Deebot, or Jesus?

The first time I woke up last night I realized that our electricity was out due to the lack of fan noise and pitch black darkness. The second time I woke up last night I was fairly certain that the rapture was happening.  I was awakened by a loud commotion in the hallway outside of our bedroom that made absolutely no sense to a half-dozed me so I assumed the obvious, Jesus had returned for us.  Kind of scared, and very disoriented, I did what any man would do, I sent my wife to investigate as I speed-repented to ensure I would not be left behind.  Just as I was about to begin the confessions of my teenage years my wife came back into the room with some less than divine news.  Although there was indeed a saver of lives in the hall, it was not our heavenly father, it was Deebot.

DSCF6352

Apparently when the electricity comes back on it triggers Deebot to do its thing, who knew?  This little vacuum is actually pretty quiet and could easily go undetected running at night.  The only reason it was so loud in our hallway was due to my remodeling project that has many uneven thresholds between rooms that must be jumped by this bad boy.  My wife got this vacuum for Christmas and has put some miles on it.  We have  hardwood floors throughout our house and they get abused by dirt, dust, and three babies.  I am very surprised at how effective this vacuum is at reducing dirt, dust, and cheerios on a daily basis.  It is not the most expensive one out there, but I would highly recommend it.  Though definitely not Jesus, my wife swears this vacuum is heavenly, and even though I am kind of disappointed that the roll was not called up yonder, I am pretty happy that I do not have to sweep today.

The link below will provide you with pricing, information, and over 3500 reviews on the Deebot vacuum.

Deebot Vacuum

If you found this post helpful, informative, or entertaining please like, comment, share, and follow my blog, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

 

Baptism by Fire: Professional Advice From an Amateur

DSCF6120

As a middle school coach and teacher I like to evaluate the knowledge and ability of students before, during, and after a lesson in order to fully understand where they were, how they progress, and how far they come in the learning process.  I will use volleyball to explain what I mean.  If we are beginning a volleyball unit in class I will give students just enough information to play the game in a fashion that resembles the actual game being taught and let them go at it.  We will do this for a few days before we slow down drastically to discuss proper mechanics, form, technique, terms, and strategy.  We will play the game very slowly for a week or more as I teach fundamentals and make corrections where needed.  When I feel that the kids are ready to resume full on competitive volleyball we will do so.  I find that allowing the kids to play before getting too technical helps them to be more receptive and understanding of my critiques.  This strategy has worked so well with my students that I almost always employ it in any new skill or task that I attempt to learn or further my knowledge in.

When I decided that I wanted to try my hand at spoon carving I watched a few videos on the internet and saw people making awesome utensils using tools that I was thoroughly unfamiliar with.  I was a little discouraged afterwards because I not only lacked what the experts deemed “necessary”, but was totally inexperienced in the craft as well.  As I priced the “must have” tools that I saw being used online and realized that I was probably just smart enough to make a spoon my way and I would attempt to do so before I spent any money on the hobby.  I often get hung up spending too much time and effort on researching what I need and want and lose opportunities to just do and learn through experience.  I regret it every time.

DSCF6251

Above is one of the first spoons that I created.  I used only a chisel, hammer, pocket knife, and sander to make it.  I did not use a stencil, nor did I draw on the wood that I used in order to get a basic shape.  It is made from a piece of pecan that I found floating in the bayou behind my shop.  I know that it is fairly rough, but it is one of my favorite spoons that I have made because it is so oddly shaped, unique, and made from such a pretty piece of wood.  Below is the chisel that I used to make the spoon pictured above.

DSCF5845

There are people in the woodworking community that act as if using “incorrect” or even power tools to complete a project are the project equivalent to committing a felony but I often find that making what you have work can sometimes be even more rewarding.  I now use many of the “necessary” tools when making spoons these days and the correct tools for the job do streamline the process quite a bit.  Some of them such as the draw knife, hook knives, gouges, and hatchet can be seen in the first picture in this post.  I will elaborate on and demonstrate these tools in depth in a later article.

