Friday, January 31, 2020


How much for the book?  

How about the whole stack?

One thing I've had a hard time quitting is books.  Yeah, I'm a book lover.  Bibliophile.  I have a collection, and they run the gamut.  They are tangible tools, always available, even when the electricity is off or the internet is down.  I can't say no.  When I was in college, the library would often have tables of books for sale.  A dollar or two.  As a married student with 2 little kids and a 14 hour semester load, I shouldn't have bought any....  But some of them came home every time I left the library....

Some of my friends...

The information they contain is priceless.  And I usually need it.  Now.  Tomorrow latest.

Some of these were my used college text books.  I never sold them back.  Too important to lose.

While in the middle of the vise build, my head is already planning the next project.  It's an organic Gantt chart.  I'm sure you find yourself in the same boat.  I am, at times, ignorant of concepts that I need for the next one.  So I have to go to the library....

And some of my library was a gift.  There were dirt dauber nests on more than a few books...  But I don't care.  That comes off easily.  The silver fish were another story.  I took a trash bag, a bit of diatomacious earth, and a pile of books.  Dusted the trash bag with the DE, then added the books, and sealed it up tight.  DE cuts the carapace of insects and they dry up and blow away.  A few weeks soaking in DE, and the books are ready for the library.

The top one is a treasure. 
When I am in dire need of illumination, these books are the ticket.  The top one says it belongs to a Mr. Ralph AABBCC.  Thanks for entrusting this to me, Mr. Benefactor.  The #22 Handbook was a pawn shop find....  Yes, $10 for the most useful book you can have if you work metal.  Paid cash.  That tenner met my hand in midair...

I find my books at used book stores, antique stores, pawn shops, ebay, and other online used book stores.  Like Goodwill.  Yes, they sell online and they ship.   Oh, and Don'tBeEvil books.  I find the old stuff there. 

You do have a list of needs / wants on your pocket moleskin, right?  It even remembers my wild ideas that come up in the middle of lunch.

My memory is as good as the paper its written on!  Until I misplace it.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Story Time

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Ashe Juniper - Juniperus ashei - mountain cedar

Snot Locker is Open!

It's snot season in south Texas.  That green weed up in the picture is the reason.  When the cold front blows in, it brings the pollen.  And freely shoves it up your nose.

After a day of work, I come home with my head in a vise.  Apologies to AvE.

In the mid 90's, I worked for a wealthy man.  He owned a couple sections out near Utopia, TX.  He had spent considerable time and effort to make his paradise resemble the Texas of the late 1800's.  It was a pampas, a rolling plain of waving grass sprinkled with oak motts.  He had audad sheep, and some exotic deer as I remember.  It was a beautiful place, and it had very little juniper on it.

There was a rumor floating around then that the juniper was about to be classed as protected.  It supposedly harbors some little bird or something.  And the .gov was going to forbid it's removal.  Dozer's were running in high gear to dig out as much of that stuff as possible.  As a result of all this horticulture, springs that were mentioned by the old timers started flowing again.  It grows like weeds up in the hill country / Edwards Plateau.  And it appears to be a water sponge. 

That nasty plant is a bane on civilization.  And if you look it up, you'll find folks saying it got a bad rap.  It's really not that bad, or evil, or.....  I think it should be burned with fire.  I fantasize about funeral pyres in every field, and never seeing this plant again...  If it had feelings, I chop it down to hear it holler....  (fret not, it's an old saying)

I'm holding my own n the snot wars so far, but it sure has been a drain on my blog posts. Ha, drain... how appropriate.

More to follow....

Monday, January 27, 2020

Turning the corner?

Moving on to the rest of the project.

I'm moving on down the road, with a bookmark on the acme hole.  Turning down the acme all thread was pretty easy.  It cut smoothly, but it took quite a while on the little Logan.  I had a tapered cut that took lots of spring passes to clean up.  Any big cuts chattered, so I had to take it slow and easy.  The tool pressure pushed the center around a bit if I was too aggressive.

Tiny cuts => tiny chips
Super zoom on the cutter bit.

