Saturday, September 25, 2021

Chapter Two

I cut my teeth right here

There are some things that you don't want to interrupt.  A good belch, a sneeze, great conversation with good friends.  That OAFS story is still squeezing stuff out of my head.  I don't want to stop it yet...


I grew up in the past.  The past is a different world, they do EVERYTHING different there.  A lot of what I learned then and did then predates safety.  Some of that will be in my stories.  Like those flares.  We used to do that for grins on Friday or Saturday nights.  Back when orange, leaded gas was still available for washing bearings and oily hands.  When Miracle Whip came in quart glass jars....  It's pretty and fun... from a distance.

When my buddy Lurch thought to use a PLASTIC five gallon jug to try the fireball with, and shot it with his new pump shotgun, he blew out the little flare on top.  Not to be robbed of the spectacle he intended, he lurched in with a zippo before we could stop him, and whoooshed himself.  All the hair grew back, but if there was any doubt about his lack of common sense, it went up in smoke like his eyebrows and arm hair...

I've tried some, most or all of what I write about. I've been everywhere I write about, too.  I find it easier to write about what I know.  And if you need any definitions of obscure words, I'll be happy to oblige.   I figure at some point soon, I'll be back to documenting the Logan  lathe.  But this dang story is keeping me awake at night, and wringing out rusty memories....  They will probably continue for a bit, but will jump all over the place.  Just like my normal thought process....

Friday, September 24, 2021

Story Time with OAFS

Do you know about the Chant?  He's on the side bar.  He started a series this week, might be short, might go awhile, who knows.  But it struck a chord with me.  It's a subject I was intensely interested in back in the late 70's early 80's.  It started a life long search for information and skill.  It is as much a driver for my desire to be competent at all the mechanical things I know as anything else.   

 It was a MAJOR milepost when I saw Red Dawn at the theater.  I was already reading the paper every day, watching the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR.  The premise of the movie seemed entirely possible. It opened my eyes to where I lived as a possible battle field.


The US military at that time were barely coming out of the deep depression of the abandoned victory in VietNam that the Nixon resignation had precipitated.  The abandonment of our treaty with South VietNam upended the victory after Linebaker II demonstrated our ability and prowess.  11 days to cripple an enemy the previous administration just farted around with.  Prowess that at least, once an utterly corrupt president quit micromanaging the war for the benefit of his patrons.  It also showed how ignorant AF brass had become with the political task masters they had previously.  It should be pretty familiar reading as it mirrors the same political party's latest international abandonment / terrorist resupply mission.  I wish we could just look back and learn something from the past once in a while.

 The Hunt

OAFS story sparked some thing in me, and I had to write it down, so it would leave me alone.  It's below the fold if you care to sample it.  It may be some lumpy oatmeal, it might pique your interest.  Let me know either way.  It's hard work.  And what OAFS did with the D-DAY serial was some real hard work.  Just the amount of effort that went into this little short story proved that to me.


Edit:  Potentially Disturbing Content Below the Fold.   To the combat vet that this hit too close to home too: I am terribly sorry that I didn't think to post a warning.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Brain Dump

This is the brain dump. The place where what I learn will be catagorized, recorded, or just blurbed out so's I can 'memeber it.  

Have you ever found something interesting or intelligent? Then forgot what it was, just that you knew something about something a while back? And all you could do was stutter out a Gumpian sounding, "Well Jenny, I knew it yesterday!"  

If you need something placed here, send it along.  After the editor reviews it, it will assimilated and any evidence of ownership will be removed so that intellectual theft will be complete and untraceable.   Just following the Washington D.C. School of Journalistic Integrity here.  It will be pinned on the bottom of the page.

I give you: Conspiracy Theory, uh....  

 Brain Dump Mod 1.01 Mk 1

Heuristics: replacing the mental model - This post revealed a more accurate understanding of an issue.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Starman Jones

I wasn't much of a scifi geek in school.  I mean, I had a subscription to OMNI magazine, and talked about all the movies and tv shows back then, but I was always a practical type.  "How could I leverage that to help me now?"  Well, John Carter of Mars notwithstanding, everything else was basically neglected.

Later on, a friend loaned me Armor by John Steakly and I found Starman Jones on my own.  There is a part in Starman Jones where he explains to his love interest that space is like a folded handkerchief.  If you follow it across it's length it takes years to go from A to B.  But since A and B are almost touching because of the fold in space, you just punch up to light speed for an instant at A and you pop out at B.   Very interesting concept.  

I last posted 3 weeks ago, and BANG! here it is 19 Sept 2021.  The ensuing days passed so quickly.... almost like they didn't exist.  This is the weirdest headspace I've ever encountered.


