Comfortaire Company Review

I am a 189 pound 5’ 7” gym rat. I am not a 6’ 5” 325 pound offensive tackle for a professional football team. My bed however seems to think I am. Let me rewind and start from the beginning.

2015-08-17 14.15.58

The Prelude

Short cute story, I broke my back which ended with me in constant pain in my back. My relief normally comes from sleep, which I need from a bed that can cradle my body and keep me from rolling around at night.

The Bed

About 3 years ago I needed to replace my mattress and I found an ad online offering a Comfortaire Celesta dual chamber queen side airbed. My folks had bought a used Sleep Number Bed about 5 years prior. They loved it and have had no problems with it. I figured for the price, I would go and check out this bed.

2015-08-17 14.15.16

The lady I purchased the bed from was an older woman who had keep the bed in her spare bed room for guest. Since they were moving she did not want to take it with them and she wanted to sell it.

I looked over all the parts and found the bed was in perfect shape so I bought it and brought it home. A year and a half later I started noticing the foam between the pillow top and the air chambers had started to tear in the middle of the bed where I sleep. I let this go until last year when I started developing small air leaks on only one air chamber.

At this point I decided to call Comfortaire and see if they would help me.

Comfortaire and ‘Debbie’

Last year I called Comfortaire to ask two questions.

1. Will they warranty the foam pad or the air chambers even though I am not the original owner,

2. What is the air chamber made out of? (so I could patch the air chamber in the meantime)

The first young lady I spoke with was of no help. She did not know what the chambers where made out of. She told me that I should just use camping air mattress patching kits that use rubber cement. My second question had her even more baffled when I asked do they warranty either part.

I was frustrated at this point so I asked the customer support girl if she could transfer me to her manager. I normally do not like to call someone out in a review but for the sake of how horrible she was I am willing to put aside my rule.

I have to say at this point that while I will admit to being frustrated, I make it a point to never be rude or belligerent on the phone. No one deserves that, even if they are that way to me. I normally find that being polite and nice gets me what I need.

I spoke with Manager ‘Debbie’ about my dilemma about the foam tearing and to keep this review short I will just say she told me flat out that they do not warranty the foam on their bed because they know they will wear out and need to be replaced. (really? It is inside a zippered case covered by a pillowtop!)

Debbie is the type of customer service help you want to have helping the people you really hate. Debbie left a really bad taste in my mouth and is the whole reason I wanted to write this review. She was never really interested in helping me and at one point she told me to just throw away the bed and go and buy a new bed from a different company.

The Foam

Since Comfortaire was in no real mood to even discuss replacement of their foam I went and found a foam mattress topper at my local bulk item club and I replaced the foam. $75 for something that should be warrantied. Tsk tsk, shame on you Comfortaire.

The Leak

To date I have dealt with 7 cases of one air chamber leaking air through the night and giving me a bad night.

2015-08-15 07.07.07

My air chambers as I found out are not made of rubber or nylon or any of the normal patchable air mattress material. No, that would have been too easy. They made the air chambers out of urethane.

This means that rubber cement patching kits are worthless. You need to use superglue. The problem is that you cannot just put a few drops, you have to create a large patch using the glue, which takes hours to dry.

I have found I can use a rubber patching kit if I superglue the rubber patch to the air chamber.

I have also learned that getting into and out of bed is how the leaks have started. These air chambers are extremely thin, and I can only guess that I am rubbing the top to the bottom getting in. Also, anytime someone sits on the bed while someone else is laying in the bed, a new leak starts to form. The longer two people are on the bed, the bigger the leak gets. (Remember, this is a QUEEN BED!)

How to find leaks

Do you have an air mattress that you think is leaking but you do not know where?

I use an old spray bottle filled with a little drop of soap and then fill the bottle with water and then I spray the whole mattress while it is inflating and you can see the soap bubbles start to appear.

2015-08-15 07.03.09

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a new mattress I can only share my experience with you and say that if I had known what I know now I would have spent a little more money and gone with the Sleep Number Bed.

