Monday, February 25, 2019

Ireland Tour

When I think Ireland, I think Irish Rovers and drinking. I'm sure there's more to it than that. I'll report in when I get home.

Friday, February 22, 2019


Leaving on a jet plane. Cuzzin Ricky's taking me to the airport bus, then off to Dublin by way of London.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


The Quiet Man was on TV last evening - perfect set-up for a guy getting ready to travel to Ireland. The movie is set in the imaginary town of Innesfree, which I wasn't aware of, but I did turn up this song about Innesfree. I vaguely remember Bing Crosby doing this one but I saw the name of Paddy Reilly when looking at the videos and had to go with it.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Daytona, Singleton & Italy

I had the NASCAR race on the television for a bit yesterday while I was doing some chores. I commented to the dog that the Missus and I were there in 1981 when Dale Singleton won the bike race. The dog didn't seem to be too interested but Singleton was an excellent racer, having beaten the factory teams at Daytona as a privateer in '79 also. You don't often hear his name mentioned but he raced against some of the absolute best. He switched to stock car racing but he died in a plane crash, unfortunately, at the young age of 30.

On a happier note, I got an e-mail from one of my traveling companions from my Italy trips. Apparently, she saw something about real estate prices in Italy which prompted her to look into the matter in a little more detail.

This is one of the houses listed - $85,000 Euros. The link has a few more photos of the property, plus other listings at various price ranges. It's too late for me but if I was able to do a few things over in my life, I might have planned on a retirement over there, especially when you see the views.

I ordered in the bushings for the roll project and they should be here in a couple of days. I've got a couple of other bits to make for it in the mean time. Depending on the weather, I'll work on those and finish getting ready for the Ireland trip.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Satellite Radio.

I had to call Sirius radio about canceling my service - what a fiasco that was. First a little background to the story.

I bought a laptop computer from Dell a while back and Windows did an upgrade on the day I bought it. When I received the computer in the mail it wouldn't run correctly due to a lack of RAM or whatever. I checked with the Geek Squad and got no where, called Dell and wasted a bunch of time talking to a tech, he finally gave up and transferred me to another guy who said it was a software problem, not a hardware problem so I was on my own.

I had also bought a Dell computer for the house and the hard drive needed to be replaced. This was when I was dealing with the new well and I took the computer and the hard drive, which Dell warrantied, to the Geek Squad thinking they could knock that out lickety-split. But no. It was going to have to be sent out, gone for three weeks or so and they were going to charge me to transfer the files. No Bueno.

When I got the computer through Best Buy I got an anti-virus software as part of the deal. However, since I wasn't real happy with the service at Best Buy or with Dell, I didn't want to re-subscribe, figuring I'll take all my future computer business to the shop uptown and get McAfee anti-virus or something. In the meantime, my credit card provider had changed due to Bass Pro buying out Cabela's. I wasn't real happy with the new card because as they were changing over from Cabela's Visa to the new Master Card, someone changed my address without my permission, I didn't receive a statement and I had to spend time on the phone bird-dogging the issue and, at least as I interpreted it over the phone, they didn't sound too concerned.

Meanwhile back at the Geek Squad, I didn't renew my anti-virus because I didn't wish to do business with them again. However, it got renewed by Master Card. They took it upon themselves to give out my number so it got renewed. I called Cabela's Capitol One first thing and was told it wasn't them but the card company what did the deed. I called Master Card and they told me because the charge is pending, I should call Best Buy and see what I can work out with them. Two important things here. I dislike talking on the phone and it's impossible to call any of the places and get a human without wasting a lot of time going through a bunch of razz-ma-tazz first.

If you're still with me, the same scenario was starting to play out with the satellite radio. My subscription was going to run out, the old card number was on file and I didn't want to renew because I'm going to switch to a new credit card company and I didn't want Master Card giving out my number again. I call Sirius XM before the service runs out and after going through a bunch of phone prompts, I tell the guy when the subscription runs out in a few days, just let it expire, when I get a new credit card I'll call back and re-instate the radio if I decide to continue with the service. I figured that would do it. But no. I get e-mails saying they couldn't re-new because of an invalid card number and I'm going to be billed for the service.

