Category Archives: Fixing Stuff

Restoring a Pair of Director’s Chairs

Our church has a rummage sale once a year to raise money for the school and people donate stuff to sell. Maybe 3-5 years ago, my wife and I saw two old director’s chair wooden frames towards the end of the sale when they were just trying to get rid of stuff. The finish showed a lot of exposure to water – probably from sitting on a deck but the wood was solid. The canvas seat and back strap were long gone as well. At any rate, we got both for $5, stuck them in the garage for a “some day maybe” project.

My eldest daughter was getting married and somehow my wife envisioned using the chairs in an area for people to take photos. Armed with this, she talked me into digging out the old frames and figuring out next steps. By the way, I had a lot going on and was truthfully only semi-interested in doing the work but that changed part way in and you’ll see why.

Finding Replacement Canvas Covers

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do it all in a rush so I had time to do some digging. The first big question was what to do about the missing canvas. Well, I found out they are called “covers” and there are two primary kinds – ones that connect to the frame with a round wood rod and others that use a flat piece of wood. Our’s used a flat rod.

The next step was to find out if we could even find affordable covers. Well, I started searching on Amazon and there are actually a lot of premade options [click here to open a browser tab with them].

To measure your chair, lock them fully open and measure from left to right and for the seat – front to back. For the top, I did top to bottom. The left to right measures are really critical because you don’t want the canvas to be super loose – it will stretch and sag with time.

The height of the back cover and the depth of the seat are flexible – your measures are the maximums. At most X inches tall or Y inches deep.

We went with covers from “Everywhere Chair”. Their supplied measures were: Seat Width: 22.5″ and Depth 15.25″. The back was 21.5″ wide and 6.5″ tall. This seemed to match the closest with what I was looking for so we ordered them.

What I don’t have photos of is that we test fit the covers as soon as we got them. This was both in case we needed to return them and also, I did not want to spend a bunch of time restoring the wood that we couldn’t get covers for.

Restoring the Wood

In the summer, my shop extends into my driveway. One afternoon, I took a serious look at the wood and realized there were a number of cracks I needed to deal with. Thankfully they were all narrow because you can quickly and easily fill them with thin super glue – also known Cyanoacrelate or “CA” glue. Lately, I have been using Starbond brand thin CA and it works great.

You can see the weathered finish and a hairline crack in this forearm.
I did 2-3 applications of superglue on that crack. The first application will really soak into the wood grain so you let that cure for a minute or two and then apply another and wait. Another and wait. You keep applying thin CA glue until it stays on the surface. Another option if you have slightly wider cracks is to sand the wood at the same time and pack the crack with the combination of sawdust and uncured/wet CA glue.
I kept walking around the two chairs and moving them around so I could see all of the surfaces. Any time I found a crack, I filled it.

Sanding & Finishing

Next up, I needed to sand the chairs to get rid of the worn finish and the CA glue. I like to use a Dewalt 5″ Dual Action sander and it quickly cleaned up everything using 150 grit sanding discs.

Used a Dewalt 5″ dual action sander with 150 grit sandpaper to clean things up. Also used a fine sanding spong from Ace to clean up the rounded surfaces and spot touch ups.
I went around both chairs fixing dings and removing the old finish.

As I mentioned above, I really wasn’t into it until the next part. I started applying Minwax Provincial stain and just a beautiful orangish brown started coming out. Once I saw that, I was all in – I did not expect the wood to take the stain that nicely or be colored the way it was.

This is the first coat after I wiped down the chair and removed the initial stain that hadn’t soaked in.

Mixwax Provincial stain is sem-transparent and oil based. It really soaked in nicely and I applied two heavy coats. I applied the first using a blue shop towel, let it sit for about 10 minutes and wiped it off. I then did it a second time. I took care to wipe down the metal hardware so the superficial stain wouldn’t turn into a sticky residue.

Installing the Covers

I backed off the screws for the arms of the chairs enough so I could insert the canvas with the flat wood slats in them. That slats sit a tad higher than I wouldhave liked. I debated cutting down the slats to half their thickness but instead figured I’d see what happens over time.

Just back off the bottom screws enough so the canvas with the seat slat can be inserted in the groove behind the hinge.
Notice the chair is not locked open. I needed it partially closed so I could easily insert the canvas seat and slats. In hindsight, I could have stained the ends of the slats but that didn’t occur to me at the time.
The back cover just slides on the posts. Lock the chair open only after both are installed.
I really like how they turned out.
Here’s another view of them at the wedding venue.


We got the frames for $5 and and then $29/ea for the replacement covers. We then used some CA glue, stain and sanding discs – I’d ballpark each of the two seats cost about $40/ea. I have no idea who made these frames but I think we saved a bit of money but that wasn’t the real goal here – we wound up restoring two chairs and creating some memories with them that we will have even longer.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Fixing the Water Inlet Valve on a KitchenAid KRMF606ESS01 Refrigerator

Well, when I was little it seemed like fridges (“refrigerators” for people who prefer the full word) lasted an eternity. When we bought this KitchenAid KRMF606ESS01, I thought I was buying a top of the line quality fridge, but that’s no longer the case – appliance manufacturers don’t necessarily want them to laste forever because that means no more sales to a given customer.

A year after the warranty the ice maker stopped working and the service person whom I trust told me it would cost a considerable amount of money to replace the circuit board. So, strike #1 against the KitchenAid. Despite being “stainless”, the shell of the fridge rusts. Strike #2. Strike #3 is the topic of today’s blog post. The water inlet valve failed and leaked water all over our wood floor.

Let me set the stage – I went through the kitchen to my shop and when I came back in I saw wet footprints – my foot prints – from the floormat in front of the fridge to my shop door. ARGH! I was hoping maybe someone spilled water and didn’t clean things up so I removed the mat, mopped up the water with a towel and watched new water slowly emerge from under the fridge. Crap. I immediately wondered about the water lines on and in the fridge. The supply line was copper tube and it had looked great the last time I pulled out the fridge so I doubted it was that but I couldn’t ignore it either or it would ruin our real wood plank floor.

