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Monday, January 1, 2018


The new year arrived cold, with the thermometer outside the kitchen window showing 3 F at 8:00 AM. The indoor temperature was 28. Ice was forming on the water in the sink. Not wanting the pipes to freeze, I lit a fire in the kitchen stove and stoked it enough during the day to keep the room above freezing. Hedge wood (Osage orange) is very hard wood that produces plenty of heat, but should have a faster burning wood to get it started and keep it burning. So in the afternoon, after the outside had warmed up to almost 20, I took the chain saw out in the back yard and cut up a small dead tree. I'm not sure what it is, but it's not hedge and it burns faster to get the fire going. The forecast calls for a gradual warming trend all week, so I expect to get out with the chain saw every day and do more of the same. The old stove does a good job in the kitchen. Before coming in for chow at five, I piled in the wood to get a good fire going. With a fan blowing on the back of the stove to circulate the warm air, the room temperature went from 45 at five to 75 at six.



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Today's waste of time was trying to remove brake lever pins.  I ground off the heads, drilled into the pins, heated the works orange, and let them cool.  Applying the "heat wrench" usually loosens things that are stuck fast, but in this case it was futile. No amount of hammering moved anything. So I went to town and spent $5.18 on a bigger punch pin.  The second picture shows what happened to it on the third hit with a hammer.
I have two choices: buy worthless crap locally, or go online and gamble that what I buy there is better, and wait for it to arrive, and pay shipping that more than doubles the price. Annoying is a mild word for this situation. Too fed up to deal with this mess anymore, I went out in the 25 afternoon and cut and split more firewood. I didn't need to light a fire in the kitchen stove until after noon today. It took that long for the kitchen temperature to get down to freezing. With a warming trend underway, in a couple of days I won't need a fire in there until evening.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Today I gambled a couple of hours on a trip down to Ponca City in search of pin punches. Lowe's, as I expected, was useless. All they had was a full set, made in China. So I went on down the street to Brandt Hardware. There they had individual punches, USA made, but I got only one. The others I wanted were all out of stock. So finally I went to TSC. There I did what I usually refuse to do, which is buy a whole set to get the few items I want.  At least they're made in USA.  I don't blame China for producing junk. They're perfectly capable of making good tools. I blame the American companies that choose low cost over good quality.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Well, I didn't finish a thing. I spent the morning trying to braze attaching rods on the back of a Ford radiator logo. I was having no luck with it. Dieter Mitchell stopped by and suggested a different flux. So When I went to pay the water bill I drove on into town and stopped at the welding supply for a flux that's supposed to be right for the job. While in town I picked up a new drill bit to use on those brake lever pins. It didn't do much good. They're so hard that it taks a lot of drilling to dig in a little way. I'll work on that job some more later. My other job in the shop was spraying primer on the spokes for a new wheel. I'll start sanding them tomorrow.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Well, I actually did finish something.  It took approximately forever, with many stops to sharpen drill bits, but I finally got those barake cams out of the axle housings.  Now I just have to find the new cams and bushings I bought in August. Naturally, they're not anyplace that makes sense. Maybe I'll get to sanding those spokes tomorrow.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

With the forecast claiming rain likely tomorrow, and with the outdoors above freezing, this was the day to haul and split firewood. I filled the little garden trailer with wood that's been waiting for months or years, brought it up to the splitter, and had the load split and safely in the garage by 2:30. I tarped the mower and the splitter and headed for Wichita at 3:30. This trip was for dinner at El Agave and to see All the Money in the World, another of those movies unlikely ever to play down here in Podunk. With Ridley Scott directing, Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer (no relation), and the rest of the strong cast tell a story that held my interest all the way. Replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer and reshooting his scenes on short order didn't hurt a thing. In fact, Christopher Plummer's age makes him a better casting choice for the elderly billionaire.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

The rain arrived as predicted, but it hardly deserves the name. I haven't looked at the gauge, but I'd be surprised if it amounted to a tenth of an inch. The day  was overcast and misty, but the rain was pretty much a bust. I worked in the shop and actually got something done today. Installed new bushings and brake cams and painted the housings.






Monday, January 8, 2018

My guess about the so-called rainfall was correct. The gauge had less than a tenth of an inch in it. The ten day forecast doesn't look good either. Today's morning project was sanding spokes and giving them another coat of primer. I hope two coats will be enough to fill the open grain. I'll find out when I sand them again. In the afternoon I took my mangled fender and the one I bought for a replacement to the body shop for an estimate. The owner thinks he can make one good fender out of the two for less than the cost of a new one, so I left them there. I hope to have the repaired result  by the end of the month.