I call them again yesterday, 10 days after the first call. Once again I have to wade through the phone prompts until I get a human. I start to explain my situation and I get cut off. I call back and once again I have to go through all the phone prompts to finally get a human. This time I get an ESL tech who I can hardly understand and start the explanation again. He does most everything in his power to keep me subscribed. I tell him I'm leaving the country, I've cancelled my credit card, so even if I wanted to keep my subscription in force I have no way of paying him. He finally relents and cancels me out. But he tells me I owe them $6.00. I tell him no way I'm paying because I called ten days ago to cancel and I don't have a credit card. He says OK and then we were done. Took at least 30-40 minutes to accomplish all this.

You would think if they look up your account, verify who you are, this should be less than a five minute transaction. Instead, they've pissed me off to the point I'm done with them completely. I've now added SiriusXM and Master Card to the growing list of places who will no longer have me for a customer.  However, the song I posted above was playing during one of the several times I was on hold. Nice tune, the only enjoyable part of wasting all that time on the phone.

On a happier note, it was a beautiful day yesterday and I got a lot done including some time in the shop.

I drilled and tapped the holes in the end plates on the roll and then got them tacked on to the base plates. I still the need the bushings the rollers ride in and I need to decide if I should get some thrust washers to put in between the rollers and the end plates. I don't think the plans call for those but I'm thinking some bronze washers wouldn't hurt a thing. I think I've got most everything else now except the pipe. I do need to change the position of the feet. I modified things a bit from the plan and where I tacked them on they're going to interfere with the adjustment screws. They would work there but the clearance will be a bit tight and I don't need to scuff my knuckles every time I want to use the roll. The feet are just tacked in place so it won't take much to move them.

The weather's turning cold again so I don't know how much I'll get done in the next few days, but there's not a lot left to do on the roll.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rocky Road to Dublin

Spent most of the day yesterday on the road getting ready to go to Dublin along with a few other stops. Not the most pleasant of days to be out driving, however. We got freezing rain Monday night, fog when I was leaving the house and the backroads were pretty slick with the temperature hovering right around the freezing mark. The main roads weren't too bad - sloppy but relatively safe.

I talked to the travel agent to finalize the details on my upcoming trip, picked up my Euros, bought a new flip phone, and went to Menards - of course. They had the 1/2" round stock I needed for the slip roll. They carry the 1-1/2" black pipe the plans call for but three short pieces are going to cost quite a bit more than a ten foot piece so I'll grab a length next time I'm there. I had nice clothes on for a change and I didn't want to take a chance on getting them stained or I would have grabbed one while I was there. They didn't have the bushings I need, so I'll have to try someplace else for those.

I'm going to finish drilling and tapping the end plates and get those tacked down next. I'll be able to determine the exact length of the pipe rollers then. If I know the lengths, I'll just run over to the college when I get the pipe and cut them on the big band saw and finish weld the rest of it at the same time.

Surly said the petcocks for the BSA came in. I think that old dog is actually going to run this year. We got the bike from my brother after he passed and it'll be seven years coming up May 1st. It should have been done long before this but I was still recovering from the heart attack when he passed, then the Missus broke her shoulder and developed cancer - you all know how it goes. It's always something. But it'll happen.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Steady By Jerks

Engine parts for the slant six came in - gaskets, rings and bearings. As soon as we get a couple of semi-warm days, I'll get started on the assembly process. I need to borrow a ring compressor and filer from my buddy first, however.

I found these exhaust flanges on eBay. I'm going to have to get a set. If the slant six ever makes it into the "Speedway" racer, I'll make a 6 into 1 pipe that runs along side of the cockpit like they all used to. Probably not the most efficient way to scavenge the spent gas but if you're building a replica, it's the only way to go.

Made a little progress on the roller - drilled the holes in the feet and the plates that hold the end plates on. The feet are tack welded in place and I ground and filed one of the adjusters. It fits up nicely. I'll work on finishing up the rest of those and get the holes drilled and tapped in the end plates in the next few days. I'm going to have to get some 1/2" round stock before I can finish this thing but I'm getting ready for the Ireland trip and I'm looking to close out my credit card so I don't want to put any more charges on it.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Keeping Busy

I buy things from Garrett Wade occasionally so I receive e-mails from them. The last one I received was promoting their blog. I checked it out and they had a piece on Fay Butler, one of the premier metal shapers of our time. I knew of him but wasn't aware of his skills in several other fields. If you're interested in metal shaping, like I am, check out the article.

