Monday, April 01, 2019

Green New Deal: Harbor Freight edition

Global warming continues to be a hot topic, pardon the pun. Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, freshman congresswoman from New York, has offered a "Green New Deal" to address climate change. Sadly, it calls for the elimination of cows - an animal very close to my heart and to my apetite. Apparently farting cows are a major cause of greenhouse gases. Considering that 60 million bison roamed America in the 17th century, it must've been hellaciously hot back then!

I do believe we need to be good stewards of Mother Earth. So I'm offering my own "Green New Deal". It starts with a practical solution for keeping our environment clean. As a traveling fly tier, I've been using battery-powered lights for some time. But even batteries in high-lumen LED lights quickly dissipate - the average use time is about 3 to 5 hours. Then they get thrown in the trash, and on to the landfill where they leach their chemicals into the groundwater.

At the Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest, we ran into our old friend, David Chin. The former Monroe resident is a master at all things fly fishing, from tying impeccable flies to building gorgeous bamboo rods to catching fish. David was using a rechargeable Braun worklight to light up his tying area. The magnetic base of the light was held up by one of those magnetic pans used to hold screws, bolts, nuts, etc..  Both of those items came from Harbor Freight, he said.

So I went to my nearby Harbor Freight, and using a 20-percent off coupon, got that same light for just $32. It has two intensities, 390 lumen and 180 lumen. The 180 lumen is more than satisfactory for me and lasts a whopping 8 hours before needing recharge using a USB connection. But if you do need that extra boost in light, the high setting more than does the job! Best of all, using LED bulbs means it stays cool (us "old timers" who tied with incandescent lights appreciate this).

There were two problems. One is that the worklight doesn't fold down.  An inconvenience, as it would be nice to fold down to protect the light, as well as reduce the storage. So what I do is put it in a ziplock bag, and store it an angle in my box. Not ideal, but it works.

The other problem was more significant.

The light base plus magnetic tray pan is about 6 inches, high enough for some table vises. But if you use a pedestal base, that's too short. While I was at HF, I noticed these round magnets with a hole in the middle. I went back to the store, bought one of those. I then took one of my (too many) sealed drink cups, turned it over and drilled a hole in the middle of the bottom. Aligned the magnet hole over the cup hole and connected them with a screw. Now I have more than enough clearance, even for my Regal with a long base (it was originally a table vise).

This has worked out especially well. I took a tying bag and the accessory box (light apparatus included) with me on a recent weekend trip and the battery lasted the entire time. After getting home, put it on a charger and it's ready to go again.

No disposed batteries. A recycled drink cup that was destined for the trash. I might've even saved a cow or two.