Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Toys Toys Toys

As most of you know SWMBO and I have been busy the past couple of months doing all sorts of stuff.

Some of what we’ve been doing is hitting various auctions and going to eastern Kansas to visit SWMBO’s family.

As part of these expeditions we have been able to pick up some new toys. I thought you’d find some of them of interest.

First up are some more power tools for the woodshop.

Finally got a little, 5-speed, ½” chuck, bench top drill press.

I’ve never heard of the ‘Collins Quality Tool’ brand, but this is a sweet little bugger - works great.

All that really needs done is cleaning and some surface rust removal in some areas. For the price I got it for it can’t be beat and I can’t go wrong.

At the same auction I managed to get this Craftsman 12” Band Saw - Sander.

Like the drill press this only needs to be cleaned up and have some surface rust taken care of (mainly on the legs). Like the drill press, the price was too good to let it go.

They guy who previously owned these tools was a woodworker as well. From what I can tell he had to hang-up his apron over 10 years ago due to illness. Since his illness the tools have just been sitting in his woodshop gathering dust. The family decided to have the auction because the guy is now needing to go into a care facility.

Makes me wonder what will happen to all my junk when I’m no longer around.

The only bad thing about this band saw are the spiders that came with it. I knew there were some webs/nests under it, and I thought I got them. Guess I didn’t. When I went into the woodshop yesterday there were dozens of spider webs going all over from the saw. We sprayed for spiders, and other bugs, about a month ago in the shop. I might have to do some more spraying.

While back in south eastern Kansas I managed to pick up a couple new vintage hand tools.

The hand drill came from the wife’s second cousin (he has an absolutely spectacular woodshop utilizing primarily vintage antique hand tools) , the Bailey #3 came from a junk shop.

The Brace isn’t exactly an old one, maybe 40 years, but it came form the wife’s second cousin as well.

The awesome, razor sharp, spoke shave was an auction find my friend Bill got for me.

The next two items I picked up just the other day and intend to hang them in the shop.

This is a two man tree saw.

What's really neat about it is that it's about 1" taller than me!

Once cleaned up it should look nice hanging from the rafters.

Here is a HUGE, one man, Keen Kutter saw. The extra handle can be moved to the other end of the blade.

This one is 4-½’. I think what one gent at the auction said about it sums it up best - “I’d hate to cross the guy big enough to use it”.

Llike the other one it will hang from the rafters of the shop too.

This is a better view of the two handles and the Keen Kutter button.

Now these last few pics are of THE prize from the auction the saw came from.

We have wanted a matched set of metal twin beds for one of beds rooms. When we found these we knew we had to have them.

They do have a ‘Simmons’ label on them, but we can not find a date. They are metal, and the foot boards has a brass piece. They also came with both sets of rails.

What we liked the best about them is that they look like something that would have been on the Titanic.

One of the head boards...

One of the foot boards...

Head board finial detail.

Foot board brass 'do-hickey' detail.

The other one has a small dent, about the size of a dime on it.

Once cleaned up they should look great. I’m going to have to do some digging and see what color they should be. I think they were originally black as there is no sign of any other color.

All-n-all, not bad for $10 each!

Well, till next time....


Bob's My Uncle - Electrical Cable Up-date

It’s finally done! The cable is now in the basement. Now all that needs to be done is hooking it up to the new breaker box. That will wait till we have the new main line installed.

Here are some pics for your enjoyment.

As I told y'all I'd do, here's a pic of the tiny plumbing chase hatch next to the toilet.

Don't you just LOVE that green toilet?! It matches the green in the kitchen!

We know the kitchen was remodeled in the 50s, but I'm thinking they might have repainted the kitchen sometime in the early 70s. The date stamp on the toilet is for '73. They probably ordered the kitchen paint when they ordered the bathroom fixtures! The tub is even that color.

Unfortunately I had to do what I didn’t want to do - a hole had to be cut in the chase.

The cable did punch up in the chase. The end got wedged between the wall and the stand pipe and just sort of coiled there.

Again, a cramped space, but my handy-dandy Multimaster came to the rescue! The hardest part was prying the piece of wood out.