Comfortaire was rude and not caring at all when I tried to get help and no one deserves to deal with that.

Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey Review and Recipe

I have been fall down drunk twice in my life. I have been over the legal limit drunk but I have never lost my ability to make wise decisions (that I am aware of). When it comes to going to the bar on a weekend with friends or coworkers I am normally the designated driver. Not because I don’t enjoy drinking, but because I like falling asleep in a comfortable bed and not in a jail cell.

My dog decided to go for an adventure when I was 15. I was lucky and a policeman picked us up and drove us home with  my dog in my arms. That was my first and only time I have been driven in the back of a cop car. I swore never again.

I share these stories with you because I feel like my readers should know what kind of drinker I am. When you read more than one review on alcohol on my website you will understand that I drink because I enjoy the taste. I am not drinking to just drink.

BirdDogBlackberryWhiskeyReview

While I will be the first to admit I am not a connoisseur of any type of alcohol. I am a simple gentleman who likes to taste his drinks and not get completely wasted. I drink more at my house than I do at a bar because I like to know what I am drinking and I like to know that I am not going to pay $14 for a $1.50 worth of whiskey sour.

The Backstory

I was spending a day with my mother shopping (I don’t have a Sam’s Club membership so I use hers and it gives us a chance to spend some time together). On the way back to the house I wanted to stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey for dinner and she wanted to looks for a moonshine that a friend had turned her and my father on to.

I didn’t normally don’t spend time shopping for different brands of any kind of alcohol because I never really thought about it. I am simple I know that I like this brand and this price so I do the straight line for my bottle and the register and then I am out.

Since my mother was with me, we did a little browsing and came across Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. My mother saw blackberry and she was like YES! we need to try this. The whiskey was $15 for 750ml bottle which seems like a fair price for flavored whiskey in Texas.

The Taste

We brought it back to my parents’ house and we opened the bottle and the aroma was wonderful! I stuck the bottle in the freezer for an hour to chill it down and then we tasted the Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. This whiskey is smooth. It has all the tastes of whiskey when you first taste it and it finishes with a sweet taste of blackberry.

*Side note: when tasting alcohol I was taught to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. the reason for this is that if you breathe in through your mouth you vaporize the alcohol which makes it evaporate and cause the burning feeling in your mouth.

The Recipe

The Atticus James Whiskey Sour

AtticusJamesBlackberryWhiskeySour

Ingredients
2 ounces Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey
3-4 ounces Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix
Ice to fill glass
Directions
Combine the Bird Dog BlackBerry Whiskey and Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix in a large old-fashioned glass with ice. Stir, and serve.

This makes a great refreshing summer drink.

Overall Thoughts

After buying Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey I am excited to try their other flavors. They have made a whiskey that is not only tastes good just on the rocks but also makes for some mean whiskey cocktails.

Bird Dog Whiskeys are reasonably priced and doesn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth

Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener Review

For Christmas last year I went out and got myself the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener (Without tool sharpener). I didn’t really spend much time trying it out for the first few months. It seemed complicated and I was being lazy with my semi-dull knives. It wasn’t until a friend who is in the Army came to visit, that I really took it out and started learning how easy it really is to get a razor edge.

41587_2000x2000

Introduction

I have been on the hunt for a razor edge on my knives since I was old enough to learn how to sharpen knives. I have stick sharpeners, block sharpeners, diamond sharpeners, kitchen and utility sharpeners. I have so many sharpeners that I have a shoe box full of them and I am still finding ones from my youth. In my early teens I destroyed a few of my cheap knives by trying to sharpen them with a rotary tool and a metal grinding bit, all in search for the elusive razor edge.

First Impressions of the Ken Onion Edition

At first I wasn’t impressed with the edge I was getting with this Work Sharp sharpener. It was sharp but I really didn’t feel I was getting my moneys’ worth from this Work Sharp sharpener. The kit comes with a DVD that walks you through the steps. I just wasn’t impressed because the knife wasn’t all that sharp. I figured this wasn’t a dummies guide to sharp knives and that it really took a long time to learn how to get the edge you were looking for.

