Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pens and Flat Panel TVs

There are several old timers here that enjoy small woodworking projects in the activities barn. I got to know a couple of the guys when they let me use their saws to cut a few pieces of wood for my TV installation, described later in this blog. 
Hande made pen 002
Roger Stranger (above) is from Saranac, Michigan and his mentor, Charlie, have become artisans by making beautiful hand-turned wooden ball point pens.

pen 002
Here is one of Roger’s pens.  He only charges $10 for a one-of-a-kind pen that is finished with two layers of wood-workers wax and a special hand-buffed sealer.  My photo does not do justice to his art.
trim piece 007
Here is a case of pens made by Charlie.

And here is Charlie (far right) at his favorite place. 

The saga of our TV began two weeks ago Sunday when we were watching TV and it quit working. No sound. No picture. No smoke. Nada.
The next day I removed the front of the TV cabinet and removed the TV. I plugged it to see if I could get the blue screen, but nothing happened. So it was time to order a new unit. After doing some research we decided on a Samsung because some Foretravel owners have reported good success with them as opposed to Sony TVs which seem to be susceptible to road shock and vibration.
Our motorhome rides really smoothly, but TV sets are made to hang on a wall in a home, office or store where they do not get vibration from road travel or bouncing over railroad tracks and speed bumps.
Ordering the set from B&H Video in NYC was the easy part. No tax and free shipping was a bonus. I love that store. I found that a 26 inch flat panel TV would fit over the outside of the existing cabinet without interfering with adjacent cabinet doors.
Finding a way to hang a flat panel TV in place of the old TV that was in a cabinet was the challenge. I did not want to incur the cost of cabinet modifications and I certainly did not want to sit at a RV repair facility for two days and pay someone $120 an hour plus materials to do the work.
TV install 001 
This is the cabinet that held the old TV.
The first wall mount bracket we ordered arrived the same day as the TV. The mounting hardware did not include the correct size of metric bolts so I made my first of 4 trips to Salt Creek Hardware.
While this is a small store, they carry a lot of stuff and their employees extremely helpful.

TV done 001
Here is the modified cabinet with the bracket in place.

We got the TV installed Wednesday. but it was not without some trial and error. Wednesday morning I drove to Best Buy in Ocala and bought the same mounting bracket that a Foretravel friend suggested. But as it turned out this one would not work with our set.
So I decided to call the company that made both of the brackets now sitting on the sofa to see if they had something that would work better for us. While talking with their rep, who by the way was the perfection of customer service, he suggested that if the lateral movement was a problem, then why not use a few Velcro tabs to keep it in place? Ding! Ding! Ding!
So with that in mind I worked with the first bracket. It took two complete “guess installations”, but the second time it was perfection – at least for us. And no lateral movement. We are happy campers. And it fits so snug that we do not need any Velcro after all.
I am working on a piece of wood to cover up the opening visible at the top of the new TV.
Two final items:
Because I do not post every day some of you probably get weary of checking to see if I have a new blog.  If you send me your e-mail, I will put you on a list to which I send a notice each time I blog.
Also,  if you have any specific questions to ask, you can also contact me at the email shown below:

Stay tuned.


  1. George, you did really great job with your installation! The new flat screen looks perfect. I also enjoyed talking to the guys as they worked on their pens. Those men and women doing their crafts down at the barn are very good at what they do.


  2. Great job on the tv install. Really looks great.

    Also, since I follow your blog, you just pop up whenever you post. Makes it easy to follow along with you.