Saturday, August 31, 2019

Working Off The List

They've been keeping me pretty busy at work. I've got a list of things to do but it seems like I've always got something else that comes up before I can make much progress on the list. The blower in the photo being a prime example. I did a little welding repair on a couple of spots and then cleaned it up and painted it. A couple of rattle cans of Krylon and it looks good as new. I should have taken a before picture. There's a deflector that goes on each side of the discharge chutes that need to be put back on yet after I straighten one of them out. The shop doesn't have a decent vise, so I brought the part home to work on.

I went to Harbor Freight the other day and picked up a couple of tools for work, a little pancake air compressor that was super cheap with the coupon, and some glass bead. Before I put the glass bead in the blasting cabinet I'm thinking of modifying the bottom of the cabinet to make the sump deeper. The pick-up tube doesn't go to the bottom of the sump due to the angle of the bottom sheet metal and you have to stop blasting to rake the blasting media over the end of the pick-up tube way more than should be necessary. As you can see from the photo, the stand I made for it has room underneath the cabinet to add some extra depth to the sump. Since it's a bench top model, the sump depth is pretty shallow to allow it to sit flat on a bench. It shouldn't take too much work to modify it. While I'm at it I'll add a bigger outlet to make it easier to clean it out. The present clean out comes out the side rather than the bottom and it's not very large in diameter. I'm thinking maybe weld in an 1-1/2" pipe nipple and that should do it just fine.

I replaced the protective film on the window the other night and I need to replace one of the halogen bulbs on one of the lights I installed after buying the thing 6-7 years ago. For something I don't use too often, seems like I've spent a lot of time getting it set up and maintaining it. Modifying the sump should make it a lot more user friendly, however.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


I had to get some blood work done the other day in order to get a prescription renewed. Total cholesterol number was 119. That's about 100 points lower than it was before I had the heart attack seven years ago. Between the statin drug and the dietary change, the highest it's been is 150. That's still mighty good. The report did say the HDL, which is the good cholesterol is too low. I'm not sure what I need to do about that but I'm not too concerned. My blood sugar is a bit high but I've been back-sliding a bit with cookies and some ice cream. My weight and cardio are good for a guy my age, though. I'm going to work on that a bit more just the same.

I've been pretty busy with chores and errands of late so not much to report on the project front. Working my way through a book by Phil Robertson presently. It wasn't what I was expecting from the head of the Duck Dynasty clan, but I'm not real sure what I was expecting from a book titled The Theft of America's Soul. It's not the sort of thing I normally read but from what I've read so far, I think he might be on to something.

Going to have to go shopping for a television soon. Sherriff Andy and Barney were pink the other night. The following night everything went black a couple of times. It's an old conventional set that we bought at Aldi's of all places. Time for the new flat screen with the built in Wi-Fi and all that jazz. With the new features, it might even improve the programming. I can only hope.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Hip Shakin' Mama Training Routine

Ringside has a blog that offers up some excellent training tips. The most recent post is about shadow boxing. Most new boxers don't realize how important good shadow boxing can be to their development as a fighter, plus, they don't want to look silly swatting at nothing but air while in the gym. If you are at all interested in the "sweet science", check out Ringside's blog for some training tips. You'll also find some training advice that applies to most anyone, boxer or not.

 On a related note, Archie Moore told George Foreman if he wanted to be the heavyweight champion of the world he needed to quit listening to rock and roll and start listening to jazz. I'm certainly not qualified to second guess The Mongoose, but when you're shadow boxing or skipping rope, something that makes you want to tap your feet and shake your hips is always a good choice. When you're practicing on the heavy bag or working on developing your counter punching skills, then it's time to listen to that jazz music and learn to improvise just like the jazz players do.

I ordered some more tape and gauze the other day from Title and came across a bag for medicine balls that will allow you to use the medicine ball as a kettlebell. It was only $5.00, so I ordered one to try out. We've got several sizes and weights of medicine balls at the gym, so I can try out the kettlebell workout and see how it works for me. Maybe throw on some Miles Davis at the same time.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Fight Night

Took these two guys to the fight the other night. It was a club fight held at a pretty upscale country club. The ring was set up in the maintenance building which explains the tools hanging on the wall behind the guys in the photo. Both guys lost their fights - one by a split decision, the other by just being out-classed by his opponent. Both guys fought extremely well and it was a valuable learning experience for both of them. Both of their opponents were a better caliber of fighter than what they are used to dealing with at most of the club shows we go to.