Recipe Time

Falling back on my Rules for Normal Operational Capability¹, I remembered some wisdom from a past comment thread.  Do something you enjoy doing.  So I cooked up a roast, with a different spice set than normal.  I've always like to experiment with flavors.  Found out the offlimits stuff that way.

I made a few changes to the recipe though.  I had 9 pounds of pork roast, so I tripled everything.  

I always try and sear the roast before I cook it.  That brings out some really good flavor.  Then I put it fat side up and sliced into it about an inch in a few places.

No ground cumin, so I took the cumin seeds (cominos) and placed them in the mortar and pestle (molcajete) with some red pepper flakes.  Ground them down to dust.  A little warm water to make slurry and sloshed it on the roast.  No limes, so I used lemon juice and plain old cider vinegar substituted for the fancy stuff.

Slow cook for 8 hours, then warmed overnight.  It's falling apart and nicely spicy.  Probably gonna make some rice for it this afternoon.  And I have food to freeze for several days of yum.

Might as well learn to cook for my new neighbors....


Machine Shop Projects

The old taper attachment has been languishing.  
Thankfully, it doesn't mind waiting for me

My emergency bathtub replacement part lathe project exposed a weakness in the Logan quick change gear box that needs immediate attention.
One step forward, two steps back


When I get a little wind up, I have cleaning and cooking to do.  Then I'm down for a few days.  It's a cycle.  Look up long haul syndormeThen check this out.  It's a year old and I've not heard another thing about it.  I don't think I have this though.  What I have concluded is the muscles I built with a 100% operating lung capacity are able to remove O2 from my blood faster than the damaged lungs can replace.  I'm trying to drive cross country on a drag racer fuel tank.  I think of a thing needs doing, start in on it, and suddenly have to stop and rest.  Everything has slowed down to operate in that limited arena.  If I push on to complete it, it'll be days of rest, not hours.

I do like visual imagery that fully explains what I am attempting to convey


39 years ago today, I pledged my life and sacred honor to one woman.  I have remained true to that promise.  I meant it then, I've lived it ever since.  I had no "Plan B".  It's been 531 days on the island.  I no longer feel the pathological loneliness.  I am more comfortable in my skin than I ever remember before.  But I do know what Momma meant when she said, 'if you pour salt and sugar together, it's impossible to separate them again."  There are things that have become a part of me.  I know my way around a molcajete for instance.  And I know I can endue more than I have to date.  But enduring isn't a freeman's fate.  I aim to flourish.

All the trees where I grew up lean like this.  They were in the wind from the beginning.  That southwesterly wind caused them to lean to the northeast.  Every one of them that grew out by themselves look like this.  They were marked by their hardship, but they fought right on. 

I was raised probably less than 15 miles from here

I'm taking notes...


I'm gonna have to start a page to keep my brain dumps on, the glossary, and rules for whatever

[¹] Rules for Normal Operational Capability: 

In no particular order

Hang around people more intelligent than I am.  Listen, learn, apply, asses, repeat.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Getting Comfortable


My maternal grandmother had overlapping toes.  I remember seeing some white canvas shoes with holes cut into the top so there was room for her toes to do what they did.  It was kinda cool to remember that, and realize we didn't even notice it was strange, unusual or different.  That was just the way it was.  I don't think she ever wore them in public, but they worked just fine with the custom modifications around the house. 

Exactly like this but with holes on top

I was thinking about that today, as I move things around getting the place to more suit to my needs.  Kinda of my own cutting holes in the shoes.  Do people do that anymore?  Do they make adjustments to things so they are more comfortable or do they go to the professionals for a consult?  Then order a custom fit from the professional maker of the whozit.  Self reliance is something I grew up with, and didn't even realize.  It's pretty cool to see that now.  And realize that I am almost perfectly capable of making what I need.

It's not about people anymore


When the repair guy ordered the part for the fridge, it showed arrival on 28 September.  Fully a month away.  What the actual heck is that?  So, I decided that feeding ice to the icebox wasn't gonna work long term.  So I picked up a 7 cubic foot chest freezer and one of these:  
Set the on temp at 35, and off at 30.  It cycles the freezer perfectly. Makes a dandy fridge that doesn't dump all the cold air out when I open it.  And it's small, doesn't take up the whole room like a full size fridge would.  ( I have fevered dreams gutting the freezer and using the cooling system in that beautiful old icebox....)

Found out the lightning took out my natural gas alarm, too.  So I ordered 2 to replace the one.  And I did that because this freezer uses ISOBUTANE for refrigerant?!?!?!?!?!??!  R600a.  Here's some comforting information:  
"As a refrigerant, isobutane poses a fire and explosion risk in addition to the hazards associated with non-flammable CFC refrigerants."   Oh thank you Uncle Sugar.  You so sweet!
So, in order to protect mother Gaia, the druids that infect our regulatory agencies decided an explosive would be more earth friendly.  Since natural gas rises when it leaks, and the heavier gasses like propane and butane sink, I got one for the old ceiling location and one for the floor, under the durn BS I just bought.  Remember Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd??  Yeah that exact B--- S-------!!!!!  I'll pass, too.