My First Sharp Knife

After working with the sharpener for a few hours I figured something out. My knives had been to hell and back. I have been “sharpening” them for years on different stones and angles and I had made a mess of my blades.

I needed to start fresh and re-profile the blades to the correct angle (as per the angle and belt guide in the book). I took my P120 extra coarse belt (this is a step I took on my own without guidance from the book as they do not talk about doing this) and redefined the edges on all of my blades. This was the first and most important step I have found to the perfect blade.

You need to start clean and have all the nicks and divots in the blade removed. Once I had done that, I followed the user guide and lo and behold I had a razor edge on my 10 year old EDC (EveryDay Carry) knife.

I have noticed that the knifes that have been re-profiled last a little bit longer between each sharpening now. I can see how re-profiling is not a one step method. It may take many sharpening’s before it is a super sharp leather cutting blade.

My $10 Razor Knife

There was a deal on some website offering these folding half serrated knives for $10. I picked up one for each of my family. I wanted them to have an inexpensive knife they could carry without worrying about losing an expensive one.

For those of you who do not feel the need to carry one on you, I recommend trying it out for 1 or 2 weeks. Count how times you find yourself using it.

When I opened the package with the 4 knives I wanted to see how sharp they were. I tried to shave some arm hair and found I couldn’t even cut warm butter.

I wanted to put this Work Sharp sharpener to the test and see if I could find a real edge on the knife or see if I had just bought myself 4 knife shaped paper weights. I went to my first step of re-profiling the edge. I quickly got a razor sharp edge on this knife and now I have been carrying it for about 3 months.

The Belts

The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener comes with 5 belts:

Belts
(1) P120 Extra Coarse Grit Norton Ceramic Belt,
(1) X65 Coarse Grit Norton Norax 65 Micron Belt
(1) X22 Medium Grit Norton Norax 22 Micron Belt,
(1) X4 Fine Grit Norton Norax 4 Micron Belt
(1) 6000 Extra Fine Grit SiC Micro Mesh

The “X” belts are the ones you will use the most. They are meant for every blade with the exception of serrated, gut and bread knives which you use the 6000 Belt on.

I have noticed that after about 40 knife sharpens the belts are starting to wear. The book says “Belt discoloration is not an indicator of wear. Engineered belts expose new abrasive as they break down. Used belts may take extra strokes but will continue to remove material. These belts will keep going longer than you think. Keep using them as long as they cut.” [Found in the Ken Onion Edition User Guide]

Final Thoughts

I have found my razor edge!

Once I took the the time to sit down and read the book and started practicing, the easier it was to put a nice edge on my knives. Work Sharp does not have a hard box for this $150 sharpen which I think would have been better.

I keep mine in the original box it came in with all the belts and book. I think if it had a carrying case, like that of most drills, it would really add to the life of this sharpener.  I have had a few friends come over with knives to have me sharpen for them. I have taught all of them how to do it themselves so they can take my Work Sharp home and sharpen all the knives they have at home.

Turtle Wax T-222R Super Hard Shell Paste Wax Review

About a year ago I ran out of whatever brand of car wax I was last using on my vehicles. I ran to my local Big Box store to pick up some inexpensive wax just to keep my vehicles protected. I saw the Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell with foam applicator and figured I would give it a try. The application directions are very straight forward and easy to use. I picked it up and I have been very happy ever since.

url

Directions

  1. Wash and dry car
  2. Apply to cool clean surface, not in direct sunlight
  3. Apply a small amount of wax to a DAMP applicator  (This is one of the most important parts to remember as a dry applicator will make it harder to buff off dried haze)
  4. Spread small amounts evenly
  5. Allow time to dry and haze up (in about 80 degree temps it was dry and hazy in about 4 minutes)
  6. Lightly buff for maximum shine

Pre-application

My vehicle is fire engine red and when it is waxed and buffed it shines and reflects like a mirror. When I set out to get the vehicle ready to be waxed, I had about an hour with of hand washing before it was ready. I started in the middle of the afternoon,  so by the time I was finished washing all of my vehicles it was way too late to start waxing. The following day, I was busy until after lunch. When I went to start waxing, there was a light dust on the vehicle which was removed by a microfiber cloth.

