How to Customize a Hockey Stick and Make it Extra Special

With the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in full swing, my soccer playing daughter decided she really wanted in on the fun with her own hockey stick. Although my beloved Red Wings and adopted Coyotes are not of the tournament, I still have the hockey itch this time of year. Why not? After all, it was only 115°F  at our house today, perfect weather for thinking about hockey.

Of course, I'll set Gracie up in the backyard pond to slap the puck around a bit.

I found a wooden, kid's size hockey stick with a straight blade. Clearly that wouldn't do. As an ex-Michigan, lake hockey kid, I know I gotta tape up the stick and put a slight curve to the blade to give my little girl an authentic puck handling experience. At least as authentic experience as I can muster the summer,... in the desert,... during record-breaking high temperatures.

If you've been reading for the past year, you know that if I do any project where heating stuff up is involved, I'll be bringing out a blow torch.

This post is sponsored by Bernzomatic
All experiences and opinions are 100% my own.

I clamped the kid stick in a bench vice and fired up the torch. Because I wanted to disperse heat over a wider area than I would if I was soldering, cutting, loosening bolts, or wood burning, I chose the Bernzomatic BZ4500HS Heat Shrink Torch. Compared to the rifle-precise flame you'd find in their TS8000, the Heat Shrink torch is a like a blunderbuss; it blasts a much wider flame to heat a broader area.
Bernzomatic BZ4500HS Heat Shrink Torch
Bring on the heat!

How to Easily Restore Headlights to Beautiful, New Clarity

I've never tried restoring crusty, yellowed headlights before, although I've seen the restoration kits available for years.

For whatever reason, I thought of the whole headlight restoration concept was an "As Seen on TV!!!"  late night infomercial type product, like spray on hair, or a that blanket with sleeves that prevents a gruesome death by strangulation risked by a normal, highly-dangerous blankets. I figured the products would improve my headlights a little bit, or at least they wouldn't be harmful to try. Likely,  I'd eventually replace the lights from a junkyard recovery place or ebay anyway.

If you follow me on Facebook (please), you know I inherited my Dad's beloved Miata MX-5. I shipped it from Michigan to Arizona, about a month ago. This car needs some TLC.

How to Make Easy Electrical Repairs with a Torch

Last fall, while doing routine maintenance, I managed to damage some of the wiring for our pool equipment. It was a small control / sensor cable to the saltwater chlorination cell. I slapped a band-aid fix on it to get it working, and, of course, promptly forgot about it for the next few months.

Now that daily temperatures are spiking up above 100° F in Phoenix, the pool is getting heavy, summertime use. When I fired up the squirting water jets to delight our youngest, I noticed I'd never gotten back to doing a proper repair on the wiring.

I'd simply twisted on a couple wire nuts and wrapped the thing in electrical tape. My haphazard fix was still hanging there, suspended like a cocoon. Electrical tape isn't a long term fix, especially when its exposed to the elements.

Soon will come a beautiful butterfly!
Since this is a tiny, exposed cable, it didn't make sense to install some sort of slice box. I couldn't even replace it because it is attached directly to the sensor in a water pipe. I decided I'd solder the wires together and protect them with some heat shrink tubing.

DIY Lap Desk with Burned Wood Finish

As the kids get older and move up through school, access to the family computer for this desert-dwelling, DIY-blogging dad has been getting more and more scarce.

Finally, since the beginning of the year, I've been putting all my content together on my handy Surface Tablet. Usually, this consists of me on the couch or propped up in bed with the tablet perched on a decorative pillow. I peck away at the keys while the computer wallows around like a sinking barge.

I've wanted to build some kind of lap desk for quite a while, but now that I've been precariously blogging on a pillow or a few months, I decided it was time to get it done.

This lap desk is a cool, inexpensive project that can be done in a couple hours with some basic tools. I still wanted mine to be visually attractive, so I did a cool torch-burned finish to bring out the detail in the wood.

Garage, Workshop, or Dumping Ground?

We've lived in this house for 10 years. In all that time, we've never had our vehicles inside the garage, not once. The space has always been teetering between dumping-ground and workshop. A dumpshop? I've always envisioned it as my bad-ass workshop, but its certainly a multi-use room.

Bless my sweet wife, she's always happily allowed me my man-cave, without complaint.

Along with general family storage, I've slowly taken the place over with workshop stuff. My tool chest, workbench, the 5-in-one Shopsmith multi-tool, a thickness planer, and my beast-sized, custom-built miter saw bench dominate the garage workshop. I've got wood, hardware, and building material jammed in every nook and cranny. In true Arizona style, I also get to share the space with our laundry facilities.

Life and Loss

Hey friends.

Things have been a quiet around here at AZ DIY Guy, but don't worry. Big things are on the horizon.

For now, I figured I'd step out from behind the curtain and post a more personal update. I think it's appropriate to share here, since personal life stuff really does affect the whole DIY thing in a big way. It's real life. Personal energy, family finances, available time, life successes, and tragedies all play into the mix. Projects get delayed. Luckily, this time, I was not in the midst of a big renovation when tragedy visited. I knew it was coming, eventually.  I'm not going to promote this post out through social media, I'll just leave it here for my closest followers.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I lost my awesome Dad on Good Friday. It simply took me out of action.

My brother Jim and I went hog-wild decorating the funeral home with our Dad's artwork dating back as far as his college days in the 1960's, as well as examples from of his 48 years as an art teacher.


Not your average funeral at all. 

"Your Dad was the best"
                           - everyone

My last post was basically complete as I sprinted out of town. I finished editing a few photos as I flew back to Michigan and posted before going dark for a couple weeks. Crisscrossing the country, first racing to be at his side at the end, then again to prepare for and attend his funeral took a lot of steam. 

Writing blog posts can be tough at times, but writing my father's obituary was the one of the two absolute toughest things I've had the honor write. The other was my brother Jef's eulogy, nearly 4 years ago. I just didn't have another eulogy in me this time. Jim, just went up there and hit a home run with a wonderful speech that summed it up.

Life goes on. I'm back at home, back at my day job, and back at AZ DIY Guy. It's an odd time. The second day I was back, leaving the office, I caught myself reaching for my cell phone to call him on my drive home, as I have nearly every day for the past 11 months following his cancer diagnosis. I'm really going to miss those talks.

My Dad read this blog and really enjoyed it, especially, the posts with humor. He never hit the Facebook like button or posted a comment, but he'd often send me an email about the posts he enjoyed the most. He even sent my knuckle-head Advanced Clock Installing post to some of his old buddies around the country. We'd talk about my projects and I'd get his advice, especially the more creative / artistic stuff. I especially remember a couple great conversations as I planned the pallet wood pirate flag project.

You'll hear about him more in the future, from time to time.

Jerry Melton
June 1944 - March 2016
"A Hot Lap Around the Track"

Thanks for reading my friends. See you soon.


American Cancer Society - Southeast Michigan

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