Replacment Chaco’s are here!

After my “new” (5 years old) Chaco Sandals got a cracked footbed I had sent them in for warranty replacement.

Yesterday I came home to a box of new Chaco Sandals waiting for me. I went with the new-lighter sole type (Yampa) to give them a try. My first impressions are good. I like the new footbed that is narrower at the heel. The biggest surprise is the weight. Compared to my really old pair (2 generations ago foot bed with newer unaweep sole) the new ones are 1 7/8 oz lighter per foot. The weight should be less dramatic compared to the failed pair that had a previous generation and somewhat lighter foot bed.

Using the average of about 2000 steps per mile that is 3750 less pounds for my feet to lift per mile. That is some big savings.

Give me some time to try them out and stay tuned for an old vs. new Chaco smackdown. When I sent my sandals in for replacement I found out that they are being made in China now instead of Colorado. It will be interesting to see how the new ones hold up compared to my really old (8 years but on new soles and straps) that are just now showing problems with the foot bed around the heel.

The Garage: A few updates

No real posts about the garage this week. I have been too busy working in the garage to get much work done on the garage. I have worked on it though. I plan to get some shelving this week and have worked bit by bit on improving my workbench area. Most importantly I have made some progress in getting things a bit cleaner.

This article is one in a series of articles entitled: The Garage. To see all the parts so far CLICK HERE.

Cool Thermostat Stuff

You may recall that we got a nifty new thermostat for Christmas. Since it is Wi-Fi enabled I can control it from my phone or computer at home or work. Recently I have geekd out and getting some logging going.

I needed a computer to periodically check the temp, but didn’t want to have to keep a computer on and running all the time. That would defeat the point of conserving energy. So I set my web server to poll the thermostat every 15 minutes for the inside actual temperature and set temp as well as check the weather for the outside temp and save that information. I was then able to set up some Google Docs action to set up a cool interactive graph that will display the data.

The amount of data will eventually exceed the limits for google docs. If I keep collecting every 15 minutes doing every 30 will cut that down without sacrificing too much trend data. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

I also set cooking up another script that runs only daily and tracks the amount of time our HVAC system spent heating or cooling the house. It will also check the Forecast High and Low Temps for some comparison. Since it tracks time spent heating or cooling I don’t have much data for it. We only run the AC a handful of days each summer, so the best data will come this winter.

If anyone has this same thermostat, my work is shared on a Wiki dedicated to programming with them. HERE

400th Post

I guess this is a milestone. It would seem that I have done this for over 7 years now. That makes me really old on the internet. Before that I had one of those old-fashioned web pages. You may remember them when everyone wrote html in text editors if they wanted a web page.

Some other stats:
Posts: 400
Frequency: ~every 0.154 days
First Post: 4/29/2004
Themes: 4 (or maybe 5)
CMS Systems: 2

The Garage: Belts

On of my hobbies is knife making, so sometimes the garage turns into a giant ball of metal dust. The tools can be be tucked out-of-the-way, but all those pesky belts end up littered around the shop. I keep 2 sizes in about 6 different grits and I used to store them on some pegboard above the workbench, but it took up a bunch of valuable wall space.

The Belt Rack

I looked for some options, but didn’t really find anything that fit my needs. Then I remembered seeing a post online about someone who used magnetic strips to hold tools, but not on the wall. He put them on the garage door. GENIUS!!! Using some 1 1/2″ PVC and some 2x3s I had lying around I cam up with a solution.

They are accessible with the door open or closed and are now living in a space that would have been wasted.  I love it.

This article is one in a series of articles entitled: The Garage. To see all the parts so far CLICK HERE.

