Shed Makeover – Day 3

Posted by jerry on January 30th, 2004 — Posted in Journal

Well, the most expensive part of the makeover so far was today – AU$25.00 for a half sheet of peg-board and about six bucks for some framing timber. I did get some hinges, so I was able to hang the door on the corner cupboard as you can see here;

shed makeover

The next thing I did was to fit a proper woodwork vise to my workbench. The thing is now recessed so that the fixed jaw is in line with the bench. I had to add a packing piece underneath so the whole vise would be flush with the bench top. It was fiddly work and took me about an hour. As you can see, it’s not the world’s neatest job, but it works. The vise is a cheap Chinese import but will do the job. I will eventually add some wooden jaw protectors, but that will be for another time

shed makeover

The reward was going to get some pegboard – Carba-Tec in Fyshwick is selling off some excess pegboard sheets at a discounted price – I picked up a half-sheet (there was no way I could fit a whole sheet in the van!

Anyhow I got the sheet home and cut it to fit between two horizontal frame members of the shed. It is awkward stuff to handle – and to get around the problem of trying to support it with one hand while attaching it with the other, I screwed a small piece of spare pine stock to the lower wall beam to provide a stable base to rest the pegboard on while I attached it at the top. It was then easy to add two more screws to the top and the same at the bottom before removing the temporary support.

I then cut two pieces of 45x19mm pine to length for the upper and lower surrounding frame, then cut two pieces to fit the sides and I added these to the pegboard starting with the bottom and then the two sides and finally the top which then had the side pieces to rest on. Here is the result:

shed makeover

So that’s it for day three of the shed makeover. Tomorrow, being New Year’s Eve I’ll tackle one of the smaller cupboards and paint the doors. And I can start to put my tools away properly. And that will be one end of the shed completed – I dare not turn round because in order to get one end cleaned up, of course I had to move everything to the other end which is now TWICE as cluttered as it was before! It’s like the Cat in the Hat all over again 🙂

But I have a plan for the other end…

Until tomorrow then

Overdue library books in 648BC

Posted by jerry on January 25th, 2004 — Posted in History

Who would have thought eh? As soon as libraries came into being there were problems with people defacing, breaking or stealing library books! Perhaps that’s why the signs against poor library practice under Ashurbanipal in ancient Assyria seem a bit more extreme than a small fine:

“He who breaks this tablet or puts it in water or rubs it until you cannot recgnise it and cannot make it understood, may Ashur, Sin, Shamash, Adad and Ishtar, Bel, Nergal, Ishtar of Nineveh, Ishtar of Arbela, Ishtar of Bit Kidmurri, the gods of heaven and earth and the gods of Assyria, may all these curse him with a curse which cannot be relieved, terrible and merciless, as long as he lives, may they let his name, his seed, be carried off from the land, may they put his flesh in a dogs mouth.”

Of course the books were perhaps a bit fragile, being written on clay tablets in cuneiform script – but then they long outlasted any Egyptian library scrolls as these were written on fragile papyrus paper.

But it’s interesting to see that human nature has always been thus


nanotechnology meets the steam age

Posted by jerry on January 24th, 2004 — Posted in History, Journal, Steam, Technology

Using photo-engraving technology used in making computer chips, the latest in nano-machines is… a steam engine! And apparently it works 🙂 Someone once said to me that as science gets smaller you can forget about physics and chemistry – it’s all about mechanical engineering. I guess they were right!

nano steam engine
Image: courtesy Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies,

The piston on this engine is only 5 microns across (about five one hundredths of the width of a human hair, or about half the size of a red blood cell). The engine was developed at Sandia Labs in the US by Dr. Jeff Sniegowski and his team.

It seems that a tiny electrical charge is sufficient to boil a minute amount of very pure water, the steam from which pushes a tiny piston and then when it cools enough the piston returns to its starting position. This is not only a steam engine, but using a cross between Savoury and Newcomen’s technology from right at the start of the steam age. You would have thought that nanotechnology would have stuck with tiny electric motors to do mechanical work, so it’s either a case of doing it because they can, or because there might be applications uniquely suited to the application of steam power. Any thoughts on this?



Tate modern online

Posted by jerry on January 24th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Travel

Amazing! just stumbled across this site while reading Chic Happens’ blog on 20six – the Tate collection online 🙂 196 images online from the general collection and a whole bunch of Turners – stuff we just don’t get to see in Oz unless the National Gallery of Australia scores a tour of a few works. So bouquets to the Tate. In 2000 I went to the Tate modern – great exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’ works in the turbine hall – a stunning steel spider and three towers labelled “I DO”, “I UNDO”, “I REDO” providing a range of perspectives on interiority, exteriority and moving forward. Great stuff!

spam poetry

Posted by jerry on January 23rd, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Writing

Spam becomes art at the hands of poets! An article in the Sydney Morning Herald a couple of days ago caught my interest. It seems that poets have been cutting and splicing bits of spam to provide sometimes surreal impressionistic pieces that in a raw way describe an aspect of contemporary society’s obssession with greed lust and aggression. Sometimes with a political edge, and loaded with irony – these pieces usefully hold up a mirror to some of the baser aspects of our culture. The article questions whether these poems will stand as literature in 75 years time. My question is whether any writing taken out of context would really stand – ie read in context, these poems would reveal quite a lot about contemporary culture and a certain kind of mercantilism. Like adverts, these are highly metaphorical and evocative writings.