Application

While I should have started out with a clay bar and buffed out any scratches with scratch remover I just skipped ahead to the waxing. As I mentioned in step 3, you need to use a damp applicator and you should also always wash you applicator as it gets dirty. Waxing a vehicle with a dirty applicator can scratch the paint job even more and not give you the shine you want.

This wax goes a long way. When waxing, you should also remember that thinner is better. I spent about an hour just applying the wax to my vehicle, as it is large. Once I finished waxing everything, I pulled out my buffer and buffed the entire vehicle to remove the haze. Buffing leaves dried wax dust on the vehicle, which I use my microfiber cloth to dust off.

I changed wool buffing bonnets 3 times during the day to buff and polish the entire vehicle to insure I wasn’t picking up contaminates and grinding them back into the paint.

Look and feel

The vehicle is smooth to the touch and feels like a fresh paint job. In a perfect world, I really should have used the scratch remover first to help with the small scratches. But the reality is, this is an all purpose vehicle and as seen its fair share of brush and tree branches scratching it, so it is not without its heavy scratches that cannot be removed. Overall the paint looks new and shiny, just as you would want from a good quality wax.

Final thoughts

The Turtle Wax T-222R Super Hard Shell Paste Wax is around $4 for a 14oz container making this a good price for many wax jobs. After waxing, the vehicles should have this great shine for a few months. The rain and other water just beads right off the surface. I will definitely be getting more of this product when I run out.

Smoke Hollow PS 4400" Propane Gas Smoker Review

I personally smoke some kind of meat at least a couple times a month. Since we are here in Texas, that is year round! I started smoking meat about 33 years ago. I got my first charcoal smoker as a wedding present from my father in law. I have personally gone through at least 12 different smokers. I have smoked meat on charcoal smokers, propane smokers, electric smokers, as well as a custom built trailered, wood smoker.

0040635126159_A

Back in 2003, my father in law “upgraded” me from a charcoal smoker to a propane smoker because one of his buddies said it did a really good job and made life much easier. I was very skeptical because I was violating the unwritten code of smoker purists. I have to tell you, I was hooked immediately. Once you get the temperature adjusted it is very easy to go back to the control knob and repeat the settings. The real advantage was, I could go back to sleep after putting the turkey on for Thanksgiving. I used this type of smoker for 10 years, smoking everything : brisket, turkey, sirloin, roast, chicken and some awesome standing rib roasts (prime rib), with great, consistent results.

0040635126159_B

Last week I purchased “Smoke Hollow PS 4400” Propane Gas Smoker from Sams Club. I don’t normally give endorsements (unpaid endorsement) to a store but in this case I will, because one of the benefits of buying from Warehouse Clubs is they tend to include a number of extras for no additional cost. The extra on this unit was a cover, Amazon priced it at $44.00.

0040635126159_C

Size Matters:

This is a big smoker. It stands almost 4 feet tall. I could smoke four- 15lb turkeys or 21 racks of ribs. Because of the size of this smoker I would suggest that if you are a beginner smoker or your plans are for smoking a couple of turkey legs and a whole chicken once in a while this may be too big for your needs. However, as big as it is, it is still a nice size for your average patio.

Breakdown of the Smokers Components

Doors:

This model comes with two doors, one for the food and the other for the water pan and wood chip pans. This model from Sams comes with a glass upper door. If you can afford a model with a glass door, it is well worth it. I like being able to see what is going on without opening the door and losing the heat. If you need to add water all you need to do is open the lower door and you don’t lose the heat in the upper cabinet.