The goal of this post is definitely to encourage people to try their hand at a very fun, simple, and rewarding hobby like spoon carving, but the moral is that no matter what hobby or project you would like to try, do not allow yourself to get caught up in researching tools, techniques, and what to and not to do.  Sometimes it may be more beneficial and even enjoyable to just get creative and accomplish a project with the knowledge and equipment you already have instead of dwelling on what you don’t.  Worst case scenario you only learn what will not work, lose a little time, and end up with a piece of crap result.  I have been there in the past and will surely be there again someday.  I have fortunately found a sector of the population that loves my spoons whether they come out flawless or like nothing more than sanded fire wood, so every one I finish feels like success to me.

DSCF6263

Thanks for checking out my site, below are links to a few carving tools that I have and are a lot more affordable than many of the big brands with similar quality.  If you found this article informative or entertaining please like, comment, and subscribe.  Thank you!

Husqvarna Axe

Wood Gouge Set

Spoon Carving Knife

WEN-Win Situation

DSCF6103

WEN 10″ Bandsaw

Like many others that I know I donate a decent amount of my annual income to Amazon.  As a school teacher, my entire annual income will not impress anyone and I simply cannot afford to buy big name tools very often.  With that being said, many projects that I routinely enjoy are made so much easier by tools that are often expensive and seemingly out of my budget.  I have, in the past, bought cheaper tools with hopes of them suiting my non-professional needs only to end up selling them for scrap after a few uses due to burned up motors or electrical issues.  Fortunately I stumbled upon WEN tools a few years ago and have been a believer since.

 

The WEN brand is carried by some of the larger home improvement stores in the U.S. and this company’s tools are available for purchase online via several other big box stores.  There products are widely available and easily purchased on Amazon, which is the route I take to buy them.  I am not claiming that WEN products are the greatest tools on the market, but I have had much success with them and find myself looking to the WEN brand anytime I am on the market for a new tool.  Although WEN may not be the brand that comes to mind when discussing top of the line tools, they are very affordable and reliable comparably.  Without the quality and price point of WEN tools, there are many projects that I would have on the back-burner due to the cost of the tools needed to complete them.  I have used all of my WEN tools heavily and have yet to experience a problem with any of them.  In fact, this brand consistently receives four star and above reviews by the customers that have purchased and used them.

 

The bottom line is this, WEN tools have allowed me to get into many wood and metal working hobbies much quicker than I would be able to if they were not available.  One day I may be able to afford and purchase the big brand name tools, but for now I am very appreciative of the quality and affordability that this brand has consistently offered me.  I would like to close by saying that I have not been compensated in any way, shape, or form by WEN tools for this review, I just appreciate a quality, consistent product at an affordable price.  I am a member of the Amazon Associate program however, and any links that you click to Amazon on my site aid in the growth and development of tool-school.com.

 

Below are links to several WEN tools that I own and use weekly, as well as information on pricing and customer reviews.

WEN Belt and Disc Sander

WEN Spindle Sander

WEN Handheld Electric Planer

If you found this article informative, entertaining, or helpful please let me know with a like, comment, and please follow.  If you currently own or ultimately purchase a WEN tool in the future please let me know what you think of it.  Thank you for reading.

 

Help me, I’m a realist.

DSCF6194

Merriam-Webster’s website defines the word realist as “a person who recognizes what is real or possible in a particular situation : one who accepts and deals with things as they really are”.  I am by definition, a realist.  I wear this label with pride as it has served me well over the years in decision making and making sense of difficult or seemingly unexplainable situations.  There are only two instances I can recall in my life in which my realist mentality has failed to yield a reasonable solution to a posed question or odd occurrence and today I am asking any and everyone for help with the second, and very recent, mystery.

