Monday, July 29, 2013

Pindo/Jelly Palm Part 1

Last week here in Florida was the first week I was able to get my hands on some ripe Pindo fruit. I have some ideas with it this year which will be different from previous years but for this installment "Part 1" I'll be going over the process of getting juice, with which jelly can be made from later, or wine if that's more your style.

Step 1: Collect fruit. I prefer the yellow, golden, or light orange colored fruit. The ones with much red seems to be not as good, and any green indicates it needs more time ripening, which this fruit does very well sitting in the front seat of your car as long as it's still attached to the main stem.

At this point there are 2 routes to choose. Cut the pits out, or keep them in and boil away. Cutting the pits out is great if you need the fruit and pit separated, like if you want to press the very oil filled pits for their oil, or keep the left over fruit for another project, this really only works for fruit at a exact time of ripeness when they are about as firm as an apple, but not yet to the firmness of a good peach. However, keeping the fruit whole and just boiling it a bunch is less labor intensive and works well at any level or ripeness. I'll go over the cutting process first.

Step 2: Cut across the fruit to make 2 halves. Twist the 2 sides until one separates from the pit.

Step 3: Cut the halved fruit again in half and peel off which over quarter is the easiest. The last quarter is not usually too bad if you have small thumbs that can dig in around the pit and dislodge it out of place. (Sorry no pictures here).

Now I will back track and go over the method of just keeping the fruit whole and boiling it all.

Step 2 Alternative: De-stem all fruits, rinse. Throw whole fruit in pot and cover with water. I found a pressure cooker was way faster since it can reach higher temps. If you just have a pot though be patient. you want it all to cook down till you can easily mash the fruit.

Step 3 Alternative: Crush the fruit as best you can. The pits make a total crushing motion stop at some point.

Ok all back together now for Step 4.

Step 4: Strain the liquid out, best to do this with a colander and a large bowl to compress the fruit for any last liquid they hold.

Step 5: I like to go one step further and really get all the fibers of the fruit out. A strainer does real well with this.

At this point you can freeze it, or keep it in the fridge for a few days. I'll be making jelly with mine the next time I get a free day. Wine is also supposed to be a great option for this.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blackberry Lime Jelly

Black berry season is just coming to a close where I am. If you are lucky enough to be in mid season still, this is a great recipe to try.

Step 1: Gather and wash black berries.

Step 2: Throw them in a blender with some water, not exact science here, about 1/3 or 1/2 way up the blender.
Step 3: Blend them until they are pretty liquified.
Step 4: Pour through a strainer, splash guard like me, or some cheese cloth, you want to strain out the seeds. If you use a splash guard a spatula or spoon is helpful. Try bouncing the whole thing off the rim of your bucket or bowl about 2-3 inches repeatedly, this helps dislodge the drippings which cling on to the underside of the fine mesh. it should be the consistency of hair jell at this point.
This is after a minute of bouncing and stirring
Eventually you'll end up with this goop, the part we want.
If you're short on berries and want to take the most out of this process, put the seeds back in the blender with more water and repeat. I went from 1.5 gallons of berries to 4.5 cups of seed goop. After blending the seeds with water and straining a second time I had 3 cups of seed goop.
Step 5: Put 2 cups of this berry mash and 5 cups water into a pot. Add 1/2 cups lime juice.
Step 6: I use Pamona's citrus pectin. It needs a sodium solution to jell. If you use sure-jell or Ball pectin, follow thos instructions. For Pamonas you will now want to add your 1/8 cup of the sodium solution.

Step 7: Bring this to a boil. While you wait add 3 cups sugar and 1.5 Tablespoons of the pectin to a separate bowl and thoroughly mix. Sorry no picture.

Step 8: Once your pot of juice, water, and sodium are boiling add the sugar/pectin and mix well. Bring back to a boil. At this point if you want to can it, go 10 minutes in a water bath. If you want to keep it in your fridge, at this point throw it in a Tupperware and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I have finally reached a result which I am pleased with for my Pmags. I have been working on this for a few weeks in my spare time, and on my fourth attempt, I got it. This technique uses dye, not paint, as a way to change to color of your mags without adding a surface addition, which would increase dimensions, and have durability issues.

