Stop Vacuum Smell

How to stop vacuum smell. You have one of the new vacuum cleaners that doesn’t use bags. Nice not to have bags, but now you have to clean filters. You get them all clean and put everything back together, ready for next time. A week, later after starting to vacuum, you smell a stench in the air. Your clean vac is now putting a bad smell in the air.

The problem is, when the pleated filter was rinsed, it provided moisture for mold and bacteria to grow. That is what it did while the vacuum sat and you smelled the result. To prevent this, you need to sterilize the filter. The pleated filter is almost impossible to get completely dry, unlike the foam one, so it must soak in a sterilizing solution. Fortunately everyone has it- bleach. Bleach kills microbes.Cleaning vacuum filter with bleach


Simply take your filters, place in a container and cover with water. Add a couple tablespoons of bleach and swirl around gently. Keep it out of your eyes! let set for 5 minutes, drain and rinse. Don’t over do it with the bleach, as it could damage the filters.

Sterilizing home vacuum filter in bleach

After rinsing, squeeze out the foam filter and let them dry. Preferably in the sun, as it kills bacteria too.

Drying home vacum filter

Doing these simple steps should stop the smell.

How to Build a Square Foot Garden Frame

Square foot garden frame

This is how to build a Square Foot Garden Frame from 2x6s and 4×4 lumber. Mel Bartholomew, years ago, wrote the book Square Foot Garden and this frame is based on his 4 foot square design. Any wider and you can’t reach to the center. You can find info. all over the web on designs. This is how I did mine.

I made the sides from 2″x6″ common lumber 43 1/2″ long. End posts are 4″x4″s  9″ long. When I do it again I will use 2″x8″ lumber for the sides to get more depth. Then the 4x4s will be 3″ taller than the sides.

Square foot garden frame cutPosts Square foot garden

The posts are cut to a 30 degree angle for decoration. I used a table saw. You could use a mitre saw or even a circular saw with a cutting guide. Pre-cut the 4 posts and clamp them together for a stable surface, if you do it with a circular saw.

Attaching sides square foot gardenframe attached square foot garden frame

Using a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig I attached the sides. You could use dowels. Pocket hole screws were easiest. Since I didn’t used treated lumber, I don’t expect this frame to last forever. Using caulk, primer and paint will help it to last longer. I use thin strips of wood stapled together for the grid. You could just use string tacked to the sides.

Square foot garden frame plantedSquare foot garden trellis

The best thing I added was a trellis to the north side of the frame. I grow beans and peas on this. It is made from 1/2″ electrical conduit you can get at any home improvement store. You will need two 10 foot sticks of 1/2″ metal conduit, four conduit clips and 2 corners. You will also need trellis netting. The conduit was cut 60″ tall for the sides and 45 1/2″ for the top. It is best to cut and mount the sides loosely first and then measure the top length. There can be variations.

trellis cornerattach trellis to frame

I have been using this frame for 4 years now. What I would do different. Make the sides with at least 2x8s instead of 2x6s. Deeper the better. Look around on the web on how to make the soil. I used some from a local fertilizer place and it was terrible. Locate the frame where it gets sun all day.

Simple Strong Woodworking Workbench

Simple strong workbenchA couple years ago I was searching the web to find plans for a simple, strong woodworking workbench. I didn’t need a fancy one made out of maple. Just one that was sturdy with a good woodworking vise. I found one on the Fine Woodworking website with free plans! Here is the web page workbench.

It is different in that it is held together with threaded rod that run the entire length of the table. This makes it real stable. It is made of 2x4s and 4x4s. Even when they call them Kiln Dried at the local big box home center, the wood still shrinks. When this happens, just tighten the nuts on the threaded rods. It can also be disassembled if necessary. Find the straightest wood you can.

