Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Pooh On The Weather


Poo on this cold. It was 3 degrees yesterday morning at 6:30. It did get up to close to 20 later in the day. Fortunately, it was sunny and mostly calm. I was out for a while - went to the store, walked the dog and brought wood in. Didn't even open the door to the shop, though. 

I decided to cook myself some grub suitable for single digits temps. Vegan chili with cornbread baked on top. The recipe called for TVP (textured vegetable protein). I've never used that stuff but I doctored up the recipe with some mushrooms and a couple of other things. Tasty and good for you. I've been working on getting the diet back on track. Seems to be working. The weight's under 170 now. Not by much, but it's still a win. I'm looking for 165 - should make it if I stay on the program and keep working out. 

I was at the gym Saturday, Sunday and Monday - not my normal schedule by any means. In fact, my normal schedule is Monday only, but now we're doing a Sunday workout for the guys getting ready for the Gloves. I need to get something else going in the middle of the week as well. 

I need to get myself in shape so I'll look good in my new jersey I ordered yesterday. I was on the exercise bike at the gym Monday, planning on getting on the trainer down the basement a couple of days a week now. Times are hard now, going to be a lot harder this year from what I've been reading. We all need to be getting in shape for when the bottom drops out.

It's supposed to be warmer today and tomorrow, get cold again Friday but be back in the forties next week. I'm going to try and get the spacers for the manifold done today or tomorrow. Every day a little something.

Monday, January 30, 2023

1099 & A Chevy Truck


I had a couple pictures featured on the Metal Mashup on the Arc-Zone welding supply company site. I sent the link to my brother from a different mother and he sent me a couple of photos of my old '50 Chevy half ton I rebuilt. I swapped out the engine, made some cab corners, and a flat bed. The interior was fitted with a pair of bucket seats and a wooden console that I fitted with a push-button radio. I had converted the electrics to 12volt by replacing the generator with an alternator, and then swapping all the bulbs and installing a few resistors. It was a good running rig that I drove while I was working at the welding shop, since the shop was only a few blocks from the house. When I started teaching, I sold it shortly after and got something a little more commuting friendly on my daily 50 mile round trip. According to my brother, these were taken 49 years ago. Lots of projects under both of our belts since then.


It's 1099 season and they've been coming in the mail, including the ones from Social Security for the Missus and I. One of the line items on the SS statement is the "voluntary" federal tax withheld. This always burns my ass. Never have I voluntarily agreed to pay a tax on the money paid in by me and my employer that was a tax to begin with. To further make my case, The Epoch Times runs a column every week dealing with Social Security issues. The column is written by a former SS employee and is well written and informative. Recently he addressed the issue of SS running out of money. This week there was a letter to the editor in response to the column highlighting the fact that SS is about the worst possible retirement investment you could make.

The reader shows in detail figures on the money you put in and the return on your investment. In a nutshell, you pay in 7% and your employer matches that. Your share is actually closer to 9% after paying your federal taxes. You pay in approximately $15,000 for 40 years and then at age of 65 you receive benefits of $25,000 per year, $20,000 after taxes, for a total benefit of $400,000. However, using the figures in the article, if you had invested that same amount at an interest rate of 5 or 6%, you would have earned yourself somewhere between $2 million to $4 million dollars. Invest $4 million and get back $400,000. Helluva deal, ain't it.

And knowing this, they want you to "voluntarily" give some of the money back.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

More Manifold.


I cut the adaptor plate out, put it on the mill to square up the edges and drilled the holes for mounting it to the manifold. I got to thinking I don't need to taper the top of the plate since I want the car to have a bit of a nose-down rake. I need to make the spacers and bosses for the plate next and then I can weld the bosses onto the manifold. In the photo is a tube of silicon bronze filler rods. Instead of torch brazing the bosses on, I might try TIG welding them on with the silicon bronze rod. Don't know when that'll get done but sometime soon. Cold weather's on the way for next week - don't know if I'll want to spend much time out in the shop. I've got plenty of indoor things to work on. I am going to order the new carb. That way I can be sure of getting the holes in the right locations.

