Saturday, July 30, 2011


One wall up,
one ready to go.

The walls are going back up, finally. My buddy Kevin came by the other morning and gave me a hand standing up the back wall and moving the freezer for the laundry room job. I got the south wall nailed together today and patched up a spot on the laundry room floor that needed a little attention before the tile guys get here on Monday. Tomorrow I'll try and get the north wall put together, move all the appliances and get the remaining linoleum and carpet up that's under them. I'll see if I can get some people scheduled for next week to give me a hand standing the north and south walls up, as well as building the east wall. It's going to take some muscle to lift up the header over the big doors. Hopefully, I'll have the lifting beams done by then so they can give me a hand sliding those under the top section. I should be able to jack them up into place by myself - maybe need one other pair of hands.

It's been a lot of work to get to this point. We had another big storm the other day and I thought about what would happen if I got to the same point in the construction process and a big storm hit again. I'm going to make sure I've got plenty of bracing on things before the top goes back on. I think I'll take some of the old 2x4 purlins from the first go-round and use those as diagonal braces on the sides. I'll screw them into the top and bottom plates as well as the studs. That should prevent the thing from racking out of shape if we do get a big blow. There's a 2x4 purlin around the bottom plate to fasten the siding to. I think I'm going to replace that with a 2x6, at least on the back wall. The extra width will let me fasten the double bottom plate and the studs together. That will help prevent the studs from pulling off the plate as well. That's what happened last time. When the wind blew, it racked out of shape and pulled the nails out of the end of the studs and down she came. Of course, if the siding would have been on, I probably would have been OK. I'm not taking any chances this time, though. It'll be hell for strong.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lifting Beam

Lifting Beam

I'm taking a little break before I head to the gym. I got one of the lifting beams finished this morning. Thirty feet long and about 250 -300 lbs. I welded up the splice on the second plate before I came home for lunch so I'm ready to go on that one next time I head over to school. I got the back wall of the barn put together yesterday but it's a little too big for me to stand up by myself. Surly's supposed to drop the grand kids off this evening and maybe give me a little help on things depending on time and weather. It'll only take five minutes to stand the wall up - I've got the braces ready to go and everything. When I get that one up, I'll start on the side walls. I've got the south wall laid out except for a short piece of the top plate. I think I've got just about everything I need now to finish the job except a new service door and the replacement sheet metal. I might have to get some more 2x4's for the purlins but I'm closing in on it. The only other big financial outlay will be the wrecker bill. If that goes as planned, hang the siding before the wind blows it down again.

Started pulling up carpet and linoleum after lunch. That's going to be a real pain in the ass. I got everything up in the laundry room except for what's under the appliances. I'll take care of that Sunday after we get everything washed and dried. Just need to have it ship shape by Monday morning. Depending on the weather and the grandsons, I'll be working on a wall, carpeting, all or none of the above tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Plates Are Done

I was able to borrow a mag drill, so I got my plates drilled for the lifting cradle. It just so happens a former student was kind enough to loan me one. It's good to have friends - thanks Dave. I'm baby sitting again today, so I won't see much progress today but I might be able to get to the lumber yard for some studs and layout the back wall. I've got a dentist appointment later in the day so that will rule out any work this evening. I would like to get at least one wall up this week. I need to get a material list and get the remaining lumber out to the house. I'll have them deliver the long 2x12's for the lifting cradle and then load them up on a trailer and get them over to school to finish the beams for that part of the job. I'm going to need plenty of muscle for the front wall with that big header, so I'd like to have the beams done and on site so I can have some help sliding them under the roof section while I've got the manpower.

I need to get the appliances out of the laundry room and kitchen and the carpet torn out this week to be ready for the tile guys next week. I might see about starting that today. I can do some of that while the boys are here, I think. I'll just play it by ear and do what I can, either inside or out depending on the weather and the grandsons.

Jimmy just got back from the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame. He and I might be going there to do some promotional thing later this year. The Hall of Fame is located where William Muldoon trained John L. Sullivan himself for the last Bare Knuckle Championship.. We'll stay in the barn where they trained and Jimmy will train using some of Muldoon's training methods. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Actually it sounds more like a camping trip - not exactly posh living quarters - but fun just the same. One more reason why I need to see some progress on the barn.

Lots to do and summer break is fast slipping away. I'll keep plugging away at the projects and take what I get. I was doing real good on finishing things until the barn crashed. It'll all be worth it once it's done, though.

