December 1, 2013
Last year I planted some sweet
gum trees from the Arbor Day Foundation. Three of the four trees died,
so they sent me three replacements. They ship the trees dormant for
planting in the late fall or early spring. When these three trees
arrived last week we were having cold weather, so I just put them in
the cellar to wait for a better planting day. Today was it. I spent the
afternoon digging holes and planting. The planting instructions
recommend applying mulch for insulation and to retain moisture. That's
no problem this time of year. There's mulch all over the place, in the
form of dead leaves. It was easy enough to rake up a pile of leaves to
put around each tree. The last step was to lay pieces of wire fencing
across the leaves to keep them from blowing away. Now there's
nothing more to do than occasional watering to keep the soil
moist. While I was planting these trees I noticed that the little bur
oak I planted a few years ago, about six inches high at the time, is
now almost six feet. I won't be around to see any of these trees when
they reach full size, but I hope somebody will enjoy them.
Monday, December 2, 2013
After the Thanksgiving holiday break, I was back in the machine shop class today. I spent
the afternoon working on shackles.
There are three more class sessions left. I expect I'll have enough
shackles done to use on my roadster, but I won't get much done on the
extras I had hoped to do. After class today I got out the saw and went
back to work on that pile of scrap lumber east of the house. I got
almost all of it cut up. Tomorrow I'll cut the few remaining pieces,
box it all up and put it away, and get busy on some of the fallen-down
trees waiting to become firewood.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
On the last warm day for awhile, I sharpened and adjusted my saw, cut
down and cut up a dead tree in the yard, split a lot of the wood, and
stacked it in the garage. There's more to split, and I hope to get that
done when I get home from my afternoon class tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Not much to report today. In the morning I did a little welding on a
shackle. In the afternoon I spent my class turning shackles on the
lathe. After class I bought some port, some cashews, and some mixed
nuts. The last little chore was taking down the screen and putting up
the window on the back porch door. A chilly arctic wind is bringing us
some Canadian entertainment for a few days.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Brrrr! Today's high was 24º at midnight. By daylight it cooled down
into the teens and never got back up to 20º. I think the warmest this
afternoon was about 18º. It was a good day to stay inside, which I did.
I worked on shackles a little, doing a bit of welding on a couple that
needed it, then I went to work on transmission bands. I've had the
bands with new linings soaking in oil for a few days, so today I made
an installation tool and started trying to put them in. Trying
means mission not accomplished. It seems this is a tougher job than it
looks. I posted a question on the MTFCA forum, and I'll try again after
getting advice from the more experienced guys.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Today I went to the morning class and used the mill to redrill a hole
that I had filled because it was a little off center. With the hole
properly centered I was able to put the part on the lathe and turn down
some of the build-up. That brought me to another point where more
welding was needed, so I came home and did that, then went back for the
afternoon session to do more work on the lathe. Then I needed more
welding, so I came home and did that. Monday is the last day of class,
but I think if I go to both the
morning and afternoon sessions I can have all four of my shackles
finished before time runs out. I was hoping to rebuild some more
shackles to sell, but learning how to do it took more time than I
Saturday, December 7, 2013
The day started out at 5º F and eventually got up to about 20º. I
worked in the shop finishing a shackle, attempting to install new
transmission bands in the touring, and cleaning up. It's supposed
to be possible to install transmission bands without removing the
cover, but so far I'm not having much luck. I'll try some more, but I
expect I'll probably end up pulling the cover to get them in. I skipped
an auction in Blackwell because the ad didn't list anything that made me want to go spend
several hours freezing my tail off.
|Sunday, December 8, 2013
Another cold day with a high in the low twenties was another good day
to stay in my heated shop. Today's project was making a pair of new
spring clips to go on that spring I'm preparing for my roadster. In the picture the new clips are
on the left. On the right is a clip that was on the spring when it had
an extra leaf in it. That clip looks just as home-made as the ones I
made today. Little by little, the car gets closer to the day when I'll
be able to drive it. I hope 2014 will be the year I'm finally able to
go on a Model T tour or two. So far all my T driving has been
local because I haven't had a car I'd trust on a trip more than a few
miles from home.
