I rigged up a temporary setup to see how lifting items up to the mezzanine would go.  Using a pulley for an electric 4×4 winch (you can see it in the photos from the 20m2 post earlier) and a rope, I tried out lifting one of the crates.

Proved one point – if you are going to lift items that sort of height, and that sort of weight (30kg or so – nothing too serious, unless it drops), it needs to be a serious approach.  A rope and a pulley hooked up on a dodgy overhead line is not a serious approach.

I’ve resisted the idea of using a chain hoist up to now, being a very slow operation, but it may be the best option.  At least when you stop and let go, it doesn’t go anywhere!  Still need to hang it off something, which is still proving to be the tricky point.  I also the little matter of having to find my chain hoist – it will be in one of the crates.  Question is….which one?!

Unpacked one crate – found it full of various drilling components – drill bits, forstner bits, drill press clamps and vice, and my green Bosch drill – the one that I think I burned out trying to use it to drive some bugle-headed screws.  The only indication of a problem was the forward-reverse lever was stuck.

Decided to take it apart – find out if anything was really wrong or not.  Sure was.  It is a brushed motor, and the plastic restraining one of the brushes had gotten hot, and sagged.  The sagging plastic had interfered with the forward-reverse lever, which is rather secondary.  Surprised the motor was still running to be honest.  Took it all apart as I decided it was a definite writeoff, and not able to be saved (or rather, given it was still running, that it wasn’t safe to save it).  Had a look through how the chuck works, including the hammer function, before tossing the lot in the bin.  I kept the actual motor – not because it is still any good, but so I can take some photos.

At least the contents of that crate found homes in the shed already.  Not every one will be that easy.

What’s in a name?

Been doing quite a bit of demo’ing the past few days – that Bosch demo saw has been getting a good workout, and has been performing really well.

Changed the blade to a shorter one, which did help – more control and less inclination to end up with a bent blade.  There is a Bosch kit that contains 12 blades, and a hard case for the blades – some metal, some wood and metal blades, short and long.


Got the Stanley Fubar out and running as well – saw it for sale ( a cheaper Stanley version – not the FatMax), and I guess the Stanley marketing department has cottoned onto what FUBAR stands for.  So now it is called a Functional Utility Bar.  Guess that is what happens when you try to match a name to an acronym.  Wonder what a Dysfunctional Utility Bar looks like?

Rest in Pieces

Bit of a bummer day on the tools, getting jobs finished around the property.  Self inflicted in each case too.

Started when trying to use the wrong tool for the job – using a log splitter like a sledge hammer.  Other than the fact that a log splitter has a much softer metal, so does not transfer impact properly (and deforms easily!), the handle is not designed to absorb the impacts I was delivering, and split itself.

The main failure however, was my Bosch (green) 710W drill.  It has been used, and abused for years and years – 14 to be exact.  Thought I’d manage to kill it more than once, but it kept running.  Had the insulation almost smoking, but it survived.  Until today, when trying to drive large screws (bugle-headed hex 100mm screws!) was just too much torque, and the drill overheated just that bit too far, and the gearbox mechanism failed.  The drill still goes forward, but it is well down on torque, and I will mega-test it before plugging it in again, to test the internal insulation.

But as far as it goes, it is in the dead-tool basket.

So I shopped around for a replacement, and specifically a corded drill.  There is plenty of room for cordless, but I still like to have corded models.

After my previous drill experience, Bosch certainly was a strong contender, but I didn’t let that influence me too much when looking at the range of models out there, at least in my local district.  After a couple of stores and not finding enough choice, I headed into Total Tools.  That is where I found my range.

And settled on……. a Bosch!  Specifically, the GSB16-RE.  That doesn’t mean much to me either, but it is a basic drill – what I needed, and could justify.  It is effectively the Bosch blue version of the drill I had. 700W.


(Bosch blue is the professional range).  It cost around $130 or so – so not too scary.  NOT chosen to drive those bugle screws though – no need to torture another drill to death!

I did try to find something (corded) that could drive the screws – needed something with very high torque.  I know there are plenty of impact drivers out there, and at some stage I’ll get one, but just not this week!  I did try a corded Makita impact driver (230W, 100Nm) failed dismally, and I ended up getting a $17 Koken bit for my socket set to finish the job.  Not sure if it is 100Nm or not – the green Bosch with 30Nm was driving the screws, and got most home until it hit some real hardwood.  Would have thought there would be a more noticeable difference (granted I did kill the drill to achieve it).

