Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Camera

I bought myself a new digital camera the other day. The little pocket sized one that I used to carry all the time and used for most of the pictures here belonged to my former employer. After I returned it when I retired, I shot a few photos with my own digital but it's a little large and a little expensive to be using just for every day snapshot use. I was looking into buying a suitable replacement for the school's when I ran across one on sale at Menard's. It seems like a nice little camera with plenty of features and pixels - price was dirt cheap as well. Between Menard's, the Dollar Store and Harbor Freight, the Chinese keep me pretty well stocked up. Here are a few test shots I took on Friday. 

A shot of the power plant shortly after the sun came up. I like the look of the low lying fog and the clouds.

The barn that was recently moved. You'll notice they also moved the windmill and the milk house.

Taken just a few minutes after the power plant picture. Shot through the windshield while waiting for the light to change. Even though the bridge is on a state highway, it's now single lane traffic until it's replaced with a new one. Thanks Mitch. It's nice that we now have a budget surplus after taking money away from the schools and letting the infrastructure go to hell. 

Base for drill press made from 5" channel to give it some added stability since it can't be anchored to the floor. This project is what got me to thinking about a CAD program (which  my former colleague has made much easier for me by dropping off a couple of tutorials - thanks Kevin.).

Looks like the new little camera's a keeper. It didn't come with a manual. I need to hook it up to the computer and then download some monkey business to get all the dope. Can't really see that happening, however. I don't really need to set the clock. I bought a camera, not a watch, but I did see that it has a red eye feature. I'll keep that in mind next time I want to photograph my drunken friends. If it had something to take care of the hangover that always accompanies the red eyes, might be enough to entice me to down load the manual.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Workbench Plan

Workbench design
I'm still working on the porch railing but not for much longer. 'Bout got that job scratched off the list. But while I'm mining the woodworking vein, I want to build a workbench for the new woodshop. I drew up a plan the other day that should be cheap but strong and serviceable. I've got a couple of woodworking vises already, so just the expense of some construction lumber and a piece of thick particleboard and I'll be set. While I'd like to be seeing some progress on the 900 or the VW, I think getting the woodshop in order would be time well spent. I've got some other woodworking things to finish up inside the shack and I'll be more prone to finish those if I've got the shop in order. It would be nice to be able to get back on the boat project someday as well. I can only imagine having the VW, 900 and the boat all finished up by Spring. Nah, that'll never happen. I might be able to do two out of three, though. The 900 for sure.

The workbench sketch was done the old fashioned way - just a plain piece of paper, an oblique front view and a right side view. Top left is a material list, bottom right is the cut list for all the individual pieces. I don't have a drafting program on my computer, nor do I probably need one for what I'm going to be doing at home, especially any type of woodworking. However, I made a base for a drill press on my new job to give it some extra stability. The floor has hot water heating tubes in it so nothing can be fastened down to the concrete. I figured I'd need to run my idea past my boss who's normally at another campus, so some type of drafting program would be just the ticket instead of me sending him a sketch like the one above with a big shadow of the camera across the bottom of it. Plus we have a CNC plasma cutting set-up at the college. A guy just might want to make a fancy part for a motorcycle or Volkswagen some time. It would be nice to be able to draw something up that was easy to feed to the CNC, like a dxf file. Those darn computers just can't deal with a sketch drawn up on the kitchen table by hand.

The computer in the lab where I'm spending a lot of my time now has SketchUp on it. Surly told me about this program a couple of years ago but I didn't have the time or a pressing need to learn it then. However, now I've got the chance to pick it up on company time. Good things do come to those who wait! I usually have a little time every day to sit in front of the computer. This might be a good productive use of that time. I've been listening to The Science of Natural Healing from the Great Courses while doing my lab chores. I've got it loaded up on my MP3 player and normally there are no other distractions, so it's a good way to listen to the info. I've got a set on the Italian Renaissance I bought while laid up that I didn't get all the way through that I'm going to do next. So in addition to earning a couple of bucks on the part time job, I'm furthering my education. I was planning on signing up for an Italian class over the computer but I might just concentrate my efforts on learning a new CAD drafting program. Never too old to learn something new and it's nice to have the opportunity. Of course, I could just relax for a little while. I think they mentioned that in the stress management classes. At least I've got it narrowed down to one or the other and not both.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Picket's Charge

I worked on the railing for the porch steps yesterday. The progress was a little slower than I would have liked but I'm still getting the shop set up as I go and I watched most of the Bears game. I'm still working on getting the balance right between work and rest like they discussed in rehab, also. That's harder than building a porch it seems. I need to finish installing the pickets on the side you can see in the photo and pick up some more balls/finials for the top of the posts and that side will be done. Likewise, I need to get a few more supplies to make the railing on the other side but all the figuring and fixturing is done. 