Turning off the water

Most fridge installers put a vampire tap on a water line to get the supply needed. In my case, I knew there was a tap under the house. We have a crawl space that isn’t bad compared to some that look like they are a scene from a horror movie but being a pretty big guy with a sore back I have to fold myself in half and do a crab shuffle over to where it is about 50-60 feet from the entrance. Short translation – it’s doable but I swore the whole way over to it.

See that far center column in the dark? Yeah, I was heading just to the right of that and swearing the whole time. It was way easier getting under there 25 years ago.
I don’t know if these things have a formal name – I’ve always heard them called “vampire taps”. They re put on copper supply like with a rubber gasket between the part of the saddle with the valve and the pipe. The two halves of the clamp are screwed together and then the handle is screwed down until the sharp end of the valve pierces the relatively soft copper. You then back the valve off (meaning turn it counter-clockwise) and water begins to flow through the supply line. So, with this in mind, I needed to close the valve which means turning the small handle you see clockwise until it stops thus closing the valve. I’ve needed pliers in the past to deal with hard turning valves and these things are also known to leak when you try to close them. I got lucky – it both turned easy and it shut the water off entirely just the way it should.

Confirming it was the inlet valve

In reading, there are a few ways these inlet valves fail – they can leak water on the floor but still work and dispense water, not leak but dispense water very slowly, or don’t work at all. I was 90% sure it was the valve given past experience with other fridges so the first thing I did was to pull out the unit.

If you have never pulled your fridge out before, let’s start here. See the plastic facia/cover below the door? That is just for looks and pulls off but you need to open the lower freezer door to do so. Note the rust on the “stainless” steel skin above and to the right of the KitchenAid logo. “Stainless” is a generic term and really the resistance to corrosion is dependent on the alloy used. Whirlpool/KitchenAid went with a cheaper alloy to save money so it’s not very “stainless” over time.
By pulling the freezer door open, the entire plastic covering is exposed and it literally just pulls forward – no screws or freaky little clips to deal with. They know folks will need to pull this off periodically (or they should) to clean the condenser coils under the unit. So, pull it off and completely remove it.
The fridge has four wheels to allow you to move it but if these small levelers are in use it will not want to move. Take a small wrench and turn the head of the bolt to retract the leveler on each side. The fridge will now pull forward. Peek in back to make sure you have enough water line to do so. The water supply line and the power cord will limit how far you can pull the unit out until you disconnect them – if you even need to. I never unplugged my fridge while working on it for example.
There was a real small chance that the supply line was loose so I tightened it just a tad and then hand my wife watch the valve for leaks as I went back under the house to turn the tap back on. It’s way easier and cleaner to do it with two people. So, I turned it on and she called down that water was going on the floor and I shut it off. The water started right under the valve and everything else was dry … my money was on the inlet valve was the culprit and it was.

Okay, the water inlet valve is a small electricslly controlled valve that is turned on and off by either the ice maker (that no longer works) or a person wanting cold water from the dispenser pushing their cup against the on-off switch. The valve body is made of plastic and that is what failed. The only saving grace is that the engineers put it at the back of the fridge and it is very easy to access and change – literally a 5-10 minute job. You can easily buy one online without spending a fortune.

To order parts for your fridge, you need to know the exact model number – in my case it was a KRMF606ESS01. You can find this info inside your fridge – in my case this sticker was on the inside top left of the unit facing down hence the camera angle is looking up.

I spent some time searching on Kitchen aid KRMF606ES01 water valve and found out that my fridge has two – one at the inlet (that I needed) and one inside that I did not so make sure you order the right part. The valve part number I needed was W10394076.

Direct from KitchenAid I could get the part for over $95.49. No, Whirlpool, I didn’t feel like spending a fortune by ordering it direct. I kept on searching and found it in the $70s then the $50s and then hopped over to Amazon and found it for $27.99 with free Prime shipping. It got great reviews and I ordered it on Saturday with delivery on Monday. Guess what – it was the exact same valve. Strike #4 for KitchenAid by the way.

I’m jumping the gun a bit but this is the sticker on the original that I removed from the fridge. Note the maker is Robertshaw and their part number was K-78282 with Whirlpool’s W1039476 part number indicated.
Same maker – Robertshaw – slightly different part number K-78282-AM — the suffix probably denotes some relatively minor changes. No Whirlpool part number on and and no ghastly markup either. It is an exact match otherwise.

Replacing the valve

First, make sure the water supply is turned off and have a container you can set the supply line in just in case it drops. I’ll step through this with photos:

get the the fiberboard back cover out of the way by removing the screws around the edges. Doing this gives you easier access and you can make sure there are no drips when you are done.
Always compare new and old parts to make sure they match. I have been burned so many times over the years that this comparison is automatic for me now – don’t assume anything.
I’d recommend moving connections one by one. Take one off the old valve and put them on the new one. Then again, you have three very different connections so mixing them up would be next to impossible. Do note the orientation of the electric connection and keep it the same. In this case, I am using the adjustable wrench to hold the steel bracket and a flare nut wrench to loosen the water supply line. Never use an adjustable wrench on flare nuts – if the jaws give you can round over the nut so at least use a fixed wrench or better yet a flare nut wrench.
The waterline in the bottom is connected via a “push-to-connect” or “push connect” ,fitting. Push the blue collar in towards the valve body while pulling the outlet water line away and it will come right out. Note where the white electrical wire is for reference. Looking at the valve from the back, it is on the left side.
This is everything moved to the new valve. I then put it in place and secured it with the original screws. Again, note where the white wire is at. I didn’t want to find out if it mattered which side was connected so I just followed the same wiring orientation on the new valve, Also, use the adjustable wrench to hold the valve body while tightening the flare nut.

And with the new valve unit installed and my wife watching everything, I headed back down into the crawl space and turned the water on. No leaks. She tried the water dispenser and it was actually putting out a larger volume of water also – our jet had always been on the anemic side.

So, I waited while she filled a few big cups of water and threw them out to purge the lines. She also didn’t see any leaks so I headed back up after a few minutes hoping my crawl space work was done … and it was.