There’s the sneaky little devil - the silver thing heading towards the tub.

This is a pic of it after I got it unstuck and heading for the hole. The fun was not yet over though.

Ah…there’s the serpent now!

Trust me - it wasn’t a fun job getting it to this point. I had to shove my arm, up to the elbow, and ‘feel’ for the cable. Once I had it I had to un-pry it from under the tub.

Once done I was able to get it to the point you see it at and then it snagged again.

This time the snag was in the attic, so I had to run up there and uncoil it, lay it out somewhat, and get it started again.

The whole bloody mess…

Now I just need to snake it into the basement.

Remember the part about snaking my arm up into the floor from ceiling? If you look at the floor you will see a bunch of fuzzy stuff. No, it is not the remains of some animal I found, but something much worse. It’s the old fiber glass insulation used back in the 50s through the 70s!!


As you all may remember, I’m somewhat sensitive to the pink stuff; just think what the old stuff did! I looked like a raspberry with all the red dots all over my arm. It didn’t stop there either - it went down my T-shirt which just happened to be wet with sweat.

I couldn’t wait to shower, but I needed to ‘buck-up’ and deal with it till the job was over.

One last thing - the round, grey thing is a 10 pound weight I used to help keep tension on the cable so it wouldn’t coil back up on me.

Here it is all cleaned up with the cable heading for the basement.

Now I can say “Bob’s my uncle” and call it a day.

Till next time…

Larry ~

Electrical Cable and Kitchen Up-Date

It seems like forever since I last posted. May and June are extremely busy for us aside from the house. What I have been able to do is just a little but here and there mainly on the wood shop.

We have also been working on some side-line ventures as well and that is taking up a lot of time too.

The kitchen is coming along - just painfully slow. The walls are finally complete with just a few spots left to tidy up. There are a couple of locations that are not finished with plaster yet - the area where new wiring is going in and the spot next to the cabinet that is being re-done.

I did spend the better part of the day trying to get a large power cable to snake through the wall from the attic to the basement. Here’s the post where you can see the cable (4th pic from top):


Right now I am on a break from trying to snake the thing down. It is kind of stuck and I trying to come up with a way to un-stick it without removing a part of the bathroom wall.

This is the hole I had to make in the lath-and-plaster for the cable.

Since the cable is going to follow the chase I made the hole next to the cast-iron stand pipe.

The space I have to work with is extremely tight and I about got stuck in it when my pants snagged a nail head!

The brown piece of wood with the white stuff wrapped around the center is the plumb-bob I’m using to link the attic to the basement and then pull the cable through.

I got this shot by sticking the camera in the hole and clicking. Had no idea how it would turn out since I couldn’t stick my head in to look through the view finder and the angle didn’t allow the use of the LCD screen. It didn’t turn out too bad.

The plum-bob string is that white streak at the bottom right hand corner.

Gota’ love the old wall paper! You can’t see it, put the original paper that was on the ceiling (I found it while making the hole) is a purplish/Christmas type paper.

This is the space in the bathroom that the cable is going through.

You can see traces of the original mop-board in there and there is a corner do-dad as well (I saw it using a mirror).

The cable is stuck somewhere in this area. I don’t want to, but I might have to take out that board you can see at the back of the pic. Eventually this entire area will be exposed for repair, but I can’t do it yet - not ready.

The opening to get to this crawl space is right next to the toilet. It might be - and I do mean MIGHT BE - 1’ between the opening and the toilet’s side (maybe I should get a pic). I can barely squeeze into the space, but not enough to work easily. I have to bend into a funky ‘L’ shape and the belly doesn’t want to cooperate.

I’ll see if I can fish the cable through before I try to cut the board out. The plum-bob sting is to the right center. BTW - I will have to snake the cable around the pipes. The opening to the kitchen part of the chase is about a 45 degree angle to the right bottom (follow the string).

You've seen this shot before. The top part of the plumbing chase in the kitchen.

This time you can see the string.

And there he is - Mr. Plum-bob!!! BTW - This is my grand father's blump-bob and I think it was his father's before that. Since there is a chance that they built this house, this plum-bob may have been used here before!

