Categories
Projects

Sealing a concrete shed slab

So, as part of the shed building process the first step was in getting a slab prepared and laid. The concreter, Darren that our shed company had organised us did a great job at preparing the site and was careful around all the irrigation pipes and pool pipies that came pretty close to the slab.

Form work for a 6×4 m Shed

By the time it came to the pouring day temperatures were beautiful – a pleasant 25 degrees each day. Very pleasant but the winds were a bit high – Which meant unfortunately the slab started to dry a bit to quickly by the time the slab had been completed and had started the curing process.

I called the concreter in the afternoon after realising it had started to crack. He said he would be around soon to cover the slab with a tarp and water it down. He came around and wet it down and tarped it. Thankfully, this prevented further hairline cracks from forming.

After discussing the cracking with knowledgeable persons within building industry I learned it’s a pretty common occurrence – even in new slabs. Whether it could have had water put down on it earlier or not it could have prevented them from forming – But, to be honest, they were only small cracks.

On talking with the concreter after he came to remove his form-work, it’s thought the cracking was the result of win drying the top to fast. Which is the most likely case, it was a windy day.

So, that started the conversation with Darren on what can we do to help the slab look new. Darren recommended sealing the slab with an acrylic/oil-based sealant.

So, after agreeing he would repair the cracks on the slab, I would then pay him for some sealant, that I would later apply.

So, on the weekend, I finally got around to sealing the slab after the shed was all but nearly finished – Currently, just a few minor things need to be repaired before the building inspector will sign-off on it. So, as all the major works have been completed, I sealed the slab over the weekend.

The learning process

So, I read the instructions on the side of the sealer, a sealer by Concrete Colour Systems. It recommended a well cleaned slab – I used my Gerni for this. Though, if you have an existing slab you’ll want to complete further cleaning then just a pressure sprayer as you may have oil or grease marks that’ll require the appropriate chemicals/soaps to clean the surface.

If you have the option, give it an acid wash with Hyrdochloric acid, as this will help to remove and allow the sealer to bond with the pores of the concrete. Then water the slab down well to neutralise the PH of the cement.

The application process was rather straight forward, first coat water the sealant down with some solvent – For a 6 x 4 shed slab it was about 4 litres for the first coat with a mixture of solvent (10%). The second coat was just re-applying the sealant in it’s full strength. I used a further 5 litres for the second coat.

So, what’s the end product, well I added a sealant tint – Storm Grey – Basically a dark gray colour – must like the colour of freshly poured conrete. What’s it feat like under the feet – Quite nice, it feels like a lino surface and smoothed out the broom finish – So much so, you hardly notice the broom finish – I’m yet to test the floors after it’s been wet – But, from the small amounts of water I’ve had on the slab since sealing it – It’s pretty grippy on a broomed – finished slab.

Tips:

  • Prepare all your painting products and buy a quality roller with an extension arm.
  • Wear some old socks instead of shoes.
  • Apply the second coat at a right angle to the first.
  • Complete the sealing on a pleasant day – 60% – 70 humidity and a temperature of about 26-28 degrees. High humidity can be problematic with causing bubbling within the sealant as it’s drying.

The finished product with the added 2 Litre Storm Grey Tint.

Categories
General

Tanglewood Acoustic Guitar Repair

So, the other month I pulled out my Tanglewood acoustic to give it a strum. Occasionally I like to plug it into my FX pedal to see what interesting sounds I can get out of it – But, it didn’t work! After doing some basic checks on my lead and the battery voltage I then became a bit more concerned.

So, I thought, well it’s pretty dire, there’s no lights on the guitar’s amp and the tuner isn’t working – Perhaps it’s the 9V battery connection – So, I switched it over to some new contacts – But, it didn’t work. After realising it does appear to be the pick-up issue – I got researching on an acoustic guitar pick-up.

Now the pick-up that it came with is a B-Band Acoustic Guitar Pickup System A3TX (Below). Which I could make out from reading the guitar’s pick-up details. So, after doing some googling I found that I could find it on eBay. Beauty, now I just need to get it shipped and at a $145 AUD it was worth the effort as my Acoustic isn’t exactly a cheap shop guitar.