The router set up is fully functional now and I got some parts to up grade my table saw. I worked on the band saw a little bit when I was making the caps and it could use a little more TLC as well. A guy gave me both saws a few years back and since I'm not really a woodworker, I haven't done much with them. Besides, I had a complete woodshop at my disposal. Since that's no longer the case, I'll get everything tuned up, talk to my mobile crane connection and get them moved into the top of the barn. I like doing the woodworking. I just never liked trying to do it with the set-up I had. Generating a lot of dust down the basement by the furnace never seemed like a good idea and trying to cut things in the dim lighting down there didn't seem real prudent either. My old man sliced the ends of two fingers on a table saw while working down the basement when I was a kid. I've always been a little leery of using a table saw, especially in poorly lit conditions, ever since. I'd like to avoid any more trips to the emergency room. I've made a few of those over the years. Don't need another one.

Have a good week.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nothing In Particular

Somebody spent some time on the buffing wheel with this one. I like the look of the chrome tips on the exhaust pipes. There are some more shots of this beauty here.

Gina Lollobrigida on a Vespa - nothing more Italian than that. The four of us that went to Italy together are looking into another European trip. Saw one advertised at a local travel agency that does 17 days in Europe that will get us back to Italy as well as London, Paris and Vienna. How cool would that be?

Here's a place I could call home. I found this at Fouled Plugs - oodles and gobs of cool things with wheels under them at this site. Lots of inspiration to be had there. 

And in the I need to do one other thing before I can do the thing I wanted to do department, we have the new router. The Missus came up with the design she wanted for the railing on the new front steps. She brought a cap home from Menard's that was pretty nice but at eight bucks that was going to mean eighty for the job. Since I had made up a router table when I was in the Woodshop, all I needed was a router and a  bit. Just so happens my first installment of my pension showed up, so router it is. Actually, the bits and router were cheaper than the price of the caps. The cutter set was only $14.99. Carbide cutting edges on all of them and ball bearings on about half. Granted, not the world's greatest quality, but for a hacker like me that's only going to be doing the occassional woodworking project, they should be more than adequate. Don't know how you can turn a profit at that price, though. Even the slow boat from China has to have something to feed those big diesel engines.

As soon as I finish cutting the hole in the top of the router table I can mount the insert plate in the recess and commence routing. It won't take long to make the caps and then I can finish up the railing. And that, my friends, will take care of the deck until next Spring. I'm planning on getting rid of the part of the deck on the East side of the house, replace the deck boards that adjoin the new section, as well as make a new matching railing. It'll be good to see that big ass ugly thing gone off the house. Of course, that'll mean another set of steps but concrete/brick this time. 

Weekend's here. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Now That's A Hot One

This will keep you warm on the cold winter nights

Likewise, I'm sure

Pretty sexy heater, don'tcha think? I'm talking the Jungers Blufire single burner furnace not Sophia (it's her birthday today, BTW). The Missus found the Jungers heater at a yard sale and I stopped and picked it up after work yesterday. Not sure what we're going to do with it but it was dirt cheap and it looks like it belongs in the barn. It's got a nice grill on top to park your coffee pot. That's a big plus for a confirmed coffee drinker, like myself. I don't plan on working much on the ground floor of the barn, cold weather or not, but it wouldn't take much to hook it up - a 4" stack out the roof and a piece of cement board on the wall behind it.  If we decide not to use it, it would be just the thing for a Prepper. Stock up on kerosene and you'll be ready WTSHTF - no electricity required on this baby. 

My next move in getting ready for the cold weather needs to be getting the snowblower fixed. I know the Missus is going to be worried about me shoveling. It was down into the 30's yesterday morning when I got up. That, and the shorter days should herald the end of cutting grass every third day. That'll free up a little more time to devote to projects like the snowblower. Hopefully, we'll get a nice Indian Summer and I'll be able to get a little painting done outside and maybe go camping a couple of days. You never know with this crazy weather, however. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cars & Bikes

See something you like here? The whole shootin' match is going on sale in February. You never see a microcar here in America but this guy's got them by the hunnerts! However, he's closing his museum and putting everything in the house up for auction.

The fork leg I bought on eBay is a no-go. The people who were selling it decided it wasn't serviceable and gave me my money back. While I wish it was on the way, I really appreciate the fact they didn't try to pawn off some garbage on me. So the search continues but I've got lots of other things to occupy my time. 