This is my woodland camo pattern Pmag.
Here you can see the FDE color it started as. This color allows for the best adoption of other colors. You CANNOT dye Pmags lighter colors, therefore, FG is not quite as good of a host. Here you can see how the process starts. Using Scotch brand electrical tape, you can cut the shapes you desire. It is important to use Scotch. others I have tried including General Electric, Duct etc. have all failed. Scotch can withstand 170 degree heat, which is crucial to this process.
In this picture I cut out the shape on a plexi glass surface, and then transferred it to the mag. I found shortly after this though, tapping off a section of the mag, then cutting your shapes and weeding out the trash pieces is far superior technique.
As said above, cutting shapes and transferring is not as good as cutting shapes while the tape is on the mag then weeding out the trash bits. However, if you do that transfer, clean up the bits that don't look right.

The parts where tape is will retain the color under the tape. Your first tape blots will remain FDE. Once tape is in place you can dip it into the dye solution (explained at the end). On the Left if FDE mag. On the right is the mag dipped in a green color. In the middle that piece is showing the green which will go next.

One thing to note is the way which I cut the shapes. This shape started out as a square made from 2 lengths of tape side by side, overlapping a bit. I "took bites" from the square to get a rough shape.
However, to make it look even better I took additional "Bites" from that, to make it look more natural and less of a man made sloping curve. The holes in the middle of the tape "Blob" make for a very nice effect in the finished product.

After the first dip, producing a light green color, rinse the Dye Wash off, and blot dry with a towel. You will do this between each color. Next, you leave the first set of tape, and add more to it. At the top of the picture along the spine of the mag, you can see I took off a sliver of tape from the first set, exposing some of the underlying FDE. When I dip this mag into the more vibrant green pictured in the 6th picture of this article, the FDE will react different than the light green, giving a secondary color.
You can also see the first stage of tape being left alone and a second stage going on, with an overlap.
It is important to incorporate an overlap of color splotches. If you do not have over lap, your mags will look like my first attempt at Woodland Camo, which is the next picture down.
Here you can see at least 2 fatal mistakes. The shapes did not have "Secondary Bites" taken out of them, as well as no overlap. The result looks like the camo you get for little children's bibs for mealtime.

This is a little later in the sequence following the photo pictured 2 above this one. You can see that piece of overlapping stage 2 tape has now taken its own shape. I also have a few "Secondary Bites" taken from the blob, with a few more to come.
At this point you would continue adding stage 2 tape. remember anything under stage 1 will stay FDE, anything under stage 2 will be light green. Once all stage 2 tape is in place, dip into the more vibrant green. Then you repeat again with stage 3 tape. Dip in brown at that point. Stage 5 follows with a final dip in a Dark Grey, Dark Blue, or Black if it fits your environment.

Here are a few more random pics.

Oh and the inspiration for the light green color, and the "Secondary Bites"? This mold growing on a bowl of tomato soup left out over the weekend while I traveled.

The process of making the colors that are right for you is the time consuming part. Luckily none of this project consumes very much money. I get my Rit Dye, in the liquid form, for $2.50 a bottle. each bottle is 8 ounces. To make a pot full of the dye wash, I use anywhere from 25-175 drops of dye from a medicine dropper. Your dye will last forever, at that rate.

Here are the recipes for the Light Green, which is very close in color to the light green mold, and the vibrant green.

Light Green: (double batch)
4 cups water
6 drops Royal Blue Rit Dye
320 drops Lemon Yellow Rit Dye

-Mix and heat in pot to 175 degrees.
-Allow the magazine with the tape to come up to heat in the over set on low. By doing this the tape has time to relax with the heat, and will not be shocked by dunking it in near boiling water, leading to smearing.
-Once the mag is hot to the touch, take it out of the oven and while sandwiched between a towel quickly apply pressure to re-seat any edges of the tape which may have come lose.
-Dunk in the Dye wash. If you don't have a pot allowing full submersion, you can use a frying pan, and ladle liquid on the top side, and flip every few minutes. This will yield a consistent, even color. This specific light green requires 175-180 degree Dye wash, which is just at the limits of the tape. Even a few degrees less than 175 can make the dye process take 30 minutes for this one color, instead of 8-10. Basically you can take the magazine out of the Wash whenever the color looks good. If you take it out prematurely, rinse and blot dry, and throw back into the Dye Wash.

