Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Puppet Master

 Last time I told you about a power vent I installed in the attic of my garage. I also explained that installing the two piece intake vents was gonna be a treat because the two halves need to snap together and I can't access the outside area of the vents. Heres a pic of the completed project at the far end of the attic. Why two vents? I dunno, Maybe symmetry, uniformity or possibly feng shui. Actually, two seemed better than one and they were cheap. Notice no consideration was given to square footage of vent needed to feed the fan. When I was up there earlier I couldn't help but notice the amount of daylight peeking around all the soffit edges. I don't think air intake is gonna be an issue.

 I don't want to put  lot of weight up here but now that I've installed that attic ladder I have about ten feet by thirty five feet of storage space available.

 This was the first vent hole. As you can see there is a glass greenhouse blocking my ability to stand a ladder against the building. Once I cut the second hole I just reached through it to install the first vent.

 I did this project in the morning but the heat was still miserable. My idea of using strings to play puppet master and finagle the second vent into place did eventually work. It took about an hour and at one point I had to come down and stretch my legs for a bit. Thats one sucky job that I'm glad is over.

 Heres a look in the other direction.

 Next stop, insulation. Another fun job in the heat. Oh did I mention? Its all over head work.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Garage Makeover Part 6-Floor Paint

 Last Sunday I showed you that I was grinding the concrete floor in my garage in preparation for paint. My main concern was degreasing and the goal never was to have a mirror finish. I was afraid if I made the floor too smooth that it would be slippery. In fact when the grinder was leaving swirl marks in the concrete I was happy about it.  The big holes and pitting from salt damage were what I was trying to clean up and my resurfacing compound and the floor grinding did a decent job of repairing that.

  If I had to do it over again the only change would be to use more paint. Not to cover things up better but to get better coverage. Its all in the video:


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Gotta Vent About A Fan

 Ha, gotcha! I don't have fans, just a few followers with extra time on their hands. This post is about an actual electric fan. I know, exciting stuff. Its whats going on so its what I report.
 Part of the garage makeover includes insulating the garage and that means I need to vent the attic. During this last heat wave it got up to about 1.3 kajillion degrees up there and in a sweaty panic to decide how to vent the attic I bought a power vent that came with a thermostat.

 Because the soffit on the garage isn't perforated and because I still have some big expenses left on this project, I elected to do this gable vent fan. It should work fine once I have the inlet vents installed on the other end. I installed the fan before painting the floor because I wanted to vent paint fumes during that operation. The fan worked well and I think I'll be able to use it in another way besides cooling down the attic. If I have fumes in the garage after the ceiling is installed, all I have to do is prop open the attic ladder and turn the fan on. I'm not sure how much it will draw or how fast but I'm hoping I could weld in there with the garage doors down, or one just open a little bit. We'll see.

 Installation of the vent and fan were pretty easy. The old clapboard siding was easy to access near the peak of the roof and cut like butter. I screwed a couple 1 x 4's in place and screwed the fan to them.

 And finally a shot from the outside.

 This was the easy end to install. The other end will have two inlet vents which are actually very easy to install if you can access both sides. Because the other end is over a glass greenhouse I can't access it. At least not with a ladder or from the roof. The vents are two piece and the outer piece snaps into the inner. I figure if I cut both the holes in the wall for the two vents then I can just reach out one of the holes to snap the first vent into place. The second vent is going to require some thinking. I'm treating it like a puzzle. I know there must be a way to solve the problem and I'll keep trying until I figure it out. The thing is, I need to be sure it can be done before cutting holes in the garage. In practice runs I've tried using strings to pull the outer piece into the inner piece. I keep finding myself cheating and looking at the other side to line things up. Of course I won't be able to do this if I'm inside the attic. Another option might be to somehow secure the outer half and then snap the inner half to it. I'm not sure yet how to get it done but I'll let you know when I do.


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Garage Makeover Part 5

 To be honest I really have no idea what episode this is of the makeover but 5 seemed about right. I'm still working on the floor which should be getting a coat of paint later today, for sure before the next video, so you've got that to look forward to. If you get nothing else from todays video at least be aware that if you choose to paint an old greasy, chipped concrete floor, you should be prepared for a lot of work.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Cancelled Vacation

 When this covid thing started back in what, March, I never dreamed it would have an effect on vacation plans in August. I don't have to tell any of you how wrong that attitude was.  After some discussions with the group of people I would have vacationed with and the fact that some were bowing out, I too decided not to travel south and enjoy the Smokies for a week. 
 This sucks and despite really looking forward to this get away I suppose it's the right thing to do. I've made this trip 17 of the past 18 years only missing that one year because of a job interview.  I got the job but looking back I think a bike trip would have been a better stint than the 6 months at that landscaping outfit. Next year will represent 20 years that this group of internet friends have been meeting and its gonna take more than a virus to keep me away.
 I have vacation time I need to use up and some of it will be used for painting the roof of our house. There's a whole honey do list of things that need to be done so finding a way to burn hours will be easy, but I don't want to burn hours. I want to hang my knees in the breeze with the wind pounding me in the chest. The ultra is a great bike for eating up miles with its large storage capacity, creature comforts and smooth ride but the sporty connects me to nature better. To be honest, I really want to take a ride that has almost no planning and requires nothing of me but the right attitude. A clean change of underwear and a credit card are all I want to take. 

