Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I kicked off the new year by adding a new website page about one of my linguistic pet peeves. I observed the monthly ritual of reading the water meter and writing a check to pay the bill. As it does most months, that amounted to $17. When I use a lot of water it's $19. Hearing from people in town what they pay, this is one more thing that makes me glad to be outside the city limits and in a rural water district. When I went to town for milk this afternoon, I also bought a fifty foot network cable. I've found that the wi-fi signal from my router in the house doesn't reach out to my workshop. So I've decided to try moving the router from the living room up to the attic to see if the signal will reach both the living room and the shop from there. I'm hoping that the signal will get out past the wood wall upstairs better than the concrete and stone walls downstairs. This afternoon I drilled a hole in the northwest corner of the living room wall near the ceiling. That hole opens into the northeast corner of the upstairs bedroom just above the floor. I managed to thread the cable through the hole before quitting time. Tomorrow I'll move the router upstairs, hook it up, and see if the signal reaches both places. I had to quit about four because I had baking to do. I made cornbread to have with the traditional New Year's Day meal of black eyed peas. I need to make cornbread more often. It's good stuff.

Thursday,  January 2, 2014

A cool 7 F greeted me when I looked out the kitchen window this morning.  I did a little more organizing and cleaning in the shop today, but I spent more time on a couple of other things.  The first was my attempt to get a wi-fi signal in the shop.  I moved the router from the living room up into the attic, over the northwest room nearest the shop. The good news was that it still sent a good signal to the living room. The bad news was that out in the shop my browser still showed a "Server not found" notice. Thinking about the physical layout of the place, it occurred to me that the obstacle might be the east end of the shop building, made of
concrete blocks. So if the signal wasn't getting into the ground floor of the shop, maybe the upstairs, made of metal siding over a wood frame, would be a different story. Yes, it was. I was delighted to find that when I took the computer up there I was able to go online with no trouble. So my next project was making a computer table to go upstairs over the shop. With that question settled, I went back to indexing photos. By the time I quit this evening, I had finished all the Mays from 2007 through 2013. I'm closing in on having half the indexing project done.

Friday, January 3, 2013

A warmer day, above freezing, but with enough wind to make it feel a lot colder. I continued indexing photos. I made it through June of 2008. That leaves June 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 until I'm about half done with the indexing. I'll do some more tomorrow, but I still need to do more shop organizing too so I can get to work on that roadster rear axle. Gotta get that car ready to drive when touring season gets here.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Curses! Opportunity lost. A sunny day above 40 would have been good for cutting firewood, but my saw died. It's in the repair shop waiting for parts. So instead of woodcutting I did more picture indexing and a
little more shop organizing.
This was the last day for outside work until Tuesday. We're supposed to go back in the icebox for the next three days.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

This morning I awoke to about two or three inches of snow on the ground and an outside temperature of 11 F. Certainly it was no day for outside activities. I played online, indexed more pictures, and made some progress in workshop organizing. It wasn't a day of major accomplishment, but I got a little done. When I went in to get dinner, the temperature in the kitchen was 32 F. I lit a fire in the stove and set a fan on the chair behind the stove to help circulate the warm air around the room, and in half an hour the temperature had risen to almost 70 F. Miss kitty seemed to appreciate that stove.  In the evening I returned to indexing pictures. I got through June of 2011.  Outside it's chilly.  A little after 10 PM the outside thermometer claimed it was 6.  We might get down around zero by morning. Today's high was 20 just after midnight.  I don't think we ever got much above 11 in the afternoon. I'll enjoy those electric blankets tonight.

Monday, January 6, 2014

This morning's 0 F was the coldest we've had here so far. Here in the shop it's 60 upstairs where I have the computer, and my toes are cold, but at least my fingers aren't numb. I did more indexing of pictures, and now have the first six months
of every year since 2007 done. That's about half of all the pictures I have to do. At that point I quit indexing for the day and went back to shop organizing. I managed to clear off the top of the old heater I've been using with a board across the top for a table. It's been sitting behind the roadster. With that heater out of the way I'll soon able to pull the rear axle out of the roadster and go to work on it. I hope I'll have that car ready to drive when nice weather arrives.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

As the polar vortex began to dissipate and the outdoors warmed up into the thirties, I did more organizing in the shop and did more picture indexing.  I've decided that since the wi-fi signal from the house reaches the upstairs of my shop and that's where I've moved my computer, that's where I'll have my office. So today I set up the printer and the scanner next to the computer. Eventually I'll get the filing cabinets out of the living room and put them up there too.    

