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About Diarmuid

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    Laramie, WY, USA

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  1. Diarmuid

    Badger Brushes

    More or less this^^. Are you pre-loading the bristles with a solvent before varnishing? Finding the right solvent for brush + finish can take some experimenting. I tend to use a foam brush pre-charged with low-odor mineral spirits, but some people (and varnishes) prefer foam with turos, or natural bristle with a stronger solvent like acetone, lacquer thinner, xylol or toluene (the two chief components of LT). Many people also store their bristle brushes wet, suspended in turps or (!) gasoline. Some massage motor oil into them between uses.
  2. Diarmuid

    Lusting on Yachtworld

    Led Zepp fan, or general BDSM fan. The Practical Mariner's Guide to Knotcraft done up in pillow shams. Monkey fist: ball gag with a nautical twist!
  3. Diarmuid

    Some Assembly Required...

    Curious where you bought them from? The word 'custom' gets bandied about rather a lot in our industry, to the annoyance of us who really do design and build every kitchen as a one-off to requirements of space and homeowner. I'd rate IKEA as about equal to the upper grades of box store cabinetry (Home Depot, Lowes), much better than anything off-the-shelf from box stores or special order from Menards. There are a number of dodgy independent millwork houses, as well. Some of their output is shockingly bad, held together with hot melt glue and stapled plastic corner blocking.
  4. Diarmuid

    Some Assembly Required...

    Here I must point out a large percentage of furniture and cabinetry has always been shit. Ugly, badly-designed, poorly constructed from the cheapest possible materials using the least-skilled available workers. A sort of automatic selection takes place over time, where the worst and ugliest furniture has fallen apart or been chucked in the landfill or fireplace or given away to increasingly poorer people until it vanishes. The remainder, the visible survivals that cause us to say "They really made great furniture/cabinetry in the old days!", is that small percentage that hasn't fallen apart or been curbsided in disgust. (Not only inexpensive, lower-class stuff either: Sheraton and Hepplewhite side tables are much sought after for their rarity, but they were production pieces and their gracile form means most have broken to splinters over the decades when drunk Uncle Tony sat on them at Christmas dinner. And many a Victorian sofa has retired the field because, for all the gorgeous carved backs and Jacquard upholstery, they were crudely-made softwood frameworks underneath.)
  5. Diarmuid

    Varnishing in Cold Weather

    Starting with a warmed finish can help. The problems with coating in cold temperatures are mainly: Flowout, leveling, bubble evolution. A cold finish, or a thin film applied to a cold substrate, may result in poor finish quality due to increased coating viscosity. Bond, solvent escape, polymerization. Solvents will be slow to escape, especially from the coating/substrate interface. And polymerization may stop altogether, so you end up with a coating that is soft throughout, has poor tie to previous coats or substrate, and never develops the long-chain polymer bonds that give coatings their water/solvent resistance and physical toughness. Cracking, sloughing. By applying a finish at either end of its likely temperature range, there is a risk when the finish and/or substrate is exposed to the other end of the range, you will exceed its elasticity. If you varnish a cold boat and the varnish dries cold, a hot sunny day may cause it to stretch until the film cracks ('alligatoring') or the coating/substrate bond fails in shear. If you varnish in very hot weather, seasonal cold shrinkage may cause similar failure. My preferred lacquering conditions are: warm finish, medium temperature workpiece, cool room (followed by post-cure in a warm place once finish dries out of tack).
  6. Diarmuid

    Some Assembly Required...

    Ha! Electrolux canister vac is one of them. It's the only possession of my mother's I requested she leave me in her will. "Sister can have the house, your car, all the family photos... I want the vacuum cleaner."
  7. Diarmuid

    Some Assembly Required...

    It also comes with a 4 liter tube of Tester's model glue, which is enuf for a very lost weekend. ETA: I gleefully assembled one of those flat-pack cube furnishings last week. There was a mixture of admiration (for the cleverness of it) and horror (at the terrible materials & fitment). It wasn't entirely cheap -- tho by the time you deduct the retailer's markup & shipping cost, they probably have to produce them at about $4 USD each to break even.
  8. Just make sure you don't run up on the Deutsche Bank, a well-know feature of the Washabuck..
  9. Diarmuid

    Retirement Planning

    We fired my partner's oncologist, who couldn't spare more than four minutes to discuss her recurrent ovarian cancer diagnosis, its prognosis, or her treatment options with risk/benefits of each, then how we are going to fit treatment into our busy & disconnected lives. He just dropped a chemo and radiation(?) schedule on us from on high. Then he got pissy & borderline abusive when she said: "I need these five questions answered before I consent to this treatment plan, which is wildly different from the last round & which other doctors say makes no sense. Also, one of the drugs you prescribe tends to kill people suddenly, which we never discussed." Four minutes with your oncologist twice a year is plenty when everything is going swell; when cancer comes back, you need a doctor who will slow the world down for you. So I just flew into Flagstaff and we drove to the Mayo in PHX & found a new oncologist who did her homework, explained the situation, gave us treatment options (with +/- of each), and helped us work out a schedule we can (probably) manage. It's a brutal regime & I'll be moving to AZ til May to provide ground crew, but it sounds right to us and we at least feel this new medical team is on her side. Sometimes 'retirement planning' turns into 'hope we live til retirement' planning, and that series of five-year boat refit/cruising deferrals maybe wasn't a great idea.
  10. Diarmuid

    Is this site slow to load for anyone else?

    Banana slug half marathon ... in a salt mine.
  11. Diarmuid

    Battery Date Codes

    As 2Air notes, the main difference between starting and deep-cycle batteries is plate number and thickness -- which equates directly to grid surface area and thus instantaneously-available amperage. Starting batteries have lots of thin grids for maximum surface area; they can provide a great surge of amps at the front end, then recharge quickly. Deep-cycle batts may have lead plates up to 1/4"t, with fewer perforations, so are more tolerant of deep discharges, sulfation, and plate erosion than starter batts -- but they yield up their amps more grudgingly. You won't hurt them by asking for more current. They just won't listen to you. Think of them as slow twitch muscles, rather than fast twitch. Marathoners, not sprinters. They can run 6 minute miles all day, but if you really need a 10-second 100 yard dash, you want a starter battery. (Or a sufficiently large bank of deep cycle house batts. The flooded batts that power our home total something like 60 kWh @ 20 hr rate, so they always have plenty of amperage to share. However, starting a motor under load also requires a certain electromotive force, so if your surface voltage is too low, even battery size won't help you.) Not sure what to think about dual-purpose marine batteries. Likely depends on which function they are built to favor? Might be a case of adequate at both, or maybe they suck as both house and starter. Never owned one.
  12. Diarmuid

    Safety of small lithium-ion batteries aboard

    Better buy two! Unlike an airliner, at least on a sailboat you can snare the smoking iPad with your picker-upper-grabber and fling it overboard. Don't actively flaming lithium batteries burn at rather high temperatures? This article says 600°C, so, probably not even a single-walled ammo locker would contain the heat for long. Maybe a cheap fire-resistant Sentry-type document safe? You could drill and thru-wire USB charging ports, seal the penetrations with silicone. Would also provide a certain degree of security for your devices when off the boat.