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I’ve never liked the standard McLeod tool for trail work.  My main complaint has been the 48″ handle.  At 6’5″, that’s w ay too short and it caused me to have all kinds of soreness in my lower back.  Hell, it pained me to watch average height people use it.  The benefits of the McLeod’s head are outstanding.  It’s wide enough enough to use the corners as a significant lever when trying to pry rocks out of the ground.  The tines work great at sifting the rocks from the dirt, but they can break off if you aren’t careful.  For years I’ve used a ZAC Tools McLeod.  It came with a fiberglass handle with a wooden insert.  It was tough, but way too effing short.

A couple of years ago our club purchased some 60″ fiberglass handled Rogue Hoes.  We called them the Sarah Palin tool.  The long handle was fantastic, but the head was too small to be effective.  Women liked using them because they didn’t hang up in the rocks and roots as easily as the McLeod and the longer handle kept them from having to hunch over like Igor.

I got sick of my short handle, yanked it out, yanked out the 60″ handle on one of the Rogue Hoes, and installed it on my McLeod’s head.  Now I have a 62″ long handle on my McLeod head!  I epoxied the thing in there since I could only insert it deep enough to get the first bolt through it.  The aluminum sleeve on it really stiffens it up so you can yard the crap out of the thing when trying to unpluck stubborn rocks from the trail.

For years I’ve always wanted Rogue to make a longer handled tool with a McLeod like head.  I checked their website the other day and low and behold, they are now making a 54″ McLeod like tool.  It looked so cool, so I used some club funds to buy 2 with the intention of giving one to trail building guru Robert Newman.  He’s kind of picky, and he loved it!  I still prefer my custom McLeod, but a few minutes with the new Rogue McLeod, and I’m wishing they made a 60″ version.  It’s head is super thick and the blades are sharp.  It’s the perfect size.

Here are some pics.

L to R - Sarah Palin, custom XL handle McLeod, rock bar, Rogue McLeod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L to R - Sarah Palin, McLeod, rock bar, Rogue McLeod

We purchased ourselves a Weehoo for Christmas and Connor digs it, but the back of the seat pushes his helmet forward down over his eyes.  I look back and he’s hanging on to the handles, but he can’t see shit.  So I made this pad that comes up to his shoulders. I haven’t tried it with him, but I’m hoping it puts him forward just enough to give his helmet some space.  If anything, it will just give him more cushioning and keep him a bit cooler in the hot months.

It’s got 2 layers of foam, 1″ of open cell and 1/2″ of closed cell.  The air mesh is really nice.  It’s fun to work with because it has a bit of stretch and makes the cushion look really smooth and comfy.

The Weehoo is a tank, but it rolls nicely.  The wheelbase is a mile freakin’ long, so no switchbacks with this beast.  That’s ok.  Riding is riding.  And riding with the kid is awesome!

I went through the photos on my phone this afternoon and found a few gems from summers past.

I spent a few hours this afternoon installing some shelf brackets to add some organization to my sewing area.  I had some leftover wood from another project so that’s why the top shelves are kind of short.  I took out my thread stand and installed some small loops above the thread shelf to feed my thread off the top of the spools.  I organized my bobbin stash with some nails too.  I cleaned up the space to the right of the machine by removing this smock like pocket filled attachment I was using to stuff my spools into.  That didn’t work too well and seemed to take up more space than it should have.  Now I have a plastic bin thingy that holds a bunch of fabric and fabric rolls.  It’s got a little room to grow.

So that’s my work area for stuff that requires a walking foot which will include anything with more than 4 layers of cordura or things that require a walking foot.  A walking foot helps so much when trying to perform nice straight stitches on multiple layers of heavy fabric.  Too bad this machine has caused me so many problems.  I think I have everything worked out now.  When/if I earn all my money back from my expenditures (notice how I didn’t call this an investment) I’ll consider purchasing a servo motor.

Jen’s been hounding me to make Connor some nice diaper covers and we seem to be doing laundry a lot when we still have plenty of the thick absorbant liners stacked in the changing room.  I’m sure I could make some decent covers with the walking foot Pfaff 145, but I’ve always wanted a solid home machine that could do intricate work, zig zag, be reliable, have a table yet capable of being portable, and has some class and history as well.

