Tag Archives: DIY

raised garden bed

DIY Raised Garden Bed Using Pocket Screws

There are a lot of benefits for having a garden, especially an edible one. You get to control the chemicals you expose your food to, and thus restrict the amount of chemicals you consume. From the garden to the table–you cannot get any fresher (nor greener) than that.

I had some success in planting directly in the ground. What I find troublesome about that is the weeding required. The buggers grow everywhere. The solution is to isolate the plant… a garden bed, aka an oversized garden pot. I did some research and decided to take this on as my next DIY project.

There are a lot of raised garden bed build types. You can construct it from stone, brick, wood, or simply a mound of dirt. For my project, I decided to go with a wooden bed. I was dissuaded from using pressure treated wood because of the likely hood the chemicals can leach into the soil and onto the plant (there’s a lot of debate about that NOT being an issue today, but I’m going to err on the side of caution). Cedar and redwood were highly recommended for its longevity. Redwood won out because I can easily find it here in the Bay Area. It is expensive though.

For the build, I wanted to keep it simple. I’m lacking in wood working tools and some of the plans/designs would be difficult for me to execute. A very typical and simple design just uses the planks/boards that comprise the width and length of the garden bed and scrap pieces of wood or posts (usually a 4×4). The posts or scrap wood would be used in the corners as nailing anchors for the sides of the garden bed. I didn’t want to go this route because I didn’t want to buy extra wood just for nailing purposes. It just seems like a waste of wood and more importantly waste of money. My solution was to use pocket screws. I saw them being used on PBS woodworking shows. They used pocket screws to join pieces together in furniture and cabinets. I figured why not for this application? After finding out they make weather resistant pocket screws, I green lighted this option. I decided to go with the Kreg pocket hole system because that was used on the PBS shows and it’s readily available online (links below) and in big box stores.

I did more research on pocket screw joinery. Knowing the thickness of the material you’re using is very important. For optimal bite, the screw should leave the board (that has the hole bored out) at or near the midway point of that board (https://www.kregtool.com/store/c13/kreg-jigsreg/#tab1394). Therefore, positioning of the jig (device used to bore the pocket screw hole) is important. The thickness of the work material is also important in selecting the right screws to use. It needs to be long enough to bite into the connecting board. It is also important not to over torque the pocket screw. You don’t want to strip the wood threads. This is crucial info. I would hate to spend all the time and money to have the joint fail because I drilled the hole in the wrong position, stripped out the threads, or use the wrong size screw to connect the pieces together.

The material cost is approximately $65. The screws and plugs were relatively cheap. The large chunk is due to the wood choice: redwood. The cost can easily be reduced by using more common cheaper wood. The compromise is the longevity of the garden bed. A cheaper wood, like pine will rot faster.

The tool cost is hard to factor in. Yes, I did buy the Mini Kreg Jig, and the driver bit specifically for this project. However, its use is not only restricted for building raised garden beds. It’s a joinery system. I can use it to repair drawers, chairs, tables, etc. As with the bar clamps and combination square, it’s not a must have in the home DIY tool box, but there are multiple uses for those tools and therefore, it’s a safe buy.

Here’s the video I shot of the project and price breakdown (located below the video link):

Project tools & materials

Wood:
2x6x16 untreated redwood

  • I purchased two pieces
  • cut to four 4ft lengths
  • cut to four 2ft lengths
  • durable
  • common in California (where I’m from)
  • I paid approx $35 for both boards at Home Depot

Kreg:

Clamps:

  • Irwin Quick Grip ($20)
    • I used 2 clamps to lock the jig to the board when boring out the pocket holes and to lock the wood together when assembling the levels together
  • alternative: Kreg Locking Face Clamp ($20)
    • this type of clamp will lock the jig to the board better than the bar clamp

Combination Square

Soil:

  • top soil
    • 3 cu ft
    • $8.25 total
  • garden soil
    • 3 cu ft
    • $8.50 total
  • manure
    • 1 cu ft
    • $1.50

    Squeaking Noise & DIY Cowl Removal on 2006 Scion tC

    I had a crack on the windshield that required replacement. I filed my claim with my insurance company and found an auto glass shop through Yelp. I wanted to get this resolved as soon as possible, but the weather forecast would make this extremely difficult. I don’t have a covered driveway, so I opted to get this replaced at the auto glass shop location.

    crack on windshield

    crack on windshield

    crack on windshield

    crack on windshield

    crack on windshield

    crack on windshield

    long crack on windshield

    The crack on the windshield is about 10.5″ long

    Shortly after the install, I started hearing a high pitched squeaking noise. This is only really apparent on rough roads. There’s a lot of construction going on near my home, so rough roads are more the norm than the exception.

    I thought this was due to the replacement glass. It could be rubbing on the frame or some other part of the cowl area (the perceived location of the noise). I checked the cowl (pushed on in it from the outside) and it seemed to have some play/movement. Could this be the cause?

    I called the auto glass shop. We scheduled to have an on-sight visit. The plan was to re-seat the replacement glass (Pilkington Solar Laminated AS-1 DOT177 M65).

