This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Tuesday 26 December 2017

How we solved a storage dilemma

Boats are similar to RVs in many ways especially when it comes to storage space. When we moved onboard our trawler to start years of fulltime cruising our extensive collection of DVDs and CDs was to come along. We enjoy watching a classic movie again from time to time and of course the same goes for the songs on the CDs. It turned out that while we were anchored in remote areas we swapped and lend from our DVD collection or borrowed from other boaters much like you do with paperback books.  In the meantime much has changed with the increased use of e-readers and downloading of movies stored on flash-drives. These days we travel with our camper and although things don’t get thrown around in a cupboard of a camper as they do sometimes in a boat, the storage capacity is likewise restricted. We still keep buying DVDs, and if we want to keep them handy and not throw them into a pile in a basement storage box, we have the same dilemma.  

The simple solution for us was to purchase a DVD storage binder.  The one we purchased holds 144 discs. Online I saw an advertisement for a similar binder that stores 208 discs in about the same format.  Painstakingly my hubby sorted all the DVDs in alphabetical order by title and inserted them into the pockets. We then purchased a binder with clear plastic pouches into which we inserted the covers from each movie in the same order.  It is easy now to browse through the binder to select a move, read who is in it etc. and then quickly find it in the other storage binder. 

In addition, we keep a handful of spare cassettes on hand in case we want to swap or lend the move out.  Just to give you an idea of how much space you save, if you were to put 144 movies in their cassettes on top of each other, the pile would measure 7 feet! The same amount of DVDs in these two binders takes up a space of 5-1/2 inches!

I might add that if the DVD binder is stored properly out of heat, sunlight or humidity, the discs should last as long as they do in their original packaging.  All the original DVDs and CDs have a longer lifespan than the ones you burn yourself because the reflective layer is aluminum which doesn’t degrade as rapidly as the organic dyes used for the writable DVDs.

So now that you gained all that extra space for additional movies you can go ahead and rummage around in that discounted DVD bin for some hours of entertainment. ;-))

Sunday 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas

Wishing all our family, friends and blog readers a very Merry Christmas wherever you are. 

It is snowing nicely outside our house, which is so very appropriate for this day, the Christmas Eve, and most kids here in North America are excitedly looking forward to tomorrow morning to find out if Santa had brought them a gift. In Europe it is the custom to open Santa’s gifts tonight at Christmas Eve, the 24th.  I am remembering past years on this day where and how we spent Christmas in our travels and which stood out the most. The greatest and most wonderful Christmas we ever had was forty-nine years ago today when our son Dominik was born.  I can’t really believe it was that long ago as I remember it very well. So here it is, a Happy Birthday to you, Dominik, and many more.

I am sharing with you a few pictures of Christmas decorations in our area. I am sure a lot of work went into the creations and we truly appreciate the effort.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone and enjoy!
Marlene, Benno and the two doxies Elsa and Reggy

Saturday 16 December 2017

The Shed aka Man Cave!

I am one of the guys who can’t sit on the couch and watch soaps or “Home Improvement, Fixer Upper, Renovation Nation, or This Old House” all day long while being retired. During my “Earning The Bacon” days before I retired, I tinkered all day long with technical things. To stay happy now, I need technical challenges to do and not baking with “Martha”.
Building our “Diesel Duck” trawler kept me on my toes after retirement and then later cruising with the Duck for 8 years was even more excitement. When the Duck was sold and I had the opportunity to customize our house it turned into fun as well. We are not finished with it, or will we ever be? It is work in progress. Marlene loves garden work during the spring and summer season and doesn’t mind being on her knees plucking out dandelions for hours. Ha! For the winter season we opted to follow our adventurous lust and bought a travel trailer to tow it behind the truck to southern distant horizons. Come springtime we are back and what could I do during theses summer and fall months?
I am not a garden buff, but I would love to do something technical. I do the woodcutting and sanding in the garage, but the sawdust and technical work hate each other, they don’t work together. How would you like a circuit board, some fancy electronic components or mechanical apparatus covered with saw dust which make you sneeze on top of it
So, here we are, we don’t have a basement or extra room for a neat little shop. I thought the salvation for me is a shed – a man cave, a place where I could hide all my tools, oilcans and icky stuff. A grandiose place for a workbench, drill press, vise and grinder. A place for an adjustable power supply, meters and soldering station, a place for a small metal lathe and bench-top milling machine. Don’t forget a TV! My brave girl said, “Go for it!”
It did cross my mind to build the shed myself. Here in Windsor Essex County, the local bylaws permit only 108 square foot maximum footprint for a detached accessory structure, which contains no plumbing (shed) constructed without a building permit. You want to go bigger, an elaborate space, using a Segway to get from workbench to drill press! This means you need a building permit and for the hope to get it, you have to submit drawings, pay a security deposit and a bunch of other fees. “Ha”, you have to fight with the Conservation Authority here along Lake Erie seashore. In case you were lucky to wiggle a building permit out of them, then you go ahead construct the structure and entertain the Building Inspector and the Electrical Safety Authority Inspector during inspections, don’t forget everything has to be done to code. “Done that, got the T-shirt,” is the saying.
What, only 108 sq. ft.! Yep, 108 sq. ft. is not much. I am a tidy guy, a small clean shop will do just fine with me. It is not a business solution, it is a man cave. I been wondering how large a cell at “Sing Sing” would be.
The conclusion was, stick with the the bylaws and to get it done fast, buy an Amish shed, 9ft x 12ft (108 sq. ft.), with the exterior finished to compliment our house, with double glazed windows and a metal clad insulated 36” wide exterior door. The whole package including delivery ended up cheaper than building it myself.

