Oil for under your mower deck

Someone asked me to recommend oil for under your mower deck. If you’re not familiar with this trick, it’s a good idea to oil the underside of your lawnmower deck to keep grass from sticking to it. This helps keep your blade from bogging down and your deck from rusting.

What oil do I like? The person brought up Marvel Mystery Oil. I do like Marvel Mystery Oil inside the mower. But I think it’s too expensive for the deck.

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Wiring an old house for Ethernet

Wiring an old house for Ethernet can be challenging but offers real benefits. Wired Ethernet is faster and more reliable than wireless, so devices that have a wired connection can take advantage of it. Having wired connections also allows you to distribute wireless access points throughout your house for better, faster coverage.

So you even if you’re a heavy wireless user, there’s a lot to gain from having good wired connections. Believe it or not, you can do it with simple tools and very little tearing into your walls.

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Bash is worse than heartbleed! Oh noes!

A really bad remote code execution bug surfaced yesterday, in Bash–the GNU replacement for the Unix shell. If you have a webserver running, or possibly just SSH, it can be used to execute arbitrary code. It affects anything Unixy–Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, and likely many proprietary Unix flavors, since many of them have adopted the GNU toolchain.

This could be really bad. Some people are calling it potentially worse than Heartbleed. Maybe. I’m thinking it’s more along the lines of MS08-067. But there’s an important lesson we must learn from this. Read more

Scratchbuilding, Marx-style: Finishing the roof

This is a continuation of something I wrote well over a year ago detailing how I build Marx-style boxcars out of simple materials. Train season is starting up again soon, so it’s about time I finished this story.

Once the box that will become your Marx-style boxcar is dry, it’s time to tend to the roof.

This method won’t produce a contest-quality roof by any stretch, but it will produce something that will blend in well with Marx cars. The idea here is to produce something that most hobbyists can accomplish in an evening and that won’t overwhelm the other cars in the train. Read more

Change a lawn mower blade safely and easily

I needed to change a lawn mower blade this weekend, which meant I had to remove the stubborn old blade first. That proved to be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. I learned the secret of changing a blade without hurting myself, and without a torque wrench, even when the stubborn bolt doesn’t want to turn.

To remove and replace a lawn mower blade safely and easily, you need a length of 2×4 board long enough to stand on, a small plastic pan, the biggest socket wrench you can find, and a socket that matches the bolt on your mower. If you don’t have a socket wrench, you can use a regular crescent wrench, but you want the biggest one you can find. Longer wrenches give more leverage, and you need lots of leverage to free a stuck bolt. Read more

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