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Metal Working Tools

by adminpower

Have you ever gone to a metal fabrication shop? It is fascinating to see how they work the various pieces of metal. Bending, cutting, welding for a variety of purposes and a variety of different metals, although steel is the most common.

There are huge machines called brakes that bend thick sheets of metal. There are small hand versions that HVAC people use to create the ducts for HVAC systems. (By the way, if you didn’t know, HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.) That is fine for the thin metal sheets they work with. But for thicker metal sheets or even plates, these larger machines are able to use a lot of pressure and force to bend them.

Then they have torches that they use to cut metal as well as various types of saws, particularly band saws. Some even use lasers to do the cutting. There are also shears to make rough cuts.

Then there ways to fasten the metal together. There are drill presses to make holes in the metal that you can put rivets or bolts through. Of course if you are using bolts, you need to have taps and dies to make the threads in the hole if you want that. Or you can have a smooth bore and the nut and bolt hold things together.

Besides that, to join things, you can weld them. There is arc welding and TIG and MIG welding and many more. Different types of welding are used for different purposes and for different types of metals. You have to handle aluminum differently than you do steel.

Then you need to be able to finish things off as well. So there are a variety of grinders such as belt grinders to smooth off rough spots. Then there are tumblers for deburring and polishing. And of course lathes to be able to turn rods of metal into different shapes.

If you ever get a chance to go to a metal fabrication shop while they are working, it is very interesting. Even just the machines they use to move the heavy pieces of metal around.

Window Glazing Tool

by adminpower

Tenants are a Pain with Panes

My tenants have broken out a couple of panes in the storm door yet again. This is the third time they have done this. They are a pain with the panes. This is an older style storm door made out of wood with small 12×13 panes. So I got the two panes and put them back in. Usually I scrape out the old window glazing with a flat screw driver and a chisel. The points are still there and I just bend them down, put the new piece of glass in and then bend them back up and put the glazing compound in.

Glazing Points

This time however, the points had come out with scraping or I did something wrong. So the glass was held in by just the new soft glazing compound which of course hadn’t hardened yet. So a day or two later the tenant called and said one of the panes had fallen out and broken.

I wasn’t sure where my glazing points were. Originally they were little flat triangles of metal that you shoved into the door frame to hold the glass in place. They were a pain to deal with. In the past, I think I broke a pane trying to get a glazing point in with a screwdriver or chisel when I was trying to push it into the wood. I must have pushed too hard the wrong way.

So, off to Home Depot to get more glass, glazing points and more glazing compound because my old little can had run out. Decided to get Plexiglas instead of glass. They don’t sell small cans of glazing compound anymore, at least at Home Depot they don’t. What I had to get will last me the rest of my lifetime and probably part of my kid’s lifetime.

Glazing Tool

OK, so this blog is supposed to be about tools. I am finally getting around to that. It turns out the guy at the store showed me a glazing tool. I didn’t know they existed. One end is flat and much stiffer than a putty knife so you can use it to push in the glazing points. The other end is bent in a 90 degree angle like a V so you can hold one side against the pain and have a nice steady angle for the glazing compound. A chisel and putty knife work just fine so I didn’t buy it.

Modern Glazing Points

When I went to put the new pane in, I was pleasantly surprised to see what glazing points look like these days. I have probably seen it before but had forgotten  about it since it isn’t something I do every day. They now have two little tabs bent out so that you can push the point in much more easily instead of trying to push in a thin little piece of metal.

So I put in the Plexiglas. On the piece of glass that hadn’t fallen out, I dug out a bit of the new soft compound and put in a point and put the compound back in place. Did that all the way around the pane. Neither one should be going anywhere anytime soon. If the Plexiglas one does, at least it won’t break.

Lumberjack Tools

by adminpower

You could say you have two forms of lumberjacks. The ones who log trees for paper and lumber companies and the ones who work for tree services companies and do tree removal and tree pruning.

