Thursday, December 1, 2016

This morning I finished assembling the hogshead. It's ready to install and adjust. I spent most of the afternoon at the hospital getting an MRI. One of my eye docs says I appear to have low pressure glaucoma, but she wants to see if anything else is going on. This was my first MRI experience, and I was surprised at how noisy the machine is. They don't show you that part on TV. The test takes a long time, and they give you the option of listening to music. I tried it and had the operator shut it off because it sounded like hell. It was like the hold music you always hear when waiting on the phone. It may be great music, from Beethoven to Basie, but the super-low-fi system makes it sound like a junk yard falling downstairs. I got out of the hospital after four, and by the time I did some grocery shopping that was my day.

Friday, December 2, 2016

First thing this morning shorty went to the vet for a shot, then I spent the rest of the morning on paying bills and other clerical chores. In the afternoon I fired up the push mower and attacked the dead johnson grass filling the lane to the woodlot. I need to clear the road and take the truck to bring up some of the firewood I stacked down there last winter and spring. Soon we'll have cold enough weather to put all the deciduous plants to sleep until spring,  and it will be time to transplant a lot of redbuds down along the lane. In a few years they'll make a nice early April display.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The question usually is whether an auction has enough desirable stuff to make it worth staying. This morning the question was whether there was anything worth staying for. The answer was no, so I came home and went back to mowing down the dead johnson grass. A little after noon I had a road to the woodlot cleared, and rain was starting, so I moved inside. I did some reading on Ruckstell axles, painted a couple of steering wheel nuts, and did a little more of the never-ending shop cleanup. About four I headed for wichita, where I had dinner at Los Reyes and then went to see Moonlight. Why Wichita? Because a lot of movies like that, made for grownups about something real, never make it down here to the Podunk Cinema Eight.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Today I brought an engine over from the barn to mine it for parts. The whole story is here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Except for an afternoon trip to town to pay a bill and buy bananas, I spent the day dismantling the engine I brought over yesterday. Next, the magneto and transmission.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In the morning I mined that spare transmission for parts until I got stuck. I need a puller to get the clutch drum out, and I'll have to make one. The rest of the day and into the evening I took care of a job that's been waiting for years. It's always annoyed me that my bed was a little too short for the mattress. With the mattress jammed up against the head and foot of the bed it's been hard to get bedding on and off. So today I took out the rails and made them longer. I cut them and welded an extra four inches of angle iron into each one. This evening I was able to put the sheet and electric blanket on easily, and then put the big thick comforter on with room to spare. I didn't have time to paint the work, so I'll take the rails out and do that when the weather is nice.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In the morning I finished with the engine I dismantled, removing a couple of studs (one of them broken) from the block then tying an easy-to-read tag on it with the serial number and assembly date. I spent most of the afternoon in the machine shop at the juco, making parts for a magnet charger I intend to build. While I was at it I cut a piece of steel to make  a clutch drum puller. I'll work on that tomorrow.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Today I did a little more organizing in the shop, but spent most of the afternoon on laundry and shopping. That included a drive to Winfield to buy 김치. For some reason a lot of boat people in the seventies went to Winfield, so that's where the Asian market is. A regular chore this time of year is bringing in wood and laying fires in the stove and the fireplace. It was a sunny afternoon and above freezing, about 38, so I decided to take a little walk in the woodlot and bring some kindling from there.While I was at it, I took a look at the honeysuckle I sprayed a month ago. The good news is that a lot of it is dying. The bad news is that a lot of it isn't. The plants are going to sleep for the winter now, so I'll spray again in the spring when they're waking up.

Friday, December 9, 2016

There were just as many hours in this day as any other, but I sure didn't get much done. I did go to town and get a foot of 5/8" all thread for my clutch drum puller, and got the hole for it drilled and tapped. Then I found that I don't have the proper sized bolts for the rest of it, so I'll have to get those tomorrow. I also started gathering up engine blocks and other parts in the shop, and when the weather warms up above freezing they're going to move to the barn and be out of my way.

Saturday, December10, 2016

I made it to town, and got those two bolts, and finished my clutch drum puller. I was pleased to find that it works. I also did a little more sorting in the shop, and made ID tags for engine blocks.  I marked the tags with engine serial number and date, so I don't have to look at the number with a flashlight then go look it up to find the date. This evening I made another drive to Wichita. Why? Another movie for grownups about something real. Meaning we would never see it down here. This time it was Loving, and it was worth the drive. Another case of fine work by actors I've never heard of. Richard and Mildred Loving went to jail for the crime of being married, and this is their story, beautifully told by writer-director Jeff Nichols. There's not a trace of CGI in this one, and I didn't miss it a bit.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Job one today was to use that clutch drum puller I just made and finish dismantling the transmission. I have another transmission soaking. When I get it apart I'll sandblast both reverse drums and see whether they're good or cracked. The morning was fairly mild outside, in the fifties, so I got back to work on putting steel siding over the squirrel holes into my attic. In this picture I'm cutting siding to fit. I put it and the other photos into a little Facebook album.

