DIY Projects & Instructions

Fassl Tripod (Western Style)

We’re planning to arrange a party for the immediate neighbourhood in the northern germany refuge because they’ve all been great people to us and we want to give something back. If this works out, I want to make a big pot of chili over the open fire for everyone. Best done in a big dutch oven over the “Fassl“, so here’s the tripod that I made for this occasion:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Small and Simple Router Table

When you have small parts that need routing (trimming edges, making groves, etc.), it is easier to have the router fixed and move the workpiece rather than doing it the other way round. So a small and easily detachable router table is a decent solution, but:


Soldering Flame

I had to solder some zinc pipe these days for the garage gutter. I wonder what substances are contained in the tin-lead solder that the soldering iron gives off such a beautiful vibrant green flame. Does anybody know?


Fassl

I had a small, old lidless oil drum left over in the shop and decided to turn it into a fire barrel. I call it a “Fassl”, which is the german/bavarian diminutive for “barrel”, so the closest relatable translation would probably be “keg”.


Tutorial: Knife Care with a Sharpening System

I had a friend of mine over these days with two well-used and now dull knives – this inspired me to write this article. At a certain point of knife usage, just honing a blade’s edge won’t do the job anymore and you will have to re-sharpen your knife and give it a nice clean edge again.

This is how I do this with all my knives, kitchen or outdoor, in this case using a Lansky knife-sharpening-system (which I know is discussed controversially on the internet). With a little training and devotion you can achieve excellent results with it – and in a much easier way than with a traditional whetstone. This is my way to do it and it works absolutely satisfying for me.


Box Bellows

I was fascinated by a japanese blacksmith’s video where this guy was working with a (seemingly) traditional two-stroke box bellows, and as things worked out, my hairdryer that I used as a blower for my coal forge recently threw in the towel. So the mission was clear, I wanted to make such a cool box-bellows-contraption myself. After doing some internet research, here’s what I did and what I used:


DIY Bucksaw

I got a very good saw blade for christmas that I finally wanted to put to use. As boyscouts, we had simple bucksaws when out on camp so I decided to reproduce one the like.


Raised Garden Beds

It took me some time to make these two garden beds, interruptions and delays included, but now they’re done and ready to grow some greens.


Well. Shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned. Two of the mycelium jars obviously got infected, a moldy green and gross substance is growing all over the grains and sadly, I’ll have to discard them now. Next time I will have to work even cleanlier and disinfect everything even more thorough to give the mushrooms a good start. My hopes lie on the third one which still looks promising until now.


Propagating Mushrooms – Some Progress

So here are the first signs of growth in the mushroom jars after one week. I hope it’s mushroom mycelium, not mold 🙂


Propagating Mushrooms

So I will try to propagate some of the mycelium from the oyster mushroom growing kit. I have already done this years ago and it worked fairly well, so I hope these will thrive as well.

The materials for the growing substrate are 500g of rye grains, 25g of gypsum and 500ml of water. Cook this over medium heat, stirring often, until no more liquid is left over in the pan. You want the grains to be evenly covered in gypsum and well soaked but reasonably dry on the surface.


Plant Hanger Post

I made a post for my SO where she can hang some flower baskets in the northern germany refuge garden. Mounted (at least decently upright) on a dead tree stump, I think it looks beautiful.


Growing Oyster Mushrooms from a Kit

I grabbed an oyster mushroom growing kit at a garden store sale almost half a year ago and I finally found the time to put it to use. It’s a convenient and un-complicated way to learn how to care for and cultivate your own home grown mushrooms.


DIY Indoor Smart Garden

I stumbled upon the concept of a “smart garden” in the last weeks, something for example like this one or this one. I like the idea, they look neat and I like the idea of somewhat “controlled” inhouse herbs- and greens-growing.

After some research, I found out they all do basically the same thing: They’re all some kind of an automated hydroponic system, with some sort of grow light, water and nutrient control and easily interchangeable growing pods. Most feature a wick system to ensure constant water supply to the plants, an aeration system and an electronic contraption to monitor and regulate everything.


The Fairy Door is Finally Mounted!

The fairy door I made some time ago for the northern germany refuge is finally mounted and ready for the hard “use”!


Fierce and Deadly Churrasco Swords

I found an interesting image of some churrasco spits on the internet and thought to myself: Yeah! Why not make them look like a sword? It’d be wide enough to hold any piece of meat firmly and prevent it from rotating on the spit, plus I can poke into the ground if necessary, and – plus plus – it would simply look cool.


Refurbished Guest WC

We’re finally done renovating the small WC in the northern germany refuge. In fact, the room itself it wasn’t much work (whereas building the new washstand really was) – a little color, a shelf and some reasonable lighting. Looks much nicer now.

Before

Before

After

After

 


My Makeshift Simple Anvil

I got myself a piece of good old german steel railroad track from eBay to use for an anvil (you can find a shitload of videos on that topic on YouTube). So my simple construction consists of no more than a piece of a oak tree stem (left from last year’s round-up) and said railroad track piece, screwed tight with the meanest, thickest and longest screws I could find in the shop. Drilling the mounting holes was such a pain in the ass…


Smoker Platform

I don’t have a reasonable place for grilling and barbecue in the northern germany refuge yet. In order not to have to improvise very time I want to use my UDS, I made a rollable platform where the smoker can sit on.

It’s an easy construction made from pallet wood and some concrete for the firebox bottom. Today was the premiere and it worked fine. I’m still pondering if I should lay the bricks in mortar finally or leave it as it is and just stack them for easier transport.