I looked for myself and it was definitely a much stronger jet of water – it had never moved that much water.
After a half hour of careful monitoring for leaks, I sealed it back up. I then waited a few hours and double checked by moving it forward a tad and checking around underneath with a flashlight and no leaks so I slid it back in place. When you slide it back, make sure the power cord and water supply line do not get caught on anything.

With the fridge back in place, use the levelers if you need to – I don’t actually.

I didn’t get photos but the last thing I did was to use a long brush made for cleaning condenser coils to do just that. As lint and dust build up on the condenser it becomes less efficient, the fridge runs more and your electric bill is higher. The lint and dust there by the way because of an electric fan that is running underneath to help cool things off.

The last step is to open the lower freezer door and push the plastic cover back on the bottom. Done.


A week later and it is still running great. I hoped that the ice maker might start working again but no luck there. We bought am Aglucky counter top ice maker a few years ago that we’ve been very happy with.

I paid a premium for a supposed top-of-the line KitchenAid fridge and I don’t think the same level of quality is there. We have a Samsung fridge downstairs that has been flawless for us. When we replace this main fridge in the kitchen it may very well be a Samsung but it will not be a KitchenAid.

In the mean time, if you are having problems with your water inlet valve, I hope this helps you solve your problems and save some money.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Repainting a 2004 Toyota Solara’s Spoiler Using AutomotiveTouchUp.Com Paint

My wife’s convertible Solara is her pride and joy in the summer time. We bought it back in 2017 and it has proven itself to be a reliable and fun car. One issue it had was related to an aftermarket spoiler the previous owner had installed.

In 2021 we waited to take the cover off and there had been a number of hot and humid days. When we removed it, the clear coat on the spoiler was popping off. The factory paint on the car was just fine – the spoiler on the other hand looked tough and by the end of the 2022 Summer driving season it really looked bad so I knew I needed to surprise her by refinishing it.

The clear coat was peeling all over the top of the spoiler but not the bottom.

I do own a full set of automotive paint sprayers but I didn’t feel like getting them out and set up just to do a spoiler. I decided to go with AutomotiveTouchUp.Com who I had bought touch up paint from in the past and had pretty good luck with. The only issue I have ever had with them is that you will wait around four weeks for them to make and ship your paint.

The paint code for a Toyota is one the door sticker and her Solara was “Absolutely Red – 3PO” which describes the bright red on the car very well. I knew I would need primer, that base color and clear coat. I always buy extra just in case so I bought two cans 12-oz cans of each and then I waited for it to show up.

Before you do anything – read their instructions. I went with spray cans so I focused on that section – click here.

Getting Ready to Paint

The first step was to remove the spoiler from the car. This was done by removing the body push pin rivets and moving the interior cover out of the way. Don’t be surprised to find out some of the rivets are missing or broken on an old car. You can easily get them on Amazon along with a tool that makes removal very easy.

Those little push pin rivets do the job and the tool you see makes it really easy to pull them out. If you don’t have a tool use a small blade screw driver or flat edge to get under the pin-part of the rivet and lift it up.
You don’t need to completely remove the cover – just remove as many as you want to get access to the onme screw and one stud on each side that holds the spoiler.
You will see something like this on each side. Remove the machine screws first and start to back off the nut on the stud. If the spoiler stays in place, then remove the nuts completely and the spoiler will lift straight off. In my case, my wife held the spoiler so it wouldn’t fall off when the nuts were removed.
I took one look at the old stuck on seals and left them alone. Trying to remove them would only tear them up. I decided to leave them alone, re-use them and if there was a leak then I would decide whether to replace them or just put a bit of black silicone RTV gasket glue around the two holes to seal it. I didn’t want to jump right to that because if I needed to remove the spoiler again, it would tear up the seals. You can buy black rubber seal material in sheets and you cutt out whatever shape you need but I wanted to avoid that path if I could.
I put the spoiler on two wood sawhorses to do the refinishing work. Note, I added blue painter’s tape to the sawhorses right after this was taken.
I have a 5″ Dewalt orbital sander that I used with 150 then 220 grit sandpaper to remove all of the bubbled/loose clear coat. I wasn’t worried about removing everything down to the bare bare material underneath but did want a solid surface on the top and edges for the primer to grab hold of.

Painting the Car

With the surface prepped, let’s get into the painting process.

This is red primer – not the base paint. I did three coats with wet sanding at 150 grit. No matter how hard and long I shook the rattle cans, the primer would spatter / blow larger drops into the paint vs. the fine mist you want. To be honest, I was regretting not just getting out my spray guns at this point.
I applied five coats of red paint. Light coats are the way to go and what you are looking for is a nice even rich color. I was still fighting the spattering even with the paint. So I did wet sand a few times. There instructions tell you not to do this but they also didn’t have their paint spattering everywhere.
This had six coats of clear coat. I did not wet sand between. The trick is to build up a relatively thick clear coat so you can wet sand it even and then later polish it.
Let it cure for an honest day so that it is hard enough to wet sand and then use rubbing compund to polish it. Water acts as a lubricant in the very fine 1500 grit sandpaper. If you don’t use it, the grit will fill with material and be useless. I keep a bucket of water next to me and keep dunking it in there. In this photo you see a sheet of 1500 grit sand paper that I wrap around the foam block to support it when I sand. I sand the clear coat using 1500, 2000 and 3000 grit sandpaper.
This is a random orbit 6″ bonnet washer. The terry cloth surface holds the rubbing compound and you keep moving around the clear coat removing all of the fine scratches.
The result turned out great. One important thing to remember – it looks and feels cured but it isn’t. There normal one part clear coat needs 30 days to cure the rest of the way. If you wax it, you will probably watch your finish peel right off so be sure to wait.
It wasn’t perfect but way, way better and my wife as thrilled.
The spoiler had rubber bumpers under the front part where it was close to the body. I bought these little 1/4″ tall rubber self-adehsive bumpers at Ace. They looked identical to the originals and will prevent the spoiler from hitting the body for whatever reason.


