Pre-Shave Oil

A while back I made a few batches of pre-shave oil.  It went over well and has served my skin nicely since.  It is time to make more!  After having used both numerous times I think the menthol was not a great choice.  It has too much of a cooling effect which is not what you want in a warm shave.  This time will be sandalwood only.

Step 1: Gather up some brown bottles, measuring and mixing supplies, and the oils.


Step 2: Mix 2 parts castor oil, 1 part olive oil, and a generous dash of your favorite essential oils for aroma.  The two oils have quite a different shade of yellow at first.  They get almost cloudy when mixed until they mix completely, then it is all clear again.


Step 3: Bottle with a tiny funnel and put a zazzy logo on them.  I wanted to use the phrase “For a shine that is hard to beat… and look directly into”, but it didn’t fit on the label.


January 2017 3D Prints

My newly resurrected frankenstein is doing reasonably well.  Months without a printer has left me a bit of a back log.  Here are some of the things I was able to create now that I could print again.

Plugfones Clip

I use plugfones liberate when mowing.  Basically rated sound isolation plus bluetooth tunes connected to my phone.  The body is pretty light, but tugs at the ear buds a tiny bit every time you turn your head.  I printed a clip that they slide into snugly, and that clips to my sweat band.  Now when I turn my head, the body moves with me and the ear buds don’t get slowly tugged out.  Thingiverse link to my design.

Contact Solution Bottle Pry

We both have contacts and often carry small travel size bottles of the contact lens solution around.  Instead of buying a new tiny bottle every time we run out I just pry the top off and refill from the big bottles.  They aren’t really designed for this, and the bottle tops are hard to get off.  Enter a custom wedge/pry tool that is perfect for getting under the lid.  Thingiverse



Battery Terminal Wrench

Marine deep cycle batteries use a 5/16″ stud and nut.  I have a battery system around in case of hurricanes, and thought a dedicated wrench to include in the kit would be handy.  It is small to fit inside the tight space, has a through hole so the post can pass through the wrench, and even comes with a small custom holding bracket for storage close by.  Thingiverse

Propane Tank Valve Wrench

I get all my propane tanks through a gas cylinder exchange we have in the area.  Sometimes the new tanks come with the valves screwed way too tight.  This wrench gives you a lot of extra surface to grip with.  Magnets in the back keep it stuck to the grill close by.  Thingiverse

DnD Cultist

Many of my friends play DnD, but live far enough away that it is hard for me to join regularly.  Add a busy schedule in and I never play with them.  But, one GM had the great idea of me coming in as a one time special character.  I got to be a twisted cultist in a Lovecraft style otherworldly dungeon crawl.

I found a model that was split in half from top to bottom.  This kept me from using support but resulted in a big seam down the length.  Lots of spraying with rustoleum sandable filler helped with all the printer layers, but didn’t fill the gap between the two halves completely.  Next time I will use something else on that.  Still, a bit of thick primer and paint made it turn out well.

Changing Of The Guard

It is time for a changing of the guard.  My dad bought me my first Dewalt drill when I was still in school.  It is has been almost 10 years and the drill served me well.  I replaced the motor over a year ago, but the gearbox and chuck were starting to give me issues.  I was ok with nursing it along until a bit of a deal came my way.  Lowes was getting rid of a brushless 20V hammer drill with batteries.  It was a display model and lacks accessories and a charger, but was still a complete steal!  My hammer drill wasn’t in bad shape, but the cost was less than I could buy the batteries alone for.  I had to do it!


After a few weeks of using the new drill I was hooked.  Fast, light and very powerful!  It is like when you make a clean spot, then realize you need to clean everything.  I had to replace my ailing drill/driver, but seeing the capability of the new tools meant I really wanted a new impact driver too.  Black Friday swept through and provided me with a reasonably opportunity for both.



I am in building DIY heaven!  Now that I have a complete set of new everything running on 20V, lets zip through the various plusses and new features.


The tools feel incredibly light and well balanced compared to the old ones.  This is surprising considering that with the exception of the hammer drill (it lost 10 ounces), they weigh within an ounce of the old ones.  Mostly that comes from the batteries.  They go from over 2 pounds each to 3/4 of a pound per.  Despite the weight loss they have a similar energy capacity to the old XRP batteries.  That should go further with the brushless motors.

More Plastic?

