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1  BBQ/Smoker/fire pit from a 44 gallon drum in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by schnerby on: July 26, 2015 01:23:31 AM
I don't have a fire pit at my house and was considering making a brazier but when I got my hands on a 44 gallon drum for $10, I knew that was going to be the base for whatever was to come.

It was a container used for animal feed, so it hasn't had any toxic chemicals in it except for the paint and anti-corrosion layer. This meant if I burned the paint off it would be ok for food. So, food it was.

I sat down to sketch a few designs and finally came up with this one. I wanted to use as much recycled material as possible as I really like reusing. This is more important than aesthetics for a functional item in my house.

First step - I used an angle grinder with a cutting blade to remove a panel from the side. It meant I needed to smooth the edges off with a file and, when I got sick of that because it wasn't super effective, the dremel with a grinding bit on it.

I bolted the loose end (the lid) on by drilling three holes through the lid and base and using M6 bolts so the end can be taken off should it make cleaning easier. I don't know that it matters, but I thought this might be more sensible than welding it.

Two hinges held the lid in place and I fashioned a handle out of a piece of wood and two very long bolts. It sits about 80mm away from the lid so it can be opened without burning your hands. I would have put it higher on the lid if I did this again, but it's ok for now. I also drilled two holes in the inside base to let water out if it gets rained on.

The legs are steel bar with galvanised caps on them (attached with epoxy resin). They are attached with saddles and M6 bolts. The lid end is more flimsy than the base of the drum so I reinforced the inside of the lid with a small piece of steel behind each saddle. That means the bolts go through the saddle, the drum lid and then the plate before the washer and nut. This keeps it rigid when heat might reshape the lid. You can see the plates in the bottom photo showing the inside. The bends in the bars were made by cutting a V into the bar with an angle grinder and then bending with a vice and brute force. The bends are covered with heat resistant tape. It's probably the weakness of the design but it won't live outside so I'm not worried. It hasn't melted at all as it sits a distance from the actual barrel. I propped it up on bricks while I attached the legs so it woud be flat.

I tested the paint and found that some would respond to paint stripper but there was different paint on the inside, outside and end. Some was tougher than others. I tried burning it off with a small butane torch but that was going to take forever. A burning fire inside took care of it quickly. It did produce lots of stinky smoke.

What followed next was two people and two drills with wire brushes on them taking a full day to strip the paint. The dremel got into the corners and the metal was finally bare. Hooray! I was so glad to be done with that step.

Paint. Such a stink!
I painted the legs, ends and outside of the lid with a high heat spray paint. It needs two coats and then curing time. The inside and main barrel is painted with pot belly black stove paint. This needs 16 hours between coats. Both need heat to cure them. The high temp paint could be cured with a butane torch but the stove paint needed either months to cure (such as painting in summer and then waiting until winter) or a slowly increasing heat. I went for that route. I built a small fire last night inside and then gradually built it to a roaring fire. Oh my goodness was the smoke FOUL! Finally, the smoke became more normal smelling so I put the fire out, waited and then built another one. I probably need to apologise to my neighbours for the disgusting paint stench. The paint has changed to a smoother texture and is now pretty tough. I took the whole thing apart before painting and then put it back together.

Here is the inside:

The two cooking surfaces are removable and can be put in while there is a fire to maximise how this can be used. The mild steel grate is held in place with two recycled steel rods which rest in holes drilled for them. The ends of the rods are bent so they won't slide all the way through. The white paint you can see in this photo has since been burned off. This grate is good for corn or smoking.
The cast iron plate sits on two flat iron bars which slide into slits I cut with the angle grinder.
Both can be removed so the fire can be used for a camp oven or just as a fire pit.

The gap left from the angle grinder is enough (with the lid shut) to smother the fire but not put the embers out. The few holes from the plate bars also lets in a little air. Just enough for smoking although I might put a few more in.

I have cooked some corn and bread and it was lovely. Bring on the first bbq! I have a thermometer to add to the side just to keep an eye on the food while it's inside.

It will be stored inside the garage when not in use. It does fit in my small car for transport, though.

If you are going to use a drum for smoking it is very important that you do get all the paint and coatings off completely before using a safe paint to protect the metal. Then, only use appropriate metal inside to keep the smoke clean.

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2  Wheatpaste and fabric removeable wallpaper in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by schnerby on: January 10, 2015 11:46:37 PM
I decided to add some interest to my boring hallway, but wasn't sure how. I don't think I'm finished, but I have trialled and succeeded with removable wallpaper from fabric.

The fabric is 100% cotton from Japan. It's a medium thickness, but I think any reasonably thin fabric would work well. Thicker fabric might be a problem. It would be easier if the fabric fitted in one piece (for example, if I cut along the length of the fabric) but I needed to go across the fabric so the fish were swimming across. I just used two pieces for the longer stretch of wall above the fridge and matched the fish when I cut it so the join wasn't obvious. This might be more of an issue with a geometric print.

Firstly I made paste from 1L of boiling water and just under 1/4 cup of cornflour (made into a slurry with water and then whisked in). I cooked it until it thickened and would come away from the bottom of the pan when I tilted the pan and drew the whisk or a brush through it. Wait for it to cool and put it in some kind of practical container. I put the pan in the sink with cold water around it and it was cool by the time I had cut the fabric.

I cut the fabric to size and ironed it.

I put a fair slather of paste on the wall with a 50mm brush before putting up the fabric. It can be repositioned, removed, trimmed and whatever else you need while the paste is drying. i went along the top sides of the fabric again after putting it up just to make sure they were really stuck and well pasted up.

The hallway


The kitchen


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3  Healthier Potato rosti brunch (I just had for dinner) in Vegetarian / Vegan by schnerby on: December 17, 2014 02:10:28 AM
So, I was looking to make potato rosti without adding a tonne of oil or relying on butter. I decided to just grate the potato reasonably finely, squeeze out the water, add herbs and cook in a pan sprayed with olive oil. Surprise - it was just as good. Hash browns and the like are yummy, but I really can't face that much oil (or recipes calling for butter. Not in my dinner!)

I then popped the rest in the oven to bake.

I wilted some spinach, added mozzarella slices and pesto then topped with two eggs.

I recommend this to you to fill your belly. Veganise by leaving off the eggs and cheese and it would still be great just pesto-ed and spinach-ed.
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4  Re: Ongoing Wish Swap Round 107, 108, & 109 Gallery & Discussion in The Swap Gallery by schnerby on: November 22, 2014 01:36:23 PM
Here's a dodgy little pic of the shirts I sent to Grab A Coffee. I have a new fabric medium and I love the workability. It really doesn't take as many coats as before to get that really nice coverage.

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5  1930s chairs get a facelift in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by schnerby on: November 09, 2014 08:49:43 PM
I got these cool chairs given to me so I decided to give restoration a go. They're from the 1930s and were made by my great grandmother's brothers.

Pic is from before I adopted them. Yellow vinyl!

Surprise #1 - they were stuffed with horse hair and hay. This wasn't a surprise to anyone I told (depression, perfectly normal etc. etc.) but certainly was to me.

I started by pulling the old vinyl off and keeping it to make patterns. It turns out that I threw them away  because I was using foam for the stuffing and the old pieces didn't fit over that anyway. I ended up just cutting bits that were bigger than I needed and fitting them to the chair as I went. I did re-use the plastic tube from inside the piping at the front.

Surprise #2 - I knew they had been reupholstered once along with some other chairs in the 1960s. I didn't know they had used a million nails or that they had left the nails in from the previous upholstering. I removed all of them. It took forever!

Surprise #3 - the hardwood is too hard for staples. Upholstery tacks and a hammer it is!

Then I sanded, stained and satin varnished the wood to make it all pretty.

Next, I replaced all the old hessian and strapping and purchased high density foam (100mm) for the seat and medium density foam (75mm) for the back. Cut to size with an electric carving knife. I also retied the springs in place.

Finally, I upholstered the chair in reverse order with a few decorative tacks for style. The fabric is a fun texture with a tough felt/fleece looking backing to make it suitable for upholstery.

I'm going to make some cushions and move them to a nice corner of the lounge. Pics when I've organised my loungeroom furniture.

My first upholstery project done!
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6  Re: Ongoing Wish Swap Round 107, 108, & 109 Gallery & Discussion in The Swap Gallery by schnerby on: November 06, 2014 11:05:06 PM
Ok, stop the presses and focus right here!

Look at what Averia made. It's unbelievable.