Fairy Door

I made a fairy door for the northern germany refuge. A simple, yet cute and adorable thing to add to my garden 🙂 The images below explain themselves; it was a fun and beautiful little side project for me.


Electrical and Faucet Post for the Cistern Pumps

We have (involuntarily) found out how the outside rainwater draining works in the northern germany refuge. There is a drainage sump as well as a ring drainage around the house and two cisterns in the garden that serve as a reservoir and have an overflow pipe in case they’re filled to a certain level. These cisterns can of course be used for watering the garden using a submergible pump, as they’re filled with free rainwater. Here’s what I came up with as an idea to make use of this reservoir. It’s a post combining the electrical wiring of the two pumps and an outlet for watering:

This is as much as I can do for now, since I need an electrician to wire the thing up correctly. We’ll see how (and if at all) this works this summer 🙂

 


Mouse Livetrap – a sad Victory

After pimping up the contraption with a little vegetable oil I finally can report success! First little critter trapped, but unfortunately it has died in the bucket.

But why? The oil stands at best about 1mm high on the bottom of the bucket – absolutely not enough to drown in – and it was trapped in there no longer than 5-6 hours – not long enough to die from starvation either. Poor little guy.

Edit: Another casualty, now the death toll is two 🙁 . I think I’ll try a (bought and boring) livetrap from the hardware store now as an alternative.


Northern Germany Refuge: Windowsill Hatchery 2020

Corona! I’m in self isolation, just as thew whole country is, working from home and apart from that having next to nothing to do. So I decided to try growing vegetables on the windowsill, as I do it every year.


Mouse Livetrap – the next Step

So this has become personal now: Me vs. THE MOUSE.

In my strategic ponderings I have come up with a new artifice of war, taking the epic battle of Man vs. Mouse to a whole new level: I have lubed the trap (see part one and part two). With Sun. Flower. Oil. Not so easy climbing a bucket with oily fingers any more, right?

Take that, Jerry!

We’ll see… 🙂


Mouse Livetrap Update

“Jerry’s Demise” – my Ass! I tried the mousetrap on my attic over the last days and the little fuckers licked the nutella bait cleanly off the rotating plastic bottle! So either the bucket isn’t deep enough and they were able to escape, or the little buggers easily outsmarted me somehow 🙂 .

I bet they’re rolling on the floor with full bellies right now, loughing their tiny asses off. I’ll try again.


Small Forge DIY – First Part

I wanted to make a coal forge for quite some time now, and (everything has a bad and a good side to it) now in lockdown-mode I had the time to do it. It took me three days, mainly because I wanted to allow the concrete to cure adequately between steps. It’s a simple construction from what I had on hands, now I’ll let it sit for some days before gently firing it for the first time and see what happens.


Outdoor Faucet

Our garden water tap is at a completely impossible position. Due to structural demands the maximum height is fixed so it can run clear in winter. I really didn’t like it so I found a remedy building a disconnectable faucet-board. It resembles a little fountain and it looks nice enough. Please see my highly sophisticated sketch/drawing if you’re interested in building your own 🙂


Mouse Livetrap (aka “Jerry’s Demise”)

I have the sneaking suspicion that a little mouse might dwell in the attic in the northern germany refuge… Faintly low, scratching noises can be heard from above at night and the cat is closely monitoring the ceiling from below for minutes. I’ll try to catch Jerry with this simple contraption and set him free on the fields near my house.

It looks like fresh from the scrap yard (well… it actually IS) and cost me nothing at all. The principle is widely available in loads of variations all across the internet but here’s how it works again.


Hammer Makeover

One of the rusty and scruffy tools that I found in the northern gemany garden was a small hammer with cracked pien. So I tried to restore it into a japanese-style hammer by just cutting the tip off and give it back some shine. This is the result (though I might have to replace the handle again).


Planing Stop

I came up with something completely new! Something never ever done before! I’ll revolutionize my woodwork and that of everyone who reads this! I made… (drum roll)… a planing stop! Such a lockdown is great for finally making some long postponed projects.


Water Level Indicator

I had some water damage recently in the northern germany refuge, due to a defective pump and a resulting overflow of the respective reservoir. So I came up with the idea of installing a water level indicator system to it, enabling me to have an eye on the filling level in the future.

 


Finding a LED’s Polarity

LED PolarityI needed this for a project that I’m working on at the moment (I can never remember it correctly…) I thought perhaps someone might find it useful.

More about LEDs on Wikipedia.


Shop Vac

I refurbished the cyclone dust separating addon (click for an explanation!) for the shop vacuum – finally, after about two years of not being really content with the old one. Got a new and more durable bucket for it, added an air vent and installed it in an unused corner of the shop.

As usual, this is not a professional setup and also my vacuum cleaner is a little weak in the chest, but it’s enough for my small shop and it cost me next to nothing. Now the new one works perfectly and it’s ready to go.

Damn thing is that now I don’t have an excuse anymore to clean the shop.


DIY Leather Balm

(The Image above is NOT stolen, although it looks like so. I just reused a tin that I already had.)

I made some wood wax finish again lately that really works very well and I wanted something to care for for my leather items as well. Leather Balm is cool for keeping your leather items good-looking, water-proof (to a certain degree), soft and nourished – thus – well cared for.

Applied and used properly, it’ll make your leather last a lifetime. Summarized, you want to provide for your leather with natural oils and fats and at the same time protect it from the elements as good as you can.


