Lifestyle: handyman role: how to remove a tight lag screw (hopefully) in one piece

Yard work is constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares an observation from it.

Today I was disassembling some reinforcements made last fall for an abandoned project. The reinforcements were triangular, consisting of landscaping ties and 2×6 boards fastened with lag screws. They had purposely been made heavy and strong.

I began to loosen one of the lag screws; it started to turn with much difficulty. Suddenly, it turned much more easily: I knew it had twisted apart. It didn’t do so at the head; I still had to turn it out. However, only the top inch or so came out, while the bottom remained lodged in the wood.

I didn’t think any of the other lag screws would twist apart; rather, I believed the one that did was defective. When another one twisted apart the same way, I decided to change my method.

The next lag screw I turned slowly through short arcs with pauses in between. It stayed whole, as did the others I so removed.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Weather: snow accumulation: mass of snow on the deck

The tutor mentions a consequence of the recent snow event.

Here, we’ve had an unusual amount of snow lately. I cleared off the deck two days ago to relieve it from the mass of snow on top. Then, from the night before until yesterday evening, we received about 18 inches (46cm) of fresh snow.

Last night I wondered again about the mass of snow on the deck, so I estimated it as follows:

deck area: 20’x10′ = 200sq. ft.

A foot is 30.5cm, so a square foot is 930cm2.

Therefore, the deck area is 200x930cm2 = 186050cm2.

The height of the snow is 46cm. I’ve heard 10cm of snow is equivalent to 1cm of rain.

Hence, the equivalent volume of water on the deck is 186050cm2x4.6cm = 855830cm3.

Perhaps surprisingly, 1000cm3 = 1 litre. It follows that the deck is holding 856 litres of water.

Furthermore, 1 litre of water has mass 1 kg: the mass of snow on the deck is 856kg, or about 1900 pounds.

So, after a heavy snowfall, the mass of snow on a structure can truly be significant.

Good luck with your snow clearing:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: opening jars: why a cloth or glove might help

The tutor talks about why using a cloth or rubber glove might help to open a jar.

I’m not particularly strong, so with household chores I have to improvise sometimes – for instance, when opening jars.

When I was a kid I knew that a rubber glove could help with opening a jar; today I know that, in many cases, wearing the rubber glove isn’t as helpful as wrapping it around the jar. The other day I finally wondered why.

The reason is that often, lack of grip isn’t the problem opening a jar; rather, it’s lack of mechanical advantage. As the grip distance from the jar increases, you get more leverage. In many cases, a thick cloth might work even better than the rubber glove, because it pushes your grip further from the mouth of the jar, possibly increasing your leverage even more.

I’ll be talking more about little household tricks as I think of them:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: toy repair with J-B Weld, part II

The tutor continues about a toy repair, with some reinforcement ideas.

While we were repairing the toy a few nights ago (see my previous post), my father-in-law suggested that, after the first repair cured, a second application should be considered around the outside. Such reinforcement, he commented, would give the repair its best chance of holding.

I considered his counsel from an engineering point of view: how much extra strength could we anticipate from application of J-B Weld around the outside of the repair site?

Let’s imagine the shear force to be straight forward. The strength of a reinforcement can be, generally, proportional to its left-right length multiplied by its height, then by the square of its forward length. Assuming the J-B Weld works as an integral piece after drying, I imagined an outside application along each side plane. The application would be about 20 times the height of the original shear, then its same forward length, but only about 1/30 of its left-right length. Compared with the first repair reuniting the two sheared surfaces, the reinforcement strength per side might be 20(1/30) or 2/3. Both sides together could offer reinforcement strength of 2(2/3)=4/3 or 1.33 times the strength of the original repair, more than doubling its shear resistance.

With these numbers in mind, I took my father-in-law’s advice and made the reinforcement application about 24 hours ago. The repair should be ready right now.

I’ll be sharing more about this fascinating toy repair:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: toy repair w/ J-B Weld

The tutor wonders about a pending toy repair.

My younger son has a toy he really loves that broke. Specifically, a pot metal part sheared off. It’s a toy out of production, so can’t be replaced.

Looking at the breakage, a repair seemed unlikely to work. I went to the hardware store and explained the situation. The man handed me J-B Weld: “If anything could work, this will.”

The J-B Weld label suggests a tensile strength of 3960 psi. The tensile strength of pot metal might be around 40 000 psi. In the toy, the strain on the metal part is not tensile, but rather shear. The shear strength of pot metal is around 75% of its tensile; if the same for the repair, it might be around 3000 psi.

I estimate the surface of the repair to be about 1/64, or 0.015625, inch2, suggesting a repair strength of 3000(0.015625) = 47 pounds.

The pot metal part stretches an elastic. Stretching the same elastic even further by a hanging mass, I’ve determined that the toy’s pulling force is less than 2.5 lbs. With estimated strength of 47 pounds, the repair should hold.

J-B Weld needs 24 hours to cure; the repair has had about 36. I guess we’ll know soon if it works. I’ll keep you posted:)



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

The handyman role: reconnecting the barbecue

The tutor shares an adventure in his handyman-lite role.

For big jobs, I call in professionals with crews, etc. (It’s amazing what those guys know and can do.) The smaller jobs I try to handle myself.

Even a small job takes me much longer than it would a tradesman; I lack the wrist strength and the dexterity that they take for granted. However, my understanding of the basic principles is decent. Over the years I’ve done a fair amount of research about carpentry, plumbing, etc.

Following the departure of some contractors (who did a beautiful job, I’m happy to say), I had to reconnect the barbecue to the gas feed at the wall. There shouldn’t have been a problem; it’s a quick connect. However, I just couldn’t get the line end to click back into the wall fitting.

I pulled up the shield around the wall fitting and noticed the ball bearings around it. They obviously pop out as the line end is being removed, then pop back in around it when it’s replaced. However, they were stuck in the way, so the fitting couldn’t push in past them. I just ran my finger around the inside, pushing them outwards. Then, when I tried again to insert the line end, it worked.

I was concerned that the ball bearings may not clamp around the line fitting, since they weren’t moving easily. However, when I tried to pull it back out (without releasing the shield), the wall fitting wouldn’t release it. Good enough, I guess:)

Finally, I replaced the plastic box around the gas fitting.

I’ll be sharing more of my handyman experiences as they arise:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.