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I never went off the place today. My main project was making a jack attachment. It's bad practice to raise the rear end of a Model T by placing a jack under the center, so I came up with a way for a single jack to lift in two places.  With that tool finished, I used it to put the rear of the roadster up on jack stands. With a length of square tubing under the frame and between the muffler and the spring, the rear axle is easily removed. Just disconnect the brake rods and shackles,  remove four bolts from the front of the drive shaft housing, and the whole thing pulls out toward the back.  Soon I'll have that rear axle out and can open it up to see what's inside. I suspect I'll find some of the old babbitt thrust washers that need to be replaced. While I have the rear axle out I'll install the proper 1915-style rear spring, shackles, drive shaft tube, and pinion spool.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

This morning I indexed all my July 2011 pictures. That leaves July for 2012 and 2013 to do, then I can move on to August. This afternoon I pulled the rear axle out of the roadster, removed the bolts holding the two halves of the housing together, and left the thing sitting over a pan for the oil to drain out. It took a bit longer than it needed to because I made a video of every step. As I do the rebuilding job I'll show each step for the benefit of those who have never rebuilt a rear axle. Tomorrow I'll open the thing up all the way and see what's inside.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The best laid plans... I never did get that rear end opened to see what's inside. I removed the perches and brake parts and some other parts, then came cleaning. I intended to wash the parts in old paint thinner in a pail. When I went looking for a putty knife to clean out the pail I ran aground on the shoals of missing tools. It seems no matter how many putty knives I buy, I can never find one when I need it. By the time I went to town for one, and to the courthouse to pay the tax on my trailer, and the lumberyard for blasting sand, and a few other stops, that was my afternoon. Maybe I'll get that rear axle opened up tomorrow.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Today I dug into that rear axle and was delighted to find that most of the parts I checked were OK. The thrust washers are bronze, not the notorious babbitt type. Three of the four axle bearings are good to excellent. The fourth has too much wear, so I'll replace it. I guess whoever rebuilt this axle couldn't find a better one. If all the other parts in this axle check out as well as the ones I've measured so far, I'll be a happy camper.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Today was perfect for sandblasting, with mild temperatures and enough
wind to carry away the dust. Unfortunately I didn't have any parts ready to blast. The forecast is for more good weather in the coming week, so I'll do my blasting then. I drove up to Winfield and over to Oxford to check out the auctions, and found nothing to keep me at either one, so I came home and did more rear axle dismantling. I found that enough water had found its way into the housings to cause some rust, so I'll be sandblasting for sure. This rear axle has been rebuilt before. It was recently enough to have neoprene seals and blue goo inside, but far enough back to have spiral grooves in the thrust washers. The current thrust washers have straight grooves.

Monday, January 13, 2014

With time out for a trip to town to replace a burned out work light bulb and pay some bills, I continued work on the rear axle. I got the housings cleaned out and ready for blasting. The next question is when to do it. The forecast for tomorrow is chilly and windy, but I may try it so I can get the things painted and drying while I work on other parts.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Never went off the place today. My first job was making a drive shaft tube support that bolts to my work table. That's part of rear axle rebuilding. Making the support used up most of my morning, proving once again that everything takes longer than you think it will. About one I went out and set up the sandblasting equipment and went to work on the right half of the axle housing. It was a pretty good day for blasting. Not too cold (above 45) and with enough wind to carry away the dust so I didn't have to wear the hood. After awhile the wind died down and I had to use the hood. That slowed me down just because it's harder to see what I'm doing when I have it on. I kept at it and had the piece finished and the equipment put away by four. This evening I painted that half, and with any luck tomorrow I'll get the left half blasted and painted.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The great taking-apart continued this morning. The biggest part of that was the drive shaft, especially getting the pinion gear off the end. I tried three different three-jaw pullers, and all of them proved to be feckless junk. So I went online and found a very simple method from Stan Howe, a Model T guy who knows his stuff and has lots of good ideas. I had the gear off in a couple of minutes. In the afternoon I turned again to sandblasting the left half of the axle housing. There was no wind today to carry away the dust, so I had to wear the hood the whole time. The cold air blowing into the hood turned my nose into a snot fountain, so it was slower going than yesterday's session.  I got the ends , the hardest part, almost finished.  The next session should finish up the whole thing.  After I get that left half blasted and painted so it can be drying,  I'll get started on the nuts and bolts and other small parts.