Meat Slicer

I watched a very inspiring YouTube Video lately from a guy who made himself a meat slicer. Now, since I’m rather productive making bacon, dried meat or sausages every so often, I decided that I wanted one of these too! Mine is not as sophisticated as his (he is definitely “carpentry level: god”), but it works and I’m proud!


Wireless Charging Station

I made a wireless charging station for my phone lately. It consists of this wireless charger and some leftover – hold on fast – lemontree wood scraps! More or less thrown together (well, it was not that much of a challenge), sanded finely and wax-finished.


Prepping: My “EDC Kit”

Thinking about various occasions where an “emergency kit” might come in handy lately, here’s also my list of things that I carry around with me by default – I don’t even notice it in my pocket anymore. Nobody needs any more than that if he’s not in, like, Canada’s wilderness 🙂


Prepping: My Car “Get Home Kit”

There was a veritable winter storm with much media coverage sweeping over germany the last days. I got stuck in traffic (harmless), the weather got worse and worse and I had some free time to wonder about what I’d do when there’s a real SHTF situation of that kind. Here’s what I came up with for a wintery, cold and unpleasant car-sticky-situation:


Simple Balance Scale DIY

I wanted to try to build the simplest possible balance scale because I saw one being used in an internet video (1:01).

The principle is known since the ancient world (thus, in german it’s called “römische Waage” – “roman scale”) and it’s fairly easy to do. It’s not known for precision and accuracy, but it’s a nice example of the lever principle in action. I made it “no fuzz”, so just to test it and there’s definitely potential for improvement. It was a fun weekend project and this is how it works:


Chisel Sharpening Jig

I made a jig for sharpening my chisels now and then. It’s not a new idea, instead you can find tons of instructions on the net. This one is my approach:

The idea is to keep the chisel’s blade right angled and at the same time always at the same inclination to the surface in order to achieve maximum sharpness. So I made this jig with a right angle stopper that I can use with worn-out sanding belts. 30° is a good grinding angle for me. While this is not a super precise and professional contraption, it is perfectly functional and absolutely satisfies my needs. The construction itself is as self-explanatory as the usage, just have a look at the images. I hope you like the idea and prehaps even make your own.


DIY Wax Wood Polish

This is my recipe for an easy, yet useful wax wood polish. It’s what I’ve tried out and what worked for me. Alas, as usual, the internet provides a vast mass of recipes and details.


Hatchet Makeover

I refurbished a cheap old axe/hatchet from the hardware store that was hiding itself in my garage for quite some years. It took me several angle grinder discs, loads of elbow grease and almost one year of time (since I didn’t have the time to work on it consequently).


DIY Washstand

I made a washbasin for the northern germany restroom from a very beautiful slice of walnut wood that I got hands on and some items that were left over from previous projects. Perhaps someone might draw some inspiration from it 🙂


How To: Anti-Rust Bubble Bath

 

I’ve got a lot of rusty old tools lying around here that I thought were a reasonable winter project to clean and restore. So the first thing was to clean off the heavy “crust of rust” on them and the easiest way to do this is with an electrolysis bath. This is how it works and what you’ll need to do this by yourself. It’s cheap, easy and effective.


Squirrel Feeder for the Northern Germany Refuge

I made another squirrel feeder for the nothern germany garden. The little guys must be darn hungry these days so I wanted to help them out a little.


Bevel Filing Jig

I have realised with a little dismay, that most of my knife making tools (such as for example this one or this one) are back at home in munich and that I’m not overly well equipped with the little things here at the northern germany refuge. So I made the working vise some days ago and now I finished a bevel grinding/filing jig to be mounted on my bench vise. Although they’re simple, non-complex tools, it feels very good to do things by hand again.


Simple Knife Working Vise

I have the same one at home but now I had to make another one for the northern germany refuge. It’s a simple construction, consisting of not much more than a wooden block with two holes for attaching clamps and a smaller block at the bottom so I can mount it to the bench vise. Additionally, I added two small holes on the top for a “stop-screw” that keeps verything in place when working.


Ugly Firestarters and How They Work

We got a new fireplace installed in the northern germany refuge last october, so I made a batch of my ugly firestarters. Here’s a short video on how they do their job.

 


Laundry Flip Folding Board

This is neither new nor in any way special, but I wanted to make my own for simplifying doing my laundry: The T-Shirt-Fold-O-Mat.


Quick Clipboard for the Shop

I made it from a leftover piece of wooden flooring to keep my scraps and notes organised in the shop.


Patched up the Garden Shed

Before

Before

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finallly did the necessary touch ups on the garden shed in the northern germany refuge. To be honest, it is still not pretty and you cannot see so much of a difference, but as so often, it was the little things that required attention:

1. Replaced the broken roof tiles
2. Reinforced the wooden beams where necessary
3. Added an additional side wall for added space and stability of the projection portion of the roof
4. Fixed the front roof-cover

Pheew… Maybe I’ll give it a paint job in spring next year.


Trashcan Screen done

I finally finished the trashcan screen in the front yard. Here are some impressions, video below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Barn Door in the Living Room

Lately, we removed a part of the wall separating the kitchen from the living room, creating a counter. Thus a normal living room door would always have stood in the way, so we decided to put in a sliding door instead. It’s “Barn-Door” style and, well, it is really barn-ish looking:


Northern Germany Smoker

I finally finished the smoker for the northern germany refuge that I was longing for for so long! It’s design is loosely based on the “munich smoker” at home (see series parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and in action), but with a few modifications, adjustments and additions. But first, some images:


Trashcan Screen from Pallets

It was really not a pretty sight when you came home and the first thing you saw were three dirty trashcans in front of the house. So we grabbed all the remaining pallets from the garden and turned them into a screen to cover the trash. It’s a simple construction made from five regular euro pallets (in diffenerent states of decay 🙂 ) screwed together with simple metal brackets.

