Monday, 18 March 2019

Last of the sewer pipe

What to do with the two metres of sewer pipe left over from the shed dust extraction ducting system?
Back to Bunning hardware where, as their most valued customer, I am now on first name basis with the manager and have been invited to his daughter’s wedding! Smile
I bought two 100mm threaded coupler fittings and end caps.  Using some of the 1.5mm braided stainless steel wire purchased for the outback trip last year I made a steel cord connecting the caps to the couplings.

The couplings and caps were then glued to either end of my 2 metre length of pipe.

So what am I using the pipe for?

It’s my fishing rod holder!  The pipe will be attached to the trailer roof rack.  I wired the caps to the couplings to ensure they don’t get lost.

The Australian Salmon have started their annual migration north and I’m going fishing with Perth blog reader and friend, Ken.  I have to confess to being not much of a fisherman.  Either the fish are dumb enough to commit suicide or I only catch a cold.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

A wasted trip

New Zealand has joined the list of countries to experience an act of terrorism.  A despicable coward has killed 49 people in a place of worship. 

I don’t propose to write too much more except to say this person obviously craves attention for his vile actions.  Therefore I’d like to see the NZ authorities hold his trial in camera and also ban any media coverage.  He should be charged and sentenced individually for each murder with the sentences to be served consecutively.   With time off for good behaviour he would be eligible for release in 343 years.  By then he should be long forgotten. 
Jan has been searching for an orchard where we might pick stone fruit.  She thought there was a suitable property in Pickering Brook, which is up in the hills east of Perth.  We drove the 25km to the address only to find there was no orchard.  Returning on a different road we noticed another orchard advertising stone fruit.

The employees were busy packing fruit which gave Jan an opportunity to gentle squeeze some of the plums for sale.  Readers you may have noticed the difference here.  Jan squeezes fruit…. whilst I prefer to squeeze Jan!

Jan recoiled in horror.  Not from my squeeze, but rather the very soft consistency of the fruit.  We quietly slipped away without being noticed by the staff. 

Further down the road was a second “growers shop” where we again checked the fruit.  Jan commented “This fruit is more expensive than the local green grocer’s”.  We left the hills without making any purchases.

However I did stop at the lookout to take some photos of Perth.

I then suggested to Jan we return home via the Swan Valley remembering she had previously mentioned there were a couple of outlets she would like to visit.

The first was the House of Honey

Jan loves her honey.  But it has to be creamed.  She’s even more careful these days after ready much of the honey has been diluted with a Chinese made syrup.  So no honey purchased!
Next stop was

Through the main doors was a large display of various chocolates

I was rather taken by the sports stadium made of chocolate.

All those colourful little people made of soft jellybeans.  

Again nothing purchased.  I’m starting to think it might be necessary to buy Jan a new pair of trousers.  A pair where the pockets aren’t as deep. :-)

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Don’t forget to duct

OK, a slight play on words.  A trip to the south of Perth this morning to visit Timbecon.  It’s MY type of store with lots of lovely products to drool over.  The plan was to buy the blast gates for the workshop dust extraction ducting system but while I was there I checked out loads of other interesting items.  I’m sure Jan was astute enough to ensure there was very little cash on the card!

Today I fitted the bulk of the dust extraction ducting.  Most of it is made from 100mm pvc sewer pipe.  Only the blast gates and pipe reducers have been purchased.  The former are a simple push/pull valve.



They fit snuggly inside the 100mm pvc pipe.  My long bench wall now looks like this

From the right.  The black end cap on the pipe provides access should there be a blockage.  The first ‘Y’ junction goes down to the mitre saw shroud.  the next ‘Y’ goes up to the apex of the ceiling (yet to be completed).  The third ‘Y’ has a 4” to 1½ inch reducer.  A flexible hose will fit onto this.  The hose will be able to be connected to portable power tools (eg, sander) or used to clean the bench.  Each ‘Y’ has a blast gate.  Everything is dry fitted (no glue) just in case it has to be pulled apart.There’s only one ‘Y’ on the back wall.  This will go down to a floor hood enabling me to sweep shavings on the floor to the hood where it will be sucked into the extraction system.