Saturday, July 23, 2011



Clip Angles

Cradle Plates

I'm officially retired as the County Fair blacksmith. I handed in my key to the shop after finishing up Friday. It's just too much work and too much time, for too few people. I did see a few people on Friday, however. A couple of families with some kids and an individual who stuck around and talked for quite awhile. He's building a replica of Elwood Haynes' first motorcar. He also raises Talapia and sounds like he dabbles in all sorts of alternative energy/recycling projects. Naturally enough, he touched on WTSHTF scenarios - you can't be working on alternative energy and self-sufficiency here in the Midwest without a little bit of the New World Order or Zombies creeping into the conversation. Interesting guy, just the same.

The tractor photos above show a couple of former students lining up for the tractor parade they have every year. A couple of good ones right there. The other photos show the clip angles and plates for the lifting cradle.

The plates will get sandwiched between a couple of 2x12's to make up a pair of beams that will run the length of the building. The clip angles will allow me to bolt cross ties to the beams for spreaders. Unfortunately my magnetic drill quit working and the part to fix it is no longer available. The guy is checking to see if something else will cross reference. If not, instead of an eighty-five dollar part, I'll have to buy a new drill motor for about $600.00. I'm not liking that idea. I called around and none of the rental places have a mag drill and the pieces are too big for me to be man-handling around by myself under the drill press or the iron worker. I'll see what the guy comes up with for parts first. You would think that Milwaukee Electric Tools would make an armature that would fit the thing. I don't know if anyone could rewind it, and if so, what that would cost. I can't see me drilling all those holes with a hand drill, though.

The Missus and I are doing some baby-sitting next week, plus we're getting new tile in the kitchen and laundry room the following week. I can save a few bucks by moving the appliances and ripping out the old carpet myself, so I won't have a lot of time for the barn project between the grandkids and floor prep. I've only got three weeks of vacation left. It's looking like I'll be lucky to have the barn at the same stage it was before summer started. Regardless, it'll get done.
Hopefully, before the snow flies.

Enjoy the weekend, it's supposed to cool down a little here. Lets hope so.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fair Days

Working the Blacksmith Shop again. I'm thinking this is going to be my fairwell tour (I know I misspelled farewell, it's a joke). It's too damn hot and too much work for the amount of traffic that goes through there. I saw a grand total of three people on Monday and not much better on Tuesday. I had a couple of friends stop by both days to say hi, but hardly any actual fair traffic. It was pretty slow last year as well.

I did get my pork burger and pork tenderloin sandwiches already, though. The Farm Bureau sells a chocolate shake for two bucks that I got on my way out yesterday. So I've pretty much hit the high spots.

They've got some nice tractors on display again this year. The Allis in the picture is just like the one my brother used to have - WD 45 Diesel. I really enjoyed driving that thing. The Minneapolis-Moline has been fitted with a GMC 4-53 Diesel. They did a nice job of putting that engine in. It looks like it belongs. I'm assuming they pull with it judging by the size of the tires on it.

There's a log cabin a couple of buildings away from the Blacksmith Shop and I went down that way today to eat my tenderloin under the shade tree. I went inside and noticed that they had a fireplace but no tools, so as soon as the fire got going I made them a poker. Nothing fancy but it fits with the log cabin era. I made myself a little knife today as well. I picked up a piece of antler a couple of years ago, figuring I'd get around to making a knife to go with it some day. Yesterday was the day. I haven't been making anything like that because of the little chilluns that come around but since there hasn't been anyone at all coming around, seemed like a good time. It needs some finishing work but it's about 80%. Not sure what I'm going to do today but I've got a few small things to work on. Fortunately the temperature is supposed to stop climbing before it hits 100. With the heat index it should be about like it was in Oklahoma. It was 105 in the corner of the shop away from the forge yesterday. That's with a window fan between it and the heat source. Gotta be 120 when you get up close to the forge.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oklahoma Recap

Only in the West

Stretch limo made from a dually. This was at the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. I found it rather ironic that they named an airport for a guy who died in a plane crash.

4-8-2 Baldwin

Almost a million pounds with loaded tender. The St. Louis-San Francisco Railway bought thirty of these. This is one of the six survivors. Lots of scrap iron here. This one ran up to 1960, I believe.

American Bison

This was inside the city park but they have a wildlife park outside of town that has buffalo, elk, deer, and longhorn cattle. I would have liked to have spent a little time there. Maybe when it was a little cooler, however. That 100 plus heat kind of takes the fun out of tramping around outside.

