JUNE 2013


Monday, July 1, 2013

Paperwork ate up most of my day. I paid bills and filed receipts. I took time out for a trip to town to sell my share of the wheat. I was delighted to find that it brought enough this year to pay all the property taxes and the house insurance, with enough left over to make up for last year when it didn't. While I was in town I stopped at the Fastenal store to pick up some parts I ordered last week. The guy on duty couldn't find the parts, and couldn't find any record of the order, so he ordered them again. Poor Fastenal. This isn't the first time that's happened.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Up at the crack of dawn, I finished breakfast and got the blasting equipment set up and was sandblasting parts by 6:30. By 8:30 I had finished the parts I wanted to get done today and had the equipment put away.  By ten I had them all painted. Next was
some letter writing and other paperwork, then a trip to town for groceries. In town I stopped at the post office to buy a roll of stamps so I can find the one I already have. You find the lost item after you buy a replacement.  This afternoon I attempted to change the oil in the Camry,  but what I drained turned out to be transmission fluid. I still have to find out where the oil plug is. The owner's manual isn't much help, and the way everything in these modern cars is crammed together under the hood makes it hard to find anything. So the oil change goes on tomorrow's agenda.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

After solving the mystery of the Camry oil plug (not where the bogus diagram in the owner's manual showed it), I resumed the slaughter. I filled the sprayer and went around attacking the patches of Johnson grass that survived my previous onslaughts. While I was at it I noticed a plant that keeps sprouting in the lawn, and I've never been able to get rid of it. I emailed a picture of it to the county extension office. Maybe somebody there can identify it and tell me how to eradicate it. The afternoon mail brought the Model T parts I ordered Monday, including a set of manifold studs. I stripped the shine off those, then prepped and painted them. Along with several other small parts, I have them baking until tomorrow, when I'll do some more assembly. Some of the parts are castle nuts. One of the jobs I did yesterday was to change the slots on a dozen of them from square bottoms (1909-1913) to round bottoms (after 1913). There are a lot of little details to deal with in restoring an old car. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I never went off the place today. Independence Day was roadster day. The first job was making transmission cover screws. I rounded off the flat tops on some modern screws, then stripped, prepped, and painted them. I did six for the roadster, six for the next project, and six for spares.

The next job was fixing the boogered-up threads on the new manifold studs and installing them.

Next was installing the front axle. This is where the unexpected struck. When I attached the axle to the spring and looked at it, I thought it looked a bit lopsided. The measuring tape confirmed that the left end of the spring was more than a half inch higher off the floor than the right end. When I dropped the spring and axle from the frame, I found that I made the rubber pad that goes between the spring and the frame a little thicker on one end than the other. A little work with a grinder evened it up. When I lifted the axle and spring back up and bolted them in place, the difference between the end heights was 1/8". That's close enough for me.

In the next week or so I should have the engine and transmission back in, and I hope to have everything back together and ready to drive by the end of the month. But I've never opened up the rear axle to see what's inside, so I need to do that before I undertake any long drives.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Except for a shopping trip to town, I spent the day on small parts. I hunted up, cleaned, stripped, and painted nuts and bolts.  That's a part of restoration that really takes up a lot of time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

After laundry I went to check out an auction at the fairgrounds. Most of the time there are at least a few items that make me wonder if I should stay. This one provided no wonderment. It was nothing but clutter. Table after table filled with stuff you'd have to pay me to haul off. I spent the day working on the roadster, installing the crank shaft pulley, the ratchet and crank, transmission cover nuts and bolts, and oil petcocks. Yesterday's comment on nuts and bolts was true today too.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I was pretty worthless for getting anything done today. Late getting up, after 6:30, went for a run. Took
Daisy in the shower and gave her a bath with flea and tick shampoo. Played online until noon then took a nap on the front porch swing. Went to gas up the car and buy celery. Found that stainless cotter pins are something else I'll have to buy online. Researched correct parts and played online some more. Maybe I'll do some actual work tomorrow.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Plant murder moved back to the top of the list today. I spent most of the morning cutting little trees in the yard and dosing the stumps with Tordon to kill them. In the afternoon I went to town for groceries and more Tordon, then cut some more. The last chore of the day was stripping, prepping, and painting a few more nuts and bolts for the roadster. I'm getting close to putting the engine back in the car.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Plant murder, day two. Except for a break to take some pictures, I spent all morning cutting off little trees in the back yard and poisoning the stumps. The pictures were of hedge trees. A recent subject of discussion on the Model T forum has been what kind of wood is right for wheel spokes. It didn't take long to settle on hickory, but then somebody wondered about Osage orange (bois d'arc), and we veered off into a discussion of that. All the talk about it prompted me to go out and take these pictures I posted there, and I'll share them here.

