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Posts by: Nick Carter

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Right now E-Z Up 4 Less has the EZ UP Eclipse II 8′ x 8′ Canopy for $429.00.

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We’ve been using the E-Z Up Eclipse II for many years when vending our jewelry outdoors. In the winter months I set it up on the back deck as a place to do woodworking and other messy tasks that are best not done in the house. The name E-Z Up is a bit of a misnomer — while it’s not difficult to get the canopy up, it is a bit of a struggle for one person, especially someone small (like my wife). It is incredibly easy to take down but E-Z Down isn’t as good a name.

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The Eclipse II has a steel frame and is quite rugged. In all the time we’ve used it, the only maintenance has been replacing the occasional nut or screw that came loose. There are numerous knockoffs of the pop-up canopy out there, so I’d love to hear opinions on other brands that people use. When shopping around it’s important to make sure you’re getting the canopy and frame. Many vendors show the complete unit, but the listing is only for the fabric top or the steel frame alone.

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Ez Up Eclipse II 8′ x 8′ Canopy [ezup4less.com]



(TV Tonight, Monday, February 15th, 2010) We get a new Top Gear with armored vehicles and a race against the Royal Mail.

All times are central

  • Holmes in New Orleans: Moving Along at a Hurricane Clip (HGTV, 5:00 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Floating Fish Factory (Discovery, 5:00 pm)
  • Trains & Locomotives (RFD-TV, 5:00 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Reindeer Farm (Discovery, 6:00 pm)
  • Top Gear: Season 13 Ep. 4 (BBC America, 7:00 pm) NEW
  • Dirty Jobs: Egg Farm (Discovery, 7:00 pm)
  • Top Gear: Season 13 Ep. 3 (BBC America, 8:00 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Toilet Crusher (Discovery, 8:00 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Cranberry Farmer (Discovery, 9:00 pm)
  • Ask This Old House: Painting Kitchen Cabinets; Installing Cabinet Accessories (DIY, 10:30 pm)


(TV Tonight, Sunday, February 14th, 2010) We get a new Ax Men with one of my worst fears: a massive bee attack out in the middle of nowhere.

All times are central

  • Ax Men: Ax to Grind (History, 5:00 pm)
  • American Chopper: OCC Trike Bike (TLC, 5:00 pm)
  • Ax Men: Deeper into the Swamp (History, 6:00 pm)
  • American Chopper: The Jeanette Lee Black Widow Bike (TLC, 6:00 pm)
  • Ax Men: Diving for Dollars (History, 7:00 pm)
  • Ax Men: Boiling Point (History, 8:00 pm)
  • Holmes on Homes: Unfinished Business (HGTV, 9:00 pm)
  • Ax Men: Survivng the Swarm (History, 9:00 pm) NEW
  • Successful Farming Machinery Show (RFD-TV, 9:00 pm)
  • Disaster House: Home Cookin (DIY, 10:00 pm)
  • Deconstruction (DIY, 10:30 pm)


(TV Tonight, Saturday, February 13th, 2010) Tonight you get reruns of Dirty Jobs and Factory Made for your enjoyment.

All times are central

  • Top Gear: Season 13 Ep. 2 (BBC America, 5:00 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Wild Goose Chase (Discovery, 5:00 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Electricity, Floating Cranes (Science, 5:00 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Gasoline Pumps, Swiss Army Knives (Science, 5:30 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Buoy Cleaner (Discovery, 6:00 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Giant Oil Rigs, Electric Shavers (Science, 6:00 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Halogen Light Bulbs, Car Mufflers, Unique Lock & Key Sets (Science, 6:30 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Rocky Reach Dam (Discovery, 7:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: Balloons, Car Wheels, Envelopes, Whistles (Science, 7:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: Boston Beer, Cast Aluminum Pots, Bricks, Baseball Gloves (Science, 7:30 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Chicken Busters (Discovery, 8:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: School Lockers, Frozen Pizza, Plastic Railroad Ties, Tissues (Science, 8:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: Trombones, Drive-Through Windows, Bottled Water, Baseball Bats (Science, 8:30 pm)
  • Dirty Jobs: Soo Locks Technician (Discovery, 9:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: Quarters, Aquariums, Limestone, Highlighters (Science, 9:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: Pencils, Giant Bolts, Pickles, Inflatables (Science, 9:30 pm)

Amazon has the best deal on the Wiss W7BWN Offset/Bent Pattern Snip at $31.75 w/ SS shipping.

The W7BWN Offset/Bent Pattern Snip is a non-compound leverage snip, like a pair of scissors. The handles are bent up at an angle to clear the surface of the sheet metal. They are rated as being able to cut up to 18 ga. low carbon steel. I find that often snips like this give a better quality cut than the compound types, although they are more tiring in heavier gauges.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]
W7BWN Offset/Bent Pattern Snip [Cooper Hand Tools]



(TV Tonight, Friday, February 12th, 2010) Tonight brings us a new Swamp Loggers where they contend with a tropical storm. For the sense of drama, upgrade that to a hurricane.

