drill press gynmastics
Wednesday, November 17 2004
The biggest problem with my boiler room ventilation project is that the aperature to the outdoors is through a PVC sewer pipe only four inches across, giving the duct a bottleneck of a little over 12.5 square inches
[(4 inches/2)^2]*pi=12.5663 square inches
The best way to force more air through this pipe is to install an inline fan in the duct. I'd bought just such a fan at the Home Depot (a similar fan at P&T Surplus demanded 220 volts), and today I installed it in the duct, wiring it with armored flexible conduit to the terminals in the Honeywell controller that send 120 volts to the burner. Now whenever the burner kicks in, the fan slurps abundant fresh air from the outside into the boiler room, pressurizing it enough to change the angle on the barometric draft regulator.This evening I began work setting stones in the heat shield behind the wood stove, starting with the four triangular wet-sawn rocks that will support a stone shelf at the top of the shield. These required special treatment, beginning with the boring of a single hole through each piece (parallel to and a couple inches from one of the non-hypotenuse sides). There's no way to bore such a hole without a drill press, and I happen to have one, a consequence of an admittedly therapeutic summer shopping spree. The holes themselves were not difficult to drill, even though I had to do them in two stages (since the throw depth of the drill press is less than the depth of the holes I needed). What was difficult was drilling the countersink for the heads of the screws that would be going through these stones. This was mostly because the only wide-bore masonry bits I had were a foot in length, too long for my drill press. I had to put the press on a raised platform, swivel the head so the bit dropped below its mounts, and then drown down on the stones situated beside the press. Obviously, not much force can be developed this way, since the the drill responds by rocking away from the object being drilled. Still, it's a lot more stable for drilling this way than a handheld drill. Sure, it rattled a lot and the drill chuck shook loose from the spindle several times in mid-drill. But before too long I had reason to hang a mission accomplished banner above my work.
Not that the mission was actually accomplished, of course. I still had to hang these stones on the heat shield using long gutter screws. Before attaching each stone, I battered its attachment side with wet Portland cement.
As I worked, an archived episode of This American Life mumbled from the stereo with excessive bass. It was the show called called "Blame it on Art." My favorite segment was about the guy who discovered recordings made by the father he never met, although the segment about the balloon animal virtuoso is wickedly clever just in terms of the subtleness of its mocking (a vibe one almost never gets from This American Life). I've heard several dozen episodes, but somehow I never have difficulty finding one I've never heard before. By the way, if anyone can recommend a similarly timeless talk-radio show with archives available online, I'd love to hear about it. I'm dreading the day when I've heard all of the This American Life archives.
Meanwhile Gretchen had gone to her monthly poetry group, where the average member is twenty years older than her. She returned with a bag of flower bulbs for me to plant and I initially mistook them for a weird variety of gourmet onions.
Semi-non-rhetorical question for the evening: Which can be dropped from a greater height without breaking, a laptop or a CD case?
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