Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hitachi 12v Lithium Ion drill set - Excellent so far!

For my birthday, I had wanted some new tools. When shopping a few days ago with my lovely bride, she bought me a tool I'd been needing for a while since my others died a horrible death. We picked up a Hitachi 12v Lithium Ion Drill and Impact driver set. This is a great deal at the current price of $139.99. It comes with 2 batteries (which sell for ~$50 each), a quick charger (40 minute), an Impact driver, a cordless screw / drill driver, and as an added bonus a flashlight (which I doubt will ever get used).

I have used this on 2 projects already and love Lithium Ion. Yes, I know, these have been out for a long time, but I hadn't had a need to replace what was working for me before, as funds have been tight (for everyone!) this year, but with our upcoming projects, this will be a very useful tool.
The size and weight were amazing. I was used to the standard Ni-cad batteries that were heavy and bulky. The LI batteries are about 1/3 the size, and seem to produce more torque than the Ni-cad. I look forward to getting to use this in the near future as we work on some new DIY projects, like some doored garage storage bins, shelving, finishing out a closet, and a home theater stand for the living room. I'll post up some pics once I get some of them done with more reviews.

Also, for some very cool, and very FREE designs for furniture, check out ana-white.com. My wife and I have found our first 3 projects already and look to start within the next week!

New Toys! - 6.5 ft discs and Ferguson 14" 2 bottom plow

It's been WAY too long since my last post, but it's been a busy summer! We're prepping for the vineyard next spring and picked up a few new tools to get the job done.

Not everyone says you need to plow and disc a field before planting grapes, but in my situation, I think it was a wise decision. The ground has been cattle fields for over 100 years and is solid as a rock. It needed ripped up if just to aid in the initial planting and getting the PHD started!

Plans are to set the posts in the next 2-3 weeks to reduce time required for planting of the crops in the spring. We will have all of the other necessities ready with the vineyard order, such at bamboo poles, grow tubes, cordons (the 12.5ga and 9ga lines the vines grow on), stretchers, anchors, etc.

So here is my new (very used) Ferguson 14" 2 bottom plow, TADA!

The front disc needs a slight adjustment as it is rubbing against the plow, but that's just a couple minutes. It's very solid and in really good condition other than some surface rust. Everything spins freely and does a great job plowing behind my little 25hp Jinma. I was told it wouldn't handle a 2-bottom being as small as it is, but it worked great!

Now, here's my new set of 6.5' discs! WOOHOO! (bought new from Rural King)

I had these set at a pretty large angle to cut as best as could be done into the large, heavy pieces turned over by the plow. It did an excellent job, and in some areas turned the ground almost into a fine powder. I think I ran over some of the parts a few too many times, but this was my first go at it, so I figure I'll get better in the future. I'll try to see if I can get my lovely bride to take some video in the field, but it may be next year before I disc again. If you're interested, let me know and I'll make an effort to do that, maybe even run over our small garden a few times just to see how it does this fall.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reburbishing my Charbroil Quickset Grill - Stage 1: Replacing the warming racks

I purchased my grill back in 2001 when I moved into my first home. This thing has worked great, but has taken some abuse over the years. I decided it's time to slowly (as I'm on a low budget for this) replace parts to bring this back to full glory. The following are the items that I will need to replace in the not to distant future:

  • 1. Warming / grilling racks
  • 2. Clean up rusting spots (high temp flat black paint)
  • 3. Ceramic Briquets
  • 4. Drip shield
  • 5. Ignitor

I have ordered the items in the order in which I plan to replace parts. This is step 1, and I'll be replacing the warming/grilling racks.

My grill has 3 tiers: The main/lowest THICK grill that is great for flashing the meats right above the flame. A middle tier for everyday grilling (nothing too fancy) and the upper tray I use as a warming rack. The main grilling rack is very thick and shows little to no wear.

The middle and upper are much thinner metal and some of th
e pieces have thinned to the point of almost dental floss, and were ready to break at any moment.
Before and After:

Looking up the parts for the grill online wasn't simple, until I found a great site (currently no affiliation) grillparts.com. My model, a CharBroil Quickset is
rather non-descript. I had no idea what series it was in the CharBroil line. This site made it easy. a couple of quick measurements of the parts I wanted to replace and it was perfectly matched to what I needed. Found out I have a 8000 series model. I measured the depth and width of each piece I needed and matched it on their site. Worked great. I ordered the parts on a friday afternoon, and had them on my doorstep then installed by tuesday of the following week, shipped to my door for just around $32. It might be easier for some of you to go to a local store and purchase yours, and save you a couple bucks, but it's a 30 minute drive one way for me to anywhere like that, and then I'd have to find the right store. Much cheaper to just pay the shipping.

The new parts slid right in after removing the old ones with no problems. Took about 5 minutes, and getting the old shelves out was a little messy / greasy. Step 1 complete, now to clean up the ugly rust.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sharpening Chain Saw chains

I received an electric chain saw sharpener for Christmas last year. Didn't think much of it, other than "oh, what a nice toy to add to my tool chest." I now need to go revisit the person who gave me this gift. They unknowingly saved me a LOT of time and money! Talk about making light work of what can be an incredibly difficult job! Before, my only way of sharpening chains for my saws was a manual file and bracket. Tedious, clumsy, and just a pain in the butt. Took way too long, and we usually gave up and just bought a new multi-pack of chains before we had a job.
Is the electric shaprener 100% accurate? No. Does it make the chains usable again, and much better at cutting? YES! Would I rather pay $4 for bits to re-sharpen 7 chains than pay upwards of $10/chain? ANY DAY!
The tool I have operates off of a 12v source via alligator clips. Easily connects to a car battery. (I have spare batteries in the garage) It is essentially a rotary tool with very little frills. Insert and tighten a bit, on/off switch. Very simple.
I am able to get an entire chain, both sides, sharpened in about 2 minutes. The most difficult part of the job is changing the chains out to work on the next one! I found it easiest to work on the chains when they are still on the saw.
I have a very simple Homelite Ranger with a 16" bar. I have 7 chains for it, and was able to sharpen all of them within about a 15 minute period.
The rotary tool does go through sharpening bits though. I am able to sharpen all of my 7 chains with one bit, but by that point the bit is wasted. I found a 2-pack of the Dremel brand chainsaw bits (matching my chains size) at Rural King for $3.99. The same package was $4.99 at Lowes a couple blocks down the road. (I bought mine from Rural King, no brainer).
I hope to have a video up soon of how easy this tool is to use.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Panterra 90cc ATV manuals

Ok, it took me some time, but searching through the web I was able to find multiple manuals for my Panterra quad. I found the user manuals and the parts catalogs.

Panterra 90cc ATV User Manual

90cc ATV Parts Catalog

I hope these can help out someone who has spent way too much time looking for this information like I had to.

Also, if you need information on places to order parts, leave a comment and I'll get back to you!