Customized

Tool box refurbishment 1.0

Slight diversion from a week or two ago. Old Craftsman tool box I had, Dad bought it for me eons ago. Hadn’t really used it since the early 2000s, it was oil, grease, grime and who knows what soaked inside and out.
Forgot to take before pics. Paint was lifting off in some places and pitch/dirt/mold/grime covered and faded in others.
Bought a wire wheel for the angle grinder and went at it. Have been using up some 4 or 5 year old spray paint a buddy gave me a while back, picked a color and went at it.
Not sure why I didn’t do it in red and white to match my truck…. Just felt like blue I guess. Lol.
Not sure I really have any use for it now, but at least it’s clean and a solid finish now.
As you can see in close ups I didn’t have it as smooth over the old paint that I left as I thought I did… And the ancient paint didn’t flow/self level like it should have either, didn’t coat the rough areas as it should/could have. Good enough though, who looks that close anyway? 😉

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Categories: Automotive Work, Customized, Damages, Modifications, Repairs, Sentimental, Shop Tools, Tool Boxes, Wrenching | 1 Comment

Rolling tool box re-purpose, part 2.

The second half of my useless tool box conversion, the bottom half.

I had decided to try to maje a rolling yard cart, after seeing how close it was to perfectly fitting a milk crate.

Honestly, I only had one use in mind for this; A battery mover. Car and truck batteries aren’t very heavy. Unless tgeyre thr ones without handles, and yoh havr to carry it 50 yards. Then they’re heavy! Even with a carry handle, going very far is a pain.

It occurred to me that some left over CPVC pipe and fittings I had would assemble to a nice handle.

So, thats what I did.

The original door on this slid up and down in cfanels in the lower front wall. For whstever reason, they madr that lower wall in a separate piece from the rest of the box, it just snapped in. So I snapped it out;

Then it was simply setting the crate, and building filler/mount blocks around it. And also some plywood stiffeners for the back wall, to take the torque of the handle.

And then assembling and mounting the handle.

Along the way, I decided that a cord holder on the handle would be nice, like the setups on the back of vacuum cleaners. Was easy to add with cross bars and elbows.

Then I decided I wanted to paint the handle. Been using up some ancient cans of spray paint, so I chose one and went at the handle. 3 colors later I found a can that worked(most of this paint has frozen at least once, and is several years old… Thus my trying to use it up.).

Intended to only do the handle. Got carried away. 😉 At least, if nothing else, I won’t lose it in the yard!

Might go back and paint the crate and wheels black for some contrast. It’s just a bit bright for my taste!

But anyway, there it is. Didn’t buy a thing, all of it was scrap or hardware I had on hand.

Now to see if I ever actually use it. 😉

Categories: Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Customized, Fabrication, Improviser, MacGyver, MacGyverism, Modifications, Re-purpose, Recycle, Repurpose, Scrounging, Tool Boxes, tool mods, Wrenching | 2 Comments

Useless tool cart into useful tool box!

Killing time last night, and sorting things in the shop, while looking for something, I came across a tool box I never use.
I got this thing in early 2011. The guy I was working for then had the Big Stanley FatMax rolling tiered tool box and it worked great. I figured I’d try the smaller version.


Great concept, but it never worked for me. The way the lower opening was accessed, the angled opening and top to the area, you couldn’t use all of the space and close it. And nothing I ever wanted to put in it would fit.

Then anything I did put in the bottom wasn’t heavy enough; The balance point wasn’t over the wheels, but behind them, so getting many tools in the top meant it would fall over backwards all the time unless it was on a dead flat and smooth surface(I defy you to find one of those on a construction site!)
It would have been so much more useful to just make the top area 2″ wider front to back and eliminate the angled door area. Even a fully vertical door wouldn’t limit access or space usage this much!
So I modified it into something I can use. I’d have probably never though of this if I hadn’t already modified something else earlier in the evening, in the same way. (More on that in a later post!)
I took an angle grinder with a cut off wheel on it, and cut the top off making a regular hand tool box. File and knife to trim up the melted/jagged plastic and voila;


I started to take the folding top handle off, but it was going to leave too many holes in the lid. As it is with it on there it’s not exactly water tight, but it’s better than it would be.


Figured it’d be too off balance to use that handle, but I threw some tools in it and tried it; Works good! Not sure why I’d ever need it over the regular handle, but it doesn’t hurt anything to leave it.
Looked around some and found the tray that came in it too.


Now, as for the bottom half… I’m not sure yet. But without the top on it crowding andlimiting the space, it’s actually rather roomy. Think I’ll pitch the sliding door, since it’s latch is molded to the top box I took off and it still limits usable space.


I’m thinking it might make a nice light weight hand truck/cart sort of thing for the yard if I put a new handle on it, and maybe open it up and mount a milk crate.. Dunno yet exactly.

Categories: Customized, Modifications, Re-purpose, Recycle, Repurpose, Tool Boxes, tool mods

A hearing assist; Helmet shield re-fit.

