Category Archives for "DIY Project"

What is OBD2 exactly? – Know about this Vehicle Tool

obd tools


OBD which stands for On-Board Diagnostic system is used on all of today’s foreign and domestic vehicles. There are two OBD systems, the first one known as OBD (now referred to as OBD1) and the second generation — OBD2 (OBD II).


This OBD II software system was introduced in the mid-’90s which was essentially an update of the first version, OBD1. The updated version has much more control of the engine cycle and performance, considering to be the engine’s brains. Various sensors positioned throughout the engine constantly feed the system with information, so electronic adjustments are made continually for optimum engine emissions and performance.

Today’s system have become so complex with integrated external systems that an automotive diagnostic OBD2 scanner is required to actually check the vehicle for any error codes or ‘Check Engine’ light.

The initial invention

The first OBD system was created through necessity to reduce emissions pollution. The problem solver was LA, the State of California which was desperately trying to solve the smog problem in that city.

Manufacturers started having serious pressure to reduce emissions on their new engines before even leaving the factory! This pressure was becoming so tough due to the massive increases in all types of vehicles on the road network, which in turn was increasing exhaust pollution extensively. The population awareness of the constant increase in exhaust emissions meant that this was becoming a huge priority on the State.

In 1966 the State of California started requiring emission control systems added on the new cars. The federal government then introduced these controls nationwide in 1968. The Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 and established the Environmental Protection Agency commonly known as EPA. Through this new EPA act, emission standards started improving gradually from newly produced vehicles, while the standards kept constantly becoming tighter throughout the years. Manufactures had to resort to other methods for emission improvement through better fuel/air calibrations to keep up with the EPA standards. This has led the manufacturers to move onto electronic control for fuel and ignition systems with sensors measuring engine parameters.

These new electronically controlled packages would adjust accordingly for better exhaust emissions. The same engine sensors had a dual purpose, adjustment of engine parameters which was also used for engine diagnostic assistance.

At the introduction of the new emissions legislation, manufacturers had few set standards between them, as long as they reached the EPA emission standards. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) intervened setting up a new standard. The connector plug was standardized together with a set of diagnostic test signals.

The OBD II software and system is an upgraded version of the SAE standards which was also adopted by the EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) which became implemented on January 1996.

The way forward

The main role of the EPA is to constantly keep reducing emissions to a new acceptable level. They are always moving on with new technology and so the standards are always being tweaked, meaning they always become tighter on the vehicle manufacturers.

Every car manufacturer must cater for the vehicle’s life span with the emission practices, meaning that the emissions must stay within the region of the manufactured parameters. This is where the diagnostic OBD2 scanner equipment enters the scene. Auto technicians, independent vehicle specialists and nowadays even the DIY-ers use their best OBD2 Scanners  for read-outs of engine fault codes and sometimes to check and reset the ‘Check Engine’ light

Modern electronics and new technology has made these once-extremely expensive and prohibitive equipment, way more affordable to own. The standardization between manufacturers has helped immensely too, meaning that a Pro reader / scanner can be used on nearly all vehicles.

How to Choose the Right Go Kart Frame…?

Right Go Kart Frame

If you want to race go karts successfully you will need to choose the right go kart frame for your particular situation. And if you’re building your own, you’ll also need a high quality set of go kart frame plans. Choosing the wrong frame can lead to less control and more accidents on the track. Learn what makes a frame acceptable and how to avoid frames that will cause nothing but trouble.


A Go Kart Frame is Also Called a Chassis

A go kart frame, also called a chassis, is a very important component of a fast racing go kart. With a solid design it can help keep your tires glued to the track in tight corners when racing at break-neck speeds, and can prevent your car from spinning out of control while precisely maneuvering through razor sharp turns.

What is a go kart frame?

A go kart frame or chassis is attached to the axles and holds the body and motor of a vehicle. If you have ever seen a house being built you will know that the framing comes first. The walls, roof, doors, and everything else are attached to the framing. The go kart frame supports the entire structure and if it is weak the whole structure is weak. A strong go kart frame is needed to provide a solid vehicle that can withstand the strains that are placed on it when racing rough courses.

Go kart frames are welded together by torsion bars. Shorter bars make for stiffer frames while longer bars produce flexible frames. In the early days of karting frames were usually stiff, and without sufficient flexibility they broke down easily. Maneuvering well, especially through tight turns, requires a well-built and strong frame. A weaker go kart frame composed of cheaper parts can drift and slide through turns at any given moment and can also flip over entirely depending on the conditions. When you’re trying to hold your line the last thing you want is for your go kart to start sliding out of control.