All of the bouts were good, with most of them being close decisions. I've taken fighters to a couple of shows with the same group of officials and I've been impressed with them at all of the shows. The scoring has always been good and the referees do a real nice job of controlling the action in the ring. The ref gave our young guy a standing eight count in the first round. I didn't see anything that warranted that but he told the fighter that it wouldn't count against his score. He came over to check on him between rounds as well. Our guy was definitely outclassed but he was protecting himself and landing some shots, so he wasn't getting hurt. After the fight we found out his opponent had 83 previous fights and I'm sure the ref had been involved in at least some of those. Since it was just a club fight rather than a tournament, I think the ref was just looking out for our guy. Nice to see.

My running buddy has got another fight lined up for the guys in September. I'm hoping she can get one of the other guys to help her in the corner. I'll be happy to help her if that's not the case but I'm trying to keep my involvement to a minimum. It's nice that she's willing to step up and take a few of these guys to events, though. The guys need more action, especially against some quality opponents like the other night. We're going to try and get a group run in once a week at least until the weather starts getting bad and the days get shorter.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Step by Step

I needed to make something to reinforce the bottom of a big bin at work. The bottom is made of some type of plastic and had cracked where the rear legs fasten on. After being given the job I checked with a couple of the guys who work there to get an idea if this happens on a regular basis and how the problem was addressed in the past. Mostly I got smart-ass answers for suggestions on how to repair it, so I did what I normally do in situations like this: stared at it for a bit. I like to give a solution a bit of thought before jumping in and then finding a much simpler or easier solution had I only stopped to think about it for a minute. Also, if I can't visualize the finished part in my mind's eye, it's easy to make a mistake in the sequence of operations, even if I have a decent solution to the problem at hand.

Once I decided on my plan of attack I made a pattern for the part. If I'm going to have to do more of these, I can use the same pattern again.

I cut the pieces out of 1/8" sheet with the plasma cutter. This material is too thick to bend on my little brake, so I cut slits on the bend line while leaving about 1" on each end attached.

Next step was to drill holes, bend the flanges up, weld on a 5/8" nut to fasten the legs to, and then weld up the slits, remembering that I needed a left and a right so be sure to bend the flanges properly.

I TIG welded the slits and the corners. Pretty sexy looking welds, even if I do say so myself. No need to grind anything - I just ran a file over them to remove any scale and then hit them with a wire brush.

Next step, prime and paint. I riveted the brackets onto the bin with 3/16" Pop rivets. Looks good, hell for strong, everyone's happy.

And now for something completely different:

Congratulations go out to my buddy Kevin and his wife on the birth of their daughter. Everyone's doing well.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Weather Craziness

Tough sleeping the last couple of nights. Big storm hit about 3:30 Saturday morning. High winds, hail, big downpour. Sunday morning about 5:30, lots of thunder and lightning, more rain. I got an Amber Alert on my cell phone about 6:00. Then the phone rang about 7:00. I was going to ride my bicycle along with my running buddy and one of our fighters on their training run at 8:00 but the phone call was to notify me that was off. The phone rang about 10 minutes later and we were rescheduled for 7:00 that evening. I gave up on sleeping after that and read a few more pages in the book I've been working on. The ride went well, though. We went about 4 miles at a decent clip for the runners. We're taking three fighters to a bout this week and it looks like they're all in decent shape and ready to go.

The bike in the photo above is one that I made a few years back. I drug it out, cleaned it up a bit and aired up the tires so I could ride it on the training run. It's my "city rig" and works real nice when riding along at a jogging pace. We're going to try and get the fighters out to do more road work. I can ride along to get a little exercise and keep them honest. I haven't done much cycling this year - be good to get out more.

I was going to put the front wheel back on the Rapido and found out the speedometer drive was broken. I located one at a reasonable price so I'll get that ordered up.. As soon as that comes in I'll get the wheel finished. I still need to take the tank off and get the fuel line hooked up, but that shouldn't be much of an issue. I should probably take the rear fender and taillight off and blast and paint them as well. I've got to make a couple of things for work first, though.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Employment Advice

Surly's planning on taking a bike trip with a few other guys. One of them is taking a chopper and he figured he needed a reserve tank to increase the distance between stops. Surly saw him "walking the cup" while he was welding the tank together and commented to me that the bike's owner just got his credentials. I assume he's a pipe fitter judging by the welds and the tank construction. Besides being able to make cool motorcycle parts, you can make a damn fine living working in any of the construction trades. I heard an ad on the radio yesterday for an electrician at one of the local mills. They mentioned making $80 large and bennies in the ad. Beats the absolute hell out of being saddled with huge student loan debt.

