Brewed up a Mead III

Took another gravity reading today, starter really, REALLY worked. It is now at 1.005. So:
1.080 – 1.005 = 0.075 then 0.075 x 131 = 9.825% as of today. I am going to take another reading this weekend. I think is is close, I hope it is done. I can only read from 1.000 to 1.070. I guesses at the 1.080…

 

In the beginning, there was a Pecan Tree

I contacted the folks I got the pecan log from.They are nice enough to share some photos and a GREAT story on how this almost 100 year old pecan tree became the log that we struggled to get into my trailer.

In their own words:

The first two pictures are the first time the tree fell in May of 2011. It covered over 90% of the house. We were in the process of remodeling the house. The tree gifted us a new metal roof and a whole lot more construction. This was also right before my daughters birthday, which we promptly moved to a friends house. My wife called me at work and said, “hurry home, a branch fell on the house…” I didn’t understand how bad it could be since it was just a “branch”. When i got home I said, honey, that is a tree, not even close to just a branch!

 

I wish I had a picture, but at the base of the tree there is a water spigot that the tree grew around. Little did we know that the pipe was active and at one point there was a “spring” flowing out of the top of the tree where the two large branches split. The squirrels were drinking out of it. We promptly got a plumber out to cut off the pipe! But this led to the trees demise.”

 

 

Thank you again for letting me share the story.  I believe what we picked up was the log on the far right of the photo.

Shop Dust Collector – Harbor Freight 2HP Collector

 

 

I picked up the very popular Harbor Freight 2 Horse Power Dust Collector for about $150.00 bucks. I think Wood magazine usually has the coupon in it.
 
 
 I am not the original designer of this modification, you probably ran across a few others before you got to this site. This is just my implementation. After unpacking, the first thing I did was paint it up.


 
 
 As you can see in the picture above, I cut out the guard in the impeller intake. I read in several places that they had issues with it getting plugged and I did not want to take it apart latter. I will be using a cyclone as well, but that will be a separate post.
 
 


I put the base together and added the new Wynn Environmental35A Series Cartridge Kit
 
 


Then I mounted the motor and the impeller housing on a piece of plywood mounted to the wall. I also used vibration damping mounts I got from McMaster.
 
 
 When mounting it up, I made sure the holes lined up.
 
 


Sealed it up by cutting a piece of the 5 inch hose that came with the dust collector


 
 


Here is a shot of the Harbor Freight 2 Horse Power Dust Collector all assembled and tested. The gaping whole will be filled with a Thein Cyclone, I will cover that in another post.
 
 

Zero Clearance Porter Cable Table Saw Inserts

Here is what I did to make table saw zero clearance inserts for my Porter Cable PCB270TS
First I cut some scrap ½ inch plywood to the same basic dimensions as the factory insert. Using small screws attached the insert to the wood:
I then trimmed the corners and using my router table and the factory insert as a guide, cleaned up the ½ inch plywood to have the same outside dimensions as the factory insert.
I then made a template to mark the leveling screw holes. I drilled the holes from the top, if there is any tear out it will be on the bottom.
I then routed out about 3/8 inch material from the bottom leaving about 1/8 for the top. I used the factory insert as a template, so It is not exact. I went about 3/8 inch in around the ends and ¾ inch in from the sides.
This is not necessary, but I put on a coat of schlack and sand down.
I lowered my blade all the way down, inserted the insert, placed the fence over it and slowly raised the blade slowly until it was completely raised and through the insert. I had to use a 7 ¼ inch blade and then a 10 inch. The 10 inch would not lower enough to allow the insert to seat. Make sure your blade will not hit the fence when it comes up.
I like the knife behind the blade. So using a ¼ inch bit, the smallest I have. I drilled out an area long enough for the knife.
And there you have it:

Bowl Blanks Part 4 – Sealing the ends

Last night I went ahead and put 1 coat of Anchor seal on the edges of the blanks. I put the second coat on this morning. I must have done a good job on the first coat, the second coat beaded up quite a bit.

 

So far I am pretty happy with Anchor Seal. I still have a little left in the quart I purchased. I put 3 coats on both ends of the log and I am on the second coat of the blanks. I got it for $16.00, it is a bit more than the Latex Exterior paint I saw at WalMart. The only slight concern I have is the heat, I dont think it will be an issue but I will let you know.

Kegerator Build

Here is what I started with. Just a basic freezer that you can pick up just about anywhere, Craigs List, Used appliance store, I got mine at HD for $168.00

 

I made the 2×8 frame using the guide of the inside lip, which is about 2 inches wide. I then added the pine facing using the outside lip as a guide, which is about 1 inch wide but is slightly higher that the 2×8 frame. This offset the pine facing (basically I was using the original freezer as a jig) This allowed for a nice seating of the freezer door.

 

 

 

 

I screwed it all together recessing the screws so I could putty them up later for a clean finish.
To get the lid to seal right I had to cut back some of the 1×8 to get the hinges to fit against the 2×8 and the lid to seal properly.
I then drilled the holes for the taps. I placed them all to the right so all the lines will be out of the way of the kegs and let me store the liquid lines out of the way.
 I then sanded the heck out of the frame and applied the first coat of the “shiny mix”
Here we are after about 5 coats, sanding after each coat had dried.
When the frame dried, I set it back in the freezer applying some kitchen adhesive between the frame and the freezer. When it dried a couple of hours later, I set the lid back on and set the hinges to the closed position and screwed them in the collar with some 2 inch screws.
 I then got the plumbing done. The CO2 lines can be cut to short convenient lengths. I made the initial mistake of cutting the tap lines to nice, short, lines for that clean appearance. Wrong! The tap lines need to be 5-6 feet long, It makes a huge difference!
I placed the probe in the center of the 4 kegs.
Here is the completed kegerater. I still wanna dress it up a little, maybe add a bottle opener, Drip Tray, who knows. The possibilities are endless.
The beauty of using the wood collar is it can be removed to restore the keezer to a freezer. Just in case you need to sell it and buy a bigger keezer.