All times are central

  • Deconstruction: Safety (DIY, 5:00 pm)
  • Holmes in New Orleans: A New Beginning (HGTV, 5:00 pm)
  • Swamp Loggers: Return to the Swamp (Discovery, 5:00 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Concrete, Cell Phone, Traffic Control (Science, 5:00 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Diamond Mine, Skyscraper, Car Crusher (Science, 5:30 pm)
  • Swamp Loggers: Money Pit (Discovery, 6:00 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Glass, Changing a Jumbo Jet Tire, Soft Drink Cans (Science, 6:00 pm)
  • Ask This Old House: Increasing Water Pressure, Transplanting a Bush (DIY, 6:30 pm)
  • How Do They Do It?: Combines, Lifeboats, Chocolate (Science, 6:30 pm)
  • Ask This Old House: Installing Garage Door, Preventing Frozen Pipes (DIY, 7:00 pm)
  • Swamp Loggers: Waterlogged (Discovery, 7:00 pm)
  • How It’s Made: Ceramic Tiles, Nuts, Steel Forgings, Skateboards (Science, 7:00 pm)
  • How It’s Made: Conga Drums, Metal Plating, Buttons (Science, 7:30 pm)
  • Swamp Loggers: Swamp Fever (Discovery, 8:00 pm)
  • How It’s Made: Stuffed Olives, Astrolabes, Western Saddles (Science, 8:00 pm)
  • How It’s Made: Socket Sets, Leather Shoes, Aluminium Water Bottles, Bike Chains (Science, 8:30 pm)
  • Swamp Loggers: The Storm (Discovery, 9:00 pm) NEW

Amazon has the best deal on the Bullet Tools 513 Mag Shear Lite, $293.28 w/ SS shipping.

The Bullet Tools 513 Mag Shear Lite is a lever-operated manual shear that the manufacturer claims will cut a variety of materials such as laminate flooring, wood flooring, vinyl tile, cement siding, and wood siding. The shear is “dustless,” which means that unlike a powered electric shear or saw, it doesn’t send out a cloud of particles when cutting. The manual (.pdf) shows setup and use. It seems like a useful tool and one I wish I’d had when I was putting in laminate flooring, since I had to constantly run outside to use the miter saw as it wasn’t suitable for use in our house.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Bullet Tools 513 Mag Shear Lite [Bullet Tools]



(TV Tonight, Thursday, February 11th, 2010) We get a new American Chopper tonight, building a Kobalt Tools bike. Also: Paul Jr. gathers the family to make a life-changing announcement, which just can’t be good.

All times are central

  • Deconstruction: Framing  (DIY, 5:00 pm)
  • Holmes on Homes: Bargain Basement (HGTV, 5:00 pm)
  • Modern Marvels: Mad Electricity (History, 5:00 pm)
  • Prototype This!: Boxing Robots (Science, 5:00 pm)
  • American Chopper: Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Theme Bike (TLC, 6:00 pm)
  • Some Assembly Required (Science, 6:00 pm)
  • Ask This Old House: Damaged Lawn, Curved Stair Molding (DIY, 6:30 pm)
  • Ask This Old House: Finished Wallboards, Storm-Damaged Trees (DIY, 7:00 pm)
  • American Chopper: Stewart-Haas Racing Bike (TLC, 7:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: Cotton Swabs, Pinball Machines, Ceramic Tile, Wheat Bread (Science, 7:00 pm)
  • Factory Made: Quarters, Aquariums, Limestone, Highlighters (Science, 7:30 pm)
  • American Chopper: The Kobalt Bike (TLC, 8:00 pm) NEW
  • Successful Farming Machinery Show (RFD-TV, 8:00 pm) NEW
  • Vintage Country Ways: Steam in Action, Part 2 (RFD-TV, 8:30 pm)

Last year, emboldened by the success of Techshop in the Bay Area, a new Techshop was opened in Portland, Oregon. Now it appears that it has closed and may be moving to a new area — one of the founding members posted the news over on the Home Shop Machinist forums, and looking at the forums for the Portland techshop it looks like it’s true.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to start up again although that first post doesn’t seem as optimistic as the Techshop page. It seems that you need a large enough population to support a venture like this, something the Bay Area has and Portland doesn’t. Also people in Oregon are already DIY types and have their own workshops, which is more cost prohibitive down in CA. In any case, it’s sad news and we applaud them for trying to bring the world of tools to people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to create.

What do you guys think of the news? Any Techshop members out there? What do you think the solution is for collective shop space, or is it just a case of a concept that won’t work just anywhere?

Techshop Home
Portland Techshop



(TV Tonight, Wednesday, February 10th, 2010) Head out to the shop or watch some Holmes on Homes reruns. OK, head out to the shop.

All times are central

  • Deconstruction: Concrete (DIY, 5:00 pm)
  • Holmes on Homes: Wall of Sound (HGTV, 5:00 pm)
  • Ask This Old House: Pendant Lighting, Care for Succulents (DIY, 6:30 pm)
  • Ask This Old House: Heating & Cooling System Controller, Re-Grout Tile Floor (DIY, 7:00 pm)
  • Top Gear (BBC America, 7:00 pm)
  • Holmes on Homes: Bar None (HGTV, 9:00 pm)