 Maybe I can find the time to squeeze out a decent ride on each.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Floor Patch And Hog Tunes

 This weeks video is long enough that I won't waste any time with an intro.

 What I will do is show you this pic of the floor and decades of stains on it. My goal is to make this a paintable surface and to fill some of the cracks and holes.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Warranty Process

"Its a brand new tiller and we never got it running". I enjoy a challenge but this one was easy. If you're gonna lie about it never running at least clean the mud off the tines. Now explain to me how an engine that never ran has a scored cylinder. Nobody wants to be accountable for their actions these days. Its always somebody elses fault and they will make up lies to ensure that. The saddest part is that the customer didn't have to lie. There was a legit issue with the equipment that the customer had no control over. A warranty claim was filed.

 This is typical of the kind of thing I've been seeing a lot more of lately. A person goes to the big box store, buys a cheap piece of shit and has problems. One of the problems is that they are selling "disposable" outdoor power equipment. The biggest problem is that the big box store doesn't do what a shop like ours does. At the big box stores you will get an offer to purchase an extended warranty but thats where it ends. A shop like the one I work at starts by matching the equipment purchase to the consumer needs. We set up the machines, test run them and train the customer how to operate and maintain them. Nobody leaves before all their questions are answered. I do see a problem every so often when a guy is too macho to listen to what I'm telling him, then later comes back bad mouthing the product. A good example is warm starting procedure for a chainsaw. We explained it when they bought the saw, theres a big sticker right there on the saw, but "nobody told me that". With a smile I politely point out the sticker right there on the saw is a reminder and the fact that its in the owners manual. OK I don't smile very often. In fact on the inside I'm quoting Red Forman...Dumbass! You were too smart to listen, now you're being schooled! The point is, the customer receives one-on-one help for their issues and usually leaves happy. If you ask the big box store for help on warranty issues they send you to us.
 When they are sent to us, I find people lie all the time about equipment that needs repair. Usually its because they weren't educated on the equipment and did something wrong. I don't mind setting them straight, denying warranty and writing up a bill for diagnostics even when the machine wasn't fixed. I'm not a dick about it, I just don't feel sorry for a person that brings on bad juju from their dishonesty. You'll get something for nothing if its covered under warranty. All others pay. You have to remember, the equipment manufacturers are our biggest repair customers due to warranty claims. We are on the customers side and make every claim we know will be accepted. Sometimes we can even get the manufacturers to agree to a goodwill gesture of some sort. The sad part about all of this is that it could have been avoided if they bought from a shop like ours that educates the customer. 
 Sometimes we have to educate a customer when we are explaining why they don't have a valid warranty claim. It makes me sad when I see a customer bring in all their paperwork and proof of purchase for a piece of equipment that won't run only to be denied a claim. They think it will be a free repair and then they get a bill. I have to be the dickhead that explains why. I do my best to let them down easy and be thorough in my explanation. I don't use 8x10 color glossy prints but I will show them pics from my phone. It must be a lot like seeing that the biggest package under the tree has your name on it, only to have some grumpy elf drop in and explain there was a clerical error at the main office and this gift ain't for you. 
 This happened yesterday. We've been busy so repairs are at least a week out so right away customers are antsy. I get a work order that has all the receipts and such attached and this tells me the customer isn't expecting a bill. Now the engine manufacturers have no control over what you put in the fuel tank and bad fuel isn't a manufacturer defect. A lot of people don't get that. A carb kit and cleaning labor fixed a problem with a rusty scum buildup issue in a chainsaw carb. The customer wasn't furious but he was whatever the next level of pissed off is right below that. He said he uses only premium fuel, no ethanol, and the brand name oil we sell. I told him I believed him and started asking a few questions. He told me where he buys his fuel and that he uses a one gallon can. If you deal with this stuff every day then you know where I'm going with my line of questions. This particular station uses one hose pumps. That is, whatever grade is selected comes out the same hose. I had to explain to him that he was getting at least some of whatever grade the guy before him pumped. There was a chance a good portion of his one gallon can was ethanol. Now if his can wasn't sealed tight with the humidity we've been having, theres also a good chance it was pulling moisture right out of thin air. BTW, to get around this problem, pump the first gallon or two into your vehicle before you fill your can with the good stuff.
 He wasn't happy about the situation. Heres a guy that thought he was doing everything right only to find out he was overlooking a few points. He was a reasonable man and didn't blame me for anything. In fact he thanked me for taking the time to explain everything. At the end of it all he said. " I wish I would have bought my saw from here".
 This is getting long but I have one more. A customer brings in a tiller, much like the first one I talked about. Someone must have been having a sale on crappy tillers. They never got it started and I believe them. First, if you follow the starting procedures on the sticker you will flood it every time and never get it started. Second, when I finally did get it started it wouldn't idle. It was set too low. I explained all this to the claims department of the distributor. I was talking with them because I wanted to make at least a minimal warranty claim for my time to get their piece of shit tiller running for their customer. We didn't sell the machine so we didn't make a dime on the deal but the customer was sent to us for service. He wanted to deny any claim because I told him I had to turn the idle up to keep it running. We went back and forth and both fell just short of any name calling. He did finally state he doesn't normally handle warranty claims but "Idle adjustment is clearly explained in the owners manual and the customer shouldn't have had to bring it in to you". "Oh really?", I said. "Please explain to me how the customer was supposed to know the idle was set too low on an engine they were never able to get started?" There was a long pause and then he gave me a claim number. Dumbass.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Parts Cabinet Update

