Friday, 22 September 2017

Winter returned

The weather has been rather wild during the last 24 hours with unseasonal strong winds and heavy rain.  After reading about local flooding we decided against venturing out, delaying the trip until tomorrow.

The driving rain was coming under the lean-to roof where I’m making our new bed and I had to move the bed frames in an effort to avoid them getting wet.  However the rain didn’t prevent me from continuing with the project and by the end of the day I’d made a further two drawers.  This leaves only the two deep centre drawers to be manufactured and I’ve decided to use the Triton finger joiner to make the drawer corner joints. 

Back inside the house I continued disassembling the Dyson vacuum cleaner until I struck a T15 Torx screw down a deep and narrow shaft.  I don’t have the necessary tool to remove the screw so work came to a halt.  However I did (finally) managed to remove the yellow clutch knob.

20170922_120133 You can see it’s rather mangled.  The problem was I was prying away on the wrong edge thinking the enter yell plastic section had to be removed whereas there were actually two separate components.  Once I realised that the knob came out leaving the other part behind.


You can see the yellow portion of the clutch knob is still in the cleaner and it doesn’t get removed to access the clutch assembly.  Another lesson learned.

After soaking the rusted bearings from the ends of the roller brush in WD40 they remained seized.  Guessing replacements from Dyson would cost a small fortune I went on eBay and sourced five similar sized <I hope> bearing from China for $1.49.  Delivery is early November, but weren’t not in a hurry!

On a more positive note the media server RAID is now working and I’ve started copying our videos to it from the backup external disk drives.  Emby Server has been installed and configured and I’ve even been able to do some test viewing with the Kodi client on the Tablet.  There’s still some way to go with this project.

More to follow…..

Wednesday, 20 September 2017


We have been feasting on Jan’s tasty homemade butter.  I’ve discovered it tastes great when you place a slice of fresh bread either side!

She places cling wrap in the container first which means the container simply acts as a mould.
The bed project is moving ahead slowly with me making one drawer daily.  I also did further work on the Dyson DC04  vacuum cleaner eventually discovering how to access the On/OFF switch.  Unfortunately I mangled some of the plastic surround in the process.  If anyone has a Dyson DC04 with a faulty switch then you need to push a very thin flat tipped screwdriver down beside the switch button to release it (see next photo).

It was a slight struggle removing the front roller and an even larger struggle removing the roller shroud.
The small bearings at the ends of the roller have seized so I now have them soaking in WD40 in the hope I can reuse them.  The middle arrow points to the belt that links the roller to the clutch.

The shroud had to be removed to reach the clutch and removing it proved to be rather difficult.  Once that was done I stopped for the day rather than getting impatient a breaking something.  The Dyson is looking decidedly sad!

We’ve been housebound for a few days and decided a break would be nice so we decided to go to Hillarys for lunch.  We last visited Hillarys 24 years ago when it was relatively new.  It’s a complex consisting of a marina, resort apartments, theme park and shops.  The entire area is artificial being built out into the Indian Ocean.

Looking south down the coastline towards Fremantle (Dammit I just hit the publish button by mistake)

To our surprise the car park was rather full.  Where are all these people coming from on a midweek working day?

There’s plenty of money floating in the marina
With apartments and a resort overlooking the boats
We wandered around looking at the menus coming upon the boat brokers moorings in the prime spot.  Average price was about $200,000.

Eventually we decided to eat at ‘The Dome’.  I opted for the Farmhouse Beef Pie with salad and chips whilst Jan chose the chicken. 

The food isn’t worth the effort but we did do better than the elderly gent at the adjacent table.  He left his meal for a couple of minutes and went to top up his glass.  The bold flying rats promptly descended onto his table and despite my waving arms took off with his sandwich and a banana from his fruit salad dessert.  The seagulls here look fat and healthy.  With such a wide selection of food on offer they are also fussy eaters.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Damn, damn, damn!!!

