The Kidwash Project

(or for twenty-six dollars, how to create wet fun for everyone)

I was looking for a really cool (literally) summer project for the kids. So, after finding a very cool Instructable, I decided to hop on down to the local Home Depot.

The Kidwash is basically a sprinkler system, with a hose bid on one side to hook up a garden hose. It has mister nozzles to spray the kids, and makes for a really cool run-through-the-sprinkler project. You can even ride a bike under it according to the original plans.

I picked up everything on the instruction list. After getting it home, and finding out the mister nozzles wouldn’t thread, I got out my handy tap and die set and put some threads on the PVC right where each nozzle would go. Then I used some teflon tape to seal each and screwed them in. I cut all the PVC to length and glued it together. After everything was dry (about 2 hours) we turned on the hose, and had great results. The only thing I’m going to change is the height. It’s a bit short for adults. What? You think I wasn’t going to try it?

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UPDATE (18July08): This past weekend I added some threaded couplers and some extra pipe to add height and “storage-ability” to the project. You can disconnect it into three pieces, and it’s now high enough for adults without having to bend down to go through.

Adirondack Chairs

I’ve been commissioned by Woody to build a nice set of adirondack chairs for his covered porch. Pine ended up as the wood selection due to its wide availability, and also that it would be used in a covered porch setting. Cypress, white oak, teak, and redwood were options for wood, but most of those were either not easy to obtain, or a good choice for the application. Cypress was seriously considered due to its outdoor properties, but I just couldn’t find decent enough cypress that was free of checking.

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UPDATE (Jun 1st, 2008): The chairs are progressing. I received the stainless screws and hardware I’ll be using. I decided to modify the design and add torque washers and carriage bolts to strengthen the front legs. I also had to make a taper jig with some t-bolts and some clamps to handle the tapers. All the major bandsawing is done, and the curvy parts were sanded with a spindle sander.

UPDATE (Jun 9th, 2008): I have all the parts cut and edges smoothed using the router table. I have also started assembly of the table, where I included a rough tile for accent on the table top. The pieces of the table top were assembled using a biscuit joiner.

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UPDATE (Nov 30th, 2008): I finally have had the time to start the assembly. I have the table complete, and 1 chair assembled. The rest should go very quickly.

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UPDATE (Feb 10th, 2009): The chairs are completely done.
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The Sand Boat

After much deliberation about what we were going to do with the backyard, it was decided that we were going to build a sandbox. My wife had found some plans for a boat shaped sandbox plan in a book, and we thought it would encourage many hours of play and fun. I remember my first sandbox that my dad made for me in our backyard.

We bought some cypress 2x materials, as well as some pressured treated lumber for the ground contact stuff. We also picked up a plastic steering wheel (because how can you have a boat without a way to steer it?) We still have to figure out a canopy, as it’s designed to have a canopy above the mast for shade and it is secured with bungee cords.

I also have some ideas about a small ship’s bell, and a pirate flag on the mast.

We have to fill it with sand shortly, but the basic work is complete.

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UPDATE: We added a cover with the leftover “sail” material, which was basically fabric cloth we purchased which is primarily used as a garden shade cloth. It has grommets you can add, which was perfect, and with the leftovers, we made a cover for the sandbox, so we don’t have to clean it out each day. We also added a “buoy” that a neighbor gave us while he was cleaning out his garage. Makes it look more “boat-ish”.

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Metal Chair Refurbishment

So my wife had this horridly ugly metal chair that we received a while back from friends of ours. It had a plastic covered upholstered seat. My wife had tried her best to make it look better by recovering it, but it just looked bad. It came with an equally ugly ottoman.

So we got the bright idea recently (after cleaning up my shop) to refurbish the chair with some wood. My wife just wanted a simple slab of wood to sit on (to add another backyard chair) but I thought the better of that, and ended up doing a slat-ish style chair. I thought it came out pretty good.

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Helicopter Pad

I had some scraps of wood lying around the shop, some pine and plywood, and figured I’d put it to good use. My son needed another helicopter pad for his wooden helicopter, so I just knocked together a quick little pad for him with a little ramp and building. The ramp was just sanded down using a belt sander. I used a router to make the circular pad. I coated it with some non-toxic varnish oil from tried and true. He likes it.
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