Sesame Soy Slow Cooker Chicken

This delicious SSSCC recipe was brought to me by an ex from many moons ago.  I have made it a number of times over the years, and decided to christen my sweet new slow cooker with it.   The recipe is super simple and really only involves chicken, soy sauce, and sesame seeds.  (Full recipe at the bottom)  To my surprise I was very low on soy sauce.  I poured what I had on the chicken, and threw a little more water in the bottom of the pot to help with the steaming action.

After 8-10 hours on LOW you should have something like this guy ready to go!  I was shooting for 8, but this guy was a little chunky so I gave him another 30 after reading the thermometer.

DSC_0267The results were wonderful.  The soy flavor wasn’t as strong because I only had half of what was needed.  Still, the breast was juicy and tender, the legs were pulled apart easily, but the whole thing didn’t turn to a mush pile.  This is a great basic recipe and could be adapted to a long list of other sauces and flavors.

Take the basic chicken and foil, then add buffalo sauce, bbq sauce, liquid smoke, salsa, marinade sauce, various oil based salad dressings, a few strips of bacon and dry ranch seasoning, and probably 100 other variations.  The cooking method makes a juicy wonderful chicken, the seasoning method is only limited by your imagination!

A Note on Soy Sauce

There is a word of difference between kikkoman, and the good stuff.  I would recommend going to an asian market and asking for a good low sodium soy sauce.  I went and was given this.  It is worth the special trip.  The flavor is amazing!  Regular soy sauces taste like salt water to me now.


 Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 Plump happy chicken
  • 1 Cup of good low sodium soy sauce
  • 3-4 Balls of tin foil
  • Sesame seeds

Make 3-4 balls of aluminum foil in the bottom of the slow cooker.  These will hold the chicken up off the floor of the pot.  Place chicken on the foil balls, and dump the soy sauce all over the chicken.  Sprinkle a heavy dose of sesame seeds on top of the chicken, and toss the lid on and set to LOW.  8-10 hours later you should have a gorgeous delicious chicken ready for dinner.  Smaller ones can go for 8, bigger pluckers need 10.  No hard and fast rule, but always test with a thermometer.

Scoop or Spoon? – How to flour!

Baking isn’t something I do super often, but I do enjoy it.  My cooking style had always been more art than science.  “A pinch of this, a dash of that, pour until it feels right!”  That doesn’t works well for baking.  Baking is much more of a science.  It took me a while to figure this one out.  How much of a difference does it REALLY make?  I decided to find out by experimenting with flour in what I am calling the….


I am making peanut butter cookies for Thanksgiving (Plus PB chips and using homemade peanut butter!) and decided to cut the recipe in half and do half with scooped flour and half with spooned.  The scooped one involves scooping out a mound of flour with the measuring cup, then leveling it off with a knife.  This packs in more flour than the spoon method.  Spooning means you scoop flour with a spoon and shake it into the cup.  Level with a knife.  Seriously, how big of a difference could there be?

Quite a bit of a difference as it turns out.  The recipe called for 2-1/2 cups of flour.  I cut that to 1-1/4 cups.  They measure 6-5/8 oz for the scooped version, and 5-3/4 oz for the spooned one.  Assuming the spooned is exactly what you want, that is a 15% increase in flour by weight.  That doesn’t sound terrible, but maybe it is.

The only way to know for certain is to go through with the half batches.  I creamed all the sugars as one big batch and divided them in half by weight.  The baking soda, salt, and baking powder were measured, combined, weighed, and divided.  This is a lot of work and a pile of dirty dishes for cookie science!  Once combined I made sure both went into the fridge (1hr according to the recipe) next together and in the same container.  The spooned batch was lighter in both color and texture.

They came out of the fridge at the same time and shared space on the cookie sheets.  A 1″ cookie scoop regulated the size to make sure that didn’t vary between the batches.

Once cooled I tested one a bunch of each.  It isn’t as big of a difference as I thought it might be.  The spoon cookies were lighter and soft on the inside while having a crisp on the outside.  The scoop ones were heavier and chewier.   I guess I prefer the spoon, but sometimes a dense PB cookie is pretty awesome.  Maybe this makes a bigger difference in sugar or chocolate chip cookies.  This recipe has about half the flour as a chocolate chip recipe.  If this were mythbusters we would say plausible but not confirmed maybe?  Regardless, I got to eat cookies for science!!!

