DIY Two-Ingredient Wood Stain

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As I was sitting down to write this post my wife made it home from work just in time to burst my bubble, the explanation follows.  I have written several articles like this one discussing spoon carving and make quite a few wooden kitchen utensils.  Though I enjoy the natural look of the wood when finished I have seen spoons that have color added to them that look great and wanted to figure out a food-safe method of adding color to some of mine.  After researching and experimenting with homemade vinegar-coffee stains, I decided to get creative and make my own type of stain by subtracting the coffee and using a vinegar-food coloring mix to stain wood.  After testing my creation I felt brilliant.

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Piece of Pecan with all four colors applied to it.

Being the humble creative genius that I am I allowed my wife to dwell inside of our home upon returning from work about two and a half seconds before bragging about my ingenious concoction and you know what she politely said?  “Oh cool, that is how you make Easter egg dye.”  Womp-Womp.  Even though I am not that bright, or aware of how the most popular food coloring agent in the history of the world is made, I spent too much time and made too much of a mess to not share this process with you regardless.

Below are some pictures of pine that I stained.  The left is unstained, the right is stained.  Each stained piece is just a mixture of a liberal amount of food coloring and white vinegar.

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Blue
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Green
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Yellow
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Red

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I tried the homemade stain on different types of wood just to make sure that it would show up well on more than just pine, and it did. Pictured from top to bottom is Elm, Oak, and Pecan.
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Unbeknownst to me at the time, this is probably my only semi-original stain idea. This is a mixture of paprika and water that turned the wood a pretty orange color.

Whether you use food coloring and vinegar or paprika and vinegar to stain wood it can definitely add a nice colorful flare to your woodworking projects, especially those projects designed for child or kitchen use.  From spoons and cutting boards to kids blocks and wooden toys, it is nice to be able to add color to projects without sacrificing safety.

If you do not want to reinvent the wheel as I did, you can just opt for some Easter egg dye and call it a day.  I honestly did not know that vinegar and food coloring, when combined, enhanced woodworking projects as well as the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.  I learn something knew everyday.

Below are a few more nontoxic options for staining and finishing wood.

Food Safe Wood Stain

Butcher Block Oil & Finish

Easter Egg Dye

White vinegar

Food Coloring Variety Kit – 12 Pack

Thanks for reading!  Be sure to like, comment, follow, and share on social media.  To learn how to make your own wooden spoons check out my tutorial How to Carve Spoons With Basic Hand Tools.

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DIY Home Air Conditioner Maintenance

If you are anything like me you find yourself getting sucked into a riveting infomercial from time to time.  No matter how useless the product may be to you, or how cheesy the pitch, you just cannot change the channel.  One of the classics that wasted my time on more than one occasion was the ad for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven.  According to the product’s super enthusiastic pitch man, this rotisserie oven practically cooked supper for your family, your only role in the process was to “Set it, and forget it!”   The idea of setting it and forgetting it did not intrigue me in those days as a bachelor as it does now a father of three, soon to be four, youngsters, but would I really trust a heat-generating electrical appliance to behave unattended anyway?

Unfortunately many of us treat our homes as the infomercial pitch man encouraged us to treat his rotisserie oven, just “set it, and forget it”, when we should be tending to it as if we were deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey.  With so many components and systems in modern homes there are so many things that can malfunction and affect other systems in the home negatively.  As homeowners we tend to assume the best for our new appliances, hvac (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, structures, and additions, so much so that we leave many of these things unattended and uninspected until there is a noticeable reason to pay them any mind.  This article will discuss a few proactive approaches to home hvac system maintenance that can save you a ton of time and money in the future on reactive solutions.

Below are a few proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most from your home cooling system for years to come.

  1. Outside Components

outside ac

Outside Compressor Unit

  • Routinely check for and remove debris from in and around the outside components of your hvac system
  • Rinse the fins of your outside unit with a garden hose at least twice per year.  Never pressure wash the unit as the strong water pressure could cause damage to the delicate aluminum fins.
  • Straighten bent fins using an a/c fin comb tool.
  • Check unit with an I beam level to ensure that it is level
  • Have unit inspected and serviced by a professional before the hot season when it will be in use

Inside Components

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Inside Coil, Blower, and Return

  • Change your air return filter at least once per month
  • Insulate drain lines to avoid water damage from drain line condensation
  • Install a drain line clean out port like the one pictured below and ensure that the line is not clogged at least once per hot weather season.  I have seen these lines get clogged to the point that water will overflow from the drain pan and flood the flooring of a home.  It is not pretty when it happens.  These lines can be cleaned out by using a wet/dry vac to suction out the obstruction.