Monday, December 9, 2013
On this semester's last day of shop work at the juco, I went to the
morning class and used the mill to make holes in the shackles, then
used the lathe to turn down the over welding on the
final piece. That makes all four shackles, two front and two rear, just
about done. All that remains on those is a bit of grinding on a couple
of pieces. I had an extra half of a rear shackle done, so I came home
and welded up another half, then put it on the lathe and turned it down
in the afternoon class. So that's a full set of shackles done, and a
spare rear shackle finished to sell.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Shop cleaning day. I fired up the shop vac and waged war on dust,
cobwebs, and dirt. Tomorrow is the last session for my juco machine
shop class, where it will be clean-up day. The shop vac is going with
me because the one at the school is pathetic.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
In the morning I did a little more cleaning. Then I put the shop vac in
the car and went to my afternoon machine shop class, where we cleaned
up to end the semester. When I got home I did the final drilling of oil holes and grinding
and smoothing on the last shackles. One shackle half still needs a hole
filled and redrilled, and that will be the end of the project except
for sandblasting. I'll wait to do the blasting until early next week
supposed to have some warm days in the fifties.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Another morning of cleaning up and putting away in the shop. Little by little, the place is getting neater. Wally
brought a load of cut-up branches
from a hedge tree he cut down in his yard. The wood's too fresh to
burn, so we stacked it between a couple of trees behind the house to
dry out for next winter. The afternoon was for errands: to the welding
supply for acetylene and
the state line to the casino to gas up the car, to Winfield to pay the
property taxes and buy some kimchi, and to the big W for absorbent pads
put in my old folks' diapers. The doc says most people eventually get
back their bladder control, but so far it's a mighty slow recovery.
Friday, December 13, 2013
A big chunk of today was devoted to that last half shackle. I filled
the hole and redrilled it and filed and ground the welding to the
proper configuration. Most of the rest of the day went into more
cleaning, sorting, and putting away. One of these days I'll have enough
space cleared to let me get started on overhauling the rear axle from
the roadster and installing the new rear spring.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
After doing laundry, I spent
another day in the shop mostly cleaning up and putting away. A nice
thing about that job is finding stuff you forgot you had.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
I did a little more cleaning up, but I spent most of the day working on
a headlight rim removal tool. The thing is supposed to fit around the
rim and grab the protruding rivet heads without squeezing the rim. It's
a simple concept, but everything takes longer than you think it will,
including this, so there's still more to do.
Monday, December 16, 2013
In the morning I worked on the headlight rim removal tool again. I
think I may get it done tomorrow. In the afternoon the temperature
climbed above 50º and I took advantage of the warm weather to do some
sandblasting. I did the set of spring shackles I recently finished
rebuilding, and the clips and bolts for my new rear spring. I'll have
the clips and bolts painted and installed in a few days, so the spring
will be ready to put into the car when I pull the rear axle for
|Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Today I actually finished a job. The
project was that headlight rim removal tool. I welded on the handles,
applied Gorilla tape to the inside as padding to prevent damaging the
rims, and tried it out. I'm happy to say it actually works. I took
several pictures of making the thing so I can do a write-up about it
This afternoon I had a
pleasant surprise. I went out for a run for the first time since having
my surgery September 6. I figured that after a layoff of more than
three months I'd have to slow down to a walk at least part of the way,
but I was able to jog the whole three miles. My time of 34:08 was
mighty slow, but a lot better than I expected. As usual, Daisy went along, and she seemd
to be excited about getting back to our exercise routine.
Tomorrow I have a couple of appointments in town that will eat up the morning, but I hope I can get
some firewood cut in the afternoon.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Today's first adventure was a trip to town for the doc to carve a skin
cancer off my face, then a visit to the dentists's office for a tooth
cleaning. After that a bit of grocery shopping finished off the
morning. I spent the afternoon replacing a burned out turn signal bulb
in the Camry, finishing up the pile of scrap lumber east of the
house, cutting up the old boards and putting them in boxes, then
splitting some firewood I cut a couple of weeks ago and stacking it in
the garage. I have enough wood now to take me through the next arctic
spell that's supposed to arrive this weekend.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
A full day. I was up early to do a little more cleaning up in the shop
and take a couple of pictures to go with magazine articles I aim to
write. Next was a
trip to Wichita for an appointment with the urologist. He thinks
eventually I'll stop leaking and having to wear old people's diapers.
When I got home from Wichita I had a visit by some fellow Model T
folks. I showed off my junk collection and we chewed the fat over Model
T stuff. They invited me to join one of the local clubs, so I will.
After they left I filled out a club application to go in tomorrow's
Friday, December 20, 2013
Christmas letter. I spent all day and evening writing, editing,
printing, addressing envelopes, and stuffing.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
All morning, more of the same. I took them to town and put them in the
mail about 12:30. I spent the afternoon working on a magazine article
for The Vintage Ford
about restoring spring shackles. For my usual Saturday night in town I
had dinner at the Chinese Chef for the last time. After eleven years in
business they're closing down. I suspect the bigger Chinese place up
the street was too much competition for them. Most Saturday nights I
go to a movie, but tonight the weather forecast scared me off. Rather
than take a chance on getting snowed in at the theater, I came home and
finished the shackle piece. I had that finished early enough that I
went on and did one about making a headlight rim removal tool. That
make three articles the editor has from me that haven't been published
yet, so I guess I can let up on the authoring for awhile.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
The snowstorm turned out to be no big deal. There was enough to turn
the outdoors white, but not enough to bog down transportation. Not that
I needed any transporting. I spent the day indoors working at the
computer. I made a couple of new pages for my website. One
is about my 1923 Model T touring and
the other is about the 1923 Model T Fordor. I
spent the rest of the afternoon trying to scan some slides. The scanner
was acting up and I didn't get many done, so most of that job still
Monday, December 23, 2013
Some light snow in the morning added to what was already on the
ground, but all of it amounts to less than a couple of inches. With
temperatures staying in the teens I spent the day inside again.