Here's a photo of my nephew's bicycle. He was involved in an accident with it not too long ago, so this is the newly spruced up edition. It's now the Grumpy Unk model in honor of his dad/my brother who recently passed. Well done, kid.

Another three day weekend! I'm digging the semi-retirement thing. I got a bunch of work done around the shack, did a little welding and was able to watch a little football. Since the weather isn't going to be near as nice the next few days, I'm hoping to work on cleaning up the shop a little, start machining the piece for the VW steering column and work a little on the 900. A little here, a little there. Things'll be coming together.

Have a good week, all. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Down The Road A Piece

Amos Wilburn playing Down the Road a Piece for the Traveling Pirate - another one that was able to burrow under the wire. Good luck with the new gig. Save a little of that big money - we're going to Paris.

Weekend's Here

This big old dairy barn is getting ready to take a trip. It's all jacked up and on wheels. It's a little more ambitious a project than me moving the lid for my barn or Surly with the garage mobile but this guy's a professional on a closed course - don't try this at home kids. Actually, I called this guy first when I was trying to figure out what to do to repair my barn. I'm still waiting for him to call me back, by the way. I don't know what the deal is on the barn, but it ended up about a mile south on top of a big hill. Kind of curious about that. Not really a bad photo for a 40 mph drive by, though. I'll see about snapping a drive-by shot of the new home.

I was mowing around the willow tree the other day and just happened to glance up and see this. Some kind of fungus that looks like meringue in person. I need to get a shot of it in B&W before it withers away or grows so large it takes over the whole tree. Anything is possible with the crazy weather we're getting now days. I told the Missus after she made her first trip up the newly completed steps that I'll probably spend as much time this winter shoveling the snow off them as I've been spending mowing as of late.

I saw this one at Rocket Garage. Not exactly the look I'm going for with my Kaw but we're getting close with this one. I should be able to get started this next week in earnest on mine. I'm going to tackle the front end first. I've got a new fork leg and fork seals on the way. I'll get the forks taken care of and then I'll tackle the brakes. Get the front end done and then move to the rear. I'm thinking about widening the rear wheel. It'll be expensive, but I think it'll be worth it. Anyway, I'm moving forward on this thing finally. I'll be riding come springtime. I'm thinking I need to have it finished April 11th. That'll be the one year anniversary of the grabber. While there's certainly some significance to the date, more than anything, I need a "finish by" date to insure I do, in fact, finish. I'm looking at almost 7 months here. No reason I can't knock it out in that amount of time.

And now an unpaid political announcement. New photo of the Ritz bumper sticker on the top right. Here's why: . That dude's gotta go.

Last but certainly not least, the Tempo Matador. The little darlings were made in Germany 1949-1951 and used VW power in the front, rather than the rear. Looks like there's less than ten of them known to still exist in the world. There is a really nice follow along rebuild on the one featured in my last post here. They did one helluva fine restoration - better than new.

That's it. Have a good weekend. Weather here looks just right to be outside doing something - anything outdoorsy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mo' Matador

This one popped up on The Container site the other day. I didn't notice in the other photo that these Matadors had suicide doors. Now I like them even more. I'll have to do a little checking and see what I can find out about these things. They're cute little suckers. This one's about the same color as my teardrop. I'd really be something driving one of these with my trailer behind. Maybe I should paint the VW in this color combo.

Speaking of which, I've got some parts coming for the VW and the 900. They should be here by the first of next week. Meanwhile, I'm still working on the porch steps. There was a design change so construction came to a halt while the Missus is doing a little research. I've got the steps themselves all finished up. Just have to build the railing. No biggie - the hard part's done.

Still looking for the time to clean up my shop a little. It seems like every little thing I do brings something else to do along with it. I used my old tablesaw to rip cut a few boards for the front porch job. In the past I would have just loaded up the boards and taken them with me to school and cut them while on the clock. Since I no longer have that luxury, I used the old Craftsman of mine and remembered that the on/off switch is built into the base of the motor on the back side of the saw where it's nigh on impossible to locate while operating the saw. It would be easy to locate the belt while fumbling for the switch in a panic situation. That way you could run your right hand through the pulley while running your left hand through the saw blade. I'm ordering in a new switch with a paddle handle to shut if off that I can mount up on the front of the thing. If I was going to do a lot of woodworking, I'd just spring for a new saw. With the little I do, however, this one will be fine as long as I make it a little bit safer. That includes finding or making a riving knife/splitter for it also. 

