Carpet to wood flooring (testing out in closet first)

So I have it in my head I want to redo the carpet downstairs and wood sounds like a much better and cleaner option. To test difficulty, skills and tools needed and gauge time I thought I would do the smaller patch of my closet. This will also get a closet system later as well. (maybe a month or 2 down the line from now)

Here is how it started out. Similar to my living room, it has carpet and underneath there is carpet pad. Turns out the same as my stairs had.

I cut at the door line of the closet, removed the baseboards, pulled the carpet out as well as the padding. When I removed the baseboards I pulled the nails out and decided I would use fresh nails when re-installing. I did not pull the door trim off yet since I needed to cut the bottom enough for the flooring to slide under a little and I needed a scrap offcut to use to get the height for the cut.

The carpet strips (tacky boards around the edges) came up easiest when I wedged a pry-bar under them at the points they were nailed to the subfloor and pried up a little. When I did this the whole way down the strip they came out easy with little breakage or difficulty.

A quick vacuum of the area and pulling of staples left from the padding and I could begin the install of the new underlayment. I chose to go with Pergo Gold Underlayment. I have around 50 square feet so one box (10 square feet) was all I needed. It had good reviews, seemed easy to use and has a connecting strip built in to attach one underlayment to another to minimize any gaps. Lowes sells this and I only bought this since Home Depot (which does allow dogs) had lesser quality stuff for the same price and was out of the Roberts BlackJack underlayment I was going to try out. (pitty too, since the Pergo Gold is about $60 a box and had a similar online rating and review of the Pergo Gold)

As underlayment will not contract or expand I cut a little long so they went under the drywall and door pieces. It also goes under the carpet slightly. I set down a scrap flooring piece and used a flush-cut saw to get the height I needed off the bottom of the door trim. This also prevented the underlayment from getting damaged.

Home Depot lets my dog shop with me so I like them for a big box store. They had a good 8mm Sonoma Oak that covered a little over 21 square feet a box so 3 boxes later and I had enough for my 48 square foot closet plus extra to keep for mess ups and later repairs if needed down the line.



Laying down the floor itself was easy. I had a bit of room under all the walls so I used that for my gap and went the exact length of the wall. This left about 2/3 inch room under the drywall on all sides. Keep in mind the underlayment went the full distance underneath. When I got to the door I pried back the door trim on the front side and pushed back the floor as much as possible under the rear wall. This gave me an easy time installing as I cut the width of the last board to match being in line with the walls, not going under. I clicked the last pieces in place and slid the floor to the center again and installed the trim on the doors and baseboards again. I used brad nails to install these.

I then re-installed the shoe racks and put my shoes back in. I think it turned out well and it does feel nice on the feet. I am curious to find out how well it holds up when I add the weight of the closet system to it. I guess we will find out in the near future.

You will notice I did try to repeat the cut pattern every 3 rows just to be consistent. I think it turned out well and all it needs in a transition nailed between the carpet and closet wood flooring. I am not going to do this since I have not decided if I will do my bedroom in wood yet. That might come later. If I install the piece of transition it will simply be nailed with a few nails directly to the floor and pinching the carpet.

Feeling pretty handy,


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Quick and dirty Kitchen Disposal replacement

My disposal went out and when we turned it on it simply sounded stuck. Using the allen key for the bottom to dislodge the blades had it working for a second but then locked again and after a few times turning back and forth it still seemed to fail. Not locked up, just not working.


Not sure if you can see it but the bottom part of the canister lower than the pipe seems to be split and leaking something. Not fully as it is not on the bottom of the cupboard, but definitely not right. So we replace the Badger 5 with an “almost” direct replacement of the Badger 500.

Take the old one out by using the supplied allen key onto the looped tabs on the lowest chrome ring that mates to the black canister. Twist to unlock and allow the unit to drop, then unhook pipes and wires and do not forget about the catch bucket underneath. Now is a good time to clean the insides of the pipes and mating surfaces.

ok, so with the old one out and the surfaces clean, lets start getting the Badger 500 ready to go in. Note that the sink attachment I simply left in as the mating rings are the same and saw no issues with the old one. You may want to replace yours if you see grime, mold, cracking or otherwise. (Or if you simply want to replace it for good measure. Wrestling around all this may deform or crack the putty that attaches the seal into your sink. For mine, this was adequate.)