Because I had the sprayers, I regretted using the rattle can approach with the spattering that I could not get rid of for whatever reason. The time I thought I would save by not setting up my finishing automotive paint sprayer I lost doing extra sanding to get a relatively smooth finish.

In terms of color, they did a great job matching. I’m writing those blog almost two months after painting and it is nearly an exact match. Only at certain angles and lighting do I think I might see a difference – it’s that close. I’ve used them for other vehicles for bottles of touchup paint and their matching is always really good.

Here’s my advice – if you don’t have a good car air sprayer, these rattle cans (spray cans) from the company will do the job. Just be prepared to do extra wet sanding but not between the clear coats.

What is the ultimate gauge of success? My wife is really happy with the results.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Use Super Glue to Seal and Stabilize Wood

Have you ever had wood that is in tough shape or is too soft to work with? A quick fix is to use super glue on the wood and let it set. Let’s talk about this for a minute.

Super glue is actually a family of glues called “Cyanoacrylates“. The patent for the original product goes back to 1942 when BF Goodrich was looking for a clear adhesive for gun sights in WWII. As they say, the rest is history.

There are many different brands and types of super glue. For the brand, I stick with name brand and usually get biggger bottles from firms such as Bob Smith Inc (BSI), Starbond, Loctite, Gorilla Glue, etc. With the no-name generics, you never quite know what is really in the formula or how good it is.

The glues are available in different viscocities/thicknesses also ranging from Super thin to normal, to gel, etc. For our purposes, we want th thinnest glue we can buy. Why? Because it will really soak into the wood and follow all of the little cracks that are opening, seal and reinforce them.

So, when I say I am using it to seal and stabilize, what do I mean? To seal means that water can’t get in. To stabilize means it is soaking into the soft wood, filling small cracks and when it dries it will harden the treated area. I’ve used this to fill small cracks in wood rifle stocks, knife handles, tools, furniture – anything with wood.

Super Glue is good for stabilizing but not filling an area. If you need to build something up, fill in a gap, or rebuild an area, then use an epoxy.

These slats bench slats had chunks of wood missing that I built up using epoxy. I sanded them down flush and then applied two coats of thin CA glue to the surrounding wood to stabilize it. I then used an opaqe wood deck stain and you couldn’t even see the repairs.

I apply several coats. The first one I apply quite a bit of glue and just let it keep soaking in. You’ll see it following cracks and what not. Once I get the surface soaked, I stop and let it cure. I typically wil do 2-3 coats/applications depending on how bad the wood looks. Usually after the second coat everything is sealed stabilized.

As it cures you will see a light white-ish smoke. Don’t get the fumes in your eyes or it really stings – you don’t want to breath them either. Small pieces like a knife handle aren’t too bad. For pieces bigger than that, all of the fumes really make this something you either want to do outside or in a room with really good ventilation.

Let me show you a few photos form a recent project where I needed ro reinforce the area around a wood gate latch. The wood was in really tough shape and I didn’t have the time to go to buy the lumber, cut it and make a new one. I keep thin super glue in stock at all times for all kinds of projects so I just did that

Starbond makes good CA glues from my experience. I’ve used a number of their forumlas and been happy with the results. As you can see, the wood is in tough shape. It probably should be replaced but I don’t have the time.
I let gravity work with me and apply the glue to the top of the wood and let it soak into the end grain. I could see it going down the board and the wood looking wet where it travelled. You’ll use a fair amount of glue doing this, I went across the entire top of that board and watched for the glue to penetrate – in this case I wanted it down near the screws. When it the glue cures, the stabilized wood will still a bit darker than the surrounding untreated areas.
This board was in really tough shape. It soaked in a lot of glue and I kept adding it until I saw it saw it in that big crack.
Here, the CA can help seal the top and stop the small cracks but there is no way it can fill the big crack.


You can definitely use thin super glue to seal and stabilize wood. Use a reputable brand and work in a well ventilated area.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Restored A BHG 4-Burner Stainless Outdoor Gas Grill / BBQ

This past June, my wife and I spotted a big stainless four burner BHG gas grill with a side burner at a neighbor’s house set up for trash pickup.  It looked to be in a pretty good shape so I stopped and took a look.  The drip pan had rusted away and dropped rust everywhere in the grill plus there was minor rusting elsewhere but it was in very good shape otherwise.  My wife asked if I could rehab it because we had a bunch of family coming for a visit a month later.  I said “yes” so it went in the back of the Highlander leaving a trail of rust everywhere.

It looked like the grill was used and then left to sit and rust but it was actually in quite good shape.  Besides the drip pan, the only other items in tough shape were the heat plates also sometimes called diffusers that sit over the burners. They had rusted significantly and were an eyesore.

What Gas Grill Was It?

“BHG” stands for “Better Homes and Gardens” and the model number was BH13-101-099-01.  I don’t really have much more info than that – it’s a big generic stainless grill that was imported from China by Blue Rhino Global Sourcing.  You may not recognize the name but when you see their logo – they sell propane tanks, grills and what have you through a ton of stores under their own brand name as well as Mr. Bar-B-Q, Chef Master, Endless Summer, Grill Mark, Mr. Pizza, and Uniflame. BHG is no longer listed by them so one must surmise other brand names were used in the past as well.

According to a sticker, it was made in January of 2013. From there, I bet they were sold through retail stores but I really can’t find any more details after searching but I will say it appeared to be a decently made gas grill.

If you hunt around on a grill, you can almost always find an information sticker that at the very least has the model and maker listed.

Armed with the model number, I could go digging for parts.  There is a whole cottage industry of parts suppliers out there when you search but the challenge was finding what I wanted in stock and that the price they wanted plus shipping wasn’t astronomical. In some cases, the part price was low but shipping was sky high.

Note, I also found that most parts places are selling parts that will fit the grill but most advise you to confirm dimensions before you buy. The grill is over 9 years old and these places are selling generic parts – so be sure to check dimensions and even that the seller is legit.