It’s not completely done yet, since we plan to additionally cover it with a wicker fence from the hardware store, but it is already an improvement.


Ruined Holesaw

So the pice of wood that I’m working on these days is really hard. This is what happens to a standard holesaw insert when you don’t have a keen eye on what you’re doing (not to mention the ripping in the wood…)


How To: Setting up a Hammock

I’ve got a lot of trees here in the northern germany refuge and now I also finally got a hammock (Amazon) again! I’ve set up hammocks many times before – as a boy scout – but it’s about 25 years since then… so here’s how I used to set up a hammock:


How To: Using a Lashing Belt with Ratchet

I used a lashing belt for setting up my hammock and someone I know who didn’t do this ever before asked me how a lashing belt works. Although it’s fairly easy I want to explain the general use step by step here:


Tying a Bowline Knot

I’ll need this one in the next days, so I tried to dig up some long forgotten boyscout knowledge from 30 years ago. Didn’t work… 🙂

Thus, here’s a very good video on how to tie a bowline knot the easy way and if I remember it right, this is the method that I learned as a boy. It is used for mooring ships as well as securing climbing harnesses, aaaand – in boyscout camps all over the world in every imaginable way.

The most common german word for it is “Palstek” in the north (and resembles the vast use in shipping). But I grew up in southern germany and I know it better as “Rettungsschlinge” (used e.g. by rescue personnel) or as “Ankerstich” (which is the term that I learned). Here’s more on it on Bowline – Wikipedia.

It’s very useful, fairly simple and absolutely worth the effort to learn.


Heating Unit for the Drying Box

I wanted to add a means of heating to my meat drying box (e.g. here or here) so I can also make some beef jerky or biltong directly in it. What I eventually came up with is a 100W heating bulb for… terrariums! Just added a drip plate and mounted it to the already provided (and sealable) hole in the back wall. Looks nice by now.


The Simplest Imaginable Cellphone Holder

The mobile communications network in my house is downright lousy (welcome to the germany of the year 2019… no more comments needed…), but I identified the perfect spot for my iphone on the windowsill.

Since I’ve got some Airpods lately, my phone finally doesn’t have to be close to me when I’m at my desk, and since standing upright seems to improve reception, I made this veeery simple cellphone holder:


Cat Toy

I wanted to create something for the Lady of the House to play with and stimulate her a little when it’s cold and rainy outside and she doesn’t want to prowl around in her garden.

Just hot-glue some of those inside toilet paper cardboard rolls into a carton box, randomly drop in some favourite cat treats and there you go! No cost, no fuzz and much fun!

(Unless she’s just lazy and more or less intelligent enough to just topple the whole thing over in order to get her paws on all the delicious good stuff  🙂 ).


Drywall Build

So we finally installed a drywall construction to divide the large basement room into two. The stud framing was done by a friend of ours since I didn’t have clue how to do that. The rest was easy. I plan to grout the edges shortly, install the door and it’ll be done.


Mounting Internal Doors

So, finally, a friendly professional person installed the door to the shop for me. I have observed this work many times, but I don’t dare to do it on my own. It requires absolute accuracy, precision and, last but not least, knowledge about what you’re doing.

First, one half of the doorframe is glued and screwed together and inserted into the door-hole. After levelling everything carefully with a spirit level, it is fixed in the correct position with several wedges and the hollows are filled with construction foam.

To ensure the correct position of every part of the frame, the whole construction is fixed with tension rods until the foam has cured and hardened. Next, the other half of the Frame will be installed (foam, glue and screws) and the door is ready.

More information and instructions (german language):
https://www.obi.de/magazin/wohnen/innentueren-einbauen
https://www.bauhaus.info/ratgeber/bauen-sanieren/zimmertuer-einbauen
https://www.selbst.de/innentuer-einbauen-9357.html


How To: Miter Joints for Baseboards

We got wooden flooring in the northern germany refuge recently, and I had to install the baseboards (the mouldings covering the joint of the walls and the adjoining floor) over the last days. Since it’s an older house and not every corner is a perfect ninety-degree-angle, I had to rely on some measuring and precise cutting to make the baseboard joints nice and flush.


Demolition Man!!!

I started tearing down the old and worn brick and stone grill in the northern germany refuge today. I didn’t expect it to be that sturdy – never judge a book by it’s cover! Whoever built this monster, he really knew what he was doing!


Fencing

We also started fencing the property these days. Slowly but surely everything is coming together…


Kitchen Countertop

Finally the top for the kitchen counter ist done and mounted – I even got it level! It’s a solid board of wood, 4 cm thick and 1 m long with the edges left natural.


Key Hanger for the Northern Germany Refuge

Scrap wood – need of a key hanger close to the main door – some stain – some laquer: Done. I even found some neat and beautiful copper nails! So, for the small available space I think is is a suitable solution.


The Pallet Couch is Finally Done!

So finally I got hands on some feasible cushions for the pallet couch posted earlier. This has become a real relaxing corner for me. I like it!


De-Construction Work in the Northern Germany Refuge

So today they removed the part of the wall that’s going to be the new kitchen counter. There’s a super cool wood trading company only a short distance away, where I plan to purchase a solid slab of wood for the countertop.