I have a dishwasher attached to mine, so out comes the plug by knocking it out with a screwdriver and removing the plastic piece that comes out.


Take the wiring out of the old one and replaced into the new one just how I found the old one. New one didn’t come with any electrical wires. OVzOLRSwRRSqRzO8Z1ZhWg

Now we come to the part where I said “almost” direct replacement. The new one has an elbow for pipe connection and my old one had a straight pipe. When I looked at the old unit, it turns out that the old unit had a pressure fitting straight pipe with a screw on mating price. The new one does not. The new one has a 2 screw plate that pulls the plastic mating surface to a rubber seal set into the unit. This fix was as easy as going to the hardware store with my old chrome pipe and asking for a flared end 12 inch chrome tube from the plumbing section. I tossed the plastic piece into a bin and used all but that on the new one. sVG+VPKqR4y0krM%kXaR+A

Here is a close up of the back side of it. Don’t forget to attach that dishwasher host and clamp. Tested for leaks and ran for a few minutes under power and with water. Ah, $115 spent and I am back to where I was the other day.


Feeling Pretty Handy,


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Refinishing Outdoor Cafe Table


I should have taken pictures of this just before I started but phone was dead and I am fairly impatient once I start a project. My friend Dave has been on the lookout for quality outdoor patio furniture but has a deck that is on the smaller side. When I saw this I knew I had to grab it.

Only issue, it was solid but looking in rough shape. So I broke out the wire brush and wire wheel and went to town on the table first. Getting the peeling layer of whatever was originally used off was not hard but took time. So many crevices to get into.


Once that was done I though it best to put a layer of paint down to stop any rusting as well as give it an undercoat color if I ran into any thin spots. I used cheap blue paint from Ace Hardware from the rattle can.


I am so glad I did this because when I then painted on the truck bed liner coating of Herculiner with a regular paint brush it came out wonderful. There was just a hint of the under color showing in the rose shapes of the table.


A single, but thick, coat of liner was all it took. I did both sides, let it dry for 2 days and put the table together. I will find out tomorrow morning if he likes it. If so, you will likely see the chairs as a next project soon.


This coating should last for many years to come and I was able to do this whole thing for free since I had everything in the garage already. It look a half pint of Herculiner which was a leftover from auto stuff I did a few years back.

Feeling Pretty Handy,


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Stairs – From Carpet to Wood

This project started out with the carpet coming loose from the original treads and our house had 2 slips which could have turned out much worse. Since the old carpet was fairly worn and had 2 stains on it (pretty major ones) I decided I would remove the carpet and make them wood.


Carpet removed and I could see that simply laying laminate over or doing a cap-a-tread wasn’t going to work. Under the blue padding it was not what I had hoped for in a few ways. With more than a half inch on either side and the particleboard chipping profusely the decision was made to do full treads.


I could not find the exact color I wanted so I used pre-bullnosed treads and stained them myself. I love the way they came out.

All totaled for the work it took about 3 working days to finish. That said, the time does not include the finishing of the wood. That took about 2 weeks of off and on finishing and sanding.


Since we now have my fathers dog we had to put carpet runners on. This turned out best for us and the dog getting good traction going up and down them.


I am happy to have another project done.


Feeling pretty handy,




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Drying wood with chart (Is my wood dry?)

I would like to pass on info I found when I think it might be helpful to others. I would love to get some confirmation that this is a usable chart from someone. I have been taking notations of my woods moisture content lately and found a chart that helps explain the equilibrium of Moisture Content in wood with Relative Humidity of the location it is stored after a time period. Moisture content of wood may be controlled by controlling the Relative Humidity where it is dried. Here is the relationship between relative Humidity (RH) and wood Moisture Content (MC).
58-64 RH – 11% MC
52-58 RH – 10%MC
46-52 RH – 9% MC
39 -46 RH – 8% MC
32 -39 RH – 7% MC
25 -32 RH – 6% MC
19-25 RH – 5% MCTip: Add heat to push the relative humidity lower. For indoor wood use I would like to be lower than 10% to prevent additional wood movement/drying. Check this against your homes humidity levels though. Or just store your wood inside your house for a long time before working with it.

I think Gene Wengert is the source of this chart. Also, I would love to find a time based chart as well. In other words, how long it takes to move +/- a percentage in MC. hit me up if you have something like that.