The Drip Pan

Okay, the drip pan was trash.  You see, at the end of the day, they are made from steel and salty liquids are dripping on them.  If you don’t keep them clean or put foil on top of them, they will eventually rust out. 

The drip pan had rusted to pieces so the inside of the grill looked far worse than what it was. I think the neighbor took the cover off after maybe a season or two of no use, saw the rust everywhere and pulled it to the curb for trash pickup … or for me to pick up depending on how you look at it.

You need to double check the measurement of your pan – mine was a loose fit in the grill so you have wiggle room in terms of dimensions.  Mine was about 15-1/4″ deep x 28-5/8″ wide.  The replacement pans will all be in the ballpark but you want to make sure that pan reaches from left to right so it is properly supported.

After a lot of digging looking for an affordable exact match to the original pan, I decided to order a 30″ adjustable pan off of Amazon.  The problem I was running into was a combination of the total cost including shipping and also lead times and availability.  So, I went with an adjustable model and you know what?  It’s just fine. 

The AJinTebby pan is 15.5″ deep and can adjust from 27 to 30″ wide. Yes, it is pricey at $46.99 but there is a 5% discount coupon you can apply and if you have Amazon Prime, shipping is free (technically it’s factored into the price but you get the idea – it’s a good deal). Click here to open the Amazon page in a new tab.

An adjustable pan lets you adjust the width to fit your grill. It’s the width that adjusts but not the front to back depth so you still need to make sure of that plus the how much adjustment the model has. The is an AJinTeby 30″ pan that can adjust 27-30″ and has a depth iof 15.5″. It fits the BHG.
The drip pan comes with a nice small drip cup that slides in or out of place under the main pan. Drippings ooze into there and are collected so then you can dump and clean it as needed.
I painted the drip pan and it’s drip cup with Rusto-oleum BBQ & Stove 1200F paint to slow rusting. It has three coats of paint
To further lock and seal things, I put 3M High Temperature Flue Tape on the top of the joints. FYI – the oval hole is where fluids drip through to the aptly named “drip cup” under it that can be emptied as needed.

The Heat Plates

I had to decide what to do with the heat plates.  They had rusted to the point of being pretty thin – the heating and lots of salty fluids had really taken their toll on them. 

You can see the brand new AjinTebby drip pan under the original heat plates and they looked awful. The grill saw quite a bit of use, that I have no doubt of, and then it sat and rusted even more.

My first thought was to try and save money so painted them with Rustoleum’s Ultra High Temp BBQ paint first to try and save money but I could’t get past all the bumpy look from years of rusting.  There are so many affordable replacement options, I decided to go that route.

I painted the heat plates plus I put three coats of Ultra High Temp Rustoleum on the drip pan to slow up the rust. I could have stopped here but the really worn plates were bugging me so I decided to replace them.

The BHG uses 15″ long x 3-13/16″ wide heat plates and they are very readily available in a variety of metals and finishes.  I bought a set of five stainless steel replacement heat plates made by Shinestar off of Amazon – click here to open the listing in a new tab.

Here’s a look at the new Shinestar plates prior to installation.
The 15″ Shinestar heat plates are nicely made and are going to last for a long time. I definitely liked them more than the painted ones.

The Gas Regulator Turned Out To Be Bad

During initial testing, the grill ran just fine but then it started getting flaky and finally would barely produce flame. This is usually due to a regular failing and/or rust or a spider web getting stuck somewhere. I pulled the lines and blew everything out with compressed air. Sometimes that fixes the problem but not in this case.

Now, I made a bit of a costly mistake here because I was in a rush. We had an Ace Hardware nearby and I bought a Weber regulator that fit but was a tad short for $44-46 if I recall rgiht. Because it was short, I took a piece of 2×12 lumber and cut a hole in it with a jig saw to hold the tank. A week later, I was in Home Depot and found out they had a ton of gas grill repair parts in stock (I didn’t know they did) including the exact hose and regulator I needed for half the price of the Weber.

The old regulator went straight in to the tank and the Weber unit is at a right angle.
Quick comment – when you are working on gas fittings, there will almost always be a way to support the existing tube/hookup and ou need to do that. See the small nut formed into the black tube? You need to hold that with one wrench while either tightening or loosening the hose fitting. If you don’t support the tube you run the risk of it bending or breaking free. Just remember. always do what you need to do to support what your line is connecting to. Don’t just torque on the hose’s fitting alone.
Because the Weber hose was too short, I took a piece of scrap 2×12 lumber I had, traced the outline of the tank’s botton on it and cut the circle out. Note I drilled four holes so I could start the jig saw blade that did the actual cutting.
There it is – nice and stable. Again, if I had known that Home Depot had a bunch of repair parts, I would have taken the busted regulator in there and found a match.

I could have saved even more if I had the time to order a hose and regulator from Amazon. They have them for $15-18 depending on the length of hose you need. Click here for to open a new browser tab with the Amazon listings – be sure to get the hose length you need and round up vs. down if need be.

Other Minor Touch Ups

  • I ran a 180 grit sanding mop in the same direction as the stainless “grain” finish and removed surface rust.
  • Sprayed the inside of the grill so it looked better
  • One hinge had a missing Cotter key that I replaced
  • Put a wire brush wheel in my drill and cleaned up the grill grates so they had a nice clean brushed look

The Result

It turned out quite nice and gave us another grill to use during a family reunion we had during July.

The cabinet cleaned up really well.
So did the inside. There is a smoker box down on the heat plates to add a bit of smoke flavor.
Here’s the restored BHG next to my pride and joy Chargriller Competition Grill that my kids got me for Father’s Day a few years back and I converted for wood (click here if you want to read more about that).


One man’s trash is another’s treasure I suppose. The grill turned out nice. The only things it really needed were a new drip pan and the regulator replaced.

I hope this post helps you out.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

How To Rebuild A Residential Diving Board

Have you ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place because you need to get something done but a vendor fumbles the ball … badly?  That happened to me recently.  We have a home made in the 70s and the pool is the same.  While we have replaced the liner a number of times over the years, it was the original slowly falling apart diving board.  We actually bought our home in 98 and the previous owner had put a 2x8x6 between the board and the spring to keep it alive.

