Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yes! We are Still Free Men

Supreme Court a Constitutional Right to a Gun

More to come later.

Edit: Quotes from the majority opinion.

“Logic demands that there be a link between the stated purpose and the command.”

“We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.”

“the most natural reading of ‘keep Arms’ in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.”

“The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity.”

“Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.“

Link to Opinion

HT: ScotusBlog

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fireworks Rack Update

All of the individual ten shot racks are complete now. I ended up with eighteen of the little beauties. I am going to create three racks of forty shots, and two racks of angled thirty shots.

Here is a crappy picture of one of the fourty shot racks completed.

All the racks will be chain fused together, so that I only have to light one fuse to fire all 180 guns. It should be awesome.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Election Tiredhead

What a let down. Now that Hillary is gone, and the frontrunners are Obama and McCain, I find myself not giving a damn.

Don't get me wrong, I think an Obama presidency would be uniquely disasterous for the country, but McCain promises to piss me off on an all to regular basis as well. McCain just is not an inspiring candidate. If he happened to be conservative there would be more excitement probably. When you have a moderate liberal Republican running against a complete commutard leftist, what is the fun in defending the liberal Republican.

We have had enough liberal RINOs. Now we are set to run another out there. Sure he is right on many very important things that Obama is completely wrong on, but this just isn't enough to care about currently.

Meh. Maybe once they start sniping at each other, or one of them says something incredibly stupid, I will be enamored by the process once again. If not, I plan to be supremely bored by the whole affair at least until September.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Workforce 98" Straight Edge.

I must admit that I can not find this thing on Home Depot's website, so I can't post a link or picture. It is a straight edge designed to allow you to rip things like plywood with a circular saw. The kit comes with 2 49" aluminum straight edges, a screw plate for joining them together, and two small c-clamps to secure the assembly to your work piece. It cost about $20.

After opening up the kit I was not very excited. The two aluminum extrusions are OK as individual pieces. I attached them together with the screw plate, and the assembly was not straight at all. I adjusted it and got it as straight as I could.

The little c-clamps are nearly worthless. They tear up the aluminum surface of the extrusions when you tighten them down, and are barely big enough to be of any use.

After fighting with this thing for about 10 minutes I got it attached to my plywood and made a pass. The middle of the assembly bends easily inward if you put any pressure up against it. I managed to rip two sheets of plywood down with this kit, but it wasn't real accurate.

Overall this is something I would never buy again. I feel like I threw $20 at a bum in a liquor store parking lot. This thing is a total piece of crap.

I will keep the two aluminum extrusions, as they might serve a purpose some day. The rest of it is going in a trash can.

I rank this thing a solid 1.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Looks Like Obama Has It

BHO wrapped up the Democratic nomination for the President of the United States last night.

This is a historical moment, whether we like Barry or not. He is the first black man to ever win such a nomination. The funny thing about this is that it kind of squashes the notions of his former pastor a bit. America has just selected a black man to potentially lead our country. That doesn't sound like something a racist AmeriKKKa would do.

Many people have said that Barry is only in the position he is because he is black. I don't think that is totally true. It is definitely a large factor. He is also a great motivational speaker. When he is spewing rhetoric, he does it with style, and warmth. He is a very empathetic character.

I am proud that we have come so far as to be able to select a black man for a major party nominee for the most important job in the country. Unfortunately we could not have selected much worse of a person to actually do the job. A BHO presidency would be a disaster for this country and the world. We must do what we can to prevent him from winning. This means that however unsavory he is, McCain must be our man.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Makita LCT200W Compact Lithium 2 Pc Set

This was the first purchase in my new tool collection.

Makita's latest lithium ion battery is a wonderful generation step forward from the old NiCad batteries most are familiar with. They weigh less, recharge in minutes, and don't start to die after 10 minutes of use once they are six months old. They actually have a chip inside them that communicates with the charger to prevent memory problems. This is the heart of these tools. I would recommend that if you are interested in really investing in this tool family that you save up a little more and get one of the bigger packages that include the reciprocating saw or the circular trim saw. You may also want to look at the bigger batteries and/or the hammer drill kit. More on the batteries later.

At any rate, I can not say enough good things about this kit. It comes with a driver/drill and a wonderful impact driver. The kit also includes two batteries, Makita's outstanding charger, and a great soft case that contains it all.

Let's start with the driver/drill. Anyone that has used a decent cordless drill will be right at home once they start using this one. It has all the standard features. This drill is very well balanced, and is just a joy to use. It has good hand feel. The hand operated chuck is a good one. This chuck has some sort of positive locking mechanism. You can feel some slight clicks when you tighten a bit down in it. If you do it correctly, it offers a very good grip. The torque clutch works well. It is easy to quickly adjust the unit for the proper amount of torque if you are using it to drive screws for example. The drill also has two speeds and a good amount of torque. Overall this is without a doubt the best cordless drill I have ever used. It is not a top of the line drill however. If you are looking for that Makita has a better one. If you are looking for a good package deal though, it is a very good choice. I only use it to drill holes since I have the impact driver.

The other tool included in the kit is the impact driver. I bought the kit for the drill, as it was just $50 more for the impact driver and the extra battery. Extra batteries were $60, so it was obviously to good a deal to pass up.

The impact driver is completely awesome. I used it to drive probably 300 screws last weekend, and it works flawlessly. The impact action keeps the bit from caming out of the screw, and make driving 3 1/2" screws without pilot holes a trivial task. Anyone can drive screws with this driver. It is very light, compact, and well balanced. It is plenty powerful as well. It will drive a screw completely through a pressure treated 2x6 if you let it.