Surly has the axe finished up. He said there were a couple of pinholes in the weld but other than that, it's all good. I loaned him my leather working tools and furnished a piece of leather and he fashioned a nice looking sheath for it. He posted a couple of pictures on his Instagram page but I wasn't able to figure out how to lift them to post here. However, one important thing to remember here is that having trade skills opens up a lot of possibilities. Whether you're a welder, machinist, carpenter, leather worker or whatever, you can do a lot of things besides earning a decent living with those skills. And, since most trades people tend to run with their own kind, even if you don't have a particular skill, you'll know someone who does - meaning you can find someone to make that gas tank for your chopper, or weld up your axe, or machine up some special gizmo.

I'm certainly not knocking college, but the return on your investment had better warrant the initial expense and the juice on those loans that you'll be looking at for twenty years. And don't be looking for loan forgiveness from the government, regardless of what the presidential candidates are saying to get themselves elected. There should have been two big take-a-ways from high school Econ class: opportunity cost and compound interest. Remember that the government is the one who is running the student loan programs these days. The same government that screws up most anything they touch. Don't expect them to be looking out for your best interest. Do your homework.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Birthday Girl

Birthday today for the Missus - turning 29 for the 40th time again. I love this picture of her. Actually this was probably taken about the time she really did turn 29. Happy birthday, Baby! And speaking of babies, my buddy Kevin who I used to work with is soon to be a father. He and his wife are waiting the arrival of their first. My wife is naturally hoping today will be the day.

I met with the travel agent yesterday morning and Cuzzin Ricky and I are all set on the train trip out west. This should be a lot of fun. We're thinking we should head east next year. Catch a couple of sprint car races, Steamtown, visit my brother, and a couple of other stops along the way. Rick's turning 70 real soon and I'm only a year behind him. We're getting too old to be putting things off.

The grandsons start school this week so I won't be getting anymore help on the Rapido unless I arrange a Saturday or two. The aching back screwed up the weekend for me as far as working out in the shop but you're going to have that sometimes.

The hot days should be done with for this year so the weather should be a bit more agreeable to manual labor. I've got a bit more lawn and garden work I'd like to get done that I wasn't able to tackle due to the weather this spring. I want to paint the north end of my shop and there's some trim on the shack that needs painting. As always, lots to do. And plenty of time to get it done if I'd stay home once in a while and quit hurting myself.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Lumbar's Not So Limber

Between the concrete job, moving furniture and doing some landscaping, the old back gave out on me Friday. I was carrying a couple of bags of salt for the water softener and that was all she wrote. Went to the chiropractor and he straightened me out but told me I'd be sore for a couple of days - right he was. As a result I haven't done much the last couple of days. Seems like every time I get on a roll, something comes up to slow progress.

The chiropractor's office is right down the street from the library, so I stopped in and picked up a couple of books to read while riding the recliner. I found a new Joe Pickett novel by C.J. Box - Wolf Pack. I've read a few of these and have found them enjoyable. This one was no exception. I haven't been reading too many books this year. I haven't even kept up with the magazines. Seems it's about all I can do to keep up with the daily newspaper.

I've got quite a few things on the agenda for the next few weeks - might partly explain why I'm behind on my reading. Mostly fun stuff though: boxing matches, auto racing and a little traveling. Going to try and do a bit on the Rapido today as long as the back co-operates. I want to finish this one up.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Number 49, Here I Come

We got the aunt moved in. I showed up just a bit late to the party. They were supposed to start about 8:00 and I showed up about 8:30. I figured they'd have some coffee and donuts and BS a bit, which I suppose they did, but they had most of the heavy stuff loaded up when I got there. Since we were only going across town and much of her stuff was going home with Cuzzin Rick and his brother, it didn't take long to unload. I was home by 11:30 - worked out well. I rode the motorbike down, by the way. Beautiful morning for a ride in the country.

