makes up the bead that holds the tire on the rim. I tried cutting it with my tin snips, to no avail. Then I tried wire snips. This eventually worked, with some manipulation, but it was very difficult. The best way through it was using my Dremel and a cutting disk. Once through the bead, I was able to cut the tire very easily with my tin snips.

My fiance has a special hole punch/rivet squisher/snap fastener tool that I used to punch the holes in the belt. Then I cut a small 1/2" section out of an old mountain bike tube for the strap. She also had this belt that was long past its prime. I'm assuming it didn't have a great deal of personal meaning to her (like she'd used it as a tourniquet to save a life, or to snag a large ring of skeleton keys from a bumbling guard's belt in some sort of epic prison escape).

Since the belt was shot, I removed the buckle and connected it and the strap to the tire using... now I hate to have to digress here. In past posts you've had to deal with such juvenile things as "high torque movements." But even in my most juvenile moments I can't make this kinda stuff up. I asked my local Ace Hardware guy for a specific type of nut and screw to attach the buckle to the belt. I explained what I needed to him and he said "Ah, you need a sex bolt and mating screw." I said "Beg your pardon?" I'm beginning to suspect that some middle-management suck-up in the parts department of Acme Hardware and Clock Parts asked his son's 8th grade gym class to name a couple of parts in their spring catalog.

So, sex bolts, mating screws, and all, I now have a trophy representing the 5,400 miles of cycling I've put in over the last three years.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wine Stave Candle Holder

I seem to have hit some writer's block on this particular post, and therefore haven't posted in over a week. Perhaps you don't mind. For starters, I just did a post about candle holders. Also, part of my humor revolves around being self-deprecating.  Since I made these candles holders as Christmas gifts for my soon-to-be in-laws I couldn't hardly write "look at this crap I built for the most amazing in-laws a guy could ever ask for."

In reality, I'm very proud of these candle holders, otherwise they would still be sitting in my work shop with the candle holder that I wasn't too proud of.

I've gotten quite a few miles out of this wine barrel so far (a couple clocks and a wine rack). And I've still got a couple ideas left in the chamber. As you can see from the picture there are 17 staves in just half the barrel, so there's quite a bit of lumber in it.

The incredible purple color of the wine lends itself well to being used for decorative purposes.

For symmetry I chose the staves that were approximately 3" at the middle (the staves varied from 2.5" to slightly more than 3.5"). Since the tea light candles are 1" I wanted there to be about 1" of wood on each side.

I cut off the ends and used one of them for the base. Using complex math that I still don't understand, I determined how far apart to drill each of the holes so that they would all be equidistant from each other and the end of the stave. Miraculously, I got it right by adhering to the old carpenters creed of "Measure 67 times, cut once."

Because the staves are curved, I had to brace it before drilling. The hole for the candle must remain parallel with the table or the hot wax will drip out of the candle.  Once the holes were drilled I ran a wood screw through the center of the center hole and into the base. Because the wood is fairly rough I used a highly flammable spray lacquer (nah, I'm just kidding. I don't know if it's flammable or not) to give it a nice sheen.