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Friday, November 1, 2013

Success! So far, anyway. This morning I made the special bolt that goes in the end of the jig and screws into the shackle. It turned out not very pretty, but I didn't want to take the time to make a better looking version, and it worked. When I got back to the machine shop for the afternoon session I finished up the bolt, installed it in the jig, screwed on the shackle, and started machining. By quitting time I had the diameter down to just .010" over the correct 9/16". The first shackle isn't done yet, but it looks like this thing is going to work. 



Saturday, November 2, 2013

After doing laundry and checking out an auction that didn't have enough of interest to keep me there, I came home and spent the day on winter preparation. It takes too long, but occasionally I come up with a good idea. One of the old windows in my bedroom is falling apart and won't shut. That will be a pretty cold problem when deep winter arrives. So today I moved. I realized that the southeast bedroom has four good windows that close, so that will be my bedroom for the winter. I vacuumed and dusted, moved my radio and clock, and moved my bedding. On top of the sheets are two electric blankets, a regular blanket, a big thick comforter, and an army blanket. No matter how cold it gets, I'll sleep as warm as I want. The last part of the move was installing R-13 insulation in several places to keep the outside air outside. There are still a few cracks, and I'll caulk those. My winter nest is almost ready.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

This morning I did a couple of jobs in the workshop. One was changing the slots in some castle nuts from square bottom to round bottom. The other was installing new lining on a brake shoe. That's two shoes done and two to go. About noon I drove over to Oxford to see what was for sale at the auction. Nothing to keep me there, so I came back and did the grocery shopping. When I got home and put away the groceries, I got busy with the caulking gun and filled cracks in the southeast bedroom. A strong south wind made it easy to find the
places I needed to caulk.  


    
Monday, November 4, 2013

Today's first job was a bit of welding. This old shackle has two main parts, both badly worn down from decades of use. So today's welding job was to build up the second of those halves to well over its proper size so it could be turned down to the right diameter on a lathe. I went to town and paid bills, then went to my afternoon machine shop class. I was able to get the built-up part turned down to the right size, so I'm delighted. I picked the worst shackle I had for practice, but it's turning out so well it may be one that I'll use. After class I fired up the splitter for the first time this season and split some of the wood I cut last week. After sitting for a few months, engines often take some effort to get started, as this one did. But I got it going and split enough wood to last at least a couple of days while we have some wet weather. 



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It was a good day to stay inside. Not a lot of rain, but enough to keep things wet. The main job of the day was more welding. I built up another shackle half to turn down on the lathe tomorrow. I also posted pictures of my visit last month to the Model T Museum on the MTFCI forum.  I also installed new lining on a brake shoe. I'm not delighted with the tubular rivets that came with the lining, and I think I'll shop for some better ones.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This was mostly shackle day. In the morning I filled "wallered out" holes and ground the welds flat for redrilling. In my afternoon class I turned down a built-up shackle half on the lathe. After class I took an hour  for  a trip to Winfield  to buy a couple of jars of kimchi and visit the only bank in the county where I can buy a roll of half dollars. I also confirmed my suspicion that the hardware stores in Arkansas City and Winfield have no split rivets. That means more online shopping. This evening I was back in the shop building up another shackle half and filling the worn-oversize hole.  Tomorrow maybe I'll take a little time away from the shackle project and get something else done.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Today's main achievement was in shopping. I went to town for a battery and some motor oil, then down to Chilocco to fill up the car. The fill-up took longer than usual because several of the pumps were out of service for repair, but so far all was as usual. Then, driving back into town, I thought of the salvage yard nearby. This was because of a problem with my car. My 1994 Camry is the best car I've ever had. It's always been very reliable. If I want to go to Wisconsin, or South Dakota, or Pennsylvania, or California, I just get in the car and go. But approaching twenty years, even a good car can have things go haywire. In this case, the inside door handle broke. I had to open the window and reach out to open the door with the outside handle. That wasn't too bad until the electric window switch went intermittent. Sometimes the window would go down and back up normally, but sometimes it would go down and stay down. This is inconvenient during wet weather. For a couple of weeks I've been leaving it closed and reaching out of the back window to open my door from the outside. Rather awkward and inconvenient. So today I stopped at the salvage yard and got an inside door handle and a window switch cluster. I'll install those and hope my door works normally as long as I have the car. If I'm lucky, it will outlast me.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Another afternoon in the machine shop. I now have one rear shackle about finished and half of the other one. When I have all four shackles (eight halves) done I'll sand blast them to rough up the surface so the paint will stick. At home I went to work on a rear spring for the roadster. The one that's on the car is a later version, so I'm replacing it with one that's right for 1915. I have to sand blast all the leaves, paint them, and reassemble the spring. Getting the thing apart took quite a bit of pounding, as the bolts were firmly rusted in place.
Everything was stuck so tight that turning the nuts broke off the ends of the bolts. So I'll need new bolts, and I'll need to make new clips. But I think that will have to wait a bit. The forecast calls for highs in the sixties for three days, then we're going into the freezer, with lows in the twenties and highs around 40, so I need to build up the wood supply before the good weather goes south.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

