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Archive for the ‘Finds’ Category

Last weekend I was due to go to the fabulous Folk By The Oak folk day. Seeing as how it was glorious weather (for once!), and only four miles or so from where I live down the excellent Alban Way cycle track, I and some mates decided we should cycle there.

To make the whole thing a bit easier, I though it might be worth making a trailer for the beer bike so that I could take with us a load of beer, water, blankets, food, warm clothing for later etc…

I hoped to find some small bike wheels for the task, even putting an advert on my excellent local Freecycle network. When nothing showed up in time however, I was forced to go skip diving for suitable raw materials!

Hence the following – an old pram! (I’ve cut away the seat and webbing in this shot). Although the wheels are by no means as large as I would have liked, they seem pretty sturdy, had nice bearings and, since they are in double sets, I though the whole thing might just do the job :

The skip-find pram

The skip-find pram

The pram carcass was also a perfect fit with an old plastic crate I found that I thought would make an excellent removable basket to hold everything.

Pram and bucket

Pram and basket

The next thing was to get the trusty angle grinder out and start cutting away the parts of the pram I didn’t need (the handles etc). Since the original pram was one of those fold-up / collapsible jobs I then needed to add a few additional struts (made from some rectangular section tubing I had lying about the shed) here and there to hold the thing rigid. Here is an early shot of the removal process, followed by a close up of some struts bolted in place:

Starting to cut

Starting to cut

Strengthening strutts added

Strengthening struts added

I though for general ease, ‘steerability’ (is that even a word!?) and to deal with bumps better, I’d remove the front sets of wheels and merely use the back sets. I have simply removed the wheels from their attachments, rather than cutting them off entirely – this is in case I wanted to ever put them back on in the future (for example if I needed to wheel the whole contraption across a field or something?)

tow bar added

tow bar added

Also on the photo above you can see the addition of the towing bar (as well as an early test of some of the funky stuff like a back light, bungy chords to hold the basket in place etc), made from some old aluminium tubing. This part of proved to be the most complex of the whole build, and probably deserves a post all to its own – so stay tuned for Part 2!

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Rust Report, Day 5

Five days on from planting my ‘C’ plant marker, I popped out to see how it was faring. Here is a shot of the rust patterning that has developed so far:

Rust Report Day 5

Rust Report Day 5

As you can see the top ‘C’ section, which I had angle ground the protective covering from, has already started to develop quite a layer of surface rust (probably not surprising as the grinder would have taken the passivation layer off the iron as well as just the black covering).

The drill bit is just starting to go in places, but presumably has some kind of anti-rust coating on there as a general fail safe when the things are made…

We have also had the wettest period for months here in the UK (and that is saying something!) so there has been no shortage of water to get the process off to a good start!

Stay tuned for more, edge of one’s seat, Rust Report (next month, ‘Paint Drying’…!). I can’t promise to do it every five days, but will try to get in the swing of things on a regular basis.

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I’ve recently planted some bulbs in my garden, and needed some sort of marker to remind me where they are!!

I’d also just found on the street a section of old lorry shock absorber (I find it all the time, strangely) that looked very much like a large capital letter ‘C’. So, welding it to one of my ever trusty old long drill bits, in no time at all I had an attractive, hardy (and slighty egocentric) plant marker (iPhone as ever included for scale).

'C' plant marker with scale

'C' plant marker with scale

To prevent rust the shock absorber material is coated with a black protective paint / covering (powder coat maybe?) that is amazingly tough. I had to grind some of it away to ensure a good weld to the drill bit, so I decided to carry on and remove all of the coating.

Here is a close up:

'C' close-up

'C' close-up

And here it is in place in the ground:

'C' planted

'C' planted

It struck me that, with all that recently bared metal, the thing was going to rust pretty quickly – it also struck me that it might be an interesting exercise to see exactly how quickly, and document the process. So, stay with me and I’ll post up regular photos of the oxidation!

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Shed Mug!

I have recently found the most amazing skip near me – seriously, it’s the mother lode of skips!!

I can’t begin to tell you what I have got out of there (I can only assume a very rich person is going through a divorce, eviction or the decluttering of all time?) but here is the simplest thing so far to emerge…. a pristine condition insulated mug, perfect for the garden or shed. I always find my ‘hot beverage’ of choice goes cold when I am in The Shed or the great outdoors so this has proved to be perfect (and yes, I thoroughly cleaned / disinfected it before use!):

shed mug

shed mug

It’s not one of those annoying ‘travel mugs’ with the tricky lids either, just a good old fashioned made-for-purpose, good sized and sturdily made, drinking vessel!

Stay tuned for other finds from this cornucopia of the skip world…

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Walking in the lovely, but brief, sunshine yesterday I came across the following (adding to my current theme of stuff I find lying about in the countryside):

More countryside finds

More countryside finds

They are about a foot long (sorry, forgot the scale photo this time!), made of very light weight aluminium, and both have a short length of elasticated cord attached.

I have no idea what they are, but here are my top thoughts:

  1. sections from a camping chair
  2. something off a rucksack
  3. bent rungs from a rope ladder (doubtful!)

Any ideas, do drop me a line >>

Alternatively, if you lost these in the vicinity of Wheathampsted this weekend, let me know and I’ll get them back to you!

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(I know, I know, a scarcity of posts again – I have been a bit snowed under…)

This weekend, what with the weather finally getting a bit better, I took the opportunity for both a long bike ride and a nice walk around our lovely UK countryside… What did I come across within minutes of leaving the house (on both separate occasions)… flytipped waste! (which is costing us £1.25 million pounds a year to clean up, apparently!?)

So, in doing my bit for the environment, I took it on myself to bring home the following items – both will be great for some kind of creation, probably a steampunk lamp of some kind. . . (cost to the tax payer, £zero)

The item on the left is, I am guessing, a hydraulic line off a lorry – the lamp bezel also from a lorry judging by its size (the trusty iPhone is there for scale only, of course):

Countryside finds!

Countryside finds!

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CD player for The Shed!

Walking past a local skip the other day I found this old CD player… (minus the power supply!)

Skip find CD-player

Skip find CD-player

Taking it home, I managed to hot wire it (via an old connector from the bits box) up to an old modem power supply that I’d kept for no good reason, but which seemed to have about the right voltage output. I gave the whole thing a bit of a clean and blow me down if it doesn’t work perfectly!!

It will make a fantastic addition to the shed – I already have a headphone connection lead that allows me to play my iPod through the old stereo system I’ve got installed in there, and this works fine with the CD player too!! (roll ol the next Shed Night where I shall try it out properly with some ‘sounds’!!)

I love being a scavenger…

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