Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The first job of the new month was finishing up those mounting brackets
to hold a pair of 99¢ bike tail lights on the roadster. Although
they're holding modern technology, I did manage to make one of them
with an authentic period-correct paint sag. In the afternoon I took a
walk down the lane to the woodlot and moved a lot of fallen branches
out of the road. The weather.com forecast shows a couple of warm weeks
with highs above 50º, and I plan to use some of those warm days to turn those branches and a lot of
others into firewood. Clyde went with me on my walk, and several
times he ran ahead and got in front of me to get stepped on. Maybe he
thinks he's a dog.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
In the morning I paid bills and did a little cleanup in the shop. After
noon I went outside for a bit of yard work, cutting off little trees
around the wood pile behind the shop and treating the stumps with
Tordon so they won't grow back. I was clearing the way to start
splitting all that wood on some of the warm days that are predicted
during the next couple of weeks. In the afternoon I drove the roadster
to town for groceries. I also stopped at the liquor store for some
heart medicine (port). I have a cup after dinner most evenings. I buy
it on the first Wednesday of the month, when old people get a 15%
Thursday, December 3, 2015
I've decided I need to spend at least an hour every day just organizing
and cleaning, at least until I get the mess under control. This morning
I started upstairs above the shop, gathering stuff that will go into
the fireplace, tossing other stuff that will go to the dump, vacuuming,
and starting to get things in some semblance of order. I spent the day
at it, and took care of some things that have been waiting to be dealt
with for years. A lot of what I did today was basic, making space for
shelves where I can organize.
Friday, December 4, 2015
More cleaning and organizing. I'm bringing old slides from the house to
my office over the shop and setting up shelves for them. One of my
winter chores will be to start scanning them and other old pictures for
use with a digital projector. While I was in town for groceries I
shopped for casters. I have a shop vac that is otherwise good to go,
but has lost its wheels. I wasn't delighted with any of the casters I
saw today, so I'll stop at Lowes and see what they have when I go to
Saturday, December 5, 2015
This morning I was off to Okieland for an auction in Medford. The
advertising mentioned Model T parts, but it was pretty slim pickings in
that department. I did buy a couple of hood shelves and a few books for
a dollar. The hood shelves are pretty rough, but they have good clips
and springs in them. Another guy bought a pile of stuff that included
six casters, and I gave him $4 for those, so I won't have to spend $15
to $20 for a set of new ones. When I got home I changed oil in the
Camry, then wnt to Wichita for dinner and a movie. Dinner was at Buffet
City, a good Chinese buffet, and the movie was Trumbo.
I'm glad I went. Bryan Cranston is wonderful in it, the rest of the
cast is excellent too, and Jay Roach's directing of a good script by
John McNamara is first rate. John Goodman as a producer of trashy
movies is worth the price of admission, and Helen Mirren makes a
wonderfully nasty Hedda Hopper. It wouldn't surprise me to see
some Oscar nominations from this movie.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
After a lazy sunday morning mostly playing online, I spent the
afternoon on an outside chore. I dug up three small redbuds that were
inconveniently located behind the shop, and transplanted two of them
along the lane to the wood lot. I ran out of time, so I'll plant the
third one tomorrow. I don't think sitting in a pail of water overnight
will hurt it. I hope these three will be the first of over a dozen such
transplants. The weather is mild, with highs in the fifties, but there
have been some freezing nights to put them all to sleep until spring. I
hope that this late fall transplant will get them all off to a good
start next spring. In a few years a lane lined with reduds should
make a nice display of pink in early April.
December 7, 2015
Up before daylight, I got a picture of a very pretty sunrise. The day
was clear and warmed up to 62º, considerably above normal for December.
After doing laundry I drove the roadster to town for groceries, then
finished the rosebud transplanting I started yesterday. I have pieces
of plastic bag tied to the plants so they'll be easy to spot .
