How to Add Knife to Knife Block

Knife block add knifeHow to add knife to knife block easily using magnets. The key is to use the new high strength neodymium magnets. I used these from Harbor Freight –Magnets. These from Amazon will work too 20 Neodymium Magnets 3/8 x 1/16 inch Disc N48   Don’t be fooled by the small size, they are magnet on fingervery strong and will slam together when pulled apart. They can chip when hit, leaving a sharp edge. Keep away from children. You want just enough magnetic force to do the job. Too much and you will pull over the block when taking the knife away.

First hold the knife you are adding to the side of the knife block. Make sure it doesn’t interfere with any of the existing knives. Determine where the magnets should go to evenly hold the knife. If you Magnets on knifefind later more force is needed, you can add a magnet in the center. Put some masking tape in the area you want the magnets and mark on the tape. Drill a shallow hole slightly larger than the magnet, When glued in place, the magnet should be slightly above the surface. The tape also protects the area from glue slop.

I used 2 part epoxy. I don’t think super glue would work as well on the porous wood I had.

epoxy mix

Epoxy Mix

Drilling Knife Block

Insert epoxy sparingly and gently push down magnets until they are just above the surface. Knife block magnetKnife Block Magnets inserted 2

 

Let epoxy set and remove tape. You are done. If magnets do not hold knife secure enough, add another magnet. BE CAREFUL if the knife blade edge is exposed beyond the block- you could get cut .Knife block add knife

Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower Repair

Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower

Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower repair for loose impeller. I have had this leaf blower for 6 months, using it once a week with no problems. I like that it is rather quite, starts easy and works well. The other day when I was starting it as usual, it kicked back on me. It backfires and whips the starter cord out of your hand. It has never done this before. My old leaf blower did it all the time. It started on the next try and I used it on the yard as normal. Half way through I could hear something plastic rattling. I finished, turned it off and shook it. The impeller was loose hitting the housing. I got out the drill driver and took out the 8 screws that held the housing on.Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower repair

The nut holding the impeller on was loose. I took it all the way off, fearing that the plastic impeller was damaged. Turning it over I saw it was undamaged. Putting it back together I put  Permatex 24200 Medium Strength Threadlocker Blue, 6 ml
on the bolt threads hoping to prevent it from happening again. I don’t know why they didn’t do it at the factory. Holding the impeller I tightened the nut snug. Anyway the repair only took 5 minutes. I think what happened is when it backfired, going in reverse, it loosened the nut. Even though it needed tightening, I would still buy this tool again. Starts easy and does the job quickly.

Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower repair

Wood Toy Cars and Trucks for Charity

Wood toy cars and trucks for christmas charity

Making toys for charity using scrap wood. Here are the 50 wood toy cars and trucks I made for Christmas charities this year. There are seven different types. I do different ones so I don’t get bored. Using a router table to round the edges is what gives the toys a finished look. Many are made by gluing baltic birch plywood together to get the desired thickness. Our club, Woodworkers of Whittier, gets scraps donated, so it is a good way to use them. Here is another post I did on making them Making Toy Cars. The club buys the wheels Here is a good place to buy wooden wheels and shapes in quantity california dowel. A hint- when drilling the 7/32nd inch axel holes, drill both holes from the same side all the way through. This keeps the wheels in the same plane, even if you end up drilling at a slight angle. If you don’t, all wheels may not touch the ground.

wood toy trucks for charity

Here are the trucks I made from common 2×4 pine. You do have to rip a lot of 1/4″ thick slats for the beds of the trucks. Here is the post showing the plans for this simple wood toy truck.

 

Dehydrate Tomatoes

Tomato dehydrator traysThis is how I dehydrate tomatoes. If you grow tomatoes for the same reason I do, because there is nothing like a vine ripened tomato. The ones from the store taste like cardboard in comparison. There are so many varieties to chose from, so I grow more than one and they often come in 6 packs, I plant them all. What happens is a glut of fresh tomatoes. Here is one way I preserve tomatoes.

By dehydrating tomatoes, the flavors are concentrated. They taste great crumbled into salads, over pasta and added to spaghetti  sauce The room needed to store them is just a fraction of the original volume.dehydrating tomatoes

I do use a dehydrator. A simple one I have had for 20 years. I imagine you could dry them in the sun if the humidity is not too high. If you can’t dry them fast enough, mold will grow.Dried Tomatoes

To prepare, just wash and slice the tomatoes into 1/4″ thick slices, put in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, stack in the machine and dry until they snap when twisted. I suggest you do this in the garage- it does smell as the moisture is driven off. Store in freezer bags or airtight containers. If you store in the freezer they will last for years. You can also “can” and freeze tomatoes.Finished dried tomatoes

How to Flash Freeze Asian Green Beans

Asian Green Beans

 

How to flash freeze asian green beans from the garden or if you get a great deal on any fresh green bean at the market. I grow asian beans. I like this variety because it holds up to the summer heat and gives great production. The problem is they come all at once. It seems like you turn around and there is another foot long bean on the vine. Preparing asian beans is the same as any other green bean. By freezing them you can eat them most of the year. This works with other vegetables too. It is simple.

