Category Archives: General

Why would hiring a carpet cleaner in Clinton UT be a challenge?

ACT I Brand X
I thought this was a recession! I thought that carpet cleaners would be begging for work! I called Brand X last week and scheduled today at 1 pm. At 1:30 it was a no show so I called to see if they were still coming. They said “Gee we don’t have you on the schedule!” Needless to say, after spending hours moving furniture in preparation, I was a little disappointed. I expressed my dismay, and they said they’d have someone over at 5 pm. At 5:30 it was a no show, so I called to ask if they were still coming. The gal I talked to said “Gee I can’t understand that. You’re not on the schedule, and I remember talking to you earlier”. Again (and I’ll pat myself on the back for keeping my cool) I expressed my dismay.

ACT II Simply Clean Carpet & Upholstery Care, Clearfield UT
After leaving the Brand X call, I started calling local Google listings for carpet cleaners. I connected with Stephen Galloway, owner of Simply Clean. I told him my story of woe. Steve had already done a day’s work, and had just arrived home. But he said, “Gee do you have all that furniture moved? … OK … How about I come over and do the job in about 20 minutes?” 20 minutes later he was here setting up his equipment.

As you might assume, I’m writing this just because I believe folks who know how to provide good service should be rewarded. Well that’s Stephen of Simply Clean Carpet & Upholstery Care. I was totally impressed with his service attitude, and as you might expect, the cleaning was top notch!

If you are in Davis County Utah ( Clinton, Clearfield, Syracuse, Layton, etc) I whole-heartedly recommend this company for your carpet cleaning needs!

Simply Clean Carpet & Upholstery Care Inc.
Clearfield UT 84015

One man’s dream: The Shop is “Complete”

I posted photos of the foundation pour 18 months ago. In the last month, I’ve made a pretty complete transition from working ON the shop to working IN the shop … but ever since framing was complete the shop equipment was in. So I’ve been tripping over things for quite a while.

I won’t say its done, because it probably never will be. But after finishing a project and getting ready to start a new one, it was pretty clean so I thought I’d share photos.

The sweetest part to me, right now, is the radiant floor heat. I did the final plumbing two weeks ago and fired up the heating unit (80 gallon 75,000 btu water heater in the attic). Temperatures outside have been in the teens. The shop floor has been a constant 73 degrees. Hmmmm. Nice. After Christmas I worked on a project with my daughter, Erin, who was in town for the holiday. I smiled when I saw that she’d kicked off her shoes and was standing in stocking feet while applying finish to the work.

Heat system controls

It was really none to soon. Most of the last two weeks have been “Red” pollution days along the Wasatch Front, and wood burning has been prohibited. (I guess it wouldn’t have stopped me from burning a good hot fire in the woodstove, but I really don’t want to be a part of the problem.)

A slideshow of the shop is here:
Slide show on Flickr

If you mouse over the show, you will find a “STOP” button in the lower left, which will allow you to progress at your own rate. If you click on the center of the photo a description will be displayed.

The Paint Job

Ev Kreitzer had an attitude. I’m not sure if it was a good attitude or a bad attitude, but he definitely had one, and I liked it. The year was 1969, and I had a job at Dennis Company that suited me very well. It suited me especially well when I was driving trucks, zipping around in forklifts and generally doing a man’s work in the body of a boy who was just becoming a man. Ev was working as the mechanic out back in the shop, until as it happened, Jim Fuller became ill, and could no longer drive the semi on the long-haul runs. The other teamsters around there had no interest in that work. They were country boys, and driving the Freightliner actually involved trips into Portland and Seattle! But Ev had been on that turf before, and when the boss asked him to do the job — or told him he had the job as the case may be — Ev was in the driver’s seat again. Yes, I was envious, but I also knew that the job wasn’t going to go to a 17 year old kid. I asked him if he liked it, and all he really said was “I guess I saw it coming. I guess it’ll be OK” But if you ask me, I think it was a definite yes. I think he liked it.

One of Ev’s attitudes was, “The boss is not always right and the boss doesn’t need to know everything.” It suited him well, and by my observation, it suited the boss pretty well too, because Ev did his job and didn’t rub it in too much when the boss was wrong. This particular attitude came to bear on both sides of the equation one day when Ev and I were tasked with unloading some steel rebar from the flatbed trailer behind the Freightliner. Setting off to the task, I’m pretty sure that two things were true. First, I’m pretty sure that the boss told us to unload it by hand. Second, I’m also pretty sure that Ev said it was a damn shame that the company wouldn’t buy any decent equipment, because it just doesn’t make any sense to pull off all that re-bar by hand.

