MARCH 2012

MAY 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

As planned, I took the pickup and brought home the six dozen bricks I bought last weekend and the remaining used lumber I want to keep. There's a lot more lumber that's termite damaged and could be firewood, but I don't want to do all the work of loading it on the trailer and hauling it home. I have plenty of firewood right here, ready to cut without having to go to Oklahoma for it. I didn't do any unloading at all today. Just too lazy. Went grocery shopping, gassed up the Camry, and on the way home stopped to see the Kendricks. They were watching The Blue Bird, a Shirley Temple movie I'd never seen before. It's a rather strange allegory, interesting because of Nigel Bruce, Spring Byington, Sterling Holloway, Gale Sondergaard, and the many other familiar actors of the thirties and forties, and in gorgeous color.

Monday,  April 2, 2012

The day began with the first mowing of the season. I just mowed behind the house to clear an area for stacking lumber.  I was just finishing that when Mark and the girls arrived to help me with the new windows which have been sitting in the Suburban until I could get some help taking them out and  putting them in the garage.  We did that little chore and visited for awhile, then I went to work on the lumber. I finally got it all off the trailer and stacked around three, then went to town and bought a couple of new tarps to cover it. I hope to get a new tool shed built sometime this year, and I'll make it big enough to include some storage space for lumber.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The old defunct gas pipe I unearthed last fall has been lying in the yard ever since. With mowing season coming on, it needed to be out of the way. So one of today's little chores was cutting it into smaller, easier-to-handle pieces. Another piece of business was a visit by an appraiser to look over my new Fordor sedan. I'm having it appraised so I can get insurance and get it registered.

Wednesday, April  4, 2012

After a week or more of early summer, today brought a return to normal early April.  A little rain overnight was followed by an overcast morning and a day cool enough for me to wear a coat and a wool cap. I spent the day inside and devoted a lot of it to Model T research. But my first research of the day was looking at the 1940 census just released online. I found my folks at 1363 Gulf Avenue in Wilmington, and learned that my dad earned $35 a week as an assistant stillman at the refinery. The neighbor who worked as a cook at the cafe next door (and his wife) lived on $18 a week. Sometimes when we see the low prices of things in those years we forget how low the wages were.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

There are lots of things to do, but tax day is coming soon and I haven't done mine, so this was my day to start rounding up all the papers and downloading the forms to fill out. I'll use the online services to do the figuring, but I'll file on paper. Last year I tried to file online and somehow it didn't work. By the time I found out about that it was past the deadline, and I ended up paying a penalty for being late. Not this year. Maybe I'll try the electronic thing next year and see if they've got the bugs out.

Friday, April 6, 2012

This was going to be the day to register my new Model T Fordor. But the rules have changed. Now I have to take it to the Winfield PD on a Tuesday or Thursday between eleven and one to have it inspected before it can be registered. After my wasted trip to the courthouse I spent the rest of the day working on taxes.   

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Morning brought a gulley washer while I was doing laundry, and after the rain quit the gloom stayed until late afternoon. After I put away the laundry, I spent most of the rest of the day finishing the taxes and printing out the forms. Tomorrow I'll fill out the forms and have them all ready to go in Monday's mail. Then I can get back to doing something useful. I ended my Saturday with dinner at La Fiesta and a movie. I never saw the picture when it was first released, so I went and saw the new 3-D incarnation of Titanic. I was very impressed. Leo and Kate were wonderful as the young lovers, Kathy Bates made a good Molly Brown, and Billy Zane was a suitably creepy bad guy. The star of the show was the ship.  James Cameron's use of special effects to recreate the great steamship was amazing and convincing. Views of the huge steam engines
and the engine room were especially impressive. The 3-D was excellent. This is one of those pictures that really should be seen on the big screen.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The first of the day's activities was finishing up the federal and state income taxes. They're all done and ready to go in the mail tomorrow. I thought I'd mow today, but I need a new battery for the mowing tractor and the farm supply is closed. So that will wait for tomorrow. Instead of mowing I looked into the mysterious non-start of my new Fordor T. I took the carburetor off again and opened it up and blew out all the passages. That did no good at all. You can grind away with the starter all day and not get even a cough. So my next step will be to try that carb on another car and see if it works. I suspect it's OK and the non-starting is due to some other problem.

