Sunday, April 28, 2019

Cleaning up shops and dust pick up

My BP is back under control, but I have thrown my back out.  My right hip is not a happy camper, and likewise.  Sometimes you just can't seems to win, but battles are fought in small increments.

Soooo, slowly, very slowly, making some sorts of progress in my Spring clean up, and no doubts the source of my back problems.  Getting old sucks but it still beat the alternative :-)

Getting there, slowly

In recent discussions I have been having with Ralph about his Dust Deputy woes, he pointed out, I should do a post on some of the stuff we discussed, so here it is.

Why dust collection?
Unless you work mostly outside or in a breezy walkway, you definitively could use some sort of dust collection. Yes, even in a hand tool shop!
Granted hand tools WW is a lot cleaner than power tools WW, but there is still a need to clean up and reach in places were a vacuum source or blowing air is the best way to go.

Of course, not generating volume of dust from your primarily hand tools work, wont required the same solutions ( NO dust mask required) In this blog we will look at what has been working for me, and what did not.   Your actual results may vary.

In my earlier power tools days, I made a ceiling dust scrubber that I mounted over the table saw, roughly in the middle of my shop (20X24 ft)


The intake side.  Pre filter is simply held in place by two tight cleats (1/4 round)

I made it using a surplus squirrel cage 220V blower ($50) and added three layer of filters: A metallic one to collect the coarsest, followed by a furnace filter type then a 6 pocket filter (the most expensive part of this build)

I loosely based my design on the commercial ones at the time
It worked great, but that blower sure could move air!!  It was a great way to cleaned up my bench if I forgot.  I wired it to a wall timer,  and ran it whenever I used the table saw or each time as I walked away from the shop.  It worked pretty good to clean up the air.

The exhaust end with the exhaust filter removed
I used a simple furnace filter 

I have since learned that a better location for the air scrubber would had been along the wall rather than in the center (above the table saw).  The idea being to create a circular air current around the shop.

By setting the scrubbers along the side wall we created a circular flow to scrubbed the whole space more efficiently. One is sufficient for most shops, but two would be more effective in a larger shop.

But an air scrubber is not enough, you need to collect the fine dust generated at the source along with the chips produced.  Being on the move often (was Military) I never had the inclination to set up a dedicated dust collection system.  Instead I relied on my trusty Sears Shop Vac (made by Emerson Electric, and same as the Ridgid brand sold at Home Depot).
It worked but quickly became full when attached to the planer, too much chips volume.

Solution was to make some sort of cyclone to separate the chips from the dust.  Again, since I moved around, my cyclone solution had to be portable and cheap.
What I came up with was using a large plastic barrel (aircraft soap container) with the Lee Valley cyclone lid.  In prevision of recycling it later into a proper dust collection system down the road, I used the one with the 4 in port and two 4 to 2-1/2 in adapters for my shop vac hoses.

Oh that dust on it? 
That's what happened if you don't run the air scrubber

Put the whole thing on a wheeled platform, and we have portability, I just wheel it by the machine I intend to use along with the shop vac.  Works great,  the barrel size  capture all the chips and the shop vac filter only see fine dust.  I can plane a lot of  wood before I have to empty the barrel and the shop vac is still pretty well empty.  Easier on your lungs and the shop vac filter, highly recommended.

Have wheel, will travel.
Yes, my Shop Vac has plenty of power to make that work.
I usually empty the barrel when it reached the upper "strapping" mark, meaning 2/3 full.  
As it get fuller you loose efficiency and some of the chips start making their way to the shop vac  

There are other similar arrangements you can buy such as cyclone covers in smaller sizes for smaller containers (Woodstock International, Lee Valley), the Dust deputy (Oneida) and similar clones.
With all these you supply a suitable container to use.

The vaccuum
Any good wet/dry Shop vac will do. Why wet/dry? Because it would be handier around the shop and house, just take my word on it :-)

SHOP VAC is of course a trade name, but in this case it is used in a generic way.  Here in North America, genuine shop vacs and the ones made by Emerson Electric (Sears, Ridgid) seems to be the dominant models you will find in most shops. They are relatively inexpensive and reliable.  Their Achille heel  seems to be the power switch and the motor sometimes die because they seen too much dust due to the inadequate filtration to protect it.  Easy fix, upgrade to a decent HEPA filter.  The ones I've been using are made of Goretex and are washable.  They are really long lasting.  I'm on my second one in 24 years...

The ShopVac one has a cheap slide switch


The Sears one has a better toggle switch


Such an upgrade is a must in my book, easier on your lungs and the poor shop vac motor.
How good are they?  You can vacuum drywall dust and see nothing escaping the vac, try that with your regular paper filter.... or better not, take my word.