So as always, steady by jerks. But the new job is going well and I'm getting things done, I've still got a tremendous backlog of things to do around the shack but basically all's right with the world. Can't really bellyache about that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Morning Recap

Photo From Here
It's a Tempo Matador, thank you very much. Cool looking truck. Be just the thing for a run to the feed store. 

Photo From Here
I got this one from a photo blog where a guy shoots mostly street photography. Some color but mostly B&W. I had to give up my little digital camera that most of my blog photos were taken with. It belonged to the school. I've got another digital that I've been using but it's not quite as handy to drag around. Now that I've got a little more time on my hands, I'd like to start back up on some photography. I've got some film in my old 35mm rangefinder, so maybe I'll start using that again. Should be able to come up with something to shoot while working on the bug and the 900. I'd like to take a day and hit Chicago or Indy this fall. Just walk around the city and see what I can do.

I got some decent progress on the porch steps over the weekend in between the raindrops. I need to pick up a couple of more pieces of lumber so I can complete the railing but it's about there.

In the politics department, if you live in Indiana, I strongly urge you to vote this November for Glenda Ritz for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. I don't normally endorse candidates for office here but there needs to be a change. You can check out her website,, to see what she stands for.

I'm working on getting some parts for the 900. I want to put double brake discs on the front, so I need to get a right side fork lower that has the ears for the caliper on it. I got out bid on one on eBay but I'll keep looking. I've got other things to work on in the meantime. I've been putting the to-do list together but if it keeps raining, I'll be mowing grass every time the sun comes out.

Jimmy, "The Fighting School Teacher", has decided to fight again. He'll be on a November 3rd show at the Radisson. He's excited about the prospect and he's starting to train. I'd like to see him fight at 165 this time. He wouldn't have to worry quite so much about making weight like he does at 160 and he'll be good and strong at that weight.

I'm heading to the bank today and cashing the first "professor" check. There was a snag with my pension check, so I won't see one of those until sometime in October. Don't those people realize that I've got motorcycle parts to buy? I thought I had it all worked out to get the first pension check about the same time as my last payroll check. At least I've got a pension. There aren't too many places that even have them anymore. Other than construction trades and public employees, the pension plans are pretty much a thing of the past. It's 401K's now. And with the market being down for so long it's hard to build that retirement nest egg. A young guy would be just about as well off by digging a hole in the back yard and squirrelling away a few bucks each week in a Mason jar.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Have a good week and enjoy the lovely weather that's on the way this week.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cafe Style

The latest issue of Cycle World features cafe racers as their main focus. Eric Bostrom, along with his brother Torsten and Lossa Engineering, put together a Kawasaki cafe racer project that was a tribute to Gary Nixon. It's one helluva motor scooter as you can see from the photo. It's powered by a later model 1000 four cyclinder rather than the three cylinder 750 that Nixon raced (see the August 29 post) but it's got the mid to late 70's look to it. I like the blacked out look of everything on the motor and frame. It really makes the wheels and sheet metal stand out.

I came across this one at Bike EXIF. This was kind of what I was thinking when I was talking about painting the frame silver on my 900. The color scheme here is something definitely to my liking. A motorcycle does not have to have a black frame. This one's a product of Spirit of the Seventies. Since I'm trying to capture the very same spirit, it's probably more than just mere coincidence that I dig this one. There are several more really nice builds on their web site but this is definitely my favorite. They've got a commission to build an old 1000 Kaw like mine. It should be a dandy from what they say they're planning.

And then there's this. Gold Mags, braced swingarm, Rickman frame. The real deal racer set-up. Appearance wise, if you put lights on it it would be more cafe style than Superbike but now we're talking. I'm thinking a little more hot rod/hooligan than this but this I like. A lot. I found this at Mighty Motor, by the way. Lots of cool stuff there and great photographs of same.

So now I've got some more ideas to toss around/incorporate/steal for my project. Surprisingly enough, however, after looking at these and the rest in the Cycle World, I'm pretty well sold on the direction I want to go. I've still got to make a phone call to check on something before I'm locked in but if that pans out, it'll be all systems go.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Turn For The Better

I got the steering wheel adaptor machined for the VW, so now there's a real steering wheel on it that looks half-way decent. Of course this brings up another problem. The adaptor is set up for a stock GM column that has a little spring loaded button that contacts the back side of the adaptor to pick up the juice for the horn.When I make the bearing support for the VW column, I'll need to fab up something similar if I want to use the horn button on the new steering wheel. Looks like that'll be the next thing I tackle on the bug. I found a place that has a metric bushing that'll fit the steering shaft. I'll get that ordered in and in the mean time I'll hit a few more licks on the front step project. Going to be tough to finish that project if it doesn't stop raining, however.

