17 June 2011

Fortress still not quite done

I'm not a fan of drywall anchors. They never seem to hold (which is why I hung all of the garage shelving from studs). The anchors holding our towel rack in our bathroom failed, as did the ones I attempted to use to fasten my workbench power strip to the wall. The only thing I still trust drywall anchors for are paper towel dispensers, and even then, I used the upgraded metal spider type and not the crummy useless plastic slug type.

For the power strip, which takes a lot of force when unplugging cords, I had Lemontree get me some toggle bolts. I used these to securely mount a scrap of plywood to the wall. Then I was able to use wood screws and zip ties to get the power strip off the workbench, saving precious space:

I also tucked the cords neatly up and away, behind the shelf and 3-zillion-drawer-unit. You may notice that this power strip has those annoying "child safety" covers on the outlets. This is by design -- some time ago, I was turning aluminum on my lathe which makes big long curly strings of swarf. Suddenly, the lights went out and my lathe stopped! Looking around in confusion, I assumed I tripped a breaker somehow. Nope, breaker in the main electrical panel wasn't tripped. Breaker at my power strip wasn't tripped. What the... oh, the GFCI outlet tripped. Reset and it immediately tripped again. I finally isolated the issue to my power strip, and saw that a very long continuous string of aluminum had shorted my metal lathe with the "hot" slot of one of the outlets! The GFCI sure saved me from some fireworks there. I went out and got a strip with safety covers after that.

Anyhoo, one thing lacking on my tool wall was allen keys. I couldn't find anything suitable at Home Lowes* or online, plus with the Jetta (mostly) done I now have time to spend on fun projects like making my own allen key organizer.

* I like to use the term Home Lowes, because when I need to get something from a "Home Center" or hardware store, I don't care if it comes from Home Depot or Lowes -- just whichever is more convenient at the time. I don't care if it comes from Ace, either, but "Ace Home Lowes" is just too long of a name to rattle off.

Like the drill organizer, I just measured each of my allen keys across the points and selected the next drill bit size up (measuring across the flats would of course result in holes too small for the key to fit in). Even still, the larger keys fit perfectly but the smaller keys wouldn't go in the resulting hole. Apparently, when you drill small holes in wood, your holes end up undersize? I guess because the wood grain relaxes and moves as you relieve internal stresses. Anyway, the last few holes were a pain, drilling and redrilling bigger and bigger until things fit.

That done, drilled a snug hole in one end and Gorilla-glued in a pegboard hook:

Unlike my drill bit organizer, I decided to paint this one. Mainly because my hands get black and greasy working on cars, and plain wood would look pretty nasty after a while.

Lemontree bought a letter and number punch set, so I plan to stamp the allen key sizes on the organizer at some point. I don't think they're going to show up black on black painted wood, though, so I'm going to try highlighting them in white by scrubbing chalk over them and then wiping off the excess, then hitting it with a coat of clear spray paint to seal the chalk in. We'll see how that turns out.

After this, I need to make an abrasives section in the garage for all my sandpaper, scrubbing pads, files, brushes, etc. And I still need to organize the woodworking supplies, as well as my "hot work" stuff like propane torches and such. Then maybe I can start machining things in earnest, if no other projects crop up first...

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