Sunday, August 26, 2018

Building a Wood Stove Eco Fan

Towards the end of last winter, the squirrel cage fan in my wood stove gave up the ghost.

Pricing out a replacement fan for my type of wood stove almost made me wonder if they were also tossing in a new stove with the price of the fan. Looking for alternative ideas, I didn't have to go no further than to my parents house.

My parents have heated their home with a couple of wood stoves for many years, with the heat from these stoves being distributed by fans that get their power from the heat generated by the woodstoves themselves. Though much cheaper than the replacement fan for my stove, I felt that even those fans were a bit too pricy for my tastes.

Looking at my parent's fan a bit more closely, I noticed that there seemed to be some sort of magic wafer that was mounted in the middle of the metal framework of the fan. That wafer was wired up to the fan motor and was providing the motor its power. It all looked pretty simple - assuming I could get one of those magic wafers.

A quick search on Instructables and YouTube, gave me the answer, since there are quite a few people on those sites that have built these gadgets. The magic wafer is in fact a  thermoelectric cooling (TEC) module.  These modules work by generating electricity if one side of the wafer is cooler than the other side. In the case of the stove fan, the electricity is generated by having a piece of metal pull heat into one side of the wafer, while a metal heat sink pulls heat away on the other side of the wafer.

A quick look on ebay showed that I could have one of those TEC wafers for less than $3.

An idea began to form....

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Dremel - Praise and Lament

I'm usually not too married to a particular brand of tool, but a quick scan around the shop seems to have revealed that I have seemed to have collected more tools that have the word "Dremel" stamped on them than any other tool that I have.

Now I'm probably not what you would consider your typical Dremel user since none of those tools are the rotary tools that Dremel is famous for. I do have a rotary tool, though it is a very cheap no name brand.

Rather, I seemed to be attracted to Dremel's more specialized tools. A quick inventory of the shop revealed that I possess:

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Project - Building a Junkyard Clock

In this first post I would like to give a tutorial on how to build a very stylish clock out of some scrap wood and a quick visit to your local auto recycler. In recent years a lot of auto manufacturers seem to go towards a more "retro" look in some of their styling. As part of this movement, a number of cars have been using the more traditional analogue clocks versus digital clocks.

As time goes by, all cars eventually end up in the junkyard. In a lot of "you pull" junk yards, clocks are not a very high demand item, and a very well-made clock can be had very cheaply ($4 at my local junkyard).

The goal of this project is to show how to make an attractive desk clock from a clock salvaged from the junkyard - the perfect gift for the family gearhead! For all the details on how to build this very "moving" clock, click on this Link for the instructions. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018


It all started innocently enough... After becoming a new home owner many years ago, the need was to merely have a few simple tools around the house so that I can tackle those simple fixes that seem to pop up. 

Little did I know that those few tools would spark an addiction which 20 years later would have me taking on more ambitious projects, and along with it a growing collection of stationary power tools. 

During all this time I was still confined to a small corner of my basement as my "shop" since any potential budget for any expansion to my workshop going towards such things as kids and bills. Not to be deterred, I've had to be very creative in the use of my space - especially if you are building something like a desk! 

The purpose of this site is to act as a bit of a "How To"  archive of my build projects. 

The main idea to provide me with a guide if I needed to build a particular project again in the future, but I also wanted to provide others the opportunity to build something that they might find interesting here.  

My aim will be to post a project every month - I hope you enjoy them as much as I had building them!