December 8, 2015
Today I never went off the place. My main chore of the day was picking
up scrap lumber and other reconstruction debris on the west side of the
house, and turning it and the pile of scrap lumber in front of the
garage into firewood. Tomorrow it will move into the garage to stay
dry. I still need to get some scrap lumber off the roof and cut it up
also. I hope I can get to that sometime this week too.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
With nice weather continuing (65º at 4 PM), I spent much of the day
outside. I boxed up the wood I cut yesterday, moved some of it into the
house to use this week, and put the rest in the garage. I moved some
new lumber off the front porch and into the garage to stay dry, then
removed old lumber off the garage roof and the living room roof. Some
of that will become firewood, and some of it is good enough to save and
The afternoon mail brought a package. It was an ignition and light
switch a Model T friend in New York sent me to see if I could fix it.
Somewhere between Staten Island and Parkefield the postal service
customized it. I told Tony not to buy a new one yet. This looks pretty
bad, but I'll see if I can straighten it out. It wasn't insured,
but insurance wouldn't have mattered anyway. USPS insurance is
worthless if you're
not shipping a store-bought item and have a receipt for it.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
According to weather.com, this was the penultimate day of the current
heat wave. I took advantage of the nice day to deal with firewood. I
took the truck and gathered up a couple of small piles I cut last
summer, took time out for a trip to town for groceries, then attacked
the wood pile behind the shop. I fired up the splitter and
split a load, then stacked it in the garage. I estimate that what
I split today amounted to about a fifth of the pile, so there's a
lot more to split and put away.
Friday, December 11, 2015
A busy day began with planting. Yesterday's mail brought the
American sweet gum I ordered from the Arbor Day Society, along with the
usual free red maple. I planted the sweet gum by the west drive,
and put the maple near the southeast corner of the front lawn,
far enough from the road to be away from the power lines.
In the afternoon I went to the co-op to sell my share of the milo,
stopped at the bank to deposit the check, and drove to Winfield
to pay the property taxes. The milo paid about half the tax bill. When
I got back to Arkansas City I stopped to get cat food, and when I came
out of the store I found the roadster had a flat tire. I had no spare,
but fortunately a couple of college boys saw my predicament and gave me
a ride home to fetch another wheel, so I was able to gas up the car,
buy a piece of square tubing for a project, and make it home with no
further trouble. I'm going to see if I can find a six volt tire pump to
carry in Model T's, along with a spare tube.
December 12, 2015
With evening rain in the forecast, I took advantage of one more dry day
for some outside chores. One was mulching the two new trees I planted
yesterday, and some of the other small trees. I spread a couple of
bushels of leaves around each tree, laid chicken wire over them to keep
them from blowing away, and put on a few bricks to keep the wire in
place. I rehung the big tarp that the last fierce wind took down
from the back wall of the house, then fired up the splitter and
attacked more of the woodpile behind the shop. I split enough to get
the stack in the garage about as high as it will go, and started
another pile in front of it.
December 13, 2015
When I got home with the roadster Friday afternoon I drained
for an oil change. But I didn't put in the new oil because of
what I found. The old oil had a small brass machine screw in it.
There's only one possible source for that. It was one of the three
screws that were holding a balance weight on the transmission reverse
drum. So I'm going to have to pull the engine and transmission out of
the car, open up the transmission, and replace the screw. I just hope
one screw falling out is the only damage that's been done. I think when
I have all three screws in, this time I'll braze them in place so there
won't be any chance of them working loose.
While this project is under way I'm sending the radiator off to have
its leaking seam repaired. I think while I have the car apart I may
take care of a few other things it needs, like installing the correct
drive shaft housing for a 1915, and putting on the new wheels.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Short & sweet: I spent the morning packing the radiator. Except for
a trip to town for groceries, I spent the afternoon taking pieces off
the roadster, getting ready to pull the engine/transmission.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Never went off the place today. I spent the day taking pieces off the
roadster, getting ready to pull the engine/transmission.
I should have it out tomorrow. My last chore today was bringing the
hoist over to the shop from the barn. The last time I used it was last
year when I was working on my mowing tractor.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
I never ventured off the place today. I spent all morning and into the
afternoon cleaning up in the shop, organizing, and putting things away
to make space for the upcoming engine/transmission work I have to do.
