May 1, 2016
The new month began with a
day. Job one was getting the Suburban ready to go fetch the lathe I
bought yesterday. That meant charging the battery, adding transmission
fluid, and unloading tables into the barn. The tables have been in
there since last summer, and to get them to the barn I needed to pick
up fallen branches in the way and mow east of the barn. I took some
time for shooting some spring pictures, then went to pick up my new
dog. I've been dogless since last September and decided it was time to
dog up again, so I went online and found one for the perfect price.
Nala is a Great Pyrenees about two years old. The folks who had her
aren't home a lot, and didn't like having to leave her alone all day,
so they wanted her to go to somebody who would be with her more.
a friendly thing with a good attitude. It seems she will get along with
the cats OK.
The wheat will soon start to
ripen, and in June the combines will roll.
At mealtime she was definitely
ready to eat.
Clyde chills while Nala explores.
He was on the alert when she
came close, but I think they'll get along alright when they get
After devoting the first part of the morning to getting the blog caught
up, I spent the rest of the day driving up to Reno County to get the
lathe and valve machine I bought Saturday. It took about an hour to
take parts off the lathe to make it a bit easier to handle, and some
parts were still pretty heavy. The question I'm puzzling over is who
I'll get to help me unload. Most of my local relatives are in no shape
for it, and neither are most of my friends who are half my age. But I
have some time to think about that. Before I unload, I have to clear
some space in my shop.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Outside chores again today.
Preparing to get back to work on the house to finish the back wall, I
removed some small trees to get them out if the way before setting up
the ladder. I pulled them out with a chain, roots and all.
Other activities included putting more dirt in the hole I filled last
week, which had settled a lot with the last rain, cutting off little
trees in the yard and poisoning the stumps, loading a pile of branches
in the truck, and mowing.
A yank with the tractor, and out they go.
The chain goes over a wheel so
it pulls upward.
Watch dog watching.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
After my morning three mile
jog, breakfast, and a shower, plus the usual checking of email and
websites, I didn't get outside until noon. The main job of the day was
planting four little redbud plants that I dug up yesterday.
Transplanting is best done in the fall or winter, after the plants have
gone to sleep, so if two out of these four survive that will be pretty
good. The last job of the day was a trip to town to get Nala's rabies
shot, buy some port and some fertilizer, and gas up the car. My
passenger took her first Model T ride well, and quickly learned how to
get in and out. With its new
Berg's radiator, the T not only didn't get hot, it didn't even gurgle.
In 1926 the First Ward School
building in town, built in 1874, was being demolished. My grandfather
salvaged this staircase for the house.
May 5, 2016
In the morning I drove the truck to the south brush pile and unloaded
the branches that have been in it since Tuesday, then hunted up a
couple of five gallon pails and hauled water to all my new transplants
along the lane. Most of them seem to be doing OK, but one looks like it
won't survive and another may or may not. I finished up the yard
at noon with a bit of branch trimming along the lane. In the
I shot three pictures of the staircase in the house and this evening I
photostitched them to make one view of the whole thing. I got
work on the house after taking the winter off. To finish the upstairs
outside I have to rebuild the wall around the windows in the northeast
bedroom, then shingle the back wall.
I have to rebuild the wall
around these windows.
Decades of leaking has rotted
May 6, 2016
All morning I worked on the house,
removing more rotten boards. In the afternoon I went to the barrel
factory and picked up a new barrel for burning trash, and stopped at
the lumber yard to buy more boards. Back at home I worked on the house
some more and finished removing all the rotten parts except one
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Another day on the house. I finished removing old boards and got a good
start on the new framing. In the next session I should finish the
framing and get a start on putting up the new siding.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Weather tag was the name of the game. The forecast claimed there
was a high chance of rain, and a couple of times I stopped work and put up the tarp, but the
moist interruptions turned out to be minor and I spent most of my time
working on the wall. I finished the new framing and started putting up
new siding. By quitting time I had most of the siding up, but I'll need
to buy more boards to do the rest of it. If weather permits, I'll do
that tomorrow. Then I can start putting up shingles.
Yesterday: Installing new
Today: Nailing on new siding.
Today: Going to put up the tarp
for a weather interruption.