I’ve experimented with the extractor pipe inside the mitre saw shroud.

A series of 6mm holes has been drilled around the top of the pipe.  I’m hoping they will catch most of the airborne sawdust.  The base of the pipe is also open.  The pipe can’t go to all the way down to the bench top inside the shroud as it would foul on the back of the saw.  Hopefully there will be sufficient suction to catch all the sawdust.  If it’s not effective more modifications will be required.

Next step is to complete the ceiling ducting and purchase the dust extractor.  It will have to be temporarily installed inside the workshop whilst I design the cabinet that will go outside.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Slow Progress

Well autumn may have arrived and we have been receiving some welcome light autumn showers but the temperature is still sufficiently high for me to only want to do 30 minutes of outdoor labour.  I’ve been digging up the water reticulation pipes in the front garden where the pepper gum tree used to be before I felled and removed it.  The problem is tree roots, which I’m trying to remove.  Along the way I’ve managed to put the shovel through one pipe <grrrr>.

When I’d had enough of digging I went back into the air-conditioned house to check on the faulty media server pc.  I have replaced the faulty solid state drive which had the operating system on it.  However the computer then decided to randomly connect the four hard drives.  The problem was making me very frustrated, but eventually I managed to get the BIOS to recognise all the drives (don’t know how or why).  Yesterday the pc ran all day rebuilding a blank RAID drive (this combines all four drives into one large drive with built in redundancy).  This morning it was finished, only for it to then disappear.  I’m back to doing it all again!

On a more positive note I was able to install the shed earth spike.  Things have obviously changed in the last 50 years.  As a young apprentice the earth spike I installed were four foot lengths of 1½ inch galvanized water pipe.  Today they are a copper coated steel rod.


There was something hard in the ground where I wanted to install it.  I thought it might be an old brick.  However after some light digging I discovered it was the 100mm PVC pipe I’d installed for the floor outlet of my future dust extraction system.  You would have thought I’d have remembered that <it’s an age thing>.

All done!  I just need to apply some Sikaflex around the grey PVC pipe to prevent the steel cladding sheet from rusting.

The 100mm PVC sewer pipe and fittings for the sawdust duct have been delivered.  I laid out the fitting on the bench to confirm how everything would be assembled.

Obviously I haven’t placed the lengths of pipe in between the fittings.  The duct will be dry fitted (no glue) so I can disassemble it should there be a blockage.

It is possible to buy clips to hold the pipe to the wall but I decided to make some from scrap plywood.  Why spend money unnecessarily!

The system won’t be installed until I have the ‘blast gates’.  They could be diy made using plywood and PVC pipe, but the commercial version is currently available at a March discounted price.

We really must make an effort to get out of the house and do something interesting!

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Another hot, dry day!

It might be autumn but there’s no sign of the weather changing.  Actually…..

It's so dry

  • The trees are chasing the dogs around
  • Cows are giving powdered milk
  • We have a fish that is 12 months old that hasn't learnt to swim yet.
  • To save water, they have closed down three lanes of the local swimming pool.
  • The government has introduced a water pistol buy-back scheme.
  • There is so little feed even the kangaroos are having to take a cut lunch.
  • Our neighbour John fainted when we had 7 drops of rain last week, and it took 3 buckets of sand to bring him around!

There have been no comments about blank boxes instead of photos on the last few posts.  Therefore I’ve assumed my latest OLW method of inserting them into posts has worked?  Google are “turning off” the last of the old functionality on 15 March so I’m not going to do much more until after that date.

Meanwhile the media server computer has failed.  It took an hour for me to work out the problem was with the 120GB solid state drive (SSD) that contains the operating system.  During that process I also read it’s not a good idea to have a “swap” area on a SSD.  Apparently the constant ready and writing to the “swap” area causes premature failure.  I don’t want to move the operating system to the storage hard drives so I went out and purchased a $33 replacement.  The next step has been to clone the content of the old SSD to the new one.  That is happening as I write this post.