The guys at Total Tools (Carrum Downs) did let me have a play with a couple of ‘real’ impact drivers – tried a 14V Panasonic and it drove without a problem.  Didn’t struggle (but could tell it was working).  Didn’t see what the 18V Panasonic was like, but I did get to try the Milwaukee 18V.  Not sure what it would take to stop it, certainly not that 100mm screw!


The Panasonic 14.4V has 150Nm torque, and the Milwaukee 18V has 158Nm.  So there is the benchmark when I do come to the point to choose an impact driver.

As to the sledge hammer, they also had the Stanley FatMax 10lb fibreglass handled sledgehammer.  Done deal.



Used the afternoon today to give a bit of a knock on some of the jobs around the place, in preparation for our relocation.

Decided to tackle the deck around the spa pool (the spa itself is looking for a new home, so the deck around it needed to suffer the same fate).  I knew the deck wasn’t great – the previous owner was a right clown, and the deck is a testament to his workmanship.

I didn’t suspect how bad it was until I started ripping into it.  Fortunately, the main deck only bears a visual resemblance to that around the spa – I suspect the deck around the spa was made later, and was cut into the original deck.

Despite being newer, the timber had rotted badly, the posts in the ground had either rotted through (and I could snap them off, despite being 100x100mm), or I simply lifted them out of the ground.  That’s right – no concrete footing, just dug 12″ into sandy soil.  Yup, stupid.

I started off with my Stanley Fubar, but although I was taking it apart neatly, things were not progressing as fast as I needed – time may be money, but at the moment, time is worth even more – I only have a finite amount of it to get the place ready before we move.

So I shot down to the local Masters store- yup, it is a cool thing having one not 5 minutes drive from my front door! Wanted to get a Reciprocating Demolition Saw.

Had a look for a while, all battery powered. Although the prices looked quite reasonable, they were all “naked” tools – sold without batteries, so you then needed to get batteries and a charger added, and that is when the price jumps.  After chatting briefly to one of the sales guys in the section, he took me to some others around the back of one of the shelving units, and that is where the corded models were.  Oh yeah.

Batteries may be convenient (until they go flat), but if you want serious power that puts the Energiser Bunny to shame (as in, it keeps going, and going, and going, and going, and………..) then you want a corded tool.

There were a few models, but the one that caught my eye was the Bosch.  Yes, it was green (which is meant to be a cheaper version of their range), but my corded drill is a green Bosch, and after 14 years, I still haven’t killed it, despite some serious abuse.  $140, which was well within the price range I was comfortable with for this tool.  Half the price of a battery version when you factor in the cost of the battery.


Bosch PSA1150

So there was me, and the deck, eyeing each other off.  And then one of the combatant’s knees started to shake.  Wasn’t mine.  It wasn’t that the deck was getting nervous (it should have been), it was simply the bad workmanship causing it to appear nervous.

Then the blade got stuck in, and that deck quickly became a representation of the tool I had commenced with.  It became FUBAR.

Within a couple of hours, there was nothing left. (Almost).  A pile of decent deck timber nailed to rotting underframes.  And the spa, sitting on top of a large block of concrete.

A few stumps remained sticking out of the ground, but a chain hoist running from a nearby tree quickly did them in.

That demo saw was superb.

Breaking Edges

One of the problems with having to rush to finish the Christmas present for my daughter (the toy kitchen), is that I had to skip some steps to get done in time.

As I was designing as I built, I wasn’t sure which edges would end up being the outer areas of the finished product, and thus needing to be rounded over.

Rounding edges over have a couple of benefits – the obvious one is removing sharp edges and corners, making them more child-friendly, and overall nicer to the whole tactile experience.  The other benefit is it reduces the chance of splintering of the edges.

I normally like a 1/16″ roundover – the object retains the overall concept of the square edges, but with a good rounding.  I normally use a plane to achieve this – the Fastcap Artisan Radius Plane (from Professional Woodworkers Supplies).


Fastcap Artisan Radius Plane

It is a great little plane, and works really effectively.  When I first got it, no edge was safe!  Unfortunately for this project, as I had already assembled it, this plane is no good for getting into corners and therefore wasn’t a real option.

Onto plan B.

I thought a Dremel may do the trick, even found some Dremel roundover bits in Masters.  Unfortunately I didn’t read the packet, and it turned out that the bits were specifically for the Dremel Trio.

The idea of using the Dremel high speed rotary should have worked, but I have not been able to find any round-over bit that fits.

So then I decided to look at the Dremel Trio – it isn’t too expensive, and seeing as I had the roundover bits, that might have been a reasonable outcome.  However, once I looked at it closely, I was disappointed in the build quality, especially of the base.


Dremel Trio


Trio Foot

It was really the mechanism for adjusting the base that was really cheap – not the quality that I associate with Dremel, and it really put me off buying it.  With the cost of the Trio, and the set of router bits I needed to get the desired roundover, that started becoming a reasonable portion of much better tools.