I have no idea when CKX stopped making this helmet. This one is marked as being made in 1998. I bought it around 2000 or 2001.

It is a snowmobile helmet, lightly insulated, and with a double pane face shield, to mitigate fogging/frosting.

It never worked worth a damn. It was always a frosted mess I couldn’t see out of. Add to that my hatred at the time of the great lack of visibility out of a full face helmet, it was soon shelved.

Somewhere along the way, I took the face shield off of it. I’m not exactly sure why now.

It’s served perfectly well that way for several years now, both as my motorcycle helmet, off and on, and the one I kept as a helmet for a passenger on the bike.

But the last couple years, I’ve had an increasing problem with wind noise while ridding.

For years I never wore a helmet, nor hearing protection, and I guess it’s caught up to me. I much prefer no helmet, for hearing, visibility, and just general feel and awareness of the world when ridding, not only a bike but atvs, and snowmobiles too.

I also prefer no windshield, for the same reasons.

A couple years ago when I got back into ridding a lot, I had to start wearing a helmet for hearing protection, or else I ended up with my ears ringing, and that cloudy wind tunnel effect for hours after I got off the bike.

This helmet has served well for that for a couple years, sans face shield.

But, it has its problems. Mainly, since it is designed to be a full face helmet, it doesnt have the row of denser foam in front of your ears that blocks wind on a regular 3/4 or open face style helmet.

And my sensitivity to the wind noise has worsened to where any ride even with the helmet screws up my hearing.

Last year I took to wearing hearing protection, in the form of simple foam ear plugs.

That works perfect for the wind noise. But after more than an hour on the bike, your ear canels can get sore from the constant pressure they use to seal. Softer rubber plugs have nevet sealed well enough for me to work well enough for shooting, so foam has been the only option.

Also, with the plugs, you don’t hear traffic, nor the bike. Not good. Rather dangerous in fact. It can also be disorienting, to be in motion, with little to no sound.

Add to that the audible shock of how loud the world is when you take the plugs out after having them in an hour, and I needed an alternative.

So, with a two day fuzzy feeling in my ears, and sore ears to boot from the plugs after my first good ride this season, I went looking for an alternate lid to wear; The open face helmet thst was my Dads.

Took forever to find it. With it was the shield from this helmet.

Then I found again why I hadn’t been using it; its a good size and a half too big for me!

Enter the idea to just buy a new open face helmet.

But, I have that shield…

See, I’m broke, and trying to not have to buy anything, thus digging out old helmets to try to begin with.

I’d honestly wanted to re mount the shield to it at other times in the past, but couldn’t.

Verry simply, the fancy half turn twist lock screws that hold it and the helmet side aplates on, got lost not long after they were taken out. Then at some point the shield and side plates were lost.

At times I’ve come across the shield, and even tried getting new plates and screws, but never with any success.

I’m not sure why but I’d never really thought before about creating new mounting for that shield, but this time I was considering it.

I was even looking at it to see if I could mount it fixed; at least it’d be on there even if it didn’t hinge.

And there in lies where the light bulb went on. I suddenly saw exactly how I could fix it, and have it hinge, knowing exactly what piece of hardware I could do it with!

And knowing I just happened to have two of that item left over from a mid winter project, off to the shop I went!

First up was to measure the hole in the helmet, which was 0.25″. Perfect! The hardware I we thinking of using is 1/4″!

That hardware being T-nuts.

Next, measure the outside of the nut shank, and pick a bit, I ent 0.005″ smaller, for a press for. Then still the holes out.

Then, grind down the tang spikes in the nut, flush with the rim, and test the shank fit, and press in for depth test. Then also reduce the run diameter, to fit the recess.

And, finally, applied a few touches of super glue to reinforce the nuts seat and press them in.

All that was left then was to shorten the bolts I had, so they bottom out just as the head seats, and compresses the lock washer I used. Fender washers to cover the large hole and grip the visor, then a split lock washer, and seat the bolt. Gave perfect tension on the first try! The visor “click” ratcheting opening tension works great, smooth, but with drag, but also stars put in any notch you stop on(tested with it half open at 40mph too, no movement!)

The only issue I see when done was the gap along the top, reminding me that there had been a foam piece framing the opening on the helmet before. I thought it might allow some charter of the shield.

Turns out the gap is no problem! No charter, no vibration, and no air leaks!

It cuts the wind noise I had by half or more! Perfect! I’ve only had it out for two short 10 mile rides so far, but after both, I had no hearing or ear issues! As a bonus, one of those rides I was caught in pouring rain, and the warm dry face was a Very welcome change!

Categories: Alaska-Life, Clothes, Customized, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Motorcycles, Outdoors

Bearcat Leather.

Decided I wanted to start using my Ruger Bearcat more, carry it hunting sometimes. Looked at the official Ruger holsters, and while a nice design, being straight draw, drop looped, I really tend to prefer a higher riding pancake style holster.

Looked around online, but didn’t find anything I really liked, nor anything I could afford.

