HOME/DiY: Workshop – Tool Caddy, Painted & er… Finished?

(Drum roll…) Ta-dah!

Well, no, not really finished. I may want to lacquer the paint job. And I definitely want to incorporate hammer storage in there somewhere.

Plus there are one or two vacant slots for a couple more saws at the back. Will I make or buy saws for these? I do have the wherewithal to make my own, which could be both fun and edumacational?

Painting, coat #1.

Today and yesterday/last night, I painted the caddy with two coats of a rather pleasant pale blue. I let them dry overnight, and sanded/filed out some excess paint that got into the cavities this morning. I then chiselled out a recess for the tape-measure clip, at left.

Chiselling this out was kind of fun!
Flattening out a fence panel bracket.

I made a metal plate from a fence ‘clip’ (or bracket? Is that the right terminology?), by flattening it, using a vice and a bit of hammering. I then cut it to the right length or width, using my Makita angle-grinder. Next I filed the ragged edges, rounded the corners, and drilled four holes for screwing it over the recess.

Soaking off the sticker/glue in hot water.
Cut with the angle grinder, ready to file.

Presto! A place to clip a tape-measure, over the left handle. And below the right handle I have the ‘lectric pencil sharpener. Maximising the use of space… Cool beans!

The metal plate in situ’.
Tape measure attached.
A clearer view of how she clips in place.

MUSiC: Rant – Why Do People Like Such Awful Pap Pop?

Chester’s purring away contentedly!

I’m sitting in my lounge, Chester‘s dozing in his plush furry ‘dog bed’, purring noisily and happily, and I’m thinking about posting again here, on having painted my tool caddy.

Anne, our next door neighbour is, it seems, in her lounge, the other side of a lamentably thin partition wall. And she’s listening to some awful pop dreck. No idea who it is, but it’s alternating shouty raps with primary coloured auto-tuned fem-vocs.

From Alan Partridge to this popular YouTuber…

It’s not awfully loud thank goodness. But it’s audible to me. Which is a real pity! It’s so obvious, predictable, mainstream. To me it’s brainless, heartless, but most damningly of all, soul-less. As a rationalist who’s not religious the turn my language took there is intriguing!

Anyway, returning to the, ahem… ‘music’, the yin and yang of it. The Yin or female component seems narcissistic in a look at me I’m a Barbie princess way, whilst the Yang is narcissistic in an hyper-aggressive shouty way. Neither are attractive to me.

… I’m not alone in my feelings!

But I suppose I’m not the intended target market. But those two words, target market, sum it up for me. This is not art to enrich the life of the soul (at least not as I understand such things), so to speak, but product to help lobotomise the drones, and keep the capitalist machine ticking over.

Right… a phone call from a drum pupil’s parent has just interrupted my musings. With that finished and out of the way, I’m suddenly and very happily conscious that the music next door has stopped. What bliss!

FiLM REViEW: Quatermass II, 1957

Sci-fi meets schlock horror, Hammer Style.
Dig the funky title text!

What a bonkers movie!

Teresa said she wanted to watch a ‘50s sci-fi movie. I browsed Amazon Prime, and found this. And it’s Hammer! She’s keen on Hammer, esp’ the Cushing, Lee and Price stuff.

Quatermass bosses his boffins around.

This oddity stars Brian Donlevy, a kind of pudgy moustachioed gone to seed Errol Flynn type guy, as the titular Quatermass. It’s a sequel to the Quatermass Xperiment (which we haven’t seen), in which Donlevy also starred. He’s the lone Yank in an otherwise British cast.

Vintage futurism looks great.

The plot is a kind of ‘invasion of the bodysnatchers’ type thing, also borrowing heavily from War of the Worlds. Boffins detect a kind of rain of meteorites, and… well, it’s too silly to bother synopsising, frankly.

It is worth remembering, however, that this is pre-moon landing, etc. So it’s more like Hergé’s Tintin on the Moon than things turned out; the rockets, for example, like Hergé’s, resemble souped-up German V2s more than the real rockets that would soon take man to the moon.