On December 24, 2017 my family and I loaded up into my vehicle and headed to my mom’s house to celebrate Christmas and exchange gifts as we do every Christmas Eve.  The night was going great, the food was incredible and it is rare that I get to spend good quality time with my mom, sister, wife and kids together in one place.  Just when I thought the night could not be any more enjoyable, it came to me that we had not even participated in what many people consider to be the highlight of the Christmas season, gift exchange.  Having to unwrap new socks or ugly sweaters could not even keep this night from going down as one of the best Christmas Eve gatherings ever!  Then just as we all reached an emotional high as my girls unwrapped their last gifts, it happened.  Unexplainable question number two happened.

DSCF6185

As the kids screamed, laughed, and played with their new toys my sister walked over and handed me a huge, awkward shaped gift that was familiar in shape and name, but clearly something much more.  For probably fifteen seconds the only thing that I focused on was the fact that “Yeti” was written in big bold letters on the front.  As I snapped out of my trance I realized that the familiar shape I was overlooking was that of a bucket.  It was awesome!  It had a top!  It was a Yeti cooler in the shape of a bucket!  Although I do not own an ice chest or cooler and rarely, if ever, have a need for one, I was super impressed that my sister would spend so much money on me for Christmas.  Just as I was starting to enjoy the fact that I was a proud new owner of a bucket shaped Yeti cooler I  noticed all of the writing and suggestions on, around, and in the bucket cooler and guess what, it was not a cooler (the lack of check mark in the box besides the words “A COOLER” tipped me off along with the $40 price sticker).  Yeti Bucket

DSCF6170

Upon realizing that my new bucket cooler was not a cooler I did what I believe to be natural for anyone to do in my situation, I began to search and wonder what it actually was.  At this point all I knew was that Yeti would not make a simple bucket, and it was not a cooler.  The obvious route to a definitive answer was to follow the numerous ads, claims, and suggestions pasted right to the “not a cooler” itself.  Though I have yet to pin point the elusive definitive answer, I have used the factory stickers on the contraption to list my best educated guesses as to what exactly it is, and what exactly it is not.

-It is a transforming multi-tool.

DSCF6178
I guess it is one or all of these things.

-It is a tough, outdoor cereal bowl.

DSCF6170

-It is a bilingual child murderer.

dscf6180.jpg

DSCF6186

-It is not a soccer ball.

DSCF6178
Not for kicking.

 

Kidding aside, it is crazy to me that people get so caught up in a brand that they will shell out $40 for a bucket.  That being said, it is the best bucket that I have ever seen and I am glad that I received this gift because I could not see me spending over $5 in todays money for a bucket in my life.  The moral of this story is that the Yeti company apparently has a brilliant marketing department that could sell snow balls to eskimos and a $5 tool for $40 because it bears the company’s name.  I hope to one day possess just a fraction of the marketability for this site and any other business venture that I pursue.

For pricing and reviews of the Yeti Loadout Bucket click the Yeti Bucket link above.

Thank you for reading!  Please like, comment, and follow my site if you have enjoyed this article or any other on tool-school.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why All Married Women Need Cosmetic Products.

DSC_0080

I am not one for controversy or political incorrectness, nor do I hold any stock in cosmetic companies or products, but I am a firm supporter of women keeping a well stocked make-up kit on hand.  With that being said, I am positive that all married women are at the peak of their beauty when they appear as God made them, without an ounce of cosmetic alteration or application.  So” why the cosmetic industry love?” you ask.  Truth be told, I could not care any less whether a lady is born with it or whether it’s Maybelline, all I know is that my wife’s (unneeded) cosmetic arsenal has come in handy quite a few times when I lacked the necessary tools and equipment for various projects.  Despite the certain trouble that I will be in when my wife finds out where has eye-liner has been, below are twelve cosmetic products that I have resorted to over the years when I was in a tight spot.