Also in the photo are the angles to top off the sides on the trailer project. Definitely going to wait for some warmer weather to finish that job.

Friday, January 27, 2023

What The World Needs Now

What the world needs now is definitely love and welders. Lots of good welders.

The following is from The View From The Porch:

One of the challenges in ramping up tank production is a shortage of trained welders—a problem that also constrains shipbuilding. Many of these welding jobs are part of the unionized workforce, which makes it harder for manufacturers to grow their workforces quickly. Specifically, unionization inhibits the manufacturers from immediately doubling the salaries of the welders without affecting the wages of others in the factories. Within the defense sector we need to treat welders the same way the private sector treats star programmers: by paying them extremely well. We cannot afford to have trained welders take jobs at Walmart or as forklift supervisors because they can earn more money. If anything, we should be incentivizing more forklift supervisors to become welders. Welding is a key national security manufacturing task.

See this old M103 heavy tank?

It's kind of an extreme example, but it's basically made of three big-ass castings, two of which, welded together, form the hull. The hull is 22 feet long. That's a big casting and a lot of welding; you don't make those from a manufacturing base that's otherwise capable of making only cookware and kitchen appliances.

A couple of things here. First off, the first part of the above is a quote from a quote, so you're missing the lead-in. However, I just wanted to focus on the need for more qualified welders, both to make tanks for the military and ship building. I don't know exactly what the qualifications are for welders on the tank line, but I do have a pretty good idea what the test is for ship building. It's basically the same as the AWS test for structural steel - all position unlimited thickness with whatever process they're using, which would be some type of flux cored wire process.

When I first started teaching, just a few blocks from the school was the Blaw-Knox factory. As the description of the photo states, three big-ass castings were welded together to form the hull. Several of my students worked there after graduation. At that time most of the welding was with the stick welding process using welding rods about the size of small baseball bats. Besides having to pass a welding test, because it was for the military, drug and background checks were required, if I remember correctly. I would assume the same thing still applies. So, in addition to finding skilled people, they have to find people who can pass the background and drug test. And as the quote mentions, they can't give the welders a raise without giving everyone else a raise as well. I'm sure they all could use a raise, so I wouldn't mind my tax dollars being spent for that reason, rather than some of the things the federal government wastes money on.

I don't know how many tanks need to be produced but from what I've been reading, none of the branches of the military are ready to fight a war which might be necessary real soon what with our involvement in the Ukraine versus Russia thing. I don't think those knuckleheads in Washington have any idea what they're doing. If you can't get tanks and ships built due to lack of skilled people during peace time, probably shouldn't be looking for trouble. Especially when you're 31 trillion dollars in debt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Shim Sham Shimmy & a Side Order of Two Barrel

I was watching a couple of videos of Post Modern Jukebox, since I'm pretty excited about our anniversary trip, and they feature tap dancing on several of their songs. One thing led to another and I ended up watching several tap-dancing videos. Enough of them, in fact, that I'm considering dusting off my tap shoes and seeing if I can remember a few steps. I'd be pretty happy if I could learn the Shim Sham Shimmy and dance it to that Jimmy Lunceford tune. Be good for my balance, rhythm and cardio, as well as exercising my brain a bit. All things a guy my age needs to work on. 

I'm getting some exercise now that I'm going back to the gym a couple days per week, but it's always hard for me to stay active in the winter when I can't get out on the bike and I'm too much of a candy-ass to bundle up and walk a couple of miles on a regular basis when the temps drop below freezing. 

Besides thinking about resuming my tap-dancing career, I figured out what I want to do with the intake manifold on the jitney. I removed the broken fitting from the right side and then ground the top surface around the intake port. My plan is to make an adaptor plate that will bolt onto the intake using two bosses brazed onto the top surface of the manifold along with two spacers that will be bolted onto the surface using the two existing holes in the bottom of the photo after spot facing them. Whenever you need to braze cast iron, you need to grind off the casting skin. Depending on the grade of cast, sometimes you can MIG weld steel to it. It can also be stick welded. There are a couple of rods that work well, again, depending on the grade of cast.