 Somewhere in the shop, is a 2 morse taper live center, and it's better hiding than I am at finding.  So I pulled out the old wannabe turret tail stock.  If it's not just perfectly timed, it'll wobble.
Old Wiggly

But it fits perfectly in the hole, and is ready for the handle I haven't made yet.
Fits nice, no slop.

I have 3 acme nuts and turned one into an insert.  I figure some locktight will hold it securely.  It's not gonna be torqued on too hard.  At least by me.  I may still try again with another Acme tap.  I'm not in a hurry.
After and before.  Home made nutsert.

Again,  this is fun stuff.  I'm learning some new things, and able to apply a lot of things I'd learned in the past.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Back to Square 6

Okay, let's try a left turn at Albequerque

I was asked why I didn't show the broken tap in the work.  I'm not a practiced bloggerator, so I just went to work, and didn't think to take a picture.  I apologize...  

I stepped back and took a deep breath for a day or two.  I didn't want to abandon the tap in the work, and just redo that jaw.  Seems there was edumacation to be had.  I dug up this tutorial on broken tap removal.  This guy's palaver reminds me of Cockney rhyming.  But he seems to be a sharp cookie.

I was covering for a coworker last week, and didn't feel like running around a new town to find some tools so Am---zoned these:

I ran this around 2000 rpm
I dulled number 1 and 3 getting a dish in the middle of the HSS disaster, and switched to a masonry bit.  That ate it down to the point where a punch would break it out.  This is what's left of the tap and tools.

Now, I can start over!  Every bit of education has a cost.   

Oh no!  Did I run the tap into the bottom of the vise???????????

This blog is about budget machining, not specifically about projects....  But why own this stuff if you aren't gonna use it!!  So if you'll indulge me, I'll finish this up and then head on back to what I've learned about the subject.


Have you SEEN the price of little bitty steel bits at HD or L-wes or TSC??  WOW....  I found a place in Corpus Christi named American Steel and Supply, Inc.  I got some 1/2 inch cold rolled round for 14 clams and tax.  That was about the price of 36 inches of something metallic at HD.  I was allowed to go to the warehouse and poke around the saw area to find some drops.  The full stick (20') came home with me, cutting charge was zip and they even deliver twice a week to SA for nothing extra!!   My last goto for drops is a bit more expensive than that, and there are cutting charges if you want it shorter.  But it's closer than CC.  Knowing that American is sorta close by with decent policies is good to know.   Now I have the rod I need to finish this project and it's straight to boot.  

Next up:  Making that newly opened hole into an ACME threaded hole.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Float Lock Vise 2

Making Chips is fun

I got back to making chips the other evening.  Adding the holes in the exact spot needed this time.

Finding the edge

center drill

1D10T check:  0.625" = 5/8" = Go 

Mr. Pete stacked them and did them together.  I did NOT do it that way, so there will be some error.  I checked the lengths, and they need to be adjusted, so that'll happen post-holes.  heh..

I found some no name parallels at a pawn shop a few years back.  10 bucks as I recall, and the money jumped out of my pocket and met my hand in midair.
Very inexpensive but good

Sizing the hole accurately

Got part one clamped down, and both holes run through.  I found a set of reamers some time back, barely used.  I have a lot more, but they are all odd sizes, that I haven't cataloged very well.  Another project for a rainy day.

After getting the holes in, time for deburring.  I found a great set of deburring cutters on the auction site we all know about, and they work very well.  I remember them being extremely cheap.  Another lucky hog moment on 'bay.

Weldon - quality

Deals can be had if you are patient.  I have always paid more than I wanted if I get impatient.  Make your list, keep it close and save some searches so you get notified if something comes up.  And you won't wind up with 5 of the same thing because you forgot if you already had 4...

Ready to tap

Now where is that Acme tap?

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Is my face clean?

Good Grief...


I gotta go to work??  Really?

Going back to work, my face was dragging in the dirt.  It was very hard to go back after several weeks being "semi-retired".  I got a carpal tunnel open release done, and I slept 11 hours a night for 2 weeks.  It was amazing. 

Do you know why all those old codgers were so mean when we were kids?  They were being burned alive all night with nerve pain, and then running into us without any sleep.  I know it.  I did it.  I was not a happy man.