The supplier I found on eBay was deng8718 who seemed to have a large quantity in stock (at least 20, so it seemed legit). So, I placed the order on the 14th of May and it was shipped on the 15th from SHANGHAI. It arrived in North Queensland on the 29th of May. Not bad considering the reduced amount of international flights to and from Australia during COVID19.

The Repair

Now, I knew I wouldn’t have the skill to install this system without the risk of making an error. So, I asked around with the musically inclined friends I have and was directed towards a man who fixes guitar and used to work at the local music store.

The guy I found to complete my repair was Shaun Ryan a talented musician and repair technician.

When I took in my guitar too him he started taking a look at it as I turned up. Which, I admired the willingness to do so. Within a minute he had the guitar un-stringed and had picked-up on the fact my guitar’s bridge was missing. Which I hadn’t even noticed!

He thought this initially may have been the issue but after installing a spare he had found in his parts tray, it turned out it wasn’t the fix either.

So, it was a good thing I brought the pick-up. After negotiating how long he would need the guitar for a fix, I said I could pick it up the following weekend to which he agreed. He did say he could fix it that weekend if I wanted it back urgently.

The bottom line with this story was I was impressed with the service Shaun offered and the quality of his workmanship. I would highly recommend Shaun for any Townsville, stringed instrument repairs.

Upon pickup of my guitar, he mentioned he re-enforced the area where my lead plugs in with some wood at the back as he found it too be quite weak. I said, great, as I had noticed that when I had unscrewed it in the previous weeks when I was testing the pick-up.

Did I mention, as a customer of his, I also received free pick! Which I’ve been putting to good use this last week.

The installed pick-up

Categories
Projects

Installed Dead Bolt and Door Lock

So, I finally got around to replacing the inside of this door’s key barrel. I went to my local locksmith in Townsville that I use for all my lock needs. I’ve always found them to offer great service and it’s also good knowing I can support local.

The locksmith I use is Jim Roberts who charge reasonable prices for re-keying a lock to suit my key.

Pretty soon, I’ll use them to change the barrels on my shed currently being built.

This deadlock so I’m told is good quality deadlock.
Categories
Projects

SR Suntour Forks – Changing Bicycle Forks on a Trek Bicycle

So, earlier in the year I was riding my Cross Country Trek Mountain Bike and noticed the forks gave way. This mean that I could no longer lock my suspension out or actually use suspension the way it’s meant to be – like reducing road and track vibration and generally absorbing shocks.

So, I took to searching online to find a supplier for the forks.

After inspecting the forks I found one of the names on it was, “SR” and “Suntour.” Knowing that, in terms of MTB forks, there’s really not that many brands that I know of besides Fox. So, I figured it must be a brand name.

After researching, I found Suntour appears to be a Japanese bicycle component manufacturer. Great, now I just needed to find the fork I needed.

SR Suntour Website

So, the SR Suntour website has a great product selector filter – So, I simply found I needed to select my wheel size and my bicycle’s intended use – And it returned my exact forks – Just minus the Trek OEM branding.

So, go figure, Trek and as I found out later, pretty much every sub-$600-$800 bicycle in Australia appears to also use the same brand of forks.

Great, so, I found the fork I need, now I just need to work out how I replace my forks. After watching a handful of videos on YouTube I figured I would be capable of replacing the forks if I get the right tools and support aids – Such as a stem cutting tube guide, new start insert, hacksaw and the appropriate tool for inserting the start nut and crown. Have I missed anything?

If you want a good video to watch, I found this one pretty helpful.

Ordering the Parts

So, I found Cycling Deal seemed to supply a fair few Suntour products and they had good access to the parts I needed – So, I’ll paste in my shopping list below. Thankfully, all this happened before COVID19 so when I was ordering the world wasn’t in shutdown mode.

Did I mention I had a budget also? Yes, bascially it was fix the bike so I can get a few more years life out of it – Hopefully another 4-5 years – As it’s already about 7 years old. I’m pretty good at maintaining my collection of bicycles.

