Home Blog Page 10

Another Impressive Off-Road Offering From Howe and Howe


Meet the Bulldog Extreme 4X4 Firetruck, from the same brothers who built the Ripsaw tracked vehicle.

The Former West Coast Choppers Building

Building once used by West Coast Choppers

I was recently traveling through Long Beach, CA and came across the former West Coast Choppers building where renowned fabricator Jesse James ran his business. The building is now home to a thrift store, but still has the original gate and door from West Coast Choppers, quite impressive fabrication.

former west coast choppers building long beach ca
west coast choppers jesse james gate long beach california

Local Rat Rod

rat rod truck

Happened to see this rat rod drive past the other direction on me and after running errands, we had to pick up my daughter and saw it again parked at the local high school.

rat rod

TroyBilt Mower Deck Repair – Spindle Mount Reinforcement

troybilt mower deck reinforcement

This one was a chain reaction of events.  It started when I mowed over a rock that is mostly in the ground, only sticking out what would seem an inch or two above the ground.  I’ve gone over this rock before without any problems, but one of the first mowing days of the season when the grass was still fairly tall, I managed to hit it wrong which forced the spindle to pull threw metal mounting whole of the mowing deck.

While looking for a replacement spindle, I found these reinforcement steel plate rings. I previously reinforced one of the other spindle mounts with plate steel we cut out with a plasma cutter.

More to come on this project…

troybilt mower deck spindle
Here was the initial damage, 2 bolts pulled through the mower deck sheet metal (left and right). Notice the cast broke off in the upper mount area as well.

reinforcement plate for mounting mower deck spindles IMG_6677

Considering a Used Nissan LEAF Electric Car? Check out this comparison of years and models…

nissan leaf emblem

A friend of mine sent this link to me, it’s a very comprehensive comparison of features and things to look for if you’re considering getting a used Nissan LEAF.  Several Nissan LEAF’s are showing up in the used car market, especially ones that were under a 3-year lease.  This article can might persuade you to look at a certain year or model over a different one.  Certainly worth the read for anyone considering jumping into the used Nissan LEAF market.


Custom DIY Steel Gates – The 52″ Four-Foot Gate

custom diy welded metal gate
custom metal gate tack welded
All vertical slots tack welded into place

Custom DIY Steel Gates – The 52-incher

Updated 1/15/16 (Locking Latch Installed)

After receiving a quote from the fence installers and not feeling warm and fuzzy with the price or options, we opted to go the DIY steel gate route.  These custom DIY steel gates will be used for our backyard, and won’t be considered “driveway entry” gates.  You can read about our Fence for Life Concrete fence review if you haven’t already seen it.  One option offered to us were plastic gates along with some pre-built metal gates, but both seemed a bit overpriced.  I was also concerned with possible UV damage on the plastic gate over time.  A slope for one of our gate locations also had me concerned about the pre-built route.

The Project:  I’m actually going to be building two separate, custom DIY steel gates. One is for a 16 foot wide opening and the other is a smaller, 4 foot opening.  For the 4 foot wide opening, the gate itself will be 52″ wide.  I’m going with a fairly basic design, keeping the custom DIY steel gates simple, with a focus on function over form.  While there’s plenty of pre-made decorative wrought iron gate pieces that we could weld in, the goal on this project was to keep both the design, construction, and cost as minimal as possible.
All of our steel was purchased from a local steel supplier.  A friend of mine has also used OnlineMetals >.I had to help one of the guys load it up, so it’s a good idea to bring a pair of gloves if you run into a similar situation.  This metal will typically have a heavy layer of oil on it to help prevent it from getting any surface rust.  It also helps in dirtying up your hands which you may not want to get inside of your vehicle.

The four foot wide gate is already in progress. Custom DIY steel gates design considerations:

