Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Quest for the Golden Banana

The Girl (10yo) invented a board game out of The Boy's Lego set. Turns out it's pretty fun, so I thought I'd share it here. 

Simple square board, first one to do a full lap around it wins The Golden Banana. But there are hazards!
The game supports up to four players. To start everyone picks a minifig token.

And everyone rolls a die to determine their starting position behind to flag. For some reason there is only room for three minifigs here, but I'm sure that's easily remedied. 
The lead player starts by rolling a single die and moves that many spaces. If they land on a green square, on their next turn they move backwards the die roll. Otherwise they move forwards.
If they land on a slippery square they miss their next turn.
If they land on this particular red square they face The Brothers. You roll a die a on an even roll you get The Wheel. On an odd roll you get The Dynamite. 
The Wheel attaches to the bottom of your minifig and you move 2x the die roll. If another player faces The Brothers and rolls an even they take your wheel from you. 
But if roll an odd and get the dynamite your head catches on fire and you miss 3 turns. The Brothers can be nasty.

Another hurdle is The Silly Spinner. If you land on this blue square you get to pick another player and stick them to the Silly Spinner. They get so dizzy they get lost and need to start at the beginning again. A terrible fate since there are so many green squares near the start.
If you make it all the way around, you win The Golden Banana and have full bragging rights.
I was pretty impressed. It's a quick, fun game. I'm sure there be revisions to come. The Boy says he likes it better than any of the real Lego board games.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

BBQ Smoker Table

My ceramic pot BBQ Smoker is getting good enough results that I thought I should try and pretty it up a little. So I thought I'd start by giving it a nice table. It was a rainy weekend here in Halifax ... a perfect time to lock myself in the garage and work while the rain streamed down outside.

The design I settled on is loosely based on the free DIY plans you can get on the Big Green Egg website.

My plans were a little more rough. I based them on the dimensions of my gas BBQ and the maximum space I had on the deck to place the finished table.
I knew I was going to paint this to match our patio furniture so I was able to go with cheap rough lumber.

Quick trip to the hardware store and I was ready. I can't praise the Rockwell 48" JawHorse clamping work horse enough. It's an incredible machine!
Circular saw to get my notches in place.
Hammer and chisel to clean them up.
 And, before you know it ... four legs. Had to include the height of the caster wheels in the cutoff.
The fit was so tight I hardly needed screws/bolts.
 45 degree on the bottom shelf to try and make it a little nicer.
 Dry fit ...
Now I could size out the table top. I had 66" max length to work with and settled on 64" at 28" width and 35" high (not too high to make it awkward lifting large, hot chunks of meat).
 Some interior bracing is required so I can cut out the hole and not have it too flimsy.
Time to start bolting it together for real. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought these bolt lengths. Yeesh.
The boy helping me get the end caps on.
Bottom shelf braces. The bottom shelf carries all the weight of the smoker, so it needs to be solid.
And some cheap strapping in place for the bottom shelf. Brad nailed into place.
Using some spare bolts to ensure proper spacing. I went a little wide on the spacing to make sure the rain water doesn't pool.
Caster wheels in place. These are 3" with brakes. They can handle 225 lbs each ... plenty. Picked them up at Princess Auto on sale.
 Now just to mark out the smoker hole and cut it out.
 Bingo ...
Pretty well done. Just need to sand and paint it now. Not sure if I'm going to paint the terracotta pots with some black stove paint. I may.

The whole thing was about $100 and took about six hours to make.

The next blog post I do will be cooking in the finished product. Stay tuned! Although I am thinking about a pulley lift for the smoker top :) We'll see.

EDIT: Here's the follow up

Friday, 8 June 2012

Cheap Deck Cleaner

I just sent this recipe to a friend and thought others might benefit from it as well. 

Deck Cleaner is incredibly expensive, but it's very easy to make yourself.
  • 256 oz Water (4 quarts or about 4L)
  • 64 oz Bleach (the cheap stuff from Walmart)
  • 2/3 cup of liquid dish detergent (cheap stuff from Walmart)
  • 1 cup of TSP (any paint shop, walmart, kent, etc)
Give it a good mix ... I find warm/hot water helps the TSP dissolve. I like to use one of these on my drill.

Spray it on (not direct sunlight, it'll dry too quickly. Early morning or evening is best), let it sit for 10 min and then scrub with deck brush. Spray off with hose. 

It has bleach in it, so watch out for siding or anything you don't want to get discolored (same as normal deck cleaner) 

Pennies a glass.