Move along "citizen"

I remember the last days of DDT.  Read stories of how innocuous it was to humans.  Just killed insects.  I think you could eat it without any problem.  Pour it under the house, mix it with paint, blow it into cracks for DECADES of deterrence.  Back in WW2, they blew that stuff all over folks to delouse them.  You can see old films of concentration camp inmates being dusted with it.  Some dingbat shows up with bad science and slick packaging... pffft! it's gone.  Replaced with things that are much more dangerous to humans.  And have a shorter lifespan than the insects they are supposed to control.  Oh, and sorry about all those dead malaria victims in Africa and Asia.  I guess those people don't matter to the druids.

Back when I was much younger and just starting out, we lived in a duplex.  They would spray for bugs on our side, wait a few weeks and spray the other side.  Waves of bugs every couple months came to visit.  I took a replacement ballast for a sodium vapor street light back to the house from work.  Boss said it was useless, sure take it.  I wired it up like an electric fence.  Ran a ground around the bottom and a low hot wire.    So I figure this hot wire is gonna help a few million bugs go to bug heaven.  Baited it, went to bed....  Lightning erupts in the kitchen, a healthy bzzzzaaaaap! and then....
BZZZZZZ....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... zap!  
Then the smell of high voltage fried bug guts wafts through the air....  I hoofed it in there, unplugged it and threw it out the front door.  Good grief that was poorly thought out.  Great lesson on how smoke can provide an ionized path for arcs to follow.  That's about the only reason I don't assemble tiny laser turrets to encircle the house and go after those big palmetto bugs...  I figure I'd catch one on fire and it would run into the grass an burn the neighborhood down.  
DDT didn't do that.  R22 didn't do that.  But ISOBUTANE??  Really???  
Thanks Uncle Sugar.  You numbah ten.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder

This is what the man that sold me the taper parts a year or so ago does. He's an old machinist and has several shops on his spot. Look at this beautiful work. Some may think it's putting lipstick on a pig, but in 1954 a Logan 200 cost about $410.00  Today that works out to $4,161.01 if you figure 3.5% inflation each year.  So this man basically made the Logan brand new, plus it has a lot of tooling.  It is normal to spend more on tooling than you spent on your machine.  He's only asking $500 over the adjusted original price for a lot bells and whistles to go with it.


She is basically new.  I saw it when it was in process.  He does really nice work.


Memories of Mountain Home and DAG

Mountain Home, TX is where the gunsmith that Dean Grennell recommended for building the .45 Super used to live.  The gunsmith is probably gone, and so is Dean.  Dean was a great guy.  Just read his stuff.  We corresponded for a couple years when I was reading his work to learn how to do what I needed to do back then.  He was class, front, back, clear through the middle. 


Dean Grennell

My favorite book

The 45 Super - Dean's baby

Monday, August 23, 2021

Logan Taper Attachment

The Last NOS Part

You know, I always wonder about the last part, or the last piece.   There is this character on YT that looks for civil war relics.  Aquachigger.  I find myself thinking at times, I wonder when the last dropped miniball will be found?  When will the last artillery shell come up out of the ground?  Kind of strange I guess, but no one knows how many were made, used or still exist.

I do the same thing with parts.  Finding this part that I needed was fortuitous.  I wonder how much NOS is out there for a Logan 200, or a LeBlond?  How do you find it, and how would you know that was the last piece?  Inquiring minds want to know...



First load in the soak went well. Got the small parts and the compound rest done. They came out pretty. No wear to speak of on this. I guess it got misplaced in it's youth.  No complaints!  It is truly NOS (new old stock).   I need to make a trough for the cross slide.  It will be soaked today.  May even have pictures tonight.  I did not expect the paint to fail like that.  Usually, Evaporust® won't pull paint.

The screw, escutcheons and gib look like new, too.  Hand wheel looks okay.  It'll shine up with use.

Do you see those VEE shaped marks on the left?  Are those the original scrapes or machining marks??  WOW, they are clear and crisp.  So are the markings on the dial.  No real wear to speak of.  Brand new.

Even a blind hog can root up an acorn once in a while

New Tool Alert!

 I found this rusty bucket on the auction site, and got it for a decent price.  Especially compared to every one else's idea of decent.  She cleaned up nice.  I need to dig out the buffing wheel and give her a shine.  But she is usable as is....