Monday,  April 9, 2012

This was mowing day. First I went to town and bought a new battery for the mowing tractor. Then I installed the battery, changed the oil, greased the fittings, and mowed. But first, of course, I had to take a hike along the road and pick up all the trash thrown from passing cars by worthless trash. I got well over half the mowing done today, and should finish tomorrow if weather permits.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Last year I sent $10 to the Arbor Day Foundation which, as the name suggests, promotes tree planting. In addition to selling trees at very low prices, they send ten "free" flowering trees when planting season comes. The package includes two Sargent Crabapple, two Washington Hawthorn, two White Dogwood, two Golden Raintree, and two Eastern Redbud. The raintree and the redbud are rather superfluous, because those sprout up like weeds all over the place here. That's OK. I'll find a place for them. The ten trees arrived last week, so this morning my first project was figuring out where to plant them before they dry out and die. All of them will go along the lane down to my woodlot. The less desirable trees that are in the way will become firewood. While looking for good places to plant these trees I was reminded that I have a lot of trimming to do this spring and summer. Next winter I'll have more firewood than I can use, if I can just find the time to get it all cut. But today, the old rule still applies: everything takes longer than you think it will. Planting ten seedlings took almost all day. I made metal ID tags to put by each one so I'll recognize them when I'm clearing bush, then I took iron stakes to mark the places. I planted all ten along the east end of the lane to the woodlot. Next was time out from planting to mow the lane. With the lane mowed, the next chore was to braze the split bottom of my two gallon watering can. Finally, with the watering can repaired, I made five trips down the lane with water for all the newly planted seedlings. So that's how I spent my day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Brrrrr! After a couple of weeks of unusually warm weather, in the past few days we've reverted to a normal April. After a little light rain during the night, today was cloudy with a few brief shots of sun durng the afternoon, and cool all day. We never even made it up to 60. I got back to the non-startng sedan. I decided to take the carburetor off the sedan and try it on the touring to see if it works there. But I forgot I had the timer off to work in it. Once I got the timer back on, I tried starting and found that the battery was too weak to turn the starter.  So I have a charger on the battery, and I'll try it again tomorrow.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

After an overnight charge, the battery in the touring had plenty of juice to turn the starter. I tried starting the car, but all I could get was an occasional cough. I took out the spark plugs and laid them on top of the engine with the wires attached. With the ignition switch on, I pulled the crank and watched the plugs. All of them fired with good spark, indicating that the problem isn't in the ignition. So the other most likely cause of the trouble would be a fuel problem. That led me to spending the rest of the day working on a carburetor. The Holley NH carburetor has passages drilled in it which are closed with brass plugs. So I spent most of the day drilling out the plugs, cleaning the passages, and installing allen screws to close the drilled openings. Cleaning is done with a piece of bronze wound guitar string. That's rough enough to act as a file and dislodge dirt in the passage, but it's too soft to enlarge the passage. The allen screws will be easier to remove for future cleanings than brass plugs. I ended the day with passages cleaned and allen screws installed to plug three openings. There's one more opening waiting for me to buy one more screw. Then I'll be ready to put the carburetor back in the car and give it a try.     

Friday, April 13, 2012

Today I drove over to Harper for an auction. It turned out that I spent the whole day on it. I bought a pile of stuff and had to come home and get a trailer, then go back and load up and haul it all home. By the time I was finished the sun was down. This one was old cars and parts, and I came away with a lot of good Model T parts. Some I'll use, and some I'll sell.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My second day in Harper wasn't for car parts, but an auction of more general merchandise. There were a lot of tools, and the one which attracted me was a metalworking lathe. It turned out to be missing some pieces, so I wasn't ready to spend much on it. I opened the bidding at $5 and dropped out at $20 because I wasn't willing to gamble much on being able to find all the parts for a half-century-old piece of equipment. It went for $75 to somebody willing to gamble more than I was. I made up a little bit for my disppointment over the lathe with a pair of shop vacs for $15 and a pair of steel shelf units (28" wide x 7' high) for $1 each. When I go to an auction for a specific item I want but come back without it, I remind myself that eventually there's likely to be another one that's better and cheaper.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I got back to working on cars today. I finished up the carburetor I was working on Thursday, but before I could try it out I had to reinstall the timer I had taken off the touring for painting this winter. With the timer back on and the carburetor installed, the car started up and ran normally. I took the carburetor off and installed the other one. Again, the car started up and ran normally. So both carburetors are good. But when I tried them on the Fordor it didn't even cough. There's more detective work to do.

