Posts Tagged With: sustainability

ScrapHappy July 2021: Palletgate V2.0 Update

Everything Put Together Falls Apart (well, it does when I'm involved)

Everything Put Together Falls Apart (well, it does when I’m involved)

You’d forgotten, hadn’t you? Well, that makes two of us. In March 2020, when so much happened and then nothing happened at all for months and months, I wrote a little ScrapHappy post entitled ScrapHappy March 2020: Palletgate V2.0. There was a suggestion that, in the near future, Palletgate would be rebuilt, stronger, tougher and more pallety than ever before. Well…

Welcome to the near future. In it, pallets have given way (not literally, at least not in this project) to something altogether shinier (when polished): aluminium (or aluminum, if you prefer). The problem with Palletgate Version 1 (apart from the obvious one of being built by an idiot hammer-wielding optimist) was that without further treatment of the wood, it was bound to rot as it isn’t good quality. In Wales, well, we have our fair share (and also that of England’s) of rain, so the idea of building a new one just for it to rot (even if I were to finally prime and paint it) seemed a bit silly**.

Then I wondered if I could repurpose the old bits of staging from the long now-replaced-with-the-Limery greenhouse to make a shiny new gate to keep our currently non-existent chickens* away from the raised beds. Made of lightweight non-rusting aluminium, these bits seemed ideal, so I investigated the pile of potential material further. The original leg sections could be bolted together, in ways that wouldn’t make sense if you were making staging but made PERFECT sense if you’re making the frame for a gate. I reckoned I could probably use some of the old struts as supports for the mesh (recycled from Palletgate version 1), and maybe use them for hinge supports too. Time would tell…

All the World's a stage and all the stage is a new gate. Maybe.

All the World’s a stage and all the stage is a new gate. Maybe.

We did indeed appear to have the technology. We COULD rebuild Palletgate. It WOULD cost 64 pence, with change for a small beer.***

Extra bits and pieces

Extra bits and pieces

There were also some (potentially) handy extras too. I also used nuts, washers and screws from a set I bought about twenty years ago, one which has already outlived its original case (which was the subject of this ScrapHappy).

You know what? This might just work...

You know what? This might just work…

I tested to see if two bits of the staging could form half the gate – they could, so I set about bolting them together, using the pre-existing holes and new bolts, since the originals had all snapped (I know that feeling!) when I removed them.

You know what? This just might work, vertically this time...

You know what? This just might work, vertically this time…

Having created the framework, I figured out a way to attach the hinges. The gate is so light that the existing hinges, that had bent a little under the weight of the old pallet, were perfect for this incarnation. Now to attach the mesh, a remnant from PalletGate version 1.

A Complete Mesh

A Complete Mesh

The mesh fitted on easily but needed some support as it was, to use the technical term, “a bit flappy”. This had been a problem with the first gate, with various extra supports being added over its life. I tried to find the focal points of the flappiness and clamp them with some of the original support struts from the staging.

Strutting its stuff - trying to stop the mesh flapping about

Strutting its stuff – trying to stop the mesh flapping about

I also added one of the tops of the staging to dampen any movement at the top of the mesh.

A piece of staging worktop acting as further mesh support

A piece of staging worktop acting as further mesh support

Finally (oh, how you have longed to see those words in this post), I cut a couple of grooves and constructed a gate latch from other leftover staging bits.

Groovy!

Groovy!

I’m not sure if this will be the final design of latch but it works for now. I do have an idea to improve it, but that is possibly for a later ScrapHappy!

It's Gatier than you Think

It actually looks like a real gate!

But, what should this new gate be called? StagingGate? AluGate? Well, it is Partly Aluminium, Lightweight and has the usual DIY vibe of LET‘s-see-how-long-this-lasts Gate, so perhaps we can abbreviate this to:

PALLETGATE

What else could it be called? Palletgate (version 1) is dead. Long live Palletgate (version 2)!

oOo

* So much easier to look after than extant chickens and produce almost as many eggs as ours did in the last year of their lives.

** Problem is, I do silly really well.

*** Small, bordering on non-existent at today’s prices.

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

ScrapHappy June 2021: One becomes Two

A pile of slightly fuzzy scrap…

One of the new things we have tried at Chez Snail as a result of lockdown is being part of a virtual audience on a radio show. In the past, we have on a couple of occasions gone to a recording of “I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue” which, for the benefit of my international reader, is probably the original unscripted panel show in which the panellists are “given silly things to do”. It was a part of my childhood and is still going a hundred and fifty years later.