It was an interesting day. The first adventure was when I set out for Winfield to check out an auction. I was just entering Winfield from the south when the car's engine died. I was lucky to have a green light at the first intersection, and was able to coast through it and into the Wal-Mart parking lot. I found that the five-year-old battery was dead, so I took it into the store and bought a new one. I went on to the auction, where I checked out a 1916 Model T depot hack that was for sale. It looked to be mostly a correct 1916 vehicle. As I expected, there was nothing else to keep me there, and I definitely don't need another vehicle, so I moved on nto my next stop. That was the Big Tool Store in Derby. There I bought some carbide cutting tips and a pin punch I couldn't get here, then I drove down the street to the Derby Wal-Mart parking lot where I took care of the job that's needed doing for a long time. I took the panel off the inside of the car's front door and installed the door handle and switch cluster I bought at the salvage yard Thursday afternoon. It's nice to have the window working again and to be able to open the door from the inside. My next stop was the Warren Theater in west Wichita to see Twelve Years a Slave. This is the kind of limited release movie we don't get down in Podunk. I was glad to find that it's an excellent film, with a fine script by John Ridley, first rate directing by Steve McQueen, beautiful cinematography, and good performances by a lot of talented actors. Despite all that, I noticed that no matter how good actors are at their craft, they're generally unconvincing when they pretend to work. When you see them cut a tree with an ax, hoe weeds, nail up boards, sweep with a broom, or do any kind of manual labor, it seldom looks real to me. But even with that, it wouldn't surprise me to see some Oscar nominations for this film. After the movie it was dinner time, and I drove apprehensively to Reyes Mexican buffet. I say apprehensively because the battery warning light was on. It stayed on most of the way to the restaurant. Dinner was filling, but I wasn't terribly impressed by the food. The quantity was better than the quality. When I drove home I was afraid I'd run out of battery. That warning light stayed on most of the way home. I hope a new battery terminal bolt and a tighter connection will be the cure, but I'm afraid the real problem may be a faulty alternator.    

 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I lazed in bed until after 7:30 and didn't do a lot today. The highlights, if you can call them that, were grocery shopping and wood splitting. With the forecast callling for cold weather Tuesday, I thought I'd better get some wood in. While I was splitting Gary Wilson stopped by for a visit and we blathered about Model T's for awhile, but I got all the wood split and stacked in the garage. I expect I'll cut and split some more tomorrow.