I’ve deprived some village of its idiot.  Can’t believe I made such a terrible mistake!  The media server project has now suffered a major setback.   For over a week I’ve been attempting to configure the four hard drives in the server to connect as a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks).  The combined disks will provide a total storage capacity of 10TB with built in redundancy should one disk fail.  I thought I’d finally resolved the configuration and connected an external 2TB USB drive to the server with the intention of copying over all the videos we had recorded from TV during the last 10 years.  However when I rebooted the server the RAID wouldn’t allow me to copy data from the USB disk.  Grumbling to myself I decided to reinstall the RAID.  It wasn’t until the RAID started to rebuild that I realised the USB drive was still connected and had been included in the RAID rebuild.  One thing that happens during a rebuild is all the data gets wiped from the disks.  A decade of recordings deleted!!!  <stronger words than “Oh Dear” were uttered>. 

Were is my backup copy you might ask.  Well I had to use the backup disks to create the RAID.  <more tears>. 

It is sometimes possible to recover a deleted disk partition and retrieve data.  I have a copy of EaseUS Partition on the computer.  After loading it I could see the files still existed and provided I don’t attempt to write further data to the disk it might be possible to retrieve the files.  However my free copy of EaseUS Partition is “crippleware” and can only undelete 2GB of data.  The disk is 2TB and some of the individual files are larger than 2GB.  I’d have to purchase the full version of EaseUS Partition to recover the data.  I hate parting with money so I went looking for another solution.  There is an old program called ‘Testdisk’ which can be used to recover deleted or lost partitions.  It’s ‘freeware’ but has to be run from the command line.  I have the program currently running and am hoping it will recover the deleted data.

On a more positive note I had a brilliant idea for a woodworking jig which might assist in making the drawers for the bed.

Using offcuts of 18mm plywood I set up a jig on the Assembly Table.


Table using my locally made clamp.  the bolts need a knob for the top which I’ll do shortly.

The jig enabled me to make five perfectly square plywood blocks.  I then drilled a hole in each block whilst it was secured in the jig.  Then I used the mitre saw to cut the timber where it joined the hole.  The last step was to cut a 45° angle on all exterior corners.


You will see how I used these shortly.

The next step was to complete a test assembly of the second drawer.  Everything looked fine so I disassembled the drawer and applied glue to the joints.  I found Jan’s toothbrush was really useful in getting the glue into the grooves <PS. don’t tell Jan about the toothbrush… and I did wash it out afterwards!> 

The bottom went together first and I used my four metal corner jigs to hold everything in place.


Then I turned it over and used my locally made jigs to hold the top corners whilst the glue set.


The hole I drilled in each block is in the corner and avoids the problem of any surplus glue joining the jig to the drawer.  I’m rather pleased with the idea.

Only eight drawers to go!

The postman delivered the USB cable I’d ordered from China which means I can shortly start the project to ‘unbrick’ the 2nd router.  Now I’m not guilty of ‘bricking’ the router.  It’s our youngest son’s router and he bricked it when living in the UK.  It was generously given to me before we left Manchester in the hope that father might be able to fix it.  We shall see!

Jan’s project today was to make butter.  She had purchased some cream at the local supermarket when it was on special.  We used some of it at lunch on our sandwiches and I must say it’s very tasty.  She has also baked a courgette <zucchini> and lemon cake.  I’m please she told me the cake had courgettes in it otherwise I would have thought the flecks of green were mould.    

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Too much

I know several days have elapsed since the blog was last updated.  Reader Ade left a comment reminding me almost a week had passed and something must have happened worthy of comment.  Well plenty has happened.  So much that I haven’t found the energy to sit at the computer.  So here is an update.

The bed.  I’ve started assembling the drawers.  When it came to the corners I decided against dovetailing as plywood doesn’t handle that very well.  Actually it tends to splinter.  I decided on 50/50 rebate joints using a combination of glue and the nail gun.  Initially I was going to use the router to make the rebates but in the end opted to use the bench saw.  I really need to make a slide for the bench saw (another project) but managed to cut the rebates using the fence.  I also decided to cut a groove in the sides and ends for the plywood base.  Once the first drawer had been cut I made a jig on the assemble table for a trial assembly.


Everything looked OK so I glued and tack nailed the corners leaving it in the jig to set overnight.


I’ll check it’s square tomorrow and if everything is correct will add more nails to the corner joints.  Jan has decided the drawers are too big and I’m going to rectify that by fitting a vertical divider.  This will enable her to have ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ compartments.  The vertical divider will also provide additional strength to the 4mm thick plywood base.  Only another nine drawers to make!

