Sunday, July 31, 2016


Ringside World Champion

Jimmy took a few fighters to the Ringside tournament this past week. Everyone fought well but only one champion out of the bunch. Since I'm no longer involved with the day to day of the gym, I can't take any credit but I can certainly congratulate each and every one of them for their dedication and hard work. That's quite the belt that young man's holding. That'll be something he'll cherish for the rest of his life.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Round Up

A few items gleaned from the newspaper:

Front page article about the vulnerability of the electrical grid in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago. More on the grid's susceptibility to both physical and cyber attacks and lack of government action. It seems there have been a few more attacks beyond the big one in California a few years ago. However, the train tracks that run past the edge of my property are there primarily to feed coal to a power generating station. I just happened to catch the local a few days before the article in the paper came out and it had one of the big drop deck cars in the consist. It was empty and heading away from the power plant, so it might have dropped off a big transformer. I know the power companies have been working on getting some spares. I'd like to know the story on what went by here just to satisfy my own curiosity.

There was also an article on people buying "survival" food to eat as part of their regular meals. I've eaten a few freeze dried meals when camping and on my bike trips but never considered eating it as a matter of course. It's usually pretty high in sodium for my taste and blood pressure but it's quick and easy to prepare, that's for sure, and there's a huge variety of things available now.

There also was an article about the coup attempt in Turkey and how the government there was rounding up a bunch of educators in the aftermath. These were mostly at the college level but they were putting the snatch on a bunch of them. Interesting as well as scary.

Not from the paper but interesting none the less, I checked my stats for the blog the other day and the number of hits were about ten times what they normally are. The next day the same thing. I checked the audience and most of the increase in traffic was from Russia. About the only thing I I've ever posted that had anything to do with Russia was a quicky post on Alexander Rodchenko. Regardless of the reason, I hope they enjoyed the blog.

Officially on vacation for three weeks now. Planning on finishing up a few things and maybe taking a few days off for a couple of short trips. I'm going to need to stick close to home due to my needing some therapy on my foot. Seems I've developed a case of Morton's Neuroma. Nothing serious, just irritating. First, that I have to deal with it, and second, that I've got to waste a bunch of time going to therapy twice a week and doing some additional exercises at home. Hasn't kept me off the bicycle, however. Should be good to go for the race but if I do poorly I'll have a pretty handy excuse.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dream Car

Photo by Cuzzin Ricky
While Cuzzin Ricky and I were off chasing the sprint cars, I had a chance to try one on for size at Bloomington. Pretty snug fit but I would assume that's what you would want. Sprint cars have a chassis that's pretty similar to the old Indy roadsters, at least as far as the suspension and steering are concerned. The newer cars do a much better job of protecting the driver than the older style, whether that be an Indy car or a sprint car. However, if a guy wanted to build a really cool street car, a stretched sprint car chassis would be a really good place to start.

Photo From Here

I've got several books on older Indy cars that have excellent photos of the chassis and suspension layouts that were tried over the years. Most all the roadsters used torsion bar suspension front and rear. Some of the early cars used channel frame rails but most, however, used round tube. Building the frame/chassis would be easy enough but I know nothing about figuring out the spring rates for the torsion bars. I'm sure that information would be easy enough to come by. Schroeder has charts with the spring rates of the different sizes of bars on their website. Plus there are more than a few sprint cars floating around the state of Indiana. Probably wouldn't be too tough to locate a friendly car owner/mechanic willing to give a guy a little advice on where to start.

This one was restored at Gary Bridge and Iron. I had some dealings with the owner in the past - super talented. I'm sure I could get some advice there. Actually, a car like this one is pretty much just like I want to build. I think you can get away without fenders in Indiana. If not, then something like the Bocar.

One of these days.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Crop Duster

Since it's been hot and rainy of late, haven't been getting much done but I was outside when the crop duster came over to hit the field behind me. Man, that dude can fly a plane!. There are trees on the south and east side of the field, and there's and island of trees that juts out into the middle of the field on the east side as well. He works it like a champ, however. This year he did the field twice. I'm assuming the rain washed the spray away, so he came back and did it again. Different plane the second time. Don't know if it was the same pilot, but regardless, it's fun to watch.

This is probably the worst photo I've ever put up on the blog here but the blurry rendering is of a blade guide roller for the bandsaw at the college. The bearing seized up and the lab tech was going to swap it out. He had a spare bearing in stock but it was pressed on pretty tight. I took the torch to the bearing and cut it apart leaving just the inner race on the shaft. Usually that will heat up the inner race enough to expand it so it will come off easily. Not so on this one, however. I left the lab tech on his own to slice the inner race with a cut-off wheel but the shaft looked like the victim of an ax murder when he got done. Not much left to do at that point other than make a new one. That would be it on the right with the bearing installed. 