In the afternoon I rolled the hoist into the shop, cleaned it up, and
used it to raise the roadster's body off the frame. I only had to raise
it a couple of inches and set it on blocks to clear the way for sliding
the engine/transmission forward, and lifting it out. Tomorrow I'll pull
it out and look inside to see what I find.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
The best laid plans... I never did get that engine pulled. I
had to pack and send a timing gear to a friend in California, buy some
groceries, and take care of a few other little things. But the main job
of the day was getting my adjustable engine stand ready to use. It had
sat outide the shop on the ground, and one of the casters had rusty
dirt in it that kept it from swiveling. A couple of the rollers didn't
turn very well either. From now on when I'm not using the stand I'll
take it over to the barn and leave it inside away from the weather.
Getting all three casters working properly was half the job. The other
half was redrilling some of the adjusting holes so the stand will lock
the engine in place in eight positions. Maybe I'll get that
engine pulled tomorrow. While I was working in the shop, outside the
snow was falling. It started about one and went on all afternoon. It
was pretty light, and the ground was warm enough to melt a lot of it. I
expect most of it will be gone tomorrow, and Saturday all of it will be
melted, even in the shady places.
Friday, December 18, 2015
This morning I got the
engine/transmission out of the roadster and moved it around behind the
car where I'll work on it. In the afternoon I took time out from the
engine to make a bracket to hold a drain pan on the bottom of the
engine stand. The pan will catch drips from the engine and can also be
a basin for washing parts. Tomorrow I'll dig into that transmission and
see what I can find.
December 19, 2015
Well, I got into the transmission
today. I'll have plenty to do. The first will be finding a better
reverse drum. The one that's in there has some rust pits that made it
rough enough to chew up the band lining. Another job will be replacing
a broken magnet. I'm just glad I got in there and found it before it
broke all the way and made a real mess of things.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
I spent the day tearing down that
transmission. Why all day? Because if you don't have all the right
tools you have to stop and make them.
Monday, December 21, 2015
More transmission work. I hunted up a couple of spare reverse drums and
prepared them for sandblasting tomorrow to find out if they have any
cracks in them hidden by dirt and/or rust. I had to take time out for a
trip to the courthouse in Winfield to pay property taxes. Today was the
deadline and there was a crowd, so I had to take a number. It didn't
take more than about a half hour, though.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
My busy day began with salvaging magnets from a spare
flywheel. I spent most of the afternoon sandblasting, starting about
1:30 and finishing a few minutes before five. I blasted two
reverse drums to find out if they were any good. If you look closely at
the one on the right in the picture, at about eight o'clock and
nine o'clock you can see little
cracks, so this drum is toast. This seems to be a common problem with
reverse drums. Apparently they're more delicate than low and brake
drums, which are much less likely to be cracked. Fortunately I couldn't
find anything wrong with the other drum, and I'll be able to use it.
While I was blasting I also did several of the magnets. I had given all
of them three hard whacks on an anvil, from both directions, to find
out if any of them had cracks which would cause them to break. All of
them survived the whacking, then one of them fell apart in my hand when
I was blasting them. I'll give all the magnets another whack test
before I recharge them for use.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Today I did a little more engine/transmission dismantling, but bogged
down on removing flywheel bolts. They're hard to reach without the Ford
wrench specifically made for that use, but eventually I found a socket
that would do the job. Meanwhile, I have another set of transmission
drums I'm trying to get apart. The gear holding them together is stuck
fast, and I have 50/50 penetrant soaking on it. Every few hours I hit
the puller with an impact wrench, but so far it hasn't budged.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
This morning I spent over an hour dealing with a Fedex overcharge. The
bill was $140.60 when the Fedex website said it should be about
half that. It turned out that the wrong charge was for a
box measuring 25" x 56", when it was really 25" x
26". The agent I reached by phone was able to make the
correction. My other big office chore was ordering some
Model T gaskets, rivets, and magneto screws. I make it a
habit to buy from several parts dealers, but in this case
Lang's, the biggest outfit, was the only one that had everything I
wanted. My magneto repair will have to wait until I get those screws
sometime next week.