Every one over 25 when I was a kid

After resting up, and getting healed up enough to go back to "able to lift 75 lbs", I wasn't feeling it.  It was rough getting back in the swing of things.  My brain had rusted up a bit, so I didn't remember some of my goto fixes.  I managed to muddle through, and finally remember how to do my job.

I got some shop time in today, and as soon as I get the pictures out of the phone, I'll have another update on the float lock vise build.  Stay tuned, that'll be tomorrow if all goes well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

It was good while it lasted!!

Back to work?

Carpal tunnel surgery took a while to heal up.  I've been rubbing the scar and using the hand for a while now, and boy, it's still tender.

Doctor's appointment today, and most probably back to work tomorrow.

I really got used to being my own master.

So, hopefully, I'll be able to keep getting the projects done, and the blog up to date.

Thanks for stopping by to keep track of the shop.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

I forgot.*

*Disclaimer: not to be used in conversations with the IRS.

Press record, now.... or not.


I got so excited to work in the shop, I forgot to take pictures.  

Finished the slope on the jaws, then moved to the step on top.  That was a 3/8 4 flute end-mill, .100 first pass, then .088 on the second.

Next up was my first use of a mill drill.  It's a 90 degree point end mill. .500 in diameter.  Watch Mr. Pete use it.  It's a fragile tool, so I followed his lead.

Ebay capture, .500 mill drill.  20 samolians.

It worked a treat.  

I need to get some more Acme holes ordered.

I'll do better.  Honest.  Boy it was fun in the shop today.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Shop Time!


Storm coming in, so I had to stop the fun time early.  Before I got run out, I got the ends squared and started on the sloped ends of the jaws.  Oh man, it feels good to stand there, and crank handles and listen to the mill, and smell the cutting oil, and just..... yeah.  Oh baby, life is good.

I placed an angle block marked 20 degrees, and I used Mr. Meyer's most excellently constructed machinist clamp to hold it on the fixed vise jaw.  Mr. Meyer, thank you for your commitment to excellence.  It really shows in your tools.

To those gone before, I salute you!
5/16" was the mark on the drawing for the 20 degree slope to leave on the jaw.  The line was laid off with a tool bit that was just there, seemingly waiting for me to use it!

Ready when you are, bud.

I got started on the cuts, and it quickly feel into a rhythm.  Something I've missed for far too long.

Two things I noticed.  First, the stock must've slipped a bit, as the 5/16" mark was below the fixed jaw, so I couldn't finish the cut.  Not sure if I pushed it down due to wimpy vise-ing, or if it slipped when I placed it and didn't catch it.  Second, the bit is hanging out a bit too far.  I'll fix that next session.  It might be a bit loose as well.

Due to the vise interference, I measured the last X axis cut, and found it was about .580 to the fixed jaw, so I took a .550 and then an .020 to finish it as close as I wanted to get to the hardened jaw.  I'll file that off soon enough.

Re-sharp .750 end-mill and 600 rpm.  It was sweet music.  Till the lights flickered and the wind picked up.

Heavy weather inbound, left to right  (WX)

More later.  For sure!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Wrong wheel hubs.....

It's a comedy of errors....  New ones due on Saturday.

My fault actually.  I trusted what I read to be accurate: "Yes this will fit your ...."  And, no, actually, it won't.

Rolling Your Own

You too can make your own tools....

Making a seal driver is pretty straight forward.  Dig up a piece of stock big enough to find the final part in, layout, machine and done.

Simple, yeah?  Not so fast.

Measure the National 706106 seal, and figure out the driver size I need.  I could order one of these: 

Not cheap enough.

I found some square stock, and cut it down a bit in the little 4x6 horzontal saw...... That got rusty sometime last year!!!  What the heck!  Anyway..  I dropped in a half inch Acme hole (W E Coyote approved vendor), and got it marked up for the lathe.

It's a rectangle... no worries.

Chucked up in the 4 jaw as the 3 jaw has a badly cracked threaded collar for the spindle.  I'm not sure I'd like to catch that if it fails and goes for a trip.  Lots of measuring and tightening, and it's time to bore out the hole to .625" for the slide hammer.
I really don't remember why I needed the pick...

I moved in .300 or so and made it round, then reversed it and made the step and pushed off the flange.  Safety department said I should use the center to support it, and I did.
It amazes me how much swarf hides a part.

