Tuesday, June 21, 2016

News From the Home Front

Photo From Here
I think that's the color that at least some of mine was at one time. That's a '72 Super in the photo. Not bad looking. Not exactly the same as the Riv but I could live with that.

It's been pretty hot around here of late - slowed my progress down a bit. Once the weather hits 90, the old boy needs to throttle back a notch or two. Of course, it's not near as bad as those poor bastards out west are having it. 120 degrees! No way I'd live out there, dry heat or not. When Jimmy fought in Oklahoma a few years ago it had been over 100 degrees for something like 30 days in a row. It was like an oven. Even though you were sweating, you never got wet because it evaporated just as fast as you pumped it out. Just about impossible to get anything done, even working nights.

I did get most of the driver's side floor welded up. I still have to weld in the seat mount and a little bit on the bottom of the rocker panel. I'll get that finished up this week. I'm now working on a couple of brackets to mount the rearview mirror. I bought one of the long ones with 5 or 6 panels that runs the full length of the car over the dash - like the local stock car boys used to run.

I dusted off the 900 and diddled with it a bit. I need to get the seat mounted up. I stared at it long enough that I think I've got it figured out. The stock mounts have been cut off the frame and I don't have the mating parts that bolt to the seat bottom either. With a little bit of luck, might have that taken care of this week also.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Driver's Side III


Here's a shot between the door opening and the rear wheel. I cut away about 4" of the outer skin and the part of the rocker panel that hides the heater channel and has the mating surface for the lower flange on the outer skin. 


And here's the new replacement metal for the inside. I made it in two pieces figuring it would be a lot easier than trying to get everything measured up and fitting on the money. Fits good now and I've got a nice straight surface to weld the flange of the outer skin to later. If you look closely at the right side of the photo, you can see more rust holes on what makes up the inner fender. I think I'll hold off on that part until I get a fender so I can align everything as it should be. The car came with plastic Baja fenders but I won't be using those. I'll get some real steel ones back on it. Actually, I'm planning on frenching in the taillights so I'd like to get an earlier Beetle fender that doesn't have the big ass taillight hole like the Super Beetle has. I'm not sure what fits what, however. I'll get that figured out and get a pair one of these days soon.


Here I'm trial fitting everything prior to welding. Seat fits, all the holes line up on the floor pans, all the paint is ground off where I have to weld - so it's ready to go together as soon as I pick up a tube of silicon caulk. I need to take care of some other business today, so I don't know how much I'll get done, but most of the hard work is done.

If you want to do this kind of stuff, you sure need a lot of tools. Hammers, chisels, punches, grinders, drills, snips, files, layout tools, sheet metal brake, Cleco fasteners, and various other hand tools along with your PPE. I'm pretty much good on the tools now except for a shear. I cut the strips for the bottom of the rocker at work on the "stomp" shear to get nice straight cuts without any distortion. I don't really have room for one of those even if I did find a good deal on one. I would like to have a Beverly shear. A model B-2 would be perfect for my needs - could've used it several times on this job. I might look into getting one before I start on the hot rod project. 

Now that the floor is just about done, I think I'll see about working on the dash and cleaning up the area behind the seats. I'm not planning on running a back seat but I am planning on a roll cage. I've got the main hoop ready to go. I can get that tacked in and then see what I need to strengthen the floor where the rear tubes will go. Finally coming together.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Driver's Side II


I've been hitting it pretty hard lately. I got the floor pan on the driver's side removed and the rust holes in the bulkhead and inner rocker panel repaired. The bottom of the rocker is a flat sheet that has nuts welded to it on the inside that the floor pan bolts to. Where the pan itself bolts up to it is in pretty good shape but the couple of inches sticking out that's exposed to the elements has some serious rust issues. I'm going to grind out the spot welds on the outer edge and then cut that part out. I'll fit a new piece that I'll weld in along the outer edge but will just lay over the top of where the pan bolts up after punching some holes in it for the bolts. The floor pan will squeeze it all together nicely and with a big gob of silicon caulk between the floor pan and the bottom of the rocker, I shouldn't have too much of an issue with water getting in where it doesn't belong.


Here's the bracket for the jack. I cut it off the old pan and ran it through the bead blaster. Cleaned up nicely, but more importantly, even though it was pretty humid out when I did it, no more problem with water in the lines since I put the better water trap on the blast cabinet. 

I knew I was going to have to patch some things but I wasn't planning on replacing the bottom of the rocker. Might be a little tricky for me to get the floor completed this week with the extra work but I'm making good progress. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, the last time I did any work on the floor was right before I had the heart attack - four years ago - so it's definitely time to get crackin'. I've got one more spot on the outside of the body that needs some replacement metal. Actually it's a spot about six inches tall from the rear edge of the door back into the inner fender. So it's more than just a little patch but after that, mostly mechanical things. There's a lot of that, but again, I'm pretty happy with what I've accomplished of late - especially with what's gone on around here the last four years. Heart attacks, broken bones and cancer have a tendency to slow production down a bit.


My buddy, the Ducati singles specialist, brought me a little work to do. Primary cover off a 250. You can see the scuffed up spot in the photo. There's a couple of spider cracks that need a little T-L-C with the T-I-G. This will be an easy one. They use a good grade of aluminum in these things. Cut a little groove with the die grinder, fill it back in. Nothing to it.