Donlevy and Sydney James.

Donlevy is clumsily enjoyable (legend has it he was practically paralytic during filming*), in a ham-fisted B-movie way. And Sid ‘Carry On’ James has a part, as a boozy newshound. There are several other familiar faces, such as John Longden and Bryan Forbes.

Cool visuals!
Menacing masked zombie colonists.

But the acting isn’t the film’s strong suit. The best things about the film are the look of it; black and white, largely shot in a cool steel spaghetti pipe-filled oil refinery, with quite a few effective visual aspects, and the eerie post-WWII apocalyptic fear vibes.

Uh-oh… For Vincent Broadhead (Tom Chatto)
… all is decidedly not well!

As clumsy as it is, and as clunkily directed and acted as it may be, there is something paranoiac lurking within this film, just as the malevolently parasitic alien life form lurks in their asteroid pods. A certain post World War II Cold War era fear of pervasive ideological contamination.

Seeing what should not be seen.
Woah! Like… crazy, man!

I’d argue that most traditional myth is no more sophisticated than this, and that therefore what’s best about this film – aside from or in addition to the visual allure – is the idea of insidious colonisation of the mind and body as myth or metaphor.

Far from being great, or classic, there’s still a certain something about Quatermass II that makes it worth seeing.

*Not really 100% true, according to fellow cast members.

MiSC: Hannah’s Birthday Lunch

My sister’s back from Spain with her family. Which is terrific. Her birthday is actually tomorrow. But we got together today, with Dad, Claire, Sam, Hannah, Antonio, Ali and Sofi, for lunch at Coton Orchard garden-centre.

Post meal family portrait.

I had ham, eggs and chips, Teresa had fish ‘n’ chips, and we shared a raspberry and white chocolate roulade for pudding. Lovely!

We got Hannah a couple of rosins, for her violin bows, and Ry Cooder’s debut album on CD. She was pleased with the gifts, which was gratifying. Pictured below the writing inside Hannah’s b’day card.

The above was written with a fun set of coloured felt tip pens, of the dual-tip variety (one fine, one larger and more brush like), that we recently got via Amazon Vine.

It was nice to see folks, and eat, drink, chat, etc. Many happy returns Hannah, my beautiful sister! Love from Teresa and I!

HOME/DiY: Workshop – Tool Caddy, finished (‘ish!?)

Can I handle it?

Sunday, and I’m keen to finish the caddy project ASAP. But with lots else to do, all I managed was these handles. Cut on the table saw, with my primitive but effective sled. And then sanded/rasped into the curved shapes seen above.

And on they go.

The handles are glued and screwed, belt ‘n’ braces style. Making and fitting these was hard; the shaping of the innermost curves took much time and effort. Slow sanding gave way to more rapid rasping! The fixing to the caddy took less energy.

In the lounge.

I brought the caddy inside to photograph it with less clutter around it. And I’m pleased with how it’s turned out.

Left handle and tape measure.

The last things are: a clip for the tape measure (which is just perched on the handle in the above pic), and somewhere for a hammer to reside.

Right handle.

The right hand handle needed a tiny curved smidgeon knocking off with the rasp, and sanding smooth, in order to get the ‘lectric sharpener back into its cubby hole. That was both easy to do and very satisfying!

Do I paint this thing? Or stain/varnish it? Hmmm!? Anyway, just the clip for the tape measure left to do. Oh, and somewhere for a hammer!

HOME/DiY: Workshop – Tool Caddy, Phase 4 (part 2)

I’m into the final furlong with the tool caddy now. The third tier is coming along nicely.

Plugging bottoms (titter!).

I had to cut some holes all the way through the block, for a few of the larger items. That then required that the resulting holes be plugged, to stop things dropping through.

Bottoming out again…

Initially I wasn’t sure exactly what was going in to this section, as almost everything already had a home in the other two tiers. But there’s actually plenty: small files, a small compass, various interchangeable hex shanked drill bits, AA and AAA batteries, a couple of knives, and sundry other oddments.