Let’s fast forward to about a month ago.  We were getting ready for a family reunion to be held at our place so I got the pool ready for the summer and decided I better check the diving board.  Oh man, it was shot.  The fiberglass underneath had torn around the board it encased and there was just no way it was safe.

One thing I have learned about pools over the years is that you can usually find parts.  So, I new it was an 8′ residential diving board and the hole pattern for mounting it was 4.5″ on centers in the back and the front single hole was 36″.   I did some digging and  the hole pattern and distances from the back and sides corresponded with the SR Smith 8′ Frontier II board.

A number of vendors carried it online and the problem was that I needed it with only about a two week lead time before people started arriving for the party.  InTheSwim said they had it and it would arrive in time.  I used my wife’s card on the website and it wouldn’t go through so the website gave me an 800# to call.  I did, the lady told me it was a fraud screen, I approved a text message sent to my wife’s phone and the InTheSwim operator told me it was all set and I should get an email shortly.  She never said she resubmitted it … About an hour later, still no email so I called and I am pretty sure the same lady answered and said the order was fine …. in fact it was not.

After a week of no updates, I called and after confusion on their part, they found the order in limbo, fixed it and told me it would probably still make it in time.  Okay… I kept tabs on it and finally called and said I needed the board.  They told me it would not even ship until after the party.  I asked that they expedite it, that I would even pay for it and they said they had no way to do that.  I then told them in no uncertain terms to cancel the order.  If that reads like a rant, it should.  I hate it when a vendor fumbles the ball and literally does nothing to make it right.

I was left with two options – disappoint a bunch of relatives or figure out how to fix the board.  I decided to do the latter and I suspect this is the part of the post you really care about.

What went wrong with the board?

Many, if not most, residential diving boards have a fiberglass top, sides and bottom but the core is wood.  Through the in the fiberglass rotting wood was plainly visible.  I put the board on sawhorses, put the old supporting board underneath it and flipped the diving board over to access the bottom.   Again, the diving board was resting on the old supporting board – I new that if I didn’t support it, the odds were high that it might snap.  Once supported, I used a diamond masonry cutting wheel in my 4.5″ Ryobi cordless grinder to slice off the torn fiberglass to see what was going on.  I had a hunch that If I could salvage the top of the board, I could fix the bottom and I was right.

Important Safety Comment: Wear eye protection and a quality face mask (N95 or better) when you are cutting or sanding on fiberglass. You don’t want stuff getting in your eyes or lungs. I also wear gloves to protect my hands.
I used a masonry cut off wheel – in this case a diamond coated one – because the glass fibers can dull saw blades, etc.  Just about anything can cut open fiberglass – it just depends on whether you care about what is happening to the blade. 

Once I cut open the bottom that held the wood, I could see it needed to be replaced.  What was there were three pieces of wood and there was a cap on each end with nails that held it together.  Over the years as holes and cracks opened up, water got in and slowly rotted the wood.  I really wasn’t surprised when I went to lift the board off the spring – it weighed a ton due to the waterlogged wood.

The wood wouldn’t lift right out so I would prop it up and cut it with a small hand held Ryobi circular saw into thirds.  I used a small pry bar and lifted the sections out.  I didn’t cut all of the fiberglass out yet thinking that I might use some of it to make things stronger.  In hindsight, I’d now tell you to remove all of the hold fiberglass wrapping on the bottom -there was no need to save it.

Wood and Fiberglass

In a perfect world, I would have the exact same size of wood and better yet, treated wood, to replace the rotten wood.  I didn’t have time for wet treated wood to dry so I went to Home Depot and bought two 2x12x8 pieces of dry pine lumber.  One to go in the board and one to still support it even though it probably wasn’t needed.

I also stopped by the adhesives section of Home Depot and picked up two 1-gallon jugs of Bondo fiberglass resin and three packages of fiberglass cloth – if I had it to do over, I would have bought a couple more for complete overkill in terms of strength.  I knew I had a spare cloth at home so I had four fiberglass cloths total. I also bought a spare package of hardener just in case.

Here’s one of the jugs of resin.  Because I work with plastics, I had a large selection of mixing cups and stir sticks.  I used 32 oz cups and a half tube of hardener at a time.  I would mix them and then pour the contents into a second 32oz cup.  This is known as a double pour and reduces the odds of you pouring unmixed contents and making a mess.

Note:  The Bondo fiberglass system uses a polyester resin vs. true epoxy.  Polyester is cheaper than epoxy but not as strong. I’m pretty sure it will hold up and we’ll see over time.  I’m writing this post a week after our reunion and the board looks just fine – no cracks.

Cleaning Up The Board and Preparing It

With the wood out, I then removed all of the debris to get a better look at what was going on.  I removed almost all of the old fiberglass that was holding the old board – I now know I could have removed all of it.

Here I am scuffing up everything really good with 80 grit sand paper in my orbital IR 6″ sander.  If you want the fiberglass to bind really well, the surface must be abraded.  Just remember, if the surface is smooth and shiny, your adhesion is going to be bad.  A very abraded clean surface is ideal.
Here’s a better view of the center front hole and the big crack that went completely through the fiberglass top.  Note, after sanding, cleaning and degreasing, I closed all holes with black Gorilla tape before I started apply resin. Once again, I would remove all the old fiberglass that surrounded the board. Those vertical pieces you see would be gone.
Here’s a close up of the back two holes – they are worn open and stress cracking around them.
One more view of the big crack at the center.  I sanded the heck out of everything with 80 grit, sprayed down the inside with brake cleaner thoroughly to degrease it and then stuck big pieces of gorilla tape over each hole.  The diving board surface was ready.

Preparing The Wood

The wood was completely dry – let me stress that.  If you seal in wet wood, it will rot so make sure your wood is dry.

One thing I noticed with the rotted wood that I pulled out was that they had rounded over all of the corners/edges of the wood to not stress the fiberglass.  That made a lot of sense to me.  I put a 3/8″ carbide tipped round over bit in my trim router and rounded over the new board too and then sanded it with 80 grit sandpaper to prepare the surface for maximum adhesion.