The width of the rails is important….

One of the most important aspects of a sturdy go kart frame is the distance, or width, between the rear rails. Narrow widths, in the 24-inch range, will have less traction, especially through sharp turns. Wider widths, up to about 30 inches, have greater track bite which will allow you to take turns faster without losing traction. Wider rails provide the extra stability needed to remain in control instead of losing control.

Choose the Right Go Kart Frame for the Specific Go Kart Track

Choosing the right go kart frame is very important, but there’s more to it than just that. A frame that is great on one go kart track may be poor on another. Tracks are usually composed of dirt, concrete, or asphalt, but a chassis that works well on dirt may not work well on asphalt. Typically, a dirt track will require a chassis with wide back rails and narrow front rails while concrete and asphalt will be just the opposite, requiring wide fronts and narrow backs.


Learn the rules or else….

Additionally, there are many governing bodies in the sport of go karts and each body has their own unique set of rules. Get the information you need from the professionals at the track where you plan on racing. If you intend to race go karts on asphalt visit the nearest track and ask the owners where to find the best go kart frame. Without having the right information you can easily end up buying a go kart that you won’t be able to race.

High traction tires are a vital component if you want your frame to last any appreciable length of time when kart racing. Without proper tire traction the chassis will rattle, which can eventually lead to complete failure. Good traction adds stability to the vehicle which can give you added control on the track and a longer frame life.

What is the quickest way to destroy a frame?

Go kart frames take a considerable amount of punishment due to many factors that include hitting walls, racing over bumps on the track, or making constant sharp punishing turns. Experts usually recommend a yearly frame replacement although this depends a lot on the stiffness of the frame, how often you race, tire traction, what type of track you race on, and other factors. Racing with high traction tires, a stiff frame, and a high-horsepower engine will surely cause your frame to break sooner rather than later. And running your go kart with low traction tires will put a lot of extra stress on your chassis that will cut its life short. Get the right go kart frame for your specific track and you will have much greater racing success.

Restoring Antique Desk – Having Some Woodworking Tasks

restore antique desks

Restoring Antique Desk – slant top around 1890
You want to restore an antique desk? Here’s how I restored this antique slant top desk.

Perhaps you are restoring your own antiques and can find some good ideas by following this. If you have questions, I am only too happy to be of help.

Antique Desk Ca. 1890

A very sad and unhappy desk
Here we have in for restoration a Slant Top Writing Desk.
ca. 1890
Veneer – Walnut
Ground wood – Pine

It is an unusually small desk of its type. You don’t find them very often, even the big ones have become rare. They went out of fashion of course the moment people found a computer would not quite fit. Now with notebooks, I am a little lost as to why they haven’t come back in. Such a desk is a practical piece of furniture for a small house or flat with all that storage space.
Where do we start?
Lets have a look and see what needs doing


The finish is patchy and very dirty.

  • Top has veneer missing and bubbles.
  • Top too much exposure to the sun – finish cannot be revived.
  • Sides – both have spits and loose veneer.
  • One side someone has squirted glue into the bubbles and it has rundown.
    Could be tricky….
  • Turned molding on left side missing.
  • Drawer fronts – mostly ok – few loose bits and a couple of bubbles.
    Escutcheons all there.
  • Holes where someone has added an extra handle.
  • Front Flap – mmmm…. Someone has had a go with a rather rough sanding machine and left ring marks. Luckily they left most of the veneer!
  • Large crack goes right through.
  • Other side of flap is rather different – has been taken to with an electric planer – all veneer taken off and deep plane marks left. Will have to be planed smooth and re-veneered.
  • Feet missingInside:
  • Two little drawers missing.
  • Finish on small drawers has been irreversibly damaged by sunlight.
  • Various ink stains and other stains.
  • Paper Labels to be removed.
  • Middle drawer runners have been removed.
  • One small drawer half side missing.
  • One small drawer needs re-gluing.
  • 3 big drawers all need side runners renewed
  • 1 Big drawer needs re-gluing.
  • Runners inside just need establishing.

