Thursday, February 27, 2020

Wafting on the breeze

Story time.

John in Philly helped me remember something that I'd misplaced a while back.

Mom and Dad bought a little 5 acre hobby farm when I was 14.  We moved out of town and out into Lubbock county.  There were several out buildings and a 3500 square foot house.  Behind the granary, mixed in with a lot of junk was a yellowing 5 gallon plastic container.  It had something in the bottom, maybe a quarter inch deep.  I popped it open and took a whiff.  Next thing I  know, I'm running full blast, up close to the house.  I don't remember anything between the snort and waking up a 150 feet away running for all I was worth.  I remember the faint odor of ammonia.  I had an Execdrin headache number 200.  I don't think I had any boogers or sinus issues for months after that......potential hospital visit.  I was lucky.  Going back, to put the lid back on, it was very stout.  I held my breath and sealed it up and told dad what was in it.

When I got into chemistry a few years later, I learned to waft.  If you don't know how to waft, you need to learn it.  When attempting to identify an unknown, you gently wave a breeze past the opening towards your face.  That way, you mix a LOT of air with whatever is living in the container.  And you won't wake up wondering how you missed several seconds or days or years....

I was ignorant.  Being ignorant is like having fleas.  It's not wrong or bad to have fleas.  It IS wrong AND bad to keep fleas when you know you have them.  If you are ignorant, learn, and apply that knowledge.  Don't stay ignorant.

Some mistakes will take you out the first time you make them.  So choose your mistakes with much care.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Tumico Stew

Moving on down the road on the Tumico Glue Clamps.  I bought a 5 dollar empty paint can at the H--- D---- today.  Brought it home, and dug out the gallon of acetone I've been saving for a year.

Insert neat story here:

My second semester at college, Texas Technical, I took chemistry.  It was heavy on organic chemistry.  I could map out all kinds of stuff when I was done there.  Did you know that all that junk on the ingredients label relates to how the OH chains attach to the C in the molecule??  It's kinda slick.

The prof was really a neat guy.  He said, "you will be spending a lot of time in the lab.  Don't just get caught up in the grind.  There is beauty in what  you are doing, be sure to watch for it."  So I did.  I didn't find it when I was titrating.  That NH3 was stout.  I had to run for a window, and elbow aside the lady near it to get some fresh cigarette smoke she left for me.  But later, my second semester lab revealed what he was talking about.  We were given a clear solution, and told there were three compounds in there.  We had to identify them.  I botched the first solution completely.  But the next week was dead week, so I got a chance to repeat the lab then.  I remember the third test, and this lovely cherry red ball appeared in the middle of the beaker.  It was streaming out that red from the center and looked for all the world like a melting cherry in water.  I stopped and stared for several minutes as it slowly streamed out, then whooped out loud, as that was the end of chemistry lab for me!

Take a look at the reflections in the can!!!  Is that cool or what?  Maybe not beautiful, but that is really something.

All nestled in the bottom with care.

Poured in some of this goodness:

And, thankfully, my tendency to hold on to stuff way too long saves money again.  I flushed the transmission out a couple years ago, and I couldn't just throw out what I caught, I mean, it was new!!!!!!  Into the new paint can to mix with the glue clamps and the acetone.

Here's the mix in the can:

Looks like tomato soup.  I bet it wouldn't make you well, though.

Now to soak for a couple days, or weeks.  I put the lid on and pounded it down lightly so it would seal.  Sorta like waiting for Christmas to unwrap a present.....

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Projects Update

Well, that restaurant visit went..... poorly.  One bright spot is I'm hollow now.  Pinooooooocchioooooooo!!!!!!

Other fun fact was a quick trip to the hospital to visit a family member.  Spare time evaporated this weekend.

Float Lock Vise

I got the solid bar turned, faced, polished and ready to pin.

standing tall


The Terrible Tumico Trio

I have to get an empty metal paint can with a tight lid to put the acetone / atf mix in.  I've tried it with coffee cans, and bottles, and it just won't work.  The acetone slides right on through the plastic coffee can lid and the plastic coffee tubs, too.  I'm not deft enough to use glass, so off to the getting place tomorrow.

Per John in Philly, I was gonna try an ultrasonic cleaner.  But HF isn't on the map this week.  Gotta mind the filthy lucre until next week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 24, 2020


Gut Malf.... on the weekend???!?!  

This too shall pass, and pass and pass....

Project Terrible Tumico aka Bubba's Glue Clamps will return

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Come about!

Okay, changing tack.  One of the three folks that read this continuing tale of woe and regret, mentioned maybe changing fluids.  So, this is the plan.  Back in the olden days, I read about a wunder-chemical compound called Ed's Red.  You can still find the recipe online.