I only changed one thing when building it, using pocket holes instead of clips to hold the top on. I also put “peg board’ on the ends to hold tools. The top and shelf are made of MDF finished with polyurethane. Cut it outside as it the dust is bad and it also is a pain to bore holes in. It took me a couple hours to bore the holes in the top. I think it is made of layers of compressed paper. A simple spade bit worked best.

pocket holes workbench top

pocket holes

Having a good woodworking vise is a pleasure. It holds things so secure. This is a 7″ vise made by Jet. The workbench was made the same height as my table saw to act as an out-feed table. 2 years go by and it shrank in height 3/4″. I had to add leg levelers to it.

leg leveler

leg leveler

This has been a great workbench! It is a good idea when you make a workbench to take a picture of it. It will never be that clean again.

Custom Woodworking Marking Knife

custom marking knife for woodworking

This is a custom Marking Knife I made for woodworking. Instead of a pencil to mark a cut, a knife is used. It gives a more precise mark and cuts the wood fibers to prevent tearing. Bill Stroman made the blades for me. The handle is made of maple and walnut. The cap is held on by a rare earth magnet. It took a lot of sanding and shaping after the profile was cut out on the bandsaw. The finish is 5 coats of spray lacquer.

You can make a knife with a sharpened hacksaw blade. This is much more elegant.

custom marking knife for woodworking

custom marking knife for woodworking

custom marking knife for woodworking


How to Make Wallpaper Paste

Reattaching Wallpaper

I needed to make wallpaper paste. Just a little to reattach half a sheet of wallpaper that had come loose below a chair-rail. It looked bad, so with a search on the internet, I found a couple recipes and settled on a flour mixture. I cut the recipe in half and still had some left over.

I used 1/2 cup flour and 1/6th cup sugar- stir together and in a small saucepan whisk in 1/2 cup water to wet the mix then add another 1/2 cup water while mixing. The key is no lumps. Over medium heat whisk the mixture. Do Not Stop! Even for a moment. I did and had to throw away the batch, It started to setup and burn on the bottom causing lumps. You don’t want lumps under your wallpaper. So keep on whisking and all of a sudden it will start to thicken and look like wall paper paste. Keep on stirring and remove from heat. Let cool.

Wish I would have taken pictures while doing it. I could not remove the paper all the way, as it was trapped by the baseboard. Pulling the chair-rail back, was the hardest part of the job. Using a 2″ paint brush I applied a thin layer of paste to the wall. Smoothing the paper onto the paste with the side of my hand while positioning it. I did get a wrinkle so pulled the sheet part way off to release it.

After a couple days the paper is still attached to the wall. Wallpaper is not as popular as it used to be, but it was far easier to fix one little sheet than take it all down and repaint. The picture above is of the finished job. No more wrinkles!

(Update) I got a message from Laura from Washington. She said using cornstarch works good for attaching fabric to walls and is easily taken down later, without damaging the wall or door. Here is the site she got her info. from How About Orange. Thanks Laura!


Making Wooden Toy Cars For Charity

Toy VW Bug

The woodworking club I belong to Woodworkers of Whittier (WOW), makes wooden toy cars for charity each year at Christmas time.  They have to be easy and cheap to build, because we make 1500 of them. Each member decides how many they want to make and the club provides the wheels. Guys come up with different designs. Patterns are traded and modified. There are certain ones I like to make. VW Bugs, Sports Cars, Trucks- with variations on each. (click here for a plan of one)

The wood used is 1 1/2″ thick or thicker. Too thin and the axel pegs hit each other. They can be shortened, but 1 1/2″ works great and happens to be the thickness of a 2×4. Common 2×4″ lumber works as long as it is dry. The club gets donations of cut off wood from different places. Nice scrap hardwood can be got free from places that make furniture, mantels, cabinets. We get 2×4 scraps from job sites. The VW above is made of mahogany scraps with a thin piece of oak sandwiched between to give the stripe. Sometimes I use oak, mahogany, maple, walnut , depends on what we get for free. Hardwood is harder to finish though. Cutting out the blanks is easy. Sanding, drilling the holes, adding details, rounding over the edges, final sanding is what takes the time. We are not allowed to put any clear coat finish on the toys because of government bureaucratic BS.

