Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making the North Poles

Today, as we wait to see if tropical storm Erika turns into a hurricane, I did some more work on the new north poles. Over the years, we've remade them a few times. Each time they get better and we get more efficient at remaking them. This year, I decided to paint them instead of wrapping them in red duct tape. Not sure if this will be better or worse than duct tape, but I guess we'll see how they look a year from now.
Over the past few weeks, we sanded off the letters, added cords, then painted them white with Krylon. Today, I wrapped them in two pieces of tape, then painted. I ended up using two cans of white and only one can of red. I'm so proud of my little template that I used so all my stripes would be even. It's just a folded up piece of paper that I taped to the top of each pipe,

I couldn't find painters tape that was wide enough, so I had to add two rows of tape. Double the work....ugh.

I know I shouldn't be painting in 100% humidity here in FL. It was pouring as I did this. But in summer here, it rains every afternoon, so no time for perfect condition painting.

I guess I'll wait overnight to let them dry, then I'll remove the tape. The painting is the easiest part!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 Mega Tree with Light-O-Rama

John and I decided to resurrect the mega tree for the 2015 Copeland Christmas display! We'll add 12 strands of mini lights to this flagpole. The base diameter should be 15-20 ft. We'll add a star topper and then hook all the lights into a Light-O-Rama controller so the lights can be controlled by our home computer via cat5e cables.

We had to get the flagpole (20 ft sunsetter) from the other house. Once it was at our new house, we settled on this spot. It's kinda close to the the street, but it's really the only area of open grass that we have.
John tested it out. I think it's extendeed to 10 feet here. For the show, we'll extend it to 15 ft.

The nxt step was to check over all the parts to see what can be reused and what needs to be rebuilt. The tree topper (built in 2008 I think) disintegrated in our hands, so we had to rebuild that first.
It's made of a wood bun (that what's it's called at Lowes) and 12 metal coat hooks. The top has some kind of plumbing flange and a large bolt. It's a very simple design that we adapted from something we saw online years ago.
I disassembled the old topper, bought a new bun, and one replacement hook. I drilled pilot holes for each screw, then screwed in the hooks. Couldn't be simpler. Coast was around $10.

I was hoping to put some of my 6th grade protractor skills to use. Yes, I've had that protractor since 6th grade and it's almost 25 years old! The bun already had all the correct angles notched into it. So, I verified all angles were perfect, then continued. Oh well.

 I primed it with two coats of Krylon outdoor paint for some added protection against our wet, humid weather. Black will disappear into the night when the lights are on.

Next step was to clean all the rust stains off the flagpole. This is the toughest part. Neither of our rust removers are working. I wish Rustaid was still around. Not sure what we'll do about the rust. Maybe nothing. The rust stains (orange) are from the well water (sprinklers) at the old house.
The next step will be to dig the hole and set the flagpole in concrete. I bought a groundsleeve kit from sunsetter because they said that's what I'll need. So far, cost for this year has been $40. Not bad :)