A couple years ago I made a simple pancake holster for my Bersa Firestorm 380, thats worked out great, been the most comfortable gun/holster combo I’ve ever carried.

And, having the left overs from that leather in the shop… 😉

Since I liked the carry of the Bersa, I copied the shape, size, and carry cant (slightly forward/FBI style) exactly off that holster.

Only change I made was to add a “sweat shield” as they’re called, to the back top. Not really to shield the gun from me, but me from the gun; When you carry in cooler weather, without tucking a shirt in behind the gun, it can be a little cold against you! (The Bersa holster was originally made to be ambidextrous, to be worn on either side, thus it’s straight cut on the top front and back.)

Traced;

Cut, front;

Some glue, yes I know thatd a wood glue… but wood and leather are both fibrous organic substance, the glue doesn’t know the difference!

“Clamped” for a bit;

Holes drilled;

Partially stitched test fit;

Checking where I might put a tension rivet, or a line of stitching closer to the gun.

Finished!

I’ll trim/round the upper corners of the back shield aftercsome carry and use, as I decide how wide, abd high it needs to be.

I decided against the tension rivet or stiches, because honestly with the firm grip it has in such a deep coverage, I don’t think it is necessary. AND, withbthe holsters shape left generally open, I hoped that my Ruger MKII would also fit in it.

Again, deep coverage of the gun, so I decided against a safety strap. I can always add it later if it seems needed.

And yes, it turned out to fit the MKII almost as perfectly!

They’re not fancy, nor perfect, but they work, and that’s what’s important to me in basic field gear. 🙂

Categories: Custom, Customized, Field gear, Guns, Holsters, Leather, Uncategorized

Flaming Hot Key Chain!

A ‘32 Ford Hot Wheels plus a big split ring equals a new key chain for a spare key for my truck–Which I need to get, right now only one key exists for it..

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No mods to the car were needed, with no side windows in it, I just had to thread the ring through!

Categories: Automotive Work, Customized, key-chains, Uncategorized

Grip frame fun, 1.0? 

Killing time in the shop and tried the brass 1860 style grip frame(that I have for converting my Ruger Blackhawk) on my Beretta Stampede.  Rear frame fits good, but would need a filler at the bottom front, and the ears trimmed to the gun frame if it was to stay.   





Looks like the front strap, trigger guard holes line up close enough to go on, but the trigger slot in it is far too narrow.  Had the same issue on the Blackhawk. 

I might compare Ruger and Beretta triggers, and open the 1860 guard up to fit both, if I can. 

I’m actually not sure if this brass frame set will ever get onto the Ruger. I’ve grown rather fond of the grip on the Blackhawk as it is, with the nice wood grips I put on last spring. Much nicer and slimmer than the rubber that came on it. Not sure I really need the slimmer 1860 style on it now.   We shall see. 

One nice thing, IF I do mount it to the Stampede,  it has the same flat main spring style as the 1860, so little serious modification, if any would be needed. 

IE, it could still later be converted to the Ruger mainspring, etc. just as easily as ever. 
If nothing else, I can fit the backstrap to the Beretta,  leaving the guard alone to be fit to the Ruger later, and then simply get another back strap then. 

As I said, we shall see. Just thinking out loud, as it were, for the time being. 

Categories: Brass, Cowboy, Customized, Guns, Gunsmithing, Modifications, Revolvers

Shelf Track Bench Dogs

“Shelf what??” Your saying, right? 😉 

Bench dogs are pins, or flat jaws, that slip into dog holes– holes in the top of a work bench, for holding thing on the bench top. 

You clamp the work piece between the dog and the vice at the edge of the bench, or a bar clamp/C clamp or two. With a large grid of holes, you can hold just about anything in any position. 

I like the concept but hate the idea of having all the holes in the bench. Seems a great way to ruin a layout surface,  and a place to lose hardware. 

Then I saw this trick/tip that a fellow sent in to this month’s issue of Woodsmith magazine;

It uses cabinet shelf support rails and clip brackets as simple in line dogs for the vise; GENIUS! 

After pricing the track and clips, $3 for 6′ of track, and about $3 for 12 clips… Yeah, no brainer dude! 😉 

15 minutes with my router, and I have bench dogs!   Was a little fiddly to do, only have a 1/2″ straight cut bit, but the tracks are 5/8″ so I had to cut each channel twice for width. Track is 3/16″ thick, wanted it at least flush, I cut about 7/32″ deep to garantee it can’t catch on anything when not in use. 



Clips in place;


Then I just made the old front jaw front the vise into the cammed over jaw insert needed. Great to use that vise to make things for the vise! (Really have no idea how I survived so long without that vise!)

It works!

A few strategically placed screws makes a storage spot for the vice jaw under the end of the bench. 

And the left over ~11″ of track made a clip storage rack. 


Can’t beat simple, cheap and easy, especially if it works! 

Categories: Custom, custom-made-tools, Customized, Fabrication, Modifications, Repurpose, Shop Tools, Woodshop, Woodwork

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