So, the shopping list:

All the components I needed came in at approximately $200AUD

I purchased what I needed from Cycling Deal:

Tools I needed to complete the work was was a caliper, a small toolkit with sockets and allan keys – The type that you can normally pick up from SuperCheap Auto or Repco for about $80. I just use my car’s service tookit.

Mechpro Socket & Tool Set 74pc – MP201K-1

So, how did the install go, it went great – I got the swap over of the forks done in about 1 hour and finished within an hour and a half.

Some images of the service are below:

  • Servicing the MTB on the Bike Stand
  • Cutting the steering tube with saw guide
  • MTB forks mounted in the vice with some fabric to protect the paint
  • The old forks

Would I recommend to the backyard bicycle mechanic or budding mechanical engineer to complete a fork change – Of course, just take it slow and do your research and you’ll get through it.

Categories
Work / Life

The May50k

I am running to leave MS behind! Please support my goal to reach $500 by donating here.

Support my challenge to leave MS behind!

I’m taking part in The May 50K. I will be running 100km throughout May and leaving my limits behind to raise funds for life-changing research into multiple sclerosis! 

There are over 25,600 Australians living with MS and I need your help to leave MS where it belongs, behind us. 

And research is the key to changing the future of MS, so I’ve accepted The May 50K challenge to change lives.

Please make a donation to support my challenge.

Thank you so much!

Categories
Work / Life

Cruising through April

Well, it’s been about a month since my last update here. There hasn’t been many huge things happening the last month – Most of the major things that have happened, happened in the last weeks of March. Just before Australia went into a lock down of sorts.

Being in Queensland, which is a state that so far hasn’t been affected too badly from Covid-19. Whereas our New South Wales counterparts, also the state that hosts perhaps Australia’s busiest Airport – Sydney International Airport has been affected worse. To date there’s more than three thousand cases in NSW.

As I’m writing here tonight, it’s the long weekend, it’s about 8pm on Sunday. I’m watching Lego Masters – which is a great Australian show with Lego Masters that build all sorts of wonderful creations. Watch the show over at 9Now.

Technical Changes the Last Month

The last month I’ve mostly been focusing on my Virtual Private Server that’s been successfully running this website along with several others. What I’ve got setup is a Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP) server that’s ran by a company in Brisbane known as BinaryLane.

I came across Binary Lane after researching and looking for an Australian ran Virtual Private Server infrastructure company. Too my surprise, I came across them and their prices were very reasonable and in many cases much simpler to understand than that of Amazon AWS in Sydney or even Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean wasn’t going to cut it for me with the closest servers for them I could find being based in NYC with a 300ms ping time! My server in Brisbane has ping rates of about 24ms!

Church Online – So, Church Online has been running quite well for the church I’m apart of. We’ve been pre-recording each week’s service. Than I have been pushing it up with OBS Studio on a LiveStream using Castr.io to go to YouTube and Facebook Live. We’ve also been utilising the Church Online platform from Life.Church. From stats, we likely reach about 40-60% of our congregation.

Church Member Voting – This month we’re having our belated membership meeting. Which, I was able to pull together and online voting system to allow votes to be completed anonymously. The system I found at Code Canyon is called Pro Polls. It’s built with CodeIgniter and Bootstrap so I found it relatively easy to customise and use for the purpose a Church Membership voting platform.

Upon installation of it onto my church’s hosting the system ran well but I made some customisations that have hopefully simplified the system.

I’ve worked a bit with CodeIgniter over the years and I find it quite an easy Mode-View-Controller system to work with.

Categories
Projects

Building a Double Gate

Over the weekend I ripped out the side yard fence to my property and installed two double-gates in preparation for the shed I’ve got coming later this year. Yes, I’ll have a shed by about July hopefully, though, who knows what to expect with many businesses’ closing their doors due to the Coronavirus.

Why did I need to put in some double gates for my shed, well simply because I had no side-yard access for a backhoe to come in and prepare the site for the shed.

So, after having looked around for some quotes from fencing companies I found it was incredibly hard trying to find anyone that would quote on such a small job. Well, I had some businesses say, I would have to basically get my whole fence replaced and not just have a small portion completed.

So anyway, I ended up deciding I would do it myself. I figured I had the tools, a circular saw, horses and I’m confident I can put in a post as needed and hang a gate.