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Believe it or not, these few simple maintenance practices can save you a bunch of time and headache in the future.  I actually had to replace a portion of my house’s subfloor due to water damage from condensation dripping onto it from the a/c condensation drain line.  Had the previous owners of my house taken the time to perform the routine maintenance discussed in this article I would be a few thousand dollars richer today.

Regardless of the age of your home’s hvac system I urge you to forgo the “set it and forget it” mentality.  Your home’s a/c system should be tended to like a pan of hot grease and not a slow cooker.  Remain attentive and proactive in the care of your hvac system and you will get the most from it with as little headache as possible in return.

Below are a few additional resources for the maintenance and care of your hvac system that are very helpful and informative.

Essential Maintenance for an A/C Unit

DIY A/C Maintenance and Repair

A/C and Refrigeration Repair Made Easy

Thank you very much for reading, please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake

 

 

Your House is a Deep Fryer, Not a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie

If you are anything like me you find yourself getting sucked into a riveting infomercial from time to time.  No matter how useless the product may be to you, or how cheesy the pitch, you just cannot change the channel.  One of the classics that wasted my time on more than one occasion was the ad for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven.  According to the product’s super enthusiastic pitch man, this rotisserie oven practically cooked supper for your family, your only role in the process was to “Set it, and forget it!”   The idea of setting it and forgetting it did not intrigue me in those days as a bachelor as it does now a father of three, soon to be four, youngsters, but would I really trust a heat-generating electrical appliance to behave unattended anyway?

Unfortunately many of us treat our homes as the infomercial pitch man encouraged us to treat his rotisserie oven, just “set it, and forget it”, when we should be tending to it as if we were deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey.  With so many components and systems in modern homes there are so many things that can malfunction and affect other systems in the home negatively.  As homeowners we tend to assume the best for our new appliances, hvac (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, structures, and additions, so much so that we leave many of these things unattended and uninspected until there is a noticeable reason to pay them any mind.  This article will discuss a few proactive approaches to home hvac system maintenance that can save you a ton of time and money in the future on reactive solutions.

Below are a few proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most from your home cooling system for years to come.

  1. Outside Components

outside ac

Outside Compressor Unit

  • Routinely check for and remove debris from in and around the outside components of your hvac system
  • Rinse the fins of your outside unit with a garden hose at least twice per year.  Never pressure wash the unit as the strong water pressure could cause damage to the delicate aluminum fins.
  • Straighten bent fins using an a/c fin comb tool.
  • Check unit with an I beam level to ensure that it is level
  • Have unit inspected and serviced by a professional before the hot season when it will be in use

Inside Components

DSCF6566

Inside Coil, Blower, and Return

  • Change your air return filter at least once per month
  • Insulate drain lines to avoid water damage from drain line condensation
  • Install a drain line clean out port like the one pictured below and ensure that the line is not clogged at least once per hot weather season.  I have seen these lines get clogged to the point that water will overflow from the drain pan and flood the flooring of a home.  It is not pretty when it happens.  These lines can be cleaned out by using a wet/dry vac to suction out the obstruction.

dscf6567.jpg

Believe it or not, these few simple maintenance practices can save you a bunch of time and headache in the future.  I actually had to replace a portion of my house’s subfloor due to water damage from condensation dripping onto it from the a/c condensation drain line.  Had the previous owners of my house taken the time to perform the routine maintenance discussed in this article I would be a few thousand dollars richer today.

Regardless of the age of your home’s hvac system I urge you to forgo the “set it and forget it” mentality.  Your home’s a/c system should be tended to like a pan of hot grease and not a slow cooker.  Remain attentive and proactive in the care of your hvac system and you will get the most from it with as little headache as possible in return.

Below are a few additional resources for the maintenance and care of your hvac system that are very helpful and informative.

Essential Maintenance for an A/C Unit

DIY A/C Maintenance and Repair

A/C and Refrigeration Repair Made Easy

Thank you very much for reading, please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake