Wall Bars for the Kids Playhouse

This was a nice quick projects that I think turned out pretty nice. We have a nice playhouse for the kids in the garden, but I thought we were lacking something for the kids to climb. Unfortunately, there are no real trees or anything where they could get up a bit. So I thought – let’s add wall bars to the back of the play house.

From gardening we had a lot of straight branches that we cut from various bushes in our garden. They made for perfect bars to climb. With the different textures and sizes etc. I think they also add an interesting haptic component for the kids.

Overall, I am very happy with the result, and it makes a nice visual contrast with the natural bars. But see yourself.

Playhouse with wall bars complete.
Detail shot – the bars are just press fit into the holes. So far nice and sturdy.
Making the bars – drilling holes the right size and then pounding in the bars. Alternating sides to keep it symmetrical.
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ESP32/BME280 based Weather Station that pushes data to MySQL database and displays and graphs it

This article describes a weather station I created that uses ESP32s with BME280 sensors to push temperature, humidity and air pressure to a web server where it is displayed online. The local sensors upload data every minute to an online MySQL database, a web page written in PHP displays the most recent data points and plots graphs of the historic values. The system is now in operation with 8 sensors for some months and works very well. I have almost 1.5 million data points logged and still going strong.

Data as presented on the online dashboard. By clicking on any of the sensors the graph is shown.

Graph view of the data. Standard view of 24 hour window.
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Dining table

For some time now we were looking for a larger dining table. For us it was clear that it should have a wooden top, as this really is the nicest surface. In the end we got got a good deal off the local Craigslist variant and bought a massive oak desk. It really was in grandma style, but with lots of sanding we got a nice new table!

See the transformation below:

Old, image directly from the ad of the desk.

Finished with plenty of sanding. And actually after a year of usage – so much about posting in time 😉

The wedge is still the old color – nicely shows the contrast of old and new. So much better!

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Pimp my Weber Genesis Gas Grill

Still going after the perfect Pizza on the gas grill. After some improvements with the heat deflector, this time I wanted to raise the overall temperature in the grill. Even after running full power for like an hour the grill barely goes beyond 250C.

What I tried this time was to add a second layer of metal below the lid, assuming that the double wall insulates better. It was actually fairly easy to push in a thin (0.7mm) steel sheet. Only problem was that it did scratch the paint of the Weber here and there. Let’s hope this is not too bad in the long run.

Result: Maxed out at around 320C. So definitely hotter than it was before. Success!

Before installation.

Started pushing the sheet in from there, therefore could not engage it behind all of those pegs. Some brute force got it around. Not pretty but it worked.

Finally, sheet is in. Still have to fix the temperature sensor but then it is good to go.

Some tweaking to get the temperature sensor in place, but worked ok.

Final result with sheet in place

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A new baby gate

Little one is growing older and does not want to be trapped in her crib any more. Hence had to modify the existing one so that it has an opening.

In the end opted to remake one of the sides with some bars missing. Think it really turned out great and the little one really loves it. Let’s see if we ever paint it white…

With gate installed. Baby approves. Will not have to wait until he sleeps in there.

Detail of the joints.

Big one likes it!

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The quest for a perfect Pizza on my Weber Genesis II grill

I have been trying to improve my Pizza making skills for quite some time. The dough is good, thanks to this manual (in German), so are he other ingredients. What I am still trying to work out is the best oven situation. You simply need a lot of heat.

Recently, was experimenting on using my Weber Spirit II Gas Grill.

Variant 1: Pizza stone on the grill surface directly was ok, but the problem is to get the top nice and crisp. Simply difficult to get the heat on top since the gas is at the bottom.

Variant 2: Putting the pizza stone directly on those triangle heat deflectors. Better, since closer to the flame, but still not perfect on top.

Variant 3: My best so far. In addition to lowering the pizza stone, I put a slanted metal sheet on top. The pizza stone has a larger gap in the back where the heat rises and then the metal sheet forces the hot air towards the front over the pizza. Had to rotate the pizza during cooking as otherwise the back part would get burned too much. Below some images of the setup and of the resulting pizza (albeit what was left of it…).

On the image above you see the gap that allows air to raise on the back and then move towards the front.

And as always with those guides – use them at your own risk.

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Forstner Drill Bit Holder

Got myself a new set of OK Forster drill bits, which now gives me a good coverage over the 25-35 mm range. However, those came each in a single box and that was not ideal for accessing them quickly.

So I put together a quick holder. Basically, a board of oak where I drilled a hole with each bit. This way they are stuck in there fairly securely and I know that I have the correct size. Let’s see how I like the setup when using, will keep you posted. Also, still have some space left, let’s see if I can get some more drills 😉

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Old knife new handle

My wife’s grandma has an old knife she really likes but over the years the handle pretty much rotted away. Time for a new one – it was a nice quick project.

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Sharpening Stone Bag

I use my own sharpening stones to get my kitchen knives sharp again and needed an improved storage solution. For years I have been using a similar bag, but it became too small (adding new stones over time…) and from the beginning it had some problems with sticky glue.

Time for a new bag! Got some nice leather and started sewing.

Finished with all stones inside.
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A new approach to the blog

Since I started the blog many years ago it has been a challenge to actually write articles on the projects I did. The blog is mainly not up to date because I am a lazy writer, not that I am not having projects any more. So far the effort of putting a full article online has been too much most of the time.

No that I get older and have even less time it will not get better…

Time for a new approach – I’ll now try to make articles with some pictures and a short description. Won’t shoot for perfect, but rather ‘at least it is out there’. My experience in the past has always been it is better to get things out somehow rather than trying to be perfect and end up not doing it. So this is the idea here, let’s see how it goes.

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