School is going well, the Missus is getting stronger all the time and I'm getting things done on the projects. Life is good around here. Seems like all hell has broke loose everywhere else, however. Might be time to string the concertina wire around the perimeter and just hunker down - probably get more done that way anyhow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Progressive Education

Photo From Here

I finished this one the other day. When the subject of Progressive Education comes up, I would think that most people think of some type of touchy-feely crap or associate the word progressive with current political views. However, Progressive Education goes way back. The authors go into some history of the Progressive Education movement and names like Froebel, Montessori, Pestalozzi come up, along with one of the big headliners in this country, John "Learn by Doing" Dewey. Having a couple of education degrees, I was pretty familiar with the history of the movement as well as most of the people named. I was a little fuzzy on Col. Francis Parker, though - probably because the last time I had heard of him was circa 1978.

The book is short and sweet. Tom Little is the main author and he was the headmaster of a progressive school out in California prior to his passing away due to cancer. In addition to some history of the Progressive movement, he describes how his school operates and tosses out ideas as to how by following the Progressive blueprint for education, America's schools could be improved. He draws these ideas not just from his school but also from other schools following a progressive plan. One of the other schools he visited for the book was the Putney School. I mentioned the Putney School shortly after starting the blog. If I was going to start my own school, it would be one of the first places I would look to for a model of how education should be done. 

If you are a student of the art of education or you just want to know what can be done to improve education in mainstream schools, I'd give Loving Learning a look.

On a related note, I was watching the Chicago news a week or so back and a young man with MS set as his goal, not only to graduate from high school but to leave his wheel chair and walk across the stage to get his diploma. While they were relating the story of how his teachers and coaches worked with him to achieve the goal, I was thinking there had to be a shop teacher in there somewhere. Sure enough, they interviewed a vocational educator who was involved in making up some equipment for his therapy work. Coaches and shop teachers - they rock, and so does that young man!



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Driver's Side


I've got a good beginning on the driver's side floor pan replacement. The pan is spot welded along the tunnel in about a million places. I've got most of it removed as you can see in the photo. The outer edge is bolted to the underside of the car, so it's pretty straight forward to remove. I'm not sure how the pedals attach, so the front section will probably be the last thing I tackle. Low hanging fruit and all that.

Depending on the weather and a few other things, I'm hoping to have the new sections tacked in by the end of the week. That might be a little ambitious but once I get the old pan removed it shouldn't be too tricky installing the new one. It goes pretty fast when you don't have to keep an eye on the high school kids or stop what you're doing to fix a desk or something else.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Gordie Howe

Photo From Here

When I was a kid growing up I used to watch the Blackhawks on Channel 9 and I'd get to see Gordie Howe every once in a while when the Hawks played the Redwings. Man, that guy was a great player, some would say The greatest. Played for 5 decades in the NHL and held most of the scoring records until Gretzky came along. Also had his namesake hat-trick: a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. Most all my heroes from my younger days are either gone or soon will be. While that's the natural order of things, sad to see it happen just the same. 

Rest In Peace Mr. Hockey.

Dashboard & Floorboard


I've been working on the dash layout for the VW. I ordered a couple of switches and a book on wiring from Speedway Motors. Even though the VW wiring will be pretty simple, I figured the book wouldn't hurt, plus I've got my hot rod project down the road that will be a complete rewire as well. What you see in the photo is pretty close to everything that needs to be wired - ignition switch, starter button, headlights, wipers and horn. The indicator lights and fuel level are in the speedo. I've got an after market turn signal flasher mounted on the steering column already. I'm still a long way off before I start connecting wires but I'm concentrating on getting everything I'm going to need in house so it will be here when I'm ready. Which means I need to get a piece of metal to make the dash. Onlinemetals has a piece about the right size of .050" aluminum 5052 alloy for $27.00. I'll get the credit card paid off for this month and then get a piece ordered.


If you look closely at the left side of the door frame, you can see a patch of green paint. It's been scuffed when I was sanding so it's not glossy but it's a nice looking green. Pretty similar to the Riviera color. I checked the stock Super Beetle colors and there was a solid dark green available but no light green metallic that I could find for a '74. I had to head north the other day and I was checking the colors of cars and trucks in the car lots and on the road. I didn't see but a couple of green vehicles. Now days it's primarily black, white and silver with the occasional red, blue and gray ones thrown in. The only problem is that real nice paint deserves better body work than I was planning on doing. We'll see.

I got the rivets drilled out and the sheet metal removed from on top of the driver's side floor pan. I've got a bit of cleaning up around the edges where it's covered with tar, fiberglass, etc. When I get it cleaned up I'll be able to locate the factory spot welds to get those drilled/ground out. It's supposed to get hot today, however. Might be a good time to tackle something inside the shack.


When Cuzzin Ricky and I were at the Silver Crown races at Terre Haute earlier this year, we saw this old dog. Pretty rough shape and craftsmanship - lots of "cobby" stick welds on the frame. However, it was entered in the Sprint car race at Kokomo last weekend -  started from the back and ran a few laps until it was about to get passed by the leaders and then pulled off the track to get out of everyone's way. Be a fun way to get out on a race track and turn some laps. I'd like to try my hand in a midget or sprint car sometime. They look like a total gas to drive - that is until they get upside down. I can live without that. Cuzzin Ricky called the other day and after perusing the schedule, he's thinking of putting together a "two-fer" during Sprint Car Week next month. Even if I can't get in one, they sure are fun to watch.