The charger is great. It charges the batteries in 15 minutes and is computer controlled. It works very well.

The soft case is excellent as well. It holds both tools, the charger, and a couple of boxes of bits easily. It also has a padded shoulder carry strap that makes it easy to carry the kit around.

Now for the only negative. The battery life is not the greatest in this kit. The batteries it comes with are 1.5 Ah batteries. Makita also sells 3 Ah batteries. They will of course last a lot longer on a single charge. If you use both batteries at the same time you will have some down time. The impact driver goes through the charge on one of these smaller batteries pretty quick. So if you like this kit I would recommend buying an extra battery.

Amazon is the place to buy this. I bought it at Home Depot for $279. Amazon sells it for $200 or so. You can also get extra batteries for a better price at Amazon.

I will buy more products in this line for Makita.

I rank this kit 8.5 out of 10, and 9.5 out of 10 at the Amazon price point.


I love tools. What man doesn't? My interest in woodworking has been accelerating over the last year, and necessity has caused some purchases recently to head in that direction.

Between the racks I am building for my fireworks, and the new porch we built at our lake house, they have gotten a bit of a work out.

This will be yet another topic for this blog. Tool reviews! Undoubtedly they will always be grossly behind my actual purchases, but that will give me time to actually use them. This post will serve as an index for my tool reviews.

My tool purchases run on the expensive side most of the time. I try my hardest not to buy junk. At the same time I won't waste money on things that I don't think are necessary or useful. Of course expensive to one guy might be paying more than $30 for a corded drill, while for someone else $200 might be considered expensive.

Usually my thought process is to look for the sweet spot. I want to get the most bang for my buck. There are several factors I look at when purchasing any item that is of significant cost.

  • Quality - Is this item a piece of crap? Will it be usable for a very long time? How long do I need it to last?

  • 2. Features - Does it do everything I want it to? If not, does it do enough? If it does more, will I ever use those features?

  • 3. Cost - I am looking for good value of course, but you can get great value sometimes, and still not be able to afford something.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my tool reviews.

Tool Reviews

Monday, June 2, 2008

Blog Update

I am hoping to finally getting around to updating my "Guns I Have" section soon. I need to get decent pics of the guns that are already profiled, and add articles and pictures for the ones that are not. There will likely be little progress before July, but one can hope.

Now that the horrifyingly long Presidential primary season is almost over, I plan to start commenting on the upcoming election fairly soon as well. While I can't really stand McCain, I will be voting for him against either Obama or Clinton for a myriad of reasons. More on that later.

Edit: Here is a taste from last year about Obama's socialist gun grabbing ways.

Obama is a Total Gun Grabber

I have been on one of my blog sabaticals for several months. For some reason this is an ebb and flow thing for me.

Fireworks Racks

Independence Day is steadily approaching, and I am busier than a two peckered goat trying to get ready for it! :)

My big project for this year is creating racks of guns to shoot artillery shells with. Anyone who is familiar with consumer fireworks shells knows they usually come with one gun to shoot the 6-12 shells that come in a box. For years this was enough for me. We would have a few boxes to shoot, and would light them one at a time.

Last year, I ordered my first wholesale fireworks. I bought a case of shells. There was 144 shells in this case, and I knew that lighting them one at a time would get old pretty quick. Combining a few of the guns that came in the case allowed me to fuse and light four at a time. This was pretty neat, but I knew that more could be done this year.

This year's order included about 800 shells, so I decided to build racks to shoot them out of.

The racks are made of wood, and the guns are HDPE(High Denstity Polyethelene) pipe. HDPE is the ideal material to use for shooting these shells. It is tough, fairly cheap, and not dangerous in a catostraphic failure. Materials such as PVC are not suitable. If a shell explodes inside a PVC gun, the PVC will break apart and create very dangerous pieces of flying shrapnel. HDPE will burst open in this scenario, but it will not create shrapnel.

Each of the tubes is cut to 12" and plugged with a 1.5" thick wooden plug. The plug is hammered into one end of the tube, and stapled through the sidewall of the tube into the plug with 1.5" long staples.

The rack's frame consists of 2x3 lumber. The two end pieces are fastened to the bottom rail with 3" screws. The 2x3 is the perfect width for the HDPE tubes. The bottom side supports of the rack are OSB, and are stapled to the 2x3 frame. These pieces are used to strengthen the frame, hold the tubes in the rack, and supply a place to fasten the spacers in the bottom of the rack. Additionally the OSB will give way in the case of a gun failuer. Only the portion around the exploding gun will break off, leaving the rest of the support intact, and the rest of the guns pointed up.

The top side supports are 3/4" plywood. In between each gun is a piece of 1x2 stock. These are used as spacers. The spacers should allow any released gases from a failed gun to dissipate without harming the guns around it. The spacers also provide a lot of support to the top and bottom rails.

The racks are very solid, and have been designed to keep all the tubes pointed up in case of a failure. That is the most important aspect of the design of these racks in my opinion. Having a rack that fails to accomplish this could be disasterous to say the least. Imagine 8 or so guns pointed every direction with lit shells in them. That could get ugly quick.

So, I should end up with about 20 of these. Four of five of them will be joined together with plywood end pieces. This will make them self-supporting, and allow me to fuse quite a few shells together.

Here are a few pics I took of one of the racks.