On a completely unrelated note, I think I have eaten too many cookies.

Inlay Issues (Part 2)

Inlay is going to turn into a saga If this keeps up!  I had previously tried doing my own alternative to inlace’s resin infill material.  It was kind of a disaster.  The dye I added had a very adverse effect on the two part epoxy and resin.  A few weeks later I looked at the casting dye and noticed that it had completely separated.  There are no instructions on the bottle to mix before use, so it isn’t 100% my fault.  I remember last time that I had to add a lot of the stuff to color the resin, and It still wasn’t very opaque.  That could have been my issue all along.

I created another test structure and went to work.  I don’t need to revisit inlace, I know it is good.  For the acrylic paint, I tried to slop it on really thick so when it shrinks the pockets will still be filled.  The two part and polyester resin were done with a minimum amount of dye added.  This time they looked proper dark.  The results were unfortunately bad.  The polyester resin didn’t adhere well, and the two part epoxy had kind of a rubbery feel to it.

Well acrylic it is then!  I went a little deep with the sanding and buzzed off part of the R, but other than that It looks good.  Without further thought I ran off to make the “Cube Sweet Cube” sings I wanted to make weeks ago.  The results were not issue free.

The acrylic paint shrinks considerably when it dries.  The shrinkage is difficult to predict and often includes bubbles.  I was trying to go thin on the pocket milling so I didn’t have to use as much paint.  In trying to plane everything flat I shaved the paint right off in sections.  The neat byproduct of that is some really cool looking shavings.

DSC_0213I have one last test up my sleeve.  The acrylic paint coats well, but does not build up consistently.  I will try taking a rounded bit and make deep pockets.  These will get a good but thin coating of paint.  I can shave or sand plenty off the top with out worrying about going too deep.  Assuming the surface finish of the paint is ok, this should be a good solution.  More results to follow!

Plane Cleanup Process

I have been doing a lot of ebay trolling recently to grow my hand tool collection.  Most things you buy off ebay, or that I find at tractor shows, comes in various states of bad.  Some have a little rust and patina, others are succumbing greatly to entropy.  I have renovated a decent pile at this point and am working out a pretty good process.  This post is dedicated to my method of old tool cleanup.  I have two candidates.  One is a nickel plated preston spokeshave that was in decent shape, but needs a little help.  The other is a No 3 plane that belonged to my great grandfather.  It was so rusted and pitted, that if it weren’t a family heirloom I might have considered it a lost cause initially.

Great Grandpa’s Plane

This rusty little guy is a Keen Kutter number 3 smoothing plane.  It has seen a rough life.  The top portion of the frog is broken off, there is substantial rust and pitting, and the blade has been replaced with a stanley one.  Also, there is some paint dribbled over the tool in places.

DSC_0182I have messed with a few different products for rust conversion and Evapo Rust is the real winner in my mind.  It does a good job when you leave things in over night, and it is not as dangerous as some of the other options.  The product is skin/eye safe, doesn’t smell bad, is reusable many times, and can be had for a reasonable price per gallon at auto parts stores.

DSC_0198Hope is restored to this tool after a bath in evapo rust.  It can’t cure the pitting, but it cut through thick rust and grime to reveal bare metal.  Next comes a lot of work with brass brushes.  I try to use a brass bristle wheel on my bench grinder as much as possible.  It cleans off any remaining gunk, but doesn’t harm the iron.  Plus, it brings back a nice luster.


Where the big bush couldn’t reach, smaller ones that go on a drill do the trick.  Most of the japanning had rusted from underneath.  I didn’t try to strip what was stuck down well, but most was shot.  WD40 and a scotchbrite pad will take care of the last little nooks and crannies to help even everything out.  With the rust stopped, and the metal cleaned it was time to bring the working parts back into action.  I started by filing the frog and bed.


Both were actually pretty flat and in good shape.  On the right you can see the slightly jagged top edge of the broke frog.  I will have to do any lateral adjustments manually.  The picture below shows some scarring on the iron from aggressive adjustment with a steel hammer.

With everything in place and tightened down I could start lapping the bottom.  Sand paper on a small granite block is my method of choice.  Pretty fast and makes for a good flat surface.  Start rough and go smoother.  Anything over 400 is probably over kill.