Bowl Blanks Part 3 – The Borax treatment

To protect my freshly cut pecan bowl blanks and other blanks that are not bowls from bugs, I created a Borax solution loosely based on this article. I created a mixture of 1 pound 14 ounces 20 Mule Team Borax and 3 gallons of warm water.

I then dipped the blanks in the solution, pulled them out and let the excess drip back into the bucket.

I then set the blanks on some metal racks that I have to continue drying. Later tonight or tommorow I will Anchor Seal the end grain.

 

Homebrew Yeast starter

Yeast Starter How-To
A yeast starter is used as a preliminary method to begin yeast fermentation. For high gravity beers, the yeast starter is necessary for an active fermentation. This procedure will take approx. 12 – 18 hours. Be prepared to either brew, or refrigerate the yeast mixture until ready to brew.
SANITIZE EVERYTHING FIRST!
Remove the yeast at least 6 hours prior to pitching into flask. (White Labs)
Yeast Slap the pack 24 hours before you want to start.
  1. Make sure everything is clean to the eye. Then clean and sanitize using your normal sanitizer the way you normally would.
  2. Bring 3 cups (720ml) of water to a boil and turn off heat.
  3. Add 1/8 tsp of yeast nutrient, either Fermax or Wyeast
  4. Add light Dry Malt Extract (DME), 3oz (approximately ½ cup) Or 3 table spoons of the malt extract you are going to use for batch. Stir until everything is dissolved. Return the solution to a boil approx 15 minutes.
  5. Careful not to burn yourself, remove the solution from the heat and pour into the 1000ml Erlenmeyer flask. Imerse the flask into an ice bath and cool to approximately 70 degrees, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Prepare you yeast
    1. White Labs: Shake the yeast container to breakup the solid yeast bed. Open the container.
    2. Wyeast: Open the shake and then open the packet.
    3. Dry Yeast: Prepare using the instructions on the packet.
  7. Pitch the yeast into the room temperature water/malt mix in your flask.
  8. Swirl the mixture aerating it well.
  9. Fill your sanitized air lock with water or vodka.
  10. Put the sanitized air lock and stopper in the mouth.
  11. Allow the mixture to set in a dark place at room temperature.
  12. Your airlock should start bubbling in about 12 hours. Fermentation has started.
  13. When fermentation is evident, the yeast starter is ready.
  14. Pitch the yeast starter as you normally would when you brew. Remember to swirl the yeast mixture in the flask very well to re suspend all the yeast from the bottom of the flask.
!!!Be prepared for highly vigorous fermentation – Blow-off setup recommended!!!
For Mead:

Honey Starter (For all meads):

  1. Make sure everything is clean to the eye. Then clean and sanitize using your normal sanitizer the way you normally would.
  2. Warm 3 cups (720ml) of water and turn off heat.
  3. Add 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient, either Fermax or Wyeast
  4. Add 1 cup of honey from the batch you are going to brew. Stir until everything is dissolved.
  5. Careful not to burn yourself, remove the solution from the heat and pour into the 1000ml Erlenmeyer flask. Imerse the flask into an ice bath and cool to approximately 70 degrees, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Prepare you yeast
    1. White Labs: Shake the yeast container to breakup the solid yeast bed. Open the container.
    2. Wyeast: Open the shake and then open the packet.
    3. Dry Yeast: Prepare using the instructions on the packet.
  7. Pitch the yeast into the room temperature water/honey mix in your flask.
  8. Swirl the mixture aerating it well.
  9. Fill your sanitized air lock with water or vodka.
  10. Put the sanitized air lock and stopper in the mouth.
  11. Allow the mixture to set in a dark place at room temperature.
  12. Your airlock should start bubbling in about 24 – 48 hours. Fermentation has started.
  13. When fermentation is evident, the yeast starter is ready.
  14. Pitch the yeast starter as you normally would when you brew. Remember to swirl the yeast mixture in the flask very well to re suspend all the yeast from the bottom of the flask.

Brewed up a Mead II

Took another gravity reading today, starter really worked. It is now at 1.025. So:
1.080 – 1.025 = 0.055 then 0.055 x 131 = 7.205% as of today. I think it is still going I will take another reading in a few days.

I guess you cant see the “20” but it is there…

My new Work Sharp 3000

 

 

I have wanted to get something to sharpen my shop tools for a while now. I quickly found out that sharpening was one of those topics that have no consensual answer. It is kind of like the all grain, extract discussion in home brewing. There is no right answer; it is what works best for you.
As a hobbyist and having no current sharpening system. I decided to go with the Work Sharp 3000 dry sharpening system. And I am glad I did.
I put my shiny new Work Sharp 3000 together last night.

 

I then found the worst chisel I had. I think at one time it was used as a hammer:

 

 

Following the instructions both written and in the included DVD I was able to get it looking like this in sort order:

 

With a little more work, I am very confident I could get it even better. I did the above in about 15 – 20 Minutes. Overall I am pretty happy. The setup was quick and easy, from taking it out of the box to working on the block of metal I found was less than 30 minutes. The preset angles are nice as well and aided in my ability to get started quickly.
I plan to build a stand for it, something to hold the sanding wheels and jigs I plan on getting. Whatever I decide I will post it here.