When I was a kid, the zipper on my favorite pair of jeans broke. Back then, my solution was to cut and sew buttonholes in the inside of the top zipper placket, and sew buttons on the inside of the bottom zipper placket, ala button-up Levi’s 501 style. It worked, and my favorite jeans lived a while longer.
This week, I mended a pair of waterproof rain paints. The zipper had essentially corroded onto the zipper teeth and was permanently stuck in the down position. I considered the button-up solution again, but that wouldn’t be great for waterproof pants. So, I decided to go for it… replace the zipper. I’ve never done it before. So I stared at it for a very, very long time. There are like 10 different sets of stitching on a zipper placket. I had to figure out which ones to rip out to get the zipper out, which ones to leave in place, and figure out the right order of steps to sew the new one in. So, after mentally reverse-engineering the entire zipper placket assembly, I decided I could do it.
In the end, the amount of time I spent staring at it took much longer than the amount of time it took me to rip the necessary seams, remove the old zipper, and sew in the new one. I used a little waterproofing goo on the inside to waterproof the new exposed seams. And voila!
It’s not exactly Saville Row work, but I learned a new thing. #proudofmyself
The fence along the backside of our property is 15 years old and was really showing its age. A trip to Home Depot and an afternoon in the wayback fixed it all up. 200-ish feet of straight, no-longer-wobbly cedar fencing is ready for another decade or so…
After being out of the water for seven weeks for its bottom job, Nirvana’s packing gland had dried out a bit, and it was dripping too much. The packing gland keeps the propeller shaft cool while it is turning. So dripping too much is better than dripping too little. But, dripping too much means that we are constantly sinking a little bit, so we didn’t want to let it go too long. 🙂 We have hired out the engine maintenance on the boat in the past, but decided to do this ourselves. Finding the right tool for the job is important. These wrenches from CatalinaDirect fit the nuts exactly, are narrow enough to turn the lock nut without turning the gland nut, and have stubby handles for the cramped space in the bilge by the propeller shaft. Perfect! We tested the temperature on the shaft after motoring for a while with an infrared thermometer. Looks like a good fix.
We were on a roll, and kept going and checked the impeller on the sea water pump, which pumps water to cool the diesel engine. We’d let it go too long and one of the blades had broken off. Now to find it…
Debris in the cooling system is not good, it blocks the hoses to, and the tubes inside the heat-exchanger, which can lead to overheating. Plan A: use a shop vac to try to suck the broken vane out of the hose between the water pump and the heat-exchanger. Plan B: open the inlet side of the heat-exchanger, which requires removing the alternator. Thankfully, Plan A worked. The entire blade was retrieved. After a new impeller, o-ring, and lubricant, it was all set to go.
We fired up the engine and left the dock for a 30 minute test run to make sure things looked good. And they did.
Then we decided to sail upriver 30 miles to anchor overnight and watch for some Perseid meteors a little farther away from the city lights. We saw a dozen or so.
We had a great sail up and back on Tuesday and Wednesday. And, wow, is Nirvana in top shape with her new bottom job. We hit 7.7 knots more than once.
Today is National Champagne Day! At least that what some of the Google search results tell me. But it could also be on December 31st, or October 22, or some other day in May. No matter. As long as there is an excuse to make a toast with bubbly, I’m in.
Today I am toasting to a big step forward in the remodel project of our hall bath. I started tearing out the 1980s-era terracotta floor tile in November of 2019. We drug out the ginormous cultured marble countertops and wall-sized mirror. New countertops, sinks, faucets and wall paint went up in early 2020. Then COVID happened, which slowed things down quite a bit. Monte put new face frames on the cabinets and painted them, and they look fantastic. But the bare slab floor hung with us for over a year.
As of today, I’m loving the new floor tile and backsplash. Next up: new baseboards.
I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Today is July 1st, and you can either consider that the year is half over, or there is an entire half a year left. I will take the latter view. Time does fly by, but I’m trying to enjoy the present and look forward to the future.
We’ve been busy. Working on house projects, boat projects, yard work, getting out and enjoying the lake, and, thankfully, finally spending time with friends face to face again.
The dishwasher conked out, and we installed the new one ourselves, as the first available installation appointment was weeks out. No thank you. AND, it works!
We’re enjoying the boat. The lake and our favorite coves are busy and packed with boats, but we’ve figured out that if we head out to anchor right before sunset, the majority of people have headed home. So, we have plenty of room to anchor and enjoy a peaceful sunset.