Pallet Couch

Everyone seems to repurpose old pallets, and I wanted to try that too. I couldn’t find a suitable couch for the location I wanted one for, I wanted it to be a cozy man-corner but also suitable for one person to spend a night on it. So I finally got hold of 2 well preserved pallets from a local transporting company and turned them into a couch. I’m still missing the cushions and a matress, but the basic work is done so far.


How to: Change Door Handles

After the windows were upgraded, I wanted to change the old-fashioned door handles for newer and little discreeter ones. Changing door handles is also not a big deal – a little bit more complicated than the window handles, but not much of a challenge and not much work either. You’ll need some more tools – I strongly advise a power drill – and a little more time.


How to: Change Window Handles

I’ve done some touch-ups in the northern germany refuge yesterday. One thing was changing the 20 year old window handles for new, lockable ones. It’s really easy, also for the inexperienced and here’s how:


January Bacon is done

The new batch of home-cured bacon is finally done. Took them out of the smoker yesterday in the evening after two 2.5-hour-runs of smoking with the small burner.


New Batch of Bacon

A new batch of (hopefully) delicious, yummy and scrumptious bacon is on it’s way! They’re four pieces of about 750 g each, salted with my standard meat curing formula and vacuumed tightly. They’re now resting in the fridge to cure for about eight days. My mouth is already watering…


Kitchen Remodeling for a small Buck

We’ve been in the new house in northern germany for a couple of days now and the first thing we wanted to go about was the kitchen. We just added a little color, rearranged the furniture and gave it a reasonable lighting. It feels much cozier now and it suits our needs.

Before

Before

After

After


Balcony Fire Bowl

I decided to try to only smoke on the balcony from now on, simply because you smoke much less when you have to go out every time. Since it’s winter here and temperatures easily drop below zero, I dug out the old fire bowl that I made from a cheap dollar store Wok and some scrap metal two years ago. Still works fine and makes a comfy, cozy feeling on the balcony.


Casually Made Serving Tray

I had a leftover piece of plum wood lying around from bass building. Not usable for instrument making anymore, but suitable enough as a kitchen utensil. I like the wood grain, although it has a bad spot in the middle and the olive oil coating really made it look cool.


Pallet Dismantler

As soon as I get my welding equipment clean and functional again, I will make this little tool for dismembering euro-pallets.


Euro-Pallet Dimensions

Since I’ll be needing this most probably in the near future, here’s a scheme. Taken from Wikipedia (de).


I did a Thing…

Signed the contract yesterday! I finally bought a house in a very beautiful, rural and quiet area in northern germany. Now imagine how fed up I am with the big bad city, that I – a cocksure born and raised bavarian – am at least partially moving up to the north… 🙂


Squirrel Feeder

My neighbour, who is a biologist told me that squirrels have had a hard time the last winters here in urban southern germany and that she doesn’t think the situation will improve much this year. Seems the little critters are so excited about the long and hot summer that they simply forget to collect their nuts as supply for the winter. So I made a “squirrel-nut-depot-all-you-can-eat-bar”.


Outdoor Wood Storage

We made this wood store this morning. It won’t win any beauty contest and it looks… umm… a little patchy, but it’s made based on the simplest possible late night sketch and also exclusively from material we had at hand. We didn’t buy a single screw. Hey, no extra euros and more space in the shop!


My “Grab’n Flee” Kit

This is what I always have packed in a convenient pouch in case “I just want to get out of this shit”. Just grab this, money, a jacket and a toothbrush and get the hell out of here.


Simplest Possible Rope Tensioners

Well, I was a boyscout when I was young and, yes, I did learn some useful things back then. So when we set up our new awning lately, I recalled the simple line-tensioners we made back in the days when we went camping with the boyscout group. They’re easy to make, simple to set up and cost next to nothing. Here’s how they work:


Sprouting Glass – Results

The result after 4 days of letting them grow. Cool, I hope they taste good.


Sprouting Glass

So they sell what they call a “Sprouting Glass” for growing e.g. mung bean sprouts etc. in my local garden market. Basically, that gadget is not much more than a glass jar with a slotted lid and an attached stand. I think you could easily make one yourself, but it was only 5 bucks and I liked the idea, so I really didn’t care.


Simple Pergola for the Hamburg Garden

We made a simple pergola from an old garden tent to sit under and drink some beer 🙂 – we wanted to give it some “beach bar look”. We used the frame of an old party garden tent and attached several 2 x 5 cm bars as a roof construction. 


Makeshift Smoker-Addon for the Barrel Grill

A friend made me a steel divider sheet for the barrel grill (if you like: See here, here, here and here) so I can use it as a simple smoker. Basically it works like those Weber-fireboxes you can buy at the hardware store: The idea is to put the coals into the left half of the firepit, setting the divider and thus having a zone of indirect heat and smoke on the right side. Simple, effective and it works (somehow) 🙂


Windowsill Nursery 2018

Some images from my windowsill these days. I’m trying to grow some herbs for the kitchen from seeds. Most of it works out rather well. It’s only the Rosemary that is is a little peaky and doesn’t really seem to like growing very much. The Tomatoes were planted (from plain supermarket-tomato-slices) only about a week ago and I’m pretty satisfied with the progress. Those Chilies grow like hell and I’ll have to germinate the blossoms with a soft brush these days when I have the time and ease to do it.


I made a Thing…

So, over the last few weeks I bolted and welded together some kind of a chuckwagon-kitchen-appliance for my garden firebowl. As usual I tried to use mainly scrap from the shop, recycling what I had but in this case I had to buy some steel rods and small parts.