Without opening them up it is hard to say if they have traded a lot of metal for plastic.  The chuck for the drill/driver got more compact and went all metal which is good.  The hammer drill auxiliary handle went all plastic.  Not great, but I don’t use it often.  If they got smaller, but kept the same weight, then it would seem they are denser.  Maybe they have denser packaging or the motors are heavier.  Hard to say unless you took both sets apparent and compared, but they certainly don’t feel cheaper.

New Features

Aside from the brushless motors, everything got nice lighting.  The drill driver even has brightness options and a 20 minute light timer if desired.  Good for working in dark tight spots.  They all have heavy rubber pads on their sides.  When you lay them down they sit on these pads.  Good for when they get knocked over, and to prevent scratches and sliding.  Each one also has a built in belt hook clip.  They go well on belts or pants pockets.  Very handy when climbing ladders and such.  The chucks have a small hexed section for tightening/un-tightening with a wrench.  Last but not least, the impact driver now has 3 speed/torque settings.  You can gently install or remove screws from soft delicate structures, or really punch home a long bolt.

Enough gushing about my new toys, they still are going to spend a lot of their life sitting around.  As it turns out, they fit perfectly in the hanging rack where my old ones went.



Most of the old tools and batteries are going to friends and family.  The drill isn’t much use to anyone, and I wanted to keep it.  My dad gave it to me, and it was kind of my first real tool.  I hot glued some magnetic stripping across the back and used some other magnetic brackets to prop it up in my toolbox lid.  Kind of a trophy or memorial to a great tool.  I did a lot of work with that thing!  Maybe I will get around to mounting it on a real plaque someday.


New Business Card Holder

After a lot of sketching and scratching my head, I have come up with a new symbol for myself and the website.


It is a multi-quadrant circle.  Each quadrant symbolizes something about myself and the work I do.  The top left is for my beekeeping and running of the local Space Coast Beekeepers.  The bottom left is part of a gear and symbolizes my background in mechanical engineering, and the invention work I do.  The bottom right is my attempt at a log segment for all my woodworking adventures.  The top right is kind of a mixed bag.  It is a divider laying out a 3-4-5 triangle.  It involves mathematics and measurement, which are at the core of a lot of what I do professionally and in my hobbies.

A 3-4-5 triangle is relatively easy to make if you have anything like a divider to set as a starting unit.  The initial length is arbitrary, but once picked if you make segments of the prescribed lengths, you can form a right angle of any size.  I like working to the thousandth of an inch on my CNC mill, and with ratios and body part lengths in my woodworking.

My art skills are pretty poor, so I went with a vector graphic program what would provide cartoony results that look good small or large.  They also look good on a business card.


It has my symbol, basic contact information, and a small list of things I do.  The back has two of my favorite sayings that really describe how I operate.  It also has 3 lines to help aid in writing notes.  Business cards are super useful things to have on hand.  Beyond basic contact information you often need to give someone other information.  Websites, product info, funny youtube videos to watch, you know the stuff!  My field notes always have the last 10 pages ripped out to pass off information to people.  It would be nice if everyone carried a pen and paper with them.

Carrying the cards around every day is the obvious goal, but the corners get bent up in my wallet over time.  I want to turn the back cover of my field notes into a business card holder.  I started by wrapping up a small stack of cards in packing tape to prevent glue sticking.  Card stock got folded up into a kind of pouch, and all overlapping areas were trimmed.

I glued all the tabs down to the back my field notes with the cards inside to help keep the shape right.  Wax paper keeps the glue from bonding the last page down to the inner cover.  Stone coasters make handy clamps.


I cut a notch in the center of the holder so that fishing them out would be easier. The card stock and business cards make a small bulge that could interfere with writing on the last few pages.  Time will tell.



Header Explained

I am working on a logo for myself and the website.  I have it partially finished, but have had a bit of writers block.  Or graphic artist block?  I was never very good with art.  I decided to take a tack and work on a header instead.  I was thinking about incorporating this into my logo, but dropped the idea.  It is a way to create a right angle using only a straight edge and a compass.


  1. Start with a straight line and pick any point above the line
  2. Use a compass to draw a circle that goes through the line, exact diameter isn’t important
  3. Draw a line from one intersection point of the line/circle through the center of the circle
  4. Come down from that second line hitting the outside of the circle to the other intersection with the original line

BAM!  Very few tools and you have a perfect right triangle.

My work on the logo continues.  I want to take my time and get it right.  That, and I am abysmal at graphics software, so it is going to take me a while to even put what little I can imagine to digital paper.  Stay creative!