Over all the plane is starting to really look good.  The knob and handle both got a sanding and a coat of boiled linseed oil.  There is heavy pitting in places along the soul and sides.  This isn’t really ideal, but shouldn’t seriously hinder the plane.  Luckily many of the places that matter, like the frog, were in decent shape.  Lastly I sharpened the blade and took a few test cuts with excellent results.

 Preston Spokeshave

What a gorgeous example of turn of the century engineering.  It is highly functional and has gorgeous decorative elements.  There is some rust on it though, so into the drink we go!


Already the tool is looking brighter and happier with all the rust removed.


Next comes some work with a brass brush.  I hit the left half with my bench grinder’s brass and left the other as is from the bath for comparison.  What a great looking shine!


I finished polishing everything up, sharpened the blade, and put it all together.  I am not experienced with spokeshaves and this one is round bottomed making it extra difficult to use.  I will have to wait till I get a fun curvy project to really test this little one out.  Till then, spokeshave practice is in my near future.


 Process Summary

  1. Disassemble as much as you can and dunk in evapo rust over night.  If something doesn’t come apart easily, let it soak first.
  2. Dry everything really well and use brass brushes (power and hand) to remove crud and converted rust.
  3. WD-40 and a scotchbrite can help clean up tight or rough areas.
  4. Wooden handles should be sanded smooth and coated in boiled linseed oil.
  5. Sharpen and flatten the blade as usual.
  6. Lap the bottom with sandpaper to finer grits till even and shiny.
  7. Coat everything in a good protectant like boeshield and behold your diamond from the rough.

 Bonus Saw Set

I got an old stanley saw set for a few bucks from ebay.  There are some issues with the non-moving portion of the anvil, but other than that it was ok.  I did the standard, rust bath, scrub, brash brush polish, and boeshield job.  What a difference it made!

Tractor and Engine Tools

I posted last week about my haul from the fall tractor and engine show.  It was a saw, drill, side rabbet plane, scissors, rasp, chisel, and wooden molding plane.  All in decent but not great condition.  I went through and reconditioned all of them in the past week except the side rabbet plane.  It was in great shape and didn’t really need anything.



These wiss scissors were probably not that old, but had a little rust starting.  I just gave them a scuff with a scotch brite pad, then did a little edge work to get them back in good cutting condition.  I used Paul Seller’s method of sharpening.  It may not be different from everyone else’s method, but credit due, that is where I learned it.


 Molding Plane

This was another one that looked a little rough, but only really needed sharpening.  I re-flattened the iron, sharpened it up, and stuck it back in.  Depth setting is a little tricky, but I managed to get a nice looking round over on this piece of maple.  I might have to become a fan of wooden planes now!


 Mortise Chisel

I didn’t have any mortise chisels so this was a nice find for only a few bucks.  It had seen a lot of use, but would still work with some love.  I removed the handle and gave it a good sanding.  Boiled linseed oil is my finish of choice for tools.  It is cheap, easy to apply and does a decent job of soaking in and protecting wood.


I hit the iron with some brass brushing near the socket to clean the junk off.  The rest got flattening and a 35 degree edge for doing heavy mortise chopping.  I did a few test hits with it and was happy with the results.




Another cheap buy to help fill my collection.  This one is huge and aggressive compared to my other rasps.  I didn’t bother with trying to do anything to the surface, I just made a handle for it.  I bought some brass tubing a while back for just this purpose and put it to good use.  I turned the shoulder long expecting to trim off any excess when I pressed the brass down.  Once the brass was flush with the end I couldn’t get it down any further.  Oops, next time I will cut the shoulder to length.  I drilled out for the tang and pounded it home.  The handle is a little shorter than it should be for a rasp this big, but it beats the heck out of no handle.


Egg Beater Drill

This is a lovely Millers Falls drill.  I would label it a medium size, but these are not my area of expertise.  A little scrubbing for rust and oil for movement was most of what this guy needed.  Just for grins I decided to try and repaint the center hub.  I used a foam brush to apply primer and red paint to all the insides.




It is a great looking drill and should give me a lot of years of service.


Rip Saw

This was purchased mostly for practice.  I want to start sharpening saws, and am not willing to experiment on my expensive and still sharp lie-neilson back saws.  Big cheap panel saw to the rescue!

DSC_0169I started by pulling the handle off and scrubbing off as much of the rust and junk from the saw panel as I could.  Here is a close up of what I had to start with.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the logo is going to survive the cleaning in tact.