Some of the tools I used for this project:

  1. Circular Saw ( A must Needed )
  2. Hand saws, a router and two router bits
  3. Chainsaw – I recommend the best quality gas chainsaw.
  4. Combination square and tape measure
  5. A power drill
  6. A hammer and some screwdrivers

The Small Drawers

Make two new drawers.
diy restoring antique desk
Have taken all the fittings and locks off. Decided to start with the small drawers. Must be careful to make them the same as the others. Found some old wood in my stockpile the right width, cut to size and from then on its all by hand.

The front of one missing was there, so made sides back and bottom. The other is made and veneer put on. Decided to put another veneer on – was not happy with first choice.

Have re-glued bubbles in others and where needed sides re-glued.

Removed old polish with alcohol. Old polish was totally destroyed by sun. – Yellow and flaky. Sanded and stained a little to bring life back in to the veneer.

Then they can all be polished.

Big Drawers

Sorting the runners out.
restoring antique desks
Have removed all locks and escutcheons.

The runners on the big drawers have become very uneven over the years, making the drawers very difficult to open and close.

Rather than taking the drawers to pieces I run the router along the bottoms, taking off the bare minimum and then cut new strips to size and glue them on. I can plane them back to get a nice even fit.

The drawer fronts I have cleaned with alcohol – leaving most of the polish on them as we want to keep the patina. Depending on how the flap comes out I can tone the polish to get an even color overall.

restoring antique desk

Next we start on the carcass
Fill cracks, clean, polish.
The cracks in the sides need filling otherwise they will get bigger as the wood dries out, not forgetting the damage to the veneer.

First we clean the dust and debris out of the cracks. Find various left over pieces of veneer of varying thickness which can be used to fill the crack.

Make a fresh batch of animal glue and cut the strips of veneer to the right length. I will be putting them in horizontally all the way down so that the shrinkage is less. My little Japanese Hammer which I use with my chisels is also very useful for hammering the wood into the cracks.

A messy job with the glue and a long one as the small pieces of veneer have to be pushed up against one another.
restore antique desk
Job completed – must be left to dry overnight before I can go over with the chisel to even them up.

The bubbles must be cut through with a scalpel in most cases so that I can inject some animal glue into far recesses. I can spread the glue around with a veneer hammer and then rub it a little to get some warmth in – cover with tinfoil or plastic and weight down.

The Top

Lift veneer up remove bubbles and replace missing piece
Veneer on top is very thin and fragile.
restoring antique desk diy
Must lift up quite a big chunk, so I can clean the ground wood and get the bubbles out. To do this I lay a damp cloth over and use an iron on lowest setting to melt the old animal glue. Using a knife to lift the veneer up, letting the air in so it doesn’t re-glue itself.

This is slow going as the veneer in places is very fragile and will tear easily. Slow is also necessary as the veneer can also stretch which makes laying it back very tricky.

Can only reglue bit by bit so I can get it relatively flat. Have put two new slices of veneer in to replace what was missing. Luckily I had some old veneer from an old drawer there that I could use. Have put this in leaving the polish on – saves a lot of coloring work afterwards.

Must wait a few days for the animal glue to harden before I can clean the old polish off and sand down a bit. Here one must be careful as the friction causes heat, which in turn loosens the animal glue and then the bubbles are back again.

So having removed old polish and sanded lightly I can stain and re polish. Has turned out well and the new pieces of veneer are barely noticeable.

The flap, the small drawers and the turnings
Light at the end of the tunnel?

The Flap:

First the crack. Again I have put the wood in horizontally using old thick veneer. Cut off the excess the next day.

Managed to get the back of the flap fairly flat – needed quite a bit of a plane and sand.

Found some new straight grained walnut veneer in my stock. Not very wide so used four pieces book matched. Cut to size and laid on one at a time using my veneer press. Animal glue is used for this as well. Have to work fast on such a big piece but works well and I can place the next piece slightly overlapped to allow for shrinkage.

Here again we must leave for some days for the glue to harden before we can sand. Meanwhile I can add veneer to the sides and replace missing pieces on the top side where the lock fits.

Sand the veneer very fine and then we start with the polishing process. First the grain has to be filled. Have painted on a couple of coats of fairly dark french polish, so the pores take on an old look. Sand off the excess polish and then start the process of filling the grain using powder. This is a long process but the more the pores are filled the better the end result. As we don’t want a perfect mirror finish we can leave a little open grain. Then the proper polishing starts. Using a little oil I can put as many coats on as I like. I have put a bit of spirit color in the polish to get a similar finish to the rest of the desk.

Now the flap must stay put for a week or so before I can turn it over and start on the outside.