 Todays video is a garage makeover update of sorts. I basically report that there has been limited progress but its also an update about the hardware cabinet I built and my long wait from harbor freight for some bins I ordered. 
 Ya know, some places you order things from are Johnny on the spot quick to fulfill those orders or make them right if theres a problem. The customer comes first and all that. That doesn't appear to be the case with harbor freight. Their policy seems to be to cancel orders that they haven't gotten around to filling in a respectable amount of time. They just cancel them and leave you hangin without notice. After a month of waiting and only getting one piece of a nine piece order, I called them. They said it would be another twenty days. I let a month pass and noticed on the web site that my order status changed from "pending" to "unable to fulfill". I never got an email notice of the status change. I used the phone system to check my order status and it was "pending". I called and talked with a rep that stated they had cancelled my order. That pissed me off. I'm sitting here waiting for an order that they decided they weren't gonna fulfill. Because of their policy to include all the shipping charges in the first piece they sent, I know that I could have driven to the local store 45 miles away and come out ahead including the cost of fuel. (Insert bullshit button here). I also found out that every order you check on using the phone system is reported as "pending". The rep said he was gonna make sure the order was cancelled and then reorder it. I told him I didn't give a shit how he handles things on his end as long as I got my stuff and he didn't charge me shipping again. A week later I did get my bins but upon checking my order status online I find that they changed it to "pending". What a joke.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Dealing With The Heat

 Its been hot here in central Wisconsin this week and they say we're in for about a ten day run of hell on Earth. Everyone deals with the heat a little differently but for the most part I see a lot of guys at work wearing shorts along with t-shirts that really aren't much of a shirt anymore. Big floor fans blast away toward work areas while an industrial dehumidifier runs in the background.  Shop rags become beach towels filled with sweat while drinking water jugs do some sweating of their own. We keep the shop doors closed in this kind of humidity and while it is a bit cooler than outside, it seems stuffy to me. One advantage that you don't notice right away unless you think about years past is that everything in the shop isn't slimey from the humidity. Running that industrial dehumidifier isn't as cool as an air conditioner but it does make a difference.  BTW, I still wear long pants, t-shirt and work shirt. I also prefer the comfort of a thick cushion sock over some thin sock, despite the heat. I'd rather have a bead of sweat rolling down my ass crack than an icicle hanging from my nose hair. Yesterday just for fun I wore a knit hat for a while just to watch coworkers freak out a little. I mean really, its like a tropical paradise out here. If I were on vacation I'd expect nothing less.
 Another way I deal with the heat is to try to avoid it when possible. I prefer my radiation in small doses please. I haven't ridden the bike to work yet this week but thats not just because of the daily heat but rather the fact that I rode it on Sunday long enough to get a nasty sun burn. Now if I'm outside in the sun I can feel the skin on my face cracking. The heat doesn't bother me, its the pain I could do without.
 I thought I'd be out in the garage each night getting some of that makeover stuff accomplished but its another one of those areas I'm trying to avoid.

  Now I know I said the heat doesn't bother me and its true my fridge is stocked up with cold beers but dang near a hundred is hard to take after a long day of listening to whining about how miserable it is outside. Knowing the a/c is on just inside the house has lured me in to a few nights of youtube videos from the easy chair so garage makeover progress reports are non existent. 

Stay cool.