Monday, 4 March 2019


We’re four days into autumn although you wouldn’t know it as the temperature has gone back up.  It was 39C here today which made working in the shed rather difficult.  The sweat kept dripping off my forehead and onto the lens of my glasses.

If you’ve been studying the plan I made for the mitre saw stand you may recall I had it recessed into the bench.  Well after further thought I decided against that.  There were two major issues.  The first was it would be almost impossible to cut a right angle end on a bowed length of timber.  The second was the bench would become '”purpose built” limiting my options.  The size of the shed means I’m not going to have the planned bench space so I need to utilize what I have. 

The mitre saw produces large quantities of airborne sawdust so over the last few days I’ve been making a shroud for it from scrap timber.

There are horizontally sliding covers either side of the blade which will allow me to adjust the opening when I need to make angle cuts.  The wall power socket is inside the shroud so the cable won’t be exposed as shown in the above photo.

Now that the mitre saw won’t have a bench stand I’ve made to moveable stands from scrap particle board.  They can be placed anywhere along the front of the bench and temporarily clamped in place.


You can see them to the left of the saw in the above photo.

I’ve also produced a list of all the 100mm sewer pipe fittings I’ll require for the dust extraction system.  Hopefully I’ll make a start on that tomorrow.

However it’s getting close to fishing season so my priority should be on completing the camper trailer.

Meanwhile Jan has been cleaning in the front room.  It will become our temporary bedroom whilst I install the en-suite in the master bedroom.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Latest Solar Bill and more ideas

Jan sent me to the local supermarket to get a bag of dog food for Molly.  So there I was in the checkout queue with my bag of dried dog food when the woman behind me asked “Do you have a dog?”  What a stupid question.  Anyway, I decided to have some fun and told her I was going to do the dog food diet.  She told me she’d never heard of it.  So I explained dried dog food was a perfectly balanced meal containing all the necessary vitamins, protein and other necessary nutritional supplements.  My method was to place a handful of pellets in my trouser pocket and just eat a few any time I got hungry.  I preferred the chicken pellets to the beef & gravy as the former was tastier.  She then asked me how much weight I anticipated losing.  By now the other people in the queue were listening intently.  I told her this was actually the second time I’d done the diet.  The first time I’d lost 30kg but ended up in the hospital intensive care ward with tubes running out of me. “OMG!”  she said “Was it food poisoning?”  “No!” I replied. “I stepped off the kerb to smell the butt of a cute poodle and was hit by a car”.

The latest electricity bill arrived by email this morning.  This is the first regular two monthly invoice since the panels were installed.  The details were:

   Total consumption       $115.88
   Supply Charge     $62.78 for 68 days
   Sub-total               $178.66
   GST (VAT)            $17.87
   Total                     $196.53
   Rebate for electricity sold back to the utility company $108.52
  Final Bill                $88

Two things immediately stand out. 

1.  The utility company has charged us GST(VAT) on the total electricity but not given us a GST credit on the electricity we supplied to them.
2.  If you remove the supply charge (the amount we pay for the privilege of being connected to the grid) then we actually purchased  $9.46 per month.

Looking at the total kWh’s is also interesting

We consumed 450kWh but exported to the grid 1521kWh.  So we exported more than three times what we used.  Of course they sell us electricity at $0.30 per kWh and purchase it from us at $0.07 per kWh.  The utility company requires us to pay for their infrastructure as a daily service charge.  We get nothing in the way of a service rebate for incurring the cost of our infrastructure. 

I’m keeping a close watch on residential battery storage costs.  We are obviously producing far more electricity than we require so there is plenty of surplus solar electricity to store and use when there is no sunlight.

