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Friday, February 1, 2013


This morning I was up before the crack of dawn and off to the Sunflower Swap Meet in Valley Center. I didn't find any of the major items I want, but I picked up a bunch of small items. The most costly was a 1923 license plate for $20. It needs work, but should fix up very nicely.  I bought a slightly warped exhaust manifold for $5. If I can straighten it without wrecking it, that will turn out to be a good deal. I got a starter switch for $2.50, and I'll use it for the magnet charger I plan to make. A new exhaust pipe nut for $2.50 came along with the switch. I spent $2 on a hub cap wrench and $5 for a 0–80 air pressure gauge. Fifteen bucks for a few other tools finished my day at the meet. I got home about three, and spent the rest of the afternoon cutting and splitting enough firewood to last a few evenings.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

After doing laundry, I spent all day at an auction. I bought a Model T wrench for $1, a drop light for $1, a pair of blankets for $3, an "antique" Western Auto tire chain box for $2.50, and a  spark-plug-hole tire pump for $5. I was shocked to see people pay $7.50 each for some current Kennedy half dollars. When I have a sale I'm going to put some of those and some $2 bills in little plastic bags and separate the suckers from their money.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Well, I didn't get much of anything done today. I piddled around online and did a few minor chores in the shop. Maybe I'll be more ambitious tomorrow.


Monday,  
February 4, 2013

In the morning I worked on dismantling one of the front axle assemblies from my parts pile in the yard. Some parts of it are too far gone with rust to be any good, but there are a few good parts I can sell. In the afternoon I went to the machine shop at the juco and finished the core for my magneto charger, then got started on my first special carburetor tool. When I got home I wound a hundred feet of wire around the core to make the electromagnet for the charger.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

More front axle salvage was first on today's agenda. Sometimes the only way to get rusted nuts and bolts unstuck is to apply enough heat to turn them red. That usually does it. In this case I had to apply the heat in a couple of places. I also took time to make a bulb changer. It's a broom handle with three "fingers" on the end, made of
heavy wire inside rubber tubing. With it I can reach up and grab light bulbs on the ceiling, unscrew them, and replace them without having to climb a ladder. This being a fairly warm day, above 60, I sandblasted the front cross member from the frame of my roadster and prepared it for welding up a crack. When I get it fixed I'll get one of the local Model T guys to come and help me install it. That's a job best done with one person to keep the heat on the rivet and the other to mash the head.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013  


The first job of the day was welding to repair cracks in the frame cross member from my roadster. After a trip to town for groceries and supplies, today's main job was
sandblasting. I finished the frame cross member I repaired this morning for my roadster, the transmission cover plate, and most of an exhasust manifold. I hope to rivet that cross member back in the frame soon, but I need to find my small air grinder to prepare the front end of the frame. I seem to spend a lot of time looking for tools. When I'm rich I'll hire somebody to follow me around and keep track of where I leave things.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Variety day. A little of this, a little of that. I received a call from a guy who has some NOS front cross members for sale, and sent him a check. I'll peddle the old one I repaired at a swap meet sometime. I went to the Apple website and posted a question about how to
reduce a jpeg in size and still have it print clearly.  I put away a lot of tools that were scattered about on my work table.  I did a little work on  my magneto charger project.  Late in the afternoon a friend brought me a couple of T keys I had him buy for me at the swap meet last weekend. We spent the rest of the afternoon blathering about gas pumps, old cars, the state of the world, and other subjects of vital importance.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Today I did two things. All morning and part of the afternoon I worked
on my magneto charger. About 2:30 I got busy on firewood, cutting and splitting enough to last
a few days. We now have forty days to spring. There will be a few evenings cold enough for a fire after that, but not many.


Saturday, February 9, 2012

The magneto charger was job one again.  I worked on it until 9:30, then went to town to check out an auction. I found absolutely nothing to keep me there. I went shopping for some parts, then came home and worked on the charger some more. Except for one more trip to town for more parts, I spent
all day on it. I should be able to finish it tomorrow.  