Friday, December 25, 2015
With forecasts predicting a
wet weekend and a descent into freezing weather with snow, I took
advantage of a dry and relatively mild day about 45º to fire up the
splitter and turn some of the woodpile behind the shop into smaller
pieces. Things were going great and I had wood piled in the back of the
truck up nearly to the top when the part of the splitter holding the
control lever broke off. Making a replacement part will be a new
project for me to finish before I run out of wood. I have a full stack
and part of another already in the garage, so that won't be anytime
soon. My cousin Wally and I spent the afternoon at our cousin Pete's
house, tying on the feedbag. She laid out a fine spread, and I suspect
I won't be able to stay awake very late tonight.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
A wet weekend began dry, but
during the morning the rain arrived and kept up all day. It was mostly
light sprinkles with a few periods of steady rain. I didn't have a
gauge out, but there was enough to make big puddles in the
driveway. I worked in my office, getting a set of shelves ready to hold
my boxes of several hundred slides. I'll be scanning them, and I need
to get them organized first. Eventually a good may of them will find
their way to this website.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Brrrrr, crunch, crunch! The
thermometer said 32º, but the fierce wind whipping out of the north
didn't feel that warm. Last night's light rain turned into
today's light rain/snow/sleet, freezing on the ground to make walking
crunchy. That banging sound is ice falling off the trees and hitting
the roof. I worked in the office, getting the set of shelves for slides
in place and putting the boxes of slides on it. I scanned a few slides
and posted them on Facebook, hoping some of the people in them could
tell me what year they were taken.
Monday, December 28, 2015
The Big Storm that made such
impression on New Mexico and Texas was a bust here. A few days ago the
forecast for today showed a 100% chance of 3 to 5 inches of snow.
Yesterday that was down to a 70% chance of under an inch. It turned out
to be little more than a trace. Meanwhile, I spent way too much time
trying to get a new digital projector to work. I bought the thing so I
could project images from my computer onto a screen. First, it took me
an hour to find and download a manual for this model from the website.
Then, when I tried to set up the thing to work, what I got on the
screen didn't match what I was seeing in the manual. So tomorrow I'll
give the phone support folks an opportunity to explain it all.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
All morning I scanned slides. These were pictures from 2003. Each one
took from three to five minutes to scan and crop out the frame around
the edges. The work was slowed down by the scanner ossacionally getting
tired and quitting. Then I'd have to close the program and restart the
Cleaning up in May after the
big winter ice storm.
Peddling signs at Petit Jean,
Arkansas, in June, 2002.
After a trip to town for AAA batteries and celery, I spent the
afternoon shopping online for the adapters I'll need to hook up a
digital projector to my laptop and desktop computers. I'll find
out if I bought the right ones when they get here. One comes with
free shipping but may take more than a month to arrive.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
This morning I finished scanning the 72 slides I was working on
yesterday, then gathered up all the ones I could find in
the house, brought them out to my office, and put sticky notes on
some of the boxes identifying what was in them. When I went to
town for groceries in the afternoon my car's tire pressure warning
light was on. Recently the right front tire has had a slow
leak. So I took time today for a visit to a tire shop to have it
fixed. I don't like the idea of possibly having to blow up
a tire at some inconvenient time, like in the dark during freezing
Thursday, December 31, 2015
I finished the year taking care of one more little chore that's been
hanging for years. I went online and researched converting
VHS video to digital files, and ordered a device that's
supposed to do it. I hope I'll be able to play some of the old
videos from thirty years ago through a digital projector and show them
at our next family reunion in June. Along with scanned
slides I'm working on this winter, some of them going back sixty years,
we should have a pretty good show. There's so much material that I
won't get through all of it this year, and we should be having a new
show at each reunion for at least a couple of years.