Whilst pottering around in the man cave today I remembered the offcut of 100mm sewer pipe.  The rest of the pipe is under the shed concrete slab and will form part of the planned dust extraction system.  I decided I could do something with the surplus piece of pipe. 
First I had to cut it into three 200mm lengths which would leave a further 140mm spare.  This was done on the table saw using the slide and a clamped block as a guide length.

The PVC pipe was pushed onto the saw blade and then rotated to make an exact cut.  Next I used a 40mm hole saw to make a hole 100mm from one end.  Yes, I made that rough jig to hold the pipe whilst I drilled an cut it!

Then I used the jigsaw to cut the slot before filing off the sharp edges.  The lengths of pipe were then screwed to the underside of a scrap piece of plywood.

Finally the plywood was screwed to the workshop wall.

A rack for the portable drills with a shelf above for the bits and other odds & ends.

You haven’t forgotten that last piece of pipe…. and neither had I Smile

I scribed a circle on a piece of scrap particleboard and then cut it out with the jigsaw.

Then I glued another piece of particleboard to the base and cut the combined pieces into a square

Finally, the last piece of pipe was glued into the hole.  I now have a container for my files and wood rasps.

There were also a few pieces of scrap Jarrah hardwood behind the shed which I used to make a rack for my old wood chisels.  I found these in a drain before I met Jan, which means they are at least 50 years old.

Good quality British steel

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Firefox Survey Scam

It appears I was almost the victim of the Firefox survey scam.  I was using Google in Firefox when I clicked on a link.  A pop-up window appeared telling me as a valued user I was being asked to complete a survey and would be in the draw to win a prize. 

I tried to close the window but it just took me to the survey page.  So I completed the simple survey on Firefox was was then advised I had won a Samsung Galaxy 9 phone for $1.  How you can '”win” something and still pay for it is somewhat of a mystery to me! 

In the bottom half of the screen was a list of comments from people who had either received their prize or were waiting for it to arrive.

Anyway, the next window asked me to enter my credit card details for an amount of $1.  The web address was https, but something seemed wrong.  Why would they want my card details before asking for my address?

A quick online search revealed it’s a scam

If it’s too good to be true….. then it probably is!

Here’s an observation

European.  I drove for 3 hours and passed through seven countries

Australian.   I drove for 12 hours and I’m still in Western Australia

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Slow Progress

More pottering around in the ‘man cave’ has seen some improvement in the overall layout.  The most significant issue at the moment is lack of storage capacity.  I’ve been recycling much of the old timber into shelving.  I also moved the old ‘peg board’ from the garage to the shed.  The long bench for the mitre saw has been completed and my thoughts have now turned to a dust extraction system.

I found a place for the clamps to the right of the roller door.

Jan has been saving all her glass marmalade jars for me.  It's actually rather hard to find suitable glass jars as most of them are made from plastic.  I made a shelf and then screwed the lids of the jars to the underside.

The mitre and bench saws are major dust creators.  Currently I can't do much about the bench saw as I've yet to make the custom bench for it.  However I can make a start on a shroud for the mitre saw.

I'm going to install a dust duct system which will (hopefully) capture most of the sawdust before it gets airborne.  So the dust extraction system and the bench for the table saw are the next two major projects.

It was with some sadness we read the passing of Paul on the latest Manly Ferry post.  Surprisingly we never actually met Paul & Elaine during our years of continuous cruising.  However you do feel you know them through Paul's writing.   He had a wonderful humorous style!

I really need to make some progress with the camper trailer modifications.  It's almost March and soon the Australian Salmon will be running up the coast.  I want to be in some isolated spot catching dozens of large fish <dreamer>. 

Monday, 25 February 2019

BBQ Lesson

I’ve had a BBQ lesson from an expert.  Knowing George & Carol (WB Still Rockin’) were planning on visiting Perth during their Oz odyssey we invited them to a BBQ in an effort to ensure I improved my level of expertise in front of the iron monster.
George kindly gave me some advice…. “keep turning them Tom” and we have a lovely afternoon discussing a wide variety of subjects…. including toilets!