While we're on the subject of metal shaping, Surly picked up a 2x8 for me the other day. I cut off three 12" pieces and glued them together for the start of a hammer form for the sidecovers on the BSA. Surly also located a pair of reconditioned Amal carbs for the project. Amals are famous for wearing out the bore where the throttle slides go. These have been sleeved and gone through, so we should be good on carburetion now. I'll try and get one of the sidecovers finished up and then we can see about clearances, etc. on petcocks and air cleaners.

I've been getting ready to head to Ireland. The tour offers a few side trips, so I signed up for the Guinness tour and the traditional Irish pub night out - should make for a memorable trip. For those of you who are on Medicare, your coverage isn't any good when traveling out of the country so you need to find some short term health insurance. I don't know what the reasoning is behind the lack of coverage when traveling abroad, but it is after all run by the government.

I also called Consumer Cellular to see if my phone will work over there. I was told I needed a new SIM  card and they'll send one out. I got a call back from them a few minutes later and was informed my old flip phone probably won't work and I need to upgrade. It's all about 3G vs 4G, apparently. A new cheapie like what I've got is only $30.00. They have a better one with more battery life and talk time for $50.00. The other option is to pick up a disposable when I'm over there but for the price of a new one, might as well go that route. I will say the people at Consumer Cellular are easy to talk to - must not be coming from a call center in India. I was able to hear them clearly, understand them and it didn't take too long before I reached a human. Much better than when I called Cabela's Capitol One and Master Card.

I ordered some Euros from the bank the other day and those are ready to pick up. I've got an appointment with the travel agent next week. After concluding my business with her, I'll pick up my Euros and get a new phone. I should be ready to go after that.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Roller Progress

I got the end plates for the slip roller mostly cleaned up. The starter holes to facilitate burning out the slots look a little unsightly. They won't hurt anything structurally but I think I'll run a bead of weld in the corners to make things look a bit nicer. I can round the corners up with the die grinder when finished and then a little more grinding around the edges. After I drill and tap them for the adjusting screws I'll be ready to weld them to the base plates.

The angles in the photo are the feet that will hold the roll to the bench. They each get a drilled hole and then get welded to the channel iron base. The other pieces in the photo need to have the tops rounded off and then they get a brass bushing pressed in.

The weather yesterday was 50 in the early afternoon and then the wind picked up bringing cold weather back in again. Single digits and heavy wind gusts last night with a high of only 15 forecast today. Forecasting temps around zero for tonight and then daytime temps in the high twenties/low thirties for the next seven days or so. Going to be tough getting back out into the shop that way but I'll probably bite the bullet and get out there at least long enough to finish up the end plates and the get the feet welded on to the base. I need to place an order for steel before I can finish this thing but the end plates were the big part of the job. So major step forward here.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Speedway Racers

Here's a couple more shots of the old "Speedway" racer from the night at the Grant King shop.

I'm definitely going to have to build something like this - slant six powered, of course. Speaking of which, I've got parts on the way: rings, bearings and gaskets. I was eyeballing the print I posted a while back and the only tricky part of the frame construction will be the frame rails where they taper and bend over the rear axle and the rounded section on the nose. I need to give that a thought as far as the best way to fab those. I'm thinking the straight sections on the sides make out of 2x4 tubing and then fab the other sections from plate that's welded together.

As long as it's still cold, I'm going to study the Speedway Motors' catalog a bit and start pricing out parts to get an idea what this project will cost. Since I'm not going to be working after the eight week stint coming up, I'm going to have to be a bit more careful with my money. And I damn sure don't want to have to go back to work to finance this thing.

A couple of more things:

Interesting article on a similar type car only Studebaker powered. It has a set of similar drawings that must of come out of the same book - I'd like to find a copy of that one.