There's an older guy taking a machine tool course this summer in the lab where I work. He's putting together a tool kit for doing automotive/motorcycle sheet metal work. He's making some Tee dollies that I'm going to weld together for him. I don't know if he's planning on taking any more classes, but if he is, it would be nice if we could collaborate on a louver press.  

The is the Williams Low Buck Tools Metal Machine. It's got several different heads that bolt onto the frame. Doesn't look like it would be too tough to knock out the dies, especially if you had access to a fancy CNC milling machine. He wants an English Wheel as well. He might want to go a similar route as this. Just make two sets of louver dies and I'll handle the fabricating. Seems reasonable to me. Surly was working on a design for the dies. I'll have to check with him and see what he came up with. I'm going to have some time on my hands between classes at the college this fall semester. Might be nice to have a project to keep me busy while I'm there.

I did get some outside work done around the shack and some training miles in on the bike the last few days in spite of the heat. Going to try and get back on the VW in earnest this week - I did get the quarter panel tacked on at least. This is the last week of the summer session at the college and then I've got three weeks off. I've got nothing planned other than nibbling around the edges of the To-Do list. I'll see what speaks to me.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lull in the Action

Photo From Here

I haven't gotten anything done on the projects this week since I came home from the races. Worked a couple of days, got caught up on most of the mail and pulled some weeds in the garden. Now it's hotter than a firecracker around here. The weather man is forecasting a heat index well over 100 for today. Hope to get some miles in on the bike to train for the upcoming race but that'll be about it for outside or shop activities until it cools down a bit, I'm afraid. Might be time to mix up some fresh chemicals and see if I remember how to find my way around in the darkroom. I haven't shot any black and white film in a couple of years now. Maybe shoot a couple of shots of the VW or the bikes with the big camera or twins lens just for kicks. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sprint Week

Cuzzin Ricky and I took off on Thursday to see some of the action of Indiana's Sprint Car Week. We caught the opener at Kokomo, but were planning on missing Gas City, Lawrenceburg and Terre Haute. We headed south figuring to hit Putnamville, Bloomington and Haubstadt, three tracks we'd never been to before. Come to find out the Terre Haute show was a rain out that was rescheduled for Sunday night. Since we had to drive right by it to get home, we stayed an extra day and picked that one up as well. Four nights of sprint car racing in a row and five out of seven on the week! It's good to be retired, I'm telling you.

We stopped at The Big Peach after leaving Haubstadt and picked up some produce - melons, tomatoes and sweet corn. I was more interested in the old Dodge farm truck than the melons (insert your own joke here). I looked through the window and the interior was in fairly good shape. Looks like the chickens might have roosted in it for a while judging by the deposits on the seat but nothing that couldn't have been cleaned up and made serviceable. The body also is in pretty good shape. There's a bit of rust here and there but it's much more solid than the VW was when I started on it. I'm assuming it's a four speed, I didn't see a shift pattern plate but it does have a two-speed axle. You'd have to put new rubber on it all away around. The one front tire was a Ward's Riverside - been a long time since Montgomery Ward sold tires. 

The front rims were of the old split rim type as well. The kind that would come flying off and decapitate you if they didn't seat properly when changing them. I changed a few of those when I worked for the paving outfit long ago. We didn't have a cage so we put a couple of chains around the rims to keep the split rings from flying off, leaned the tires up against the wall with the split ring facing inward, locked on the tire chuck and then went outside for a few minutes while the tire inflated. Back then everyone had some kind of story of a guy getting killed or maimed by one of those things. New rims would definitely be in order. I need to finish up several projects before I drag another project home but this one is exactly like what I'm looking for.

They had a carnival going at Terre Haute right next to the track. So I finished off the trip by walking over to the carnival and getting myself a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. One of those where the bun is about four inches in diameter but the tenderloin is about twice that. I'm still mostly vegan but since the breaded tenderloin is the State Sandwich, I figured I needed one.

We had a great time. The racing was good, met some nice people, saw some interesting machinery, and enjoyed just getting out and seeing the beautiful Indiana countryside. We've got a heat wave on tap for the latter part of the week. I'll have to plan my work sessions and bike rides carefully but I'll be back on the projects.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Checkin' In

Made the end pieces for the golf cart dash. So far so good. I'll get the rest of the pieces cut out and see if it'll go together like it should.

The quarter panel for the VW is fit up and ready to weld in. It came with a flap on the top part that extended into the wheel well but that's one of the few places where the car is still pretty sound so I lopped it off. Where it needed some help was down below that in front of the torsion bar. There was a big hole there but no help from the new piece. I managed to get most of it taken care of, however. I've still got one little patch to form up that was just a bit too complicated to try and make in one piece. The hard part is done anyway. 