Parts of an Anvil

Another interesting info image with the english terms for a german DIY-er. Taken from here.


Hauke, Part II

The second day is over. I couldn’t see much change when I added 100g of flour and another 100ml of water today. Also, it didn’t smell sourly yet. So let’s wait for day three.

The trick seems to be to “feed” it day by day, until it bubbles. The naturally occuring wild yeasts and lactobacilli in the flour need some time to wake up, reproduce and populate the mixture thoroughly. When this proliferation has reached a certain level, the developing carbon dioxide makes the dough bubble up and the ongoing fermentation produces a wide variety of aromatics – that finally also end up in your bread.

Looking forward to tomorrow evening and on how it is going on.


Hauke, Part I

Let me present to you: Hauke (a somewhat unusual boy’s name in germany), my first homemade sourdough starter – at least my first try. Since I’ve read that they’re living organisms and thus you’re obliged to give them names, I’ll simply call him – well – Hauke. I started him off today with 50g wheat flour (Type 1050) and 50 ml water @ 27 °C (lukewarm). Recipe taken from here.

Part two and more information on how to make a sourdough starter tomorrow, when I’ll have to fill it up.


Pressure Cooker How To

Since I was an absolute beginner when it came to using a pressure cooker (and I somehow lost the manual…), I looked for instructions on the internet lately. Some were plain BS, some just dramatically told elementary stuff and left out the real instructions and, finally, some (especially the relevant forums!) were very informative. I threw everything together and tried it out (BTW – here’s a good article on what a pressure cooker actually does – I won’t describe the principles of pressure cooking here).

So, here’s my personal “Pressure Cooker How To for Dummies” (tested, illustrated and in full color!):

 


Rotisserie DIY

I welded together a rotisserie mostly from scraps in the shop! I wanted it to fit into the grate slots of my stone barbecue grill so I had to design it exactly to size. I also had to grind up an idea on where to put the electric motor since, in my case, there are walls in exactly the spot where all the store bought ones have their drive.


Steamer Rack

This is a steamer rack that I made today, the pictures explain what it is good for. Honestly, I was just bored today so I took one of those Ikea-cutlery-holders that I had already misused earlier anyway and just cut 4 cm off. Man, a simple empty tuna can would do the same job, but at least this one is stainless steel and it looks at least a little better…


Japan-inspired Wooden Plates

You can officially call me the great Recycler! I had this leftover piece of beechwood lying around (and constantly in the way) and I saw an inspiring video on japanese cuisine.


Weapon Locker Shelf

A friend of mine who is a sports shooter needed a simple shelf for his gun locker to store his Ammunition. So I made him an IKEA-like construction for self assembly at home 🙂


New Cold Smoker: First real Action

As much of a little weakling my first cold smoker was, as much of a fu**ing hellraiser is this one. I even have the feeling it might do a little too much…


Cyclone Dust Separator

…for the Shop Vacuum. I ordered this piece from Amazon for a few bucks and glued/screwed it to a wall-paint mixing bucket.

It’s desigend to separate larger grains of dust/debris from the airstream in order to keep the actual vacuum cleaner from clogging up. I hope my SO will notice. See the image for the principle.

As always when I do something, I realized AFTERWARDS that my vacuum’s hose it too small to fit on the connectors… 🙂 Let’s see if I can grab one for small money…


Cold Smoke Generator – Next Test

Ma-han! That thing absolutely works!!! As soon as you do it rigtht, it suddenly works…

I used smaller wood chips this time and an additional hole for added draft. It really glows like hell now and I’m looking forward to smoking some bacon tomorrow.


Cold Smoke Generator – New Approach (Prototype)

I know that not all folks out there like those cold smoke generators for smoking meat. Many rather rely on the good old openly glowing wood chips in a bowl at the bottom of their smoke house. But for my small batches in my small smoker, these generators come in really handy. Since, unfortunately, the last cold smoke generator wasn’t so much the bringer of happiness, I tried a new approach:


A7-Notebook Cover

I like Lleatherwork. So i made a cover for the most used notepad in Germany: Size A7 (which is approximately 2.9 x 4.1″ in the english system). I’ll carry it with me in the front pocket of my favourite jacket.

 Yes, I know it’s not too nice… But it does what I want. Here are the Dimensions that I made it after.

 


Great ugly Firestarters

It’s an old trick but it works perfectly. Fire starters made from egg cartons, dryer lint and sawdust, covered in wax.

My SO is is nicely collecting dryer lint and candle remnants over the year, so I can make some when “winter is coming”. It is the hell of a mess to make them but it’s also easy, they cost nothing and burn for half an eternity. Always remember to put in the dryer lint as the last layer, so they keep together well.


Kitchen Labels

These are the labels I made for my kitchen supplies – my god, that man must be bored… No, at least not sooo much, actually 🙂 But I’m cooking a lot and I wanted them to look halfway decent.


For anybody interested in using them: Here’s the .psd-file.


Small Chuck Box

I made this small chuck box for my Lada Niva about a year ago, when I thought it would come in handy some day.


Hedgehog Hilton

My SO wanted a hedgehog box in the garden for the little fellows to have a secure and cozy hideout during winter. I liked the Idea but due to my job situation lately, I neither had the time nor the nerves to make one myself. So we bought this one instead:

It is roughly 28,5 x 48 x 38 cm (H x W x D) and it’s a simple construction – you can put it together in minutes. We gave it a good coat of linseed oil for weather protection and as soon as the oil had dried we placed it outside. We hope it becomes our personal “Hedgehog Hilton” this winter.