This side was up and rusty, not the dull finish on the barrel

This side was down and came out a bit shiny compared to the other side

Cross slide is soaking.  Got a bit more to go before I haul it out and start the hot water scrub on it.  Then the drying and oiling.....  Fun times.

Ya'll have a good evening!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

What a year! (this last month was)

Man, I don't even know where to begin... I wound up in the hospital back in July.  Son wound up in the hospital in August.  A couple days after that, lightning took out the network (ups, surge protector, modem, router), a laptop (yeah, the one I blog on, but I saved the data on the HD!), another pc, and my new fridge. Service call for the fridge is sked late next week. Almost a month after the hit. Son is out of the hospital doing way better.  I figure the mess throughout June pulled us down.  Loads of stress in the family, then BAM!  Have some pneumonia.  The unproductive, constant coughing is driving me nuts. And the sore muscles/rib/lung on one side is gravy on the cake.  Rest of the stress is on the back burner.... for now.

 Appliance Update:

I've been using this beauty until the fridge gets fixed. Glad I had this old girl waiting in the wings.  Else, I'd be scorching milk, and toasting flour to keep the germs at bay.  I'm already smoking meat to keep it fresh...  Hello 1900, I really didn't miss you. The old cloth seals were worn out, so I put on some new weather stripping. It works pretty well. 1920's vintage. Thankfully, my upright freezer didn't eat it during the storm, so I can make my own ice. About 20 lbs will last about about 30 hours. 

Upgraded and working, listen to it.. sit there quietly

I picked this up from craigslist last year when the old fridge died.  I got tired of digging in the soupy Coleman camp box. The wait was months on a new fridge back then.  I finally found one to order online at a big box store and waited a month for delivery, three months total using ice in 2020.  Progress.   Strategy side note:   I told the young lady that I had money in hand, she said it was already sold.  I told her when they flake out on you, call me back.  She did a few days later. I picked it up that night.  Heh.

Medical Update:

Doctor's appointment last week was eye opening. 30-40% lung capacity after 6 weeks convalescence. The test wore me out for two days. I guess the mechanism is called a cytokine storm. Same thing that killed all those young, fit folks during the Spanish Flu in 1919. Seems it causes the immune system to attack healthy lung tissue. I have baby lungs trying to feed adult muscles. I can burn through all the O2 in my blood with very little effort. If you remember holding your breath underwater until you felt panic, that's exactly how I work now. It is maddening. 



 Gratuitous Shop Porn:

So, off work due to sickness, short term disability dontcha know.  I've been "working" (read: stagger then wheeze then sit down) around the house. Cleaning up and out.  But there has to be some iron in the fire for the shop, and I found a beauty.   A year or so ago, I bought most of a taper attachment for the old Logan lathe.  

The parts that clamp on the bed ways and the long bar with the sliding shoe are all I had

 Mr. Garcia had started on a home built one, but never finished it.  All I needed was the extended cross slide for it.  And thanks to the auction site we all love to hate, I found one.  Watched it for a month, made an offer, nothing doing.  So, I saved up and bought it full price.  (Made the old Scot in me some upset)  But here it is!!  And it appears unused!!!  75 years old and minty fresh, sort of.

Very well packed!

I got it apart, no little effort, I'm telling you.  Only two tiny curls of swarf under the compound.  

She's a bit dirty, but unused


Had to make the collar removal device on the Logan so I could get the nut loose (LB-137).  Making parts for the lathe with the lathe.  Sweet sweet music. 


Bit of a burr on the screw, collar is not sliding past that.... yet

The little pins (LA-744) that hold the compound base dovetail are still in there and won't release.  I tried to suck them out with a magnet, but it looks like a bath in Evaporust is first, then, hopefully, I can remove them.

Logan 200 Series Compound Rest with part numbers

There that little guy is, hiding in the bottom of the hole

Gotta do some degreasing, then derusting.  I'm missing one gib. Plan is to make one soon.

S, I'm still among the living, and just above ground level.... for now.  What a year.



I'm sure you know about this site. His documentation efforts have saved me countless hours working on these old beauties I have.  Thank you Mr. Rucker. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

I Aplogize, Most Humbly

 When I was a kid, we played cowboys and indians.  I had my hat, vest, chaps, a belt with 2 silver cap guns...  I was born wearing jeans and boots (sorry about that mom). My sister said I was a self proclaimed "do dun dowdoy".  I've always had an admiration for the folks that settled the west, and those that were the best light cavalry on this continent.  I know I have at least one side represented in my lineage.  I have pictures on my walls right now that hung in my parent's room growing up.  Cowboys, Indians, western subjects,  old farm houses... I still consider my self a DOT (danged ol' Texan) that is riding line and looking for strays.
If this were me, I'd have my left leg hooked around the saddle horn too.