We do hope they will find time to visit for a follow-up lesson towards the end of their Australian holiday.

This morning I grappled with the trailer tail light wiring.  There seems to be no standard colour coding with Chinese trailers which had me scratching my head for some time.  Eventually I worked out the blue connected to the green and the black to the white whilst the yellow connected to yellow.  Oh the red connected to the brown.  Everything worked correctly in the end.

Jan came back from the fortnightly food shopping rather puzzled.  Apparently she had mentioned to the person operating the supermarket checkout that they worked faster in Aldi UK.  The checkout person then said “Well when Brexit happens the Brits won’t be able to travel anywhere!”  Jan hadn’t realized the UK might be going into national quarantine. Smile   Then the lady behind her in the queue asked how long Jan had been in Australia.  “Two years” said Jan (well it’s two years since we’ve returned).  The woman then said “You’re now an Australian”.  To which Jan replied “If you went and lived in Bangladesh for two years would that make you a Bangladeshi?”  “Of course not!”  Replied the woman.  Work the logic out…… I can’t!

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Been Busy

There may not have been a post for a few days but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy.
The local timber merchant allowed us to use their courtesy trailer enabling me to bring home a sizeable quantity of 4x2 framing timber and some sheets of plywood.   I’m making a 3.6 metre long bench in the workshop.  There has been a change of plan and I now don’t intend to make a purpose bench for the mitre saw.  More on that later.

The task which has taken the longest time is the cutting of the rebates in the bench legs.  There are 14 legs and each required four rebates.  I started doing the legs individually and then realised it would probably be easier and more efficient to cut as many as possible simultaneously.  To achieve this I used the bench saw slide.

This enabled me to simultaneously cut 7 legs.  It was a tedious task repeatedly running the timber through the saw blade to cut the rebates.  Eventually it was done.

The frames were then assembled.  They were glued and screwed.  Ten years ago I wouldn’t have cut rebates and the frames would have been nailed.  I even took particular care to ensure everything was level and square. 

That’s when I discovered the concrete floor wasn’t level near the roller door.  I’ll have to fit a small piece of packing under this leg.

I’d ordered 2400x1200x19mm plywood only to find it was 2440mm long and slightly wider than 1200mm.  The timber merchant informed me it was old imperial stock.  It must be really old!!!
By the end of today I’d managed to fit ¾ of the lower shelf.  The top shelf has also been cut out but I don’t want to install it until the lower shelf is fitted.  It’s easier that way.

My sister called to tell us she and my brother-in-law had purchased a second hand outback camper trailer.  It’s somewhat more luxurious than ours, but then it’s not a true outback camper.
The trailer has a pop top and extending ends that form two separate double beds.  there are a further two bed inside the main body.  There’s a fridge, oven, gas hob and microwave. 

Yes.... we did discuss toilets.  Their camper trailer doesn't have one.  I suggested they purchase a shovel!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

50 Years

The Australia Post courier delivered the shed electrical distribution board early this morning.  So early that I was still asleep!  Anyway, Jan accepted it.  Another cheap purchase from eBay.

Obviously it needed to be fitted which I decided to do before it got too hot.  It's been some time since I last fitted a switchboard and I've seen too many boards where the reverse looks like a birds nest.  Fifty years ago, when I'd started my apprenticeship, my 'master' was a tyrant demanding both speed and neatness.  He taught me well and I've always endeavoured to keep my wiring tidy.

The white cable loop sticking out of the box is actually plastic covered steel curtain wire.  It's the drawer cord for the yet to be installed main power and earth cables.

I've fitted a temporary supply cable to the power board whilst I wait for the necessary energy and enthusiasm to dig the cable trench from the shed to the house.

You can see the 32mm diameter grey plastic conduit for the power cable below.  The white cord is for pulling the main earth through the wall.  To the left is an orange conduit which carries the power cable for the bench saw plug which is in the middle of the concrete floor.