A Day Off – Refreshing the Mind

Yesterday was my day off of my regular routine. So, what did I do.

Morning walk

No matter if I take a day off or not I always have a morning walk with my son, Fernando. Fernando is a special person. At the age of eighteen he sustained extensive brain injury in a terrible car accident. The doctors were sure that he would not survive. But God and Fernando and his mother proved them wrong. He survived and is one of the most pleasant and engaging people one could ever meet. He still has short term memory deficiency and therefore can not hold down a job but helps around the house and helps in so many ways. He will be thirty-eight in just a few months. We take a walk each morning to stay fit and to get inspired for our day.

Break routine

Typically after the walk I set up in my studio and address my web sites and begin a blog for the day. Then after that I would do some vocalizing and singing with the intent of recording a song or practicing toward that goal at sometime a few days down the road. But today I have a project in mind. I have been getting materials and tools prepared over the past couple of weeks. So, after the walk I send Fernando to continue his routine and I head for my workshop. I find the tools that I will need for my project and lay them out so that I can put my hands on them as I need them.

The routine is broken. Instead of sitting in front of a screen and typing out a blog, I am lifting tools and preparing not only to use my brain but my brawn as well.

The project

The project for today is to begin to motorize an elevator that I have designed and am installing in my garage for my mother-in-law who lives with us and has rheumatoid arthritis. Our house is constructed on pier and beam and is three feet off the ground. It is extremely hard for my mother-in-law to go up and down stairs. So, if I can create an elevator, it will make life a little easier for her when she gets to go out to shop or do things with the family.

I already have the cage for the elevator and the framework in which it will be contained. Today the project is to connect the motorized winch which will raise and lower the elevator.

Having built the house we are in, I am familiar with the layout of the framing and support structure, so I begin my figuring on how to connect and secure the additional supporting framework and mechanics.



The tools we need are as follows. We shall need a circular saw to cut the 2×10 that we shall use to secure the hardware to the ceiling above the elevator. In addition we shall need a battery operated drill/screw gun for light duty drilling and temporary screwing of wood. Next we’ll need a heavy-duty drill to secure lag bolts through the 2×10 into the framework of the garage ceiling. We top it off with a tape measure, speed square, pencil, extension cords, levels, drill bits and various attachments. I also needed a breakover wrench for firming up and tightening the lag bolts. I used two step ladders to save having to constantly move one ladder.


Materials for today include one 8 foot 20×10, one 8 foot 2×4, sixteen 4″ lag bolts, two 6″ eye bolts and accompanying nuts and washers. The central actor in all of this will be the wench which will cause all of this to accomplish the raising and lowering of the cage of the elevator. In conjunction with the wench I have the two hanger pulleys which help in the transfer of the work of the wench to the elevator basket.


The most consuming part of the process is the figuring. I have to figure the appropriate layout of the eye bolts which will hold the pulleys through which the cable will run that connects the wench to the elevator basket.

All the figuring and measuring and laying out takes about three hours.

The work

Now the actual physical work begins. In just a couple of hours I have the framework in place. I check out the wench to make sure that it is in working order. It is not. So, I spend an hour and a half taking the wench apart and repairing the problem(clutch sticking). It is repaired and we mount it and run the cable to connect through the pulleys to the elevator basket. We get the battery to run the wench and connect it.

This completes what we hope will be our working elevator.

The test

I hook check all connections and get set to test. I push the button and the wench begins to crank. It exerts its’ power on the elevator basket and it begins to rise. Excitement! It continues to rise and then though the wench is cranking the basket is not rising. And then, a “pop”. I immediately stop the wench. One of the anchor boards of the wench is pulling away from the wall. We release the tension of the wench on the cable and check the anchor board. We find that the anchor bolt did not center on the framing that it was to screw into. So we relocate the anchor bolt to catch more of the structural framing.

Now, we try again. This time the basket goes as high as necessary to fulfill its’ purpose. But, the basket seems bound in the framework for the basket. Upon further study we find the cause. The pulley above the elevator basket is not located directly above the connection point to the basket. For that reason it is tending to pull the basket to one side and in so doing causing it to bind on the framework for the basket.


To correct the above stated problem, I shall need to relocate the pulley over the basket so that it is located directly above the point of contact with the basket. This will entail disconnecting the cable from the basket; take down the supporting 2×10 and relocate the ring bolt so that the pulley is correctly located. Then we shall remount and check to see if the problem is solved.

By this time our day is coming to an end and we are tired anyhow. Tune in later to find out how our next day off goes.

In the mean time

In the mean time, if you have an hour or so a day or a few hours a week and would like to do creative things and in so doing make some extra income or a lot of income, check out the links below.


See you next time on a day off.




I thought it would be good to update you on the elevator project.


There was a major problem with the electric winch that I was planning to use.  So, I had to use a different approach.  Instead of using an electric winch powered by a 12 volt battery, I purchased one utilizing 110 AC voltage.  This proved to be the ideal tool for the project.

I was able to use the existing infrastructure and mounted the winch.  I routed the cable and located the power switch in a convenient location.  We plugged it in and was ready for a test run.

The count down starts: 3, 2, 1, 0.  IT WORKS!  It worked perfectly.

What a blessing

My mother-in-law has used it many times and always gets a charge out of the ride.  It has been a blessing to her and shall be for a long time.

I look forward to taking a day off from time to time.  Hopefully, I can accomplish more projects that make life more enjoyable for others.

Would you like to read more of my articles?  Go HERE,   HERE,   and  HERE.

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