I don't hit the office much, and my area to cover is south Texas.  So I a wound up being a cowboy, well, sort of anyway...

----Non PC Content Below The Fold----

----content that was perfectly fine in 1977---- 

Monday, July 26, 2021


Not catching many breaks around here....

Morton Salt....  Remember the rest?

Friday, July 23, 2021


I've always had books.  Dad had a full set of Zane Grey novels, tan with a red stripe, and WW2 coffee table books full of black and white real history photos.  True West and Frontier Times came every month.  He had paper backs scattered all over the place.  War stories, westerns, I had a few Tom Swifts and my sister got Nancy Drew books in the mail all the time.  The newspaper...

There was a shelf with red books (one had the first poem I learned, Eletelephony) grey encyclopedias from the early 50's, a dictionary, thesaurus and mom's Gregg shorthand manuals.  I remember hardbound Reader's Digest condensed books, all kinds of books.

The Little Golden Books were really neat though.  They had brilliant colors and amazingly detailed, in depth articles of tremendous importance and  scientific value...  Like this one:

ad for a sold book
My First Medical Reference Journal

That breathtaking beauty was drug all over creation by Doctor Dan the bandage man, and his side kick Tom the four barrel V8.  Did you see the keen cans on the wagon?  What style, what grace, and I bet you could see those flashing cans for miles!!!!

When she applied the band aid (fair use, I swear), the world was made right and the victim was saved.

Now, I'm not equating any of you with her, that would make me yak on the floor.  No, maybe Tom the V8, or Doctor Dan...  Or really, just a great league of folks...

The very pointed request I made for INPUT was answered.  It was amazingly consistent and pointed generally in the same direction.  If that isn't confirmation I don't know what is.

 How to Fool Yourself Into Doing Something Smart

 I have the smartest daughter in creation.  I know both her parents and they could not possible have had anything to do with her development.  Yet, I remember being there for all of it.  She knows my desire for autodidactism.  She knows how to reach my logic, such as it is, too.

When I started to glom onto the change in mental state when on the "stamina" med, we talked about how to find out if there really was an issue.  She said, "you never seem to have a problem paying tuition for quality education.  Why not consider an evaluation and therapy as tuition?  To get a quality education about yourself."  That hit like a Skin Bracer slap.  I could accept that.  It worked out well, too.

In all the sand blowing into my eyes the last two months, I lost sight of that concept.  How in the heck I ever thought I could navigate this new territory on my own, with my ignorance fully intact and at max smoke, I will never understand.  I guess I was overwhelmed and started the squirrel's final pirouette in the middle of the road.  You know, where they are running like mad, almost make it then double back to find safe refuge under your tires...  But the light began to dawn when you started to respond. 


yeah, like that

This little jack russell thought started popping up in the back window.  It just kept popping up and distracting me from what I was reading...  Only after the last reread of the emails yesterday did I stop and pay attention.  "Hey, why not pay some tuition for a quality education."


Oh fer garden seed....


Standing too close to the problem limits your view

What an ignorant zipperhead I have been.  Duly noted.  I wonder how much prayer it took to slide that thought into my mind?  Thank you.

I have a friend that knows an experienced barrister.   And now, pending a consult, so do I.  I did talk a while to the paralegal...

Hey, did you know that I didn't count days correctly and I didn't miss that deadline?  Hey, did you know that other date isn't the finish line but actually the starting line?  Me either.  Filed the paperwork a day early.  No need to rush.  How about taking some time to heal up and rest?  How about a massive reduction in pressure?  Yeah, I'm up for all that.

Simple.  So simple. 

You will always have a place by my fire.... anytime

I cannot thank you enough.  

 clarity, sweet clarity....

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

It just keeps getting better...

I have always known I'm an odd duck.  I wasn't wired up like anyone else I knew.  My head worked different than anyone in my family, except maybe my dad.  He was the benevolent dictator at times, other wise, inscrutable and ornery. 

One thing that I crave is clarity.  That usually comes through discussion with those I admire and trust.  Trust and admiration only happens after time and observation.  I sent out the first newsletter to those who asked, that I knew from our interactions.  No newbies allowed, I guess.

I haven't gleaned much if any new info as a result of NL1, so I feel it was just a whine-fest.  Not what I was interested in doing.  I need intel.



Working up a second newsletter.  I may not continue this after number 2.  But I am amazed at what has been happening.

Here is the deal.  If you want to catch up, fine by me.  But I expect feedback.  I'm not giving info for no purpose.  I desire direction, encouragement, a stern talking to, something to learn or do or avoid.  You folks are a wealth of lifetime wisdom. I have developed trust through our conversations, even if we haven't shanken hands or slapped backs. If it seems like Ned and First Reader stuff, send it anyway.  I need it.  Otherwise, we can wait for Friday at the The Irishman's Lair.