The white pattern has the bolt pattern to fasten the adaptor to the manifold. I've got the lay-out dye on the piece of aluminum I'm going to use. I still need to do a bit of cipherin' before I do the layout for the carb. I want the adaptor to have a 3 degree taper on the top so the carb will sit upright rather than leaning downhill at a 3 degree angle like the engine is. Because the aluminum block is 3/4" thick, when I bore the holes for the carb throats, I'll need to start the bore a little off the center line of the plate to hit the center on the bottom. Time to do a little trig.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Good Day

 Pretty good morning yesterday - went to Aldi to top off the pantry and the wine cellar, picked up the carb gasket, went to the library for a couple more books, came home and ordered tickets for Post Modern Jukebox on our anniversary. It won't be Hawaii, but it will be a buffet before the show, concert, nice hotel room and breakfast the following morning. It'll be nice to get out and spend a little time away from home with the old girl. Fifty-two years is definitely worth celebrating.

The gasket makes it look like I'll be able to modify the manifold on the jitney or make an adaptor that won't look out of place. I'll need to think it through a bit more yet, but it should be just what the doctor ordered. I took the studs out of the intake using the stud removing tool. I usually just use a pair of vise-grips, but since I have a tool, I figured I should probably dig it out and use it. I've had this thing probably 40 years and I doubt if I've used it more than a half dozen times. As it turned out, the studs weren't much more than finger tight.

I put the eye bolts on the trailer bulkhead sheets yesterday. A bit chilly on the fingers but otherwise it was a decent day to be outside, since the sun finally came out in the afternoon. Depending on the weather, I might try to get the sides bolted on today. They're calling for some snow the next few days after today, so it would be a good time.

The session at the gym went well Sunday. We worked on uppercuts, both throwing and defending against. Our boy who fought in Tulsa last year got tagged with several by his opponent in his last bout. We don't want that to happen again. Since I've been back in the gym, I've noticed the progress of the fighters has been stunted a bit, much of which was probably covid related along with the lack of coaching. 

Even though I'm back in the fold, we could still use another quality coach. We need some more people in the gym, as well. When we first opened up we were taking 10-12 fighters to the Gloves each year, all of which were in great shape. This year we're looking at maybe 6 or 7, four of which showed up Sunday morning for the extra session we've been running. Two of them are in good condition, one in fair condition, and one in lousy condition. One of the guys who didn't show works weekends, but he's there during the week all the time. He's in pretty fair condition and knows what he needs to do. One of the other fighters has a long drive and changed jobs. He met us in Indy when we went down there a couple of weeks ago and he looked terrible when sparring. I doubt if he'll be in any kind of shape for this year's Gloves. We need to get the boxers and the gym in better shape this year.

I'll be back in the shop later today, either working on the trailer sides or something on the jitney.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Alternator's Ready To Go

I made the alternator tensioning bracket yesterday - piece of cake. I cut the slotted part out on the bandsaw, smoothed up the sawn edge, drilled a mounting hole in a piece of flat bar, bent it to get the necessary offset, bolted both pieces on, marked the mating edges, cut the flat bar to length, and welded the pieces together. The only snag, such as it was, one of the screws holding the case halves together was sticking out a bit too far and keeping the new bracket from sitting flat against the alternator. It had a lock washer under the head, so I pulled the screw out of the case, removed the washer and it gave me just enough clearance. I'll get it blasted and painted on a day when I get the shop warmed up well.

I opened up the box of hardware to sort out the stuff for the trailer sides. I'll finish cutting the aluminum angle that goes on top of the plywood and then drill and countersink the holes for the mounting screws. I get that done, I can finish putting the sides on and call the project complete. 

Going to the gym this morning to work with some of the "competitive" fighters. Hopefully there'll be a better turnout than last time. It's past time for those boys to be taking their training seriously if they have any plans on actually being competitive. Sign of the times, I guess.