You need to blanch them in boiling water for just a minute or so, until they turn bright green. You need to do this or they will be rubbery when you thaw and cook them. Plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking. You just want to cook the outside. Put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put in freezer for 10 minutes until the water on the surface has frozen. If you fail to do this, before putting them in a freezer bag, you will have a solid block of frozen beans. By freezing the outside, they wont freeze together. You will be able to take out of the bag just what you need. When I want to cook some beans, I take out a hand full place in a covered dish and add a teaspoon of water. Microwave for a minute and a half or steam them. Try freezing vegetables. It is a great way to preserve the taste a nutrients of fresh vegetables.

 

 

Review Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower

Hitachi RB24EAP Blower

This is a review of the Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower. I bought it six months ago and now feel I have enough time using it to give my views. I bought it off Amazon Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2 Stroke 170 MPH Gas Powered Handheld Blower (CARB Compliant)
and received it promptly. I read the reviews and knowing Hitachi to make good products I took the chance. I am happy I did. (NOTE: I did have to do a simple repair on this unit after 6 months. See it here). Update: I have now owned 1.5 years and it is still running great. It gets used once a week, 52 times a year as we do not get winter in Southern California.

Un-boxing it I noticed it was nicely made. With high quality looks and nice plastics used. It came boxed in 3 pieces. It was a very tight fit attaching the blower tube to the main body. I thought it was defective, but it was just tight. Putting the blower on its back and forcing the tube on worked. The nozzle attached easily. There is only one. A fan one would be a nice addition.

Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower Box

After filling the gas tank part way with premix (it does not come with premix oil), I put the choke on and attempted to start it. I say attempted, because it would not start. With “Damn I am going to have to send it back” going through my head, I did some trouble shooting. In the end- I could see the intake hose for the fuel had shifted in transit and wasn’t sitting at the low point in the gas tank. It wasn’t getting fuel. Using a pencil I pushed it down to where it needed to be. this time it started after several pulls. It is an easy pull starter cord and doesn’t kick back like my old blower.

After starting I noticed it was quite at idle. Even after increasing the speed it is not that loud. It puts out a large amount of air. I am just using it to clean off walkways and driveways around the home. I can get most of it done just at idle speed. Revving it up increases the amount of air moved, not necessarily the velocity. I don’t know how good it would be on wet heavy leaves. I will find out soon enough. It works good for my needs.

Some of the cons- It is a bit heavy (8.5 pounds), bulky and gets tiring. But the work goes quickly. I use it on a quarter acre yard. If I had more, I would get a backpack blower. The choke and stop switch are reversed to what I am used to. The choke is on when it is down. Pushing up on the rocker switch turns it off. Turn the choke on to start and when it does back it off quickly as the engine will sputter until you do.

These cons are more annoyances. The pros are-It does start easily. When it is warm, it starts real easy with a quick tug. It is quite, well made. it even has a keeper for the gas cap. I can cleanup the yard quickly. That is what I bought it for and I would buy it again.

Simple Wood Toy Truck

Wood toy truck

 

This is how to build a simple wood toy truck made from a common 2×4 wood “framing stud”. Also can be made from scrap wood, the free Plans are included below. You find 2×4 framing lumber at any home center. Make sure you get the kiln dried (KD) one and check for straightness, the edges are not damaged, and looking at the end it is not “crowned” or it will make it impossible to cut straight pieces.

Left one is straight Right one is bowed

Left one is straight Right one is crowned

The wheels are 1 1/2″ birch store bought wheels with 1/4″ axles.You can get them at a craft store. I find them in bulk cheaper on ebay, Don’t forget the axel pegs. You will need a table saw or band saw to rip the pieces.  If you use a table saw with a 1/8th” thick blade, you can get 2 trucks from a 20″ long piece of wood. Rip a 1 1/4″ wide piece. Move the fence 3/8″ closer to the blade and rip a 1/4″ piece and repeat. Now you have the ripped pieces for 2 trucks. See plans for dimensions of cross cuts.Wood pieces

Sanding is very important to end up with a nice result. This is easiest to do before assembly, I usually end using 120-150 grit. . It is important the wheel axel holes are not mounted too high or the wheels will rub the bed. Drill them all the way through.Get children involved. The truck is just glued together. A child could sand a little, help clamp the pieces, tap in the wheel axels. Have fun with it. Please email pics of ones you make, especially if they are modified. I build these for my woodworkers group charity build.
simple wood toy trucksimple wood toy truck