Make a drop spindle

I've developed the possibly weird hobby of spinning newspaper strips into 'yarn' using a homemade drop spindle. (Sometimes, for the dessert course of spinning, I use strips of plastic food wrap instead.  It's easier to spin and makes a really tough, clear yarn.)  

When I saw drop spindles for sale for $50 at the local wool shop, I came home and made one with some doweling, a picture hook and a chopped-off bit of old candle stand (the circular part). I fastened the parts together with Sugru, the mouldable silicone putty that air cures to a resilient, springy toughness.  



Bottom view:

Yarn from food wrap:

Stay tuned for possiby weird crafts made from plastic wrap and newspapers.

How to Clean a Pizza Stone With Almost No Effort


Renew a pizza stone by letting it run through your oven's self-clean cycle. The worst that can happen is that it'll crack and you'll have to replace it, but most of the time it works fine because the ceramic was fired at a much higher temperature. It might help to warm it slowly to 400 or so before engaging the self-clean cycle.

My latest Sugru hacks

This is a food processor lid that snapped in half when I dropped it on the slate floor.  Sugru to the daring, orange rescue. (the food processor body is orange so it all looks absolutely intentional)


The plumbing pipes above the new water heater collect condensation, which then drips on the top of the water heater and wants to run into the electrical well on top of the water heater.  IX-NAY!  I made a nice white gasket around the electrical controls so no pesky water can find its way into the workings.  

Sugru water heater repair

How to avoid disastrous paint color choices. And I would know about that.

I once had to repaint a floor 7 times because I couldn't get the colour right. I went through white, straw, green, grey, gold and brown before finally settling on Chili Pepper Red (and only because the paint-counter lady took pity on me and suggested it).  Things would have been way easier with this cool electronic tool, which is now available for free at any ICI paint store.  

My grand experiment; the truth about lawnmowers and fuel consumption

Three mowers1

Which of these would you say uses dramatically more fuel?


A Gassy Experiment Leads to Horsepower Love 

I’ve always objected to ride-on mowers because I’d heard that they consume a gallon of gas faster than a university student can shotgun a beer.  Is it true?

I went searching for specs comparing the fuel efficiencies of different types of mowers.  I couldn’t find a thing online, so I contacted some people I knew at Sears and Husqvarna asking for any research they had. 

They had charts comparing the amount of time that different mowers require to cut the same area of lawn. But they couldn't answer my burning question about how much more gas it takes to do the same job with a bigger mower.

So I proposed to Sears that I borrow a few of their demo models for the summer to do an experiment, cutting the same area of lawn throughout the summer using three very different-sized mowers.

They agreed to the experiment.  A few days later a big truck came up the driveway and dropped off a 190cc Eco Plus mower, a 12-horsepower Smart Rider, and the big daddy, a Craftsman 26-horsepower garden tractor. 

I alternated machines weekly throughout the summer and early fall.  I carefully measured the fuel consumption when refilling the machines, and kept a chart of litres used. 

I was really, really surprised by the results. 


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