Makin’ Bacon batches 3 and 4

The method is repeatable.

We have made 2 more 18-20 lb batches as of 9/23/18. Each is as good as the last and leaves more room for experimenting with the spices.

It is definitely better to do the low temp smoke on a calm day. I am still having a bit of temp control trouble if windy as  the Heatermeter does not yet have a damper. The problem is if the temperature spikes a bit, more fat renders off. With more fat on the fire, the temperature spikes and so on.  Better if it can be held low and slow or you are a better tender of the smoker than I.   Batch 3 was spiking on smoker temperature and was pulled at 3 hours. Batch 4 was kept low and slow for 4.5 hours.

The slabs of skinless pork belly we have been buying at Costco are in the 9-10 pound range. To best fit for smoking , they are sliced into thirds. We use a Large Big Green Egg with the 3 tier rack as you can see below.   This was taken at the start of the smoking process.

4.5 hours later with the smoker temp at 190F, the internal tem is between 150F and 154F and has been there for the last hour.  This is now food safe and pasteurized.

 Net step is to refrigerate overnight, slice, bag and freeze.  Ready for frying and raiding by the kids.

New bathroom countertops

The first to go was the powder-room on the first floor. The old countertop came off easily. I had already installed shut-off valves for the faucet and had new a new P-trap and extensions ready as the drain holes would not line up.

I was able to carry this top by myself. Teal helped to guide it into position and hold it up while silicone seal was applied to the counter to glue it in place. We then carefully lowered it down and slid it the last little bit still at an angle. The backsplash is mosaic tile on top of Hardi backer board so that it is not too far recessed behind the marble pencil trim.

To drill the faucet hole I placed the template and clamped it down. This makes starting the ore drill / hole saw easy and prevents it from skittering around and damaging the top.   I tried adding water but immediately sprayed out all over.   Just place the vacuum nozzle nearby to catch the majority of the dust.

Similar process for the master bath. However when I pulled out the old tile top, the backsplash was about 1/4″ too low to fit over the new top.   So I had to pull off the old tiles and broke two. Fortunately 24 years ago when I originally installed the tile I had saved the spares in a dark corner under the basement stairs.   The old tiles needed a bit of clean up on the stationary belt sander. So now the”new” backsplash was installed and matches that around the shower.

Sinks are Kohler, the top  faucet was a Kohler Toobie, and the master bath has a Hansgrohe.    The savings on the tops paid for the tools and upgraded fixtures.

Funny point. Teal was sealing the granite and we wondered about using the sealer on the quartz.  She looked it up and came away laughing. It is not needed as the only thing that stains it is permanent marker, which is why I had to polish off my measurement marks.

Cutting and polishing countertops

We have wanted to replace a couple of the bathroom countertops for some time. I saw some nice pieces for very reasonable prices at a Habitat ReStore. So I did some research on Youtube and was convinced I could do it myself. I needed a couple more tools:

  • Diamond wet saw: DEWALT DWC860W 4-3/8-Inch Wet/Dry Masonry Saw
  • Wet grinder / polisher: Stadea SWP103K Variable Speed Wet Polisher Grinder Electric Wet Sander – Granite Countertop Polishing Kit
  • A few 4.5″ Turbo Diamond blades were needed for the saw and my angle grinder.
  • A 1 3/8″ diameter diamond core drill was needed for the faucet holes.

Now I purchased a couple of pieces of granite and one of quartz . IT was on 2 trips to the Restore as once I started and saw how easy it actually is, we accelerated the timing of the master bath upgrade. These are all 3cm thick.

Aside from unloading from the truck and final placement, I was able to move the slaps by myself, walking them into place and laying them on the 2x4s that were the work surface.

When doing the cutting and polishing a good dusk mask, glasses and hearing protection are required.   There can be a LOT of dust and little chips are constantly flying off.

A metal straight edge is used to guide the saw.  Given that I am working on the floor without enough height for clamps, I used double stick carpet tape on the bottom of the guide and spring clamps

For each cut, start by back cutting a bit at the end. This is to prevent uneven chip out. You just need to go back a few inches.  Then start with the main cut.   Here you can also see one mistake. I used a Sharpie on the quartz for my marks. This did not come off even with Xylol and the marks had to be polished out (800-3000 grit)!