  • Sliding or hinged:  Built from 1/8″ thick steel, it will be fairly heavy, we’ll have to decide if hinges are a practical option or if we’re better off going with a sliding mechanism. – UPDATE:  Because of weight, this will be made into a sliding gate.
  • This isn’t so much a security fence/gate as the intention is to keep our Siberian Husky from getting out. The slots are spaced out 4″ apart with an adequate height from keeping her from being able jump over or get any traction to climb out.
  • Long-lasting. While this might need some repainting over time and other maintenance, I want the gate itself to last quite a long time.  Part of that included the decision to go with thicker, heavier duty metal.  With that came an increase in both weight and cost.
custom diy steel gate welded frame
Welded frame for a custom built, 4 foot wide gate.
custom metal gate vertical slots chop saw
1″x1″ steel boxed tubing for vertical slots getting cut to length on the chop saw
custom metal gate vertical slots cut
All 1″x1″ boxed tubing steel slots cut and ready to weld onto the 2″x2″ boxed frame
custom metal gate jig
We built a 4″ wide wood jig to create even spacing between the vertical slots to ensure correct distance as we went along added each new slot.
custom metal gate jig
Another shot of the wooden jib clamped down between the vertical slots as they’re prepared for tack welding
custom DIY steel gates tack welded
All vertical slots tack welded into place


The gate has now been primed and a few coats of flat black will go on soon after some wet sanding and cooperation with the weather (steady rain lately).  I sprayed this outside with a rattle can primer/sealer and used an old table cloth to cover my rolling workbench since I didn’t have saw horses available.

custom four foot gate primed

Hardware to make this a sliding gate is currently on order (the rollers have arrived), but they rest of my parts should be arriving next week.

sliding gate rollers

New pics to come, but this was taken at “high noon”, sorry for the harsh lighting and shadows.  The gate is installed and sliding, just need to figure out what type of clasp I want to use to call this one done.

completed custom steel gate

Latch is now installed with a 4″ angle aluminum filler, the original fence installation was offset for some reason, I didn’t notice it until months later.

locking gate latch on custom sliding gate

Concrete Calculator

concrete calculator

I had a few bags of concrete left over from a previous project I planned to use on a new project, but had a feeling I might come up a bit short.  I didn’t want to take a chance of starting to mix concrete only to find myself needing more.  After a quick Google, I came across this online calculator that helped re-affirm I was going to need to make a run to the hardware store for two more bags.


Looking to Organize Your Fishing Rods? Consider the Rapala Lock and Load Rod Rack – Product Review

rapala fishing rod organizer holder

Updated 12/27/15

Fishing Rod Organization

Looking to get our fishing poles off of the floor (the wife has a tendency of sticking them in a corner of the garage), I decided to give the Rapala Lock and Load Rod Rack a try after seeing it on Amazon.  It’s designed so it can be mounted vertically on a wall or upside down on a ceiling, I opted for the ceiling option for my particular installation since we don’t have ton of open wall space in our garage right now as there’s several shelves around almost the entire garage.

Fence for Life – Concrete Fencing Review

fence for life concrete fence review

Concrete Fencing – Product Review

At our previous house we had a wood fence that despite being stained every couple years was noticeably weathered. I had to replace a post or two, repair the gate a couple times, and also straighten multiple posts that began to lean.  I remember when we had the house built (a fence was including the build), the building inspector mentioned that the fence would probably last 5 years or so, we managed to double that, but it probably didn’t have too much longer to go.

Needing a fence for the new house we recently purchased (new to us at least), I was looking forward to something that could rot, weather, rust, and would not need tons of maintenance.  I was also concerned about the durability of plastic fences that were available, both structurally and against UV discoloration.

While I was searching for options, I came across Fence for Life who serves Western Washington.  They mentioned the downside to metal or wood fences on their website and the advantages their fences offered with the motto “do it once for life”.  Their fences are molded from a reinforced concrete with several different styles and height options available, even the posts are made from concrete that is reinforced with rebar.  Since posts are often times the first failure of more traditional fencing, especially wooden posts, I was certainly intrigued with this option.  These fences are advertised as maintenance free and are supposed to withstand 85mph winds, but you may need to give them a pressure wash every couple years.  My only real concern at this point is if the ground gets too wet and if that causes the posts to lean.  The posts are 2-3 feet in the ground, so hopefully everything holds up.

Some photos of our concrete fencing installation:

The inward facing side of the fence panels do not have a decorative pattern like the outward facing, rather they are just flat.  This view shows how the 3.5 panels were stacked and slid inside the post slots.


concrete fencing fence for life
Small entry into our backyard, gate coming soon.
concrete fencing decorative panels
Along the side of our property.

On a Slope

Our backyard gradually slopes down and major excavation was never a consideration, so the majority of our concrete fencing gradually descends in a bit of a staggered fashion.


We’ve had ours installed since just May 2015 now, so far so good.  We’ve been happy with the concrete fencing so far, I just need to get the gates finished up.  If you have any questions about our concrete fencing experience, feel free to post them in the comments below.