In the meantime I have polished the drawer fronts and they are now ready for the little porcelain knobs to be put back on. Found we were missing one so must order. Luckily they are still available.

One side turning was missing. Found various old turnings from backs of chairs etc in my storage. Cut these through the middle and using parts of the original, now have two the same. Have glued together colored and polished. They are now on the desk and look very much like the original.

The front side on the flap must be cleaned and sanded. The veneer in places was sanded through with whatever machine was used. If I put new pieces in, I shall have to cut away quite a lot of the veneer that is there – due to the thickness. learn :  how to sand the wood perfectly .

Have decided to leave as is and get my water colors out. I can mix the colors and paint on the grain where needed putting a coat of polish over. Have to do this in layers. Must make sure that the front of the desk is all the same color. The moldings for the flap need cleaning and a bit of a polish before being put back on again.

I have put in a shelf for the middle drawer adding a freeze to the front as it would originally have had. This is now colored in and polished.

The Home Run

FINISHED – yeah!

diy antique desk

Am still fiddling with the front of the flap, but its getting there. Drawers are all finished and just need the escutcheons putting on.

Ended up doing the middle piece of the flap three times before I was happy!!

All locks and escutcheons back on.

Had to put bigger hinges on the flap in the end as the old ones just were not stable enough. Added a strip at bottom of flap so it would lie flat when open and not pull the screws out with the weight. Its the bits like this that take so much time.

Re-aligned the side runners inside the desk so the drawers now run smoothly.

One can still see the sanding marks at the front where it was attacked with a heavy machine. The veneer was already very thin so I couldn’t sand very much- where the veneer was gone I used water color to paint in the grain. Anyway, all with pleasing results I think.

So there we have it – ready for delivery ……. and then its on to the next project!


End result pretty good considering!
Restoration Questions and Comments
Feel free to ask advice -shall give where I can.

Sometimes I get pulled in to do talks on antique furniture or restoration. I enjoy doing this (once I am there!) as every time is different; the subjects are different and the questions are different. Its just the fun of sharing information with interested people.

If you have ideas as to how I can improve my lens, I would really appreciate it.

Questions? Ask -costs nothing -and I shall help where I can….

Getting Ready For Fall: Throw Pillow Covers

Throw Pillow Covers

First, I cannot even begin to tell you all how thankful I am for your words of love and encouragement on some of my previous posts on another blog. I sat at my computer so many times the last few days wanting to write something, anything, about our experience.

I was in a fog and the haze of self doubt that made me believe you all would tell me that what was said was true. I cannot begin to tell you how much it meant when you reminded me of words I’ve written, that you told me about how I have encouraged you and inspired you to live simpler, better. I was truly overwhelmed and really, I just didn’t know. So, thank you.

I am sorry so many of you have gone through the same thing. Sometimes in blogland when you reach out to similar people, it can be easy to forget that not everyone values these same things. It’s nice to know I have a place to come to where you get me. Again, thank you.

For today, I have a little fall nesting for you.

I refuse to engage in conversations that involve anyone saying it is fall yet. It is not fall. It is still summer, and here in Florida we have the heat and I have the frizzy hair to prove it. But I know fall is just around the corner and most importantly I felt the need to do something. To busy myself with an itty bitty project that would brighten my still somewhat sour mood.

I decided to make some covers for the throw pillows on my couch. The colors in our living room are yellow, turquoise and orange. I would’ve taken a full shot of the room but you know how it goes. It would’ve taken all afternoon to get the kids to pick up all the train tracks.

So, here are the pillows before:


Throw Pillow Cover

I remembered a tutorial from a while back from one of my favorite cottage home bloggers, Cottage Magpie, so I went to her site to find it. Here is her tutorial on How To Sew a Throw Pillow Cover in 10 Easy Steps. It was truly easy. Even easier for me because I totally skipped some steps 🙂

And here is the Throw Pillow Covers what I came up with:



I chose the white canvas first. It was in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby for $2. I was able to make one full cover out of it and then the other one I backed with burlap since I didn’t have enough for two. Whatever. Makes it more imperfect and unique, I say. Off of that, I went with the orange and white swirl duck fabric since it coordinates with the room and the other covers but is fun and new and adds a little needed freshness in the space what with all the stripes and solids going on.


So, there you have it. A little fall nesting. Even though I refuse to say it’s fall.

What are you doing to get ready for the looming change of season?