Monday, November 11, 2013

I never did get around to firewood today, except for bringing some into the house. In the morning I got another
half shackle ready for machining, and in the afternoon I turned it down on the lathe. When I got home I spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the coming cold weather.  I nailed up a piece of tar paper to cover the cracks in the south wall of my bedroom and keep the wind out, I taped a crack under one of the living room windows, and I taped a piece of cardboard in place of a broken out pane of glass in another window. I got the storm windows out of storage, and tomorrow I'll start putting them up in place of the screens.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My only venture away from home today was to the salvage yard to ask about an alternator for the Camry. The price for one off a junk car was only $40 less than a newly remanufactured one, so I called O'Reilly and ordered one of theirs. On the way home I stopped at the welding supply and picked up a box of welding rod. I have more shopping to do, but I didn't want to run down the battery in freezing weather, so I came home and put a charger on it. Most of my work today was welding up spring shackles to work on in the machine shop.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The day dawned in a hard freeze, about 24 F when I got up. That made it a good morning to stay in a heated workshop and work on shackles, which is what I did. Wednesday is a class day, so at noon I went to my machine shop class and worked on shackles some more. After class I went to the auto parts store and picked up the alternator I ordered yesterday. There was a fifty dollar core charge, so I removed the old alternator from the car and installed the new one right there in the parking lot. I didn't want to drive all the way home and back to town, but it probably would have taken less time to do that. The work would have gone a bit faster with an air ratchet, as the old alternator was stubborn about coming out after being in place for twenty years. Anyway, I finally got the new one in and working and turned in the old one to get my core charge back. That pretty well used up the day.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

This morning's first project was drilling out the rivets in the brake shoes I relined last week and installing better rivets. Then I made a good before picture of some worn out spring shackles. When I have some good repaired ones finished I plan to to do a story on shackle restoration for the Vintage Ford. Next  was a trip to town for groceries and a battery. The last time I did laundry I had an unfortunate mishap. I forgot about my phone being in a pocket, and washed it.
I took the battery out of it and opened it and let it air dry with a vacuum running beside it to draw out the moisture. After a week of drying it out, I put the battery back in and tried it. I was relieved to find that it still works. But since the washing I've found that the battery doesn't hold a charge for as long as it used to. So I thought I'd get a new battery and see if that would be any better. My jaw dropped when the young lady at the phone store told me they don't sell batteries. Her excuse was that there are so many different batteries that they couldn't possibly stock all of them. As it turned out I was able to buy one online for $3.75, which is probably less than I would have paid for one locally if I had been able to do so. When I got home I took advantage of the warmer afternoon for some outdoor work. I got out the chain saw and started making firewood from the big old dead tree that fell down in the back yard.  I got some of it split when the rain started. You never know whether a rain storm is going to be just a brief light sprinkle or a downpour,  so I called it a day and carried in some of the wood I split. That was a couple of days' worth,  but what's left to split will probably last a week.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

This morning's first project was drilling out the rivets in the brake shoes I relined last week and installing better rivets. Then I made a good before picture of some worn out spring shackles. When I have some good repaired ones finished I plan to to do a story on shackle restoration for the Vintage Ford. Next  was a trip to town for groceries and a battery. The last time I did laundry I had an unfortunate mishap. I forgot about my phone being in a pocket, and washed it.
I took the battery out of it and opened it and let it air dry with a vacuum running beside it to draw out the moisture. After a week of drying out the phone, I put the battery back in and tried it. I was relieved to find that it still works. But since the washing I've found that the battery doesn't hold a charge for as long as it used to. So I thought I'd get a new battery and see if that would be any better. My jaw dropped when the young lady at the phone store told me they don't sell batteries. Her excuse was that there are so many different batteries that they couldn't possibly stock all of them. As it turned out I was able to buy one online for $3.75, which is probably less than I would have paid for one locally if I had been able to get it here. When I got home I took advantage of the warmer afternoon for some outdoor work. I got out the chain saw and started making firewood from the big old dead tree that fell down in the back yard last summer.  I got some of it split when the rain started. You never know whether a rain storm is going to be just a brief light sprinkle or a downpour,  so I called it a day and carried in some of the wood I split. That was a couple of days' worth, but what's left to split will probably last a week. 
 
