The American Garage

Posts from category "Do It Yourself"

Metal Casting

This is one of the more interesting things I have done lately, and I thought is would be way more difficult to get good results. Casting metal really opened up a whole new level of diffrent things that can be done, and removes the barrier to when you want some special little thing that you cannot seem to find anywhere. So make it! I casted in aluminum, which has one of the lowest melting points of  all metals. Watch the video and see what you think!

Welcome to 2020 at The American Garage

Well, 2019 went by in a flash, and Steve has been working on the Truck Project. Season 2- The Ranger Truck Project, is well underway, and we will be putting out episodes on the truck very soon. Come join us as we take on a new year and some new projects!

A Blast from the Past

Hey projecteers! As we wind down the last 3 episodes of the David Bradley project, I thought I would give you a glimpse of The American Garage before we were The American Garage. Now, just FYI, on the DB project, episodes 7 and 8 are in the can, ready to be served- the holdup is shooting a few needed scenes for episode 6- which I will try to get done this week. If you have been paying attention, then you know that I love to woodwork- and I also love sailing. So, while I am hard at work on episode 6, I thought you might enjoy hearing about a project I did years ago- the building of a 24 foot Light Schooner. A beautiful sailboat. I built it, sailed it, and sold it to move up the boat chain. We had great fun with it, and in the process made a friend, Tim Fatchen, down under in Australia. Tim is a Light Schooner officinado, and helped with much needed advice. You can learn about Tim and his adventures with his boat, Flying Tadpole, at his website-

He also featured an article on my building and sailing adventures of Faith, my Light Schooner which you can read here- I was delighted for the write-up Tim did for my project, and I especially enjoyed the cartoon illustrations he put in the article. Thanks Tim, and keep sailing!

So, now it is back to work for me, while you enjoy this project from the past.


BBQ Pit Project

It is time to start the next project on The American Garage! Yeah! This project was inspired on the 4th of July when my gas grill caught fire, and ruined the whole mechanism- and nearly the picnic!  So, I thought- I could repair the old grill, or I could just scrap it and build something really nice! I vote for that. After much deliberation, I decided to build a BBQ pit. This project will go much quicker that the DB restoration project, and have a more delicious end result. I started by doing some research. It seemed to me that old style pits always had a chimney, new gas grills all have a cover, and some were just wide open. So, I talked to a friend who is a BBQ expert, and we talked about pit design, and what different elements are for. So, out of that conversation, I made a 3d model of what the pit might look like.

BBQ pit with pizza oven rendering

with pizza oven added

Now, I decided to take it a bit further than just a pit, and in my research I found plans for building a wood fired pizza oven, and there. Just like that I had to add a pizza oven. So, if you look at the illustration I made, you will see that the pizza oven looks like an igloo made out of fire brick, and that is essentially what it is. You see a small chimney coming out the opening at the front, and this will keep smoke out of our eyes while we cook. We will encase the pizza oven with a nice exterior, but I wanted you to see what the insides look like, to give you an idea what we are building. There are many different styles that we can use for the exterior, but we will get to that later. As you can see in the renderings, I am planning on using cinder block for the main structure. I will line it with fire brick- the proper name is refractory brick- and us some kind of nice stone or brick for the outside aesthetics. We will be starting soon, so get your work clothes ready!

Now, I’d like to share with you some pictures of  finished pizza ovens, to give you an idea what a finished oven may look like. I am not sure which way I go, brick or stone, formal or informal. But for sure, we will make it look nice! These pictures were happily loaned to us by  the R.I Lampus company, and you can find them on the web at . If you are in the Pittsburgh area, be sure to look them up.