Cut a groove out the back…

Only just visible in these pics, you might note that I staggered the battery holes; there’s a row of five AA, and a row of four AAA. I tried to space these out so they’d be simple to pull out. And the depths are also set to make that easy as well.

… for a mini spirit-level.

In the image below you can see the drill bits, in their little rubber pluggy things. I drilled a line of holes with, I think(?), a 15mm dia’ bit, taped for depth, and then chiselled out the remaining ‘waste’. Perhaps I should’ve set them a bit further back? Or forward? There’s room for more in that section.

Cut another little groove for these screw-dads.

It was hard to resist the temptation to go out this evening, and take off the clamps. But I was strong in resolve! So… this third and final section is now gluing to the others overnight.

Tomorrow we’re meeting Hannah and co, inc dad and Claire, for a walk along ‘The Backs’, and then lunch at The Copper Kettle. It’s Hannah’s pre-birthday meal.

I’m hoping I’ll find the time either before, or more likely after, to add two handles and a clip for the tape measure.

MEDiA: Miranda

I love Miranda!

We didn’t watch Miranda at the time it came out. I did occasionally see bits of it. And I loved it. So, she’s been around ages, and I’ve been ignoring her. Actually, she’s been around as long as I have, more or less, born in ‘72, as she and I are.

Anyway, a few weeks back we started watching from series one, on the BBC iPlayer, and we’re now into the ‘Specials’, with The Final Curtain about to play.

What I love best about Miranda, in addition to her clumsiness and wind, is her disarming candour, around generally not being a typical person, never mind typical woman, or ‘lady’. But then of course, in most important respects she is quite typical. Or rather she both is and isn’t… er…

What a woman!

So, I guess what I mean is that she’s very ordinarily human, at the same time as not conforming to social stereotypes. And she’s brave about showing herself in that light, of imperfection, or rather difference. Something many of us are simply to vain and/or insecure to do.

I’ve had horrible soul-crushing moments of my life that could probably make pretty good comedy. Like when a ‘local hero’ guitarist at a jam session I’d finally worked up the courage to go to knocked my glasses of as I attempted to chat a girl up at the bar.

Rather than kung-fu-kickin’ his ass, Clint Eastwood style, I was down on my knees, like Mr Magoo, scrabbling on the floor amongst the forest of legs to retrieve my specs, before someone stepped on them. Hey ho!

Anyway, Miranda makes such things the meat and potatoes of her comedy. That’s not massively unusual in itself. From Woody Allen to Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, klutzy dorks have been standard fare in male comedy forever. But there’s something refreshingly guileless in how Miranda serves up her female version of this timeworn comedy trope.

Anyway, one can pontificate all one likes. At the end of the day pratfalls are extremely funny, as is farting. And Miranda serves up plenty of both, bless ‘er!

FiLM REViEW : The Skull, 1965

Teresa wanted to watch a Hammer horror film. But we could’nae find one we hadn’t seen before. So we went with this Amicus Productions number, as it stars the deadly duo, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

The Skull has a pretty silly plot, concerning the evil possessive influence of the titular skull, formerly the cranial property (accommodation?) of the infamous Marquis de Sade.

But despite the superstitious hokum it’s a rollicking good Hammer style fright-fest, in which Cushing, Lee, and a panoply of great actors – inc Peter ‘Gollum’ Woodthorpe, Nigel ‘Zulu’ Green and others (inc the lovely April Orlich!) – serve up lashings of prime ’60s/’70s style spookiness.

The visual design aspect is great, in ghoulish technicolour, and the music, by Elizabeth Lutyens (daughter of the famed architect), is powerful and effective. By the standards of modern horror this sort of thing is now quaint, or even inadvertently hilarious, occasionally. But if your inner child lives on, as ours most definitely do, it’s vintage horror fun of a very particular kind.

Silly in extremis, but we loved it.

HOME/DiY: Workshop – Tool Caddy, Phase 4 (part 1)

The third tier started.