Now I can go do more of those projects in my honey-do list.

Feeling pretty handy,




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Wood Spice Drawer

The wife asked me about how she could make it easier for her to see all the spices and get to the ones she wanted easier. A spice drawer on sliding rails is what I came up with. A quick trip to the store and back with the wood I come.

Then I get to cut up my new wood into short strips just large enough to slide in and out of the cabinet. This ended up being 9 inches by 11.5 inches.

Dovetail joints and dado floating drawer seemed perfect for this quick project so away I go.

Hmm, My router killed my first attempt so now we sort out what happened to the router (Ended up being a stripped screw for the position stop). After 3 attempts I sort out what went very wrong and end up needing new wood.

I move to cherry this time but like the oak pictures so kept them… moving on. Finished product, but in cherry wood.

Personally I do not like the dado gap that happens so I might sort out another method next time I do this.

Attached drawer slides and installed.

A happy wife is a happy life.



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SMARTsFest in Minnesota – Philco 42-327 revival Part 1

I went to the SMARTsFest a few weekends past and came back with a new project. It is a 1942 Philco 42-327. This is a tube radio and I will be rebuilding it to working order and cleaning it up of course.

Step one, this things needs a good cleaning. After taking the radio out of the chassis I then “dusted” it by blowing compressed air at the chassis and radio itself. This was on a low PSI setting (low pressure) and got much of the junk out. This unfortunately destroyed the paper docs glued inside the chassis because they were so brittle. I did think this would happen and took pictures of them before hand if I got ambitious and decided to recreate them.

Next, I have gone through and recorded all the cap values and they are on the way. I ordered through DikiKey. I figure “why risk it” and will simply replace all of them. Lets hope they come in this week and I can get further movement on this one.

I ordered Gojo from Amazon since finding many internet sources telling me that a Gojo wipedown was a good start to cleaning the wood cabinet. Apparently you take a little Gojo on a rag and wipe lightly all over the wood to clean. Cannot wait to try this out and see how well it works.

Lets check out the before pictures, shall we?

And of course we start to dive into taking it apart…

Hmm, Looks like the glass will need a new print.

To be continued once I replace the capacitors (A must in all these old radios with original caps)

Have fun and 73’s,

Let me know what questions you want me to address or if anything is unclear. My email is


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DIY Magnetic loop

How it works:

A loop antenna is effectively a tuned RLC circuit. What does this mean? It means the primary coupling loop inductively couples to the secondary. The secondary loop has a variable capacitor to electrically adjust its resonance. Alternatively, Some people use a toroidal transformer, and still others use a gamma match.

The variable capacitor is the biggest decision on the limitations of your antenna. Some folks use a variable capacitor that is smaller and handles low wattage (before arc-over). This would be for QRP (less than a watt) or Shortwave/Ham Radio listening.  Others pick up a costly vacuum variable capacitor (Great for high power since they handle large wattage) and go all out. Keep in mind that an air gap of 1mm equates to a breakdown voltage of about 1KV, which can be encountered when as little as 20 watts is used. A Magnetic loop antenna for 1-5 watts can be made fairly inexpensive.

The circumference of a true magnetic loop should be less than 1/10th wavelength and the coupling loop at 1/5 ratio to the main loop. Here is a great calculator for sorting out lengths, values, etc. You could use a very specific capacitor and not have it variable if you were only staying on a specific frequency, but what fun would that be?

What can it do:

This thing is an amazing easy homebrew project. I can tune by simply listening to noise (for highest volume when tuning) but can also use an SWR meter and can cover multiple bands.

In my testing with my antenna analyzer I found I get 1.5:1 SWR. This is ranging from 5.6Mhz to 8.8Mhz. Now with the Primary Coupling Lop at 4 feet exactly and the Secondary at 18.3 feet I am getting a single ham band. I could actually get 7Mhz – 14Mhz by doing the Primary Coupling Loop at 3.4 feet and the Secondary at 17 feet. I will do this but am enjoying getting some of those ShortWave signals I have never received before.

I live in a townhouse and have “Attic Antennas” exclusively so I need a good multi-band antenna with low SWR.

The build:

18.3 feet of copper pipe and a 2kw variable capacitor….. A nice start to the project and a great excuse to start my magnetic loop build. The Variable capacitor was a gift from another ham in my radio club.