   Ready for rear axle rebuilding.

   Blasted and ready to paint.
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mission accomplished. After a morning session of more rear axle dismantling, I had the sandblasting equipment set up by noon and went to work on that left housing. I had it done by 2:20 and the equipment put away by 2:40.  I ended up with a trip to town to pick up the new chain saw I ordered Monday.  I've been skipping evening fires because I was
almost out of wood
, but tonight I fired up the stove and soon had the 45 kitchen up above 70. Tomorrow and over the weekend I'll put that new saw to work and build up my wood supply.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A bit of housekeeping this morning. Since I've decided on having an office upstairs over my workshop, I got a little bookcase out of the house and put it up there. I boxed up the romance novels that occupied the shelves and replaced them with my Model T and tractor books.  In the afternoon I went grocery shopping, then piddled around on minor inside chores. I did make a scouting trip down to the woodlot  to locate some dead trees to cut up, and I put oil and fuel in the new chain saw, so I'm ready to make firewood tomorrow.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Two main activities today. In the morning I did more rear axle dismantling, taking things apart, cleaning the pieces, and checking their condition. Some of the parts looked good until I measured them. A few items are a little too worn to suit me. They'd be OK if I never drove the car more than a few miles from home, but if I go on longer trips I'll want things in better shape. I'll open up some of the spare axles I've picked up at auctions and see if I find anything better in them. In the afternoon I took the new chain saw down the lane and finished cutting up the fallen tree that was blocking the road. I also uncovered some small trees I cut down a couple of years ago and laid along the fence to dry out. They're dry. Today I got them out of the dead grass that was covering them. Tomorrow they'll go into my firewood supply.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sixty days til spring! But this weekend seems like an early one. After a morning of indexing more photos, I went out to make more firewood. I finished cutting up those former small trees along the lane, and while I was at it I took a little walk down to the woodlot to scout out some of the dead trees that have fallen across one of the roads. There's a big old hedge tree that still has enough roots in the ground to be alive. I'll cut enough of it to open the road so I can get to the dead stuff beyond it, but most of it can wait until this year's wood heating season is over. Then I'll cut it all up for next winter. I boxed up the smaller pieces from today's cutting and set them in the garage, and tomorrow I'll bring up the larger pieces. Some are big enough to go to the splitter, and some will go directly into the stack in the garage.

Monday, January 20, 2014

An unexpected job took up a big part of the day. Bob Bergstadt of Bob's Antique Auto Parts announced on the Model T forum that he was having a free shipping day today, so I spent a few hours figuring out what I need for my rear axle project, making a list, and ordering the parts. My cousin Wally stopped by with some wood scraps to donate to my firewood supply, and we chewed the fat for awhile. Then a trip to town for a jug of rust remover for the shop and some celery for me
finished up the day. The best part of the day was a reduction in the leaking that's had me in old folks' diapers since my surgery in September. Some days I've had to use a new absorbent pad every two or three hours, but yesterday and today I've been going from seven to twelve hours between changes. My dentist told me it took his dad a year to quit leaking after his surgery, so I guess I'll be lucky if I can do it in only six months. Using the diapers and pads isn't a major tragedy, but its an inconvenience I'll be glad to do without.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Never went off the place today. I worked on the rear axle project, cleaning and checking parts. Having found that a few pieces are too worn to suit me, I brought in one of the rear axles that have been sitting on my trailer since I bought them at an auction in September, and started taking it apart to see if it has some better parts in it.  The  inner axle bearings looked pretty good. In fact one of them was gorgeous,  with smooth surfaces and a nice, tight cage.  But measuring the rollers showed  .0045" to .007" wear, which is well over the recommended .002" limit. Oh, well. Bearings weren't the main thing I was after.  What I'm looking for is a better spider than the one that was in the roadster. I still have to clean and open up this differential to see if it has a good one.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Today I finished dismantling that rear axle in search of parts. I didn't find anything better than what I already had, so I brought in the next one off the trailer and started taking it apart. A little after four I quit to fetch firewood. The forecast claims real winter will return tomorrow, with a single-digit low and a high of about 20. So I went down to the lane where I cut up that wood last weekend, and brought three boxes of it up to the house. I'm spending most of my time in the shop these days, just going to the house at meal time. In the couple of hours I'm there in the evening the wood stove makes the kitchen very pleasant. I expect those three boxes of wood to last at least until Sunday.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rear axle disassembly continued to be the project of the day.  I spent all day on it, finishing up the second one and bringing in the third one off the  trailer. Cleaning the old oil, grease, and dirt out of these things is slow going, but that's OK. All that grease and oil prevent rust.
So far I've found a few good, usable parts, but not the one I really want. Both spiders have been about the same as the one I took out of the roadster. Not terrible, but with a little more wear than I'd like. Maybe the next one will be better. This evening I did more picture indexing. If I keep coming back to it a little at a time, eventually I'll have it all done.  The part I've done so far has already come in handy for finding some pictures I wanted.