Native Dancer

He performs a dance in the ring before The Comanche Boy enters.

George "The Comanche Boy" Tahdooahnippah

George was kind enough to pose for a photo after wrapping his hands and getting gloved up.

Jimmy "The Fighting School Teacher" Holmes

Here's Jimmy after gloving up with his "game face" on.

The Winner

The referee raising George's hand in victory. Not at all what we came to Oklahoma for but that's the old fight game.

Jimmy and I had a little debriefing Sunday morning and Jack and Karen, his trainer and cut man, and I talked a little as well. I think we came up with a couple of things that, looking back, could have affected Jimmy's performance and how to make sure things go better in the future. With a knockout comes a 45 day mandatory suspension, so Jimmy will have a little time to rest, recover from the hard training, and then move ahead once again.

It was a good trip. Everyone treated us real well in Oklahoma and I got a chance to rest for the first time since school was out. Other than that one left hook, it went well. Now it's blacksmithing time. Still not sure what the heck I'm going to do when I show up there today but I'll come up with something. It's going to be in the 90's with a chance of rain, so I don't expect a lot of traffic anyway.

Have a good week - try to stay cool.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not Exactly as Planned

The fight was over in the second round when both Jimmy and his opponent threw left hooks at the same time. Unfortunately, The Comanche Boy landed first and caught Jimmy flush and down he went. Jimmy was up by the eight count but the referee did the right thing and stopped the contest because Jimmy was pretty rubber legged still. Jimmy never got into a rythym in the fight. Had it lasted a couple more rounds, I think he would have settled down and taken control. In fact, The Comanche Boy injured his right arm just prior to hitting Jimmy with the left hook, so he would have to have finished the fight using mostly left hands. I'm not taking anything away from The Comanche Boy, he's the real deal. In fact, having spent a little time observing him wrap his hands and seeing how he carried himself after the fight, he seems like a really nice young man. Actually, he and Jimmy would probably get along just fine. Two, nice young men chasing their dreams.

Jimmy was naturally down on himself after the fight, but sometimes it just doesn't go your way. I'm not sure what's next for him but I'll be there in the corner for him, one way or the other.

So now I go back to being barn repairman and, for a week, blacksmith. Not sure what I'm going to make at the fair this week - haven't given it much thought at all. Maybe I can do a little mental smithing on the plane ride home and come up with something. It's supposed to be in the 90's from what I've seen on the TV. Better than 110 but the humidity is going to be much worse than the dry, desert heat here in OK. Maybe just make some little doo-dads and try and stay cool.

Home in a few hours. Always good to go, always better to come home.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fight Time

Fight's start in about six hours and I'm killin' more time. I managed to get to the museum today. Jimmy, his wife and a couple of friends went out for lunch so they dropped me off and I looked around while they ate lunch. Not as much to see as I would have thought at the Comanche history museum but there was another one on the same grounds so I checked that out quickly. They have a big Baldwin locomotive that used to run on the Frisco Line and a stockade settlement with a couple of interpreters. I talked a little blacksmithing while sweating my ass off. They set a record here yesterday - 110 degrees. They've had 24 days in a row of triple digit temperatures with no relief in sight. It'll be at least 30 days according to the weather forecast.

Jimmy came in at exactly 160 yesterday. He was hungry as a bear after the weigh-in, of course, so we went to Luigi's (If you're ever in Lawton, Oklahoma, I highly recommend them. I had some great tortellini). He should be plenty hydrated by fight time. He's been drinking water and Gator-Ade pretty much non-stop since the weigh-in. He's taking a little nap now. I'm officially licensed by the Comanche Nation to work the corner, by the way. I always worry prior to a fight about him getting hurt but the heat is adding to my worries this time. He's in great shape but it's going to be hot. It's bad enough fighting an excellent opponent but fighting the heat at the same time will be extra tough. I have all the faith in the world in him, though. I know he'll give it his all and what more can you ask? He did make the 10:00 PM news last night. They had a quick blurb about the fight and they showed Jimmy and Comanche Boy facing off at the press conference. He was in today's paper as well. Big star, that boy. Maybe even bigger after tonight. I'd like to be able to carry that belt home for him.