Ran out to the truck and drove home the seals.  I'm borrowing the neighbors carport and slab to do this, and it's been one delay after another.  I should be done Thursday.  Tool manufacturing took about 3 hours all told.  I'm not fast.  Lotsa interruptions...

Hey, would you be interested in a tour of this??

My 3 phase power plant.

Well, I got in the house, and my wife was stove up, and was ready for supper.  We had some instant ravioli, but it was nekked.  It needed some sauce.  This stuff tasted great.  Just a quick recipe from a 'net search.   I washed my hands twice, but it may have tasted a bit like WD-40.  I liked it. So did the missus.  (be sure to use enough italian seasoning and garlic, to hide the leftover shop flavors.)


  • 1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage and 1/2 lb ground beef)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 medium onion , chopped
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • crushed red pepper flakes , to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • spaghetti noodles , for serving


  • Season ground beef with salt and pepper. 
  • In a large skillet, add the beef and chopped onion and brown.  Drain excess grease. 
  • Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, worcestershire, and sugar to the skillet. 
  • Stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Add water and stir well. 
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add chopped basil before serving, if desired.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Snap, Crackle, Pop, it's......

a CV joint....

So, thinking I had some spare time for shop projects, I get to do some 'emergency' maintenance on the truck.  I'd heard some noise, but it was hard to pin down while driving.  I didn't feel like hanging under the truck while someone else drove it to try and pinpoint the sound.  I might be a bit hard of hearing, but I couldn't zero in on the source.....

Until a loud pop/ping sounded on a left turn.  Oh yeah, CV joint.

Might as well do both....
There is a seal inside the bore, drives out towards the engine.  I found them all over, but the quickest was shipped via Autozone.  My 'Zone got it here in 2 days...  I'll tell you about their customer service orientation later, maybe.

I don't have a driver that size, so it's off to the shop to make a 3.8 inch seal driver for the slide hammer...  

Sorry Mr. Pete, the float lock will have to wait.....

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Up Next....

Up Next!

Float Lock Vise

Have you seen this video on YT?  I'm aiming to do it.

My buddy did some work on the blueprints, and I got a set from him.  He also gave me some stock to make the jaws, and I gave him an ACME threaded* rod to make the screw.  Nothing is holding me back, so I plan to give it an hour a day or so.....


Step 1

*edited to add threaded.  Gravy, who is in charge of the proofreading!?!?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Have you ever seen a......

I went to use the four jaw that I got with the Logan lathe, and..... sigh.

It was so dirty, and had chips in the threads.  I couldn't get the jaws to move.  Had to pick out the threads and finally got the jaws out (7mm Allen wrench, 1940's vintage chuck, really?  REALLY?).  I tied the carriers to the jaws, so I didn't lose the mate up.

Yes, really.
Light wear.  Wow!!

It was filthy and a bit rust on the inside.  After disassembly, I soaked it in Zep 505 with boiling water, my goto degreaser...  After a 24 hour soak, a bristle brush and a boiling water rinse, followed by a soak in Evaporust for 12 hours.  Good as new!!

Just a touch of wear

Craftsman 111-21390

post-505 and pre-Evaporust

New product alert.  I'm trying CRC SP-350, a wet lube and antirusting agent.  It is supposed to dry to a film.  Will advise*.  I applied it to the chuck body and back plate. 
Only used once or twice??

Not really chowdered up at all!
The jaws and cheese head screws I soaked in 505, brushed them, and rinsed with hot water again.  Drove off the water with WD-40, and reassembled the chuck.  

It's a beauty.  It is an unused or so lightly used chuck that it looks brand new!!!!

When you get so far ahead of yourself, that you pull the backplate off BEFORE you put in some alignment marks, you can always stick a piece of wire in the mating holes.  Oops.

Jaw 3 has a tight or rough thread, it's a bit hard out near fully opened.  That should work itself out through use.  They don't look damaged.

I didn't expect a "new" chuck for Christmas, but I'm thankful for it just the same.
Quite the surprise!  Happy Christmas!!

*SP-350 dries to a vaseline-like consistency.  I don't know if chips stick to it.  It shows a finger print, but doesn't stick to my finger.  Could be the temp right now.