Well, that's the story for now. Guess I better get my lazy butt up and get back to work.

Till next time...

Larry ~

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's a Twister!! It's a Twister!!

We've had another wave of tornadoes come by earlier tonight. Now we are sitting here listening to the rain and hail hit the house. The news just said another wave might be heading our way.

Anyway, like I said, we had a wave of them go by earlier. This time they were between 5 and ten miles away.

So, what do we do? We do what everyone around here seems to do (I think it is the State sport), we hopped in the car and went tornado chasing.

The furthest we went was the county line and that put us between three and five miles from them.

The pics are not the best, and we didn't see one on the ground. We did watch the massive wall clouds go by and were able to watch a few try to form.

Enough of my yammering, here are the pics.

This is the first wall cloud.

In the center of this pic you can see where the clouds are at the ground. This is where the tornadoes started dropping. Unfortunately the tree made it so we couldn't see anything.

Another view. This time you can see, well at least we could, the clouds were starting to rotate.

Here's an interesting pic. The dots are not rain - it's dirt. The wind was really starting to pick up at this point and you could 'feel' it in the air. It definitely makes one feel alive.

This was also the point when the tornado sirens were starting to go off in the town to the north. We have relatives who live up there so we were definitely hoping for the best. We were also hearing confirmation that one was on the ground and moving east.

Another pic of the storm really getting started.

Then the clouds started boiling right in front of us...less than half a mile.

Now the sirens are starting to sound in the two towns to the north east of our location.

See the dirt again? I was needing to press against a building in order to stand still.

By now we have changed locations to a spot about 1/4 mile south. Where we were was just looking a little too 'iffy'. We have been under a tornado when it formed and that is what it felt like and looked like. We have also been around too many of them to want to get close again.

Here is the reason we decided to move.

The tornado didn't fully form and lasted only a few seconds, but it formed right above where we had been.

Then it was gone......

...and then it went black.

It is only 9:00 PM, but it looks like mid night - we decided to high tail it home - just in case.

Well, it's still raining hard, but the hail has stopped.

I guess I'll let you all go for now.

Till next time...

Cheers ~

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Almost Done!

Hello everyone -

Well, we have had a respite from storms for the past couple of days; however, another set are moving in. There is a tornado on the ground about an hour and a half from us (the the north west) right now.

Our brush pile is now a bit bigger than SWMBO’s car. I will try to burn some of it next week when we dry out.

I’m also watching a tree that seems to want to pull it’s self out of the ground. It is one of our big trees so I need to figure out how to stave off the inevitable. I’ll try to get some pics of it tomorrow. There are fissures in the ground around the roots and the dirt around it is now a mound.

Anywho…the woodshop is coming along nicely, but slowly. The electrical system is going to have to wait and I will have to go with my temporary set up. We are needing to go with a larger electrical cable and as you know copper is very pricey now. What started out as a $300 - $400 project quickly climbed to almost $1K!

I’m also having a hard time figuring out exactly where I want to put some of my stuff.

I did take some time today to get pics for you though. Here they are (click to enlarge).

This is a view of the east wall. As you can see there is now a desk (to the right); a work table; and a wall cabinet.

To the left, in the corner, you can see a stack of wooden boxes. These are old, military storage boxes waiting for restoration. When finished they will be used as storage in the attic.

For those of you monitoring the 'boo-boo' meter you will be happy to see that there is a first aid box on top of the desk (to the right).

If you look close enough you will also be able to see assorted tools hanging from the roof joists. They are there until the next wave of peg board gets installed.

I wanted to show you all a close up of the work table. It's kind of ugly, and it needs a new top, but the interesting thing is that we found it here in the little red shed. We have no idea how old it is, but it is nicely built and it fits my height perfectly.

This is the north east corner. You can see those wooden boxes a bit better now (yes, I have a 'thing' for wooden boxes).

The table saw is here at the moment, but will not be staying. I'm going to build a table for it, with casters, so that it can be moved around. At this point, I plan to place another work table here.

This corner is the other spot where peg board is going to go.

A general view of the north wall.