Wooden VW BlanksWood toy sports car


Playing around with the shapes of a car you can get something different. Cut the top off the sports coupe- you get a convertible. A basic truck shape can lead to various models.

Wooden Toy Trucks


Add thin pieces of wood to make the bed. A donated piece of stair handrail makes a tanker truck.

Wooden Toy PickupWooden Toy Trucks


The night arrives when the members bring the finished toys to “wheels and axels” night. The members get busy glueing and tapping the axels through the wheels and into the cars. Makes a big change to see the wheels on.

Wooden tanker truck Wood Pickup Truck Toy


The wheels that the club buys are 1 1/2″ with 1/4″ hole. Like these on Amazon 50 Wood 1-1/2 Inch Toy Wheel W/1/4 Hole You also need to buy axel pegs too.
Drill a 7/32″ hole in car for the axel. Piles of cars arrive at the meeting and work commences with a lot of hammering and things getting done. Each year WOW gives cars and blocks to 22 charities. Some give out a toy with a Christmas meal and others let the kids play with the toys at the school.

It does not have to be done on a large scale. One person can do some  toys and give them away. Even better, an adult teaching a child to a make a toy and the child giving the toy to someone less fortunate. Now you have something special.

Wooden Toy Sports Cars Piles of Wood Cars


Assembling cars for charity

Ghost in Window Halloween Prop

Cheese cloth ghost in windowglowing cheese cloth ghost

This is a ghost in window Halloween prop I made of cheese cloth. It can also used as a “flying crank ghost”. This is much simpler to make and set up. The secret is cheese cloth, a wig stand for the head (from a wig shop) and clothes hanger wire for the frame. A “black light” causes it to glow. The ghost actually glows white. Not blue as in the picture. See video at the end. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Cheese cloth ghost close

Cheese cloth ghost support


This was originally inspired by the pdf you can view here Phantasmechanics. Go to the very end of the pdf for the relevant part ( page 17 and 18). Print it out. This is just the marionette part, but I do hook it up to a “flying crank” too. On this one I use an oscillating fan to give it motion. It is very eerie, her looking out the window– Waiting.  A 2 foot black light on the couch makes it glow. It is supported by a camera tripod with a tube attached. A bolt in it just sticks into the styrofoam head. Fishing line attached to the hands and tacked to the wall hold the arms up. I find it is better to support the head the way I have done, instead of a stand going straight up. It lets the fabric move in the wind of the fan without hitting a pole.

You don’t have to use a tripod. The marionette is light. A stick tacked to a 2×2 nailed to a plywood base would work. Use coat hanger wire for the frame. Bend the wire ends into loops with long nose pliers. You MUST soak the cheese cloth in laundry detergent with brighteners (bluing) to make it glow under black light. I think all detergents have bluing to make whites brighter.

Ghost skeletonCheese cloth ghost head

Things I did different than the Phantasmechanics pdf. I drape one layer of cheese cloth over the head and face. It gives a darker look to the face area when glowing. I only glued the cloth to the hands. I used a double layer of cloth for the hair. It looks more like a shawl. They talk abut putting a hook through the head to suspend it. You don’t have to do that since you are supporting it from below. I didn’t paint anything. I put blue LED lights in the eyes, but I didn’t like them, so don’t use them. They were too bright and drew all attention to them. I think a ghost should be ethereal.

I measured my arms for the wire length. I am a guy, so they may be too long, but it works. The hands are made from thin cardboard, like that from a cereal box. I think mine was from the packaging of a shirt. Just trace your hands. I glued the cheese cloth on it with watered thinned white glue.Cheese cloth ghost handcheese cloth ghost hand 2

I used Trilene low vis green fishing line to suspend the arms. Tacking it to the wall. You can use black thread too.

I have had many compliments on this ghost and a few wouldn’t come to the door. Too scared! It is an excellent project and will wow them year after year.

See the video for the ghost hooked up to the flying crank mechanism.