The Garage: Small Things

Akro Bins

Small things are just that small, but they add up. Ever hear of the straw that broke the camels back? Well in most shops/garages nuts, bolts, washers, nails, screws, and all sorts of hardware collect. Our grandfathers used jars with lids attached to a board. Not a bad option, but we use our jars for food, and it isn’t very easy to move them around if needed. This is where Akro Bins come in. They are designed for holding small things in industrial or commercial settings. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. They even have a line of recycled boxes that come in earthy colors. I was given some of these bins and they have been awesome at doing what they are intended to: store small stuff. The hard part was hanging them. Akro makes rails and panels to hang them, but at $30 for a 4′ rail it would be pretty pricy. I would need at least two, maybe three. I considered some 1/8″x 1 1/2″ steel bar which is less expensive, not not cheap. I found this instructable that uses drywall J-Channel, but was concerned about strength with the larger bins. The guy was using the tiny size and I have some that would torque the channel right off. I also needed to install them on bare studs, having to install plywood would only add to the cost.

10 ft. Metal Furring Channel

I ended up finding some furring channel at Home Depot that was $7 for 10′ and was perfect. It had a lip for the bins to clip on, and the width to support the back to keep it from tipping forward. I decided on a 2′ wide section of wall above my work bench between two studs. I cut the channel into 5 2′ lengths and put one up. It worked fine only supported to on the ends with smaller boxes, but the 22.5″ unsupported span flexed with some heavier and larger boxes. I installed a false stud between the two and screwed the channel in the middle. The extra support made a big difference. I spaced the 5 rails with 1″ of gap between. It seemed like a good amount of room to remove boxes without knocking any others off. The channel supported the back of

All attached

Close up

the shorter height boxes well, and the spacing allowed the taller boxes to be supported by the rail below. It all worked out to be the perfect amount of rail for the boxes I have. If I need more I can get more bins and rails.

HF Organizer

For the really small things that I only have a few of I bought a set of little drawers from Harbor Freight. On sale it was $13 and I filled it about halfway with small screws, washers, etc. I also printed out little labels for

the drawers that included pictures. Hopefully it will keep me from having to open half the drawers to find what I need.


This article is one in a series of articles entitled: The Garage. To see all the parts so far CLICK HERE.

The Garage: A multi-use room

The Garage

So like most people my garage is in a constant state of chaos. It is pulled between a place to keep stuff, a workshop, and storing a car. So a bit of background. We have an 1.5 car garage that is about 60 years old. It has the foot print of  a two care garage though with one of those weird garage porch things on the side.  It has been reinforced to keep it from falling apart and the door needs replacing. If I could afford it I would raze the garage and build a new one. It is that bad.

Some of the problem stems from the fact that the garage was designed to hold a car and I want to do more. I want it to be my wood and metal shops, bike storage, canoe storage, garden shed, and hold a car.

Trying to fit it all in is an adventure. There was a time when we could fit a car in with 4 canoes. The canoes (most of them at least) have moved to a rack on the back of the garage, so there is only one inside now. Hopefully the 5 will become 4 and they can all go outside. We recently remodeled the basement and almost all of my tools have moved to the garage. Additionally it has all the other garage stuff like garden tools, lawnmower, oil, windshield washer fluid.

Since it is such a big task, and still a work in progress, I am going to do a multi-post and break each section down. Look for them to come soon.

This article is one in a series of articles entitled: The Garage. To see all the parts so far CLICK HERE.

Broken Chaco’s, broken heart

Yesterday I noticed I had a huge crack in one of my sandals! This pair is my “newer pair” that are 5 years old, but restrapped in 2008. This morning I filled out the form to send them in for repair (or maybe replacement). I noticed that the shipping address was in Rockford MI. Weird, they were based and made in Colorado. Some searching and it would seem that in 2009 Chaco was sold to Wolverine (who also owns Merrel and Hush Puppies) and the company was being kept intact. That was good news, then I found out that later in 2009 they laid off all the Chaco people and moved production to China.

That makes me sad….

Basement Remodel

So a long time ago we planned to finish our basement. Unemployment put a hold on that plan, but we both got were re-employeed. This fall we ramped into full swing. Before Thanksgiving I did some electrical prep adding lights and painted the ceiling black. Then the day after Thanksgiving we had a big order of materials delivered. Continue reading