The wood burning stove is in the basic location it will end up in, but will be a little further out into the room. We plan on putting fire resistant fiber board behind the stove with corrugated metal (you can see some behind it) fastened to it. This should help to reflect the heat out. The stove is also going to set on a raised, cement paver dais.

Do you see the galvanized tub next to the stove? That's an auction find and will be used to hold fire wood.

I meant to show this view first.

I think this will be the spot that my clamps will be stored. Got to have clamps...lots and lots of clamps!

Here’s the south wall.

Right now I've just put a bunch of my tools up there so I can get an idea just how many I need to deal with. There are more in the house and still a few more in the garage. You can NEVER have too many tools you know!!

Also in the picture is my compound miter saw. See the table that it's on? It is not staying. The legs are going to be salvaged and used for a project - a four poster doggie bed. I thought about restoring it as a table, but these are so common and the top of this one is real bad; not to mention it's missing an end.

This is the south west corner.

I have gotten the wall cabinet hung (the other is on the east wall) and will probably store paints and stains in it.

Underneath is a rolling cart (to be replaced) holding my table top planner. I will probably house this here. Next to it is a little book shelf holding my hand planes - more on that in a bit.

The west wall.

Here is where I will store a lot of the wood that'll be used. The rest will be stored above and in a shed yet to be built.

I’m still toying with various ideas on how to store the wood, and scraps, in an easy and tidy way. So far I have about three strong ideas.

This is the front runner for my wood storage idea.

It is a design featured in an old issue of 'Woodworkers Journal' magazine.

It's kind of big, but will hold a lot of lumber and won't be too difficult to deal with. It is on casters so that will make it easier to load, and unload, sheet goods.

I am going to tweak the plan a bit. Instead of having horizontal shelving on both sides; the side that will face the wall will have a panel saw built into it. For those of you wondering, a panel saw set up allows you to cut large, 4'x8' sheets (or bigger) of plywood in a faster, safer, manner.

Let's get back to that book shelf of hand planes....

I don't know why, but I really like hand planes. There is just something poetic about them. In fact, there is something poetic about all the old hand tools for that matter.

Anyway, as you can tell, my collection is still growing. There are a few more I’d like to get for my collection so the hunt is one. I also have a handful that need restoring. SWMBO is trying to convince me to restore some and sell them on eBay. There is a strong market for them. We saw one go, several weeks ago, that sold for over $1K (it was extremely rare and old). So, it just goes to show, one man's junk is another man's treasure.

So, if any of you have any old hand planes you want to part with let me know. Perhaps we can come to deal with each other.

Speaking of tools, some new 'toys' have made their way to the shop.

First up is this handy little palm router. It's the Bosch Colt™ Variable-Speed Palm Router. An extremely handy tool to have when it comes to free form routing!

Next up is not really a new toy, but one I forgot I had until I started moving all the tools around!

It's the Wagner Paint Eater. We bought it over a year ago to help remove the paint off the sides of the house. It is supposedly a great tool for this. I should be able to start playing with it at the end of next month.

Same tool, different view.

It's hard to explain, but, unlike an angle grinder, the business end of the puppy 'floats' on the wood and follows the contours of the wood. Supposedly it will not eat into the wood unless you force it.

We will see - I'll keep you posted.

The last tool I'll share with you is my awesome auction find!

It's a cordless, 12 volt, Craftsman drill. It's called the 'Professional Redi Drill'. I have not really found out much information of this drill (the product number has been worn away) except that it was the first of it's kind. There is an interesting story behind it, but I'll tell it to you in a minute.

Like I said, I got this at a local auction for $7 bucks. It came with a case, charger and two batteries. Except for one of the batteries, everything works great! My father, and father-n-law, suggested that I replace the bushings; so I guess I'll do that at some point. I'll also replace the faulty battery. Considering that the thing originally sold for over $200 I don't think bushings, and one battery, are too much of a hit for a $7 item.

Now for the interesting part.

When this tool was first introduced to the editors of all the major woodworking type magazines the Craftsman guys were about laughed out of the room.

If you look at the photo you will see a tiny yellow handle along with some yellow 'innards'. That is the dial, and housing, for a flat head screw driver bit; a philips head screw driver bit; and the two most come drill bits. What you do is adjust the handle up towards the top of the drill and push the button. The bit you chose is loaded and 'Bob's your uncle'!

