Category Archives: How To

How-do-I’s and Do-it-Yourself

Boonie Hat Modifications

OK so this project is about half year in the making. About June last year, I decided I wanted another hat besides my Tilley. I have that in the T4 Insectshield variant in size 7 1/4. Its a great hat, but I feel sometimes too ostentatious in

This one was to be low key – preferably black. It should have a very narrow brim – just enough to shield my eyes against the rain or sun. Some people would call that a bucket hat, or stubby boonie hat.

Started off with a regular jungle hat from the military in digital camouflage. Unpicked the stitching on the piping. Trimmed the brim down to 1 3/4 inches (42mm). Chickened out and had Mom sew the piping back on :-D

I’ve always disliked the drawstring, so it was cut off. The hat already fit nice and snug, and the abbreviated brim would just flip up in the wind.

Removed the camo bandoleer, and nail-polished the screened ventilation eyelets to prevent rust.

Lastly, some Dylon black dye to complete the look. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the first round of dyeing, so it was a couple of months before I got round to the 2nd round. Seems that it didn’t improve the look. I wanted black, but got a dark muted digital camo. I guess it’ll do.

Modified Boonie

Electronics and Water

Never a good idea.

The Ixus 70 point and shoot we’ve had for years took one too many nose-dives and I’d recently replaced it with a Canon Ixus 115 HS. One cool feature of this P&S is it records in 120fps slow-motion. Fun!

On Saturday it took a dive off my belt, pouch and all, into the (thankfully clean) pisser. It didn’t hit the side of the bowl, it fell straight into the water. It took me 3 seconds to realise it by which time the pouch was soaked through and the camera was wet too.

I didn’t try to turn it on. Wiped it down and sat it, the battery and SDCard in a sealable popcorn container with a Thirsty Hippo desiccant.

Two days later, fingers trembling and all, turned it back on. It powered up! And a test shot.

Note to self: hang the pouch on the belt AND secure it to a belt loop. It doesn’t need to be load-bearing – a loop of string should do it.

Experiment: Water vapour in Medela tubing

Wifey has been expressing milk for lil’ Timmy for a couple of months now. She’s using the Medela Pump-in-Style model – a hand-me-down which we were (again!) grateful to accept. The Philips Avent model we had purchased was really quite pathetic and we were truly thankful when the offer for the PIS came, along with a plethora of accessories all looking a little worse for wear. The only thing we’d re-use was the pump, all the other plastic and valve bits were purchased new from the shops.

The tubes it came with were yellow with age. The other set didn’t even fit the pump – it had plastic fittings on both ends. I cut the fittings off one end, and it was good to go. Over the next couple of weeks, mould (or mold) crept into the tubing and we visited the shops for a new set. $24!

According to the web, once mould has presented inside the tube, you could boil/clorox/vinegar it and that would kill the mould. Dead mould still looks bad, so it would be advisable to replace it.

Preventive measures include leaving the tubes connected to the pump and running for a couple of minutes after pumping. Tried it. The “couple of minutes” usually takes 45 in our humid weather. According to a sales lady at the shop, that would put undue wear on the pump (and that we should shell out for new tubes every 2 months).

Other preventive measures was to swing the tubing wildly at the end of each session and try not to hit anything/anyone including yourself. Try doing that at 2am.

Another one is to run some rubbing alcohol down the tubes to kill the stuff and to dry them out.

I decided to try my grubby hands on a DIY fix – getting the tubes connected to an air pump used for aquariums. I picked up a dual nozzle one from a market I was passing through and brought it home. The Medela tubes are smaller than regular aquarium air tubing. Some modifications had to be made. Disassembled the pump, broke out my trusty knife and scraped at the air outlets, then filed to finish.

The test: I connected some newly washed and shortened (cut off the mouldy portion and reconnected the plastic fittings) tubing to the pump and left for dinner. Came back 2 hours later, the pump is still working and our apartment isn’t on fire. The tubes were bone dry – no condensation in the tubes. Woohoo!

So moving forward, after pumping, wifey will disconnect the tubing from the Medela pump unit and fit it into the air pump. Turn the former off and the latter on, and let it run until the next pump cycle.

Yep $9 for the pump and some elbow grease to save… $24.

Update 29 February 2012

This (should) be my last update on this matter. The pump pictured above died after about a month of service. It had proven effective, so another pump was required.

This is a single outlet air pump, but I bought a 3-way valve for it. Apparently, this setup worked out of the box and no modification was required.

So if you buy the air pump with the correct size air outlet / nozzle / nipple, it is very effective for keeping mould at bay in the Medela tubes.

Broken lens filter

Dropped the camera right after Timmy was born. Luckily, only the filter was smashed.

Pried the glass off, and it would still focus. Whew! The ring was stuck fast, so some Googling was in order. Turned out a little delicate hacksaw work and a pair of needlenose pliers did the trick.

Sharpening Kitchen Knife

I collect knives. I use them too. But I’m an absolute sharpen-tard. For many people its an art. They sharpen freehand on a stone and if you look up some videos on youtube, they make it look easy. I try that, and I reduce my knives to a pile of blunt, useless steel.

So for me, it is an absolute science, with precise angles and bevels and all that. Mike Casey has a great article on sharpening, which led me to think that I just need some kind of guided system. There are some great DIY jigs people build to sharpen their knives; there are also some great guided systems out there. I went with the DMT Diafold Magna-Guide system because, apparently, DMT makes the best stones. I got the kit with Coarse, Fine, Extra Fine and Extra-Extra Fine stones.

These are what I have now…
a $5 stone (I wanted to build one of these)
a Wusthof 2899 2-Stage Pocket Knife Sharpener (piece of shite, I’ll explain later)
and the DMT system – the aligner clamp, magnetic angle guide, and 2 diafolds. See Video

As soon as they arrived, I started off with our oldest kitchen knife.

After trying for a while to sharpen the knife, I realised that the blade was chipped.

Decided we needed a fresh start, and blunted the knife by drawing it lengthwise along the stone, effectively removing the chip.

Now that the knife was completely blunted, I wanted to put a preliminary edge (or bevel) on the knife with the Wusthof. The damned thing chipped the knife again. Piece of Shite. I had to blunt it a second time.

Putting an edge back on the blunted knife took a lot of time. I wish I had gone and bought the extra-coarse stone. So I did the next best thing and used the stone with the guide clamp. See vid.

Now that the primary bevel is in, time to put in the cutting edge with the DMT. Notice the result. 2 angles. I like!