  1. Hair Dryer

DSCF6128

Hair dryers work well in the removal of glues and adhesives on a variety of surfaces.  The most common way that I have used this in adhesive removal is to apply heat to bumper stickers and car accessories to somewhat liquefy the glue, making removal of the sticker much easier.  I also confiscated my wife’s spare hair dryer a few years ago to use as a blower for my homemade metal forge.

2. Make Up Brush

I have found make up brushes to be ideal for cleaning tools and electronics.  Use them to clean your computer’s keyboard and other delicate electronics.  From time to time I have to disassemble my power tools (specifically angle grinders) and clean away dirt and metal shavings from their motor and wiring.  These brushes are soft enough that they will not damage any of the sensitive parts of the tool, but stiff enough to remove the dirt and metal shavings.

3. Eye-liner

DSCF6156

I have used eye-liner in the past to layout cuts on metal surfaces when I did not have a metal crayon.  It is not ideal due to the fact that it runs out quickly when marking lines, but it does shows up well on metal surfaces.

4. Petroleum Jelly

DSCF6167

This one is pretty versatile.  In a pinch I have used Vaseline as drilling lubricant while drilling holes into brick and metal.  It can also be used to lubricate drawer tracks to keep them from sticking and silence squeaky hinges.  Vaseline can be applied to tools to aid in corrosion prevention.

5. Mascara Wand

Although most of my cosmetic product-capades have been a product of laziness (not wanting to go out to buy supplies), this use way discovered out of legit necessity.  I once went to a friend’s camp with him and his wife to cut grass and do some general maintenance to prepare it for summer.  We were probably twenty-five minutes from the nearest town or store and could not get his push mower to start.  Figuring that the carburetor was dirty the three of us began to go through our things to find something that we could clean it with.  After describing the implement needed to clean the carburetor to my buddy and his wife in order to get the mower running she jokingly/brilliantly opened her purse, pulled her mascara wand from her mascara, and said “you mean something like this?”  The answer was “YES!” So we cleaned the mascara off of the wand, cleaned the carburetor, and mowed the grass without having to leave.

6. Nail Polish

DSCF6132

Nail Polish is pretty versatile as well.  In the past I have used this stuff for a multitude of things.  It can be used to color code tools (like standard and metric sockets and wrenches) and also to leave reference marks on pretty much any surface.  The last time I changed a u-joint on my truck’s drive shaft I used bright nail polish to mark down the shaft in order to re-install it with the correct alignment and orientation.  It can also be used as an alternative to Loctite to keep nuts and bolts in place.

7. Foundation

Believe it or not I have used foundation to run a chalk line.  Like an idiot I once bought a chalk box for a project thinking that it already had chalk in it.  I was wrong.  I searched the house for baby powder with no luck but I did come across some foundation in the process.  I crushed the foundation up over a sheet of paper and poured it in the box and voila!  I am only sharing this one because it worked so well, but I am praying that my wife overlooks number seven.

8. Nail Polish Remover

DSCF6134

Nail polish remover can be used to dissolve adhesives making them easier to remove from a variety of surfaces such as plastic car bumpers, wood, and metal.  Nail polish remover contains acetone which is said to be a disinfectant, so it can also be used to sanitize the blades of razors and knives.

9. Lip Balm

DSCF6140

Many lip balms (such as this one) contain bee’s wax and work well as lubricants for drawer slides, hinges, and cabinets.  You can also coat the tables on tools like band saws, table saws, sanders, and bench grinders to prevent corrosion and help work pieces glide across the tables with less resistance.

10. Clear Nail Polish/Hardener

DSCF6133

This is the cosmetic product that I have used the most as an alternative to Loctite.  The primary reason is that it works well as a means of keeping nuts and bolts in place.  For items that see heavy and/or frequent use and have a tendency to loosen, like cabinet and drawer pulls, simply tighten the pull and dab on some of this stuff on and around the area where the nut and bolt meet.  This will solidify and secure the nut in place on the bolt, but still allow you to remove the nut easily with a wrench.  It can also be used on chipped wood furniture to transparently fill in voids so that nothing snags or rips on it.