Sunday, February 10, 2013

The best laid plans... No, I didn't finish the charger. The ammeter I wanted to use on it had the nuts rusted to the terminal posts, and a I spent a lot of time removing the old posts after they broke, and replacing them with brass machine screws that won't rust. In the afternoon I got my radiator back
. One of the Model T guys from Wichita took his radiator up to the shop in Sabetha for repair, and brought mine back to save me the shipping. I'm looking forward to getting the car back together and driving it. We spent the end of the afternoon looking at my collection and talking Model T's, and I gave him some wheel parts from my pile. 


Monday,  February 11, 2013

At last I finished my magneto charger. It was another proof of the old saying that everything takes longer than you think it will. I bought the wire for the thing on January 18, and it took over three weeks to get it done. That has something to do with having a lot of things to do. Tomorrow I'll test it out and see how well it works.  





Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Charge! That's what I did today. I hooked up a twelve volt battery to my new magneto charger and recharged my magnets. The criterion for a proper charge is for the magnet to be strong enough to hold an iron piston, which weighs about two pounds. I ended up with a couple of them able to hold a spindle, which weighs a little more, and the rest almost strong enough to hold it. That's probably good enough, but I'm going to add more batteries in series and see if I can get a stronger charge with more voltage.

The other interesting thing today was snow. It looks like at least a couple of inches. That's not a lot, but at this point any moisture at all is definitely welcome. 



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This was going to be the day to finish my magneto recharge, but it will go at least another day. I used one twelve volt battery yesterday. I want to try it with more current, which means more batteries, so I need cables to connect them in series. So this
morning I went to town and bought some terminals and cable. The same trip included shopping for groceries, driving down to the casino to gas up the car, and a stop at the post office to have a perch and a spindle weighed on some accurate scales. It turns out the spindle weighs two pounds and two ounces. If I can get every magnet to hold that, I'll be happy. When I got home I ended the afternoon cutting pieces of cable and installing battery terminals on them. So tomorrow we'll see what happens with multiple batteries doing the charging.  



Thursday, February 14, 2013

At last I got something done when I thought I would. Today I finished my magneto recharge. The goal of getting every pole to hold the weight of a spindle took awhile, but this afternoon I made it. After going all around the flywheel charging all poles once, three of them held the spindle. It took several repetitions of the process, but eventually I got every one of the thirty-two poles to hold the weight. I guess the next job will be installing the pistons with their new rings in the engine. When the engine's done, that will leave riveting the new cross member in the frame and paintingt it, rebushing and assembling the front suspension, putting the engine back in the car, and reassembling all the stuff I had to take apart to get the engine out. One change I want to make is to replace the current front spring with the right one for 1915. I hope to find that at the Chickasha Swap Meet next month.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Not much progress on any projects today except a little
literary activity.
I volunteered to write a Model T article for The Vintage Ford, and I did a little research for that. Then came the main job of the day, going through this week's mail and paying bills. By the time I finished answering correspondence, writing checks, addressing envelopes, etc., it was after one. A trip to town to pay bills there used up another couple of hours. A couple of dry sunny days melted all the snow and dried out the pile of scrap lumber in the front yard enough to make it burnable, so I finished the afternoon sawing some of it up for firewood. It's a pretty good pile, but I should be able to use up a lot of it before the wood burning season is over. Whatever is left will go in the wood pile for next winter.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Having volunteered a piece for The Vintage Ford, when I finished laundry I spent the rest of the day writing it and making the pictures to go with it. This evening I sent it off to the editor. We'll see if he thinks it's OK. That was my Saturday.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

A warm day with an afternoon high in the sixties was a perfect opportunity to do some sandblasting. I finished an exhaust manifold, a head, and several smaller parts. By a quarter of three the sun had moved to put my
work in the shade, and I was getting pretty chilly from the wind, so that was all until next time. This was a doors open day. When the outside temperature gets higher than in the house, usually with a south wind, I prop the doors open to let the warmer air blow in.