What makes ER special is the whale oil and acetone.  Modern day whale oil is call ATF (automatic transmission fluid).  It has a small molecule, and coupled with Acetone, it is a very good penetrating oil

So, I will whip some up and soak these recalcitrant micrometers for a day and we'll try again.  

I mean, even the ratchet on the ends are frozen solid.  The Incredibull Hulk twisted these glue clamps micrometers so tight, they may never release.  Then I guess I'll have to make a wall hanging and ebay them to the next sucker  collector.

Ed's Red:

1 part Dexron ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.

1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1

1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits

* I consider these next three optional*  I never added them to my recipe, and it cleaned many a fouled tube of spin imparting metal.  Acetone likes to evaporate, and a poorly closed bottle will loose it quickly.  I used the plastic jugs the ATF came in to store my recipe, and Acetone will zip through those, lid or no lid.  Wash your hands with Dawn, wait, that should be Palmolive...

* CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent.

* 1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.

* (Optional 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, or OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)

When I needed some super penetrant, I used ATF and Acetone, in a squirt oiler.  It usually is acetone-less in a week or so.

So time to get it together and find a suitable container.

Pictures later.  Sorry.

Thursday, February 20, 2020


When I was younger I was obsessed with the concept of troubleshooting.  I remember wondering what it was, how you did it.  I  knew it was a valuable skill, but I had no idea how to obtain it.

Like the Catch 22 I got into after high school:  I've worked as a farm hand, and a carpenter's helper.  Helped dad work on all our cars, house, and farm.  I know my way around welding, cutting, drilling, Farmall tractors, John Deere, running pto grinders and shredders, etc etc...

"I'm sorry, but that doesn't really count as work experience."  I needed references, work history, training documents, blah blah blah.....

Oh yeah, I fueled aircraft when I was 16, trusted with thousands of gallons of avgas and a fuel truck.  I had to radio the tower to get permission to enter the taxiway and cross the active runway.  Proves I'm responsible.

"Sorry."  You don't have relevant experience".  So hire me at bottom dollar, and I'll prove my abilities....  No can do.

So I did what I could, went to college, learned everything I could about things that were interesting.  And almost everything is interesting....

Then one day, it sorta dawned on me.  I could look at things and figure them out.  If they didn't do, I could usually come up with a reason why, and then fix them.

So, why bring that up?  Remember this picture?

a tad over-tightened

The vertical line on the barrel should line up with the line near the zero on the thimble (lower tube with the knurl).  And the edge of the thimble should line up with a horizontal line that is under the zero on the barrel.
Don't skewer me if I got the nomenclature wrong.  It's the lines that matter.  And since the edge of the thimble is past the zero, someone tightened the thimble too tight, driving the rod into the anvil and possibly springing the C shaped part.  That would kill it's accuracy.

How about the other two?

maybe 29.2 thousandths too tight?

maybe 10.5 thousandths too tight?
 Hey ma, where'd the zero go?

Bubba the muscle head got aholt of this whole set.  They look unused.  No real wear I can see.  I wonder what they'll look like if/when I get them apart?

And if you have good vision, you can see these are tenths reading mics.  For shame, Bubba, for shame.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Taking a bath....

The Terrible Tumicos

Well the Tumico micrometers soaked for 26 hours in Evapo Rust.  I didn't know that was a coffee flavor too....  Hmmmm........

Not even on a dare...
 Okay, so pull one out, then hot water rinse, scrub the spindle with a scotch brite pad, rinse with hot water again, then dry and oil with Kroil "the oil that creeps".

hot rinsed after scrubbing

2 to 3 inch oiled

Top shelf goodness

Get after it creepy!

After doing them all, the thimbles are still stuck solid.  So they get soaked for a day or so in Kroil and I'll give it another shot tomorrow.  I don't want to ruin the threads if they are salvageable.

Then I had a question:  Since the pawn shop listed these as 'clamps', yeah, I couldn't believe it either.....  did some bubba try and see how tight he could twist them??? 
Yeah, tightened a bit past snug.
So, the one inch mic may be a fun one to spring on the unsuspecting.  Cause it may be sprung from being cinched tight.  And people want to know why they can't borrow tools from hoplophiles (tool lovers).

the 1 to 2 inch looks promising.

right out of the evapo rust.  Waiting for a scrubbing and a hot water rinse.

I don't worry about the color.  I've found that hardened steel turns black in this solution.  My guess is leaching iron from the steel right at the surface, or maybe staining from the FeO2 that gets chemically converted.

That evapo rust is nicer than vinegar.  Vinegar gets skunky after soaking steel in it.  I don't even like the smell of it after use.  It has a metallic yuk factor of 99+.  Not usable in the kitchen.  I found that out the hard way.

And using the kitchen sink? Not a problem with evapo rust. I have the only wife in North America that likes it when I smell of oil.  Unless it's gear lube.  The sulfur isn't attractive to her for some reason!

