Friday, October 31, 2014

Divco & Heat

I received a Christmas catalog from Grizzly Industrial the other day and while thumbing through it I came across plans for making a wooden Divco delivery truck. If you've read this blog for any length of time you know I've got a soft spot for old delivery trucks/vans. I must not be the only one if they're selling plans for these things. Plans are $14.95 and the parts kit is $9.95. Might have to put this on my Christmas list. I've already got a couple of model kits that need assembly but if I was still teaching woodshop at the high school, I'd be all over this thing.

In the Christmas came early department, I bought myself a heater for the shop. Menards with their 11% off sale had this one for about the same price as the one from Tractor Supply. This one is supposed to be about 50% quieter than other similar heaters and won't take up much space being that it's only about 16" long x 13" high. I can plug it into the 20 lb. tank from the gas grill but I'm thinking about buying a bigger tank. I rode my bicycle over to the Co-Op where we get our propane for the house to see what they've got for tanks and the fill-up procedure but the route driver wasn't there. The secretary said I should talk to him and gave me a phone number to call, so that's on the to-do list. 

Looks like I can put the heater in the back part of the shop and shoot the heat into the front easily enough. I'd prefer having the tank outside the shop if I end up with something larger than a 20 lb tank. The heater has a 10' hose on it which would give me enough length to do that with the spot I have in mind. Might not be a bad idea to get a carbon monoxide detector for the shop just to be on the safe side. If I'm heating the air from the back part of the shop and blowing into the insulated part, I wouldn't think there would be a problem - not like reheating the same air over and over in a closed space - but I don't need to kill any more brain cells than I already have. 

It'll be nice to work in a heated area - I'm getting to be a big sissy in my old age.

Happy Halloween! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Last Glad Standing

Even though we've had a couple of frosts lately, this gladiola is still blooming. I need to dig up the bulbs before we get a hard freeze so I can replant them next year. This one came from the batch I planted last year and dug up. I'm not real good and remembering to do these sorts of things but since I've cut back on the work load seems like it's a lot easier. Funny how that works now, isn't it?

Came across this fungi/saprophyte thing growing in the back yard while mowing. Seem to get a lot of different types that pop up. I was kind of surprised to see this one so late in the year. It's a bit bigger than a baseball. Enough of the flora and fauna tour of the back yard. Now to the important stuff. 

I'm starting to like the two days per week thing with work. Yesterday I ran some errands, cut both the front and the back yards, got a haircut, pulled the mower blades off so I could sharpen them, did an oil change on the truck, topped off the washer fluid in the truck and the car all before four in the afternoon, and I've got four more days before I've got to go back to work. Which means if I'm going to keep on this pace this winter, I'm definitely going to need some better heat in the shop or get something set up down the basement. 

When I was in Noblesville last week I went to a Tractor Supply Store and they had a nice forced air propane heater. 60,000 BTU output for $99 bucks. My work area in the shop is only 20' x 20' but with a couple of big chunks of cast iron in there, it takes a while to warm it up with my little kerosene heater. The heater doesn't have a fan on it so if you're not moving around the heat just goes up rather than out, plus kerosene stinks.  I don't know how loud the forced air heater would be but I think I could rig it up in the back part of the shop and pipe the warm air up front. I read in the paper the other day that if you're 65 years old, the average life expectancy is 84.6 years of age. If that means I've got another 20 years left, no reason to spend them shivering in the cold or holed up in the house all winter - especially if you pro-rate the cost of the heater over the twenty years. Five bucks a year? I can do that. There's a TSC only about a 5 minute drive from school. I'll stop in and give it a closer look. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Update

Saw this in the window of the car parked next to us at the hotel the other day - new one on me.

My new shop radio was waiting for me when we got home from the trip. It's from C. Crane, model CEP. It's just a radio. Plays AM & FM and does it well. I was thinking that someone had to make a radio that got decent reception and I think this is the one. I bought the external antenna for it, plus the telescoping one that's on the radio is a big-un and seems to work pretty well all by itself. The radio comes with an AC adaptor or it can be run on four "D" cells. Its got a light for the tuning dial and an input for an MP3 player. 

There's a station that's fairly close by that plays a variety of music I like to listen to as well as the Bears' games. On any other radio I've tried in the shop, the signal would fade in and out, either on its own or when I walked by and disturbed the incoming signal. I had it on yesterday during the Bears game and the signal came in loud and clear the whole time. Didn't help the Bears performance any but it's just a radio, not God.

Since the weather was so great over the weekend, I spent most of it doing odds & ends around the shack including putting the labels on the TIG filler rods. I figured I was done painting for the season but since it was so nice I decided to paint the trim on the shop. I had planned on getting the whole thing painted this year but with all the rain and working on the bike, no such luck, but the windows are now painted and washed - give me a little head start for next year. Actually, one more good day and I could have the siding on the ends of the building painted as well.

Also harvested some persimmons. We've had a couple of frosts, so it was time to get those picked. The fruit is not nearly as astringent after a frost. The Missus is going to turn these into persimmon bread. Yum, yum. This is the only fruit I got this year. No apples, no peaches. Good thing I wasn't counting on the trees to keep me fed. Last year I had apples and peaches out the wazoo but no persimmons. This year there was so much fruit on the persimmon the top broke off in the big rain because the weight of the fruit and the water was more than the tree could hold. Funny how Mother Nature works some times.