    Pilkington replacement windshield

    Pilkington Solar replacement windshield

    I drove the technician around, using the same route as posted in the previous video, so he could hear the noise first hand. When the windshield was removed, there appeared to be no apparent wear; no unusual shavings, highlights, etc. The technician banged on all components near and around the windshield frame. He was unable to replicate the noise. He reinstalled the windshield.

    I let the car sit for awhile so the adhesive could properly set and cure. Later that night, I heard the same noise, on the same road conditions. I did some searching and found a forum that suggested adding foam to the cowl area. The cowl was left alone during the reinstallation of the windshield. This is the video of the foam installation on the cowl.

    That didn’t fix it. I then tried adding foam to the inside of the car, between the glass and the dashboard. Again, targeting the area where the noise is coming from. Still no fix.

    The noise is coming from the center part of the cowl area. We ruled out the cowl and the engine compartment in general. Therefore, the noise must come from the other side of the firewall. I checked the radio. I pushed on the upper part (as highlighted in yellow in the picture below). I drove the same route, and guess what?… that’s it! The radio housing and/or the center vent is causing the noise. Something is loose back there.

    Scion tC stock radio

    highlighting where I pushed on the stock radio

    This is good news. The noise is more of an annoyance. It doesn’t effect the running of the car, or the convenience of cabin (air, radio, etc). Nor does it effect the safety of the car; it’s not windshield related. This is an annoyance I’ll learn to live with. I’m not willing to pay for the fix, nor am I willing to personally take the dash apart.


    Install of WeatherTech Window Deflector

    I ordered vent visors from WeatherTech for my Scion tC. WeatherTech brands them as “window deflectors”. I was going to go with the cheaper vent visor that attaches by adhesive tape. I was dissuaded by some forum posts stating the adhesive tape doesn’t stay stuck for long. The other option, but much more expensive alternative was the precisely molded in-channel visors sold by WeatherTech. The cost is around $75, which includes shipping.

    I hoping this investment will pay off. It’s near winter time; we’re finally getting some rain (I live in the Bay Area, and we’re suffering from a major draught — this is well needed stuff). The trouble with rain, no matter how small you crack open the window, you’ll still get water inside. With these installed, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore. I also plan on leaving it cracked open. I’m getting tired of the condensation fogging up my windshield after my late evening workout. Hopefully this will save on running the AC to defog the windows.

    I could have used these this past summer. I gets hot here. Not desert hot, but hot enough to steam when getting into the car after it’s been baking in the sun for 6 hours. I have a Broadway mirror attached to my rearview. When it gets too hot, any slight vibration from rough roads will cause it to move on its own. Really annoying when driving. I could crack my moonroof to help vent when parked, but find that leaves tend to blow inside when I do this. These vent visors should help with that.

    Is this a worthwhile investment? I’m kinda talking myself into thinking it is. The design is unobtrusive and install was easy. The question is, will it fulfill its purpose and help regulate the inside temperature and relative humidity? Dunno… have to wait and see.


    Curb Rash Rim Repair

    I damaged my front driver’s side rim when entering a parking garage. The loud crunch sound made me cringe. The damage was bad. Not just scratching the paint, but the curb took some chunks off of the rim. It was isolated to the upper lip; the spokes came out okay.

    All the products I used to fix and paint the wheel can be easily found at a local auto supply store or even a big box store. The following is a list of items I used:

    This should have been a straight forward repair, but I encountered two big issues… you’ll see it on the video:


    Sugru + Neodymium magnet + sponge holder = movable sponge caddy

    I found this cool sponge caddy years ago. The caddy hung over the sink; it hooked over the edge of the sink. I could only reposition it on the left and right sides of the sick. The center wall dividing the double sink was too wide for the caddy to hook onto.

    Another problem to this caddy were the tight corners. Food particles from the sponge would get stuck. It was very difficult to clean.

    I happened on a different caddy design. The mounting mechanism relied on suction cups. This however didn’t work on my sink. That was the only flaw. I tried ceramic magnets, but that wasn’t strong enough. I then tried rare earth neodymium magnets. That was the perfect type. I used Sugru to affix the magnets to the caddy.

    I now have a movable sponge caddy — I can affix this to any wall of the sink.

    The sponge holder was around $6 from Target.
    The neodymium magnets was around $4 (1/2″; 6-pack) from Home Depot.

    DIY: Cabin Air Filter (06 Scion tC)

    I was flipping through the channels and came across Drive It! (program on DW TV).  They were covering the pollen filter (cabin air filter here in the states) when I switched to their channel.  It was a pretty cool segment and it got me thinking I could replace my filter — wouldn’t hurt and I’ll save a couple of bucks.

    I googled cabin air filter and 06 Scion tC (my ride).  A video posted by filterheads.com on YouTube and a forum post on clubsciontc.com were extremely helpful in getting the task done.  After researching the price of an OEM filter (around $15/filter), I opted to make my own, by using a 3M Ultra Allergen furnace filter.  The cost of the filter is around $17, but this can yield 4 cabin air filters.  Scored big on this DIY: Continue reading