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Fall Is Coming

Game of Thrones has made the phrase “winter is coming” circulate throughout the world like the plague. For those who don’t watch, I highly recommend it. This season really has me on the edge of my seat, and like everyone else, my Sundays have been pretty much blocked off so that I can watch it as soon as possible. It’s too bad there’s only one season left after this one, I’m not sure what I’ll do without it once it’s gone. I’m sure there will always be another great show to watch though, it just might take time for it to come around. If you don’t watch the show and you’re interested in getting your feet wet you can check out some of the previews at, but if you’re serious about getting into it I’d absolutely recommend watching from the beginning.

But I didn’t come here to write about Game of Thrones, did I? More importantly, there’s another season that has to take it’s toll before winter can arrive. I hate to say it folks but summer is nearing it’s last days, and it’s time to start thinking about the outdoor work that needs to be done prior to buttoning up for the end of the year.

For me there are obviously a number of things to take care of, but one project that has been looming over my head is refinishing our dining room table. 

It’s an old table, so the finish is just generally worn and starting to peel all over. there are some particular areas where it is completely bare, as shown in the picture above. It’s a very nice oak table however, and we’ve had it for over 25 years. It’s really hard to come by something with this level of build quality these days, especially without breaking the bank. But I have a lot of stained surface to remove before I can get to work, and how can I do that without ruining my shoulder?

The answer, of course, is a good ole’ random orbit sander. The beauty of these tools is that they can be used both for rough work and for finish work. Unlike a belt sander, which is pure, brute force power and can leave you with an uneven surface if you’re not careful, a random orbit sander operates in a pattern that really makes the sanding process dummy-proof while still providing enough sanding power to stand up to most every day jobs. The sanding pad is a circle which makes it good for working rounded and routed edges – this can be really tricky with different types of sanders.

The truth is, I hate sanding. Even with the proper choice of tool it takes a lot of strenuous labor. The wrong tool can make the job way worse though, so knowing which one to use at the outset can make a world of a difference. Once I get this table smooth and free of the old stain, I’ll be able to give it a nice coat of a darker stain which will match our dining room much better. Hopefully all will go well and I can finish it up while we still have the last nice weather of the summer on our side.

Update: Here’s the finished product, with my wife’s artistically placed coffee drink:

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Make Cleaning Easier With A Pressure Washer

Tonight I tried something new. And I really liked it!

My neighbor had just received his new electric pressure washer, and he was cleaning the algae and barnacles off of his 19′ Boston Whaler. Up until today, I’ve only ever scrubbed the bottom of my boat with a huge brush or a paint scraper. While I’d hear of them and seen them used for years I’d never wielded a pressure washer of any type.

It’s probably obvious, but these machines save a ton of time. What would have been a solid two days of scrubbing and brushing (with plenty of elbow grease) was reduced to ~1/2 hour of time with my neighbor’s new electric pressure washer. As we got to talking I realized that there are many situations in my life where I could put this tool to good use:

  1. Clearing my driveway and removing unwanted weeds using the jet tip.
  2. Gently cleaning the delicate surfaces of my car.
  3. Removing the algae from my house’s vinyl siding, without causing any damage.

So I went ahead and bought my own. I’ve been having a blast (no pun intended) with it. It makes a quick job of my car’s rims, leaving them nice and shiny. Our house siding looks clean and brand spanking new. Our driveway is clear as can be. I even cleaned our charcoal grill, and it looks as good as new.

Basically our entire yard and house exterior has been given a facelift, and best of all it was incredibly easy. I didn’t even use any detergent, and I’m sure it work even better if I had.

The pressure washer came with a few different nozzles, and I’m going to try the gentlest one on my car in combination with some detergent. I suspect that it will be much better than washing by hand with a sponge, and with less risk of introducing scratches. On top of that, it will probably use a lot less water than normal.

Anyway, you can head over to for some useful information if you are interested. They have some great reviews and a helpful buying guide that made my purchase quite easy. I opted to go with an option that boasted a lot of power, even though it was a bit on the pricier side. I think it has paid off. Hopefully it will last for years to come.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, I’d highly recommend you look into one. Mine has been a huge time saver. If you really need even more power you can look into gas-powered pressure washer, but I opted for an electric model for ease of use (and less trips to the gas station).

Fall is coming faster than imagined. Make sure you’re ready for the fall cleanup!