Monday, February 18, 2013

Today I did various chores on the roadster. One was painting the head. That was the simplest activty of the day. The job that took the most time was rivet removal. That was the main part of removing braces from an old junk frame because they're a little better than the ones that were on the car. I  also removed the braces that were on the car for the same reason.  Rivet removal means you grind the head off each rivet and drive it out with a hammer and punch. Some were relatively easy to get out, and some took a lot of pounding. Once the braces were all loose, I put them in a container of rust remover to soak overnight. I should have the car ready to rivet the new cross member into the frame sometime tomorrow. Then I'll contact  one of the local Model T guys and see when he can help me with the installation. That job is best done by at least two people, one to keep the rivet hot and soft and the other to mash the head. The last chore of the day was  cutting and splitting more firewood. The forecast shows a good chance of rain later in the week, so I want to have enough dry wood in the garage to last several days.   

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The main chore this morning was cleaning up frame brackets and shopping by phone. I have some of the right rivets for installing the new cross member in the roadster's frame, but I need some others too. I phoned all the likely local places I could think of, and came up empty. Most of them thought I was asking for pop rivets and I had to explain to them what I was after. I sure miss our old time hardware store that stocked goods like that. At last I called Big Flats Rivet Company in upstate New York to have them ship me what I need. When I have the rivets, I'll get a friend to help me do the installation. That's best done by two people, one to keep the rivet orange hot and the other to mash it with the bucking bar and hammer. My other Model T job of the day was starting a shopping list. The Chickasha prewar swap meet is only a month away, so I need to make a list of things to look for.  I made a trip to town for a wire brush, and stopped at the glass place to order a piece of window glass for taking pictures of small objects. While I was in town I stopped at the antique/second-hand/junk store to see if they have any old electric plugs I could use when I restore a lamp or an electric fan. Unfortunately, the owner wasn't there. She's the only one who knows where anything is. The daughter and the husband will sell you something if you happen to find it, but they have no clue where to look for anything. The place is so jam-packed with stuff that I doubt that even the owner knows where everything is, but at least she knows where to start looking. When I got home I fired up the chain saw and turned some branches in the back yard into firewood. I wanted to get it cut up and brought in before the snow arrives. The forecast calls for a 100% chance tomorrow, so maybe we'll get lucky and it will actually happen.  








Wedneday, February 20, 2013

Snow! It started about eight in the morning and went on until about 2:30. Light and heavy, light and heavy, but steady. A little before five in the afterrnoon it started up again. The forecast last night didn't sound very hopeful, but it turned out to be at least three inches, and with more forecast to come in the wee hours of tomorrow morning it should be even better. This will be good for the plants. With the drought we've been in for the past year, any moisture at all is welcome. While the snow fell outside, I got some work done in the shop. First I finished cleaning up the frame brackets for installing the roadster's new cross member. When the rivets arrive I'll be ready. I worked a little more on my Model T parts shopping list for Chickasha. In the afternoon I went to town for grocery shopping and getting my glass. I bought a 14" x 18" piece of window glass to use in photographing small items. You set the items on the glass and focus on them with a colored background a couple of feet below the glass so it's completely out of focus. The first pictures I made with it are of New Day timers. The New Day is a popular aftermarket timer for the Model T that comes in different versions that were made at different times over the past ninety years. Three of the versions are shown in this picture. Some have a good reputation and some don't, so I'm studying them to learn which is which. When I learn enough about them I'll post a website page telling what to look for in finding the right one. Meanwhile, I'm using up papers. Old newspapers for kindling fires have piled up in boxes for a few years, but I have way more than I need. So this winter I'm sitting by the fireplace each evening feeding a couple of inches of papers into the fire. 





Thursday, February 21, 2013

I never went off the place today. When I got up this morning I first thought the overnight snowfall had been a bust, but when I measured what was on top of the Suburban it turned out to be five inches. Considering the melting that happened yesterday afternoon, I think the total over the past couple of days was probably at least six inches. That's not as good  as some other areas got, but it's a lot better than the nothing we've been getting. I spent the morning on more timer study and a little online searching for parts. I think I've figured out pretty well which timers I should buy when I see them for sale, and which ones I should avoid. In the afternoon I measured the crank shaft end play on the engine from my roadster, and found it way too much. So I have some engine work to do. I ended the day on a cleaning of the roadster's transmission cover. That will be another item to research. Is the aluminum cover supposed to be painted, or bare? Time and study will tell.  