The Assembly Table    The ‘T-Nut’s arrived from China.  You may recall I purchased 100 for the Assembly Table.  They will be fitted on the underneath side of the top and act as an anchor for my home made clamps.  I started manually fixing each ‘T-Nut’ using a bolt and ratchet socket.  It was slow going and I quickly realised I’d need to add some brain power to the process.  After hunting through my old (and rusty) tools I found a shaft with a square end the same size as the socket.  The other end of the shaft fitted into the battery drill.  This enabled me to significantly reduce the time it took to fit each ‘T-Nut’'.


A ‘T-nut’ can be seen to the right of the bolt.  Tightening the bolt with the drill pulls the ‘T-Nut’ up into the base of the Assembly Table top and the four small prongs on the ‘T-nut’ bit into the timber.

Jarrah Cabinet    I disassembled the Jarrah display cabinet which had been attacked by the termites.  After de-nailing and removing all the screws I ran the timber components through the DeWaly portable saw to remove the termite damaged portions.  Some of the vertical panels had warped in storage and I used the saw to cut them along the joins.


The white pieces in the edges are the original biscuits I used when I joined the planks back in 2008.  All these short planks will now need to go through the electric planer to ensure all the warping is removed.  The damaged back was cut off the long and thick base before I sanded it and then stood it vertically under the shelter of the pergola.


The drawers look OK, apart from needing a good clean.  I’d forgotten I’d finger joined the corners.


Computer Desk    I used Jan’s iron (don’t tell her) to fix the heat tape to the edges of the corner computer desk.  My technique is to use a paint scraper or putty knife to remove the excess tape and then sand the edges smooth.  Others use a router but I find using the scraper gives me better control.  The completed components were moved into the lounge room where I assembled them. 


It’s sturdy, but not the best joinery I’ve seen.  With the desk now made I spent most of the following day going through the vast collection of computer CDs and DVDs rationalizing what needed to be kept after 23 years of hording.

Computer Parts    I don’t like throwing things away and therefore wasn’t all that surprised to realise we had four desktop computers in the storage container.  They hadn’t stored well and three of them proved to be ‘dead’.  Well actually all four were dead but I managed to make one working pc from the four.  After that I went through the other three salvaging what might be useful.


This lot need to go to the tip.  However I now have two large plastic containers of cables and ‘bits’.


TV Sound  My hearing is getting worse.  What’s that you say…….. speak up I’m not deaf… yet!

The problem is the TV.  I want to wind up the sound level so I can hear it.  This results in Jan being blasted out of her chair.  Consequentially I don’t watch much TV.   I tried connecting the wireless headphones (purchased in Riyadh) to the TV via the headphone socket.  Whilst that resulted in the headphones working, it also cut out the TV speakers.  Today I went into a hifi shop.  After explaining the problem to the shop assistant he suggested I buy an analogue to digital sound converter.  The little box connects to the TV via the digital optical port and then converts the sound to analogue which goes to the headphone transmitter.  The theory was the sound from the TV speakers wouldn’t be affected.


You can see the converter below the TV screen with the optical input on the left and analogue output to the headphones on the right.  The setup appears to be working which means I can now listen to the TV without blowing Jan’s eardrums.  I now have to tidy everything.

4x4   The 4x4 modifications projects can now start (time permitting) as my brother has kindly given me a piece of thick Perspex with which to make a mounting bracket.  He even loaned me his heat gun so I can mould the Perspex to the required shape.

BBQ Table    I’d love to assemble our nice Jarrah BBQ Table….. If only I could find the bolts which must have been somewhere in the 20ft container.  I guess they will turn up at some stage.


Underside of the table top waiting on bolts

All for now…..!

Monday, 11 September 2017


After five days we can almost see the end of the task to remove all the termite poo.  Jan did another four loads of washing today whilst I cleaned footwear before dismantling the Jarrah cabinet.  All the timber panels were sorted and then cut on the DeWalt portable bench saw.  The latter task was required in order to remove all the damaged areas.  I plan to re-trim the timber and then run it through the thicknesser before biscuit joining the planks back into panels.  I’ve lost some timber during the salvage process which will mean additional Jarrah will be required.

This morning we make yet another visit to Bunnings (local hardware) for saw horses (2) potting mix and Danish Oil.  The latter is for our Rimu (NZ native timber) dining table which is showing signs of heat stress after six years locked in a container.  Oh, and I also need to repair the on/off switch on the Dyson vacuum cleaner.