Montreal Vacation

For a fun family trip we decided to head up north to Canada and visit Montreal for a week.  We are both big fans of Formula 1 racing so we picked up tickets and soaked up the sights and sounds of a great city.  What a neat place!  There is a lot of history involved in the city, and they celebrate it with statues and fountains everywhere.

They also posses a lot of public art and structures.  They hosted an olympic games and a world’s fair.  It has left them with some neat places to visit.

The food is to die for.  We ate a lot of great things from fancy restaurants to public markets.  We couldn’t leave without a few helpings of french pastries and poutine.  Cheese curds rock!

We barely scratched the surface with their museums, but did manage to spend some time at one art museum.  They had a display from Pompeii.  It had a lot of artifacts that have been excavated from the buried roman city.  Most interesting to me was the tools.  They were under a lot of construction at the time, so squares and plumb bobs were everywhere.  They were quite skilled with bronze.  Nearly 2000 years old, but some of those tools look serviceable.

Last but not least was the race.  We watched some of the practice, qualifying, and the entire race.  Our seats were near the first set of turns, and we got a great view of the race start.


Montreal is a great town, and we can’t wait to return.


Easy Toolbox Labels

I constantly struggle with organization in my shop.  I have a lot of boxes with drawers, but always move and misplace things.  In aid of my shop woes I have found a better labeling scheme

You can buy sheets of whiteboard material that are magnetic backed.  9″x12″ sheets are less than 20 bucks  They are thin and easily cuttable with a paper cutter, scissors, or a straight edge and knife.


Small drawers got small labels big drawers got big ones.  They are easy to pickup, reposition, and when a drawer’s contents change, the label changes quickly too.  My only issue might be wiping them off too quickly with my fingers when grabbing the drawers.  A few weeks in the hot garage ought to cure the writing a bit.  Time will tell if this trick helps my organization problem.


Kukri Restoration

I have been watching a show recently called “Forged in Fire”.  It is a bladesmithing competition reality show that is very much worth watching.  Everyone in it is skilled and helpful and most of the knives and swords produced are works of art.  One episode in particular piqued my interest in the Kukri.  It is sort of a hacking weapon like a machete or short sword, but has a big belly on it for chopping.  It has been used by the Nepali solders (Gurkhas) for ages, and they dismembered enough British solders with them in the early 19th century that the fighters and their swords grew quite a reputation.

As it would happen a coworker turned me onto a site that bought a Nepali palace’s entire armory.  There was stuff stored in there from all different ages that never got used.  This included 19th century Kukris that were packed in grease and forgotten.  A good friend and I went in together to purchase two and restore them.

100+ years has left them pretty pitted in places, but over all in decent shape considering the age.  The one picture shows a greasy thumb print from someone handling them before they went into storage.

Our first job was to cut through a lot of the remaining grease and gunk.  WD40 and steel wool got through with a lot of elbow grease.


The staining was deep and didn’t come up with steel wool so I moved on to a brass wire wheel on my bench grinder.  It was slow work, but after a while you could see a lot of the pitting cleaned up and the staining faded.


We switched from the brass wheel to a buffing wheel with coarse emory polishing compound.  It helped the luster, but didn’t do much to the remaining staining.  Maybe a heavy sanding is what we needed to start with.  They aren’t polished to a mirror finish, but neither is the surface completely dull.  The letter on the spine looks great.

My blade had a decent chip taken out of the center of the belly.  I spent some time on the bench grinder trying to grind past it.  I got part of the way there, but didn’t want to dramatically change the shape of the blade.  I am not an expert in this.  Both went to my work sharp belt grinder to get a battle ready edge.


Now to test them.  You can’t just refinish a blade like this and not put it to good (bad?) use.  It is time to make some fruit suffer!  I picked up a watermelon and some coconuts just for this test.  Pictures don’t do it justice, so we shot some video.

Dread Knot

I posted about attending the Tampa woodworking show just after I got back.  What I didn’t talk about was some of the cool people I met.  Lots of fellow hobby woodworkers attend the show and you get to talking.  One super cool dude also happened to do a bit of blogging himself.

Darryl has a really clean and well organized shop on youtube.  Take a look if you want a garage setup that will make you drool!  He even has really well done stickers to hand out.  This badboy went on my bandsaw along with a few others.  It makes me want to step up my game and do more all-video posts and maybe even get artsy and do my own logo with sticker.