As part of a virtual audience, you need a ubiquitous computer with a microphone and a set of headphones, or two, if there are two of you. And therein lies the problem. Most laptops only have the one headphone socket, and won’t allow you to use, say, one set of headphones and one set of Bluetooth connected ear buds. What you need is a gizmo to make one socket into two. I feel a ScrapHappy coming on…

To create a headphone splitter, first carefully select* an old CD player which has two of the required stereo 3.5 mm sockets (usually one is labelled “Line” and the other with the headphone symbol). Then, remove the sockets from the board, plus any other components that look like they may be useful for something one day (and will come off without too much effort).

Shiny soon-to-be used socket

Shiny soon-to-be used socket

RIMG0904

Not-so-shiny soon-to-be used socket

 

Removed and ready for action!

Removed and ready for action!

Now, carefully select one wire from the tangled mess of wires that is my collection of broken headphones – the wires break in the cheap ones** all the time because they are, you know, cheap, and very unmendable. Fortunately, they tend to break in the unopenable earphone bit, or in the moulded plug bit so if you can find one that has broken in the former way, you have the right thing: a bit of wire with a plug on the end. All you need to do now is solder the wire to one of the sockets and that socket to the other socket and bingo! You may want to elicit some help…

Wires. Four of them. Stop me if this is too technical.

Wires. Four of them. Stop me if this is too technical.

RIMG0914

JonBeastie at the ready with his soldering iron

Finally, I decided to make something to hold the sockets so that they weren’t, to use a technical phrase, “flapping about all over the place”. I started with a piece of clear plastic that I carefully removed*** from the front of the CD player but that shattered when I drilled it so I cut a piece of the casing off instead, and drilled that.

A hacked-off CD player

A hacked-off CD player

Possibly a hammerhead shark

Possibly a hammerhead shark

And almost immediately after completion, those Beasties had nicked it and were listening to their grimy hippity-hop music by some popular beat combo.

RIMG0922

Beasties chillin’ to the groove – apparently

oOo

* It was the nearest one.

** And expensive ones as well.

*** It fell off.

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , | 20 Comments

ScrapHappy May 2021: Candle with Care

 

Lights out!

Lights out!

I am all for the right to repair, as my reader will know. Give me a broken thing and I will try to mend it. Give me a working thing and I’ll probably break it. Give me a decent single malt, and I’ll stop breaking stuff.

Sometimes though, things can’t be fixed because the manufacturer has inadvertently, or advertently, made them unfixable. And so it was with this pair of quite funky lamps from Mother-of-Snail. These lamps, when they worked, were touch sensitive so when you brushed them with your finger they giggled like a small child. Oh, wait, that’s me. You could cycle through “light off”, “light a bit on”, “light quite a bit on”, and “Ah! My eyes! My eyes! on”, just by touching the base. Then a power glitch one day meant you could only use the “light off” setting.

I took the pair of similarly-afflicted lamps to my workshop/office/lair/scrapheap and replaced the electronic component that was most likely to have been affected (it’s a thing called a triac, but you already knew that, didn’t you?). Sadly, that didn’t do the trick because the little custom-made silicon chip that controls the whole thing had also decided that the power glitch was a perfect excuse for a permanent holiday.

Nobody's bolt but mine

Nobody’s bolt but mine

I decided to de-evolve the lamps to candle holders. The threaded bolt that held the bulb holder into the body of the lamp was removable and so I glued a screw as shown to push the candle into. I was going to use something pointed but then realised how dangerous that might be for passing spaniels/terriers/Snails.

RIMG0890

DIY candle holder

There are a few bits left over. There will be some electronic components that are still useable and the bulb holders are fine (although I have no use for them at all unless I build a lamp, which is unlikely). There are the little boxes that held the circuitry that might come in handy.

...and that's what lamps are made of.

…and that’s what lamps are made of.

I may add some extra support (possibly by melting wax) around the base of the candle at some point.

And now, by the light of two candles, I am off to finish some lovely single malt.