If this is a waste of time, then I'll drop it, and just try and keep up to date with the piddly goings on around here as this chapter ends and the next unfolds.

But if you are interested in meat, ask for NL2.  And be prepared to advise.  This isn't an unveiling, this is a request for intel in an area I am completely unfamiliar with.  


STxAR sends.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Unapologetically Anachronistic




Well, I have no qualms about updating the three loyal readers of this blog.  But I'm a bit hesitant to just raise my skirt in public so to speak.  So, I plan to dust off the mimeograph and crank out a newsletter...

Can't you smell that smell?

If you are interested, and have posted here before, I'll send it to you.  Just include a SASE.  Or you can send me an email and I'll fwd it back.  Strictly an offline / online email kind of thing.  Email will come from budgetmachining at proton mail dot somesuch.

Comments to this post will be a poll of sorts.  If any one wants it, it'll happen.  

Thanks for stopping by.

PS  I used two 50 cent words up top to trip up the sensors....

PPS Someone said they were up for it.  I need to tighten it up, but it'll be ready in a day or three.  Thanks for the interest.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Argh, Etc.

Harsh news on the home front.  It has been keeping my mind preoccupied.  Sorry about the lack of new stuffuss.  Preparing my mind for the next steps.  Steps I've never even considered or wanted.  On this, I had no plan B.  May God be merciful to me. 

Didja see this???   


Me, too 

I have been busy.....  honest....

  • Working on a biz plan for the side work I've been doing, so I can keep doing it.
  • Finishing up a project that has broken all desire to ever see a similar device.
  • A few new responsibilities at the day job and a dawning realization that I may never get to retire from it.
  • Rekindling a friendship after a buddy's return from decades overseas.
  • Educating myself about a new diagnosis.  One that I have had since the spark of life.  One that has flavored everything I've ever done.  And is incredibly frustrating to work through.  Oh, there's a pill for that, too? 
  • Working on cleaning up clutter (like my patron saint, Saint Phil the Hoplophile). 

A bit maudlin perhaps?

I surround myself with pictures of men that I remember reading about, men that lived lives worth emulating.  

 Here's one:



He did the best he knew how.  He didn't quit until he was done.  I aspire to that.  I take courage from men like this.  Men that stuck it out.  Men that didn't quit when they were tired. Men that didn't stop until they were finished.  Men that gracefully moved on when it was called for.

Some of you guys that come by to visit, I read what you write on the webz, and I take courage from it.  Know this, that if no one else cares about what you say, I do.  Most of you are brothers, friends I've never met.  Men that live lives that, at least parts of if not most of, are worth emulating.  Folks that I wouldn't mind meeting.... well, once anyway!  Don't want to promise too much...

Last year was a tough one.  This one has a looming shadow that I can't seem to shake loose from.  I understand the image of the hammerfall now.  Waiting....

Working on hope for the future.  Preparing for major changes in my orbit.  

Thanks for caring enough to come by and visit.  I have a tonne of stuff to edit and put up....  Finding the umph has been... difficult.

Side note:  did you know that this was prayed for you?   I did.  I needed to hear it again, too.

John 17

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Soggy Sweltering Muggy

 For you guys that live way up north I thought I'd send you a warm, sultry greeting from down here in south Texas.  I pass this spot a few times every week.

It sure is a pretty place.


Down here, it feels like working in the Jolly Green Giant's armpit.  Or a nice, wet, wool blanket on hot asphalt in direct sunlight in Death Valley in August with some joker steam cleaning you...

I think every wrinkle I've ever had has been steamed out.  I probably look younger than ever.

I may send a note asking when I can come visit.  This is getting ridonkulous.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021


 Working on it...

How do you check spark on a blog?

I have been busy....  Didn't realize how busy until I saw it's been a couple months since posting.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Quick tips on marking out

I bought some real marking out dye, red and blue.  Blue in a spray can that lost pressure and put out 20 times too much.  And some red in a bottle.  That seems to get all over me when I use it.

Years ago, I found out that blue Sharpie markers make pretty decent marking out dye.  I bought a box of 10 or so...  I still have a few left.  And 5 years hasn't been kind to them....

I got this all on my hand. I tried some turpentine, and smeared it all over my palm and two fingers.  I found some IPA, isopropal alcohol to you and me, and it cut most of it off.  Oh, hey! I found a cut I didn't know I had!  Noice.

The blue seems to build up when you go over it a few times.  The black seems to strip off what is down already.  I like blue better anyway. 

I have some cutting to do, so here is the kit.

Not shown are the leak-o-matic marker and a Professor Pete approved visor.  

I used the firm joint for a scribe, it's was sitting right there asking to help.