The inside finishing was left to the buyer. No sweat! I looked forward to do the job and customizing the interior to my needs.
Marlene and I took a trip along Hwy 3 from Wheatley to Aylmer, Ontario and looked at Wagler Mini Barns. Yeah, they had the right shed, 7 ft high walls, shingle and vinyl siding matching our house and garage, 6 weeks delivery. Done deal.

Benno and Wagler's owner

The company stuck to the 6 weeks delivery and was right on time, no excuses. We are dealing here with Mennonites. The shed was delivered on a special trailer with all kinds of nifty hydraulics, that could move the trailer bed sideways, turn the bed to any angle and extend it back to place the shed properly onto the from us prepared and leveled gravel pad. No scratches on the shed.

This spring I buried a PVC conduit for electrical cable in the ground from the house to the shed site. My first job was after bolting the shed down to run a # 10 cable and a TV antenna cable into the shed. I hooked the power cable up to a new sub panel, fitted a 20 Amp breaker for a temporary 120 V outlet to have power for the cutoff saw and a “ghetto-blaster”.
From Lowes in Windsor I picked up a dozen or so 2x4 studs for ceiling beams and two extra 2x6 studs to manufacture a sturdy ceiling beam to hang a hoist. I stiffened up that beam with four additional wall studs sandwiched to existing wall studs. That beam I secured with Simpsons strong ties. This beam could carry 1300 Ibs. in the center. I am able to hoist a ½ ton heavy piece of machinery, for example: I could hoist the future bench top mill onto a heavy-duty tool cabinet. “Bravo!”

After I had wired up the shed with plenty of power outlets, switches for 3 LED 48” light fixtures and a power provision for a wall heater, Marlene got to work and insulated the walls with Owens Corning R15 pink insulation.

Finishing up the interior ceiling covering and wall paneling took some sweat time, especially the window casing/trim and the door trim and then for Marlene to paint it. I covered the floor with commercial vinyl tiles and Marlene sealed them up. To finish the shed construction we rented from our famous Home Hardware store here in Wheatley the AttiCat to blow in Owens Corning loose fill insulation between ceiling and roof.

This is a messy job but the reward is that we have a nice winterized shed. Here is the link to a youtube clip about AttiCat insulation!

Please look at all the pictures with explanation below.

A view from the entrance door

A view from the rear wall toward the entrance

The workbench was purchased from Costco, note the 5" Record Vise

This compressor is extremely quiet, 60 - 70 decibels

Slow speed grinder with 120 grit stone on one side and 1/2" drill chuck on the other side to accept wire brush or any tool for grinding or polishing. I use the grinder mainly for sharpening Lathe or Mill cutting tools. The tool rest is a Veritas #05M23.01 unit from Lee Valley Tools.

This 12 peed bench drill press has a modified quill and is very precise.

The Grizzly G0768 metal Lathe fitted with an Ikea lamp

I'd love to have a bench top milling machine and hope it will rest on top of this lovely tool cabinet soon ;-)

I might add a shelf or two to the walls. A picture here or there, maybe a shop stool as well. Hopefully you all like this shop.