I went to town and bought more lumber, and finished the new siding
around the windows. There's other siding I'll need to replace, but I
didn't want to take down the tarps until after the rain predicted for
tonight. Tomorrow the tarps will come down and I'll start replacing
some old boards.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Took off and replaced some old siding, went to town for groceries, and
took off more bad old siding. Fortunately, less of it was bad than I
first thought. I made a little video of
going to town.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
I had to go back to town this morning to buy more nails, and Nala rode
along. The first time she went for a ride in the touring car, last
week, she didn't want to get in. When we got home today, I opened the
door and she stayed in the car for half an hour, waiting to go again. I
think she's hooked. The rest of the day I worked on the house, taking
old siding off the west end of the back wall. That included
removing old insulation from inside the wall. It wasn't the roll type
generally used today, but loose chunks. The dust flew, and a lot of
itching followed. When I redo the inside of the room with new sheet rock,
I'll install new roll insulation.
I took the morning off from the house and worked in the shop, putting
the roadster engine on a low stand and filling its water passages with
vinegar for a clean out. In the afternoon I went to town in the touring
car to buy paint and a few other items and had a bit of car trouble. A
distinctive chuffing sound told me a spark plug had gone bad and I was
running on three cylinders. Unfortunately I didn't have a spare plug
with me, so I had to phone my cousin for a ride home to get one, and
back to town to get the car. The afternoon mail brought a new sweet gum
tree to replace one that didn't survive the winter, so after dinner I
planted it. I hope I'll remember to keep this one watered until it's
Friday, May 13, 2016
On a busy Friday the major job was flushing the vinegar and debris out
of the roadster engine. I also cleaned and oiled some transmission
adjusting wrenches. In the afternoon Nala and I went to town in the
touring to pick up some medicine at the clinic, buy celery, and get
some clear tubing to use as oil sight gauges. With a high chance of
rain in the forecast, I spent the last half hour putting up tarps on
the back of the house.
Block the inlet to fill the block and head with water...
...then hit the air to blow it all out.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
On a chilly day I worked in the shop, putting an outside oil line on my
roadster engine and putting the engine back in the car. I also made a
new timer brush. It fits in the rotor, but the big test will be
installing a retaining peg in the brush without breaking it.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
With a couple of rainy days in the forecast and the grass getting
rather shaggy, I mowed today. I did everything except the banks along
the road and the lane down to the woodlot. I left those places alone to
let the johnson grass grow up a bit so I can spray it and kill it when
we have a few more dry days. This evening I took advantage of the cool
evening to burn trash in the fireplace, probably for the last time
until next fall.
Monday, May 16, 2016
said the paper tag in the little plastic bag. I held them in my hand,
this very day. But I wasn't ready for them yet. So I set them down and
worked on other things, spending the rainy day inside the shop,
reassembling the roadster. It was slow going, reaching those
hard-to-reach places to put in bolts and get nuts started on them, and
dropping them, and starting over. But eventually I was ready to install
those body bolts. Now, where did I put them? They seem to have
evaporated off the planet. Will I ever find them? Probably, after I
hunt up other ones, and strip and paint and install them. This kind of
thing drives me nuts. Absolutely infuriating.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Spent the day on the roadster. I found the body bolts and installed them. Installed manifolds, carb, and fuel line.
Connected exhaust pipe and steering. Installed throttle rod, timer,
timing lever, timer rod, fan, and steering wheel. May be ready to start
it up later this week.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
With time out to go to town
for a dental appointment, I spent another day on the roadster. I
installed the engine pans, hood shelves and latches, radiator, and coil
box. In a colossally stupid move, while I was installing the coil box I
dropped a nut. Where did it go? Right into the #3 spark plug
hole, of course. I was afraid I might have to pull the head to get it
out. Fortunately, I was able to fish it out with a magnet on a wire.
Then I made sure there were spark plugs in the holes before I finished
installing the coil box. From now on I'll make sure those holes are
plugged when there's a chance of anything falling into them.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
In the morning I installed the coils in the roadster and hooked up all
the wiring. In the afternoon I did laundry, and that pretty much
killed the rest of the day.
