Saturday, September 5, 2015

A word on Disc Brakes

About a year ago I had some issues with my front brakes.  They were not doing an adequate job stopping my car, causing me to compensate by leaving a longer  following distance - and driving very defensively.  After an inspection by my mechanic, he determined that a brake job might be a good idea, even thought the brakes were not that worn.  (For my mechanic friends, the calipers were not "frozen" or sticking).

After some research on the internet, I realized that the factory brakes were the lowest acceptable stopping power for my vehicle, and that I had alternatives instead of just putting new Original Equipment Manufaturers (OEM) brakes in the car.

Racing technology has given us Drilled and slotted rotors, and ceramic brake pads.  This is superior stopping power!  Ceramic pads don't give off black dust and last longer than regular brake pads.  Drilled and slotted rotors dissipate heat faster than inexpensive steel rotors, so there is no "fade" or reduction in stopping power.

If you carry precious cargo, like children and pets, consider High Performance Braking sets of ceramic disks and rotors for your car.  I used Power Stop: High performance Brakes.  Make sure you get the right set for your make and model vehicle!

Even if you just want better stopping, and your rotors are still in good shape, consider Performance Ceramic Brake pads.

Drive Safe and Make sure you can stop on a dime!

Update:  Now with 95,000 miles, I just installed a powerstop disc brake and rotor set for all 4 wheels on my minivan.  Stops on a dime!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Days are getting shorter - Keep the darkness at bay!

Now that we are losing about a minute of daylight every day (until December 21st, the shortest day of the year), it is important to check our flashlights and stock up on spare batteries!  Think of where you keep a flashlight - In the car (heat kills batteries), in a drawer in the kitchen, and in a hall closet.  
Take a moment to check the light - Does it have a strong, bright beam?  Check the batteries for leakage, and make sure you have spares handy.
Now if you don’t have a flashlight, it is time to consider buying one (or several).  Here is a list of basic lights on Amazon: LED Flashlightshttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=cmkingcom-20&l=ur2&o=1
My preference are the rechargeable ones, so fewer dead batteries end up in landfills:  Rechargable LED Flashlights https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=cmkingcom-20&l=ur2&o=1


My favorite Light is the MAGLITE Flashlight, kind of heavy and “old school”, but usually reliable, bright, and sturdy enough to club somebody if you needed to defend yourself. 

If you buy a Maglite, consider NOT using standard D cell batteries; They can leak and jam in the flashlight, making an expensive light very useless and difficult to fix.  Consider using Rechargable Batterieshttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=cmkingcom-20&l=ur2&o=1 , or Lithium Batteries Lithium Batterieshttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=cmkingcom-20&l=ur2&o=1. Lithium batteries are lighter and longer lasting than the standard alkaline batteries, and they do not expand or leak – so your batteries will never make your flashlight unusable!

If you need a flashlight for work, I like the Tactical Ballistic Flashlights: Tactical Flashlightshttps://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=cmkingcom-20&l=ur2&o=1
These are lightweight, powerful, and come in many different configurations and styles.  Flashlights make great gifts for the holidays (hint) and will brighten the day of anyone who gets a new light as a gift!

Hoping you see the light,

Alan



                    Spare Batteries  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Basic woodworking is fun and generates a sense of accomplishment and achievement; Having owned a cabinet shop for ten years, I enjoy both building furniture and gifts, making useful items for friends and around the house.

In addition to great resources on the internet, acquire a "reading library" of woodworking books.  My favorite read is the John L. Feirer "Cabinetmaking and Millwork"  (Here is the Link at Amazon: Cabinetmaking and Millwork: John L Feirer: 9780684132778: Amazon.com: Books ).
While the Feirer book may seem dated to some, the basic principles are the same, and you will get a piece of usable information every time you skim it.
Beyond educating yourself, you will need a basic toolbox, patience, a good tape measure, pencils, and a working plan of what you want to build.  You can buy this in a kit.
Most items can be built out of basic 3/4" pine and plywood for cases, 1/2" plywood for drawers, and 1/4" plywood for backs of cabinets and boxes. I like Pine as it is affordable, readily available, easy to cut and sand, and takes a painted finish well.   Stick to these materials to start, while you learn the basics.
In addition to basic hand tools, I suggest getting a cordless screw-gun/drill, skilsaw, palm sander, power miter saw (10"), sawhorses, and a small table saw.  (This list is just basic, buy things as you need them - and don't forget glue, clamps, screws, etc. etc.).
While there are many joining systems for wood, basic furniture can be glued, nailed, and screwed together.  I have biscuit fasteners, Krieg drills, air powered nail-guns, and more in my work shop. this depends on whether you will be "blind fastening" (no exposed fasteners) or using exposed fasteners (nails, screws) and filling or covering the holes. 
Woodworking is a challenge, as you are the mechanic, building functional pieces using your methods and tools.  Don't worry if you have some pieces that are "less than perfect" - as your skills improve, you will be able to build some really good pieces.
Take your time, "Measure twice - cut once", and enjoy building your own cabinets and furniture!

The attached pictures are an oak desk for my 8 year old grandson, University of Tennessee six pack carrier,  Tulane and VT Cornhole Boards, and a great Tiki Bar on wheels with Umbrella!









Thanks for reading my blog!  Feel free to share, and best of luck with your propjects!

NOTE: This post is my edited answer on QUORA:  - Alan