Friday, November 15, 2013

I spent a lot of the morning driving myself crazy, looking for parts I know I have but don't know where I put them. Absolutely infuriating. Eventually I'll stumble across them when I'm looking for something else. In my afternoon class I finished a couple of shackle halves and made the drill guide for making oil holes in them. After class I finished splitting most of the wood I cut yesterday, so I have enough stacked in the garage to last a week or two.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

This is becoming a pattern. After doing laundry I checked out an auction and found nothing to keep me there, and came home.  The main activity of the day was sand blasting. I took advantage of the nice weather to set up the equipment and get started on  the correct  rear spring for my roadster. The spring that's on the car is for a later vehicle, so I'm changing to one that's right for 1915.  I got the first two leaves done today, with six to go. I started with the bottom leaves, which are the longest, so each one should take a little less time as I go from long to short. I prepped those first two leaves today, and I'll start painting them tomorrow.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

I lazed in bed until eight and spent most of the morning playing at the computer. About noon I went out and got back to sandblasting. I'm too slow, but eventually I have an occasonal good idea. After years of fighting shadows that made blasting hard to see, today it finally dawned on me that I could move my blasting out away from the barn and into the direct sunlight. So that's what I did. It made seeing my work a lot easier. I got one more spring leaf done, then quit to do a couple of other chores. I used the needle scaler to knock the rust flakes off a couple of the spring leaves I still have to blast, and I prepped the leaf I finished today. That's three leaves done and five to go.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Shackle day. In the morning I built up a worn one with welding, and in the afternoon I turned it down on the lathe. As I work on these, I'm learning what I'm doing and they're getting better.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The forecast showed this as the last good day for sandblasting before the arrival of a lot of wet and cold weather. I had the equipment set up by 10:30 and kept at it until I had all those spring leaves done. I finished the last one about three. It was too cool to be a perfect day, but there was enough overcast to make for even lighting so I didn't have to deal with dark shadows moving across my working area. In an hour I had all the leaves prepped and dried, so I'll start painting them tomorrow.    





Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This morning I fired up my trusty welding torch and built up another shackle half, then I 
painted the bottom sides of the eight spring leaves I finished blasting yesterday. You're supposed to wait forty-eight hours before repainting, so I'll probably let them sit until the weekend before I paint the top sides. I want the bottom side to be dried completely before I turn them over. In the afternoon I went to my machine shop class and turned down another shackle half on the lathe. So far I've finished two rear shackles, and now I'm working on the front ones. I have several extras I intend to restore and sell. New shackles are $60 each, so I figure I should be able to get $45 for restored ones. After class I got some help from my cousin Shane's stepdaughter to make a picture of building up a shackle half. I can't weld and take pictures at the same time, so Amity shot the pictures while I welded. I think we got a pretty good shot. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

I took my washed phone to the phone store to have it checked out today. Since the mishap it's worked, but wouldn't hold a charge as it did before. Even with a new battery and a full charge, it would go off in less than a day. At the store it was scrubbed of everything that was in its memory, to see if that would improve things. We'll see. Meanwhile, here at home, the main activity of the day was firing up the welding torch and building up a couple more shackle halves. Those will keep me busy all through tomorrow's machine shop class. A nice surpise was finding some oilers I knew I had but couldn't remember where.  Now I need to find the transmission band linings I bought in July.


Friday, November 22, 2013

There have been a lot of special broadcasts on this anniversary. Here's what I posted online in answer to the "Where were you?" question.

I was a student at Pepperdine. This was the old Pepperdine College at 79th and Vermont, before the move to Malibu and becoming a big fancy university. On Fridays chapel was mandatory. After the 10:00 AM service I headed for for the campus radio station in the backstage end of the auditorium building. My buddy Herb Schmidt and I were volunteers at the station. As I was crossing the stage somebody, I don't remember who, came through the door from the station and said Kennedy had been shot. I imagined it was a non-fatal wound.