Today I glued tiers one and two together. Took a lot of clamps! I should’ve waited, perhaps, until I’d cleaned up the top faces. But I forgot to do so!

Clamping/gluing tiers one and two.
The plywood drill bit support blocks are visible here.
Some slot bottoms are ‘capped’.*

I did some work on tier three of my tool caddy today. I drilled and chiselled out holes for two knives, on the right hand end. Down the other end I drilled ten or twelve identical holes for various files.

But the thing that gave me most pleasure and satisfaction was drilling and chiselling out a pretty sizeable hole in the right side of the caddy to take this chunky electric pencil sharpener. I got the latter off Amazon recently. And I love how easily it allows me to get nice sharp pencils.

Drilling and chiselling the hole for this…

I used my largest Forstner bit (35mm), mounted in my corded Hitachi drill; the caddy is too long to drill on end using either of my pillar type drills. I started the holes using the Bosch cordless drill, but it just wasn’t powerful enough. These holes – three, one in each ‘corner’ of the triangular shape – needed to be about two inches deep, or thereabouts.

Once the three holes were drilled, I chiselled out the remainder of the wood that I needed to remove. It took a fair bit of tweaking to get the right shape for the sharpener to fit snugly.

… was hard, but fun. Bingo!

I love how the sharpener sits here, just sufficiently proud of the wood to allow easy removal for emptying as and when required. I also love the various wood grains on view.

I love wood!

*The rather messy holes from my first attempts are visible during clamping. But as these are on the base, they’ll not show when the caddy is in use.

The base of my bench, loaded with toolboxes and timber.

Wasn’t sure if I’d shared a picture of the laden workbench base. Four or five toolboxes (one is out/in use) and a bunch of timber add stabilising weight to the beast!

Also pictured in today’s post… footwear! A pair of Adidas retro-ish ‘80s basketball type sneakers, that I wore whilst working, and some much older shoes I can’t bring myself to throw away.

My Adidas…
Knackered old Campers and Vans.

HOME/DiY: Workshop – Tool Caddy, Phase 3 (part 2)

At start of play today.

Picking up where I left off yesterday, I wanted to finish the second tier. This meant adding holes for pens, pencils, screwdrivers, the dovetail square, and various other odds n sods.

The pen and pencil area.

The pens and pencils are the first instance of possible overcrowding, as they get in the way of easy immediate access to some of the drill bits behind them. One solution might be to make the holes deeper. But. Think I’ll leave them for now, as that runs the risk of shorter pencils disappearing into the holes altogether.

Added a hole for an x-acto knife, by the glue.

I’m happy with how three of the machinist’s squares are stored. Only the largest one presents an issue. I made little strips to fill parts of the slots that the smaller ones go in. But the larger one is too tall to sit plumb with the others. What ought I do?

Camera went a bit misty!?

This slightly misty view shows tier two fully loaded. And, in front of the whole shebang, a few of the remaining tools I want to incorporate somewhere, poss’ some in a third tier. Certainly I want to incorporate the pencil sharpener. And the little glue bottle would be handy as well. And some AA and AAA batteries…

The drill bits area.
Poss’ design flaw; screwdrivers*, pencils/pens block drill bits.

I think I’ve mostly avoided overcrowding. But one notable exception is the area in the front middle of tier two, where screwdrivers and pens/pencils block access to the drill bit set immediately behind. Time will tell if this is a problem or not. For now I’m going to leave things as they are.

The squares end includes glue and an exacto knife.

The third and final tier, as yet unbuilt, will house the few remaining tools. Hopefully!? This said. I might leave a third tier/block, as there’s not that many bits and bobs left over. And one or two of those that are still without a place might be best in tiers one or two (the hammer is quite big/tall, and should go at the back).

On the other hand, an argument for going ahead with tier three is that it’ll create space for batteries (AA and AAA), the small glue dispenser, and the electric pencil sharpener (which I adore!). Hmmm? These are tomorrow’s decisions/projects!

* One solution might be to swap out the current screwdrivers for shorter/smaller handled ones.