The photo below is for our UK reader.  Most of the larger shopping centres have sunscreen awning over their car parks.  Without them you can burn your hand on the vehicle which will have otherwise been left in the sun.


I seen similar awning in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  But never in the UK! Smile

After collecting our hardware we visited “The Good Guys” which is similar to Currys PC World.  I wandered off to look at the ‘boys toys’ leaving Jan to go to an area she had read about online. 


Most “Good Guys” stores now have a Lakeland section.  I think it was Bruce on nb Sanity Again who mentioned Lakeland.  Jan loves visiting one and perusing the items.  Apparently it has proved to be a very popular area in the store.  We walked away with a pizza tray and two wooden spoons.

There are now so many projects I’ve had to take some time to prioritize them.  The computer desk will be first because that will free up some space.  The drawer slides were delivered by courier today which means I can recommence the bed project.  Obviously the Dyson needs to be repaired and if I can sand and apply two coats of Danish Oil to the dining table we will have even more room.  The media server has gone to the back of the queue!  No rest for the wicked……

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Long and hard days

The last three days have been long and full of hard manual labour.  We discovered two problems with the storage of our Australian possessions.  The first we knew about but the second was a surprise.  The container was opened and ransacked whilst we were away.  The thieves settled for Jan’s jewellery and whilst that caused a significant monetary loss it was the sentimental value that cause the most grief.  The thieves left the container doors open and this wasn’t discovered for three weeks.  There were several storms during this period and rain entered the container.  The floor wasn’t level resulting in the water reaching the back of the container and then wicking up through our cardboard storage boxes.  Consequentially we’ve lost much of our clothing a books.

However it was the termite infestation which resulted in most of the unplanned additional work.  I removed the termites when our possessions were transhipped between containers.  But whilst that was necessary it didn’t rectify the resulting problem.  Termites love timber <munch munch> but paper and cardboard is the termite equivalent of chocolate.  What termites eat passes through their system and is left behind as a hard trail.  Yes, most of the container contents are covered in termite poo.  We’ve been hand scrubbing for three days!  The poor washing machine  and dishwasher have also been given a thrashing. 

The termites have done a terrific job on the Jarrah <hardwood> display cabinet I built.  The rear of the cabinet was clad in a sheet of plywood and as you can see it’s gone!


This next photo shows how much they enjoyed their meal of Jarrah.


All those specks are termite poo.  Almost everything in the container is covered in the stuff Sad smile

A priority was to unpack all the boxes and ensure there were no further termites.  We have ‘stuff’ piled up everywhere.


Jan has identified a few undamaged packing boxes and has started repacking the useable clothing after it has been laundered.

We both noticed the Dyson vacuum cleaner had changed colour during the six years of storage.  It’s gone from light grey to a yellow khaki.


On a more positive note I managed to repair Jan’s organ.  Not that one!  The electronic one which can play a decent tune.  Well actually I don’t play with Jan’s organ.  She’s the one who can get a good tune from it!


Another consequence of unpacking everything is the horrible mouldy smell throughout the house.  Much of it is emanating from the two spare bedrooms we are using as storage areas.  Today we opened every door and window in the house and turned on the fans in what appears to be a 75% successful effort to expel the smell and spores.

I also spent half the afternoon shuffling everything in the garage to create enough space of the vehicle.


Many of my hand tools either have surface rust or are covered in termite poo.  It will likely be several weeks before things are sorted.

I have already decided to disassemble the damaged Jarrah display cabinet and cut out all the damaged timber.  I’ll then need to design a new cabinet using the salvaged timber.  At least I can’t complain of boredom. Smile

We keep reminding ourselves it’s just ‘stuff’ and there are many less fortunate people who lose everything in a natural disaster.

Thursday, 7 September 2017


I can’t believe how much time has passed since the last blog post.  I’m getting slack! <naughty naughty boy>

Yesterday morning I borrowed the brother-in-law’s trailer <again> and went to the local timber merchants where I purchased six sheets of plywood and two sheets of melamine (laminated particle board).  The latter was a last minute decision as I’ve decided to make a corner computer desk to replace the one that has rotted in the container.

during lunch I used Google SketchUp to work out the optimum cut lines in the timber sheeting in an effort to minimise waste.  The afternoon was spent cutting all the plywood sheets for the bed drawers.  I’m using 12mm ply for the sides and 4mm for the base.  I also cut and fitted two pieces of 4mm ply which will act as the longitudinal bracing.