Joe over at 520 Chain Cafe is starting a new bike project. While you're there, scroll down until you see his XS650 project he's finishing up. Looks good.

Have a good weekend. Weather's nice again here.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Indy Cars

Frankie Flood posted a ton of pictures of the Millers at Milwaukee event from a couple of weeks ago. I thought about going up there. Looking at the photos I definitely should have. Not only were there beautifully restored roadsters like you see here, there were also a ton of cars from way back when. It would have been extra nice to meet Professor Flood if I could have been fortunate enough to run into him before he leaves town.They're going to miss him when he's gone. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Big Mack

Surly went to the vintage truck and farm equipment show over the weekend and snapped a photo of this baby. B-61 Mack, my favorite. While Cuzzin Ricky and I were driving through the beautiful Indiana countryside Saturday on the way to the Sprint car races we talked a bit about me getting a farm truck one of these days. God willin' and the creek don't rise, I'll have myself one some day - wouldn't have to have the chrome radiator shell. Wouldn't hurt, though.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Do it yourself dash board - at least I think so. I haven't even opened up the box yet.

Cuzzin Ricky and I went to the Sprint car races Saturday night at Kokomo. Great racing but I didn't get home until a little after midnight. I ran the gym for Jimmy earlier in the day and was pretty tired when I finally got to bed. Slept late, had a little breakfast and headed out for a eight mile training ride. I took my touring bike since I didn't want to transfer the saddle bag with the tire patch kit and all that to the racing bike. I got about two miles from the house and sure enough, I got a flat. I just put my last new tube in the bike last week but since I had the pump and the patch kit, just pull the wheel off and fix it. Only problem was the glue in the patch kit was so old it was pretty much useless. I ended up walking home. I had my phone so I could have called the Missus but I was looking for exercise, right? After I got home I jumped on the other bike and put my eight miles in. Actually made pretty good time - a solid 15 mph average speed. Legs and lungs both seem to be coming back around. I did order some new tubes and a patch kit when I got home, however.

After coming home and cutting the grass I headed out to the shop to see how the patch panel was going to look on the VW. Pretty good, actually. I shortened up the top edge and put a joggle in it so it will slip under the panel on the car and line up well. Took me a bit to find the tool for offsetting that edge, however. I think I've finally got all of the sheet metal/body work tools where I can find them when I need them now. 

I've got some things to do this morning but I'll work on the car some more later today. It's supposed to get hot and sticky again the next few days. That might slow me down some but that's OK. Every time I close the doors to the shop at the end of the day there's visible progress. That's worth something. 

I measured up the piece for TVI's golf cart dash and made a couple of templates. I'll make the end pieces first and see how they look and then make the piece or pieces in the middle. No hurry on this one but I want to keep the docket cleared of all outside work. I don't want to loose my momentum on the VW and I want to get back on the 900 project soon. 

Have a good week.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cool Stuff

I should have dug a little deeper into the site where I found the photo in the last post. While the site is mostly VW stuff, apparently they've got a soft spot for the old and unusual trucks/vans/buses as well. 

Photos From Here

However, here's something that may help with the BSA project. SR500 Yamaha with custom sidecovers that look very much Italian in design, meaning they might fit right in with the European style tank on the BSA. Don't know when we'll get around to that project but there's isn't too much to do once we get the sidecovers and the air cleaners sorted. Send the tin out to get painted and sort out the mechanicals. As far as I know, most of the problems will be the typical things associated  with having sat around too long without running.

Not much new to report otherwise. Spent most of the day yesterday just doing chores - bank, feed store, library, cleaning gutters, crushing cans - all the usual stuff that when the day is done and you look back, you got a lot done but there's very little visible evidence of it. Could be worse though - just watch the news.

And if you think now might be the time to start laying in provisions, how 'bout some water? 50 year shelf life, which is probably going to be at least thirty more than I'm going to have. $30.00 for a case seems a little stiff for water but about the same price or cheaper even than a drink out of a vending machine. It'll look like a helluva bargain if the grid goes down and the faucet runs dry. Besides, you'll need something to re-hydrate all those emergency rations.

Have a good weekend. Looks like beautiful weather around here. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

VW Update

Photo From Here

I've been looking at a few VW sites of late to get a little inspiration and came across this thing - not sure what it is but I like it.