The 2x12x8 boards were longer than the original so I trimmed them down.  I then used a round over bit on both and sanded them.  My plan was to embed one in the fiberglass but still have a support/buddy board underneath.  Note, I did not drill any holes.  My plan was to center the new pine board insert and drill the holes later.

I did test fit everything before I went to the next step.  You don’t want to mix up resin and get part way in only to find our boards are the wrong length.

Gluing The Board In Place

Okay, to close the bottom back up, I did it in steps.  For the first one, I mixed up 32oz of resin, liberally brushed it in the bottom of the board really thick.  I then clamped the ends and put weights in the middle to keep everything pushed together.  You need to have this planned out because once the resin sets, it’s game over.  I had the clamps and everything ready to go.

This falls under the “make do with what you have” category.  The blue clamps are really strong and are on both ends.  In the middle we have two brake calipers from a 96 Landcruiser and two full 5-gallon cans of gas.  The more pressure pushing the parts together and the adhesive into as many spaces as possible is what you want.

The next step was to put down the first layer of fiberglass cloth. I laid the cloth on top of the board and trimmed it to fit inside and just up the sides. I then mixed up a 32 oz container [don’t forget to do a double pour and use the right amount of hardener] and rapidly brushed it on very thick to the front area I was working on, applied the cloth and then another coat of Bondo on top. If you’ve not done fiberglass before, start with one section and learn. You want to get the cloth in place and wetted down with the liquid before it all sets. Also, have a bunch of nitrile gloves near by or you will get this stuff all over your hands no matter how hard you try. I wear gloves and have at it. I use my hands to rub the liquid into the cloth.

I did the front, the back and then the middle. If you need to stop, just sand the surface, blow it off and continue.
This is about the first half of the board. I let it cure and then sanded it before I applied more.

So I did the front, the back, then the middle. I used the full length of the cloths and overlapped at the middle. At this point, it was rock hard and I really wished I had just cut out all of the old fiberglass walls that surrounded the old wood. I thought it might make it stronger but then realized this wasn’t the case. I sanded again and cut my fourth and last cloth down the middle. I applied one length on the left and one on the right to strengthen those areas that still had the remnant walls that I should have removed.

Here it is with all of the layers applied. My next move was to sand and then paint it.

Drilled The Holes

Before painting, I flipped the board over, removed the Gorilla tape. The brownish color of the Bondo clearly showed me the old hole positions and drilled two 1/2″ holes in the rear and one in the front using the clearly visible filled in holes. I carefully pushed the support board under, clamped it in place and drilled it as well.

Painting The Board

To paint the board whatever color you want, use boat paint – what they call the top coat or deck paint. Years and years ago, I painted our board because it looked really tough and found out you had to add non slip grit to the paint or people would slide off. Yeah, there’s a story there about a teenager falling off so make sure you get the non-slip additive for whatever paint you buy.

I used Rust-Oleum’s Topside White for the board and a Ocean Blue paint made by Pettit for the trim. The only reason I went with the Pettit paint was that the local boat store carried it and Lowes didn’t have the blue colored Topside paint.

So, when you are applying this, do it in a well ventilated area, make sure it isn’t going to rain if you are outside (I was in my driveway) and follow the guidance carefully. One thin coat a day. If you try and do a thick coat or too many coats, the paint will not cure to a hard finish and stay in an odd tacky/smudgy state. I had this happen to me years ago because I’m not patient but I sure hard to learn patience with some of the specialty paints.

I did two coats of regular white Topside paint on the bottom to protect the fiberglass from UV rays (they really mess up plastics, epoxies and what not unless they are designed for them) and I applied two coats of the white with the grit mixed in on the top.

That’s two coats of white TopSide Paint on the bottom. I did NOT use the non-slip there.
I painted the top with the non-slip additive and didn’t worry about the old blue colored side paint.
It was hot out and even so, I let the top cure for a day before I applied blue painter’s tape to protect the top while I painted the side trim blue.

Painting The Pedestal and Support Board

While waiting for coats of paint to cure on the board, we removed the pedestal and spring unit, wire brushed it, sprayed it down with brake cleaner and sprayed on three coats of white Rustoleum spray paint.

We cleaned it and applied three coats of gloss white Rustoleum spray paint.
We painted the support board too. All I had was white spray Rustoleum at that point so that’s what I used.

Wrapping Up

We reinstalled the pedestal and spring unit first. I bought new stainless nuts and washers so it looked better.

We installed the pedestal and spring assembly first before the diving board. Have a solid surface to put the support board and diving board really helped. They are too heavy to move all at once … at least for me. My son helped – those are his feet 🙂
The board is held in place by stainless hardware” 6″ carriage bolts, 2″ fender washers, rubber gasket washers under the fenders on the top. On the bottom are regular washers , lock washers and nuts. Your hardware will depend on your board’s configuration and how thick it is. We salvaged the carriage bolts and I wire brushed the tops so they looked better but I bought everything else at Ace Hardware.
Another view.

In Closing

InTheSwim really damaged their reputation with me. On the other hand, this was done in a matter of days, cost us about $300 vs $800 (for the wood boards, hardware & paint) and all the kids at the reunion had a blast. So, problem solved — it worked out to our advantage actually. I’m curious to see how it holds up over time and I have high hopes given how it turned out and performed at the reunion.

One last parting shot.

If you have a diving board, I’d bet you could do the same and save time and money as well. I hope this gives you some food for thought.

7/23/2024 Update: where a number of kids used the diving board and it held up just fine.

6/15/24 Update: Just finishing opening the pool for the summer. The board is holding up just fine.

5/23/23 Update: Board is holding up great and we’re getting ready for another summer. I just inspected it yesterday – no cracks or any signs of issues.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Replacing The Fuel Spout On An Eagle SP-5 Galvanized Steel Gas Can With One That Works Great

I have a really nice Eagle galvanized steel can that I bought new back in the stone age. Over time the rubberized nozzle started cracking at the base and I kept building it up with RTV silicone until I decided I better buy a new nozzle. Why did I bother? First off, the old Eagle cans are excellent – mine must be pushing 20+ years old. Second, new cans suck thanks to the EPA mandating the bizarre nozzles that you see that are simply horrid to work with. In short, I didn’t want to throw out a perfectly good can and needed to find a replacement nozzle for it.

