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Sunday 10 December 2017


Some unexpected snow settled today.

An excuse to take Fender out for it's first experience of snow.

Of course we met several other Land Rovers out for a play.


Sunday 3 December 2017

Odd shape table

Our new sofa arrived yesterday and after we re-arranged the living room we were left without enough places to put our cups of tea on. In our house, that's a problem that needs a quick solution.

As I had done before I made a small side table out of off-cuts of oak I had in the shed.

One bit of timber was a convenient angle to fit the triangle between the sofa and the arm chair.

The design was made up on the fly based on the few bits of oak I had.

The top, front leg and lower shelf are all cut from the same misshapen plank.

Being late autumn and a bit cold we have the range lit and so the kitchen is very warm. So warm that the varnish dried much quicker than normal. I was able to get both coats on in the same afternoon and it was dry enough to use that same evening!


Monday 27 November 2017

Kitchen tidy

Just some quick racks to keep a few bits and pieces tidy in the kitchen.

One is to keep all bottle openers and stoppers together.

The other two are to collect the salt and pepper that always falls out the bottom of the grinders and previously messed up the kitchen surfaces and dining table.

They are all made from two off-cuts of timber. Holes cut through the top piece with a tank cutter or drill, glued and screwed together. Sanded smooth on a belt sander and finished with bees wax and polished.

Monday 23 October 2017

External storage with a display

I was thinking about all the games I have moved on to an external hard drive to free up space on the internal storage of my Xbox One. That led me on to think about how best to keep track of what's on a disk that is not connected to a machine.

At the moment I only have one external drive for the Xbox but lots of similar drives with other things on. When those drives are in a cupboard, unused, I need to know which of the drives has what on it. It would be handy to have a tidy way to display what games are on what external storage device that could be easily changed. At the moment I stick a bit of tape on the drive and hand write a list.

With the display technology used on things like the Amazon Kindle, where no power is needed to maintain the image, it would be possible to have an easy to read and easy to update visible list. Easier to change than crossing out and writing a new name on a paper list on the outside.

I had a search and was surprised that no one had produced one. The nearest I could find was an LCD touch panel for security.

The same could be applied to USB keys, perhaps with only room for a title. The technology can't be that difficult because they are already USB as are external hard drives. Adding a completely separate board to update the display would just show two USB devices when it is plugged in.  Even easier would be to get the device to read a text file with a known name and use the contents of that for the display on the outside.

With so much data that needs backing up hopefully this idea will get picked up by someone.


Sunday 8 October 2017

Drawer to display cabinet

We bought an old newsprint storage drawer a few weeks ago.

I've carefully cleaned it up avoiding what I assume is lead dust from the letters that would have been stored in it and converted it in to a wall mounted display cabinet.

I chose to cover it in a thick layer of varnish both to seal in any remaining dust plus to strengthen the very thin dry dividers.

I had some 3mm clear acrylic sheet cut to size and added a rail at the top to use as a hook. I've put a facing strip at the front and screwed through to a batten behind. I've used a bit of adhesive as well so the stress is not concentrated at the screws.

I used a couple of hand made brass pins to support the batten holding the clear front in place.

Stained and polished to match the original. With some brass fixings to take in to account that the box joints were designed for a drawer not a hanging display cabinet.

I think it looks very nice.


Saturday 7 October 2017

A gardener's 90

Shelley needed a way to carry her tools more easily in the back of Fender. At least I thought she needed some extra points to tie things in the back.

I've used some galvanised angle iron, sprayed black, to make a frame.

All the holes give lots of places to attach bungees.

The bit Shelley specifically wanted was a way to quickly store her spade, fork and edger. Tools she takes every time but were previously a fiddle to store securely in the back.

I'd thought long and hard for a bin or something that could easily hold the tools without taking up precious storage space. Eventually I came across what I needed and it is just the sort of thing for a gardener. I've re-purposed a grass collecting back from an old lawn mower.

I've straightened the metal frame a bit so it is as low as possible but still high enough to fit the handles past. The bag folds up, so only the wire frame, at one end, is raised at all when not in use.

A bungee, at the handle end, holds them up against the bulkhead.

Friday 6 October 2017

Fix the dryer from a washer dryer

I like Miele kitchen appliances. We have only had a few over the years because they have been very reliable. Unfortunately our WT 2780 washer dryer let us down.

It was only the drying part. It still washed OK.

A little research on the Internet established that there was a good chance it was a thermostat and failing that the heating element. Even easier, the thermostats have a reset switch.

What I don't like about Miele is their secrecy over their service manuals. They appear to think that only qualified engineers are capable of repairing their equipment.

So like many people I have had to use guesswork to take it apart. If they made their technical instructions available, any competent person would at least have a better chance of fixing them with less risk of damage.

In order to help others, here's what I did to open up and reset the thermostat so the dryer works again.

First a WARNING: Turn off the power and remove the plug from the wall before you start.

The top needs to be removed.

There are two screws at the rear, in either corner holding a white plastic piece. They look like they need to be taken out but they do not. They can stay in place. When the two side screws have been loosened, the top slides back and out of the two white plastic clips.

The two screws that need to be loosened are behind plastic covers on either side, a little back from the front of the machine. The covers come out easily by slipping a small knife behind and gently prising them off.

The screws are T20 Torx drive and do not need to be fully removed. I now know to just loosen them a couple of turns so the clips they hold are free to slide and far enough in to clear a small metal lip.

The top needs to slide backwards first to clear the rear plastic clips and then it can be lifted off easily. If there is any resistance, check that side screws have been unwound enough and pushed in so the clips clear the lip.

Before going inside, double check the mains power is off. There are lots of live wires in there.
Once inside the thermostat is obvious and the reset can just be pushed in until it clicks.

I had no trouble putting it back together. The top slips over the two rear clips and in pulled it forward the side clips dropped in to place. I then tightened the side screws to pull the clips on to the lip and put the plastic covers back. Time for a test run...

It was working perfectly.

If it resets frequently I would assume there is underlying cause, however, so far so good.