Tuesday, January 9, 2019

It took longer than I expected, but I sanded the second coat of primer on the new spokes, declared it good enough, and painted them. I intended to get some blasting done today, but time ran out. I'd better do it tomorrow, because we'll be going back into the icebox after that.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Today's morning project was prepping and painting a set of wheel bolts and nuts and painting a hub plate. The forecast was for this to be the last warm day (up to 53) for at least a week, so I spent the afternoon sandblasting nuts and bolts and most of a spare tire carrier. There are a couple of small parts yet to do, but as we're going back into the freezer they'll wait until another warm day comes along.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

At 3:30 AM the wind was from the south and it was still 50. At 8:30 AM a strong north wind was blowing and the temperature had dropped to 25. The thermometer hovered in the mid-to-low twenties all day. I worked indoors, of course, and took the time to fix my shop vac. In a classic case of stupid design, it had an on/off switch with a plastic handle. A switch like that is flipped on and off hundreds or thousands of times, and making the handle of a material bound to get brittle and snap off is the work of a doofus. Recently it did finally snap off, so today I went to town and bought a switch with a steel handle to replace it. After hearing Dr. Fauci and other health experts on the radio yesterday talking about flu shots, I stopped at the pharmacy and got mine. When I got home I had just enough time to install the new switch before going to the house and laying the evening fires in the kitchen stove and the living room fireplace. Meanwhile, we're down to 67 days until spring.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Another cold day devoted to indoor work. With time out for a run to town for groceries, I spent most of the day replacing a bent valve stem and remounting the tire. Pictures are here.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

The forecast claims we'll warm up above 40 tomorrow, so this morning I sharpened and adjusted the chain saw so I'll be ready to deal with more firewood. I painted all those nuts and bolts I blasted Wednesday, then I went into study mode and started reading up on Ruckstell axles. I need to get one ready to install in the touring car. With 65 days until spring it's obvious I'm not going to finish all my winter projects. The question is whether I'll finish any of them at all.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

With the outside warmed up to the forties, I set up the sandblasting equipment and blasted the few small parts I needed to finish for the new spare tire carrier. The forecast claims we're headed for more single digit temperatures for a couple of days, so I spent most of the afternoon sawing and splitting firewood. I have enough laid in now to last until the next warm weather arrives in a few days.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Last night's piddling little snowfall of less than half an inch may be all we get for the season, so this afternoon I got the runabout out in front of the house to sit for its winter portrait. We're in the freezer for a couple of days
, then a warming trend is supposed to take us up into the fifties by the weekend. That will be a chance for more wood harvesting.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It's seldom that I eat candy, but I was given a candy cane for Christmas, and while I was eating it last week it pulled a crown off a back molar. So today's first chore was a visit to the dentist to have it stuck back in. While I was in town I paid the subscription for the Courier Traveler. Since the 1870's the Arkansas City Traveler and the Winfield Courier were rivals, as were their towns. In recent years they both came under the same ownership, and last year they combined to become a single paper for Cowley County. One thing hasn't changed. I still read the obits and the police news to see who I know that's died or been arrested. My shop work today included chasing the threads on some of the bolts I painted Saturday, and painting the felloe for the wheel I'm rebuilding. I'll let the paint cure for a few days and assemble the wheel later this week.


Wednsday, January 17, 2018

A little of this, a little of that. I wrote checks and paid bills, filed receipts, painted nuts & bolts, went to town to buy celery and post mail, and repaired the intermittent switch for the back porch light that wouldn't stay lit. This afternoon warmed up to the mid thirties, but beginning tomorrow we're supposed to have over a week with highs in the fifties and a lot of lows above freezing. This will be a chance to get some outside work done, including bringing up more firewood.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Laundry day. When you get down to the bottom of the clean sox, you just have to take time off from everything else and take care of business. While I was out I shopped for larger snap ring pliers than what I have. I should have known better. That will have to be an online purchase.


Friday, January 19, 2018

This morning I got out a tap and die and chased the threads on all those nuts and bolts I recently painted. They're all sorted and bagged and ready to use. I also made a plywood base for the foot pump I carry in the car. The pump works well, but tends to tip over on rocky ground. The base will keep it upright.  This afternoon I did a little more firewood sawing, and intend to do more sawing and splitting tomorrow.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

In the morning my cousin Wally came over and helped me fixing up the spare tire carrier for my touring car. He kept the rivets hot while I mashed them. I haven't done enough riveting to be good at it, so they're not pretty, but they'll hold the thing together. For the rest of the job I used a great big pipe wrench and a great big hammer to shape the carrier so a rim will fit on it and it will fit on the car's frame. Having a spare frame with no body on it was a big help. In the afternoon I drove the 1915 runabout to Winfield to take its picture on the Fourteenth Avenue bridge. The bridge was built in 1927 and will be closing Monday to be replaced by a new bridge. I'm not showing a picture now because I forgot to take a digital camera, so I won't have the pictures until the film is developed.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Never went off the place today. I painted the spare carrier,  installed a new trailer jack, cleaned jammed wood chips out of the splitter, and split three boxes of firewood.  There's more to split, and  tomorrow I'll add to it with a  load or two from the wood lot.


