I’m coining a new word – and you can’t stop me! – a combo of fun and disaster – funsaster! It is for those cases where you do something, and turns out disastrously bad, yet was a lot of fun to do.

That fiberglass shield the Caboose and I were making? (item E) Well, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong: the gel coat on the hardboard form wasn’t thick enough (spots showed through) so we added a second coat – so far, so good. When we cut the fiberglass, it was really hard to get the sizes right because I’d already curved the board and attached support pieces, so we had to kind of wing it – the pre-cut pieces were not very close, making for a lot of hurry-up patching. We did not have enough epoxy. I may have added too much hardener to one of the batches. It got goopy too fast. We were trying to spread it and press down the glass while it got harder and harder to work with – and then we ran out. Tried to stick on the handle and strap for holding the shield – barely got the handle on before completely running out – it’s a hairy mess. Never got the strap on.

So we’re looking at this pathetic mess, wondering if we could salvage it, somehow. That evening, we removed it from the form – it kinda worked, which is to say it kinda didn’t – maybe 2/3rd of the shield came right off with a little coaxing, leaving a nice shiny red gel coat finish – but 1/3 did not, leaving either patches where the fiberglass came off the gel coat, or the hardboard did not.

Mangled-looking shield with only a handle, no strap, so it sorta waves round, and is scratchy where we ran out of epoxy and the fibers are exposed.


BUT! It’s a Funsaster! On the plus side, we didn’t cement ourselves or any tools, pets or wildlife to the patio, nor did we destroy any clothing we had on. I maybe ruined a pair of scissors, but even that’s only a maybe. Otherwise, we used disposable stuff and threw it out when done – easy-peasy. We had fun doing it, and learned a lot, mostly of the cautionary tale variety. Maybe next weekend, when I have 4 days off in a row, we’ll try it again.

Image result for this time for sure bullwinkle


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

13 thoughts on “Funsaster!”

  1. Man, was it a mess! I so often do projects where I learn a lot, yet never do another project where I can apply what I learned. So, this time, we’re doing a second run.

    BTW: I’m getting some insane ideas about the brick oven involving angle iron, construction-grade epoxy, threaded 1/2″ rod and a foot-long hammer drill bit. In brief moments of clarity, I think: don’t do it! It’s insane! You’ll ruin it! And then a little voice says – it’s not *that* crazy! It’s going to be epic, either way.

      1. Oh, yea. When designing the brick oven, I was torn over how big a lip to put in front – some have large areas, say a foot or more deep, hanging off the front; others have a brick’s width. After hemming and hawing, I went short – and now I regret it. Sooooo – attach a bit of angle iron to the concrete below the bricks at a height to support them? Too easy – how about drilling a few 1/2″ holes through through the angle iron, then drill three 8″ or so deep holes in the concrete to match, then dropping in some 24″ 1/2″ threaded rod, grab this 8″ deep chunk of old growth Douglas fir I’ve had lying around for years, *carefully* mark and drill three holes in the wood, then slide it on the threaded rods (which will need to be bent *exactly* right, somehow), bolt it on, saw off the excess rod, plane, sand, seal – – beautiful, right? Only about 20 things in there that could go horribly, horribly wrong. And – time estimate? 8 hours? 10? Probably being optimistic.

        The hammer bit is for the holes in the concrete, which cannot be drilled in level – they must be sloped downward to have any purchase, which means, somehow, I’ll need to bend them so that the board comes out level.

        I’m nuts.

      2. Yes, getting the holes in the wood to line up exactly with the angle of the rods — both vertical and horizontal — might be tough. But I suspect that if you get all three of them close enough, they will cancel each other out and turn out fine, as long as the holes in the brick are all at the same height. How thick is the wood though?

        Hopefully the brick doesn’t crack while bending the rods.

        One issue I foresee is that there will be a gap between the wood and the brick of a half-inch to an inch since the rods where they come out of the brick will be at an angle for a short space before leveling off, preventing them from going all the way into the wood. Possibly you could enlarge the holes on that edge of the shelf to allow it to go tight up against the brick, unless you wanted a gap anyway.

      3. Tried to paste in a picture, but can’t see how to do it in comments: Yes, will have to notch the plank where the bolts bend; will also attempt very slight notches in the refractory bricks, as drilling holes in them seems – unlikely. Notching them with an angle grinder should be no problem, and it’s where it will never show. The plank is 2″; the refractory bricks 2.5″; 2″ angle iron. The lip will end up about 11″ – 12″ wide.

        To bend the bolts, current plan is to go ahead and epoxy them in straight, then slid the angle iron on them and epoxy/concrete screw it down, then notch, fit and lay the bricks that will overhang, then construct a 2×4 frame that can sit on the ground, to the exact height of the rod where I need to bend them. Lay a steel bar across the top, then *gently* force the rods into shape – I can hammer some, if needed, just really really really don’t want to crack the concrete or bricks. THEN mark where the holes in the plank go, drill them out, eyeball the amount of notching that will be required, as you you point out, to make a snug fit with the bricks. Then *gently* tighten some nuts onto the rods until the plank is snug, leaving it a little high so I can plane/sand it down to level. Round, bevel or otherwise make pretty the results, sand & seal.

        In the immortal words of Shrek: Ya, like that’s gonna work! Suckcess is probably the best possible outcome.

  2. After reading your blog for a while, I think you have more funccesses than funsasters, but either way the fun is there!

    1. Thanks! We try. Sitting at a desk all day makes me crazy, so I go home and build stuff as a sanity preserver. After 50+ years of this (I started building stuff out of wood when I was 5) I can sort do some stuff well. I’ve never learned woodworking, per se, because I’m always winging it – no shop to park a planer, say, in. One of these days.

  3. Proposed: the opposite of “funsaster” is “suckcess”: when the project goes well but turns out to be horribly unpleasant to do.

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