Cuzzin Ricky turned me on to a YouTube video about John Martin, the racer/mechanic/fabricator I met at Grant King's shop. It's only about 4 minutes long. Well worth your time. He's definitely my kind of guy - glad I had the opportunity to meet him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Keeping The Home Fires Burning.

The Missus went to bed Sunday night and when I came in a bit later she commented that the room felt chilly. Since it warmed up quite a bit and the wind was calm, that didn't sound to promising. I went down to check the furnace and sure enough the thermocouple had given it up. I always keep a spare on hand and it only takes about 10 minutes to change it out, so not that big a deal even if it was 11:00 PM. 

It seems the thermocouple on the furnace goes bad every couple of years but the water heater which is right next to the furnace has only needed a replacement a couple of times since we've lived here and that's over twenty years. I don't know if the furnace has a hotter pilot light or what but I find it odd. 

I don't know how much gas is wasted by having the two pilot lights burning continuously, all year long. I also don't know what a new energy efficient furnace would cost and what the payback would be. As I mentioned the other day, I'm going to have to start thinking about moving into town one of these days or make this place a bit more energy efficient and easier to care for. It's not a problem now but if something happens to me The Missus is going to have her hands full.

I made it out to the shop yesterday while we were enjoying a bit of a warm up. The temp got up to fifty but it was a damp, dreary day. I got the side plates for the slip roll machined so I can take them to the college and cut out the holes for the adjusters. Rather than trying to mill a slot, I drilled holes  at the corners and I'll connect the holes with the torch and then grind the sides as needed to get a decent fit. This is the spirit in which the plan was drawn up. Tool making for someone without a  machine shop at their disposal. I'll still need to drill and tap some holes after I finish the burnout but that shouldn't be too tricky.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Bead Rolling

I got a call from the high school the other day. First of all the instructor said the part I worked on for him worked out well, then he asked about stiffening up some aluminum sheets on the second car the students are building. He was talking about punching some holes and then bell mouthing the holes. I told him I had the tools for that and a bead roller as well, and as you can see in the photo, they decided to bead roll the sheets. After I dropped the tools off the next day, he called me up later that evening and asked if I would be interested in going with them to the competition if they get the second car finished in time. 

The competition will be in California, which just happens to be one of the three states I need to complete my quest to hit all fifty. I'm supposed to be working then, however, and would have to miss three nights of classes. I'm going into the college this week for a couple of things, so I'll run it by my boss and see what he says about me taking time off. One of my main reasons for retiring was to be able to travel and do this sort of thing. I agreed to teach the class mostly as a favor to him and don't want to leave him short, but I think this could be fun. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Laundry Day

Photo from the "everything old is new again" file.

I wanted to get a load of clothes done but didn't want to run the dryer so I set up the clothes rack. Running the dryer makes no sense what-so-ever when it's sub-zero. Taking warm conditioned air from the house, heating it again and then exhausting it outside is no way to treat your BTUs. By drying the clothes inside, not only do you save energy but you also add humidity into the house. With the fireplace and the heaters running the shack was getting pretty dry. The humidity had dropped below 40% and that's with the water pans on the fin tube and a tea kettle boiling on the stove much of the time. Might as well hang some clothes up inside and add to the house humidity. Of course I could have hung them outside and freeze dried them - wouldn't have helped the house humidity any but they will dry.

The record setting low temperatures and the gusting winds have pointed out once again that I need to replace a couple of windows in the house. It's ironic that the worst windows in the house are the newest. The vinyl windows on the west side of the house, even though they are double pane glass, leak all kinds of air. I'm definitely going to see about at least four new windows this year and look into a generator that will keep Mama warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There's no way she can haul wood and do everything I've been doing the last couple of days. If the power was out for an extended period rather than just an hour like it was the other day, I would have dropped the plow on the tractor and hooked up the welder/generator to bring it up to the house to be able to run the furnace and the water pump. That would have been tough enough for me at -20. No way for her. 

Definitely time to get some things plumbed up to make life easier on myself and by extension the Missus if I'm not around. Might make it easier to sell the old place when the time comes as well.

In the meantime, more snow on the way followed by warming temperatures and rain, then temperatures more typical for the first week of February. That should make for a sloppy mess and some flooding and then a refreeze. The nice thing however is that it's February and the worst of the winter should now be behind us.