Friday, May 20, 2016
One more day on the roadster. I polished the radiator, made a new
cork gasket for it, tightened/replaced bolts on a loose front wheel,
polished the hubcaps, spliced the speedometer wires back together, put
in gas, oil, and antifreeze, and started it up. The car ran OK, but
after about a minute the fan belt came off the crank pulley. So I need
to fix that before I go for a drive.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Well, I fixed the fan and went
for a test drive, taking the time to make a little video of it. A
couple of the pedals were too low, so I had to adjust the low and
reverse bands before I set out. In the first drive around the block
(two miles) I heard the telltale sound of a leaking spark plug,
accompanied by a loss of power. I drove home on three cylinders and
checked the plugs, and found that #2 had a broken insulator. This is a
recurring problem I've been having with the old Champion X plugs. I
replaced the insulator and installed a new washer in that plug and went
for another drive around the block. Again I got home on three cylinders
with a leaking #2 plug. This time the insulator wasn't broken, just
loose. Tired of fighting spark plug troubles, I went to town in the
touring and bought a set of Autolite 3095 plugs. Those are a modern
plug that doesn't come apart, and I won't have to deal with loose
insulators. I'll run those and perhaps experiment with the old
Champions one at a time until I figure out what I've been doing wrong
with them. I gapped and installed the Autolites and went for another
drive. This time the plugs were no problem, but the car wasn't running
as smoothly as it should. I suspect the carbon brush I made for the
timer may be at fault, so I'll look into that tomorrow. In the evening
I followed my usual Saturday ritual of dinner in town and a movie.
Dinner at La Fiesta was one of my favorite meals: tamal, burrito de
chorizo, and frijoles refritos. Delicious stuff. The movie was The Nice Guys, and a lot of fun.
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are wonderful in a very funny
That new timer brush was a little too long. It was pushing so hard
against the cover that it would rotate the cover from advanced toward
retarded. So I took it out and filed it a little shorter. That was one
problem solved. The only remaining glitch is a noise that sounds like
an exhaust leak. I tightened the exhaust pipe nut a little more, and
that seemd to help, but I suspect I may not have used enough RTV on the
exhaust manifold. For now I'm going to just live with it. As the nephew
in Tobacco Road said, "It
don't hurt the runnin' of it none." I did a little sorting and putting
away in the shop, but there's plenty more of that to do. There always
May 23, 2016
Fellow Model T afficionado Andrew, from Sydney, is visiting the USA for
a couple of weeks, and dropped in for a visit today. I gave him a grand
tour of the junk pile while we chewed the fat. He was up for a Model T
ride, but we were having pretty heavy rainfall. Eventually, around two
in the afternoon, the rain let up enough for us to take the roadster
out for a spin. When we got back he shot this picture of me driving the
Before and after my visitor came, I spent the day in the shop sorting,
putting away, and cleaning up. I am the king of clutter, so there's
always stuff to put away.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Except for a drive to town for groceries, I spent the day working
on a running board can carrier. Making it takes a lot longer than
thinking about it. Everything takes longer than you think it will. When
I was driving the roadster, there was plenty of noise from an exhaust
leak. Upon advice from more experienced hands, I'll fix it before I do
any more driving in that car.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Busy day. In the morning I finished up my new can carrier, and in the
afternoon sand blasted it and painted it. Then I got busy on the
roadster and fixed the exhaust leak. The manifold was slightly
misaligned, so I reinstalled it correctly. Problem solved, and it took
less than an hour.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Today I installed the new can carrier and glued strips of inner tube on
the lid to kill rattles. When I went to town for dog food I filled the
cans, so with an extra seven gallons of fuel on board I'm ready for a
Friday, May 27, 2016
The main project of the day was making a handle holder to bolt onto my
shop hoist. When the thing isn't being used the handle can easily be
misplaced, so I want a place to keep it right on the hoist. With that
done, I installed a correct 1915 dash shield in the roadster and
screwed a temporary additional piece on the floorboard to fit against
it. Eventually I'll make a new board that fits correctly.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
In more than eight years since I seriously got into the Model T thing
I don't think I ever drove a T more than twenty miles in a day. Now
that I'm getting a car in shape for long drives, I decided to make my
first one today. Here's the story with still
pictures, and here's the video.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
All morning and part of the afternoon I edited photos and videos to
post online. In the afternoon I put the Camry up on ramps and drained
the oil, then realized I didn't have any new oil to put in. That will
have to wait until tomorrow.
Monday, May 30, 2016
I inspected the roadster top, figuring how I might make repairs
following Saturday's unfortunate incident. I sorted and put away
several dozen castle nuts that have been waiting over a year for me to
get to them. In the evening I took Nala for a ride. She's used to
riding in the touring, but this was her first roadster ride.
Before we left she didn't want
to get in...
...but when we got back she
didn't want to get out.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
This wet May ended with a morning gully washer. I don't think it lasted
more than an hour, but it poured 1.80" into the rain gauge. The plants
are loving it. With its unfortunate damage, my roadster needs to keep
its top down when I drive it. So today, using an original kindly lent
by Gary Paulsen as a pattern, I finished and installed my new top