Real Decals

She is done.  Again, Chris comes H. through.  He did a great job cutting my vinyl for me.  I understand he had a couple hicups with his new cutter and the large rolls of black and silver.  I sent him the files to be cut last Friday, he had them cut by Wednesday.  I’ve been putting them on for the last two days.

I used Window cleaner to let them slide, but I think I wouldn’t use it again.  It seems to weaken the adhesive if its too thick.  It works ok if you spray it very lightly, and spray onto the decal.  But, if you go too heavy or spray onto the body it seems to compromise the adhesive and it never quite recovers.  I did the “MAZDASPEED” decal on the bumper first, and I sprayed the windex “heavy” directly on the hood.  This morning after 24 hours the decal was still so loose that I could move it around with one finger.  I tried heating it up and letting it cool, but it just never stuck.  Luckily, I had a second one….so, I just applied that one without any windex.

I think it looks pretty darn close to my digital test run: Decals.

I created all these graphics personally using Inkscape.  Then I sent the files (one per color) to Chris for cutting.  The numbers are simply “Arial Black” font draw large, and then thickened and thinned to create the outline and the inner number.


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I seem to have contracted a cold over Thanksgiving, so I’m laying low this weekend.  I figured I might as well start working on the graphics set for the car, until I feel human again.  I’ve been using Inkscape ( to do all the decal designs.  Its an awesome tool for vector graphics work (and free to boot).


Once I had all the graphics “designed”, I decided to lay them out on the car and see how it might look.  I didn’t end up using everything in the layout above…can’t hurt to have a few extras, tho’ right?



Chris suggested redoing the graphics with a black outline:



5 Beers

So, I decided that I wanted to brew some test beers to see how different types of Malt taste.  I started by making a beer base for a Pale Ale.  Then I divided the base into 5 separate batches and added 1/2 lb of 4 different types of specialty grains:

  1. Munich 20
  2. Honey
  3. Crystal 40
  4. Chocolate

I left one batch plain for comparison.  Below is a picture of all the little buckets, they’ve been fermenting in the beer/wine closet for a month, and are now ready to bottle up.  So, I bottled them in 1 1/2 gallon plastic bottles—a system called tap-a-draft, perfect for taking to parties.  Then I took some samples and put them in clear champagne glasses.

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Here are the sample glasses up close:

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  1. The Pale was surprisingly sweet.  It fermented out quite well…so, I’m not really sure why it ended up tasting slightly sweet.
  2. The Munich had a slight roasty flavor to it, and was much less sweet.
  3. The honey was also silghtly sweet and has the distinct aroma and flavor of honey.  The interesting thing is that there is ZERO honey in honey malt.
  4. The Crystal is an odd carmel-y flavor, that I’m not really very fond of.  It works much better to “round” out flavors in a beer than as the main flavor note.
  5. The chocolate had disctinct notes of chocolate and coffee with very little perceptible sweetness. Even though it was the “least fermented” of all 5.

Back from Paint!

Chris Haldeman painted the car for me.  This is a purely decadent post of pictures.  I think it looks AWESOME!

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2 year old Porter (Can it still be good?)


2 years ago (today) I brewed a basic Robust Porter recipe. It was going to be the starting point for some attempts at toasting my own malts…in particular a smoked brown malt. After reading Ray Daniels descriptions of original porter, I’d decided I wanted to try and figure it out. Anyway, I’d made this batch of modern porter to set a few aside for comparison as I worked on the recipe. Long story, shorter….life happened and I ended up leaving the porter in the secondary for the last two years. I’m getting back into brewing now, and I just knew this beer was a goner. I just hadn’t gotten around to dumping the carboy.

So, its porter season again…a couple weeks ago I brewed the same porter recipe…this time with the intent to split the batch into secondaries and add chocolate/vanilla to one, coffee to the other, and a small but un-doctored. Last night I transferred the new porter into carboys with the secondary ingredients. While I had all the racking / cleaning equipment out, I figured it was a good time to finally get rid of the old Porter.

As I pulled the airlock off the carboy, I decided, “Well, I might as well take a gravity reading, just to see where it finished.”

Then it was, “Huh…now I’ve got a thief full of beer. It can’t hurt to take a small sip, right?”

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Beer Making Day

Its been a while since I made a batch of beer!  I decided to make a batch of basic Porter, today.  I use BeerSmith ( 1.4 for my recipe design.  The recipe below is a pretty middle of the road modern Porter, just to get my feet wet again.  Eventually, I want to start working on a more authentic Porter that is slightly more traditional.  Porter was originally a beer that was made in massive quantities, and was actually used as sustenance by the working class.

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Cutoff Switch Remote Pull


My birthday was a week ago, but the family just managed to get together this last weekend.  The two big shop presents?  A new shop stool, and a pair of 18V Lithium Ion batteries and a charger!  Sweet.

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Table Skirt Completed, Breadboard Ends

Today I finished cutting the tennons for all the skirt parts.  As soon as I get a chamfer bit, I can complete the table base.



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Shop Reorg



I took some time to rearrange the workshop.  The old layout was wasting a lot of space.  It worked well for woodworking, but didn’t really leave much room for the racecar.  It worked obviously, since I installed the roll cage in the old layout.  But, with the tablesaw and the WW workbench parallel there was only about 2 feet on either side of the car when it was pulled between them.  I rotated the tablesaw/planer/outfeed assembly by 90 degrees.  So, now there is just barely overlap if I pull the car all the way into the shop with the front nose.



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Paint Prep


A friend is going to paint the car for me, but I’m doing as much of the prep work as I can.  That way he can just “spray&go”.

But, before I got to sanding and such, I needed to reinforce the new mounting location of the driver’s rear view mirror.  I moved it to the A-pillar, but now it “flops around” while driving.   So, I took some 3/16″ steel plate (probably overkill), cut it to shape and hammered it until it fit the inside contour of the door skin.  Then I buttered the front side with bondo, and slid it into place.

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