Using 2×4 and 1×6 pine boards, I built stake sides for my Harbor Freight utility trailer.
I installed 5/16″ T nuts into the back side of the 2×4 stakes so they can be bolted into the stake pockets.
I cut a 15° bevel on the top of the stakes to help water drain away from the end grain. The 1×6 side boards are attached to the stakes with 1 5/8″ drywall screws.
This is another vintage measuring tool I purchased on eBay. It is a vintage 12″ Lufkin folding caliper rule.
The weather is warming and grilling season begins.
When grilling with skewers, always use them in pairs. This will prevent the ingredients from rotating on the skewer when turning them over on the grill.
The vegetables were sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and fresh ground pepper. I was using natural hardwood lump charcoal. Directly over the coals, 7 minutes per side, and then slide them to edges of the grill.
The shrimp were brushed with garlic butter and cooked directly over the coals, 2 1/2 minutes per side.
Add some rice and an apricot Hefeweizen; dinner is served.
We have decided to start a vegetable garden this year and will be building some raised beds. Compost will be used as a natural fertilizer. A conventional pile has to be turned periodically with a pitch fork and can take months to produce usable compost. I purchased a YIMBY dual chamber composter from the Home Depot for $99. The barrel is turned every few days and is warmed by the sun. Usable compost can be had in as little as two to three weeks. This composter was easy to assemble and holds 5 cubic feet of material, about the size of a 30 gallon barrel. It’s a little small, but suitable for a small garden.
There are two chambers inside. One side is filled and the composting process begins. The second side is used for new material. This allows you to stagger batches so that usable compost is almost always available.
A mixture of green and brown materials should be added to a composter. Green materials include grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and green plant trimmings. Brown materials consist of dried leaves, grass, straw, sawdust, and shredded newspapers. The ratio should be about 60:40, green to brown. Water should be added to keep the mixture moist, about like a damp sponge. Do not add meat scraps, bones, seeding weeds, or pet waste to the compost.
Harbor Freight trailer kits are intended to be bolted together. When I first assembled my trailer years ago, I welded the top joints to avoid having a bolt head sticking up. I sprayed over the weld joints with cheap Wal-Mart spray paint. After a couple of years, the Harbor Freight factory paint was badly deteriorated. The Wal-Mart spray paint has held up very well.
My trailer paint is in poor shape and everything is rusted. I would have been better off painting the whole trailer with cheap spray paint when it was new.
I disassembled the trailer and fully welded the frame together. Last fall I added “weld on” stake side pockets. Using a knotted cup brush in an angle grinder, I scrubbed the rust off the places I could reach. A small hand wire brush was used to knock off the heavy rust and loose paint in the tighter spots. I sprayed the trailer down with Klean Strip phosphoric plus. This is a phosphoric acid solution that converts the remaining rust into ferric phosphate. Ferric phosphate is a black neutralized rust that will hopefully prevent further rusting. I painted the trailer with Krylon spray paint.
I welded 1″ x 3/16″ strap to the tops of the center frame rails. I drilled and tapped holes for bolts that will hold the deck down.
I re-installed strap loops at the four corners.
A Harbor Freight LED light kit was on sale for $39.99. These were a good buy, made even better with a 20% off coupon. I didn’t use the wire nuts and line taps included in the kit. Instead, I made proper splices and insulated with adhesive lined heat shrink tubing.
A dab of hot glue keeps the wiring harness from shifting in the metal retaining clips.
Ever hit a bump and have a drag chain hook come loose? The drag chain ends up dragging on the ground until you can pull over and hook it up again. I removed the hooks and replaced them with quick links.
I used 1″ x 6″ pine boards for the deck. I also gave them a couple of coats of Thompson’s water seal.
Placing several wasp traps around the yard can significantly reduce the population. Get them out in early spring; some queens may be captured too. Carefully read the package when choosing traps. Some traps are only designed for yellow jackets, while others attract yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets.
For respiratory protection, I am using a 3M 6000 series respirator. My respirator is a 6200 which is a medium size. A 6100 small and a 6300 large are also available. To be effective, you must be clean shaven and the respirator must fit properly. Because it is more difficult to breathe while wearing a respirator, ask your doctor about your physical condition before using.