Don't fight with the part you are trying to hold.  Especially if you are trying to be accurate.  I didn't and I was.  That Stanley vise was a great score on 'bay.  I was shocked at how cheap I got it.  Paid about the same for the swing jaw and grooved jaw.  Got impatient, so paid a premium.

The profile wasn't tapered, but it didn't like the smooth jaws, so a scrap paper liner firmed up the grip.  I like to use what's handy, and the bit of cloth in the paper helps, it seems.

That green paper used to fill up my tank with gas.  Something changed though.  The gas didn't get better, or bigger.  The tank on my truck didn't get bigger, but the paper doesn't seem to fill it up anymore.  I measure the paper, and it didn't get smaller.  Plus, it still has the same number on it.  I guess it just doesn't pull as much weight as it used to.    Might as well use it for something constructive.  The folks that made it seem to want to take that away from it...

Those marks are within 1/64th of where I wanted them.  And that is good enough.  Now, I need to find a hatchet to cut it, a hammer to fit it and a maybe some self-tapping screws to hold it down....

Monday, March 15, 2021

Unknowable Inscrutible Mechanical / Electronic Marvels


A lot of wisdom there, John.

STxAR, I love reading these. I only understand about 20% of it, but it is fun trying to figure it out.


 Thanks, TB.  You made me think....

I find myself drawn to things.  Mechanical things.  Electronic things.  I can't really help it.  I cannot begin to compile the amount of stuff I worked on over the years.  Things I tore into as a kid.  Things that I reduced to scrap and was unable to reassemble.  Things I fixed for others, or myself.  It's called "The Knack".

Not me, but a reasonable cartoon representation

I was undiagnosed as a kid.  But everyone knew I had it.  Dad was not impressed.  I can't  really blame him though.  He had to fix what I couldn't or didn't.  (We won't talk about the stuff he couldn't fix and how he vented his frustrations.  He got some aerobic exercise, and I learned some things shouldn't be fooled with.)

There was an old hardware store in downtown Lubbock.  High on a wall was a sign that said "Knowledge can take it apart, Wisdom can put it back together again."  Dad pointed at it once, and said, "You are very knowledgeable."  That wasn't his only backhanded compliment.  But it prompted me to go farther, and get "wisdom".

I have this curiosity that compels me to investigate.  The best thing I can do is try and direct it.  I haven't been able to stop it.  And I don't want to.


99 Suburban update

Did you know that a 5.7 Vortec likes about 60 psi of fuel pressure to start reliably?  It'll run on 50, but starting is 60.  And that injector I replaced worked great.  Until the fuel pump began to really have problems.  Also, if you run one dry, it'll kill the pump.  One and done.  And this one appears to have had that happen some time in the past.  I killed a 98 GMC Savanna pump once just like that.  I learned to keep it full.  But this one went dry once too often some time in the past.  Even if it was only once.  New parts on the waaaay....

Friday, March 12, 2021

Guest Post, part 2


Next project 
Spray gun nozzles.
I'd bought one of these 15 dollar spray guns a while ago to try it out and spray some latex. 

But the instructions advised against spraying latex. The gun sat on a shelf for some time and I got interested again when we did a medium facelift in our bathroom and decided to paint the two pine doors when the weather turns nice enough to do it outside this year.
The internet says that you can drill out the nozzle on the cheap gun, thin the latex a bit, and get good results. The internet also says that instead of drilling out the nozzle from 1.4 mm to 2.0 mm I could buy replacement nozzles that would fit the gun. 
I ordered a 1.7 mm and a 2.0 mm nozzle from China. When they arrived they didn't fit because the thread number was the same, but the threads were a bit larger than the original. They are some sort of stainless steel.  

The internet told me how to change the gear train to cut metric, and I followed the chart numbers. But the threads were close to the shoulder of the nozzle, and my external threading bit  just wouldn't fit. I bought this set because I wanted an internal threading bar because the tool my dad had ground only allowed me to thread a short distance. 
The design of this tool let me cut very close to the shoulder, and the carbide insert worked great to cut the stainless. I used a HSS parting tool to deepen the thread relief groove next to the shoulder, then I turned down the OD before the threads and used the same tool to cut off the existing threads. Then I locked the half nuts, and threaded the nozzle by turning the chuck by hand. 
On the second nozzle I used power. I also changed my technique a bit. I found that my right hand wants to turn the lathe's power switch in the right hand direction and whether that's muscle memory or habit I don't know. I do know that that habit caused a minor crash against the shoulder of the second nozzle when I went forward instead of reversing as I had intended. I then changed to using my left hand to reverse, and that seemed to work out very well. 
It went this way:
Skim cut by hand rotation of the chuck. 
Reverse until the tool is clear.
Zero the dial.
Advance the feed a couple of thou.
Cut the threads and stop the feed. 
Power reverse. 
Repeat until the threads will fit where they have to go. 