Monday, January 22, 2018

With the wind blowing up to 30+ mph, the low forties felt a lot colder.  So I decided to leave wood hauling for a nicer day and work indoors.  I started gathering and putting price tags on stuff I'll take to Chickasha and try to peddle in March. I'll put it all in the Suburban as I get it tagged so it will be ready to go when the time comes. When I had a rear tire blow out in September, I just put another wheel on the car. Today I started getting ready to put the proper wheel back on. I washed the road dirt off it and sanded a few rough spots and shot a new coat of paint on the outside. I have to let that cure for five days, then I'll paint the inside, let it cure five more days, and mount a new tire. In fact, this runabout will be getting new tires all around, and most of the old ones will be going to Chickasha.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Today's unexpected digression was spending a big chunk of the morning fixing a shop light that quit working.  One of the contacts that hold the bulb had broken off, so I had to take the thing apart and install a sheet metal screw to replace the missing contact.  Dismantling  the light,  making the repair, soldering in some new wires, and putting it all back together took approximately forever. In the afternoon I got  back to firewood,  splitting and boxing a few days' supply. I still need to bring more up from the wood lot.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Today's cars need an oil change every 5000 miles and not much else.  Not so with  the cars of a hundred years ago. Those need frequent regular maintenance. That means not only oil changes, but also oiling and greasing of multiple chassis parts. With the roadster's odometer at 2000 miles, that's what I did today. The chart calls for greasing the front wheel bearings every 500 miles, so that was included. In the afternoon I went to town for oil, paint, and groceries, and then when I got home I rememberd that I need bar oil for the chain saw too. Fortunately I have enough to last until I go to town again.


Thursday, January 25, 2108

On a good day for outside work, I resumed the war on inconvenient vegetation. With clippers and a bottle of Tordon I cleared a swath of little volunteer trees in front of the area where I have some Model T parts stored in the yard. In a couple of hours I had the way cleared. I hitched the trailer to the Suburban and backed it up to the spot and unloaded the seven rear axles that have been  sitting on it since  last May. I discovered a flat tire on the trailer, so getting that fixed will be one of tomorrow's chores.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Trailer day. I spent all day and into the evening  getting a couple of new tires, gassing up the Suburban, and making some trailer ramps for loading and unloading cars.



Saturday, January 27, 2018

This was the day of the annual midwinter Model T clinic in Hutchinson. Pictures are here. After the clinic I stopped in Wichita for dinner and a movie. The show was The Shape of Water. It's a good one. Sally Hawkins and Octavia spencer are excellent as you'd expect, but the standout for me was Michael Shannon's creepy villain. He's a very effective bad guy.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

There's an old saying that life is all the stuff that happens to you while you're making other plans. Yesterday I was going to take my runabout to Hutchinson and have some experienced Model T mechanics listen to it and see if they could diagnose a strange rattle. As I was trying to load it, the trailer fell off the hitch and the car rolled off the front of the trailer. So I left it and went to Hutch without it. Today's project was to pull the runabout back on the trailer, level the whole works, and back the runabout off the trailer and into the shop. I was in the midst of that when my cousin Pete arrived. She was seeking advice on updating the wiring in her house. I told her what little I know, and she helped me with the car. While we were working on that, she put her little dog in her truck. He stepped on the lock button and locked the doors with her keys inside. She finally had to break out a window to get in. At last we did finally get the Ford unloaded and back in the shop, and Pete headed for home to tape up a temporary plastic window on her truck. After all that I had just enough time left to bring in wood and lay the fires for this evening.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Not much action.  I  did spend some time researching new tops for the runabout and the touring car. Actually I do have a new top for the touring that came with the car when I bought it. But it's from Mac's, so I intend to sell it and get a new one from Classtique. This is one case where you get what you pay for. The Classtique top costs more for a reason. In the shop I cleaned up a valve stem I found on my trailer after I unloaded the rear axles that had sat on it since last spring. It turned out to be a Bridgeport TR-16 stem, the equivalent of a Schrader 888. Both can be used on a Model T if you have original dust covers. If you have the new reproduction dust covers, you need different stems.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The big project of the day was taking the old tires off the runabout and installing the new ones. I worked on it late into the evening and got them all mounted, but at least one of them has a slow leak, and I'll have to fix it tomorrow. I hope all the others will hold air overnight and I only have to fix one.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It took forever, but I finished the tires. That last one took almost all day today. I fought leaks—mounting the tire, taking it off to patch the tube, mounting it again and having another leak. After patching the tube half a dozen times I finally gave up and got another tube. It looks like that did the trick. If it holds pressure overnight I'll declare victory and put that last wheel back on the car.

Cut off the rubber stem.

Smooth the stump.

Slather a bit of contact cement on the base of the metal stem, spread the hole, and stick in the stem.


Use an original bridge washer with a bead to clamp down on the tube. The new ones are flat and worthless.

Tighten the nut.


Wash off the talcum and road dirt...
...and rinse.
Ready to roll.

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