Monday, February 24, 2020

You may not be interested in the virus but the virus is interested in you

"You may not be interested in the virus but the virus is interested in you" - Steve Bannon.  It has been over six years, since I posted anything on my blog. I have done a few things towards self-sufficiency meanwhile but did not post anything. 

I have been following the events unfolding in Wuhan, China closely for slightly over a month. The building of 1000 bed hospital in less than a week got my Spidey senses tingling.  

Many thoughts crossed my mind like:
  • How infectious is this disease?
  • How fatal is this diseases?
  • Is it man-made or zoonotic?

Then again I never believed in Chinese Communist Party numbers. Now we are seeing some real numbers coming out of Italy, South Korea and Cruise Ships.

Italy maybe 5000 miles from here but all it takes is one infected person to start a cluster anywhere in the world. The temperature checks are meaningless as a person can be asymptomatic from anywhere between 14 days to 42 days.  The word "quarantine" originates from the Venetian dialect form of the Italian quaranta giorni, meaning "forty days". This is due to the 40-day isolation of ships and people before entering the city-state of Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik in Croatia). So lets do a full quarantine.

Many are saying this as a black swan event just like the collapse of many institutions back in 2009 but this is more like the Chickens have come home to roost. There is built-in risk on the way uber globalized economy is built.  We really have to rethink, the way run our economy and make it more local end to end. Can't have components made all over the world at the cheapest price point and ignore the risk. This is risk I saw more than a decade ago and started this blog.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Home Improvement - Installing Shelving in a closet

Lets explore ways to make a closet more efficient by adding shelving. This kind of shelving is perfect for families with growing kids. You can add more shelves as you need or change the gap between the shelves.

Hardware Used:
  1. 48" Double Track  - 2 
  2. Double Track Hardware Kit - 2
  3. 9" wide double track bracket - 6
  4. 1/2" Thick, 1' Wide, 6' foot wooden boards

Step 1: Find the studs with a stud finder
Step 2: Use blue masking tape to mark on the stud
Step 3: Install strips
Step 4: Cut board to size
Step 5: Cut notches on the board
Step 6: Mark the board for the hardware
               (Use L bracket and mark with pencil)
Step 7: Screw L bracket on the board 

Step 8: Hang the board with L bracket installed

Here is the YouTube video I posted couple of years ago:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Build your own mobile drill press stand using Rockler hardware

The last stand for my drill press costed me $45 (back in 2008) but it was flimsy. You can see the old stand from one of the youtube videos I made back in 2009. My drill press has been sitting on the floor without a stand for last several years.

This year, I'm on a mission to improve my garage and increase garage productivity. My previous post on the shop light installation was a step in the direction of garage improvement. The drill press needed a stand badly.

I started this project back in early November 2013 when I ordered hardware from Several of the items I ordered were backordered. These must be on high demand. This is the Rocker hardware cost:

32" Shop Stand Legs, Set of 4
Item # 60749
18" Stand Stretchers, Set of 4
Item # 60757
24" Stand Stretchers, Set of 4
Item # 60764
Discount (4C999):-$5.00
Grand Total:$147.96

I also bought the following items 
  • 8 feet of   2X10  board - $7
  • Mounting hardware    - $10
  • Mobile Base               - $45
  • Paint                           - $3
The total cost of the stand was nearly $215. It maybe on the expensive side but its worth it as:
  1. It is sturdy. This will last me for years to come unlike the last stand.
  2. There are options to attach drawer hardware later. This option will increase garage efficiency further in future.
  3. The stand sits on a mobile base. The mobile base will allow me to move the drill press and the storage underneath it (that will be a future project) to the desired work location in the garage. My garage is small and having power tools on mobile bases is a huge blessing.

Here are the steps of this build:
(1) Assemble stand hardware from
(2) Built the stand (table) top using 2X10 lumber.
(3) Assemble the mobile base

Out of the above, #1 and #3 are simple and you have to follow the instructions that come with the package.