I spent part of the day getting my checkbook up to date, then rewrote
one of the magazine pieces I did yesterday. Somehow I erased
yesterday's work, and had to do it over. Fortunately I had all the
pictures, so rewriting the text to go with them was easy.
|Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The weather folks were overly
optimistic today. This morning's hourly forecast was for warming up to
freezing by noon and a high of 40º. We never made it up to 30º.
I spent the day inside, mostly scanning slides. I shoot a lot of
digital pictures because they're convenient and cheap, but I also still
shoot some film because I know it will last indefinitely. I don't trust
digital pictures to do the same. Each tpe of photography has its
advantages. Digital is immediate, cheap, and captures detail well. Film
Here are two shots from April 2012. The wheelbarrow is the one my grandfather used building the
house eighty years ago.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Christmas was a melting day. The temperature shot way up to 40º and a
lot of the snow disappeared. More of that is in the forecast, so I
expect the white stuff will all be gone in a few days. In the morning I
tried scanning more slides, but the scanner wouldn't cooperate. I think
I'll figure out a way to copy them with a camera. I painted a bolt and
nut for my "new" rear spring, which will finish the spring, then went
to my cousin's place for Christmas. After a visit, a good meal, and a
snooze in front of the TV, I came home and started a long-overdue
project. I'm making an index for all the digital photos I've taken.
Sometimes I want to find a picture and it takes forever looking through
several years' pictures to find it. So I'm making a data base listing
them all by date, number, and subject. I sat and worked in quiet on
that all evening. No radio, TV, or other distractions. I finished every
January from 2008 to this year, and every February before this year. I
was surprised to get so much done. A few more sessions like that will
finish the job.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The thaw continued, and I continued indexing pictures. By the time I
finished every March since 2007, a few minutes before three, the
outside had warmed up to 43º. The forecast predicts a few dry days and
a Saturday high in the fifties. That looks like a good opportunity to
more wood for the next cold spell. This evening I painted the restored
spring shackles I worked on for the past several weeks. So that's
spring done and shackles done. Soon I'll be ready to pull the rear axle
to open it up and see what's inside. It could be OK, but I'm pretty
sure it will have some parts that need to be replaced.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Today's main project was making a new page for the website and
editing a couple
I also took the masking tape off those new shackles for the roadster
and put them in the oven to bake. This afternoon I went to the clinic
for the doc to remove stitches.
The lab report on the skin cancer he carved off my face last week says
hadn't spread and apparently he got all of it. The letter I got from
the urologist yesterday said my PSA is 0.00, so it's good news on both
ends. Now if I could just quit leaking and having to use old folks'
Saturday, December 28, 2013
It was laundry day, but with the temperature shooting up above 50º it
was also a day to get some outside work done. I fired up the chain saw
and attacked the dead trees that had fallen across the road down to the
wood lot. I got most of them out of the way, just one more to remove,
and brought in enough resulting firewood to last a few days. There was
some wood I had cut last spring and forgot about, so all I had to do
was collect it and bring it in.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Winter weather returned on a cold north wind and I spent the day
inside. I took the morning and part of the afternoon to add another
With that done I attacked the pile of clutter that's accumulated on the
old heater sitting behind the roadster. Some of the stuff was paid
bills to file, some was books and other things to put away, and some of
it was fuel for the fireplace. I need to clear the junk off that old
heater so I can move it out to make way for work on the roadster's rear
December 30, 2013
Cleaning up and putting away in
the shop continued, and I installed my "new" figure eight front
shackles in the roadster. The picture on the right shows the rear
shackles, which will go in after I do the work on the rear axle and
install the new rear spring.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
On the last day of the year I spent
most of the day indexing photos. After doing all the Aprils from 2007
through 2012 I took the rest of the afternoon to lay a fire in the
kitchen stove, shop, and wash dishes. In the evening I was back to
indexing, and did April 2013. That's about one third of the job done. I
still have to do May through December for 2007 through 2013. This job
is taking a lot of time, but it will save more time later when I don't
have to guess and look through dozens of pictures, or more, to find the
one I want. After all that indexing I was ready for somethng else, so I
took on a few chores in the shop. I filled oil cans and hung lttile metal ID tags on them.
CO is cutting oil, MO is motor oil, and SO is saw oil.
Trying to remember cans by color or general appearance is just too much
for me. I have a pressure gauge I'd like to use for checking engine
compression, and decided to clean it up. There was dust on the dial
face and the inside of the glass, so I set about removing the bezel
that holds the glass on the front. Naturally, it popped loose and the
glass hit the floor and broke in two, so I'll have to visit the glass
shop and have them cut a new piece. It seems nothing can ever be easy.
At least a new lens will be clean.