I saw this Necchi Supernova on Craigslist about a month ago and finally called the guy so I could check it out.  I took too much money over there with me and I’m horrible at trying to score a bargain especially when something works exceptionally well.  I’m sure I paid too much for this machine, but since I got to try it out, I didn’t have to pay for shipping, and the thing is in incredible condition, I worked the guy down just a little from his asking price.  I had to work on the pedal a little, but if it goes you can get new/used ones for 5 or 6 bucks at yard sales.  First good one I see, I’m going to try to get it for no more than $5.  The lighting in the guy’s room wasn’t too good (damn cfs’s), and I really couldn’t tell what color or how much paint the table had.  He said he used spray paint…….and it looks like he used an entire can.  The table is really pretty despite the finish.  I figured that Jen wouldn’t complain if I told her she could keep a plant on top of it when it wasn’t in use. It sewed great putting in a beautiful zig zag pattern into some cordura and through 4 layers of dacron sailcloth.

Do a little research on the Supernova and the only other machine that might get more kudos is the model that came before it, the BU.  The Supernova uses cams to make decorative stitches.  My machine didn’t have a manual but I’ve tested some of the cams and they make some pretty neat patterns.  The cam that is installed in the picture above is a button holer.  I’m not sure exactly how it works, but it appears that you manually operate it to get the stitch you need to form the button hole.  My mom taught me how to use a zig zag machine to make button holes, so you really don’t need a button holer or a cam like this one to do the job, but if you’ve got 8 or 10 buttons to do on a shirt, then figuring out how to use something like this could save you a crap load of time and fabric turning.

I’m not sure if all the cams are here, but there are quite a few.  The box’s lid has an aluminum plate sandwiched in between the plastic with little windows cut out to show you all the different settings for a bunch of different cams/stitch patterns.  The lid has no hinges, bu the thing is probably over 60 years old as this machine came onto the scene in the 50’s.

Since this machine puts in such a great zig zag, I’ll use it to put in some “bar tack” type stuff on the heavier stuff, button hole style openings for things like camelbak hoses and battery wires, but mostly for light stuff like stuff sacks, diapers, and clothing alterations.  I can’t wait to put this thing to good use.  I ended up sewing through 6 layers of stretch denim!

Some of you are probably wondering, “What the hell is Wilson doing?  Is he going to ride any?”  Don’t worry people, I’ll get some good rides in this holiday.   I need to do some more gear testing and I’ve got some trail building planned as well.

Since I’ve spent quite a bit of money on this new sewing hobby of mine, I decided to expand it a bit.  I already have a couple of jobs lined up.  Maybe word of mouth might be enough to keep me busy but still be able to do all the other stuff I like to do.  We’ll see.  If you want more info on my mini-micro business, I created a website.  I debated on what to name it.  I wanted the name Double Sunrise….as in real sun on one side of the pic and an atomic blast on the other.  I got impatient trying to photochop pics to create that image so I stuck with the name it has.  Enjoy.

I’ve got a lot of organizing to do in my garage as you’ve seen in previous pictures.  It’s a freakin’ train wreck.  What you don’t see are the dozen bikes behind where I’m standing and the dozen wheels hanging above.  The road bike stuff seems to take up a lot of room.  Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with the skinnies.

So as to motivate myself to get things clean, I’m not posting any pics until I get it all squared away.  Blogs are worthless without pics.  I’ve also picked up a classic home machine which is deserving of some pics.  It’s beautiful and runs awesome.  Jen wanted me to make some diaper covers for Connor….not that he’ll be in them much longer.  I picked up a Necchi Supernova that makes a really nice zigzag stitch.  Zigzag stitching really helps when using lots of elastic.

Needless to say, I’m stoked for the holidays.  We’re looking a great weather forecast and I’m looking forward to getting my crap squared away.  Hopefully I’ll have something worth posting before Christmas.

I pushed the limits of sleep and exposure over the Thanksgiving holiday and worked the entire week afterwards in a pretty bad funk.  I lost my voice Monday afternoon but pushed on all week.  Stupid.  It’s not like I’m feverish, extra tired, or constantly hacking up a lung.  I’m only slightly below that.  I’m probably pushing myself towards mono or something.

So I spent the day finishing up a little handlebar bag that is going to attach to a new harness system that will hold my stuff sack.  It turned out pretty good, but for some reason, I have difficulty totally visualizing everything I want in a bag and just kind of wing it as I go.  This one should be a keeper.  I went ahead and struggled through putting some binding tape around the seams to keep it from fraying out.  I hate putting on binding tape.  It’s harder with a binder feeder than it is by hand.

So I’m spending all day today indoors just chillin’ and working on some small projects.  Going to re do my handlebar harness using the grey 1000d and will make up some bottle holders.  We’ll see how they turn out.