Friday, January 24, 2014

And still more rear axle dismantlement filled my morning. It doesn't take much to tell about the day. Doing laundry and buying groceries used up most of the afternoon, and bringing in wood for the evening fires used up the rest. I did laundry on Friday instead of Saturday this time because tomorrow I'm off to Hutchinson for the mid-winter model T seminar.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Before daylight I was on the road to Hutchinson for the annual Mid-winter Model T Seminar. As always, I learned some things I didn't know before.

   There's always a good crowd for these things.

   Chris Paulsen showed how to do nickel plating.

   With help from Mike Vaughn (L), Bud Redding demonstrated front axle repair.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wheee! This was hump day on the weather roller coaster. We climbed up to a high point of 64 F this afternoon, then the wind shifted around to the north and we began the plunge down to a predicted overnight low in the teens.  I took advantage of the warm weather and comfortable temperatures in the barn to wire brush nuts and bolts. Specifically, the ones that hold the halves of a rear axle housing together. Each housing takes seven of each. The ones I've been salvaging aren't all usable, but most are. I ended up with enough for two rear axles with a few extras left over. Reclaiming these things takes several steps. First, wire brush away all the rust on each piece. Then grind off any burrs and protrusions. Then run a tap through all the nuts, and run all the bolts through a die, to chase the threads. Next will be painting. That includes making wire hangers to hold all the pieces during painting and drying. The wire part of that will take a lot more time than the paint part.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cats come and cats go. Almost never do I find any remains. They're here, then they're gone. I figure that when I don't see them anymore they've been dinner for a coyote, or an owl, or some other wild critter.
So when Miss Kitty didn't show up at feeding time yesterday and today I wondered if she had become some wild varmint's snack. But this evening when I left the house to come to the shop, there she was. She's six years old now, and a good and experienced hunter, so I suppose she's been off on a hunting expedition for a couple of days. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This was the day to pay a few bills and do some shopping for house and shop supplies, and replace a thermometer. I had one hanging on a tree outside my shop, but the north wind that brought in the current cold spell blew it to the ground and I had to put it back. Today's work in the shop was opening up another rear end to see if it has any usable parts. I haven't done all the cleaning and taking-apart yet, but so far this one looks pretty bad. I'll be surprised if I find two or three usable parts in it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today's main task was more indexing of photos. I kept at it until late in the evening and finished everything up through August for the past six years. That leaves September through December yet to do, so I'm two-thirds done.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A lovely warm day in the high forties was my time to get out and lay in some firewood.  I split the pile that was waiting by the splitter, brought up the stuff I cut down in the lane a couple of weeks ago and split that, brought some into the house, and stacked the rest in the garage. According to the forecast this was the last warm day for awhile. A lot of the highs for the next ten days are supposed to be freezing or below. I think the wood I laid in today will cover it though.

Friday, January 31, 2014

With fifty days til spring we're back to normal winter weather, with highs in the thirties and forties and lows in the teens and twenties. I did get some work done in the shop today, but not as much as I should have. I've discovered a Facebook page devoted to local history, so I've been wasting too much time on that. It's interesting, but I have a lot of other stuff I need to get done. At least I did mostly finish dismantling the rear axle I started a couple of days ago. It's the worst I've seen so far. Apparently after the thrust washers disintegrated the driver ignored the noise and just kept driving. The thing was packed with a mixture of grease, dirt, and ground up parts. When I finally got it cleaned out I found that seven of the ten ring gear bolts were gone, and the heads of the differential case bolts were half ground away. The ring gear looks a lot better than I would have expected from the rest of it, and the spider had surprisingly little wear. I still have a little more dismantling and parts cleaning to do on this axle, then I'll start on the next.  A lot of the parts I'm finding are worn out, but I am finding some good pieces too.