Monday, April 16, 2012

So this was the day for automotive detective work. I knew the carburetor was good, and I got good spark from the ignition system when I checked it last week, so the next thing to check was compression. There wasn't any. I took off the valve cover and turned the crank. Nothing moved. So the next thing to do was take off the timing gear cover and have a look at the gears. The chewed up fiber cam shaft gear explains it all. I'll need to clean all the fiber debris out of the engine when I replace the gear. I could get a new nylon gear for $80, or a new aluminum one for $50, or a new bronze one for $70. Or I can use the new steel one that was in a pile of stuff I bought at Friday's auction for $11. The nylon and aluminum gears are supposed to be quieter than steel, but I think I prefer the gear I already have that will be most likely to survive turning a generator. If it's a little noisier, that's OK. A Model T is supposed to be noisy, and inexpensive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Break time. I took a day off from the Fordor to concentrate on the touring. Because the front wheel bearings were shot, I've been waiting to use it until I could have some new wheels ready for it to use the new bearings. Then I realized that I have two new front wheels that I finished a couple of years ago for my TT project. Today I put the new bearings in those wheels and put the wheels on the touring. This afternoon I drove the car into town to pay a bill and do some shopping. I didn't spend time taking any pictures, but it was a perfect spring day for a drive.   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I needed a two-jaw puller to remove that disintegrated timing gear, and I needed a tool to remove the nut from the shaft. So I drove the touring to town again and shot a video while I was at it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21k8N9rR0GU. I went to the welding supply and got some steel for the wrench, to the farm supply for the puller, and to some other stores for tea, sweetener, and a low compression gauge. Nobody had that last item, so it will be an internet search. When I got home I tried the puller and found that there's not enough space between the two gears and the housing for one of the jaws to fit, so I'll have to make some kind of adapter. I spent the rest of the afternoon cutting and welding pieces for the wrench.   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This was tool-making day. I made jaws for the puller that would fit and it took out the old timing gear in a few seconds. The wrench for removing the timing gear nut was another story. That took a lot of welding, grinding, and filing. Nobody will ever accuse me of being a great welder, but the thing turned out OK.  I had a half dozen 1" sockets, so I used one of those to make it a socket tool. I ended the day trying it out, and it did the job exactly as intended. With all that done, I can move on the the next part of the project: cleaning all the shredded fiber from the old gear out of the engine and installing the new timing gear. Here's a picture showing the part of the wrench I made yesterday, and below you see the finished tool and me using it. Like the puller, it did the job in a few seconds.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today was a little of this, a little of that. I went to town and bought five bags of sand so I can blast some rims and other parts sometime soon. I adjusted the brakes on the touring car. I tried to install a transmission screen, found out it wouldn't fit, and posted an internet heads-up for parts dealers and customers. I ended the day cleaning up parts from the Fordor. I need to repaint them and order some gaskets before I install the new timing gear and put everything back together.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

After doing laundry I drove a couple of counties west for an auction at Anthony. Today's haul was: two big boxes of towels, $1; a multiband radio (AM, FM, SW1, SW2, etc.), $5; a miscellaneouis box including propane torches, $1; and a long PVC container for derusting, $3. This evening, after dinner at La Fiesta, I went to see The Three Stooges. I thought it was a funny movie, capturing the spirit of the originals very nicely.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A lazy Sunday didn't result in a lot getting done. I did finish cleaning up the Fordor's timing gear cover and hardware, and got them all painted. That and a trip to town for shopping was about all I accomplished today.