I am a little closer to finalizing the direction I want to go on the 900 build. After thinking about it for a couple of days, I'm fairly certain of where I want to go on this project. Now I need to order some parts and get to gettin'. I won't make any definitive statements yet, just in case I change my mind again but I'm at the point I need to do something, even if it is wrong. Besides it's going to get cold pretty soon. I wasn't all that crazy about working in the cold before the heart attack but the main thing is, working on a project like this is supposed to be fun. Working in the cold isn't fun. Like a buddy of mine says: "I don't want to work in any temperature lower than my age". As of a couple of days ago, that made it 62. Getting to be a smaller and smaller window of opportunity if I follow that dictum. Regardless, I'll be riding a motorcycle come springtime.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stepping Lively

I got started on the front steps the other day. If you look at the concrete stoop in the photo, you'll see that it drops off into a hole of the right side due to the steps coming out at an angle. That's a little dicey when you get a couple of people coming to the door, especially at night. Plus there's only two steps even though the top of the stoop is two feet high. A couple of big ass steps. I made a set of three out of wood that took care of these issues shortly after moving in here but they were getting to the point that not only were they shabby looking but they were getting unsafe. They sat on the original concrete steps and worked fine but this time things are a little more elaborate. I extended the platform to match up with the rest of the deck that comes across the front and side of the house and the steps will be full width across the front of the platform. Everything is going together with stainless fasteners, so that should help with the maintenance issues. 

I'm not a big fan of decks, really. There's a big concrete slab under this one. If there were some decent steps from the sliding glass doors around the corner you could just use the concrete for your patio and be done with it. No maintenance, no junk getting trapped underneath it and there you go. Anyway, I'll have the new steps taken care of this week, then it'll be back to the fun projects. Also, if you look at the post in the left corner of the photo, you wont see the two other posts that are behind it. The photo has a little bit of a "fish-eye" lens look to it, but even if it looks a little crooked, the other posts are lined up right with it. That's more than I can say for most of the things the previous owners put together.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

All Spun Out

The more I think about the Kawasaki project, the more confused I get. I was thinking of a color scheme kind of like this Ducati Imola only in reverse. Silver on the frame, green on the sheet metal. Surly opined that it would probably look like clown vomit, so I've taken that under advisement. I did mention to him maybe some flames on the tank, subtle though. Dark green or silver under the green of the tank so they just show up and that's about all. Might be what brought out the clown vomit comment.

I'm a big fan of blue and silver also. Either the frame silver and the sheet metal blue or the other way around like in the photo here. This one's got the gold mag wheels and some other gold bits on it as well. This one is also a way cool bike. Nothing at all like I'm shooting for but I like the blue and silver. 

The old drag bike was a silver gray. That looked good with all the shiny bits and the black header and seat cover. Not to everyone's taste but I was happy with it. I'm a definite fan of silver and gray. The pickup I'm driving now is silver, the one before was red with silver trim, and the one before that was gray and silver. My old SR500 Yamaha I painted gray with some red flames on the tank. Again, nothing garish, just enough color  to see them.

If I go with the Superbike replica look, not much fancy paint with those things - definitely no flames. Cafe racer look usually pretty simple as well. Solid colors of the white, black or red variety mostly. Some nice yellow ones out there, though. Drag racers - anything from mild to wild. Maybe I should go to the auto parts store and look at all the greens in the paint book. Kawasaki green is one thing, John Deere green is another, and the metallic green I've got in mind is a another thing all together. TVI brought a magazine by with a Harley in it that's kind of like the build I'm trying to put together. It's a wild Candy Red, 131 cid cafe racer/hot rod of a thing. The look is a little too modern for my idea of the Kawasaki - it's got a pair of those little high intensity headlights and a small taillight to match, but man, it's one cool cycle. It's a product of Kendall Johnson Customs. For a "chopper guy", he nailed the cafe look dead nuts with that big inch Harley.

I started building the new front steps yesterday after I got home from work - not sure how much of that I'll be able to get done with the rain they're forecasting. I'll be thinking about the 900 for the next few days and when the steps are done, I'm building a motorcycle. Coincidentally, while I was at the new job yesterday, one of the other welding instructors was looking at some photos on the computer of some of his handi-work. One of the pics I recognized right away. A guy on a lay-down bike at old US 30 Dragstrip. We got to talking and he was racing a car back then at the same time I was racing my 900. He's put together several drag bikes and he makes these wild little over-powered mini-bikes now. Lots in common here.

Enjoy the holiday weekend. One day a year dedicated to the people who actually work. Brief history of the holiday here. Thank you Eugene V. Debs and all the rest.