Angle Grinder Jig

This is another approach on grinding bevels to my self made knives. It consists of an angle grinder connected to an adjustable arm with a ball joint at the end to allow it to move freely. It can be set to multiple grinding angles and it’s swinging radius is also big enough for large blades.


The Planting Table is done

The shed mounted planting table is also finally done. It has three layers of paint now – eventually we didn’t use oil but a white outdoor wood paint that matches the rest of the shed.


Planting table

I made a planting table for my SO today. The old one finally gave up due to weather, wear and tear. It’s going to be mounted on the garden shed’s wall with hinges so it’s “foldable” to save some space when it’s not in use and also to protected from the elements a little better.


Smoking done… but not good.

So yesterday the four pieces of pork went into the smoker for two sessions with about 4 hours each. Unfortunately, only one of them came out good, the other three didn’t. Very harsh taste, almost bitter. Not really pleasant. At least they looked pretty…


Drying-box

This is the Drying-Box that I made the last few days. Originally no more than a standard wooden box from the hardware store.


Cutting board

Forgot to mention that I made a cutting board from scrap wood this weekend.

I still had a piece of pretty enough and sufficiently heavy kitchen countertop wood lying around that was left over from building my shop workbench. I didn’t really know what to do with it, so last weekend I converted it into a new cutting board.


Self Made Bevel Grinding Jig

I made myself a reasonable jig for grinding bevels on my knives. It’s very hard to do that with bad or wiggly jigs (that I had before) and – for a non-smith like me – virtually impossible to do only by hand. This is the result:


Axe makover

O.K. Call me mad… nuts… crazy… I want to try an Axe-makover. I had this hatchet lying around in my garage, cheap, blunt, neglected and dirty. Aaaand I want to turn it into some object resembling a viking battle-axe (something looking roughly  like this).


New Thermostat

Finally the new item has arrived. I got a new thermostat for my Lada (that’s a fair barter, I know… 😉 ) This one opens at 80 °C instead of the original 85 °C, so I hope the car takes longer to run hot than before. As usual, I also wonder when I will have to time to install it.


Tabletop Fireplace

So I made a tabletop fireplace for my SO these days (she likes shit like that):


Takoyaki welding project

I had Takoyaki some days ago, and I absolutely loved them. Naturally, I want to try to make them by myself, but unfortunately there are virtually no takoyaki pans available for induction stoves 🙁 .


Making a Garden Table, Episode 3

So the Barrel-garden-table is finally done. It looks nice enough and I’m looking forward to trying it out.


Planting Tomatoes

Planting tomatoes the not-so-traditional way. Just buy some meaty, juicy tomatoes with many seeds in the supermarket and slice them up, about 1/2 an inch thick. We had some cocktail tomatoes left over here, but any will work as long as they’re halfway fresh and juicy. Lay the slices into a pot with good potting soil, giving them some space (or using seperate pots) and cover with about 1/2 an inch of dirt. Water lightly and… wait.


Making a Garden Table, Episode 2

Finally the weather was good enough to let me make the paint job on the high table. Black, of course, just like my heart / my lungs 🙂


Making a Garden Table, Episode 1

I had a 200 l Steel Barrel left in the Garage and decided to make some kind of a garden-/bar-/high-table from it for when we have a barbecue. It’ll have space for bottles and glasses, and I’m pondering on giving it a small integrated trash can and/or a cooler.


Roasting Device

Some uniquely ingenious unknown guy on the internet posted this self made gadget and I want to make this so badly! Absolutely great idea!

It reminds me of a “Döner”-grill a little, and I think it’d be fun to try this out with some friends a some beers.


UDS “Roasting Ring”

I can’t think of a better description for this.


New Oshibako put to use

Yep. We tried it again and this time we took photos. The new mould (”Oshibako”) has better dimensions and makes more handy pieces. Also, we tried more nori and wasabi mayonnaise. We were so stuffed and happy yesterday evening.


“Oshibako” – Sushi mold

This is a so called “Oshibako“ – a kind of mold used for making “pressed sushi”. I made it today – as usual from the finest scrap-wood that I had lying around… 🙂


My Notebook-Update

The smaller Midori-Style Notebook that I wanted to create for myself. It’s already in heavy use and I really like it.


Midori-style Notebook

As one can see, I really sort of like my SO…


Candle

So I made another wax burner for my SO from an old or antique sort of… thingy… that she found in the attic. I don’t even know what that thing was good for before… 🙂


Cold smoke generator

New approach to a cold smoke generator for my smokebox. Idea taken from here.


Smokebox

Finally got my cold smoke box ready, including a cold smoke generator (idea taken from here). Luckily, it’s all made of scrap that was lying around, so nothing is really lost if it doesn’t work. Can’t wait to try it out.


New UDS, the finals

Final burning out with about 350°C for “decontamination”. Now it’s ready to use.


New UDS, Part 4

Done! Can’t wait to light it up.


New UDS, Part 3

3rd day of making the new UDS: Added a small, removable shelf (for thermometers) with hooks and a moveable lid for the main Air intake. I also finished the firehole door and a drain-hole for when it might get flooded (again). It’s also got it’s first layer of fire-proof laquer. After that, it got de-oiled with a felt litre of Acetone.


New UDS, Part 2

Second step for the new UDS. I even found an old grill lid that fits.


New UDS, Part 1

Began working on a new Ugly Drum Smoker. Smaller in size for easier temperature control and easier handling.