All the cut ply was placed in the relevant compartments to ensure I hadn’t forgotten anything.  I can’t make the drawers until the steel drawer slides arrive.

This is the bed frame standing on one end.


With all the ply cut I started on the melamine.  It had a few chips in the edges but the sheets are slightly oversized which meant I could trim each edge and still have a 2400x1200mm sheet.  The Makita plunge saw and rail guides are proving to be an excellent purchase.  I’m managing to achieve straight edges and no chipping of the laminate surface.


The light was just failing as I completed the final cut.

This morning the container with our possessions arrived from New South Wales (NSW).  The two man crew only took 2.5 hours to unload everything and as we didn’t want them to unpack the boxes they had a relatively easy day.  This is our 23rd move in 45 years of marriage so you’d think we’d cope rather well.  however this has turned out to be our most difficult move.  A combination of age (lack of energy) and boxes in very poor condition meant we didn’t complete the unpacking and by mutual agreement have decided to continue tomorrow. 

Well Jan will continue because I need to take the 4x4 for its initial 3 month service/check!

Time for a shower and bed! <I’m pooped>

Monday, 4 September 2017

That iconic Australian photo

Whiteman Park is less than a kilometre from our house and yesterday evening I decided to walk through part of it in an effort to blow away some mental cobwebs and get some exercise.   The park website states

The Park takes its name from Mr Lew Whiteman (1903-1994) who purchased land in the area in 1939 for the purpose of grazing cattle, before developing the popular picnic spot of Mussel Pool in the 1960s.

From 1977 to 1990, landholdings were purchased by the State government from numerous owners, including Mr Whiteman, with the understanding that it be owned and used by the community in perpetuity.

The creation of the parkland also served to protect the Gnangara Water Mound, a vital source of drinking water for the Perth metropolitan area, and create a haven for local flora and fauna.

My walk took me through the undeveloped western half of the park along Woolcott Avenue


No mistake……. This is Woolcott Avenue! 

to the left (north) is original coastal native vegetation and to the right are citrus orchards.  The native flora is quite thick here which is a consequence of the annual coastal rainfall.  further inland the vegetation gets quite sparse and has to be very hardy to survive on very little water.



As you can see in the above photos, the ground is mostly sand until you reach the Stirling Ranges in the east.  Several kangaroos were taking advantage of the late afternoon sun.  A couple of young ones were practicing their boxing, punching each other with their smaller front legs.  When kangaroos get particularly vicious they use their tails as a prop (post) and lash out with their powerful hind legs which can inflict serious damage.  The natural fawn colouring of the kangaroos blends in with the surrounding flora.

Can you see the three kangaroos in this next photo


Probably not.  They are in the middle of the photo.


The orchards to the right have high chain mesh fences to keep out the kangaroos (and humans Smile)

However a steel mesh fence won’t stop a determined kangaroo and I’ve seen one race (bound) at speed into a fence smashing a hole through it.  I’ve even seen them go through barbed wire fences.


A couple of grey and pink galahs were courting until I disturbed them.


The sun was starting to set as I turned and headed for home.  That’s when I though it might be interesting to take a few close up photos of flora.


The eucalyptus trees (gum trees) are frequently attached by parasitic airborne plants which feed of the sap.  This can eventually kill the affected tree.

My return route had me heading almost due west into the blood red setting sun when one of those iconic Australian moments occurred.  Six Kangaroos which had been basking in the sun on the south side of Woolcott Avenue bound across the trail in front of me and we silhouetted against the red sun.  Of course I had my camera turned off, with the lens cap on and slung over my shoulder.  A lost moment!  

This is Hepburn Avenue.  It’s the main north-south feeder road to our suburb and didn’t exist when we last lived here.


Another busy west Australian road Smile

To the left is the lateral road leading to our house.


Perth doesn’t have much of a stormwater system.  Instead the planner leave sunken areas to catch and contain the rainfall which eventually soaks into the sandy soil.


You can see one of these fenced soak holes in the above photo.

We have borrowed my brother-in-laws trailer (again) and will use it tomorrow to collect more plywood panels for the bed project.