Cuzzin Rick and I are getting a trip to Nevada together. We're planning on taking the Amtrak to Salt Lake City, renting a car and hitting a couple of museums, including the Nevada Northern Railway for a ride on a steam train. We're also planning on a quick stop at the salt flats. This will make state number 49 for me. The only one left is Hawaii. The wife and I are planning on going there on our 50th anniversary in about a year and a half as long as our health allows.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Life is Precious

I'm helping move my aunt into an assisted living facility this morning. The old bird is 91 and, as unfortunate as it is, she should not be living on her own any more. It's a small apartment she'll be going into, so she has to get rid of much of her stuff. I'm sure that has to be tough. Knowing that the next move will be the cemetery can't be too easy either, for her, her children, grandchildren and me, also.

She's my dad's sister and the last of that generation on my dad's side of the family. I've got one aunt left on my mom's side. Those of my generation are all closing in on 70 or have already hit it. When you get to our age you realize how precious life is and want to make the most of whatever time you have left. And then you get some crazy whack-a-doodles shooting people because they can't deal with life's problems. We didn't have too much of this sort of thing in the old days because the crazies would have been in an institution. I doubt seriously that taking guns away from sane, law abiding citizens is going to be the answer, or at least an answer that will be effective but once again that's the default position of most of the politicians. The killing needs to stop whether it's a mass shooting or a typical weekend in any number of large cities. Let's hope that a workable solution is found soon.    

Monday, August 5, 2019

More Rapido

It was a hot one again yesterday - I'd guess someplace close to 90 again mid to late afternoon. I've been limiting my activity during the heat due mostly to the fact we haven't had a string of hot days to allow my body to get acclimated to the heat. However, that's just fine with me. I've been getting a few things done, like the carb and air cleaner on the Rapido.

The air cleaner looks pretty good on the bike but the more we fix and paint, the worse the frame and wheels look. I'm going to pull the tank off next and get that rinsed out. After seeing the condition of the carburetor, I don't foresee any real problem there. I've got new rubber mounts for the front of the tank. One of the old mounts is missing and the tank is currently wired on. The tank is supposed to sit on a rubber mount in the tunnel. It pivots on that when the strap on the back is tightened down forcing the ears on the front of the tank to lock into place on a couple of pins sticking out from the frame. The previous owner must have lost one of the rubber mounts and rather than getting a replacement, did the wire thing.

I installed a new throttle cable when I put the carb back on. The cable seemed to be bit short but I think most of the problem was the position of the handlebars. Must have been a big guy riding it before. The bars were rotated forward quite a bit. After rotating them back to where they probably were from the factory and rotating the clutch lever downward to level it out, I picked up just enough slack to make it work when the bars are turned lock to lock. I'm going to safety wire the cable on the throttle end and carb end to make sure the cable won't pull out and get stuck on full throttle or something. Don't want the grandson to find himself in a panic situation.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Flat Work

Got the concrete job done yesterday with the help of Big Ernie. Ernie used to do a bit of boxing and he coached at our gym on and off for several years. He's a great coach and knows his way around concrete work as well. He brought all the tools and I supplied some labor. I moved 29 bags of concrete mix - a couple of them more than once - so about one ton, 60 pounds at a time. Ernie showed up about 7:30 and we were done about 11:00. I don't know about Ernie, but I was pretty much done about that time. I didn't do much the rest of the day. Back was a bit stiff and it warmed up. I figured I shouldn't over do it.

Planning on some work in the shop later today. Depending on the weather, might do a bit of outside work - strip the form and fill in around the slab so I can get some grass going. Feels good crossing this one off the list. Couldn't have done it without Ernie, though.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Picking Away At Them

Remote float Dellorto from the Rapido. I'm always amazed how well the gasoline holds up with the addition of the two-stroke oil. This thing hasn't been run in well over fifteen years. In spite of that there was still some liquid in the bottom of the float chamber. It had the viscosity of syrup and had the familiar stink of old gas but it wasn't near as bad as it would have been with what passes for gasoline these days. I'll finish cleaning it up and then see what I need to do on the gas tank before installing a new piece of fuel line and an in-line filter.

Little piece for Surly's big twin that I welded a tab on. He bought this thing and like many used Harleys, it has suffered from a bad case of ham-fistedness. He'll get it all put back to right but it'll take him awhile between the type of work that needs to be done and his limited free time.

I'm making some progress around the shack along with the Rapido job but it's August already. I'd like to get the Rapido running and cross off a couple other of the big jobs before the weather turns cold. That gives me about three months to get some painting done and a few other things. Got a concrete job on the agenda for the weekend.