I bend the larger copper pipe to form a circle. Then I laid it out to get an idea of what it would look like and start to think about how I wanted to mount it.


I laid out the ends onto a board and hammered the ends flat. Then drilled holes into the flat portion for a place to mount the pipe.


The variable capacitor has screws on either side so this is a good mounting spot for the secondary ends. I bent the freshly drilled holes up and mounted them directly to the variable capacitor. If this is not possible on your variable capacitor then be sure to keep the connection leads as short as possible.


I ran to the store and got a quick 4 feet more of copper pipe so I didn’t have to cut down the 18 feet. I was afraid of losing the 20 meter (7Mhz) band. At first I tried a 20 watt soldering iron with copper tip…. no luck. I ended up having to use a small torch to heat the copper pipe hot enough to take solder.


What does this look like all put together?


Yeah, OK.. I get it. At 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide, this is not going with to all the hams in the park or meet ups. This will however make it to field day and was a very fun project.

So how would we draw this out:


Notes on magnetic loop antennas:

For HF the size is very good compared to a dipole antenna or some others. It is however very directional, which can be good or bad, depending on use.

Also, The magloop does have an Electric field.  It is just not found until you get a bit away from the antenna, my old field strength meter does show an electric field on its little vertical antenna when I get about a half wavelength or more away from the loop.  Inside that, it shows nothing.  But don’t lose track of the fact that a radio wave must have both E and h fields perpendicular to each other in order for the wave to propagate.  This type of antenna just doesn’t seem to have much of the E up close to it.

AA5TB gives us a great view of the antenna radiation pattern in the following diagram.


I have heard there are reports of mag loops at 100 watts blistering paint on wood a foot or two away. That said, this article on antenna radiation and fields seems to suggest that that would be not possible.

Warning!!! This does not mean the antenna does not have significant dangers associated. On transmit, mag loops develop very high voltages across the tuning capacitor. At 100 watts, they are in the thousands of volts. Even at QRP power, they may be enough to be dangerous. Exercise care, especially if there are kids or pets around.


Main problems with magnetic loops:

They are usually low power (or receive only) since the rating on the variable capacitor must be so high if transmitting above 10 watts.

If you are using this for higher frequencies then the wavelength is shorter. This means the coupling and secondary loop are significantly smaller for something like 2 meters and therefor are more portable and are thus lighter.

Parts List:

Next question would be “What is a reasonable parts list?”

I used:

  • 1 x Variable Capacitor
  • 1 x 8 foot long board
  • 1 x 18 feet of copper refrigerator piping (craigslist for free)
  • 1 x 4 foot copper piping (hardware store for $12)
  • Screws to mount to board
  • Old RG-8 cable with PL-259 end (fun fact – SO259 means socket for a 259 end. PL259 means the plug side of it)
  • Something to mount the copper pipes and cap to the board. (Alternatively you could use PVC piping and zip-ties instead of wood, screws and cable runners)

G4ilo says this is a good parts list  for a more permanent DIY Mag loop build:

  • 250pF single gang variable capacitor with reduction drive
  • Plastic case
  • Self adhesive feet
  • 2 x 4mm gold plated binding posts for the main loop connections
  • 2 x 4mm gold plated spade terminals for the main loop connections
  • 250cm length RG-213 coaxial cable for main loop element
  • RCA (phono) plug and socket for coupling loop input connection
  • BNC socket for coupling loop output connection
  • 50cm insulated wire for coupling loop
  • Length of RG-174 mini coaxial cable for coupling loop
  • N7VE SWR Indicator Kit or similar (see below)
  • 2m white uPVC electrical conduit, for fabricating loop support mast
  • White plastic cup hooks
  • Self adhesive Velcro (hook and eye fabric fastener, from XYL’s sewing box)
  • Large plastic tuning knob
  • White car number plate fixing bolt covers (to cover tuning capacitor fixing screws)
  • Bolt for photographic tripod mount (optional)

Here is yet another build of a mag-loop antenna.

Have fun and 73’s,

Let me know what questions you want me to address or if anything is unclear. My email is


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New (to me) projects on the bench – Part 3


8) EICO Model 221 Vacuum Tube Volt Meter

Whenever I get a new (to me) piece of test equipment that is older than 25 years I always want to look at the capacitors. They are almost surely leaking. I thought about bringing this up on the variac and isolation transformer to test but honestly I was going to replace the caps anyway.