11.  Bobbing/Bobby Pin

DSCF6163

Although these things can be used for a variety of things, they made the list as a tie clip.  When I was a classroom teacher males were required to wear ties and I did not own a clip.  To avoid staining a floppy tie at lunch or looking too sloppy I would often get a bobby pin from a female student in class and use it as my tie clip.  It worked very well and is pretty discreet.

12.  Nail File

DSCF6154

In the past I have used nail files to do some light sanding in tight spaces or when I simply did not have any sandpaper at my disposal.  They can also be used to sharpen or clean knives and tools in a pinch.

I can honestly say that I do not know if my intention for this article is information or entertainment, but I do know that it is the official confession for my sins against my wife’s caboodle.  If you found this post useful or entertaining please like, comment, and follow my site tool-school.com.  Thank you!

 

When Pigs Fly….

flying pig 1flying pig 5

 

At some point in my life my mom fell in love with, and began to collect, flying pigs.  My entire life she has been ultra creative, crafty and quite handy.  As a serial diy’er she also has a great appreciation for the creativity and craftiness of others.  I do not know if I got this trait from her genetically or if it was a product of environmental learning, but I do know exactly who my passion to make, build, craft, and create came from.  The greatest benefit of sharing this quality with my mom is that it often affords me the opportunity to have a lot of fun creating, opposed to buying gifts for her come birthday and Christmas time.  Some years back I began to learn a little welding and with my mom’s birthday a few months away I saw a good opportunity to put my developing skills to use.  I made this flying pig for her out of some old metal that I had around my shop and had a lot of fun doing it.  It is not perfect, but I did not want it to be.  I wanted it to look hand-made and somewhat crude and it does indeed.  My mom loved this gift and has it proudly displayed in the foyer of her house as shown in the picture above.  With a little creative thinking, time, and effort anyone can make gift giving more enjoyable for not only the recipient, but themselves as well.  Below are a few more pictures of the porky present.

flying pig 3

flying pig 2

flying pig 4

 

I will have a post coming soon to describe the materials and tools that I used to construct this flying pig.  If you enjoyed this post I would greatly appreciate it if you would like, comment and subscribe to my site.  Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

Subfloor Stress Saving Tools.

In my previous post I talked about my summer adventure ripping out and replacing the subflooring in my house.  In this post I will list and briefly discuss ten tools that I feel are absolute necessities to accomplish any subflooring repair or replacement job on the planet.    Though some tools on the list are probably more useful than others on the list, they are not listed in any particular order of importance.  This list is primarily discussing the tools that were most important in the removal of old subflooring, however I did use/need each one of these tools in the installation of the new subflooring as well.  Each tool listed in this post can be bought or researched by following the link provided below each picture.

#1 – The oscillating multi-tool

DSCF5833

Purchase Here

I did not own this tool when I started the job, but I do not think that I could have done/finished the job without it.  Oscillating multi-tools have many different functions and are compatible with many different attachments from sanding to cutting wood and metals.  These tools allow you to cut subflooring flush with walls and thresholds.  Demolition blades that cut both wood and metal allow you to move nail infested boards with relative ease.  This is the exact tool that I used for my project and although it was one of the cheapest oscillating multi-tools that I could find, it was worth its weight in gold.

 

#2 – Reciprocating Saw

DSCF5835

Purchase Here

Reciprocating saws perform similarly to oscillating multi-tools with the exception of having considerably more power and not being able to cut flush with walls or thresholds due to the blade not being offset like that of the multi-tool.  Like the multi-tool, demolition blades made for cutting through wood and metal can be purchased for this tool which make cutting through nailed and screwed lumber a much easier task.  When cutting along walls and thresholds I would typically cut as close as I could to the threshold with the more powerful, quicker cutting reciprocating saw and then come back with the multi-tool for a flush, more precise result.