It was about now that I was kicking myself for selling the Triton Spin Saw.  Not that I have needed it until now, and holding a tool for years to finally find an actual purpose is obviously not worthwhile.  But it would have fitted the Dremel Router bits, and performed as a large version of the high speed rotary.

I have an old GMC Laminate Trimmer, but found that both for the size of the base, and the extension of the bearing section of the router bit, I couldn’t get into the areas I needed to.

So next, I had a look at the Bosch Blue laminate trimmer, or what the actually call (and more appropriately), the Palm Router.  This has the benefit of taking 1/4″ router bits, and is the machine of choice for the CNC Shark & Shark Pro. A pretty good endorsement on its own!


Bosch Blue Palm Router

It is a very nice-looking tool, and doesn’t try to “bling-out” to create a sale.  My only experience of Bosch is a corded drill I bought about 14 years ago, and despite my best efforts I haven’t managed to kill it yet.  Says something about the brand.  Not sure about the height adjustment on this either – seemed a bit difficult, but they may have been inexperience with the tool.


Festool Laminate Trimmer

Finally, I considered the Festool OFK 500 Q.  There are larger trimmers from Festool, but getting into tight areas is key.  The base looks promising, and the cut-off area from one side allows it to get into pretty tight areas.  There is one ‘interesting’ feature of this tool – it takes proprietary router bits.  However, it does come with what Festool calls an Ogee router bit, which everyone else calls a roundover bit, so that is a bonus.

So those are the choices I am considering.  The Festool is the most expensive, but as I was already willing to get the Dremel (plus the router bits) which came to $200, that is a reasonable amount off the price of the Festool, so it is more justifying the difference.

Got some thinkin’ to do.



Cutting at 20,000 strokes a minute

Had yet another task tonight that resulted in me picking up the cordless Sonicrafter, and jumping straight into the job at hand.  This time I had a couple of bolts that needed to be cut short, and the idea of picking up a hacksaw, or an angle grinder with cutoff wheel did not appeal.

Cordless Rockwell Sonicrafter

I went to fit a blade, and realised the only blades that came with the Sonicrafter were for wood (only).  However, I do have some dual purpose blades from Fein, so it was time to try out the adapter that is supplied with the Sonicrafter, that in theory allows all other brands of blade to be fitted. (Fein, Bosch, Dremel)

Original Sonicrafter Blade drive

Universal Adapter

When I first saw its studded surface, I had the idea that somehow the placement was designed to just manage to engage in the design of all different brands of blade, but when I then tried it out, I found that where the back engaged perfectly on the hex drive of the Sonicrafter, the studded design was only intended to be a friction transfer. I’m sure they could easily have made one to fit each brand individually, but then I am equally sure they would have run into a lawsuit or two.

So armed with what was provided, I picked up a metal (and wood) cutting Fein blade, attached it and gave it a try.  The washer (which has a raised core area) neatly fitted the blade, centering it on the tool.  I tightened it up (normally) and gave it a crack. Then, after cutting through the first bolt, I did the second.

It may not be an adapter that engages into the blade mounting slots, but it proved itself tonight as effective anyway.

An Open Door

Now the door is open to the massive range of blades, sanders, scrapers etc available across the range of brands (a just a small collection of Fein blades is shown here).

Repairing the ROS

I haven’t ruled out getting a decent ROS (random orbital sander), but in the meantime I am not one to leave a perfectly functional tool in a state of disrepair, so I decided to fix the existing base, and return the Triton ROS to operational status.

Step one, I removed the base that had the velcro and backing (which had sheared off) from the machine, and cleaned the solid mounting plate up a bit.

I was hoping to find a replacement base that would just work, but that wasn’t going to be possible.  So instead I chose a different route, amalgamate the new base (a Bosch) and the ?fibreglass? backing from the Triton.  The Bosch base had a plate built in with three mounting holes, that were unfortunately a lot closer to the centre than the Triton took.  So I decided to mount it to that Triton backing, then use the original screws and holes to mount the whole new unit to the ROS.

Merging the bases

I drilled 3 new holes in the backing, then used steel rivets to join them together.  Steel rivets are significantly strong, and very low profile which is why I chose that method.

Fully repaired ROS

By then drilling new holes through the Bosch plate, it allowed the original Triton bolts to be used to join the whole refurbished base to the ROS.  Fired up, and it was all back to being functional, and frankly, it will now last a lot longer that the original.

In the background of the second photo, you can see my accordion riveter (also known as a scissor riveter).  This design has significant power, and is excellent in use.

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