After cleaning (forgot a shot of that when I was finished) I moved on to sharpening.  I have never sharpened a saw before, so this was very new territory.  After watching some how-to vids and mustering up some courage I jumped in.  You can see a new metal shine starting on some of the right most teeth.  It is kind of hard to shoot.  If they look really oddly sized it is because of the set (teeth are bent left and right to cut a wider swath) in this camera angle.

DSC_0188I took a 2×4 and tried to rip it before sharpening and afterwards.  The before wandered a bit and was tough work.  The afterwards took about half the time and went straighter.  I had a lot of trouble sharpening in places because the saw was much taller than my vice.  It would rattle and vibrate as I sharpened.  I need to make a clamp fixture that goes up and supports just under the teeth.  I have seen plenty made in the past, I just need to get around to doing it.  Till then, this saw is in good working order.  The handle was in really good shape, so I didn’t touch it.


The Final Stache Wax

My great wax experiment has finally come to an end.  No, I didn’t shave, but I did settle on a recipe.  Lucky magic batch number 7.  It was the 7th iteration of my tests.  3 parts bees wax, 1 part cocoa butter, and 1 part cocoanut oil.  For long term use I pored the melted concoction into an empty deodorant container and lip balm tube.  The deodorant one will sit in the bathroom for daily use and the lip balm ones can be carried in my pocket or left in a drawer at work.

In finishing up the pour process I accidentally knocked over one of the larger containers.  It splashed all over the glass top oven, but nearly instantly solidified.  Once it cooled a bit I pulled the sheet off whole.  I could remelt and repour into the container, but why not just save for later.  I broke the sheet up and threw the pieces in the beeswax ziplock for next time.  Handy!

Update 10/28/2018:  Not sure if I lost that broken up piece or just used it already.  I made a batch starting with 50g of wax, then doing 16g each of the butter and oil.  It filled one deodorant dispenser with a tiny bit left over.  Scale accordingly.


Small Blade Sharpening Jig

I recently picked up a Stanley no 45 plane.  It has a lot of different blades associated with it.  They can make beads, coves, fancy edges, and all sorts of shapes.  The trick is that you have to sharpen each one by hand.  There really isn’t much in the way of jigs to do the sharpening for you.  That having been said, I did have an idea of how to help.  A clamp that holds the small blades firmly, and indicates the angle used for sharpening.  Finished product first!

DSC_0163There is a long half the drops down into my vice, and a mobile half the opens up and lets me position the blade to be sharpened.  I cut the top edges to 35 and 40 degrees.  They help provide a loose guide while sharpening.  It still comes down to your skill on sharpening, but it should keep me from getting too out of whack.

The build

I started with two pieces of oak and cut their ends to the proper angle.  In reality, I cut the wrong angles because I used the numbers on the miter saw.  Oops, I needed 90 degrees minus that number.  The correct angles show up in later photos.


Next I drilled an offset hole for a 1/4″-20 bolt and threaded handle.  My hope was that It would be enough to hold a single blade with out rotating too badly once clamped.


If at first you don’t succeed destroy all evidence you ever tried.  I guess by posting this I am not following that rule.  I grabbed a piece of scrap oak, glued it to the inside of the clamp opposite where the blade will be, and shaved it down to the blade thickness.  Low and behold the extra little part helps keep the clamp aligned and gripped firmly across the face of the blade.  I played with it a bit and am happy with the results.  Marking the angles will help me set the primary bevel and micro-bevel without confusion.  Boiled linseed oil should keep the wood protected.






Tractor and Engine Show – Fall 2014

There is a group in Florida called the Florida Flywheelers.  They are a crazy bunch of people that got together, bought a lot of land in the middle of nowhere Central Florida, and stuck a huge pile of old tractors, engines and other cool stuff on the property.  A few times a year they open it up for everyone to come see.  There is a village area with permanent structures that display the restored goods, and a large vendor area.  People bring all sorts of cool things to show off and sell.  Some is junk, but there are some diamonds in the rough.

First, to start off with a bang, there is the Snow Engine.  It was made by the Snow company and was used to pump natural gas originally.   I got a video of the thing running.  The flywheel is 12′ in diameter, and there is a double opposing piston running it.

Too cool!  it was loud and smelly and awesome!  There were also endless rows of small hit and miss engines.  They spin up a fly wheel with a single bang of the piston.  As the power is used and the flywheel spins down it sets off another ignition to bring it back up to speed.