This model does not come with door gaskets and every review I read talked about this. I was concerned about heat loss as well as smoke coming out around the door. Before I fired up the smoker the first time I applied a thin bead of high temp gasket maker material, left the door open for 24 hours to cure and didn’t have any problems with heat or smoke loss. The doors come with 3 adjustable door latches, two for the top door and one for the bottom. It gives a very secure fit.

Burners:

The 4400 comes with two burners. I am not sure why because with one burner at medium I can reach 300 degrees. I smoke at 235 degrees. One possible use is this smoker comes with two fire chip pans and I suppose one could fill both pans with wood and when it is time to start the second round of smoke one would only need to turn off the first burner and start the second. Maybe an unintended benefit would be that there is a second burner if the first burner wears out.

Water and Fire pans:

Overall I am happy with the pans. The water pan holds approximately 1.25 gallons which gives about 4 hours cook time before refilling. The one suggestion I would give to you is when it is time to drain the pan, have a 5 gallon bucket close by to pour into. That way you don’t need to carry the greasy water where it can splash on you. Another suggestion is I triple layer my pans with foil to make it easier to clean up as well as it protect the pans from developing holes. After 33 years and 12 smokers, all pans will develop holes if you don’t protect them.

The fire pans are of a good size to hold a large amount of wood. The downside is that only the center 1/4 to 1/3 of the wood is used up. The outer perimeter creates charred wood. I don’t think it has a big overall effect but I like to use up material.

Measurements:

The overall measurements are 44″ x24″ x16″. It is tall enough to comfortably add or remove food items. The handles are a good height to make it easy for two people carry. It is not very heavy so it would be easy to move short distances.

Legs:

The legs create a wide enough footprint to give it stability, but as with the rest of the construction the legs are made with light weight steel and it will not take a lot of rough handling i.e. in the back of a pickup; off road.

Racks:

This smoker comes with 5 racks: two regular, two jerky racks and one rib rack that will hold 7 racks of ribs or it can be turned over and used as a regular rack. If you are going to use the jerky racks for something other than jerky I would suggest a sheet a foil to prevent sticking to the racks, because it is a pain to clean the racks.

Temperature Gauge:

I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate the temperature gauge was. In a side by side comparison with a digital probe it was only off by 5 degrees. I did find that it was 15 degrees cooler at the bottom of the cabinet.

Drip Pan:

The smoker comes with a drip pan although it didn’t catch any drips. There is a large vent hole on the bottom that pan does not cover and this is where the grease dripped out. I solved the problem by putting an old tray under the smoker.

Assembly:

When I purchased the smoker I was asked if I want a new in box or a floor model. I didn’t want to put it together, so I gladly took the floor model. That said, I don’t know the ease of installation but from everything I read it takes about 1.5 hours without too much difficulty.

Final Thoughts:

I like this smoker. There are some flaws in design but nothing that can’t be fixed inexpensively. I would definitely make or buy a gasket to help retain the heat and smoke. I would keep a tray under it, especially if you keep this on the patio. And finally wrap the water and fire pans to ease the cleaning as well as prolonging their life. I am looking forward to many years of good smoked meals with this smoker.

Leatherman MUT First Impressions

This is my first impressions of the Leatherman MUT (Military Utility Tool). I plan to release my full review later this month, after I have had a chance to use the tool more. I have had the Leatherman MUT for about a week now. I haven’t used it much in the field and it has spent most of the time in its pouch on my person or in the desk next to me.

SPECS of the Leatherman MUT

MUT SPECS

The Leatherman MUT weights in a 11.2 oz. or 317.5 g so it falls on the slightly heftier side of what I normally carry (Leatherman Wave 8oz).  The weight is not that noticeable on my hip.

I did take the 3/8 wrench/ AR front sight tool out of the pouch as I am afraid of losing it. I have been carrying the Leatherman Rail to the range since I got it Christmas 2013 which has the sighting tool on it. I think if maybe there was a way the wrench combo could have been added to the MUT that might have been better. I don’t know yet and I will get back to you on my finding later.

