Saturday Miscellany

Over the last three weeks I have been working on my dining table as I get time.  The steel beams that I got were pretty rusty so I had do a lot of work to get those cleaned up.

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I bought many things to try to use on the rust, but the simplest thing ended up working the best.  I have a cheap angle grinder that I bought from Harbor Freight, I got some some abrasive wheels for the grinder that quickly removed the bulk of the rust.  I actually ended up removing too much of the rust on parts of the large I Beams and the metal started to look shiny rather then aged.

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Once I had cleared all the rust off that I wanted the beams still didn’t look like I wanted.  I wanted them to look darker and more aged.  I had some mineral spirits on hand and knew from past experience that it could darken wood.  I rubbed the mineral spirits onto the beams and found that it darkens the metal also and made the rust less orange.

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Lastly, I sprayed Rust-Oleum clear enamel paint onto the beams to seal them and prevent future rust.  Cleaning the rust was time consuming but ended up being the easy part.

Last Saturday I worked on drilling holes in the beams so I could attach the cross beams to the leg beams.  I want the table to be strong so I am going to use 1/2 inch galvanized bolts.  To use those bolts I have to drill 1/2 inch holes, thinking this would be easy I bought a 1/2 inch drill bit for steel and set out to drill holes.  I ended getting my first hole about half way through and then all of a sudden nothing was happening.  I had made my bit dull in that short amount of time.  I was able to use a 1/4th inch drill bit to make some starter holes in the beams, but was unable to get even a single 1/2 inch hole drilled.

A bit late I decided to do some research into how to drill holes in steel.  I found out that putting oil in the hole or on the bit helps with over heating.  Today, my dad came over to help me drill my holes.  We put oil into a container to dip the drill bit into but still didn’t have a lot of luck in drilling those 1/2 inch holes.  Luckily, my dad had my great grandfather’s table grinder with a drill bit sharpener that we were able to use to sharpen my drill bit.  After that the hole drilling went pretty quickly.  We put a new point on the bit a few times and got a large number of my holes drilled.

Burned metal shavings
drilling holes
I wanted a picture of the shavings, but the camera focused through the hole. It is a mistake picture, but I think it is interesting looking.
Me drilling holes
My 1/4th inch starter holes





I found it easier to drill the holes if I made a starter dimple in the metal.  I took a piece of cardboard and put holes in the pattern I wanted to drill my holes.  I put a nail in the holes and hammered a small dimple into the metal.  This keeps the drill bit from wandering around the metal when starting to drill.

using a hammer and nail to make dimples in the beam.
using a hammer and nail to make dimples in the beam.
using a hammer and nail to make dimples in the beam.
using a hammer and nail to make dimples in the beam.







The 3 dimples can be seen in the beam
The 3 dimples can be seen in the beam
The 3 dimples can be seen in the beam
The 3 dimples can be seen in the beam







Often when drilling the holes the oil would start to smoke and bits of smoking metal would be thrown around.



Don’t forget when working with tools, “Safety First”




A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my neighbor’s chickens destroying my yard.  After that I started to aggressively chase them out of my yard.  Even with scaring them as much as I could they kept coming back.  I enlisted the help of my brother-in-law to try and capture the birds in my yard.  We caught one of the birds and chased the other 4 back into their yard.  I took the captured chicken, and put it in a box with a note that said, “Your chickens are destroying my yard, please clip their wings or keep them caged.”  I drove around the block and put the boxed chicken by their front gate.  The next day I did see chickens in my yard and had to chase them out. Since then, I haven’t had one stray chicken in my yard!  I guess my neighbors finally got the hint and did something about their rampaging animals.  Sadly, I also had to remove 3 dead chickens from the space between our two fences, that wasn’t a fun task.

Two months ago we made hot sauce, and last week it was ready to eat.  In texture it is a lot like the hot sauces at the Mexican restaurants we have around us.  The spicy level is good for eating with chips, there is some heat but not so much that it burns your mouth over much.  The only problem I have is that it tastes more like apple cider vinegar then I would like.  I want to make the recipe again but use different vinegars for a different taste.

We also made sweet spicy pickled peppers which are also ready to eat.  We opened one of the jars that didn’t contain habanaro peppers.  The peppers taste a lot like sweet pickles which shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Since the peppers are mostly Serrano they do have a good amount of heat which is nicely counteracted by the sweetness.