I doubled up a trash can liner under the paper towels to keep the bacon from tasting like the shop.  I am a classy man of particular tastes...  classy... yeah.  Shop project in the kitchen...hoo boy. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

No, that is NOT gonna work...

I had some time today, so i dropped by a pawn shop I'd not been to in months.  "Hey, is that a wooden box up there? Oh, yeah, lets look at it." 

Neat, Tubular Micrometer Company box

Some well meaning person wrapped these tools in plastic wrap to hold the moisture in and keep the dry air out.  I felt pity for whoever did that.

I've never see this method of 'protection' before

Oil is the ticket.  Light instrument oil.  Starrett M1, Rem Oil, motor oil.  Gravy sakes, old standby 3N1 oil would be better than nothing.

Behold the spectacle

top side shows some rust. 

Oh no.  Not good.


The preliminary prognosis

I paid for the box basically.  They threw in the rust for free.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Putting on my Bustednuckles Impression

What the heck is that?  Are you channeling Phil??!?!?  

It's on page 44 of the link.  I bought it for the parts, but it's complete.  
What to do, what to do?

It followed me home.  300 pounds?!?!?!?
Now if I can just get it somewhere without being seen.  Or I'll probably get shot.  Or bust a gut.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

When the color drains away....

Have you ever caught yourself looking at the sky, wishing you were almost anywhere else?  I went there today...

yeah, it's dark and cold
Got some not so great news, and it just drained the color out of today.....  There were wisps of smoke coming from that direction, some rumbles...  But this was......

I spent all day on the run today, 170 miles to the first stop, then back down south 140 to the next one, then 130 miles home.  I was bushed, but I NEEDED some therapy... 

And I have a loaner tap, so lets get out to the shop and work on that float lock vise.

I relieved the hole from the back of the jaw about 0.5" so I didn't have to tap the whole thickness of the jaw.  Used a 2 flute .5" endmill at about 1000 rpm.  Just dipped a bit and out, lube, dip, out, lube, dip, out...  The rhythm was nice.  No thoughts needed.

I dug up my smaller tap wrench.  Don't want to twist another tap off.  Just barely take a cut, then back out to break the chip, then in and back and it's stuck, okay a little more cut, then back out... okay chip broke off, great!  flush with WD-40 and some more Tap Magic, then in again, then back up..... over and over for an hour.  Good rhythm.

This stuff is GOLD.

Till the tap dropped through, and I was done.  I felt relief, but not much elation. 

Test fit the ACME threaded rod.  And it's a good fit for a vise.  A little slop, but not too much.
The rod is waiting in the Logan. 

Hey Mac, lets get on with it!

Next step is cutting and polishing the .500 cold rolled rod. 
Then the handle and pivot cap.

I can hardly wait to get this in the book and get on to the next project. 

I gotta go roll off a burden.  Ya'll take care.  See ya soon.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Man on the street:

What is THAT??!?!?

Crescent Machine

Part of my being useful is driving around to fix stuff.  I get to see miles and miles of miles and miles....  I see miles and miles of Texas routinely.

I found this beauty peeking over a fence a few years ago.  A Crescent Universal Woodworker.  Here's a little history of the company.

I only saw the top half of the upper wheel at first
I stopped and asked about it, and NOT FOR SALE was pretty obvious.  Down here where the flares are burning and the H2S wafts on the breeze, this old lady has started to really get rusty.  Not sure, but H2O and H2S under the right conditions look like the parents of H2SO4.

Unusable gas flared off across the Eagle Ford Shale (the purple outline)

Seems a man came to town working on the railroad they put in.  He stayed as the construction moved on down the line.  He purchased this machine (patent 1905) and began constructing windows... The old double hung sash and window weight type windows...  Made a LOT of windows...  For decades... Most probably, the majority of the houses built around this town at that time had his windows.

The old man that owns this and the house it sits at, hopes to make a museum of the early days of the town it's in.  But no one is really interested to help him.  The city already has a small museum.  I guess they are vested in that one, and not interested in his vision.  

I remember quite a few years ago, the yard was covered in stuff.  There was an old timer who'd wave as I passed by.  After he stopped waving, the open top roll off container showed up and history (or maybe just his story) went to the scrap heap.

Crescent made some really neat stuff.  You can see this was a flat belt driven machine. Overhead line shaftOld tractorStationary plant?  Not sure what was used to power it.  It's a band saw, table saw, jointer combination.  No serial number plate I could see.  I imagine it's on the margin of being too rusty to restore.  But you never know until you try.  

Vintage Iron is tough and resilient.  Just like the men that used it to build the nation we live in now.  I sure hope the next batch of folks will be able to just maintain what was built....

If it hurts, it's true.  Toughen up.  Learn a trade.