Steps to Built the stand (table) top using 2X10 lumber:
  1. We want the stand (table) top to be nearly flush with the stand. Cut the 2X10 into 24 1/2" long boards. 
  2. Joint the cut boards using a router table with jointing option or a hand-held jointer or jointer.  Jointing creates a straight edge which is perpendicular to the flat board face. I use 1/32" adjustment on my Kreg router table. Two straight edge is necessary to have a good glue up.  
  3. Glue the edge of the boards.
  4. Attach wooden support for extra stability of the top.
  5. Round the board edge using 5/16" round over router bit.
  6. Sand the top and sides using 80, 150 and 220 grit sand paper successively
  7. Clean the dust 
  8. Apply a coat of finish and let it dry
  9. Attach the top using #10 screw and 6mm washers to the stand.
Here is video which explains the above steps:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rustic Coasters

Purchased a bandsaw late last year and was looking for the first project to test the bandsaw.

Its not just about adding skills but also very important to build a community around us. A community who can appreciate hand crafts in the age of mechanization and automation (a.k.a the age of oil) . The coasters from a wooden log are simple to make and servers the above purpose.

Leveraged the local community of woodworkers at to find a well dried log of wood. The steps of make a coaster are relatively simple:

  1. Scrape the excess bark from the wooden log
  2. Cut the wood pieces in the equal thickness. I used 3/4" thickness and the ones I made of 1/2" thickness would break after they fell from my hand onto the floor.
  3. Sand the coasters with sand paper of 80, 120 and 150 grits progressively
  4. Apply 3 coats of finish.  Once a coat is dry, use 0000 steel wool to smooth the excess finish.
I have two videos describing the whole process.

Lesson Learnt:

  • Use a miter saw to cut the wood instead of a bandsaw and miter saw provides more stable platform than a bandsaw.

Hope you will enjoy the video and perhaps try making a few of your own. Would love see the pictures of your work and hear your comments.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Shop Lighting Installation

We bought a home near my work place couple of years ago. Its a new home built by one of the branded home builders. This is step in the direction of home-steading. This model had the biggest garage out of all the available models of town homes. I bought a 4-lamp shop light almost 12 months ago and it was sitting on my work bench. My desire and commitment to run full-marathons took up most of my weekends. I ran two full marathons in 2012. In 2013, I have toned down my running to only half-marathons. This has freed up some of my time to focus on the tons of projects waiting to be executed. All these projects are aligned towards the long term goal of self-sufficiency.

This garage-light was sitting on the work-bench for over a year and hogging up the space. I needed the work  bench for the project. Working light will help a lot during the evening hours. Last weekend was long weekend due to MLK's birthday celebrations. Installing the garage light was one of the priority items on my list.

Most of my power tools are on wheels. I typically drag them close to the garage door so that there is plenty of supply of fresh air. Fresh air is needed as the tools are producing copious amounts of saw-dust. Even though I have an attached dust collector but fresh air helps.  The decision was made to keep the garage light exact on top of the area where most of the work will be done. This created the challenge of being able to open the garage door and still have a working hanging light.

In this youtube video, I have attempted to describe the way I overcame the challenge of installing the shop light between the garage door in open position and ceiling.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What happened to author of this blog?

I have not written anything on my blog for last couple of years.  I have made some good progress with my woodworking and running skills in last couple of years and I have real good material to share with you all readers. I have run two marathons, almost a dozen half marathons and numerous 5K races. I also started juicing last year and it has very successful. Health is one of the primary focus in last few years and I have tons of research in this area. Its high time for me to start writing again. I have posted a few videos on my youtube channel during this winter season.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Garlic Harvest 2011

Garlic Harvest 2011 by sumantamandal
Garlic Harvest 2011, a photo by sumantamandal on Flickr.

This was the first time I have grown garlic. Has a fairly successful harvest. The widest one is ~ 2inch in diameter. Learnt a lesson: The garlic was growing in backyard during April- May and there was not enough sun in the backyard so I moved them to front yard in late May. The lack of sun light during the earlier phase of its growth cycle stunted its growth a little bit.