Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

  • Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

    Best Interior Trim/Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore Advanced

    advance_satin_usI’ve been in search of the best interior trim/cabinet paint for almost a decade. I’ve tried as many different types and brands I could find and I think I found a winner.

    A bit of background first — I’m not a professional painter but I do consider myself a paint enthusiast in the search of the ultimate interior finish for cabinets and trim. I also prefer airless (Graco) or HVLP (Fuji 4-stage) spraying application over brushing on the paint. For some reason I can’t stand the “brush strokes” — no matter how good a painter is, I like the perfect smooth finish of spraying (OCD?).


    Since I prefer spraying the finish on, I opt for water based paints for the ease of clean up. Over the years I tried the following trim/cabinet paints:

    The break down goes like this — the Sherwin William ProClassic line provided a decent finish. To me, it lays down more like a latex-y finish than oil. Satin actually turned out more of a duller, flat finish. I used that for all this doors and trim in my home and it has held up well.

    The early version of the Acrylic Latex Enamel paint seemed to sag when applied with a spray gun and was quite a challenge — even when using a fine finish tip and light coats. Apparently, this was a known issue with the early formulation and Sherwin William’s adjusted the formula to fix that. I gave the latest formulation a try and it was much better but the finish didn’t level as nice compared to the newer “hybrid” water based Acrylic-Alkyd finishes.

    I’m a big fan of the new “hybrid” paints where it’s like oil but with the ease of clean up of water based paint. The only drawback is that it takes a lot longer for it to cure over the Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel finishes. So be sure to give the paint extra time to fully cure before placing items on a bookcase/cabinet — something that could be an issue for …

    Posted on May 28th | 1 comment
    Filed Under: DIY, Home Improvement Read more
  • Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

    Gladiator Garageworks – Possibly the best garage system and made in the U.S.A.

    gladiator_garageI’ve been meaning to organize my garage and turn a section into a place where I can work on my Myro Control stuff. I have been researching and looking at all sorts of “Garage Systems” and everything I have seen is either VERY expensive or VERY cheaply made using flimsy metal or thin wood/melamine.

    My dream garage would be filled with Lista Cabinets (as seen on American Chopper) as they offer both of my requirements: American Made and modular cabinets on casters. The only drawback being cost.

    Sears Craftsmen’s popped into my mind — thinking everything Craftsmen’s would be American made, right? Uh, nope. Then right next to the Craftsmen benches was this product called Gladiator Garageworks by Whirlpool Corporation. Modular cabinets on casters, check. Made in the U.S.A.? YES! Apparently all their “premium” welded case products are made in the U.S.A. That includes the benches and the gearbox. The ones you need to assemble are not so keep that in mind.

    The only design element I’m not too big on is the “tread” or “diamond plate” texture on the doors. I would have liked a smooth finish or options for different colors (silver, red, black, blue, etc) like the Lista Cabinets offer. Not a huge deal and the pattern is growing on me.

    Overall, I dig them! The price, the quality and the fact they are Made in the U.S.A. — I couldn’t be happier.

    Off to finish organizing the garage!

    - Gladiator Garage Works

  • Friday, September 2nd, 2011

    Obihai OBi100 – Google Voice To POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)

    I’ve been on the look out for a device that can leverage Google Voice *and* offer up a POTS port that can be tied into my whole house Panasonic telephone system (Hybrid-PBX) as a CO line.  The search is finally over — Obihai’s OBi100 does exactly what I need for less than $50 and NO monthly fees!    I ordered the OBi100 from Amazon for only $43.99 when it arrived the setup was easy and was up and running within 30 mins. If you were to base the sound quality on looks alone, you’d suspect it’s terrible, however, it’s not! I couldn’t perceive any notable sound quality differences from my landline service and there were no issues sending or receiving faxes over the line either. This little device is a must have for any Google Voice user! If you have any questions feel free to post in the comments.