Ev described the job in slightly different terms than the boss. He explained that we’d hook a chain to the two tons of re-bar and link it up under the bucket of our ancient loader. I’d lift the load, and he’d pull the trailer out from under it. It was not a bad plan, except for the load rating and condition of the old loader. It was quite a contraption. It operated without modern hydraulics. The lift mechanism consisted of a cable and drum affair. When the lift clutch was engaged the cable would wind about the drum and the load would rise. The skill of the operator was much more important on the descent. A gentle nudge of the hand to the left on the control lever would cause the drum brake to slip and the load to descend. With the two tons of steel hanging below the bucket, I gave the lever a gentle nudge and the load began to descend with surprising speed. Then I made a mistake. For some silly reason I thought a slow descent would be preferable. I gave the lever a gentle nudge to the right and the drum brake grabbed with an absolute finality. Gravity took care of the rest and everything was instantly on the ground except for the rear wheel of the loader, which implies of course that the loader was no longer horizontal. It was definitely vertical. While my face was still plastered to the windshield, Ev came around and questioned, “Are you OK?”

I affirmed that I was just fine, though slightly upside-down.

Then the second part of the attitude kicked in, “We’d better get this thing set upright before the boss sees it!”

I had to agree. Ev pulled out a chain, brought over a little forklift, pulled on the tail end of the loader and it came down with a bounce.

In 1970, the aging Freightliner was replaced with a somewhat newer model. Ev was OK with that, but he did think that the boss fell a little short of the mark when he bought a new truck without power steering and with a pretty awful paint job. But Ev was up to the challenge. He bought a power steering unit with his own money and installed it on his own time. It was a successful negotiation, I guess. As to the paint job, Ev did the work, and I’m pretty sure that he got paid for it. Well, all except for the blue stripe. Every Dennis Company truck was white, without a hint of color, except for the red lettering on the side. Ev just decided that the truck was going to have a blue stripe. A small protest from the proletariat, but a protest none the less. I liked the paint job and told him so. It was then that Ev hit me with some country wisdom that I’d never heard before, but will always be with me. With his aw-shucks attitude he said simply, “A good paint job, can cover up a multitude of sins.”

This weekend I cleaned up my 1961 Delta unisaw, and gave it a good paint job. I’m certain that Ev was there in spirit. I think he’d like the paint job.

Before After

Adjustable height workbench / assembly table

In my early years of woodworking and cabinet building, I spent a lot of time assembling things on the floor. I’d never worked in a professional shop, and I didn’t have the room for an assembly table. When I went to work in the ML Bigelow organ shop, our primary assembly table was a dead flat surface of 10′ X 5′. What a difference! With a dead flat surface, assembling cabinets to square is so much easier. With the work off the floor, assembly requires a lot less expressive language.

For my new shop, and especially for piano action regulation I wanted a nice assembly table, but also I wanted it to be adjustable in height. The pictures below show my creation.

The adjustable height will allow me to do action regulation work comfortably in both sitting and standing positions. The table top is 3′ X 5′ and the surface is dead flat within 0.5 mm. The flat table was constructed in as a torsion box, pretty much as described by the “Wood Whisperer” in this article. It features an oak apron which sits 1/4″ proud of the table top. This allows a 1/4″ piece of masonite to lay inside the apron. When the work surface becomes marred, it can easily be replaced. That’s a nice feature!

I created the adjustable height mechanism by adapting an adjustable height cart sold by Harbor Freight. I removed the wheels and handle from the cart and fitted it to the base. The table top is fastened with lag screws and plenty of construction adhesive. There is a small amount of side play in the mechanism, so the table wouldn’t be suitable for much pounding and hammering, but that’s not what I had in mind. At all heights it is very stable vertically. The table has plenty of mass (about 300 pounds), which enhances its stability.

Adjustable height workbench and assembly table

Adjustable height workbench and assembly table
Minimum working height of the table is 24 inches.

Adjustable height workbench and assembly table
Maximum working height of the table is 48 inches.

Antelope Island Ride

It was a beautiful afternoon. Is it the last spurt of Summer? At 85 degrees, I think maybe so. I don’t ride out to Antelope Island often, just because it burns me that the State Park wants $3 for a bicycle and rider. Oh well, I still wanted to go. This is today’s ride, and a shot on the island taken with my phone.