Wish us luck!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Killing Time

I'm killing time here in Lawton, Oklahoma waiting for Jimmy's weigh-in at 6:00. He was still about a pound over this morning so he might have to sweat out a little this afternoon. Shouldn't be too hard, they're talking a high today of 107. It was about the same yesterday and the weatherman is looking for the same tomorrow. He fights at about 10:00 PM, so it should be cooled down to about 80 by then. He's fighting outside, so let's hope there's a little breeze.

The flight out of Chicago to Oklahoma City went well. They checked my bag out at security. I think it was the little travel clock that did it. It's a little unusual, probably not what they see every day. The casino sent a car to pick us up from the Will Roger's airport. The driver filled us in on some local history and what have you on the drive - made for a nice trip. The speed limit on the turnpike is 75 and if you have a Pikepass, you can shoot around the toll both at 75 as well. Never saw a sign that said Ramp 75 before.

I walked down to the Harley dealer just down the road from the motel this morning. I haven't been in a Harley dealer for awhile. Basically a few Sportster models and big inch stuff in the show room and lots and lots of clothing and accessories so you can live the biker lifestyle you've always aspired to. 25 large for the one Electra Glide I looked at. While not out of line for a top of the line touring rig, I'm afraid that would put a dent in my lifestyle. If I have to choose between a big ticket item like that and working a few more years, that's a no brainer for me. I need to call it quits.

There's a museum of Comanche history here I'd like to visit. Maybe in the morning I can get a chance to get over there. The casino said to give them a call if we need a ride someplace and they'd take care of us. Jimmy's wife drove down, so I could borrow her car also.

I sketched out some drawings for my lifting cradle this morning. I think I've got the details pretty well worked out. I'll see if I can't get going on that a little next week. Nice to have a little down time.

Keep the home fires burning, Baby. Be home soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Motorcycle Dreams

Found these at 8 Negro. The site is in Spanish but the pictures of the bikes and girls don't really need much of an explanation. I've been dealing with the motorcycle Jones all summer. Since the barn project is pretty much going to rule out me working on my bike projects, I'm real close to just throwing the money down and buying something. I've been looking at a small bike that will give me decent mileage and not cost an arm and a leg. There's not much out there in the 500 cc category anymore. There are a few 250 street bikes and then it's pretty much 600 sport bike @ $10,000 or more. When I was just out of high school, my 250 Harley was stolen and I wanted to move up to a Triumph 500. It was a beautiful bike but since I was using the old man's wheels, he figured I should buy a car and not another bike. So that was the end of the Triumph plan.

However, now I can afford a new Triumph but I'm basically too cheap to spring for the Thruxton or the Bonneville. I've got a shop full of motorcycles, so it's hard to justify buying anything, period. I did put $100.00 worth of gas in the truck this morning and the pump shut off before the tank was full. Something that gets 70 - 80 mpg, gets me around town and back and forth to work could actually come close to paying for itself. Instead of $200.00 per month for fuel, I could get around for $50.00. You could just about make a payment on the gas savings. It would save the wear and tear on the pick up and make it last a few more years. It's not worth anything on trade now, so I'll be looking at the whole enchilada when I'm ready for a new one. What's that going to cost -$25 - 30, 000 in a couple of years? Am I'm just talking bare bones.

Honda's got a new 250 street bike for $4000 and Kawasaki has the 250 Ninja for the same price. The local dealer has a leftover model Yamaha 250 Supermoto looking thing that looks pretty cool. 70 mpg, six speed tranny, fuel injection and it sits tall, so I'd fit on it. All three of these are cheaper than a Vespa. Real motorcycle, scooter price. I'd still like to have a Guzzi, though.

Enough of the dreaming, back to work. I picked up the steel for the lifting cradle yesterday. Need to get the print drawn up for that. I got my helper lined up to cover my shift at the county fair on Sunday. We took the tools and supplies down, so he's ready to go. I got some grass cut and piddled around in the shop at home doing some clean up. So a pretty productive day. Similar kind of thing on tap for today, as well.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Playing Possum

When I went out to feed the animals this morning I found an opossum in the trap that we set for the mink. This was just a little one. I turned it loose figuring if I get around to putting some smaller mesh wire up it won't be able to get back in. They're ugly little things but they don't bother anything that I'm aware of. I've had them get into the chicken coop before and they just eat the chicken feed, not the chickens.

I did manage to get a little work done on my low rider chalet. I finished up the plate on the bottom of the lid/roof section. Didn't get much else done due to a big storm. We got some serious rain for a couple of minutes but Chicago and vicinity got 50 mph winds. Nothing like what we got when the barn came down but a bunch of people were without power up that way.