I got together with friends to celebrate Laura’s birthday in Lori’s new home. Getting this up close and personal with people outside my bubble a year ago was unthinkable. I’m glad we are where we are now. We played some fun new games that Tina introduced us to. This is an action shot from “Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza,” a fun, silly, fast-paced game. I recommend it if you’re looking for a fun game to play with a bunch of your vaccinated friends. 🙂
Patience, and a really big tractor. That’s what it took to finally re-launch our boat today, after 7 weeks on the hard for new barrier coat, new bottom paint, new cutlass bearing, new zincs, and a hull wax and polish.
Our batteries were dead after 7 weeks without charge, but we knew they were in need of replacement anyway. Starter battery and one of two house batteries are goners. A jump at the dock got the engine started. We are back in our slip now. Monte has the charger on the boat working on the one remaining battery to keep it charged, which is fortunate, because the packing gland is leaking pretty vigorously right now, as it had dried out. So we really need the bilge pump to be working off the one battery. We’ll give it a few days and hopefully the packing will swell back up after being in the water. We will replace all three batteries, too. So, we have some work left to do to get her ready for summer, but it’s very nice to have her back. As Keeto would say, “She’s so preeetty.”
A couple of days ago, I observed over the course of a few hours Monte coming in from his shop project du jour, going into the laundry room, swearing, and then going back out to the shop. This happened at least three times. I finally asked him what was up. He said he was just trying to do a load of laundry because he needed a clean pair of socks. But the washing machine wasn’t cooperating. Every time he came in the machine had stopped, unlocked the door and the laundry inside was drenched.
it would start filling the tub, putting way more water in than I have ever noticed before, up to about 6″ up from the bottom of the door window.
at 45 minutes left in the wash cycle, it would stop filling, unlock the door, and blink the start/pause light
a 12 minute drain and spin cycle would sometimes work to drain the tub. Sometimes not.
After doing some research online, and messing around with the washer for a bit, I thought we had at least 2 problems:
the drain pump, which empties the tub and sends the water out the drain hose into the wall, was not working consistently. I took that out and Monte hooked it up in the shop to a switch, and sure enough, it would only turn on about 2 out of 10 tries.
the water level switch hose (a rubber 3/8″ hose) had a hole in it, which prevented the fill computer from correctly detecting the level of the water in the tub. Wear on that hose can happen over time from abrasion against the side of the washer tub and housing.
The website AppliancePartsPros.com is great resource for how-to videos, and also to follow discussion threads from other DIYers.
Our washing machine is a 12-year old GE Model WCVH6800J1WW. The 2 parts we needed were the drain pump (part #WH23X10028), and water level switch hose (part #WH41X10129). I ordered certified GE OEM replacement parts. The fix was easy, requiring only a phillips screwdriver and some pliers.
The two videos I watched to understand how to replace the parts I ordered were:
My latest build request to Monte was a thread-spool rack for my work closet. My projects continue to expand, and my thread inventory has become an unmanageable pile of spools. I also want to be able to store each bobbin with its corresponding spool of thread, since it’s hard to tell the difference between V-69 and V-92 thread sizes; and navy blue, black and dark green start to look the same to my old eyes. So, the top of each dowel is tapered so bobbins can be stored with each spool. I can also use it to store my growing collection of binding tape, basting tape, cord, and webbing. Voila!
I have entered the “bag” phase of my maker existence. I decided to try to make a bag styled like the classic LL Bean Boat and Tote. We were gifted a pair of them as a wedding gift, and have been using them hard and constantly for almost 2 decades. And they still have much life left in them.
The LL Bean totes are made with 24 oz cotton duck. I already had some 15 oz, so I used that for my first bag prototype. I also used some 8.8 oz navy cotton duck for the bottom and straps. Duck cloth is supposed to shrink anywhere from 5-10%. So, I’ll have to see how my design holds up over time.
The finished dimensions of this bag are 17″ W x 14.5″ H x 7″ D, which is pretty close to the Large-sized LL Bean Boat and Tote. The ones we already own are the Medium and X-Large sizes, so this will be a nice addition.
If you’re interested in trying to make one yourself, here are my notes:
I used V-92 polyester thread, and a #18 needle. My Sailrite LSZ-1 cuts through all those layers like butter.
I may try making one with Sunbrella material for the bottom and handles, instead of the 8.8 oz duck cloth, as I see that marine Sunbrella is 9 oz, so fairly close. Though Sunbrella is much more pricey than duckcloth…
Next challenge: making bags out of a used mainsail that friends gifted me. Stay tuned.