I found that of course Bunnings was the cheapest supplier for what I needed.

Bunnings also makes it pretty easy in the sense they sell a system that allows you to build a gate to size. The system is by a company called Fortress Gates and they have sizing calculator built into their website. After inputting your measurements and buying the frame kit and your chosen fencing material it’s just a matter of getting the work done.

I found it took me an my sister’s husband the best part of a day to get it done. To put that into perspective about 5 hours with a break and a trip to Bunnings in between. Which isn’t bad considing we don’t do this everyday and I’m in IT and he’s a solicitor.

Take a look below to see how it all came together.

Categories
General

Coronavirus in Australia – March, 2020

Wow, what a whirlwind time of the month it has been. With the Coronavirus spreading throughout the world and all the anxious and worried people. It is hard to not have a little worry. This month and indeed the months to come will be a period that’ll likely be ingrained into our lives for the rest of our lives.

At the moment in Australia, it still feels relatively safe in a regional City, but for those in capital cities, I do feel for them. It’s really taken off in the capitals such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

In recent weeks, I’ve had to step back my consumption of ABC’s News Radio and even the nightly news as too much exposure to what’s going on I felt wasn’t good for my mental health. My strategy to date has been

I feel that I’ve had to take a step back from watching news, sometimes I just switch off and do something else. This strategy for me has been working, I’ve also generally decided not to watch the Coronavirus specials on the TV each night and simply focus on one or two articles from the ABC or check the Queensland Health website to confirm the number of new cases in my region.

So, like with all things in life, we’re all only human and have our limits. I’ve recognised what my limits are and too protect my mental health – I’ve put into place actions that I’m comfortable with.

Categories
General Work / Life

Getting into the swing of 2020

I’m three weeks into work for the new year and it’s going steady so far. I’ve been enjoying my rides into work, despite the terribly hot and stormy weather. Though, I’m very grateful for the rain Townsville has been receiving this past week.

So, a few things have been happening, I’ve serviced my bicycles and have a project that’ll keep me relatively busy most of the first half of 2020.

In the last month, I’ve enjoyed tinkering on the bicycles at home. I’ve successfully learned and subsequently flushed my Trek 6000’s hydraulic brake fluid and replaced the brake pads. This was fun to do as to date, I had put it off probably at least a year too long. Honestly my brakes were fully functional until January when there was no engaging of the front brake. I think, if I was to service my bicycle again, and complete a brake flush, I would be able to get it done in under half-hour.

So, this project that’s going on is we’re getting a shed at home. It’s been well needed with the current shed being a 3x3m lawn looker and it’s looking a bit worse for wear, like it may fall-over in the next cyclone.

It took me about two-months to research the shed companies in and around Townsville. As you can expect Shed quotes can vary in price by several hundred to several thousand. The build quality can also vary tremendously.

Categories
Work / Life

January Commute Challenge

Hi friends, last month I successfully completed the Strava Rapha #Festive500 Challenge which involves riding 500km during the 8-days between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. It came right down the line for me with a little bit of scarring and a fall on one of my rides, but I made it through. Since completing this challenge, I had a well earned break of about 5-days before commencing the January Commute Challenege.

I’m actually quite looking forward to this January Commute Challenge. My usual job involves having a vehicle that I usually am able to garage at home. Though, in this instance, I wont be able to do that, I’ll need to cycle in about 13.5km to work. This commute usually takes about half-hour and it’s my ideal distance for commuting – By that, I means it’s worth extra effort of kitting up in lyrca and packing the cloths and towel for work.

In an early post, I’ve commented on the benefit it is in having a workplace that provides bicycle, washroom and shower facilities for those commutes in the hotter months. If it wasn’t for these facilities, I wouldn’t be cycling.

So, anyway, I’m two days into the challenge, the challenge itself is only one commute a week, but it looks like it’ll end up being at least 3-5 commutes a week (About 27km a day).

Well, that’s all for now folks, I hoped you’ve had a great end to 2019 and whatever you’re planning in 2020 can come into being.

Another random though, I’m also feeling really blessed that my Multiple Sclerosis symptoms have not surfaced for probably over 2.5 years now! Praise God.