My next step is to jack the roof section back up and get the wheels out from under it. I can then work on the lifting cradle. The Building Trades instructor came by and we decided to tackle the walls after I finish up the stint at the blacksmith shop. I should have some progress made on the cradle by then. Might be able to get the thing back together and sheeted before school starts. I would like a little vacation before school starts. But I would also like to have the barn back together.

Talking some rain coming back in tonight and tomorrow - about 40% chance. Hopefully, I'll be able to work on something barn related tomorrow. Have to play it by ear.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Barn Progress

Day Lilies
Are Enjoying the Weather

Pad All Cleaned Up

I got the floor of the barn all swept up - no more leaves, sticks or nails - on Saturday. By the time I got home from the gym and had a bite to eat it was pretty warm so I took it kind of easy and just did the clean up and a couple of little odds and ends.

Today I got after the sill plates and the top and bottom plates of the walls. For those of you unfamiliar with framing techniques of walls, there is a sill (mud) plate anchored to the blocks and the bottom of the wall has a plate that the studs are nailed to that sits on top of the sill plate. Likewise the top of the wall has a double set of plates. One has the studs nailed to it forming the top of the wall and then another plate goes on top of that one. The uppermost plate joins the corners of the building together by overlapping the adjacent wall and bridges across any splices in the plate below it when you have walls longer than available length lumber. The trusses or rafters then sit on top of the top double plate. Hard to describe but simple to construct.

When the barn went down, it pulled the studs loose from the plates so I had two plates fastened to the blocks on the bottom and two plates fastened to the bottom of the trusses on top. In order to rebuild the walls, I need to have one plate only on the bottom and the top. So today I pulled the top plate off the bottom and the bottom plate off the top. Probably makes no sense reading it but makes a lot of sense if you want to build new walls. Any way, I got the bottom all taken care of and three sides of the top done. So I'm about ready to build some walls.

The Building Trades instructor is supposed to come by tomorrow to give me a hand. However, the weatherman is talking some rain in the forecast, so we'll have to see what gets done. He's going out of town right after I go out of town so it might be difficult for us to get much done but while he's out of town and I'm doing my blacksmithing stint, I can be working on the lifting cradle. I only work half a day at the fair, so I should be able to make a little progress on the barn.

I moved the staircase to clean up the pad and it's bent up a little more than I originally thought so it's probably going back to school to get straightened out. The barn photo was taken about 7:00 pm and it was still about 85 out. I'm not sure how hot it got today but I'm glad I don't have to work out in the heat on a regular basis. I've done my fair share of of it over the years - spent many a summer in welding shops - and I don't miss it at all. With all the sweating, jumping over and crawling under, I have toned up the old muscles a little. That's a plus. And the day lilies seem to be enjoying the weather. The weeds also. The garden's almost beyond salvation, I'm afraid. It's time to cut the grass again too. Oh well, at least with the barn project, I can see the progress.

Have a good week - be cool.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Going Mobile

The top of the barn has moved! It took about 4 hours this morning of cleaning up, building ramps and rigging but it moved just like I planned it. In fact, once I had it down off the blocks I could roll it myself. Of course, this only reinforced my fear of it running away from me once it got on the ramps. If you look at the right side of the photo, you can see the old Allis back there. I used the tractor as an anchor and hooked a chain and a come-a-long between it and the barn. I did the same thing in the front with the pickup as the anchor. I pulled it tight in the front, loosened the back and repeated the process about a dozen times 'til I had it on the flat. As me ole' grandpappy used to say: "Slicker than snot on a doorknob".

The Missus came out while I was doing the deed and she asked where I got all the chain from. I did borrow a piece from my shop at school but technically, that one belongs to me as well. I was thinking about the same thing myself the other day while I was gearing up for this job. I got lucky with the axles but other than some hardware, the only thing I had to buy to pull this off was another length of air hose. Not many guys have 150 feet of air hose and extension cords, two floor jacks, impact wrench, thread chasers for the U-bolts on the axles, and all the carpenter tools to do this thing, plus have the ability to shorten the axles and engineer the whole job. And if you look in the foreground of the photo, you can see my old green hard hat from my days as a millwright. That's an essential piece of equipment when crawling around underneath the lid to a barn.