Monday,  April 23, 2012

That wasn't so good. Three miles in 32:47. It felt slow, too. Ah well, tomorrow is another day. This morning I ordered new gaskets for that timing cover, then I took all the parts I painted yesterday to the sign factory where they'll cook in the big oven for a couple of days while the gaskets are on their way.
With that little project on hold for a few days, this afternoon I turned to yard work. I have a pair of little trees to plant, so I ended the day digging a hole for the sweet gum east of the house. I took a lot of time to put all the dirt through a screen to remove the rocks. The literature that came with the trees recommends putting them in water before planting, so I'll let them soak overnight and finish planting in the morning. The red maple will go down by the lane along with the other new trees I planted there recently.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yard work and more yard work. Job one was planting that sweet gum seedling east of the house and the free red maple that came with it down in the wood lot. The maple is for decoration, not firewood. There are plenty of other trees for fuel, esecially the ones that are in troublesome locations. With the tree planting done, I moved on to moving dirt. There's a pile in the back yard that was left over from installing the new gas line last fall. Now that the ditch has settled in several places, I can use that pile to fill in the settled places. When I started moving dirt I noticed the squealing wheel on my wheelbarrow, so I took it off and greased it. It's probably the first time that's been done in seventy years. The grease job did make the thing roll a little easier. I worked on filling low places until three, and made a pretty good dent in the dirt pile. While I was out there I spotted Miss Kitty carrying a kitten across the yard. I didn't see where she took it, so I'll have to keep an eye out to see if I can spot where she has them stashed. When she started getting huge this spring I made sure she didn't get in the house. I didn't want her to have them in my sock drawer or some other inconvenient place. We've already been through that kind of adventure. After three I graduated to indoor chores like ordering a wheel bearing and packing a camshaft in oil.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back to school! This morning I went to the community college and  signed up to take a machine shop course next fall.  "Fall" is an odd term in this case, as the class begins on August 17.  It's an eight week course, though, so actual fall will be here before it's over. I want to learn machine work so I can make some of my own parts, especially for rebuilding carburetors. There are some models for which almost no new parts are available. When I got back from town I wasted WAY too much time online,  then I  did a little bit on the  crippled Fordor.  It was a very little bit. I put a pan under the car and drained the oil. I'll let it drip overnight, then I'll start cleaning shredded fiber timing gear debris out of the engine.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I was up early and working on the Fordor by seven. I spent the morning cleaning out shredded fiber, wire brushing and painting the lower cover and its bolts, and cleaning the outside oil line. This afternoon I took the newly painted parts to the sign factory to cook in the big oven, and brought home the parts I started cooking on Monday. The new gaskets have arrived, but I have a few more parts to paint before I start reassembly. I hope have the car back together and running sometime next week.


Friday, April 27, 2012

This was one of those days when each little thing you fix seems to lead to some other little thing you might as well fix while you're at it. I decided that while I'm replacing the timing gear on the '23 Fordor I might as well get rid of the aftermarket water pump that leaks coolant which the fan blows all over the engine compartment. With the pump off I need to replace it with a water inlet. I found one in my parts stash, derusted it and a couple of bolts, and painted them. Using the stock inlet also calls for a longer pipe, so I had to find one of those, wire brush off the old paint, derust it, and paint it. I had only one, and the surface has a lot of pits, so I have to prime it and sand it, prime it and sand it, etc., until the pits are filled, then paint it. I noticed that the car has a 1926-1927 fan set-up, so I had to find the proper water outlet and fan bracket for 1923 and derust and paint them. Except for a trip to town for groceries, I spent the day on that car.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I spent another day on cars. Recently the bike speedometer I use on my tourng car has been giving wildly erratic readings. Today I found that one of the U-bolts holding the sensor bracket in place had come loose and the sensor was bouncing around from the vibration of moving down the road. I installed some rubber padding made from a bit of hose and a piece of inner tube. We'll see if that keeps the bracket in place. With the speedometer fixed, I turned my attention back to Fordor parts. I got to looking at the timing cover and realized that it's the wrong one. The cover that came on this car is the 1926-1927 version. I'm changing from the 26-27 fan assembly back to the  proper 1919-1925 one, so the timing cover needs to be the right one to work with it. Fortunately I had one among my spare parts, so I ended the day sandblasting that and masking it for painting.



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rain during the night didn't make giant puddles in the driveway, but it looks like there was enough to soften the ground for some weed pulling. I'd better get busy on that tomorrow, weather permitting, before the weeds get totally out of control. Today's mostly indoor work was more parts painting. I think I've done all the parts I need for the Fordor except the water pipe I finished painting today. I'll let it and the rest of them cook in the big oven at the sign factory for another day or two, then I can start installing the new timing gear and putting everything back together.

Monday,  April 30, 2012

Another rainy night
brought another wet morning. My first chore of the day was unexpected. When I went in the workshop I found a large puddle of coolant under the touring car and a steady drip from the radiator. So I spent most of the morning taking the radiator off the car and taking it to town to have the leak fixed. When I got the thing off I found a lot of "stuff" (I don't know what it is) in the bottom. So I've filled the block and head with vinegar, which I'll let sit overnight. In the morning I'll run the engine and get it hot, drain, flush, refill with more vinegar, heat again, and flush again. With the water passages cleaned out and the leak repaired, maybe I won't need to get a new radiator. I did have time this afternoon for one little gardening job. I never mow the west lawn until the poppies have bloomed and gone to seed, so there will be more next year. I'd like to have some of those poppies out front on the bank along the road. So today I dug up a plant and transplanted it. I found that poppies have a long main root that goes deeper than I dug, so I don't know if this one will survive the move. If not, I'll try to collect some seeds when they ripen, and plant them out front.



MARCH 2012

MAY 2012