 

#3 – Circular Saw

DSCF5839

Purchase Here

A circular saw is the way to go to remove subflooring when working in an open area away from walls, thresholds, and other tight areas.  They cut faster than a reciprocating saw and more accurately than a multi-tool.  Typically circular saws have guide plates that adjust for different depths of cut.  This is a very handy feature when you know the thickness of your subflooring.  For example, if you know that your subfloor is 3/4″ thick, you can set the depth of cut on your circular saw to 3/4″ and cut our a lot of material quickly without having to waste time being cautious not to cut through any of your floor joists.

 

#4 – Pry Bars

DSCF5836

Purchase Here

When both removing and replacing subflooring it is often required to remove any baseboards and floor trim in the area in order to cut the old subflooring flush with the wall.  You will likely need more than one pry bar in order to do this without ruining your trim and baseboards.  Pry bars are also needed to pry up old subflooring, move new subflooring into place, and removing protruding nails that will not allow new subflooring to lay flush.

 

#5 – Tape MeasureDSCF5843

Purchase Here

I like to think that this one is pretty obvious, so I will not insult anyone’s intelligence with an explanation.

 

#6 – Hammers/Maul

DSCF5837

Purchase Here

In some areas of my house the subfloor was so rotted that I just knocked it off with a hammer.  Hammers also come into play in positioning new subflooring into place, removing nails, and believe it or not hammering nails in.

 

#7 – Chisel

DSCF5845

Purchase Here

This chisel came in very handy when working in tight corners and places where the subfloor terminated under a wall where I could not get to it with the reciprocating saw or the multi-tool.  When that was the case I would just cut flush with the wall then use a hammer and chisel to remove the remainder of the board that lay between the wall and the floor joists.

 

#8 – Impact Driver

DSCF5842

Purchase Here

Impact drivers are great because they eliminate the need for predrilling a pilot hole before you screw into wood in most situations, which speeds up the building process greatly.  For subfloor removal purposes any type of drill (not specifically an impact drill/driver) will likely be needed in order to remove wood that is screwed to the floor joists.  Prying screws up with a pry bar can damage and split the joists, compromising their integrity.  I would specifically recommend an impact drill/driver for the installation of subflooring due to the fact that it will save you tons of time on drilling pilot holes and will not split your wood without them.

 

#9 – Headlight

DSCF5846

Purchase Here

This may seem a little off of the wall, but my house is not the best lit place in the world and although I did use a work light, I was often working in several rooms at a time and climbing up and down from below the house to back inside the house and the light refused to follow.  It is not practical to carry a flashlight around and I often found myself praying to grow a second, third, fourth, ad fifth arm out of necessity for holding boards and other tools anyway.  A headlight was invaluable to me on this project due to the amount of hands-free portable light that it provided.

 

#10 – Wet/Dry Vac

DSCF5841

Purchase Here

Installing a subfloor on a new construction home would likely eliminate the need for this tool to be on the list of necessities.  I was not installing a subfloor on a new construction home.  I was sawing, cutting, throwing, flinging, hammering, nailing, and screwing all in my one and only home, the place where I live, the place where my wife lives, and the place where my three kids live.  Needless to say if I worked in a dirt and dust production factory I would have been employee of the month.  This wet/dry vac made life a lot easier than it would have been without it.  I still used the old faithful broom and dust pan quite a bit, but the vac not only eliminated the need for them often, it did the job much quicker and more efficiently.

 

I would not attempt to tackle any subfloor replacement job without any one of these tools listed above.  The job could be done without them, but the time and effort that they will save you make it highly impractical.  Should you find yourself facing the task of replacing subflooring I hope that you do not find the need for these tools the hard way as I did.  If you found this post useful or simply liked the read I would appreciate it if you would like, comment, and subscribe below.  Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.  Thank you!