The point of all this is not to blow my own horn (even though I did give myself an "Atta Boy") but to point out that if you pay attention and you work around this kind of stuff for a number of years, first of all you'll be amazed at all the tools and equipment you accumulate, and secondly, you'll reach a point where even if you've never done something before, you've probably seen it done or know somebody who has done it. And even if none of that holds true, you'll just say screw it, I'll give it a go. Surly made himself a Garagemobile a couple of years back, and he'd never done anything like that before. A good solid mechanical background and a little help from his friends and it was done. The thing of it is, guys used to do this kind of stuff all the time. Lots of farmers still do. There is no app for your cool as hell cell phone that will get it done no matter how many damn "G's" you got on your wireless network, though. You have to get up off the couch and build things. Use your brain, use your hands, use your back. And when appropriate, seek advice and mechanical advantage.

So now it's clean up the newly exposed barn floor, prepare the sill plates, build some walls and be thinking about lifting the lid back on. I hope to be building walls next week but of course, that's always weather dependent. I'm heading to Oklahoma at the end of the week for Jimmy's fight and I'm working the blacksmith shop at the fair again the week after, so barn time is going to be at a premium. I'm about 90% on the plans for the lifting cradle. I need to have a little think time to make some sketches and then I can start on that part of the job. I figured if the first part didn't go well, no point in worrying about the second part. Now I can start to worry.

Weekend's just about here - enjoy it. I'm going into this one feeling pretty good.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Moving Soon?

What a great photograph!

I went into the darkroom the other night to print out a few photos from my Italy trip and nothing seemed to work quite right. It's been awhile since I've done any printing and because my darkroom isn't really dark, I have to wait until about 9:30 before I get started. With everything I've been trying to get accomplished around here lately, I thought it might be a good way to relax and enjoy a quiet evening doing something creative. No such luck. I got a few prints made but I'm not really happy with the way they came out. I think I'll wait until the barn's got the lid back on it before I try again.

Didn't get much done yesterday because the Missus and I were watching the grandkids but I'm planning on hitting it again today. With a little bit of luck, I'll at least have the wheels under it. If so, rig it up for rolling and see if it moves. I hope this works as planned, I'm getting a little nervous about the whole affair.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tires and Axles

Worked on the axles for the barn move yesterday a little bit. I started with the tires since all of them were flat and had come off the bead. I took the Spanish Windlass approach to reseating the bead. Most of them popped right back on. A couple needed the rim sanded a little to get them to quit leaking, a couple needed a little soap suds to get them to pop back on and one has a hole in it. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the little darlings didn't take a drill to it while it was in the Construction Lab. So I need to take that one up town and get it plugged and then I'll have eight tires that hold air.

I made the new spring perches from a piece of 1-1/2" tubing. Layed them out, drilled a hole for the spring center pin, cut the bottom off the tubing and the rounded hole with the plasma cutter and then cut them apart on the chop saw. I touched up the rounded hole with the 4" grinder to get them to lay down nice on the axle and they were done. It's hard for me to get nice freehand cuts with the plasma. It's just a little too fast for me. I used a straight edge when cutting the bottom of the tube off and it went slick as a whistle. I just tried to stay on the inside of the line when doing the round hole, figuring I'd grind the rough stuff.

Tacking the perches on the axles was easy enough. As you can see in the photo, I only had to move the perch over a few inches but it needed to be on the same center spacing as the trusses. The axles are undercoated which has to be removed before any welding can be done. Blast that off with the torch, drop the perch on the axle and tack it on with the MIG. So the two easy ones are done. I need to shorten the other two so they'll roll through the door openings. Not too tough but needs to get done soon. Might be able to roll the top of the barn clear of everything Wednesday. Only have to go 12 feet but the last few are going to be downhill. Need to keep it from crashing into the back of the tractor. Been thinking about that. Maybe tie it off to the truck. I'd rather it didn't get away from me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Just a Quickie

I really need to work on that, myself.

A couple of interesting things to pass along:

Mike Rowe on You Tube This guy is fast becoming my number one hero. The video is about eight minutes long as he makes a presentation to the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee about six weeks ago. Get yourself a cold drink, sit down and watch it. If you follow this blog, it's something you should see.