Using a screaming universal motor they sure are noisy, but there are a few things you can do to tame them.
Years ago they came up with some sort of noise silencer filter.  They work good on guns, should work on the vac exhaust?? Ive seen plans in magazines to built such a baffle design, but Emerson came out with their own silencer gizmo, so I bought it.

The Ridgid Noise muffler.
But does it really "muffle" ?

Does it works? Not really, or if it does, I did not noticed much of a change in the noise levels.  Maybe a slight drop in the higher pitch frequencies??  But that is from a guy who spent his adult life around aircraft engines so...

I've seen all kinds of way to isolate the vac inside a insulated or baffled box in a bid to quiet it down, but if you go this route ensure there is sufficient make up air or you will shorten the life of your vac...

 A better upgrade with a readily noticeable improvement is to ditch the stiff black plastic hose that comes with them and invest in a better quality hose.  For the past 10 years I've been using the orange ones from Lee Valley  much, much more flexible and limber. No more pulling the vac when moving the hose.


Now, I dont actually throw out the stiff black hoses, I simply cut them off to length and use plastic repair connectors (from Home Depot) to make up the short connections between the shop vac, chip barrel and machinery.  These are static connections, good enough for the stiffer black hoses.

The orange cuffs are the repair connectors sold at Home Depot. They just screw on. 
I found that using some sort of garden hose holder
 is about the better way to handle those stiff hoses.
I stored my air hose at the bottom, in my previous shop

The bigger challenge is to hook up properly your machinery for adequate collection.  The older machinery I am using was never designed with proper dust collection in mind.

When I bought my planer in 1995, they did not had a dust collection cover, so I made my own.
A half ABS pipe of suitable diameter with a wooden plug at one end and adaptor for my 2-1/2 in hose at the other. Work great when hooked up to the barrel and the shop vac is turned on. 
 It will quickly plugged if you forget the vacuum, Oups! 


Suffice to say the closest to the blade, the better the chip and dust collection.  Think over the blade dust pick up with an overhead arm on a table saw, that collect more of the dust being spouted from the blade in addition to the usual  port from inside the cabinet.  Similarly, collection under the bandsaw blade and inside the bottom wheel cover work best for a bandsaw.

Over blade dust pickup.
To my mind, this is the better way to capture dust spewed by the blade.
You still need to hook up collection to the cabinet.
Pic from Busy Bee Tools

There is a large selection of various wands and other collection fittings.  You should have a look at them, they can greatly make your life easier in certain situation.  Some sort of magnetic floor sweeper comes in handy when looking for that elusive small part lost to the shavings... :-)

The holder I made to hold my wands. Most stand over  a piece of dowel, 
the last one (RHS) fit inside a hole.  The board in the back with the modified fitting was for my bandsaw dust pickup under the table.

I don't remember were or when I found this kit, but it has proven very useful at time.

Could not find it the other day so I went out and found this kit.
Not bad, but it lack the small hose provision
LV has a similar tube extension called Vacu Flex
Oh, and I did found the other kit.

Of course, if you used both system, like I do, 
you need adapters to go back and forth between 2-1/2 and 1-1/4, 
the two standard hose sizes.

I had to come up with custom solution for my machines, 
so having a large selection of various adapters is a boon.
This fitting is for a future project :-)


And finally you can set up a small dedicated piping system for your Shop vac.  I often thought about it, but never got around to do it.

Pic from Shop Vac site.
Such system sold in kit, retails from around Cdn $99 to $300 depending on number of components

If you do, such a system would benefit from the uses of blast gates at various dedicated location.  The only problem with using gates is that they only work if you closed/open the right ones.  Technology to the rescue, there are a few system that allow you to simply  turn on/off your vacuum remotely, other will start the vacuum when it detect the attached power tool turning on.   And others more sophisticated system can also control your blast gates.  Or if you are so inclined, you can cobbled up a solution using Arduino...

As for me, I simply wheel around my smaller Shop vac in my dedicated hand tool shop.
The garage, AKA the power tool shop, uses the bigger Sears vac tricked out as explained above.

That and using a good dust pan and brush to clear my bench and etc...

A good dust pan and bench brush helps keep your bench top clear...
Well, if only I could see the top :-)

Bob, the dust collector :-)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Quick status update

My blog has not been updated for a while, it's because I been under the weather, so to speak, all month so far.  I have essential high Blood Pressure, meaning, there are no underlying causes other than it is in my genes, thanks to Dad.

