Home Improvement Projects: Mid-stream Update

Had 3 things to do this long weekend:

Replace the toilet tank innards in two bathrooms – 1 down, one to go. This I will get done. Here is the epic jury-rig of the year entry I replaced from toilet 1:

Starting a couple months back, this shut-off gadget began to fail. First, the refill nozzle inexplicably began shooting water onto the lid, which then dripped to the floor. Solution: cut up the lid from a peanut butter jar and rubber-banded it in place to redirect the spray back down; 2. the float broke off the arm. Solution: using duct tape (camo pattern) and a plastic toy saw that happened to be the right size, taped that sucker right back on. It actually worked, more or less, for a couple weeks! But it’s in the trash now. 

Fiberglass shield, 2nd try – glass & epoxy phases done; need to clean up edges, finish sand & do fancy paint job to meet 13 yr old’s design spec:

Lots of rough work, edges we couldn’t get to stick down properly, but also lots better than the 1st try – nothing that can’t be made perfectly usable with a little work. 12 coats of wax may be overkill, but the darn thing came right off the mold. The Caboose is pleased, which is what matters;

Make some progress on the brick oven. Before I build the walls and barrel vault of the oven proper, I want to extend a lip or apron out maybe 8-10″. This is involving way, way too much planning, hardware and tools, not to mention time.

Here’s a picture of the materials and tools I’ve accumulated so far. I think I’ve got everything:


Tools are fun – got a nice set of titanium bits to put a few holes in the angle iron (got the set because getting the one 1/2″ bit I actually needed cost about $2 less than the set), a 12″ 1/2″ hammer drill bit and a couple nice files.

Other than that, I am so winging it – setting 4 24″ long 1/2″ threaded rods into the oven slab through the angle iron at about a 30 degree angle, epoxying and concrete screwing the angle iron on the front, attaching the expanded metal strip to both the slab and the angle iron upon which to place the mortar in the desperate hope that a crack won’t open up over time. Then I’ll build a gig out of 2x4s to hold the rods so that I can bend them parallel to the oven floor about 1″ lower, THEN drill 4 holes in my slab of Douglas fir, bolt it on, plane it flat, throw some finish on it (linseed?) and – I can see about 20 ways this could go bad, even apart from eating up hours of time.

So of course, while picking up an 8 oz can at the store, tweaked by back. Whatever odd reach/twist/bend combo that simple act involved unlocked a new pain level. Because this isn’t already way too much, now I’m trying to get by on will power and Tylenol.  Sheesh. Nothing structural, just some useful muscles on my left side that are sore and threaten to sort of lock up if I so much as think about moving funny.  It’ll be fine in a day or two.

Further updates, including details on the shield construction, as events warrant.


Author: Joseph Moore

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

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