The first homesteading here was in 1870, before barbed wire became widely available. Salesmen came through the area peddling hedge seedlings and they were planted for fencing by the thousands. There are a lot fewer of them now than there were when I was a kiddo sixty years ago, but there are still a lot left. This hedge is along my west field.

The fruit was once used to repel spiders by placing one under the bed. Various studies have found elemol, an extract of Osage orange, to repel several species of mosquitos, cockroaches, crickets, and ticks. One study found elemol to be as effective a mosquito repellant as DEET.

If you have to do any trimming or cutting, you'd better wear gloves.

This fence was put up by my uncle, Charles Miller. Charles died in 1960, so I think the fence is about 55 to 60 years old. The hedge posts are still solid.

Note the bent nail and the barbed wire mostly tied on, not stapled. It's mighty hard wood.

This afternoon I finished installing the nicely painted bolts in the roadster engine. Next will be the valve covers, the manifolds, the head, and putting the whole works back in the car.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This was a travel day, spent driving from home to the top end of Iowa. I've done this trip enough times now to time it for convenience, arriving in Des Moines around five and stopping for dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant. After chow I continue north to the last Iowa rest area and stop there for a snooze.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I arrived at Iola a little before noon and got busy prowling the swap meet for bargains. With time out to visit some of the Model T guys, I covered about half the meet and bought a few spark plugs and a magazine ad for my 1923 touring.  I spent the evening  with my cousins in Stevens Point, some of my favorite people. They were willing to put up with me for a few days.

Friday, July 12, 2013

   A row of Model A Fords. The truck on the right is a Model AA, the ton truck version of the Model A.

I returned to Iola for more swap meet shopping and the car show. I found several good Model T parts I can use, and some rims to fix and sell. One fellow sold me four rims for $1.50. They're useless in their present condition, and I'll use them for experiments in rim repair. Another guy offered me four rims for $10, but I gave him $10 for two of them.  The other two were so bad I didn't want to carry them out to my car. Between trips to carry things out to the car, I did a little more visiting with some of the model T guys, then went for a stroll through the car show. This year's show theme was  Ford vs Chevrolet, so there were a lot of both.

This 1915 was the first Chevrolet 490 I've ever seen in person. About 18,000 were made, but not many have survived, so they're pretty scarce today. Gerald Perschbacher gave a little talk comparing the 490 and the Model T, but he didn't explain the Chevy's low survival rate. Ford used vanadium steel, and Chevrolet didn't.

     One of the most impressive cars at the show was this Pierce Arrow coupe.

     Keith Gumbinger's 1914 Model T Ford touring. The next two cars behind it are Dodge Brothers sedans from the twenties.

    Unrestored original 1923 Model T runabout.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I spent the day with Elizabeth and the kids.

  Movie time for Austin and Bella.

We spent part of the afternoon removing a dead tree in front of the house. I cut it down and sawed up the large branches, and we all trimmed off the small branches and twigs.

  Elizabeth's friend Eric bought a boat today and took us all for a ride.

  Austin waiting for his turn to drive.

  Hang onto your hat, Alex.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In the morning Elizabeth and the kids and I went to what was left of the car show, then I headed for home. Again, I timed my trip to arrive in Des Moines at meal time, and enjoyed tasty carnitas at Monterey. Here in Anglo white bread country, the land of the bland palate, every unfamiliar Mexican restaurant is a crapshoot, often a disappointment but sometimes OK. When all the customers are gringos, it's a bad sign. But when you see actual Mexicans eating there, as I did here, it's more likely to be good food. After chow I headed on down the road and stopped to sleep at a rest area in Missouri.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I awoke after midnight and couldn't get back to sleep, so I drove on home in the wee hours, arriving at 5:55 AM. After a little unpacking I went to bed and had a nice nap, then spent the rest of the day on catching up – collecting my mail at the post office, buying groceries, getting my glasses with a new lens from the optometrist, and deleting spam.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