    - Obihai:
    What is it?
    - Obihai: How to use it with Google Voice
    - Buy now via AMAZON: OBi100 VoIP Telephone Adapter and Voice Service Bridge

  • Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

    Russound RNET to Sonos Bridge

    (This product is now available for purchase)

    Also, check out PART 2, which goes into more details >

    Here’s a sneak peak at my latest project — the RNET to Sonos Bridge. All coded using an Arduino and Ethernet Shield. What this little device allows you to do is control a Sonos device using any Russound whole house audio system that supports RNET sources. It allows next, previous, play, pause and I’m working on playlist access and support. Current track metadata gets sent to these keypads as a multi-field message.

    I’m pretty much code complete but I’m running into a few memory issues… The Arduino only has <2K of available RAM that I can work with. I have an Arduino Mega (which offers 8K) on order to see if that solves things.  I think I can still optimize my code to make it work with the 328.

    I’ll post more when I get it 100% stable.

    Update: Got it working!  With about 500bytes left of RAM on the 328 chipset… this was a fun little project.  Below is a video:

    Also running on E6 Color Keypads:

  • Thursday, March 18th, 2010

    TorZo Petrified/Infused Polymer Surfaces

    My wife’s blog, frillas, typically covers home decor products, but TorZo’s surfaces has caught my attention.  It’s manufactured in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) using renewable materials ranging from wheat, wood chips, sugar cane stalk, sunflower seed, and fibers.   I particularly like the look of the Tiikeri line (pictured above) which is composed of 50% sugar cane stalk and  the remaining 50% consists of an inert non-hazardous acrylic polymer.

    Check out their complete product line here and if you are looking for some cool surfaces made from renewable materials TorZo’s product line should definitely be considered!  I’m trying to figure out how we can incorporate this product in our home…

    - TorZo Surfaces

    Posted on Mar 18th | no comments
    Filed Under: Home Improvement Read more
  • Saturday, March 13th, 2010

    Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor – My Favorite Tools – March 2010

    When I’m changing my brakes I  just tighten to what I think is “tight enough” — not always a good thing.  All automotive bolts and parts have a recommended torque amount that should be followed. Sure, you can get yourself an analog torque wrench, but why would you when you can get the Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor that turns any 1/2″ rachet into a digital one?

    This little gadget not only can be used to calibrate analog torque wrenches (which you’d pay about the same as the adapter if taken to someone to calibrate) but you can use it in situations where you need precise torque pressure using a standard rachet wrench.  The feature I really like is that you set the torque amount you want to achieve and then as you tighten you get both visual (LED light & LCD torque amount) and audible indication.

    The Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor is Mavromatic’s, “My favorite tools”, for March 2010.  It runs about $50.

    - – Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adaptor

    Posted on Mar 13th | 4 comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, DIY, Favorite Tools, Home Improvement Read more
  • Thursday, March 11th, 2010

    Final Cut Blade – Blade that sands while it rips

    The Final Cut Blade is one of those products that make you go, “Why didn’t I think of that!?”.  It’s genius!  It really is… a blade that sands while it rips!  The way it works it very simple — you attach a self-adhesive  sand paper which is designed to fit most blades and comes in sizes ranging from 10″ to 12″ — as the blade cuts, it also gives a nice sanding.  You get perfect edges that are ready for glue or staining.

    Watch the video above to view how the system works.  Blades and sand paper is available directly from the Final Cut Blade Store.

    - Final Cut Blade – All in one step… Just cut, the sanding is a bonus

    Posted on Mar 11th | no comments
    Filed Under: Cool Tools, Favorite Tools, Home Improvement Read more
  • Thursday, January 28th, 2010

    Sole Power Tile – Integrated Solar Panel Roofing

    I can’t remember exactly who I was talking to years ago (was it you, Mike D?) about turning roofs into full solar panels?  This seems like the most practical model yet as you can blanket the whole roof and capture every angle.  Perfect option if you have a Spanish/Mediterranean style home!   The Sole Power Tile is the first curved photovoltaic roofing product and can be used as a full solar panel roof or woven into sections of traditional terra-cotta titles.   The cost is about $50/sq ft installed… if you are interested in finding out more about this solar roofing system check out the SRS Energy website.  Just don’t forget to add a TED 5000 to monitor your power savings!

    [Originally seen in Popular Science Magazine]…

    Posted on Jan 28th | 18 comments
    Filed Under: Home Improvement Read more

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