Serrations VS. Straight Edge

The Knife has serrations which I have never been a fan of on the same blade as your straight cutting blade. Since Leatherman was trying to make this the best battle tool they could, I get it, as there are a lot of people out there that like that. It is all about getting the tool to fit your hand and not weight 400 pounds.

A Gunsmiths Point of View

The carbon scraper will be nice when I am cleaning the review guns as they tend to be more worn than my firearms. I took this tool into my gunsmith who agreed that this was designed nicely for taking your guns down.

The pouch is sewn to handle even the heaviest of wear and tear. I will talk more on the webbing and how it adjusts for your belt or molle gear in the next article. 

Overall Thoughts 

I am very happy with this new (to me) Leatherman MUT.  I can see this replacing my Leatherman Wave for everyday carry.

Multitool_Leatherman_MUT_LM098522

X-products X-15 50 Round .223/5.56×45 Drum Magazine Review

Typically I am not one to share my hopes and dreams with you as this is a gun website full of guns and gun stuff but today I need to share with you the nightmare that has been in my life for the past year now.

DSCN0796

As I am sure a lot of you have seen the X-products 50 round X-15 .223/5.56×45 drum magazine for the AR-15 platform and might have even seen the video below of me firing off all 50 rounds with the ZA-15 which, as you see, feeds the rounds like a dream. But this isn’t the part where I tell you about the good but where I share my nightmare.

When I first started my testing a year ago I fell in love with the magazine and I am known to call this the p-mag of the drum world because of how fun it is. I love to walk around with the bad boy in my rifle and shoot off a few rounds. Of course it makes you want to reload your mag more and that is my nightmare.  I will be at the range and go to open that ammo can to reload only to see that it is empty of .223 ammo to feed the drum and gun. Damn, that stuffs goes fast when you are having fun!

All joking aside this is a really great magazine that I have found is great for everything from plinking on the range to sighting your AR on the lead sled to displays at your local gun shop.

Testing stages:

The crew and I talked about trying to torture this magazine by driving over it or throwing it off the tower but since X-products has done such a good job at designing this out of aluminum and steel it would be really hard to show any kind of damage to this without blowing it up or taking a blow torch to it which there is really no real world reason that SHOULD ever happen.  Our testing was concentrated on just sending rounds thru it.

Jams and misfires:

I have put about 1000 rounds through this magazine without any problems what so ever. I own a surefire 60 round casket magazine which looks cool but since we primarily shoot steel cased ammo we get metal on metal friction which stops the magazine from working but since the X-15 drum is designed in a spiral the ammo has a hard time locking the magazine down.

Size:

I live in the great state of Texas where I am not limited on how many rounds I can have in my magazine so I own 30 round magazines and up which can be a problem if you are sighting your rifle in on a lead sled but I found that the X-15 works great for that and I don’t have to change mags if 10 rounds wasn’t enough or if you are sighting in a number of ARs.

Drum mags:

I have a few friends who have owned beta mags and other AR drums and they haven’t liked them all that much.  Most of them were skeptical about the X-15 when I first started talking about them but after they used mine they could feel the difference.

When you load the mag in your rifle for the first time you might think this is going to make your gun heavy and unbalanced. By keeping the weight straight under the gun it doesn’t unbalance the rifle and the weight doesn’t really become much of a factor when you are pulling the trigger.

Overall thoughts:

2013-03-09 14.37.42

For $239 this might seem like a high priced magazine but you have to consider the durability that a steel and aluminum drum offers you. Would I go out and buy 30 of them? No, because I don’t need that many drum magazines with having less expensive AR polymers. However, if I have a need for a reliable over 30 round magazine this is my first choice.

I have not yet gotten into 3 gun matches or competition shooting but I have seen a few videos online of competitors using the X-15 and they have nothing but great things to say about them.

I love this magazine.  It is well made, durable and dependable.  It is also a hell of a lot of fun.  I am really excited to see what they have in store for us in the years to come.