There are a variety of cartridges available, depending on the hazard that will be encountered. My respirator is fitted with a pair of 2097 P100 particulate filters with nuisance organic vapor relief. These cartridges are designed for use with particulates and limited levels of paint and other chemical fumes. Also shown in the picture is a pair of 60923 organic vapor and acid gas cartridges. These cartridges are used with higher concentrations of paint, chemicals, and acid gas fumes. Another common cartridge is the 2091 P100 particulate filter. These cartridges are used for particulates.
The lifespan of the cartridges depends on the time and concentration of contaminates they are exposed to.
I purchased a book off of eBay called the ABC’s of Hand Tools. It is from General Motors and dates to 1945. The book is illustrated with a Walt Disney character called “Primitive Pete”. Except for page yellowing from age, my copy is in perfect condition and looks like it has never even been read.
There are 47 pages of great information about proper tool use. There are also lots of examples of various tool abuses. It’s a treasured addition to any tool fanatic’s collection.
A free electronic version of this book can be downloaded from the GM Heritage Center…
ABCs of Hand Tools at the GM Heritage Center
If you are not confident in your abilities, have a professional shop do your brake work. Brake failure can cause a serious accident. Review the specific procedures in the service manual for your vehicle. This service should always begin with a careful inspection. Take a test drive and check for noise, pedal pulsation, or a pull to one side. Using a six point socket, check that the bleeder valve can be loosened. The six point socket is less likely to strip the bleeder. Measure the thickness of the rotor and compare against the service manual specification. A rotor that is too thin will need to be replaced.
This rotor has excessive scoring. If pulsation is found on the test drive, the rotor probably varies in thickness around its circumference. This variation forces the caliper piston to move in and out against your foot pressure as the thick and thin spots rotate between the brake pads. Rotors can be turned on a lathe to remove scoring and thickness variation, but I prefer to replace them. In most cases, a new rotor isn’t much more than the labor cost for machining. Rotors should always be machined or replaced in pairs to prevent a brake pull condition.
Do not allow the caliper to hang from the brake hose. I am supporting this caliper with a jack stand, but it can also be hung with a piece of wire. Inspect the brake hose for any cracking. I have opened the bleeder valve and connected a hose and catch bottle. I am using a caliper piston compressor to push the pistons back into the caliper to make room for the new brake pads. The compressor is pushing against the old brake pad. This is a dual piston caliper, so I keep the tool as close to center as possible and switch frequently between the two sides. With the bleeder valve open, most of the displaced brake fluid passes through the hose and into the catch bottle. This prevents any contamination that might be in the caliper from being forced back into the master cylinder or anti-lock brake module. The pistons should move easily. A sticky caliper can cause a brake pull or rapid wear of the new pads. Like rotors, calipers should always be replaced in pairs.
The rotor and hub mating surfaces must be cleaned of rust, dirt, and corrosion. Any debris can cause the rotor to tip slightly and wobble as it rotates. This wobble will cause uneven wear as the rotor rubs between the brake pads. Eventually, rotor thickness variation and brake pulsation will develop. A warped rotor will also cause uneven wear resulting in thickness variation. The most common cause of a warped rotor is uneven lug nut torque. Clean the threads of the wheel studs with a wire brush or chase them with a die. I like to put a light film of anti-seize on the wheel studs and always use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts.
New rotors are often coated with a corrosion preventative to protect them during shipping. Remove this film with brake cleaner. I installed the new rotors and used two lug nuts to hold them in place. Next I cleaned and installed the caliper mounts. Put a light film of brake and caliper grease on the sliding surfaces of the mounts. I use CRC synthetic brake and caliper grease. Check the pads carefully against the service manual. There is usually a difference between inner and outer pads. Sometimes there may even be a difference between the right and left side. The metal wear indicator tab on the pad might need to go in a specific location. Clean the caliper pins and lube them with brake and caliper grease. I use a torque wrench to tighten the caliper mounting bolts, caliper pins, and any other brake hardware. Test drive the vehicle and make several gentle stops to break in the new pads. Allow time for the brakes too cool before each stop. Use the brakes gently for the first few days to break them in properly.
To mix a small batch of epoxy, put down some masking tape on the work surface. After the epoxy hardens, peel up the tape and toss it in the trash.