Looking at the meter itself I find it in need of a cleaning but in good shape. First thing is to take it apart and wash/scrub the case. Ah, much better smell now.



Contact cleaner and a pencil eraser for the switches and potentiometers and we can see they are the original caps.


“Online manual for the Eico 221 here”

So there seems to be an issue looking at the schematic. The C2 filter going to ground doesn’t have a value. Apparently they used whatever they had back them so you would find anything from 1-3 microfarads. I used a 2 μF cap and replaced all the other ones as well.

Seems to work like a charm but I do need to build the probe still. The nice thing about this one is the DC probe as a 15 Meg 10% Carbon comp resistor in series. The EICO 221 has a higher than normal ( good thing ! ) input impedance of around 25 Megohms for DC measurements, and about 3 Megohms for AC.

AC and Ohm share their test leads with DC being separated. AC/Ohms probe is simply a piece of wire with a probe tip, no coaxial cable, nothing special, plain old multimeter-type probe with a pin-jack. The ohms scale provides its own power and uses the 6SN7. The AC rectifies the AC to DC and then uses the 6SN7.


And here is the after pictures:



The resistors seem to have tested fine and I will likely replace those when I build the probe itself.

Ah, the finished product (I am going to have to turn that power switch properly):


Here is what is left:

1) Leader LBO-507A 20MHz Oscilloscope
4) REM Electronics Cathode Recovery and CRT Tester w/ original box 
5) B & K Precision Model 465 CRT Cathode Ray Tester with original manuals
6) Shurite Amperes Meter
7) EICO Model 950A Resistance Capacitance Compactor Bridge Tester 
9) Edwards Signaling Transformer 88-100
10) Vapor Tight Heavy Duty Marine Power Selector Switch 12v 150A/6v 300A Continuous
12) ASI Dynamic Transistor Checker 
14) Louis Marx Model Train Transformer
15) Unknown tester device with old radio bulbs

Have fun and 73’s,

Let me know what questions you want me to address or if anything is unclear. My email is


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Tecsun 2P3 AM Radio build

Tecsun 2P3 AM Radio Receiver Kit – DIY for Enthusiasts, Built it into a radio case !

Bought from Amazon….

This was a fun build. I love the way it is set up similar to the way old radio projects were. I built this for listening to when camping and use it in the shack at the moment for background music/talk/whatever radio.

Follow the directions and you will do great!


Amazon Product Description fills in the what is it:

“The big issue for a DIY transistor radio is how to make it good, the Tecsun 2P3 radio kit is made to fulfill this demand. The 2P3 comes with electronic components such as transistors, resistors, capacitors, radio knobs, and circuit broad. It lets both hobbyist and DIYers to build their own AM radio receiver with a detailed diagram and instructions. From this DIY, you learn many things that a book can not tell you, It tells you how the Resistors and IC works together to make a radio work, Fun to Do It. It is not like any other kits, this kit comes with a radio case that designed for the radio, so after it is assembled , you can use it as radio and put into your pocket. If you like to get a better user’s manual, please click here to get it: Tecsun 2P3 AM / MW Radio Receiver DIY Kits – MAKE YOUR OWN AM RADIO”


AM RADIO Specifications:
Frequency range: 530 kHz ~ 1620 kHz
Power supply: 2 x AA size battery
Sensitivity: < 1mV/m
Max. output: 120mW
Quiescent current: 7mA
Size: approx. 165 x 105 x 29mm
Primary Operation Construction:
Mixing circuit
IF amplifier
Automatic gain control
Audio amplifier

Component List: – Ceramic capacitors – Polyester capacitors – Electrolytic capacitors – Ceramic filter – Resistors – Detector diode – Diode – Transistor – Speaker wire – Screws – Nuts – Hexagonal screw column standoff – Shield cover – Case – Speaker (1W) – Earphone socket (3.5mm) – Potentiometer – Variable capacitor – Audio amplifier – AM oscillator coil – IF transformers – Magnetic antenna – Battery box – Plastic ribbon – Antenna support – Logo – Circuit board – Tuning knob – Volume knob – Non-conductive screwdriver”

The nice thing is how well it works and how portable it is.

Have fun and 73’s,

Let me know what questions you want me to address or if anything is unclear. My email is


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