BP monitor, O2 sat and pulse meter, Kleenex, disinfectant, water.
And of course Dr Rudy treats :-)


About 30 years ago (1991) after my first cancer (kidney) they figured, oh it must had been the cause of your high BP, so they waned me out of all my BP medications to see what would happen.  Well sport fan, it quickly raised to 220/125.  I was Air Evac to Shearwater (military airport near Halifax) in a Hercules from Greenwood then a short ambulance run to the military hospital on the Navy base in Halifax.  Heather claimed at the time it was the scariest ride of her life :-)

They keep me under observation while trying different cocktails of drug until they found one that worked for me.  I have been under pretty well the same cocktail ever since and it worked.
Suddenly this month it stopped working and my BP shot up to 210/115 with a pulse of 111.
It gave me a hell of a headache, in step with my pulse.  My Beta blockers are supposed to keep my pulse under 60, but it was no match :-(

Of course I have been to the emergency dept. of our local regional hospital in Kentville (30 min drive)
Blood work came out perfect, so no recent stroke or heart attack.  ECG was fine also, so they told me cut coffee and salt see your family doctor to change your meds if required.  Well that does not even come close to explain why my cocktail stopped working overnight and no change all month....
Could not happened at a worse time.  From March to May 6th, it keep running in my head Heather last months of her life, she went down fast in that short period.   And NO this added stress does not explain it, it's been no problem the last three years !!!

Been to my doctor office, but he cannot see me until May 6th !!!  I cannot wait that long, so I saw the nurse at his office and when she took my pressure the first reading was 169/110, but the second reading was 134/84 WTF!!  You try to convince them of the urgency with that kind of reading...  I sure miss being in the military, I got priority service anywhere in the medical field :-(
Could not believed that reading, so I took mine with my BP monitor that I brought in to show her the readings I have been getting, and the first one shortly after her was 134/94, then it shot back up to 180/110 pulse 105, there See!

So, I did some investigation, my last refill from the pharmacy was Feb 14, which meant I would had started on them near the end of the month of Feb and my pressure has been quickly raising up ever since. Hummm, my pharmacist checked back till 2014 this is the first time that I ever had this specific brand of generic for my main BP drug Cardizem 360 mg daily (max dose) (Calcium channel blocker).  Not the first time I had generics, all my drugs are now pretty well generic thru the years, but unfortunately, the one I was having is no longer available and there is currently a shortage in Canada of this drug, so I cannot go back on my older type to prove my theory :-(

Friday I went to my local hospital in Middleton emergency, this time my BP readings stayed high, so the attending physician looked at my recent blood work, ECG, etc. and my cocktail and increased my Candesartan Cilexetil from 2 mg to 8 mg for a 3 months trial until I can see my doctor.  That small dose (2mg) was used as a prophylactic to protect my remaining kidney.  Thank you, thank you.  I still run high but my pulse finally came down under the 100 floor, it now run around 70 to 90, my BP is up and down from a low of 117/70 to a high of 179/100, but with my pulse now staying below 100 my headache is finally gone.

With all these visits to hospitals emergency rooms and doctor office and pharmacy (all places full of sick people) I now have caught some virus, running a fever and sick as... Sometimes you just can't win :-(
Sadly its only a short period of time before Jean will no doubts catch it, sorry babe :-(

Needless to say, I have been away from my computer for a while.  Looks like I am getting over that cold virus (??) and doing slightly better but to add to my misery, yesterday I somehow fell asleep on my glasses, and they did not survived very well, the frame is all bent out of shape and both lenses popped out.  So I guess I am due for a new pair, sigh!


The arms are superflex which means fold every which way, 
but apparently, the lenses do not fold flat :-(

I am doing slightly better, my headache is now finally gone, but my BP is still running up and down and I am blind as a bat without my glasses.  On the bright side, it could be worse I suppose !?? :-)

Meanwhile Dr Rudy is on the case, licking my forehead when I sweat and lick my face when I have a headache and look pale.
If you ever wonder, YES, a dog doing that, does relieve some tension (if you let him do it), I got the numbers to prove it :-) it's no match for my essential BP, but it does make a small difference.

Dr Rudy at work

Dr Rudy in his office

In other news, on a recent trip to the city, I bought a froe and mallet at LV, in preparation to rive a bunch of oak billets.  Hoping to resume my woodworking adventures in the near future

LV froe and Sam bat (Ottawa MLB maple bat maker) mallet.
Once chew up, I will turn my own following this pattern

Bob, sick and blind as a bat but without any ranging devices built in.
Per Ardua Ad Astra. Thru adversity to the stars, my RCAF motto

Monday, February 25, 2019

It's beginning to look more and more like Arizona...

Yeah, really.  We keep getting storms after storms, but they somehow skirted around us for the most part.  But this morning when I took Rudy out, I was taken aback by how much this scene look like deja vue...