You see, the inventors figured that if you had the four most common bits built in it would save time, and hassles, look for, and attaching the bit you want. When the skeptics started playing with it they were amazed. One of them even said "Why didn't we think of this before?"!

So, I tried it out - it's absolutely wonderful! It did save time and effort when it came to switching out bits. On the plus side, you do not have to use the bits provided, you can use any bit you want. As long as the bit is the same length, and no bigger than the tubes, you can even replace the ones provided with the ones you use the most. Now how cool is that?!

One last thing and then I'll leave you alone.

Do you remember my friend Bill? The one getting me into the woodworking business?

Well, he bought a huge Craftsman table saw at an auction. This thing is professional grade and weighs over 100 pounds. It is an old one but that doesn't matter; quality tools last forever.

Unfortunately it turns out that this thing is a three phase 220 volt motor. He went to plug it in so we could see how well it ran (the previous owner said it worked) and found out that it was a weird plug. So, we couldn't test it out.

Anyway, he gave the saw to me and said to do what ever I wanted with it. In order to move the sucker easier, I took it apart last Sunday; figured I could move it piece by piece.

What I found made me thankful bill wasn't able to plug it in! Turns out the switch had basically exploded in it's housing and the wires were touching the metal sides. If Bill would have plugged it in he probably would have electrocuted himself!!

So, in order to get this thing to work I will need to replace the switch - no biggie. However, the electrical requirement, and motor size, is a bit over kill for me. So I’ve decided to try another possibility.

See those two metal pieces? Those are the top pieces of the table saw. The one on the left is cast iron; the one on the right is actually two pieces bolted together and are made of cast aluminum.

Unless you plunk down $600 or more (unless you find a good used one) you won't get these tops anymore. The current ones, like what’s on my table saw now, are cast aluminum for the main part and press metal for the wings.

What I'm going to try and do is exchange my table top for the one off of Bill's auction one. I've been told that they are not interchangeable but I have a plan and a brother that knows how to weld! I figure that if the bolt holes do not line up I could build a buffer piece that would allow them to line up. As long as there is clearance for both sets of bolts there should be no problem.

What do I have to loose? I'll keep you posted.

Well, it's getting late and I'm getting tired.

So, till next time....

Larry ~

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Hello everyone,

Well, this is going to be a short post - no pics even.

Just to let you all know, we are still alive and well. Things are going slowly now with the shop. I'm having to reorganize the garage at the same time and shuffle stuff around. The good news is that all the woodworking tools are now in the new woodshop.

Bad news....if y'all have been watching the news lately, my part of the world has been coming under attack by horrendous thunderstorms and straight line wind, not to mention close calls with tornados.

I have spent most of my days cleaning tree branches & limbs, and various other debris out of the yard as well as help a few others who have had trees come down.

I am a weather spotter for the city, as well as CERT trained, and have just received the following bulletin from our city's police chief:

The National Weather Service warns of a possible tornado outbreak in the Great Plains tomorrow with conditions similar to a deadly day in 1974 when 39 tornadoes touched down.

Computer forecasting models resemble those on June 8, 1974, when more than three dozen tornadoes touched down in the southern Plains and killed 22 people, including six in Emporia .

NWS meteorologist Robb Lawson said, "this event warrants more advance warning."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center has been warning for days of the outbreak.

Mike Smith is CEO of WeatherData, a subsidiary of AccuWeather. He said some forecasters are predicting the tornadoes could hit a corridor stretching from northern Oklahoma to central Iowa . That area would include much of Kansas and northwest Missouri .

Smith said, "If you take April dynamics and June thermodynamics, you have a potentially disastrous combination."

In all my years of living in Kansas I have yet to see a warning come out this early for this type of storm. Come to think of it, I can't remember every having a year as full of tornados, high winds, and hail like we have had this year. It is being called "the Perfect Storm" for tornado season.

I don't know what it worse, going through it or waiting for it to happen.

Hopefully I will be able to post by this time Friday to let you all know what has happened.

Till next time...

Larry ~