In the village area there was a saw mill that would run from time to time.  They could take a whole log, align it, do any desired rotations and index for the next cut all with levers.  Now that is what I call serious woodworking!

I was on the lookout for old woodworking tools.  I had a long list, and picked up a number of things I was looking for.  Disston rip saw, wooden rounding plane, a pristine Stanley no99 side rabbet plane, mortise chisel, millers falls egg beater drill, and a pair of sturdy old scissors.  In all I spent about 50 bucks for everything.  On ebay it would have cost many hundreds.  I might have to make a big post about cleaning up all my spoils at once.


Beyond the big showey things and woodworking tools there were all kinds of little displays of tools, cars, tractors, engines, pumps, alpaca, knick knacks, and old rusty junk!  I am going back next time.  We blew past a ton of stuff that might be worth looking at, I missed all the different parades, and only watched one small tractor pull.


Family Brace Refurb

I used Monica’s grandfather’s brace to drill the holes in her yarn swift.  It worked well, and I felt it needed a cleanup.  I have been picking up a few things from ebay recently, and am falling into an old tool refurbishment tear.  There are probably more to come.  First, the before shot.


Very dirty looking, but still in working order.  I started by taking the chuck out and the head (mushroom shaped thing you push against) apart.  The ratchet portion is riveted together and the center spinner handle is not removable.  A few trips through the Krud Kutter (or as I call it now The Green Machine) got all the rust converted on the ratchet portion and the head area.  I didn’t want to dunk the center handle, so some naval jelly was brushed onto the rest of the tool.


With all the rust converted I tried doing a bit of scrubbing with a scotch brite pad.  It helped clean up the darker areas, but wasn’t getting as far as I wanted.  On a whim I decided to try the brass brush on my bench grinder.  WOW!  What a result.  It takes the grime and converted rust off and leaves a really clean looking surface.


Before I started cleaning I spent some time trying to identify the brace.  I couldnt see any markings on it, and went as far as posting it on reddit to beg for help.  Low and behold once I got the rust removed and cleaned off, the maker’s marks appeared.


The first part was worn off before I started in with the brass brush.  The text reads


I did some research and based on the model number and jaw type, it has to be newer than 1949.  We know that her grandfather built a house in the early 50s, so my guess is that it was purchased around then.  Another interesting history fact is that the handles appeared to have been painted red at some point, probably originally.  The underside of the head was left red, and some tinges of red were left on the center handle.  They either wore away or were removed and varnished sometime in the past.  I sanded off a majority of it and recoated them with boiled linseed oil.


With the wood preserved I re-greased the bearings at the head, oiled everything up and hit it with a protectant spray.  The final results are gorgeous.  It has some of the original scratches and a hint of the red is left over in the handle.  You wouldn’t ever mistake it for new, but it surely does look gorgeous.  Now that I am keeping it oiled and protected the tool should last another 60 years at least.

Moustache Wax (Part 2)

After my first round of moustache wax creation I had a lot of testing ahead of me.  Some batches were way too thin, and some had odd smells.  The table below is my conclusion from round 1.


For starters I am going to nix the shea butter, but keep the cocoa butter.  The shea smells kind of funny to me and makes the wax very soft.  The cocoa smells good, though it is hard to tell if has any other beneficial effects.  The vanilla did not mix well or add anything.  Even the best batch had too little hold in my opinion, so the next round is going to need more bees wax for stiffness.  Take number 4 and increase wax!

In addition to playing with the amount of bees wax I decided to try petroleum jelly as an alternative to the cocoanut oil.  Many of the recipes I read about used it. Here is the list of things I will try in round 2.


I used the same procedure as last time, measure out ingredients with a scale, then combine in a small double boiler using a glass measuring cup as the inner pot.  It makes pouring easier!  Everything went well, and my new pile of candidates look great!

DSC_0102 DSC_0103

I have lived with these for about two weeks now.  My main conclusion is that the petroleum jelly isn’t as good as cocoanut oil.  It doesn’t spread or hold as well.  Right now I am leaning heavily towards number 7.  8 might have slightly better hold, but is much harder to work in.  9 is way too hard.  I may try mixing 7 and 8 to see what an in-between looks like.  Til then I have ordered containers and more wax to make a big batch for the long haul.