Friday, February 22, 2013

Most of the morning was devoted to reading about engine repair. My roadster's engine has .045" crankshaft endplay. It's supposed to be no more than .007". One of the T guys in Tulsa has offered to help fix it, so I'm going to haul it down there when the weather's a little friendlier. Variety is nice, so this afternoon I did body work on a license plate. When I get the dings out of this plate I'll strip and refinish it and another one, and I'll use one of them on my Fordor. I'll probably sell the other.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

The day arrived with the potential for me to spend all weekend at a two-day auction. I drove over to Wellington to check it out and didn't find anything to justify standing outside for hours with the temperature in the teens. There was a good tank stand I probably could have bought cheap, but the job of getting it home in current conditions was just too unpleasant a thought for me. The second day is at another
location, and I think at least most of it will be indoors. I'll check it out and see if there are any treasures. My work in the shop today was stripping old paint off a couple of 1923 license plates and the transmission housing from my roadster. It's supposed to be bare aluminum, with no paint.



Sunday, February 24, 2012

This morning was clean-up time. I finished cleaning all the old grease, oil, dirt, and paint off my
roadster's transmission cover. It came from the factory as bare, unpainted aluminum, so that's the way it's going to be. The paint that was on it looked like overspray from some other paint job. I also finished stripping those two license plates and put them to soak in rust remover. In the afternoon I drove over to Wellington for day two of the auction. I paid $3 for a restorable floor lamp, and nothing for a Model T exhaust manifold. The manifold was in some stuff the autioneer bought for a dollar, and he had no use for it and gave it to me. It's in pretty good shape but slightly warped. If I can straighten it without breaking it, I can use it. The auction ran late and I didn't get home until after six. I was glad I had kindling and wood already in the stove so all I had to do was light it.


Monday, February 25, 2013

The morning's first job was working on the two license plates. That included a trip to town to take one of them to a body shop to have a hole filled. By one in the afternoon I had primer sprayed on both plates, and turned my attention to the new cross member for the roadster. The rear brackets I'm using had holes that were wallowed out too big for the rivets, so I had to fill the holes and drill new ones. I got one bracket finished today, and should have the other one done tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So today I got both rear brackets done, with oversized holes filled in and redrilled the right size.  Installing the rivets is best done by at least two people, so I got Dave Rademacher to come over and help. He held the heat on the rivets and I mashed them down. We got both rear brackets installed on the cross member. Next I have to fill the oversized holes in the front brackets and redrill them, then we'll install those.
Once front and rear brackets are done, then it will be time to install the whole works in the frame.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Up at 6:30 and into the shop by 7:30, I filled the oversized holes in the front brackets and drilled them with the right sized holes. I had them done about 12:30. After that I wasted too much of my afternoon shopping. The idea was to get an air hammer for installing bottom rivets in the frame so I wouldn't have to swing a hammer while lying on my back. I started at the local Orscheln farm supply. When the words air hammer were met with a blank stare, I took the "associate" to the air tools and showed it to him, then sent him to find the box and find out what was in it. Naturally, chisels only. No rivet
punches.
So next I went to the phone, calling the  Big Tool Store in Derby and Harbor Freight in Wichita. Zilch. Then I wasted about a half hour online and didn't find anything I was willing to buy without being able to really see it. So I'll try hammering by hand. Maybe it will work out OK.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

This morning I phoned a tool store in W
ichita and asked about an air hammer and rivet sets. The guy in charge of those was out, and supposed to call me when he arrived, but I never heard from him. I'll try again tomorrow. I finished preparing for the last installment of the riveting job, cutting some rivets to the right length and wedging some backup weights in place. I'll get Dave to help me finish the job as soon as I find out whether I'm going to have a rivet gun or have to use a hammer. This afternoon I took a drive to Winfield to buy some kimchi at the Asian marklet, and while I was there I went to the Deere dealer and bought some 1/4" rivets. They're 40 each, like the ones I ordered from New York state, but without the shipping. I also dropped in at a screen printing shop and bought a used screen for restoring old license plates. Outside, the snow is melting slowly, with highs only in the thirties and low forties, but spring is less than three weeks away, and next week the highs will reach the fifties and sixties.  


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