I learned a lot about metric threading, and I found out as expected that using a HSS parting tool to cut stainless was a bit tough because it took a bit of extra pressure before the bit dug in and started cutting.

Something we don't ever seem to talk about. What did it cost?

The HVLP gun cost 15 dollars. 
The two replacement nozzles cost around 30 dollars but each nozzle was a complete set of the long part, the nozzle and the nozzle cover.
The carbide threading set cost 41 dollars. 
And maybe two hours total standing at the lathe.
I was talking to a friend who asked whether the additional investment in the 15 dollar tool was worth it. Hmm. After thinking about it, I returned to Harbor Freight and bought a 75dollar HVLP spray gun. It was an easy rationalization. :)
And much like the old saying that if you only have a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail, if you have machine tools, then every problem can be solved by using them. Except that every problem really can be solved by using machine tools. 

Disclaimer.  I am not a real machinist, and I rarely figure out what speed and feed I should be using. It is very satisfying to create something that does what you need it to do by using machine tools and your skills. 

Take care, 

STxAR addendum:  If you machine you are a machinist.  You may not be a pro, but you aren't a button pusher either.  Us "figure it out on our own" guys are just like the fellows that did the same thing in the past.   Eating trig tables and squirting out parts....

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Guest Post!!!

 John in Philly has commented quite a few times, and we've run into each other around the net-world on occasion.

He mentioned some work he had done, and then sent a blog worthy run down to me via email.  With pictures, yet!

I asked permission to repost and here it is, for your enjoyment:

                            The Lampshade project. 

Cast of characters.:
Me. John 

Wife. Best Wife Ever. 
Best Wife Ever bought a Baldwin Brass Company floor lamp a bunch of years ago, and the shade had once again aged out and needed to be replaced. The last time this happened we took it to a small backstreet lamp and shade repair store and they stripped the shade frame and recovered it. 
Time passed, and the shade aged out again and the cloth became brittle. 
But the employee that overhauls the shades had retired without a replacement. 
The owner of the store and Best Wife Ever worked together and agreed on a replacement shade of the same quality. We bring the shade home, and Best Wife Ever begins to install it. But the lampshade retention system used by Baldwin turns out to be a different size than the normal. 
The new shade won't fit and Best Wife Ever wants to use the new shade because she likes it. What to do? 
If only we had a small machine shop in the basement. Wait! We do have a small machine shop in the basement. 
All I have to do is to take some measurements, do a bit of math, and then machine an adapter so that Best Wife Ever can use the shade she likes. And since the lamp is now using LEDs or compact fluorescent bulbs, I can machine the adapter from PVC because heat isn't an issue. 
I mentally sketch what I need, dig through the leftover PVC fittings, find what I need to start, and begin  figuring out the tooling and sizes.I plan on making a screw together gizmo that will go over the three arms of the shade, and the brass finial that functions to hold the shade in place will screw into my gizmo. 
I will need to turn some ODs, cut two internal threads, and one external thread. 
OK. This will be my first ever internal thread and I've had that lathe for a little more than 20 years. 
The thread count is 20 tpi and I need an internal threading bar. I find that I don't have an internal threading bar, but I do find something I can use in my shoebox of hand-me-down tool bits I got from my machinist father.I can use this to make it work, and when I can use a tool that my father made with his own hands, I can literally feel the connection to him. 

This is the brass finial that won't fit on the new shade. 

This is not the shade, but shows how the center ring should fit up into the finial, and then the knurled ring will push the triple arms up the slots.


But the new shade has a center ring that is larger than the original and will not fit up into the brass finial.

There isn't enough metal to bore the hole larger. After some time at the lathe, and a trip to get a PCV piping adapter sized to make the knurled ring, I have completed the adapter. 

No wires were used to check the thread sizing. I used the technique of cutting the threads until the parts fit together.  I was getting ready to part off the PVC knurled ring, and I realized that plastic is way weaker than metal, so I left it long. 
Best Wife Ever is happy and I got more learning on single point thread cutting, and using the change gears. 

The most interesting part was when I was cutting the internal threads for the knurled ring and I needed to figure out what size to bore out the ID before I started cutting the threads. The threading charts lacked information on what I determined to be 1.33" X 20 tpi internal threads.  I spent some time reading up on the subject, then did the math for 20 tpi thread depth and it all worked out.

Adapter and shade before adding the finial to it.

Yes, there's a shoulder in there.


John in Philly.


Here is a quick tutorial on internal threading by Professor Pete


 All in all, a successful project, and a happy missus.  Win - win!!

Thanks for letting me post this, John.  Job well done!