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The Fixer archives

over stove rack

One attribute of mine appreciated greatly by my spousal unit she nicknamed “The Shelf Meister”. I never build any two alike. Everything is a prototype, custom for the situation, location and application.

It is a constant game for me to move things off the flat working surfaces and her to bring more gadgets and gizmos out that then occupy the space thus cleared. Rinse. Repeat.

My newest creation is from flat-bar steel and rods cut and heat-bent. The copper paint amuses me and fits the decor. I get a kick out of people puzzling over why magnets stick […]

my idea of fun

I combined my projects requiring polyeurethane finishes to minimize use of paint brushes or brush cleaning. It was hard waiting for all of them, but this batch size was just about right for the sanding and painting phases.

A new shelf over Missy’s kitchen window is sturdy, expansive and takes up virtually no space physically or visually.

The mug rack fit neatly in, freeing up a little bit of shelf space, displaying some of our mug collection with a look I like. An interesting touch I put in was tipping the pegs up so gravity would help keep the […]

loyal mug

I have a favorite coffee mug.

A couple of days ago, I realized it has been my favorite for a long, long time… that is, in coffee mug years.

My daughters invited me to a paint-your-own green clay studio back in February ’99. How do I remember when they did that? It says so on the cup I painted.

The shape of the lip, and grace of the cup is crucial.

The memories matter.

The theme and art cap it off.

Can you imagine being loyal to a coffee mug for 18 years?

Heck, in our disposable society, […]

lighthouse lit

Not wanting to forget turning off our Internet when it isn’t in use, I visualized a lighthouse going along with our brass sailboats. When lit, it would remind us that our wireless and modem were on.

Missy dropped it way down my ToDo list quite some time ago by finding a thrift store lighthouse and cable-tying a nightlight to the back of it.

As a measure of how much priority work is behind me, I finally got to fool around with the lighthouse project. Well, that plus the switch on the nightlight cord quit sending electricity to […]

trombone misuse

With our mud room added on, I needed a way to let guests announce their arrival. Knocking on the old front door wasn’t going to work if they couldn’t get to it.

I theorized a ship’s bell might turn the trick. I found a new one on the Internet, but found a bigger, older, heavier one that I lusted after as I suspected it might be heavier, louder and cooler… probably having served a long and full life on an actual SHIP. It was missing its clapper, but I knew I could figure something out.

There was A LOT […]

crafty solutions

Here are a lot of clever ideas using everyday items in unusual ways to solve common problems.


special gift

. Here is a unique

. gift idea:

. A Website like this.

. Mom, dad, grandma…

. can have their very own web page.

. The whole family could share one.

. – could be a place where privately or publicly

you can share photos, notes, tales and conversations on the Internet.

. You can share a unique, modern, ultimate, high-tech

family photo album, scrapbook or private e-mail network.

. I can make it easy for you with domain search, setup, privacy options

and teaching everyone involved how to make it work easily and reliably.


1958 Conn 6H trombone

Highly esteemed among brass musicians are the horns Conn made in Elkhart, Indiana before the company walked away from the community and craftsmen assembled there. Among the hand-made, professional-grade trombones handcrafted in that period are the highly regarded 6Hs, which were a little bit larger in bore than was the norm at that time. They proved to be a great design with a sweet tone in all ranges and tremendous penetration for solo and jazz work.

I have read much of these and wished time, place and finances would give me the opportunity to play a few […]

trombone mouthpieces

I WON!!! I tripped over a long lusted after Conn 6H on e-bay that went for well-below-market value. It was a gamble on quality that turned out okay. It arrived yesterday with 3 mouthpieces … more on the horn later. This occasioned a gathering, mass cleaning and analysis of what I have in the way of mouthpieces.

I arranged them by width of the backbore and there was a steady bore shrinkage even among what I would have assumed to be identical 6 1/2 ALs.

back row, left to right: Yamaha 47, highly tarnished silver Conn 3, […]

fire hazard alert

From my mother, I have a sense of smell that is particularly well-suited as a smoke or pre-smoke detector. It alerted me to something amiss in the kitchen. I tracked it to my wife’s plastic tool box and the battery-operated soldering iron within.

The tools and hardware in her well-stuffed box had shifted into a position that depressed the trigger on the soldering iron. The tip was hot enough to melt solder and was busily trying to melt or ignite some plastic that it was touching or nearly touching.

I put the little devil on the counter to […]


While nobody is going to mistake me for a sculptor, even the best started somewhere. More significantly, after shoveling one of the only snowfalls of any consequence I can ever remember falling on the Treasure Valley, I couldn’t just leave the big pile of snow in our yard looking ugly.