The first thing I tried was to buy a universal spout kit off Amazon and it didn’t match up to the Eagle’s 1.75″ threaded mouth. So, I had to do some digging – what I should have done in the first place. Turns out there was an eBay listing for an exact replacement for an Eagle can *but* it was $16.95. Well, I figured the can was in such good shape that spending that much on a gamble was worth it.

The replacement cap and nozzle arrived and the first time I put it on I really had to press down on the cap to get the threads in the cap to catch the threads on the can. It’s easier now and my best guess is that the material the spout was made from needed to compress some … whatever it was, it fits okay now.

Here’s the new spout and lid on the can and the old brittle broken one at the bottom. Click here for the eBay listing of the replacement I am using.

So, if you are interested, the one I bought is from Rotopax, is made in the USA and is on eBay – click here for the listing. Now, my old can is back in use.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Add A “Thumper” To A Blast Cabinet And More Than Double Your Productivity!

Okay, Ronin’s Grips started making Yugo M70 grips sometime around 2004 and rapidly added models – the challenge was that I hand polished each and every one of them. It took a ton of time, handwork and was putting my carpal tunnel through the roof. Jeff Miller of HillBilly Firearms told me to abrasive blast the grips for a better grip and a heck of a lot less handwork. I was sold – I had to change something. Jeff also gave me a few tips – get a foot control to protect the seals vs. being in the cabinet with all of the grit, put transparency film on the window of the unit to make it last longer and he told me to get a “thumper” to make the grit settle.

Well, way back in the day margins were super thin so I bought a large bench top abrasive blast cabinet from Cyclone Manufacturing in Dowagiac, MI – they are about an hour from my shop and I could pick it up along with the foot control, I got a box of transparency film either from Amazon or a local office supply store, but I had no idea what a “thumper” was or how important it is to productivity.

Fast forward to about a month ago. Abrasive blasting used to take me a while – blast, hit the cabinet or manually move the material around in the hopper, blast some more, whack the cabinet or move the material around … it gets old. It took me years to realize that this really sucks but blasting was so much better than polishing that I didn’t think much about it.

So, a “thumper” is basically and industrial vibrator (insert joke here) that uses an electric motor in a housing with off center weights on the shaft that then vibrate like crazy when the motor runs. I guess you could call it the power of Amazon but one day I was scrolling through Amazon and a suggested item came up – a concrete vibrator – and it looked like a small motor in a housing. I had 25 Galil grips I was going to blast and all of a sudden I remembered Jeff’s advice.

Okay, the power of a vibrator with a blast cabinet is that the vibrations cause the grit to shake down to the lowest point constantly. You can blast and blast and blast. The unit was $118 with free delivery and I figured I would give it a try.

It shipped from the importer, not Amazon, and showed up a few days later – it was pretty quick as I recall. The unit was very well made other than my needing to tape up a plastic junction box on the power cord that was a little cracked and I needed to attach a 120 volt plug – it was one phase and they said about 40 watts so nothing special. The machine label says – 110V, 1 phase, 40 watts, 3600 RPM – the little thing totally kicks butt and was only $49.

Here’s a close up of the label – note it says 40 watts. There are bigger units but I don’t think you need them for an abrasive blaster.

I didn’t put it on the blaster right away because I wasn’t really sure how violent it would be and I am glad I didn’t – it vibrates like you would not believe – there is nothing subtle about it – and I immediately realized two things – 1) I was going to mount it on the free standing tool bench and not the plastic blast cabinet walls or it would eventually shake loose and 2) I needed a variable speed control to tone it down some.

Try #1

Okay, so sometimes you just have to poke fun at yourself – or at least I do. I marked the bolt holes on the 3/4″ plywood bench top and mounted the vibrator. I then plugged the power cord from the vibrator into the speed controller, the controller into a surge strip and turned it on at full speed.

I wish I had a before photo or a video of what happened next but I don’t. Every single thing on that table started vibrating right off of it. Yeah, all the grit went to the bottom on the blast table but the blast table was headed to the edge of the bench too. Whoa! I hit the off switch.

Try #2

I simply took some strips of plywood and added a cradle around the legs to limit travel. That worked. Time to try blasting some stuff.

Here’s the vibrator.
Here’s the speed controller.
Another view of the strips to limit travel. Everything on the floor had been on the workbench before I turned the vibrator on the first time 🙂 By the way, the 3/4″ plywood top is screws into the stands it is on.

Actually Blasting

Folks, it is night and day different – stunningly different. Because I don’t have to stop and whack the side of the baster or reach in and move grit around, I’d bet I’m getting work done 2-3 times faster. A bench top blaster doesn’t have a very deep bottom so without a thumper, I spent a lot of time moving grit over to the pick ,up.

Another fun lesson learned. Over the years, I’ve developed the habit of putting my chin on the plexiglass as I focused on doing the work. Don’t do that. I put my chin down on the vibrating plexiglass and it felt like someone was playing the tambourine with my teeth 🙂

Those are two IMI Galil grips getting blasted. What an amazing difference.

In Conclusion

This is one time I can honestly tell you that I have one regret – I should have done this years and years ago. Wow. It was worth it! I’ve used vibrator and speed controller both extensively for a little over a month and it’s a great combo. I don’t use the slowest speed but I am closer to the low end on the dial than I am the fastest speed.

Note, I got lucky with my first purchase. I really wasn’t sure what size to buy but the 40 watt unit has worked great. I can’t imagine anyone needing a bigger unit for a blast cabinet. These generic industrial vibrators have all kinds of uses including for the movement of powders, grains, rock, etc. so they sell bigger and more powerful ones as well.

I’d highly recommend this to anyone who has a ton of blasting to do and is getting tired of having to stop and manually move grit around.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.