After a three mile run and a shower, I spent the morning checking and answering email and updating the blog. Copying, resizing, and
posting all those pictures above from the last few days ate up the time. In the afternoon I applied non-hardening Permatex sealant to some bolts and installed them in my roadster engine.  Then I went to work on  valve cover studs.  Actually, I was researching the studs, which happen to be identical to the  manifold studs except for length.  This picture shows part #3066, the manifold stud,  which is 3/8-24 x  3
3/16", and  part #3112, the valve cover stud, which is 3/8-24 x  2 29/32". Next to the valve cover stud, used from 1912 to 1920, is the bolt used after 1920, with the same part number.  I have just one of the 3112 studs, so I'll make the other one from a spare manifold stud. Luckily, I have several of those.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today's first activity was a drive to
Wellington to check out an auction. All junk, no reason to stay. Instead I spent most of the morning online resaearching parts. In the afternoon I got around to making one of those spare manifold studs into a valve cover stud, then painted both studs and a fan bolt. After the studs cook overnight, I'll install the valve covers tomorrow.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

There's enough warmth and humidity these days to make physical exertion in the middle of the day a pretty sweaty proposition, so this morning I was out early in the cool of the morning with the clippers and the chain saw, removing fallen trees that were blocking my woodlot road. I made good progress on the job and quit about ten.
A few more morning sessions should finish the job in a few days. There's a lot of trimming and cutting that can wait for cooler weather. After that kind of trimming, I took the clippers and my bottle of Tordon to the back yard for another session of cutting off little trees and poisoning the stumps. After a trip to town for celery and another quart of Tordon, I spent the afternoon on Model T work. I installed valve cover studs, and the fan. Along with actual work on the car, I spent more time than I wanted slogging through user-unfriendly websites shopping for parts.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Today's Job One was more cutting up fallen trees. I did that until ten then went to the shop for some roadster work. I installed the valve covers, painted the intake manifold, and made and painted a fan adjusting bolt. I also went to town to get a box of stud nuts. To prevent rusting, I'm using brass nuts. Shopping for them was an adventure in buyer beware. At the local Ace store they're priced at $1.29 each! At Fastenal I was told the price was 61 each, so I ordered a dozen. When I went to the store to pick them up, I was hit with a shipping and handling charge which almost doubled the price, to $1.14. So brass stud nuts were part of the online shopping I did yesterday. I found that I could get them from the local Bumper to Bumper store, so I ordered a box of 25. When I picked them up today I paid $14.09 for the box, or about 56 each. It pays to shop around.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

After doing laundry I spent the day at an auction. No major purchases, but several good small tools and fasteners.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Last night a nice storm blew in and brought a good soaking rain that made big puddles in the yard. With outdoor work off the schedule, I spent the day in the shop working on my roadster engine. I installed the manifolds and the head, and spent more time on it than I should have. I knew about the possibilty of getting the head gasket in backwards, and did it anyway. Fortunately I noticed the mistake before tightening the head bolts, and I was able to get the gasket off without wrecking it and then reinstall it correctly.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bolts were my day. Before I put the engine back in the roadster I need four proper mounting bolts. So I spent today making them. That means research what they're supposed to be, find or buy the right new ones, drill holes for cotter pins, grind off the modern markings, strip off the shiny plating, prep, and paint. I made the four for this car, plus a couple of extra sets for future projects. They'll cook overnight and be ready to use tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Never went off the place today. In the cool of the morning I continued the war on Johnson grass. I went
along the road by the west field, spraying what survived my previous attacks. After spraying I turned my attention to trees. I cut off more little trees that had come up in the wrong places, and poisoned the stumps. I ended today's yard work trimming face grabbers, those low-hanging branches that make mowing such an adventure. The plan for my afternoon work was to install the engine in the roadster, but I noticed that the front axle needed more paint on top, so I sprayed on another coat, then spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning and painting bolts and other small parts.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A storm blew in last night and brought 3.75" of rain. I'm going to have to mow before the grass gets totally out of hand. This was going to be the day to get the engine back in the roadster. I had a neighbor come over and help me move it almost into place, but it's hung up against the drive shaft.  I think another session in the morning should finish the job.

Thursday, July 24, 2013

The Saturday night and Sunday morning storm made the ground perfect for pulling weeds today. It's soft enough for easy pulling, but dry enough for knocking the dirt off the roots of pulled weeds easily. I pulled weeds along the road by the west field until about ten, when it got to be sweaty work. Moving into the workshop, I finished setting the engine into the roadster. I got it in place and ready to install bolts except for one place where two holes don't quite line up. They're close enough that I'll run a drill through them to make them match. I'll also have to make some more top bolts, as the ones I have aren't quite long enough. As if I didn't have enough to do, the screen door on the front of the house has been sticking and pulling apart. So I took it down. I'm going to have to glue it back together and trim a little off the top to stop it from sticking. The last work of the day was after sundown. In the cool of the evening I went out and pulled more weeds along the road. Removing the tall weeds is uncovering more Johnson grass I'll have to spray.