Monday, December 12, 2016

My aunt, Ernestine Parker (1906-2001), got a job as organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in 1926. She was the organist there for sixty years. In those sixty years she collected a lot of organ music. It's been just sitting for twenty years, and it's extremely unlikely that I would ever take up organ playing, so I decided to give all that material to the school of music at Wichita State, where organ students might get some use out of it. I had an appointment with an eye doc in Wichita this afternoon, so I loaded seven boxes of music in the car and dropped them off at WSU on my way to see the doc. Gassing up the car, buying groceries, loading music in the car, bringing in wood and laying the evening fires, and making the trip to Wichita used up my day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Today's forecast was
a bust.
The high was supposed to be in the upper thirties but we never got above freezing. I might have done some outside work, but a stiff north wind persuaded me to stay in the shop and work on mining for transmission and magneto parts. The clutch drum puller that worked on its first transmission met its match on the second one. I'll have to redesign it and try again, and maybe apply some heat to the drum to loosen it up.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

This morning's activity was more dealing with parts. I removed one batch of small engine and magneto parts from the tub of carburetor cleaner where they've been soaking for a couple of days, rinsed them, and put them into a tub of rust remover. Then I put another batch of magneto parts into the carburetor cleaner. After bringing in wood and laying the evening fires, I made a trip to town for groceries, then took advantage of an afternoon above freezing for an outside chore. I planted the tree that came in the mail last week and has been in the cellar waiting for a good planting day. This American sweetgum sapling is the third replacement for the one I planted by the west drive a few years ago. All the others have expired, so I'll make a special effort to keep this one watered. The one I planted a year ago didn't even survive the winter to sprout when spring came.

December 15, 2016

I wasted way too much of the day playing online, but did get a little work done. That was mostly a little bit of work on making coils for a magnet charger and cleanng some engine parts to put away. The forecast calls for a high in the fifties tomorrow before we go into the icebox over the weekend, so I'd better get some outdoor chores done while I can.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The warmer day was a bust. It was warmer alright, over 50, but it was also drizzly all day. So I worked on my experimental magnet charger. I wound the wire on one of the coils. The core of each coil is a piece of axle shaft with a length of thin wall PVC for the magnet to fit inside. I've read that the more turns there are on a coil, the stronger the charge, and that having the magnet inside the coil also makes for a stronger charge. So I'm arranging these coils so about 67% of the magnet is inside, and each coil has a little over 500 turns. I used up most of the wire I had for this, so I ordered another 200 feet to do the other coil. The standard test for these magnets is holding a two pound weight, so if I can get four or more I'll be a very happy experimenter.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Today I rinsed engine hardware that had been soaking in rust remover, and prepped all the pieces with
phosphoric acid to prevent more rust, then took out the magneto parts that had been soaking in carb cleaner, rinsed them, and put them to soak in rust remover. I'm waiting for the mail to bring me a clutch drum puller so I can mine another transmission for parts.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Real winter weather arrived three days before winter. Last night a strong north wind brought the cold and a little snow, and this morning the temperature at 8 AM was 2. I took a picture of the house with its thin sheet of snow, and made Christmas cards with the picture, and addressed envelopes. I went into the house every half hour or so to put wood in the kitchen stove to keep the room well above 32 so the vegetables wouldn't freeze. I don't usually light a fire in the house until I go in there in the evening, and most of the time the inside temperature stays well above freezing. But the single digits outside dropped the kitchen temperature under freezing and I used up a lot of wood today. I finally figured out that when it's that cold I can just bring the veggies out to the heated shop. It's rarely cold enough in the house for me to have to do that.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The warmup has begun already, with a morning low of 6 and an afternoon high of 28. For the next couple of weeks highs in the forties are forecast. I'll use some of that warm weather for bringing more fuel up from the wood lot. Today's main activity was writing and sending Christmas cards. I got a little over half of them done and will finish up tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On the last day of autumn I wrote and sent another batch of Christmas cards, shopped for groceries, laid the evening fires in the kitchen stove and the living room fireplace, and took magneto parts out of the rust remover and prepped them. I think cards with only a signature are pretty lame, so I always write some kind of note. The grocery store was busier than usual, and some of the folks were buying lots of stuff. With the days not as cold as Sunday I'm not using as much firewood, but I do need to get the yard waste out of the truck and bring more wood up to the house. With all the magneto parts finished and only needing to be put away, the next job in the shop will be to mine one last transmission for parts. It's been soaking with penetrant for several weeks, and I hope it will come apart without putting up too much of a fight.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

House cleaning. My cousin Pete came over and helped get ready for Christmas. She and another cousin and some friends will be coming Christmas Day to tie on the feed bag, so today we got the place ready. I did the bathroom before Pete got here, then she cleaned the living room while I worked on the kitchen. Except for a trip to the lumber yard to buy a couple of boards, I spent the whole day on house cleaning.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I finished the last of the cards, drove up to the county seat and paid the real estate taxes, bought groceries, and nearly finshed the kitchen. Ho-hum. Just a few more things to put away.

