Saturday, December 17, 2011

Seattle International Motorcycle Show

Seattle International Motorcycle Show started yesterday and runs through Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center

 It's a beautiful sunny morning and predicted high today is 50 degrees. 

Motorcycles park for free.

 RTWDoug is at the show this year. This is his signature line from ADVrider -
2011 Magadan (I hope!) (03 Harley 1200 Dirtster)
2010 Europe and the Middle East (75 Harley Bobber)
2009 Around the World ('62 Harley Chopper)
2008 Europe (TDM and Guzzi Falcone)
2007 Europe (TDM850)
2006 Around the World ('48 Indian Chief)
2005 Europe and N Africa (KLR650)
2004 Europe (KLR650)
There's lots of pictures from the show at Motorcycle Show - PNW Riders.

Here's a random picture of my Sportster :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bike's Looking Good

Our next door neighbor Drew has his traditional bike-in-a-tree Christmas decoration up and it's looking sharp.

Postscript 2012 - This picture makes me sad now...Drew drowned in a rafting accident on the Green River this Spring. He was a really nice guy and a good neighbor.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Black & Decker Workmate 425, Motion Sensor Light, Sawzall

I picked up a Workmate 425 on Craigslist Friday for 35 bucks. It's in good condition and they go for about 100 dollars new so I think that was a fair price. I thought they were kind of a joke when they were advertised on TV years ago - a gadget they were trying to sell as a gift - but not really useful for much. I was wrong - it's really a smart idea. Even if was just a portable sturdy table with a wood top it would be handy.

The Workmate folds up small, has horizontal, vertical and irregular shape clamping ability, will hold 550 pounds and is easy to pick up and move around. I spent many years finding places to cut wood - on a deck edge, pickup tailgate, on a chair or between two chairs, and sometimes sawhorses if I had enough work to do - to justify getting those out and putting them together.

I made a sacrificial top for my Workmate with some scrap 3/4 inch plywood and a 1X2. I'm going to varnish that top just to make cleanup easier since my idea is to use that top when I'm doing mechanical work, yard work type things, painting or other jobs that would get the top of the Workmate dirty or scratched. I cut the plywood a little bigger than the OEM top and screwed/glued the 1X2 on the bottom to give the Workmate clamp something to grab onto. Now I have a sturdy table I can use to hold tools etc when I'm working in the yard, on a car or a bike outside.

 I used my Workmate to hold the plywood while I cut it and two nice advantages were apparent -
1. I didn't have a bunch of sawdust to clean up because I could set the Workmate in the driveway and 2. Having the plywood firmly held in place made it a lot easier to make a clean/straight cut.

Workmate will be handy for drilling as well - the center piece of the top is removable so there's no worry about drilling into your workbench/chair/tailgate/deck.

Ron Hickman invented the Workmate in 1961 but it wasn't until 1972 that Black and Decker began to mass-market it. Ron Hickman also designed the Lotus Elan sports car.

This is a video of an British guy showing how to use a Workmate -


I installed a new motion sensor light in the alley behind the garage yesterday. Nothing special about it other than it works and was simple to install and adjust. The old one was about 20 years old and the sensor was getting so cloudy it couldn't see anymore. I took the sensor off of it, twisted some wires together, added a switch I had laying around and now I have a dual bulb spotlight mounted in the garage to give me more light when I'm tinkering in there.

The motion sensor I installed has a 150 Watt halogen bulb and cost a little over twenty bucks. If it lasts 20 years like the old one I think it's quite a bargain. It's the Heath Zenith SL-5511-BZ from Amazon.


I'm looking forward to getting a Milwaukee Sawzall I ordered from Amazon later this week. It's the Milwaukee 6519-31 which has a 1 1/8 inch stroke. The other model in that price range is the 6509-31 with a 3/4 inch stroke. I also bought a set of 5 Pruning Blades and a set of 9 general purpose Wood and Metal Cutting Blades.

My main goal for this saw is to cut down a Photinia shrub/tree in our backyard. You've probably seen those trees before - they are very common in landscaping around McDonalds, office complexes, malls and places like that. They have red leaves and grow pretty quick. Depending on how you prune them they can be more tree-like or bush-like. The one we have is more dead-like. It has some kind of rust/fungus/blackspot on it. I heard Ciscoe say that's pretty common for those and there's nothing you can do about it. So I'm going to dig around the bottom of it and see how close to the ground (or how far below ground) I can cut it.

Sounds fun.

Those Sawzall's are cool for demolition work too - they'll cut through nails and electrical wiring and stuff real quick. Make sure you want to demolish those things before getting too carried away.

I'm looking forward to using the Sawzall as a hacksaw for cutting pipes, bolts and other metal bits. Cutting with a hacksaw can be pretty slow - I figure I'll save about 10 minutes of sawing time every few years by having a quicker cutting method. More recliner time.

Milwaukee Electric Tool has been making the Sawzall since 1951. Some people might call the ones sold by Ryobi, Craftsman, Dewalt - a Sawzall - but they aren't the real deal. Calling a reciprocating saw a sawzall is like calling a circular saw a skil saw, plastic tape - scotch tape, adhesive strips - bandaids..etc..

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Whidbey Thanksgiving 2011

This a collage of the photos I took over Thanksgiving at Useless Bay on Whidbey Island. You can click on it to go to the Flickr set of photos. We had a really nice relaxing time with people, dogs, rain, wind, some sun, games, and a variety of good food. The house had lots of room for sleeping/relaxing/lounging, the kitchen was large and well stocked with all the pots, pans, and utensils we needed for cooking. It was great being so close to the water. I got to ride my motorcycle on the ferry going over and back a few times which is always fun - makes me feel like I'm going on a trip. It seems odd but it costs less to ride a motorcycle on the ferry ($3.45) than it does to walk on ($4.50). All in all a really nice Thanksgiving - very low stress with everyone pitching in and no major cleanup to do when everyone left.