Kevin escorts a pair of blindfolded children into the “clubhouse” loft. They're here to participate in some of this episode's projects, which are aimed at entertaining youngsters. To celebrate the 150th episode, the team has created several such projects, which parents and children can build together.
The first of these is a soccer goal, constructed of PVC pipe. Rich Trethewey lends his plumbing expertise to this effort and a couple of kids help. He has gathered the various fittings and pipes. He starts by teaching the kids how to cut the pipes to the right lengths: several five foot lengths, several four foot lengths, several three foot lengths and a handful of very small bits. Along the way, he explains the concept of a right triangle and a Pythagorean triple, and also shows how to ensure that the fittings line up properly.
All this explained, they start by dry fitting the square back. Then Rich shows how to clean the pipe to prepare it for glue, and how to apply glue and twist the pieces together. They glue up the square back, and then a pair of triangular side pieces. When all these set up, they glue the complete frame, and string some netting of a type designed to keep deer out of shrubs. A few zip ties secure this netting to the frame on the back and the sides.
Upstairs, Tom shows how to build a pair of stilts. The uprights are formed from handrails of the sort intended for stairways, and the steps are formed from poplar. Tom constructs a set of templates and helps the kids use these to mark off the cut lines. Then he takes a small circular saw and uses that to cut the poplar.
With the pieces ready, Tom shows the kids how to glue two triangular pieces together and then secure them with small nails while the glue sets. With the boards tacked, he drills pilot holes and then has the kids install three screws in each pair. The combination of nails, glue, and screws creates a very strong base for the step. Glue and long deck screws hold the top of the step to the base. Tom then drills a pair of holes into the step.
Turning to the handrail, he drills holes every four inches, while one of the children uses a finishing sander to smooth the step and round over the corners. The other kid cleans up the pole in the same way.
Tom attaches the steps to the poles with a carriage bolt, washers and a wingnut, then he turns the kids loose to practice stilt walking.
Back outside, Roger helps the largest group of kids build a sandbox. And, he's going to show them how to make fossils to find in the sand.
To make the fossils, he has the kids fill small buckets with sand, and then pack that sand down tightly. Then he sends them off to find objects, and when they return, he shows them how to press these into the sand to create an impression. In a different bucket, Roger mixes plaster of Paris and water 2:1 to make a thin mix, then fills each mold. In an hour or less, that will harden; while they wait, Roger takes them back to the sandbox site and has them start digging.
After they dig a few inches in, Roger has them make a border of sand on which to rest the cedar frame, which he has made using butt joints and corner braces. After they lower it, he goes around it and makes sure it is level, tapping or lifting as necessary. When it is level, he begins building up the walls with new course, using timber screws to attach them in an overlapping pattern. Landscape fabric laid in the bottom of the box keeps dirt out of the sand, and another course of timbers secures that fabric. That's the basic box. Roger begins delivering barrows full of sand for the kids to spread out.
Back at the “fossils” Roger helps the kids pop each molding item free, and shows them how to clean it. They're ready to bury them and then find them again later.
To protect the sandbox, Roger puts a beach ball in the middle and lays a tarp over it. The ball ensures the tarp sheds water, and a few circles of Velcro secure the tarp to the side rails. Share this article with your friends