Vibrant green shown in Picture 6 of this article. This green is used more than the light green.
3 cups of water
26 drops of Kelly Green Rit Dye

-Mix and heat Dye wash
-Heat mag with tape in the over on warm to avoid shocking the tape
-Once hot, remove mag from oven, sandwich in a towel, and apply pressure to reseal any lose edges of tape.
-Dip in dye wash for up to 25 minutes. The closer the dye wash is to 180 degrees the shorter the time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I picked up some new magazines this week, some of which are Thermold Master Molder. I got some 20 and 30 rounders for .223, as well as this one for a 7.62x39 AK. The ones for the AR were all very nice looking, good fit and finish, fit well, feed well, etc.

This one for the AK though (I only got one, so I am unaware of the frequency of this problem) had some major issues with grinding on the magazine port. You can see I inserted it once, and it took some materiel off. This is concerning since I was not especially rough with it, and the plastic just scraped right off, in a semi thick layer.
Note: This grinding was happening on both sides.

I circled the blemish with a pencil then inserted again.

You can see where the grinding is still happening.

I decided to take my Dremel to it, with a small grinding pad. I took a thick layer off the rectangular section outlined below.Here you can see my hack job. Again I was surprised at how soft the plastic was. I am not at all trusting of the durability of this product, and will only use it for the range if at all.

I had to take equal(ish) amounts off from both sides.

It now seats appropriately, but after grinding right below the feed lips that much I would imagine its integrity is compromised to some degree. $6 for range mags might sound appealing, but it may turn out to be more of a liability if it ever finds its way into your "serious business" gear, and causes problems right when you are counting on dependability.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cutting a bolt hold open notch in your ak 47/74 safety selector

Today I decided to add a notch in my safety selector to function as a bolt hold open. Unlike the AR platform, or even this 74'2 cousin, the PSL, the bolt will not automatically hold open after the last round is fired. Rather, you have to manually move the charging handle to the rear, engage the safety, and therefore "lock" the bolt in the rear position. Depending on how lose your safety is, if shaken or dropped, the safety may disengage, allowing the bolt to ride forward. If this happens with rounds in a magazine, beware that obviously a round will be chambered at that point.

Step 1:
Here you can see the safety selector in its traditional fashion. I pulled the charging handle to the rear at the position where I wanted my bolt to rest, and with a pencil marked where the charging handle was. This step may be easier if you take your spring out first, as shown in the next picture.

By removing the spring you can manipulate the position of the charging handle, without the forward tension.

Step 2: Now that the safety is marked you can take out the spring, if you have not already done so, and also the bolt assembly. Position the safety selector upwards to give you access.

Step 3: I found with the specific Dremel I was using, it was hard to get a good angle to cut. I could have remedied this by completely removing the safety selector, but that was more work than I felt necessary, although slightly awkward, I was able to cut along the lines.

Step 4: At some point you will have to make the horizontal cut, which can be difficult with the circular cutting bit. I cut as much as I could on the front, then flipped it over and cut from the back as well. If the scuff marks went beyond the parameters of the 2 vertical cuts, it would be hidden.

I added this picture to give you an idea of the depth your vertical cuts should be, The neck of the charging handle that will be housed in this notch is fairly thin, and therefore your cuts do not need to go too deep into the safety.

Once your 3 cuts have been made, cleaning it up and making it look nice can be done with a variety of Dremel accessories. I did this entire project with just one cutting wheel. To get the horizontal line straight, and the corners fairly "sharp" I dragged the wheel across the horizontal line using the face of the wheel versus the edge. The motion was similar to how you would attempt to spread pizza sauce with a pizza cutter.

Here you can see the safety selector does not engage all the way to the top. I went back at it and took off another layer of metal to seat the charging handle deeper in the notch.

This was the safety before reworking the notch deeper. You can see the scuff mark below the cut.

After making the notch deeper, the scuff was minimized as well.

Finally we see the safety selector fully engaged to the top of the dust cover.

When the bolt is forward there is a small hole.