Historical Lumberjacking

A hundred years ago, no one except the very wealthy would have thought about pruning trees. It was hard laborious work because it was all done with hand tools. Not that it is that easy now, but in comparison it is easy now. Or maybe, it is just as hard work, but they get more done in the same time because of the power tools.

Some of the hand tools you needed were a long handles falling axe and a crosscut falling saw. These saws had a handle on each end and a lumberjack stood on either side of the tree and pushed and pulled the saw. They had huge teeth an inch or two long.

They also used a sledge hammer and wedges. Once the saw was in a ways, they would use the sledge hammer to drive the wedge into the cut behind the saw to keep the cut open, so the saw wouldn’t get pinched by the tree which would make it impossible to move the saw or remove it.

Modern Lumberjacks

Modern lumberjacks still have axes but they primarily use large chain saws. There are even machines that will come along and grasp the tree, snip it like it was cutting a flower stem, then tilt it over and pull it through the grippers to take all the branches off and in just a few minutes you have a log readied to be carried out of the forest. It is very impressive to see. Kind of scary too.

Tree Service Companies

With the tree services companies, the requirements are a bit different. With modern lumberjacks, they can pretty much fell a tree any direction they want. They will try to avoid knocking down other trees, but they generally don’t have to worry much about damaging anything. Not true for tree services companies. If they drop a tree on a house or prize flower garden, the clients are not going to be happy.

Rather than just felling the tree, they normally have to take them down piece meal. They will climb the tree, and rope off so that if they fall, the rope will catch them. They will attach other ropes to limbs they are cutting and lower them to the ground instead of letting them fall. This way they can use the ropes to guide where and how they are going to come down to the ground. So bit by bit, they deconstruct the tree until it is just a stump.

Once that is done, they will probably use a stump grinder to take the stump down below ground level so you can put dirt over it and it will look better. Lumberjacks will just leave the stumps there to rot. They have no reason to do stump grinding.

So the tree service companies will use chain saws but smaller ones than lumberjacks who are typically cutting down larger trees, although not necessarily. They also use the ropes and possible tackle up in the trees whereas a lumberjack might use them to move a tree once it is on the ground but that is about it.

ReThinking Guns

by adminpower

We are doing a mix of odd and interesting new tools and devices in this post. Hope you enjoy.

Battelle DroneDefender

This looks like some sort of crazy gun out of a scifi movie. It would fit in with Men in Black or Star Wars. It is designed to take down drones. There are so many drones these days that you never know where one is going to show up, possibly peaking in a bedroom window or spying on a company and trying to steal trade secrets, or perhaps spying on a government installation. It uses radio frequency disruption technology. Amazingly, it can disrupt the signal going to a drone from over 1,000 feet away. Without the signal going to it, the drone will drop to the ground. This is much better than trying to shoot it down. Shooting at drones is not a solution in most circumstances and you would need to be an awfully good shot on top of the other obvious problems.


OK, not table salt, this is a new type of gun. Hmm, this blog seems to be turning into a post about guns. Salt is interesting. The company’s website is saltsupply.com. They decided to rethink what a gun is and what it is needed for. You are not going to go hunting with this gun. It was designed to both protect you in your home, but also to protect whoever you use it against. It is designed to incapacitate but not kill any intruders.

The nice thing about this is that there are so many deaths where kids find a gun and shoot somebody thinking it is a toy and not realizing what they are doing. Or someone hears something, thinks it is an intruder and shoots the person who got up in the middle of the night for a glass of milk. This sort of thing happens all too often.

Salt fires a pellet that is mostly made of salt. It explodes on impact and immediately forms a cloud around the person that temporarily blinds them and constricts their airways making it difficult to breath. The great thing is that even if you miss the person and it hits a wall, it is still just as effective.

This is very important because when people are nervous, they tend to be lousy shots. So if you do have an intruder, you are likely to miss with a real gun and then they are on you and can take the gun and use it on you. With Salt, you can even fire and create the cloud before they open the door so they are incapacitated as soon as they walk through the door.