Going to try and get some more done of the Sportster this week. I've still got a few other things I'd like to get done before it gets too cold but I'll just take it a day at a time. I just don't want to lose my momentum of the bike. 

Have a good week.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jaguar Lightweight E-Type

Photo From Here
The Missus and I took off for an over-nighter so she could attend a meeting in Noblesville. Since I had some time to kill I wandered around a Tractor Supply and a Barnes & Noble. While in Barnes & Noble I stumbled across an Octane magazine. I don't recall ever seeing this magazine before and I probably wouldn't have paid any attention to it this time if it hadn't been for the cover touting Jaguar's new E-Type.  I immediately opened up the magazine to the cover story and low and behold, they're making six new lightweight E-Types like the ones they made in the '60's. Long story short, they originally had planned on making 18 of these things but only 12 were ever constructed. Since they had six serial numbers left over, why not build the cars to go with them? The article estimated the selling price at 2 million English pound sterling - not sure what the exchange rate is these days but you could be safe figuring over 3 million American.

The article goes into some depth on the making of the cars and the fact that Jaguar is strongly promoting its heritage. You'll now be able to take your vintage Jag to their facility and have factory employees work it over. They also just bought out a huge collection of cars, including 130 Jaguars. If I ever make it back to London, I'll definitely have to check out the Heritage workshop at Browns Lane. And sticking to the theme, we got passed on I-65 by a Maserati on the way home - not exactly sure of the model, not knowing my Maseratis very well, but since it was a two door, I believe it was a Gran Turismo. An E-Type or a Maserati Mistral, those were the cars I wanted back then. Who knows, I got the Sportster. Maybe a Jaguar or a Maserati will come my way some day.

On a final note, while looking at the photos in the story about the E-Type, I was thinking it would be nice to have the skills to be a part of a project like that. And then while looking through the adverts I came across J. D. Classics. It just so happens they have an apprentice programme of 24 months duration that would get you those skills. " Training will be provided by the JD Classics team of Sixty Craftsmen, Technicians and Engineers who have a combined experience in excess of 600 years over 150 nut and bolt restorations to date." Email to: Just that simple.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Live The Life I Love

Should have posted this yesterday to keep with the theme but any time's a good time for Mose.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Listen To Your Elders

From an interview with George Foreman in the AARP Bulletin:
Q: What was the best thing about turning 65 earlier this year?
A: It's strange. I was in the hospital with a back operation. What's that thing - Medicare? Man, I didn't have to pay for anything! [But] you have to live to see it. Sixty-five? It's like gold sprinkling from the sky. 
Q: How did you celebrate? 
A: I only had to blow out one little candle. Deep breath - boom! There it went. All of the kids came over. I have 10 grandkids, including two great-grandkids. Make that 11 - they snuck one in on me. You watch them crawl around the floor, tryin' to talk, behavin' and misbehavin'. Then I realized I only could have seen this had I made 65.

From an interview with Neil Young (68) in The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Young says that he plans to spend the rest of his life trying to fight climate change - and having a good time. "I'm enjoying life and trying to emulate the joy I see in the animals - the frolicking birds and dogs running around playing," he says. "I think why we were put here on Earth is to have a good time and to love one another." 
To do that, Mr. Young says he is going to spend more time with people whom he makes happy and who in turn make him happy. "I just made up my mind that that's what I'm going to do because it works," he says. "Happiness is the valuable commodity, and that's what makes life good."

Take care of yourself so you too can have gold sprinkling down on you from the sky in your later years and surround yourself with people who make you happy. Damn solid advice. So let's get out there and frolic!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ain't She a Beaut!

My brother from a different mother came down to the shack on Saturday night to check out the bike. In honor of the occasion I threw the tank on and swept the floor a little. The wiring is still a mess but other wise it looks pretty good. It'll look better when I get the back wheel plumbed up with the backing plate bead blasted and the chrome brake lever and actuating rod. If you look closely at the photos of the engine, you can see the new chrome nuts on the rocker shafts - I like the looks of those. After I get done with the rest of the mechanical stuff I'll touch up the paint on the motor and the bike should look pretty sexy. 

My buddy was both impressed and happy for me. We've known each other for close to 50 years now and he knows that for about 48 of those years I've wanted a Sportster. Not a new one but one like I've now got. A '68 would have been perfect but this one's close enough.  

Of course when you're talking perfect and '68, his Camaro fits the bill. He's been waiting for a couple of months to get some brake parts in. He said they finally showed up the other day, so he'll be cruising again come springtime. 

I start working just two days per week as of today. That'll be the schedule for the next eight weeks and it looks right now that will be the case for the first eight weeks of the Spring semester.That's going to be nice. I should be able to get a bunch of bike work done now. I should have the Sportster all set to go for Spring and be able to make some progress on the 900 and the BSA. I've got some inside work to attend to on the shack but with two days on and five days off, no reason I can't get to most of it - other than the most deadliest of the seven sins, sloth that is. I've never really been one to sit around, just a little lax when it comes to finishing things. Unfortunately, often times the end result might just as well be the same. I'll be turnin' and burnin' this winter though.

That's all I've got for now.