The scene this morning in my yard



Which reminded me of this scene, from my friend Ken

Pic from OK Guy


So maybe Ken got a point there, maybe I should start thinking moving north :-)

Bob, running on his Skidoo dodging snow balls from ken :-)


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Taking care of business

Tool`s maintenance that is...
Long overdue, it`s the bane of any tool hoarder,  err I meant tool aficionado :-)
The more you have, the more you are gonna have to clean, restore, sharpen tune up and etc.
It never really end, cause rust don't sleep...

Recently, I do not have much shop time.  Jean is re-re-arranging the living room, so that gives raise to many small projects and, YES, trips to the stores :-)

We just recently mounted the TV to the wall and rearranged the room around it, but the piece under  has already been replaced and I just now realized it :-)

Gone under is the small table replaced by the desk which used to be at the entrance,
meaning another has moved to replace it and, and...
That pic is off the air with my outside antenna BTW

During my last project, mounting the TV on the wall, I had to resort to hand brace and hand drills to install it, my power cordless driver and drills being at my daughter place with a few more tools...
While using them, I noticed that they were overdue for a trip to the wire wheel, so off they went.

They were degunked, stripped down some parts soaked in Evaporust then wire wheel at my drill press. Finally oiled (WD40) and then the wood parts rubbed down with Howard  Feed & Wax.
This being my new regimen to service my tools.

Stanley Rule & Level Co
New Britain USA

No 984.
The handle ferrule is brass, work hardened and cracked (as they are often)
and its plating wearing thin


Stanley
There was some flaking plating gone under the head and the handle ferrule plating is wearing out.
Other that that, she is all de-rusted and purring again

Full box ratchet, Barber`s chuck, Rosewood or Cocobolo head and handle.  A very handy tool to have and a keeper.  Must figured out how to hang it in my boring till...

You know I just could not stop there, so as I put back some tools in the boring till, more came out to the garage. De-gunked, strip down, dunk in evaporust, wire wheel oil and waxed.

That went on for a few days, need a break from it now :-)

Next was my MF No 2, it was getting gunky and harder to operate. Now, understand that even gunked, she is still a good operator, but cleaned and oiled?  WOW,  that is one smooth running hand drill!

 Gorgeous Cocobolo handle

Millers Falls No 2, earlier model with the little wheel 
to keep the gear meshed down under pressure.  Brilliant design!

Millers Falls Co
* No. 2
Millers Falls Mass

Took me a few minutes to figured out how to remove the drive wheel,
The wheel adj. mechanism was solidly frozen together in rust.
WD 40 did the trick.   The center offset shaft push out from the wheel, wheel comes off and the driving wheel can be removed

That one is a sure candidate for a repaint job, the frame has loss most of its black paint, well worn.
And the red on the wheel is a mere shadow of its former self.  I will strip the paint then repaint it at a later date.  Cannot spray inside for some reasons that escape me :-)

Then, in no particular order, the following that were in my boring till all came out to play and got cleaned,

This poor MF No 1, which normally reside inside my carving tool box, got separated and was found lying at the bottom of a plastic container which got water ingress.
She is in pretty sad shape :-(  But fear not!

Stripped, cleaned awaiting reassembly

From L-R
MF No 1, MF No 5 and Stanley No 626

So How did that poor No 1 came out??  Pretty good, I`m happy



The handle was what I was the most worry about, 
it had a clearly tell tale line and discoloration from resting in shallow water.
Pretty well gone if you ask me, pheww...

That unique and smaller chuck is great to hold small bits which is why it normally stay inside my carving tool box, I used it to pierced holes for the fret saw.

The frame is pretty bare in places, would have to be repainted to protect the frame.  The side handle knob was still solidly frozen last night, today she finally broke free after numerous soaking in WD 40.  Back in service, purring again.

MF No 5 is next:



The newer looking brass ferrule is a replacement from LV.
It had a cracked handle which I previously repaired.
The wood parts are starting to show a crazed finish, would need stripping and refinishing later.
The red paint is in good shape, but the frame has some bare spot.

Stanley No 626:




The black paint on the wheel is near perfect, but the handle finish is peeling off in chunks to bare wood.  Not sure how I will address that.  Obviously a strip and refinish job, but how to best duplicate the original finish??  I am all ears if anyone has suggestions...

Yesterday output:


Previously did a pipe wrench, one from Dad, which saw numerous plumbing jobs … and was getting a tad rusty, so why not? :-)


1/4 inch to 2 inch pipe wrench.  Another candidate for a repaint

And of course a lots of brace bits and C-Clamps.  Definitively need a break from this routine :-)
Meanwhile, plus 12 Celsius today, so our skating rink is all melted again...

Yesterday we cleared the snow and the kids were skating on it

Today, its all melted again

But I cannot still removed my last projector left over from my Christmas light decorations. 
Still solidly frozen in the ground.  I'm afraid it will have to fend for itself all winter...

Bob, switching gears.  Another trip coming up soon