Another two, and we have the basis for a very funny sketch

Another two, and we have the basis for a very funny sketch

oOo

 

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

ScrapHappy April 2021: Reel and Raspberries

The reel thing

The reel thing

The Snail and I walk the dogs every day, provided the weather isn’t so miserable that even the dogs are begging us not to drag them out. This has meant that, over the last year, we have been out twice almost every day. On our walks, we talk about pretty much anything and everything and also encounter some ‘useful’ items lying around.

One such conversation went pretty much along the lines of:

Snail: The raspberry canes need supporting with tree stakes and wires of some kind.

Me: Mmm… steaks…

Snail: We’ll get some tree stakes from the garden centre when they are allowed to open. Do you have anything in that pile of junk you laughingly call your office we could use for the wires?

Me (noticing a reel of old telecoms wire by the road, and then failing to pick it up): I’ll have a think about it. Can we have chips with the steak?

One such item was a reel of copper wire, left by OpenReach (the telephone maintenance people, for my non-UK reader). They had been upgrading the telephone cables to fibre, and this rejected reel had been left, unloved and unwanted, and finally abandoned against a wall awaiting further anthropomorphism. It was left longer than was necessary as I kept forgetting to pick it up on the way past.

Eventually, I did remember to pick it up and recognise that its wiry heart was perfect for the Snail’s task. Easy! Just remove the outer sheathing and extract the wires. What could be simpler?

040921_1559_ScrapHappyA2.jpg

Attempt #103 to strip the cable quickly (it didn’t)

Turns out, almost everything. It took me around eight hours to strip back the sheathing and pull out the wires. I used the workbench as a vice and then cut the sheathing every 10 cm or so (being careful not to nick the wires inside). After every three or so cuts, I pulled the sheathing off and started on the next section. It took quite a few attempts using a variety of tools before I came up with this method.

040921_1559_ScrapHappyA3.jpg

Using a workbench as a vice because using the vice as a vice didn’t work

040921_1559_ScrapHappyA4.jpg

Just when you thought my office couldn’t be any more messy…

Once all the wires were removed (some broke in the process), I wound the long pieces onto whatever was available – thread reels, and toilet roll middles.

A wired and weary face

A wired and weary face

There was a lot of waste – unfortunately, the cable sheathing is unusable. I might be able to melt it down but I don’t think it is very nice stuff, chemically speaking, so reluctantly it’s off to landfill. Boo.

040921_1559_ScrapHappyA6.jpg

Wasted

Happily, there was more than sufficient wire for the raspberry canes and quite a bit left over for electronics projects or more plant restraint. Now I’m looking forward to fresh raspberries in my Kir Royale for breakfast, er, evening cocktails I mean…

oOo

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: gardening, recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , | 32 Comments

ScrapHappy February 2021: Oven and Out

Our old, (t)rusty oven after 30 years of serviceOur old, (t)rusty oven after 30 years of service

Our old, (t)rusty oven after 30 years of service

Well, we persevered for probably a decade but, finally, I ordered a new oven…

When our house-to-be was built 30 years ago (see here for other 30-year-old stuff in Chez Snail), it was equipped with an oven and hob, because it was illegal back then not to supply a fitted kitchen having supplied the walls, roof, floors and general utilities*. I replaced the hob a long time ago as it was grim, but the oven… well, it still worked even though it did a good job of also heating the kitchen and in its last few years probably didn’t come anything close to its maximum temperature of 200°C. For a fan oven, its temperature distribution was, shall we say, uneven.

So, a shiny new oven arrives but what to do with the old one? Well, salvage some bits off it, of course! I decided that the electrics (heating elements, thermostat, fan motor) all deserved a good long rest, and that they could stay wrapped inside their metal shell for now. There were two pieces of glass that might prove useful for a cloche or the like, so I extracted them using that thing on a penknife you use for getting boy scouts out of horses’ hooves.

021021_1526_ScrapHappyF2.jpg

Glass from the past

Also, there was some wire that the Snail said would be useful for knitted things, and there were a couple of control knobs that might be handy. A little haul but the rest was going to be recycled so all, in all, not bad.

021021_1526_ScrapHappyF3.jpg

All that remains…

… and we have a new shiny oven to cook yummy things in! 

oOo

* No, it wasn’t.

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , | 17 Comments

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