Friday, July 25, 2013

No weed pulling this morning. Awoke to rain again, .37" this time. With last
sunday's 3.75" that makes over four inches this week. So far it's a wonderfully cool and moist summer. I spent the morning reading, then going to a doctor's appointment. This afternoon I spent a lot of time hunting up a couple of bolts the right length for my engine installation, then cleaning and painting them, then did more rummaging for parts. I finished the day gluing and clamping my broken screen door.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Happy accident was the theme of the day. Saturday often is auction day, as
was today. The one at the fairgrounds had nothing to keep me there, so I drove over to Oxford. Not enough interesting stuff to keep me there either. So I drove down to Chilocco to fill the car with that cheaper Oklahoma gas. As I was leaving the filling station I noticed a sign across the road: "Auction Today". So I followed the arrows to have a look. It turned out they were selling a house and contents. I don't need any furniture, and none of the other household stuff held any charm for me. In the barn was a huge pile of glass jars in corrugated boxes. In this case pile means a jumbled heap, not neatly stacked.
There were a lot of five gallon plastic pails, and a few old doors and window screens. Nothing I cared about. But then I noticed the bricks. Along one wall was a stack of bricks about a foot and a half high and ten feet long. They appeared to be good red paving bricks, used but in excellent condition. So I stayed until the auctioneers got to the barn, and it's a good thing I did. I got the bricks. I went home and got the Suburban, and spent over an hour loading up about half of them. Not wanting to carry too much weight, I took those home and went back for the rest. Loading them took another hour and a half. By then It was past six, so on the way home I stopped to eat at Artemio's. That's the new name of what used to be Tacos Juquila, now owned and operated by new folks. Fortunatey the food is very good, so there are still two places to get real Mexican food here. So the day's happy accidents were two: some good Mexican food and over 300 bricks for $12.62, or about 31/2 apiece.   

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Maybe I missed a wonderful unadvertised bargain, but I skipped today's auction in Geuda Springs because I just had to mow, and I wanted to get it done before more rain comes. The forecast for tomorrow is 80%, so today had to be the day.  First I had to saw up a fallen limb that blocked the mowing tractor from getting to the lawn.  Most of the mowing had to be done with the mower at maximum height to keep it from getting bogged down in the tall grass. So today's work was Part One, and going over it with the mower down at normal height will be Part Two. If I'm lucky I'll get a dry day soon enough that I won't have to do Part One over. Am I griping about all the moisture? Absolutely not! After the nasty drought of the last couple of years, I'm enjoying being back to a normal green summer. One of the things I don't miss about southern California is the Mediterranean climate. Yeah, the sissy winters are nice. But I never liked everything that wasn't irrigated being dead from April through October. It's much nicer having plenty of green, even if it takes some mowing to keep things from getting out of hand.
   Another thing I'm enjoying is the cool weather. After last year's record number of days over 100, this summer is unusually tame. There have been some hot periods with highs in the upper nineties, but  we've also had an amazing run of days never reaching 85.  Today's high was only 75, which is amazing for late July.  In my bedroom I have a fan aimed at my bed, but I've only used it once this summer.  Most nights I've slept under a sheet, and some nights I've even had to use a blanket.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Part two done. The forecast was for a zero percent chance of rain until evening, so I spent a lazy morning web surfing while a south breeze dried the grass. At noon I got out the Dixon and mowed  around trees and other obstacles, and along edges of the lawn. Then I brought out the tractor. With the mower down, I went back over all the areas I mowed yesterday with it all the way up. I finished all but a small area in the back yard, which I'll do as soon as it's dry again. The forecast is for rain tonight, so that will probably be a couple of days.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The overnight rain didn't live up to its advertising. There was just enough to get things wet, less than a tenth of an inch. Not much accomplished today. I spent way too much time on piddling little stuff like a futile online search for a valve I want, and trying to figure out which length bolt goes where. Maybe I'll get more done tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I did. The day started with more plant slaughter. I took the sprayer down the road by the west field and sprayed Johnson grass that I missed before, or that was making a comeback. Happily, not much was returning, so there was a lot less to do this time. The rest of the day I worked on the roadster. I finished installing the engine mounting bolts, put in the radiator studs, made the block for the steering bracket, then welded and painted a broken radiator support rod.



JUNE 2013