Friday, December 23, 2016

As Gabe Heatter famously used to say during the war, "Ah, there's good news tonight." This afternoon I took a little walk down in the woodlot, and was pleased to see that some of the honeysuckle I sprayed a few weeks ago is dead, and more of it appears to be dying. In the spring when the plants wake up and start growing, and the poison will circulate down to the roots, I'll hit it again and again until I get it under control. Other activities today included scanning a box of 2011 slides,  taking a pattern to the saddle shop to have new leather cut for some chair seats, and finishing kitchen clean-up.  I also made another attempt at removing that stubborn transmission clutch drum. All I accomplished was shearing off one of the puller bolts. So while I was in town I got a couple of big bolts to use in  making a better puller. Maybe I can get that done tomorrow.

Saturday, December 24, 2016
Nope. I didn't get back to the puller. I did more house cleanup, then drove to wichita to see Manchester by the Sea.  It had no car chases, no big orange explosions,  and no armies of "digital artists" in the credits. What it did have was believeble characters who made you care about them.  Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams,  and Lucas Hedges head a cast that turns in fine performances all around.  Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan has come up with an Oscar contender. This was the third movie in a row I've had to go to Wichita to see. Many of the best pictures are limited release efforts shown  only in major cities. What do we get down here? Monster Trucks and Resident Evil 6.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day was delicious. Cousins Pete and Wally and Pete's friend Mike came over and we feasted on Pete's good cooking. Other than scanning a few negatives, I didn't do a lick of work. I hope to finish up my latest version of a clutch drum puller tomorrow. If I'm lucky it will work and I'll get that stubborn transmission apart, and if I'm really lucky there will be a good reverse drum in there.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Victory at last! I soaked that stubborn transmission with penetrants for months, and it just would not come apart. The clutch drum refused to budge, and it wrecked three different pullers. So today, after applying enough heat to turn the drum red then letting it cool, I applied the latest version of my home made puller. This one has hooks with nuts to keep them from pulling out of the holes even if they bend. That did it. Now the transmission is apart and I have some drums to sandblast and see if any of them are OK to use. One day soon I'll be off to Mike Bender's shop with a bunch of parts and we'll get some work done on my engine and transmission.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Today I worked on magnets for a Model T magneto.  First I weighed them and marked the weight on each one.  Then I took the heavier ones to the grinder and took enough off each one to make it 400 grams. Having all of them the same weight is to help in balancing the flywheel.  I also posted drawings of two possible wiring schemes for a charger on the Model T forum. Somebody there should be able to tell me which method is correct.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Advice on the forum confirmed I had the right idea about how to wind the charger coils, so I went ahead and finished them. With two twelve volt batteries connected in series for 24 volts, I charged a couple of magnets and got them to hold up two and a half pounds. The traditional criterion is two pounds, so I should be delighted. But with almost 400 feet of wire and 600 turns and much of the magnet inside the coils when charging, I was hoping for more. I think tomorrow I'll add another battery and see if a charge with 36 volts is any stronger.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cold air turns my nose into a snot fountain even when I'm healthy. Now I'm enjoyimg a cold, so I'm really using up the tissues. I never went off the place today, and spent the day mostly in the shop. I added another battery to my magnet charging efforts, and found that with a 36-volt charge I got magnets to hold four pounds. A few would even hold 41/2 pounds. I also started trying to remove the broken top socket from my roadster for repair. It's stuck tight on the wooden top bow, and won't move. I stripped off the paint to see if there are any nails holding it. There aren't. I suspect the wood extends into the socket far enough for one of the rivets to hold it, so I'll have to try removing the rivets and see if that does any good.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Before going to town for shopping, I spent most of the day cleaning up magneto parts and putting them to soak in carburetor cleaner for a couple of days. I also tried magnet charging with 42 volts instead of 36. It didn't seem to make any difference.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

After an ordinary day of doing laundry, for the first time in many years I went out on New Year's Eve. Saturday is my movie night, and I drove up to Wichita to see Fences. Limited release pictures for grownups aren't shown in Cowley County. We get stuff like Monster Trucks and Evil Dead 6. So I went to the Warren, today's incarnation of the old time movie palaces of the twenties and thirties, with murals, plush carpets, and lots of decorative neon. It's a swell joint. The place was packed. The movie was one of the year's best. August Wilson's script, Denzel Washington's directing, and great performances by a strong cast make for a great film. Washington and Viola Davis are wonderful together, Stephen Henderson shines, and Mykelti Williamson grabs your heart.  I'll be surprised and disappointd if some Oscar nominations don't come from this one.