If you're old enough you remember the sound of the teletype machine. That day the teletype at KWAV clattered away with one dispatch after another in a steady stream. Then suddenly the clatter stopped for a few seconds and you heard only the whirring motor of the idle machine. After some seconds it advanced a few inches of blank paper, typed a row of asterisks then typed thirteen letters:

********************************************************



                                PRESIDENT DEAD



********************************************************

Another row of asterisks, a few more inches of blank paper, and then more clattering of news dispatches.

Herb and I spent the rest of the day interviewing mayor Sam Yorty, supervisor Kenny Hahn, and other local officials for their comments. Station manager Lee Larsen phoned KABC and got clearance to carry their news feed from ABC, and we inserted our short pieces from time to time. I don't recall what time we left the station, but it was late that night.

A personal lesson I learned from that day was never lend anybody the master tape.


And here in the present, this was another shackle day. I welded on them in the morning, machined them in my afternoon class, and welded more after class.




Saturday, November 23, 2013

I didn't even go to look at today's auctions because the ads didn't show anything to attract me. I found more than enough to do at home. One job was painting. After painting the bottoms of the spring leaves Wednesday, today I turned them over and painted the tops. I also did some welding on spring shackles so they'll be ready for me to work on them in the machine shop on Monday. The other main job of the day was installing new lining on transmission bands. The work took some extra time because I took a lot of pictures. I intend to use them for a "how to" page in the Model T section of this website. I finished two of the bands, but I'm leaving the third one undone until I make a new rivet spreader. This one is too short, making it awkward to use the hammer on it. A longer one that stands up above the band will be easier to hit.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

With a high in the twenties, it was a day to stay in the heated shop and do some indoor stuff. None of it was a major project, just several little chores including a bit of cleaning up and putting away. It was such an unremarkable day that the highlight was grocery shopping.


Monday, November 25, 2013

On another stay-inside day I did more minor shop chores, went to the machine shop and worked on a drill guide for making oil holes in shackles, and visited the clinic to make an appointment for my annual check-up.  


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Today's main project was installing lubrication on my new rear spring. Several years ago I read on the Model T forum about UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight) tape. Some who had used it said it's great stuff, so I'm trying it on my springs. The tape is an inch wide and the space on the spring leaf is a little under two inches, so I had to do a lot of trimming for the two pieces required for each leaf to fit.  Yesterday I stopped at the local welding supply and picked up some steel for making new spring clips to hold the leaves together. That will be the next part of the spring project.

   


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When I got up about eight it was 17 F outside. The temperature upstairs was 35. Too cold for a bedroom? With two electric blankets and a big comforter over them, it's no prpblem. About an hour before bedtime I go up and turn on both blankets. When I turn in the bed is nice and warm. After I'm in I turn off one of the blankets so I won't get hot and sweaty. With the outside temperature in the teens and twenties, I spent the morning working in the shop. This afternoon the outside warmed up to the high thirties so I went out and started cutting up the pile of scrap lumber east of the house for firewood. I also started up the splitter and took care of some wood that I didn't get to in my last splitting session. Starting this weekend we're supposed to be having warmer weather with highs in the fifties, so I aim to get some serious wood cutting done.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Didn't do a lick of work today. Went to my couisin Pete's for Thanksgiving. Watched rednecks hunting alligators on TV and ate too much.


Friday, November 29, 2013

In the shop this morning I finished putting new linings in my transmission bands, and put them in a pail to soak in oil. I got started on making an installation tool, mostly just hunting up parts. I should get it put together this weekend. This afternoon I boxed up a lot of the scrap lumber I sawed up Wednesday. I filled up two boxes and it looks like there's enough cut to fill another, plus more to cut.
The forecast is for highs in the fifties for several days, so I need to get out and cut more wood before we go back in the freezer next week.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

My main project of the day was cutting up the old dead tree that fell down last summer, splitting it, and stacking it in the garage. I finished the cutting and most of the splitting and stacking. I need to cut more tomorrow and into the new week. More cold weather is supposed to arrive Thursday.


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