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.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What a Rack!


While that's certainly true, I was actually referring to this one:


TIG filler rods all arranged nice and tidy. Rods for chrome-moly, aluminum, magnesium, stainless, and plain carbon steel. There's still one empty hole yet so I should probably buy another length of PVC, caps and couplings and make a couple more - still need a couple for my brazing rods. I'll get the label maker out and put some ID tags on the top caps so I can tell at a glance what's what. 

Got the center stand bolted up to the Sportster, cut the grass, ran some errands and cooked myself some pasta e fagioli for lunch (goes well with Sophia, who turned 80 a month ago by the way). Planning on some more work in the shop today and tomorrow. Finish up the clutch and maybe start on the back wheel now that the wheel has some air between it and the work stand.



Might as well stay with the Italian theme. Get a little closer to the finish line on the Harley and I'll switch to some Steppenwolf.





Friday, October 17, 2014

Shiny Bits


The new parts for the Harley arrived the other day. Other than whatever I may need for the wiring, I think I should be about done buying parts. I've kept all the receipts but I haven't totaled everything up. I don't think I went in too deep but maybe it's better if I don't know. 

I need to pick up the back of the bike a bit so I can bolt on the center stand. I figured I'd just lift it up a bit and slide a short piece of 2x4 under the rear tire which would give me the clearance I needed on the stand to get the bolt in. No go Joe. I used to do dumb stuff like that but not anymore. I'll get a jack under it next time I'm out there rather than throwing the back out. Again.

I might need to call a short time out on the bike and do a little more cleaning and organizing out there. Maybe take a day before I pull the back wheel off and put the tools away and finish the rack for the TIG rods, etc. Plus the grass needs mowing again - should be about the end of that, however.

Steady by jerks, as my old pal Joey used to say.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dance a Little Jig, Weld a Little TIG

Finished the last window on Sunday and patched up a couple of bad shingles. That's about it for the house exterior for a while (can I have an amen, Brothers and Sisters?). Watched the marathon and the Bears and a little Sunday Night Football as well. Can't do much more of that, however. There's only so many commercials for beer, cars, phones and politicians one man can take. Before I moved to the country my garage had cable and I could work with the little black and white set tuned to football or hockey and was happy as a clam. With instant replay you never really had to watch the game too closely - just look up when the crowd roared.

Now-days since I am out in the country, my shop radio only picks up a couple of stations clearly and I'm getting real tired of the same songs and commercials they play all the time. Maybe it's time for me to Stop Believin' and start listening to the MP3 player or something else that will provide a little entertainment and background noise to drown out my tinnitus. I need to spend some time this winter converting some of my vinyl or change my schedule and work late nights on the projects. There's a public radio station that I can pick up that plays a lot of good music in the evening/night hours. It's a damn shame the only time you can hear jazz, world or blues music is after the sun goes down.


I welded this up for one of my former welding and boxing students. If he had access to a TIG welder he could have easily welded it himself but I was glad to do it for him. I welded it at the house rather than at the college mostly so I would have a reason to finish getting my TIG welder in order. Since the postflow timer quit working on the machine and I didn't want to invest $400 in a new one for a 50 year old machine that's seen a lot of service, I bought a torch with a gas valve built in for $40. I had already installed that but I still needed to change the argon supply hose and the power cable around. I made some tubes for storing my filler rods previously but I think next up I should make a rack for them. I'll then have everything pretty much in order to switch back and forth from TIG to stick easily and efficiently. Plus, I'll be much more inclined to actually get something done if I don't have to spend 10 minutes fiddle-fartin' around every time I need to tack something together.

The new bike parts are due today so I'll be back on that project. Looks like more rain on the way - might as well spend some time in the shop - after I set up the MP3 speakers, that is.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Painting


Centerstand and brackets all painted and what's more, so's the house. Well almost. One more window to trim out and I'll be able to call it done. I should have finished it yesterday but the shadows were getting long and the sash brush was in the freezer so I called it a day. But not Farmer Zach.


He showed up about the time I was climbing down off the big extension ladder and went to work picking corn. I've only got a few acres so it doesn't take very long to pick it. I like the privacy when the fields are in corn plus the corn blocks a lot of the road noise - I imagine the neighbors will all wish they had a front yard full of corn when I fire up that Harley with those drag pipes. Probably won't be any worse than the neighbor kid with the Jap bike. Every time he starts it up it's a race between the tachometer and the oil pressure gauge and then he's off to the races. Four into one with an open header, bless his heart.

I've got one more week and then I start working only two days per week at the college. That should allow me to get a few things done. Looks like I'll only be teaching one class the first eight weeks of the Spring semester. That'll almost be like full time retirement. I was going to sign up for the CNC machining course but they cancelled it for now. Looks like the equipment won't be in place by then. I've decided to get my ham radio license in the meantime. Use to be you had to learn Morse code - not the case anymore. The beginning or Technician license is a 35 question written test and there are study guides available. I should be able to handle that without too much difficulty. After all those years in college I'm pretty good at studying for tests.

Now it's time to watch the Chicago Marathon, then paint a window, maybe weld up some aluminum, maybe put the centerstand under the Sportster, maybe watch the Bears. As long as the painting gets done - not too concerned about anything else today. 




Keep on a rockin'.






Saturday, October 11, 2014

Center Stand


Thursday I put the newly welded and repaired clutch release lever inside the case and hooked up the new clutch cable to it. The manual calls for centering up the release lever on the mating part in the case and then taking all the slack out of the cable, which means the other end of the cable has to be connected to the lever on the handle bar. OK, I can do that. Except the hole on the lever where it pivots is pretty sloppy as is the hole where the little gizmo the inner cable connects to goes. Since I'm in this deep, might as well spring for a new lever and be done with it. And as long as I'm ordering parts, might as well get the chrome rocker shaft nuts too. What the hell, get a new chrome rear brake rod and lever also. Since I'm going to be working on the rear brake and I can't finish up the clutch, might as well check out the center stand, right?

That's it in the photo. Simplicity itself. The stand is cast aluminum and it pivots on the two brackets. On the right side of the bike the same two bolts that hold the exhaust pipe bracket also hold one of the center stand brackets. The other side is a straight up bolt on but I had to run to the hardware store again for a couple of 3/8" fine thread bolts and lock nuts. I painted the brackets and the stand so it's ready to bolt on. When I get that on I can pull the rear wheel and bead blast the backing plate. That'll actually be the trial run for the blast cabinet. It'll be good to know how well the vacuum set-up I put together works. 

I'm hoping to finish up the house painting today. I've just got a bit of trim to scrape and paint. That'll be another one off the list. And before the snow flies too!