Yes, that's origami. I cannot fathom the time that went into making the pieces and the cord.

There it was on my doorstep this morning. Ok, well, there was a box and this was inside. Luckily it is insanely hot today and no rain in sight. I had to wait to get home to take a picture though as I was on my way out when I saw it.

Thank you so much. I love it!
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7  Spicy broad (fava) beans - crunchy bar snack :) in Vegetarian / Vegan by schnerby on: November 03, 2014 04:46:18 PM
I love a crunchy, savoury snack with a drink. In fact, I am a monster who gobbles them all. To prevent over-gobbling and dying from salt overindulgence, I decided to stick to healthier options.

Broad beans (fava beans to those of a more American persuasion) make great snacks. They are easy to cook and very tasty. You could make them from dried beans (there are recipes online) but I have a bounty of fresh beans since it's springtime.

First, pod the beans. The half tomato is not required  Cheesy - breakfast leftover/morning snack Smiley

Then, boil a little water and pop the beans in.

They just need 2 minutes to loosen the skin.

Next, pop them in a colander and drain. Run the cold tap over them.

Give 'em a swim in some cold water. Then put them back in the colander and shake so the skins are loosened and wrinkled.

Pop the outside leathery skin off. It comes off very easily.

Dry the halves on paper towel so they go crispy in the oven. 10 mins or so sitting there and they are dry.

Mix them in a flavoursome concoction of your choice. I like olive oil, garlic, black pepper, chilli and Chinese five spice. A Cajun blend would be nice, too.

Pop them in the oven on a flat sheet until they're crunchy. Mine take about 25 minutes at 200oC. Just keep them in until they look munchy and they're done. Soft inside and crispy outside. Yum!
They will still be green - unlike when made from dried beans.

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8  Re: Ongoing Wish Swap Round 107, 108 Gallery & Discussion in The Swap Gallery by schnerby on: October 21, 2014 01:49:28 AM
It's been a happy mail time for me!

Jemimah sent these sweet coasters. Beautifully made and they look lovely on my bookcase ready to be used. I am now no longer int he bizarre adults group who don't own coasters. Smiley They're a rich red rather than slightly pinkish as in this photo.

Also, she made these four fab cards. Elegant and simple with watercolour and pen - can't wait to send some cards.

Thank you so much.
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9  Re: Ongoing Wish Swap Round 107, 108 Gallery & Discussion in The Swap Gallery by schnerby on: October 18, 2014 03:55:31 PM
Ok, so after a super busy spell I finally got back on here. Here is a better daylight picture of Anna.Wahnsinn's lovely mail organiser.

The stitching is perfect and I love the colours. It will be on the wall today. Hooray!

Thank you so much!
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10  Herby onion bread in Vegetarian / Vegan by schnerby on: March 09, 2014 11:02:00 PM
This stuff is yummy!

1 packet dried yeast (I think they're 7 grams each)
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated tasty cheese (or less than this with a little parmesan on top)
6 tablespoons of chopped herbs. I use all flat leaf parsley but basil would work as well. Olives maybe too)
1 egg
Half a Spanish onion, sliced finely and soaked in lemon juice for an hour. Skip the soaking if you like a sharper onion flavour.
2 tbsp olive oil
Milk or egg wash

Put one cup of flour, the water, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Mix to a thick paste and leave (covered with cling film) for 30 mins. It will go fluffy.

Add the other cup of flour, cheese, salt, herbs, onion, egg and oil to the paste and stir. I do this step in a mixer with the dough hooks on. You could knead by hand. It takes about 10 minutes to knead, adding a little flour when it becomes sticky.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl and leave for 15 minutes covered in cling wrap. Dough should rise and double. Punch it down and knead lightly.

Shape the dough however you like. I braid it like a round challah, but you could do a loaf, pull-apart balls or plait it. Cover with wrap and leave for 10 minutes.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7D8PSBsy1M) - Challah shaping video

Brush with egg or milk wash (parmesan if you like) and bake for ~30 minutes at 190oC fan forced. A little longer if you don't have the fan. It should sound hollow when tapped.

Eat warm or cold - just keep away from hungry hands who tend to burn themselves on the hot loaf.  Cheesy

This is my challah baked at the same time. One of the three is a bit misshapen  Grin

And everything uncooked.

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