Not much going on with mine the last few days. I did order in my aluminum for the dashboard. I also ordered a patch panel for the bad spot between the door and the fender on the driver's side. With the panel I can eliminate the rust and get everything lined up properly for the fender even though I still don't know what I'm going to do about getting fenders. I ordered the patch panel from an outfit in Rhode Island. The prices were good and for the patch panel and a couple of other things, shipping was only $8.00. Cheap enough. However, when I threw a fender in the shopping cart the shipping went up to $90.00 and that was for just one. There has to be someone within driving distance that has the fenders I want. I'll keep looking. In the meantime, start on the dash, patch a panel and keep working on the brakes.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th

Celebrating Independence Day around here by being increasingly more independent. Seems the older I get, the worse it gets, too. The political climate this year is certainly not helping. The giant meteor solution looks better all the time. Until that happens, I'll keep working on the projects and training for the bicycle race.

I went out on the bike yesterday morning and rode a bit over eight miles, which is pretty close to the length of the race I'm planning on competing in at the end of the month.  It was a bit breezy and that's the longest ride I've done this year. I averaged about 13.4 mph. That's super slow in most anyone's book but I don't need an injury first thing. I'll try and get out most every day adding miles and doing some wind sprints. Whatever kind of shape I end up with, that'll have to do. It's good to get back out on the bike though. I've been riding the touring bike but I'm planning on getting the "race" bike out this week and switching over to that one at least until the race. There's a real good bike speed calculator here along with some other useful things, by the way. For me, it's easier to plug my numbers into the calculator there than it is to fiddle with the buttons on my speedometer.

Making a little more progress on the VW. Still working on the brakes but I've got the driver's side buttoned up - with one exception. The speedometer is supposed to get hooked up to this one but I should probably get a new cable. It's a rather interesting set-up. The cable runs through the front spindle and is driven by the dust cap. The dust cap has a little square hole in it, the inner speedo cable goes through the hole and then is held in place with a little clip. Clever idea, but those Germans are nothing if not clever.

While that side was jacked up I made a patch for the hole next to the master cylinder. I welded it up and shot a little primer over it. After I've got the master cylinder installed I'll smear some tar over it to make sure it's leak proof. The master cylinder bolts to the bulkhead and there's about 2" of space between the inner and outer bulkhead walls. The cylinder bolts have spacers in between the walls to keep the bolts from collapsing the bulkhead when you tighten it down. When I took the old cylinder off, one of the spacers fell down in between the walls of the bulkhead. Trying to fish it out of there was kind of like the monkey trap. I could get two fingers in the hole but as soon as I got the spacer in my grip, I couldn't get my fingers back out. That was fun. 

I got the mirror brackets all done. Kind of hard to see what you're looking at with the "busy" background but it looks like it'll work. I need to go through the boxes of parts and see if I can find the parts for the sunroof. I'll need to bump out the big dent in the roof as well. The theater group at the high school used the car when they put on the production of Grease and one of the stars jumped through the hole for the sunroof and sat on the top of the car and put a big ass dent in it. In this case, literally a big ass dent. I think I can get it to pop back out with out too much trouble, however. Just one more thing on the list.

I got the faux air cleaner made up. I got lucky and found a plumbing fitting that's a snug fit on the BSA carb so it was just a matter of cutting a 2x6 to the proper diameter and drilling a hole for the fitting with a hole saw. Should let us see what we need to get air cleaners and gas lines in sync.

The Missus and I went to a graduation open house for one of the fighters at the gym. He's been coming since almost the beginning and his dad has helped out coaching and he fought a bit as well. Good people - helped me out when I had the heart attack. I also saw several other young men that were either former students or fighters while we were there. It's good to see these guys making good with jobs, wives and children. As a teacher or a coach, you touch a lot of lives. Need to always keep that in mind and give them your best. Not always the easiest thing to do but they deserve your best just the same.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Things To Do

I went out to breakfast with Cuzzin Ricky and TVI the other morning. TVI asked me if I could make a new dashboard like this one for his golf cart. Nothing too tricky here, nor is he in a hurry for it. I can probably knock most of this one out on company time. It's pretty slow in the lab this summer.

Later that same day Surly came down to blast a part for his Sportster and to test drive his new beater pickup truck. He brought the outer piece for an air cleaner along with the measurements of what a good one would be. The idea is to mock something up so we can try it out on the BSA to check for a clearance issue. I was hoping to be working on the BSA this summer but it looks like he wants to finish his Sportster before we dive into the BSA. That's cool. No shortage of things to do.

Like this job. The lab tech in the Weld Shop at the college built a pipe beveling machine out of bits and pieces of junk that's been tossed out of the lab I work in. He needed a pulley for a small flat belt and came up with a plan to use these things. I drilled, reamed and turned the OD for him. He still needs a little more machine work from me but the machine will bevel pipe. Still hard to beat good old American ingenuity.

Looks like we're going to have some good weather for the holiday around here. Have fun, be safe.