Skewer holder

Made myself a shashlik-skewer holder that fits snugly into the grate slots of my garden grill. Can’t wait to try it out.


Candle eater

Made my SO a wax burner from some copper tubes and a flower pot these days.


Sous vide apparatus, new approach

The next attempt in sous vide cooking.


Sous vide apparatus, Fuckup

Well. Shit.


Sous vide apparatus, Part two

I have refurbished my Sous-Vide-Cooker since I was so excited about the old one. This is the new version – tomorrow I’ll try out a new Steak in it and i will report here.


Sous vide apparatus, Part one

Believe it or not: This heap of scrap is my new self made sous-vide cooker! Cost me exactly € 10.99 for the immersion heater, everything else was lying around in the shop. I was not very convinced of the concept of sous vide cooking in the beginning so it was merely a side-project just for fun, but the steak turned out SO delicious I will definitely do this more often!


Pergola construction, Part two

This is what my Balcony looks like since the Hops has grown and is providing a screen towards my Neighbours. Finally got my balcony-pergola-construction done. Attached a retractable Tarp and destroyed a Multitool.


Pergola construction, Part one

So I have constructed some kind of a pergola on my balcony this week. I will post updates as soon as I have the sunscreen attached.


Bacon rack

Had 3 days off because I called in sick with the flu (or at least as much as I could, since I’m the Boss…)


Fishing Rod Holder

My new Fishing Rod Holder for the Garage. I think I’ll give it a paint job and then mount it.


Juri gear

This is the gear that I shove around when I’m on the way with my “little fellow”. Please note the rubber chicken.


A faraday cage

And – the old semi-prepper that I am – I also made a Farady-Cage for my electronics 🙂 Simple & easy and done in five minutes.


A sundial

I made a sundial from Forex ™ according to this Instructable. Nice. Waiting for a sunny day now to try it out.


Notebook and Cover

I made my own leather Field-Notes-Clone. Not at all perfect (as usual) but I really like it.


Fishing line spooler

SEE WHAT I MADE! My new Fishing-line-spooler. It’s not pretty, it’s not professional, but it works.


Air intake grate

Gave the little fellow in in my driveway a grate for the Air intake. Was tired of taking all the dead leaves out every few days.


Grilling Table

This is my Grilling Table that I want to place beside my Barbecue-Grill and Smoker. It is made solely from the Wood of two Euro-Pallets, and it was fairly easy to plan and build until now. Now comes the really difficult part of somehow heaving it out of my basement shop up to the garden… Update will follow shortly – hopefully.


Beer can holder for Juri

My self made aluminum cup-holder for my Lada Niva (since it doesn’t have one ex-factory). It clips into the glovebox flap and it works fine.


Oil barrel grill in use

So meanwhile the BBQ-Grill has moved to Hamburg as intended. Finally, it was put to the real test and it really works fine.


Another DIY for the SO

A bathtub tray for my SO.


Pallet disassembling

You do burn some calories doing this…


Leather pencil tray

Super simple leather Pencil tray


Oven door

My new front door for the stone grill. Now it doubles as a pizza-oven and it actually works!


Oil drum grill is done

And finally burned out and tested the oil drum grill.


Grill building update

Barbecue-Update.


Oil Barrel Grill

Some progress on the Oil-Barrel-Barbecue I’m working on.


Pondering on an oven door

Planning on a door for my brick garden barbecue grill in order to be able to use it as a pizza oven.


Herb rack

Again, something for my SO. A rack for our kitchen-herbs, decorative enough as i hope.


Nine men’s morris

My board of nine men’s morris. Made from scrap wood and, as everything that i make, not perfect (but who needs perfection anyway?). But a nice afternoon’s work last weekend.


Cookbook Stand

And a self made cook book stand for my SO. It has a screen to protect the book from the inevitable kitchen mess, and it is collapsible for better storage.


Stitching vise

A small vise that I made for stitching leather.


My sketches wall

My “sketches wall”


Finally, a decent forge

My brand new gas forge! I’m really excited about it because it’s a professional tool, heavy, sturdy and neatly worked.


Self made belt grinder

… aaand my home made belt grinder. Final work and adjustments have still to be done but up to now it basically works.


Leather Strop

Made a leather strop today for giving knife edges the last touch. I can attach two different strips of leather with different coarsenesses.


Magazine pouch

Friend of mine is a member of a sports gun club. So I made him a belt-pouch for his magazines.


Leather stamps

Aaaand… i made some stamps from old screws for leatherworking. (Colored for a better view). It was the hell of a job to cut and file them into shape.


Toolbox

Integrated toolbox in the motor compartment.


Patio lights

Patio lights from Jars for my SO.


Patio shelf

For my patio.


Gearstick

My new Gearstick-Knob.


Pond-in-a-Tub

Pond-in-a-tub that I made for my SO in summer.


Leather sheath

Stuff for my new hatchet.


Acetone lamp

It`s an acteone-lamp. Got it from here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Beautiful-acetone-lamp-from-reused-materials/

Brilliant Idea and fun to make.


Added a padlock to an ammo tin

Simple way of adding a padlock to an Ammo-Tin.


Kydex Press

Homemade press for making Kydex sheaths.


Worm farm

My self made worm bucket. I hope it’ll give an endless supply of worms for fishing! Got the plans from the internet and used an old plant bucket.


Little Boombox from a wooden Birdhouse.

I made a small boombox from a wooden birdhouse from the craft shop.


Ammo can wood-burning-stove.

Ammo can wood-burning-stove.


 

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