The State of Indiana has announced that it's no longer necessary to teach writing, as in cursive, to elementary school students. Apparently there just isn't enough time what with all the testing and computing to be farting around with Spencerian Script or the Palmer Method or American Cursive writing. So now the little darlings will be able to text message and slaughter the English language with all the abbreviations, acronyms and symbols but won't be able to read John Hancock's John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence or any number of hand written documents without a translator. It makes me just want to lol. :)

The Month at the Museum is back. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is once again looking for someone to do a thirty day sleepover. I applied last year but I'm taking a pass this time. The application is due July 22 and I've got my hands full trying to get somewhat caught up here. I did have a lot of fun working on the video and writing the essay last year. And I really wanted to spend the night in the submarine. But not this time. However, that doesn't mean you can't apply. You can get more info here.

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stack O' Shackles

Stack O' Shackles

Covey of Axles

I made it over to school yesterday after the gym to start on the axle project. I did a little measuring and scouting for material and then dived in. I got the shackles made up and was planning on making a couple of spring perches when I started hearing thunder and some type of severe weather alert on the radio so I packed it in and came home. Making the spring perches will be a piece of cake. I'll just tack them on so the springs will line up with the trusses and there I'll be. Two of the axles I'll cut down for a trailer project that was in the works last year but we didn't get around to. That's a pretty straight forward job as well. Just have to get them straight and put a little camber in them. It'll take a little time but I'm thinking it should work like a champ. I should know by the middle of next week.

If you look at the pile of shackles, you'll notice the layout lines. I punched all the holes rather than drilling them. If I was to drill them, I would have layed out only one piece and then clamped the others to it one at a time and drilled them that way. When you punch them, at least for small batches, you have to lay all of them out but the time saved by punching more than makes up for it. I'll have to see what I come up with when I make the beams for my lifting cradle. I might have to get another set of hands to help me out plus I'm not sure the throat on the punch is deep enough to do what I want to do. We'll cross that bridge next week.

I didn't go to Oklahoma with Jimmy due to the promoter's travel budget being a little weak but I'm set to go in a couple of weeks. Jimmy is fighting for some type of WBC title. Not a world title, mind you, but a US/North American title of some sort. He's going to be fighting outside, where it's been 100 degrees of late. The fight will be about 10:00 PM but it will still be hot. When I showed up at the gym this morning he was wearing the plastic suit and a sweat shirt to get himself ready for fighting in the heat. It should be a good fight. His wind is good, he's got the battle plan worked out, and he's ready mentally. He'll have to take it to the Comanche Boy right good and proper if he wants to get a decision. If he can land a couple of good clean shots, he won't have to worry about a decision. He's hitting harder than ever. You never know about the "Old Fight Game", however.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Working Hard

The weather man missed the mark yesterday. We didn't get the heat but got rain instead. It started about 8:00 PM Thursday and continued on and off until about 5:00 PM Friday. We had some pretty spectacular lightning and thunder to accompany the rain. I did manage to put the mower back together. New steering parts, repaired deck, new drive belt, new air cleaner. Still need to change the oil and filter but I'll do that after I finish mowing today while the oil is warm.

I got the mobile home axles dug out yesterday as well. The rim clamps for the wheels came in and I picked up the bolts on Thursday. I did a little staring and head scratching and I've got my plan of attack ready for those. I still need to move the pile of sheet metal out from under the building but I think I can roll the top of the barn out of the way by the middle of next week and then start on both the new walls and the lifting cradle. I'm still working out the details on the cradle but I've got a rough idea of what I want to do. I built a trailer for the Tech Department a few years ago and I measured that up yesterday. It's 18' long - long enough to transport my lifting beams after I get them fabbed up.

I got the lower chord replaced on the outside truss on the south end Thursday. I've got just a little more to finish up on that but no biggie. I used two come-a-longs to lift it into place and put a floor jack under the middle section to snug it up tight. Went pretty easy, actually. The side walls had a double top plate as is normal but I don't need both layers stuck to the trusses. The plates were fastened to the trusses with little hurricane clips which did their jobs rather well. I need to cut or pull the nails holding the clips to the bottom plate and then remove them. The bottom of the roof section should be ready to mate with the new walls at that point.

Still lots to do but I'm making pretty good progress. The Missus said the insurance check is on the way that's one less thing to worry about. As long as the money's coming, I think I'm going to buy a new saw. My old Craftsman circular saw is about 35 years old. and has done a lot of cutting over the years. I think I'm going to spring for a worm drive as long as I'm spending my summer as a carpenter. I probably won't have much use for it after this job is done but it'll be here if I need it.

Enjoy the weekend and the holiday.