opportunity for in-house disposal
Saturday, March 8 2008
I made a second attempt at welding one of the woodstove-pedestal-slab-supporting girders today, though this time my goals were far more modest. I just wanted to weld together the places at the ends of the girders where I'd cut and folded together strips of steel. I also wanted to weld in a pair of diagonal braces made of large nails. I dialed the welding power back to about the midpoint of the two extremes I'd tried and slowed down the wire feed, managing to get some reasonable welds that didn't appear to destroy the metal around them. The main problem I had (and it was a bad one) was with the new spool of welding wire I'd bought. The wire was much springier and brittle than the wire that had come with the welder (I'd already used all of that up) and I had trouble getting it to feed into the arc without sproinging off the spool and jamming up the works. After awhile I gave up and removed the spool from the handheld welding gun, leaving a length of wire to be dragged across the garage floor. This isn't the ideal way to run an arc welder (particularly given that the wire is electrically hot with respect to the thing being welded), but I couldn't figure out any other way to tame the spool.
Later I disassembled the light and ceiling fan fixture in the basement guest room, hoping to find unswitched electricity in there to supply the electrical outlets I intend to install in the woodstove pedestal. Happily, unswitched electricity was present in this box, although I was unnerved to find that the light/fan had been wired in such a way that the switch controlling it turns off the neutral wire as opposed to the hot wire. This is the same idiotic wiring technique I'd observed five years ago when replacing several light fixtures on the first floor.
Actually running a wire from that light/fan connection box to the woodstove pedestal proved more difficult than I'd expected. It turned out I had to run the wire through one more inter-joist bay than expected, and this meant that I couldn't just get by accessing bays from under the pedestal. I'd have to cut a "helper hole" in the guest room ceiling as well.
I don't enjoy cutting new holes into virgin household voids, but whenever I do I'm always excited by the prospect of stuffing clean (biologically inert) household refuse into the hole before sealing it back up. I'm a firm believer in "disposal in place" for materials that are unlikely to contaminate the environment; this is why I'd rather bury drywall scraps and broken tile in the yard than haul them to the dump. My preferred form of waste for in-house disposal is styrofoam peanuts, which have good insulating properties, though I'm also happy to entomb drywall scraps, foam rubber, and bubblewrap. One time I even disposed of an empty Molson Ice bottle by dropping it into the inter-stud bay of a half-wall. (I haven't drunk Molson since it was bought by Coors.)
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