Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spring balances - a note of caution

If you've skimmed this blog, you know I like salvaging old building materials for new projects.  Such was the case with a set of 60s era windows, still in frames, out of a house up by the lake.  Disassembling the frames to free up the sashes is pretty straightforward - you just need a little patience to separate the pieces without splitting to much of the wood.  The reason for this post is just a bit of fair warning about the object on the top right of the frame in this picture:

These are spring balances - one per sash - a technology still very much in use today.  They are just a strap wound and spring loaded in the case, and attached about a quarter of the way down each sash:

I've seen a few of these with rubber straps, but typically they are thin, flat metal. With very sharp edges. The safest way I found to approach these is to relieve the tension on the spring - free the sash from the frame and tilt it so the strap can retract almost all the way (see next to last photo).  Then and only then should you try and release it from the hook inside the sash.  Wear gloves (seriously) and safety goggles (no reason not to).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another big pile of wood

These are actually pretty cool, and I hope they're in good enough shape that I can get a lot of use out of them.  One of the old buildings downtown is being completely renovated.  As part of this, they removed and replaced the old floor joists - and I hauled them back to my place for nefarious purposes.  In the process, I confirmed that I really want a pickup truck.

After cleaning all this off the planks....

I have 40 or so planks of 4-6+ feet each.  They look like oak.  They are definitely 100+ years old.  And if enough of them are in good enough shape, I think I've got a deck, a nice floor for the back room, or at worst some serious shelves and furniture.

And in the critter file, this fierce creature decided to set up house under the original pile.  I've tried to cover the cleaned wood a little better...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bike rack

Here's a quick and easy project I finished a few months ago. The old deck benches - most of which became my picnic table (which is itself an upcoming post) - included a number of 2x4s with 45-degree miters.  While flipping through woodworking plans online I found this bike rack plan that included a bunch of 2x2 sticks with 45-degree miters. The gears whirred slowly in my head and I realized I had just about enough pressure-treated wood in lengths that weren't good for much else, some of which were practically precut.

I won't recap the whole construction process - the steps in the linked plans are pretty straightforward.  Beyond the compound miter in the pictures, I used my trusty Craftsman table saw to rip the 2x4s to something just shy of 2x2s, and they seem to be working fine.


Room for at least three bikes if you tie up to the outsides (as the red one is in this picture).