Map of Antelope Island Ride 9/17/2009

This is today’s view looking north from the north of the island. It seems to capture the landscape’s ethereal nature.

Antelope Island View

The numbers from the ride:

  • 29 miles round trip
  • 1 horsefly bite. Those creatures are vicious! While riding at 15 mph, they’d pace me looking for an opportunity.
  • 9 antelope! Grazing at the north end of the island
  • Thousands of seabirds! Gulls, terns, sand pipers
  • 1 butterfly
  • Millions of bugs
  • 6 bicyclists
  • 4 other people outside their cars!
  • Woodturning 101 – homework

    Admitting my amateur status, woodturning is new to me! I’m going forward boldly, and I can see that I’ll need to be self-aware concerning addictive activities.

    Tuesday a drive spur arrived in the mail. More accessories are on the way. Tuesday I took hold of the dull lathe tools I acquired with the lathe, and attempted some turning. It wasn’t very satisfying!

    Tonight I spent a few minutes sharpening the gouge and skew and I transformed a 4×4 into a very satisfying enigma. The lathe runs smoothly, and in my ignorance I don’t know what else I’d ask for! (Unless one of you wants to come over and help me design and build an effective dust collection port for the lathe)

    First experience with the lathe

    On the path to RPT

    The Piano Technicians Guild offers the Registered Piano Technician (RPT) to individuals who have passed a series of tests demonstrating professional competence in three areas of piano technology: tuning, regulation, and repair.

    Last night at the Salt Lake City chapter meeting, I took the first step to certification. I took and passed the written exam! Ahead of me in the next year are two skills tests:

  • Regulation and repair
  • Tuning

    I’ll be practicing the skills I need for the first of these as I complete the rebuild of the Stieff Grand for Syracuse Arts Academy. The tuning exam, for me, is more intimidating. I hope to have enough aural tuning skill to take and pass the tuning exam next summer.

    On the road!

  • So you think you’re gonna ride the SLC Century?

    Last week I rode my first 20 mile ride of the season. Foolishly, this week I asked my friend Troy if he’d like to go on 20 mile ride with me. I’m beat. Not quite the athlete stud I’d like to be! A couple of problems here.

    • Troy is an athlete stud, even if this was his first ride of the season
    • I foolishly suggested that we start at his house (250 ft higher than the low point on the route)
    • I let Troy determine the route, which turned out to be 27 miles, not 20 miles.
    • Troy set a leisurely pace (for him!), and I foolishly kept up with him for the first 13 miles
    • I’m carrying an extra 20 pounds THAT NEED TO GO AWAY!

    27 mile route: North Ogden through West Weber

    Woodshop progress: Lighting and Dust Collection Cyclone

    I keep plugging away. After hanging ceiling drywall and fifteen light fixtures, I’m pretty good at getting up and down a scaffold. So why don’t I feel like a kid? (because its been 40 years since I was sixteen?)

    The lighting is beautiful to my eyes – pretty much drafting room quality. Its fifteen dual-tube 8′ fixtures (T-12), for the 28X30 space. About 1900 watts total. I have it wired on two 15A circuits. I haven’t yet "split the ballasts", but will do that. When that is done, I’ll have the ballast in each fixture light just one tube in of its own and one of a neighboring fixture. That way I can have uniform lighting at 50% and 100%, depending on the need at the time.

    The fluorescent fixtures are not state of the art. Current lighting is predominantly efficient T-8 (1 inch) fixtures which are very nice and quiet! While I would like to go premium, the cost savings of my used T-12’s (1-1/2 inch) paid for the ClearVue cyclone. I found 20 used fixtures with tubes for $400 and grabbed the deal.

    Here’s today’s photos:

    Spring is coming!

    When I got up yesterday, I decided to encourage spring a bit by shaving off my beard. It worked! Yesterday afternoon the sun came out and snow began to melt. It was in the mid-40’s when I got home at 4. I installed the mesh seat that Terri repaired in November. I pumped the tires up to 90 PSI and I got on my bike and went for a ride! I rode like the wind. Well, not quite. The bike wanted to go fast, but my body didn’t. 2.5 miles, and I was well … I was pooped. 3 months of no riding just is not a good training program. But I sure felt alive afterward! Clean air and ice-free roads are coming soon. Let’s ride!