 

Even angle cuts are easily made.

 

The corner radius is done with the polisher. A 50 grit pad works quickly. You just need to always keep moving. Then work yup through the grits and don’t skip any . To polish the entire end took <20 minutes to sequence through all of the grits up to 3000. I had a Workmate to hold the end of the piece so it stayed vertical.

The sink cut outs were a bit daunting as there are no straight lines for the 2 we chose.  Position the template, tape down one edge then lift it to put some contrasting vinyl or duct tape under the cut lines. Check for overlap and then cut through the template and the tape with a razor knife.

Remove the template and peel the inner pieces of the tape off and this is ready to cut.

Start with diagonal slices for the corners   You can also cut across the center.  However that is not really necessary

Next do the sides. At this point the piece will not drop out as there are still arcs on the bottom that are not cut through.

Make a few more angled cuts . Break out the narrow wedges with a large screwdriver and then it just drops out.

Make a few more nibbling cuts with the wet saw and switch to the angle grinder.

Ready to test fit.

It does fit – first try. I did put green masking tape on the back  to avoid scratching the blue paint.

Same in granite.

The diamond blade for the saw took a bit of beating but is still cutting reasonably well. The polishing pads have hardly any wear.  I had bought a spare set but I am really impressed with these Stadea D series grinding / polishing pads. I also really like the grinder. Nice soft start /stop and rugged construction.

 

Sourdough whole grain variant

The kids got me a couple of Emile Henry ceramic bakers for my birthday.  One is baguette pan and the other is a bread loaf pan.  Today was the first trial of them.  The bread was made in between all of the yard work and errands that needed to get done with our slow spring and sudden summer —  95F today.

This is based on the Multigrain sourdough recipe  but I was out of the KAF Harvest Grains Blend.   So to substitute I used the following mix which was soaked in the boiling water:

  • 1/4 c poppy seed
  • 1/4 c steel cut oats
  • 1/4 white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 c roasted / salted pepitas / sunflower seed mix (from Farm and Fleet)

The dough was a bit wet, I probably had too much water in the starter feed but then added more bread flour to make up.  Again the dough was mixed and rested for 30 min before the kneading.  First rise was 2 hrs at 76F (I had to run out and go get more herbs for the garden) .   After rolling to shape, the top was brushed with water and the black sesame seeds were springkled on .  Second rise was 1 hour at 100F.

Bake at 425 F for 33-38 min with the last 5 min uncovered.

YUM! Thank you: Jessie, Elyse and David for the bakers.

Rebuild in progress

I am in the process of overhauling my website and postings. In the meantime you can find my old boatbuilding website here: Riviera Construction Project.

In the last few years I have been letting my projects, comments and photos get scattered. This has resulted in a mix of items on Facebook, columns I have written and   various forums with the unfortunate consequence of not having a single place to go and find my prior posts which are located at:

  • Glen-l boatbuilding forum  – I was active while building and did a column for the monthly newsletter for a few years
  • Wisconsin Woodworkers Guild – I wrote a monthly column while I was president.
  • Facebook – Lots of posts , notes and photo albums including the majority of my dive photos, but not very accessible to the general public
  • Youtube – I have a Youtube Channel that will be gaining more content. Currently mostly dive videos.
  • Southbend lathe yahoo groups – Superb resource for those interested in South Bend Lathes . Huge help when I rebuilt my SBL 13
  • HID Dive Lights yahoo group   – This is where I documented much of my dive light builds
  • Hobby Machinist – Another great resource and most helpful while I rebuilt my Bridgeport Mill
  • CNC Zone – Current CNC router project resource

and more – you get the idea. Lots of scatter.

So now I will be consolidating everything back here. It will take some time to gather the various pieces back as well as get the new content posted.

The impetus for all of this is my newest project. It is a CNC router. This is another scratch built project.   I want to document the build and resources as I did with the boat and not just have it in another web site’s forum.