Thursday, March 27, 2008

'Old Man Winter' wins by an Avalanche

It's snowing again. The weatherman is forecasting 4 to 6 inches of snow tonight. Yep, that's not a typo......4 to 6 inches.

My sister emailed this photo to me and I think it sums up my feelings perfectly.

I give up....Old Man Winter wins!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter themed painting

I purchased this oil painting because I immediately liked it. It was only after I owned the painting and had it on the wall that I noticed so much more.I've learned over the years that some art work is meant to be viewed at a close range and others from a distance. This is one that needs to be viewed from a far.

This photo does not do this painting justice. Up close the details are completely gone and from a distance there is far more detail than what is showing up in the photo. Also the true colors are not coming through either.

I was told the artist's name when I purchased the painting but I did not write it down. It is signed with stylized initials and the numbers'38, indicating 1938. At a later date, I plan on cataloging my artwork and at that time I'll investigate the artist's name. But in the meantime if anyone recognizes the initials, I would be grateful for the insight.Happy Easter everyone.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House

A couple of weeks ago I ordered Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House DVD and a first edition copy of the book. This book and the subsequent movie were based on an article in the April 1946 Fortune magazine written by Eric Hodgins originally titled Mr. Blandings Builds his Castle. The Tom Hanks movie called The Money Pit is a remake of the original movie Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.

I loved this movie for several reasons. I've always enjoyed Cary Grant's movies and I thought he was adorable in this. I really liked oogling all the 1930's and 40's decorating. If you're a fan of New York City, the first part of the movie has some great footage of Manhattan.

It's nice to know that contractors have changed very little in over half a century. I swear I've heard some of these same explanations from past contractors I have used.

But the real bonus of watching this DVD was that I now know what type of hinges to buy for the windows I am restoring in my sun room. Right there in their architect's office were my windows with black L hinges.

Also I was so coveting the art deco lights on either side of their apartment's bathroom mirror. I think I'll watch it a couple more times because I am sure I missed something. I wish it was in color but alas it's a black and white movie.

I'll give the movie a thumbs up for it's great footage of 30's and 40's interior design and personally relevant plot line.

But now I want to eat some ham. You'll need to see the movie to understand. Also the book is slightly different than the movie.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Plan

Here is 'The Plan' for the holiday weekend.

1. Do a walk around and see how well 'The Gear' handled this past 'fairly harsh' winter.

2. Take new photos of the outside of the house and surrounding yard for future reference.

3. Check for buds on fruit trees and inspect for damage.

4. Trim fruit trees.

5. Look for signs that the tulips I planted last year survived.

6. Work on the windows.

7. Sort through tools and organize, so that we can find what we are looking for in a reasonable time frame (same day preferably same hour).

8. Measure and buy wood to start framing the two small landings we need to add to the deck.

9. Buy bundles of red cedar shingles to re shingle front of house.

10. Load stumps into trailer to take to landfill.

11. Pick up twigs and branches that fell during the winter.

12. Burn twigs and branches.

13. Remove center wall in the potting shed.

14. Burn above along with twigs and branches.

15. Rake leaves out of flower beds before plants start growing.

Well, it's 3:10PM of my first day of my four day vacation and what have I done???? NOTHING

Note to self.......DO SOMETHING!!!!!!

Chasing threads

R finds the stuff. Jan takes it apart.

This is the mechanical part of the oak desk chair. After dis assembly, I used paper and tape to protect the machined areas during the next step which was sand blasting. Once all the parts were sand blasted and the loose grit removed with an air gun I inspected all the parts. One of the long threaded bolts had damage to the threads. I had several options for restoring the threads. One was to use a thread chaser which is similar to a file but has four sides with different spacing between the teeth. Or I could use a die and run the bolt through the die to clean up the threads. Either method requires that I use a thread pitch gauge to determine the pitch (threads per inch). Here's a closer look at the damaged threads and the thread pitch gauge.
Here is the button die that I used to clean up the threads. The long file shaped tool is the thread chaser. When using a button die or tap always use a lubricant. I use tapping compound but you can also use a 3 in 1 oil if you don't have tapping compound. Depending on the severity of damage, you may need to back up (reverse), clean out the debris from the die and start again. After I chased the threads I re sand blasted the bolt to remove any residue so that primer and paint will adhere to the bolt.
Here is everything reassembled and ready for primer and paint. At one time someone must have broken the spring and replaced it. The spring that is currently there is the wrong size spring. It is the correct length but the diameter of the spring is too small and does not seat itself correctly on either end. R will have to shop around and get the correct one.

This weekend we will glue the wood part of the chair where the individual pieces are loose. I'll wait to stain and clear coat when I am using the stain on something else. For those interested...the chair was manufactured by the Colonial Chair Co. in Chicago.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

R finds a chair

R finds lots of stuff. Over the years he has found at least 4 four foot long levels. Usually in the location of traffic corners. It appears that they fall out of construction trucks when they turn the corner. Amazingly none of the bubble levels are broken. Now on the other hand, I can accidently drop a level out of my hand 3 feet from the floor and of course the glass breaks. But for some reason the levels that R finds can fly out of a truck going XX mph, hit a concrete road, and still not break.

Here's his latest find.....

A solid oak desk chair. The pieces of oak on the seat need to be glued and it is missing the casters. The metal adjuster and attachment plate under the seat will need sandblasting and a coat of paint. Then some stain and a clear finish and it will be desk worthy again.

I guess I should mention that he found this sitting next to someone's trash. Seriously, when I drive by people's trash...all I see is trash. We were driving along one time, when he says, "Did you see those theater seats in the trash back there?" Me, "Huh? where? what do you mean theater seats?" So he turns the truck around and sure enough in the trash were 4 art deco movie theater seats. It was a 4 seat section with a decorative art deco cast iron design on each end. The seats are padded and fold up. Our plan is to build a raised 10" or higher oak platform and attach the 4 seat section to it. We will then install it next to our pool table for seating while shooting some stick. The seats will fold up and out of the way while you shoot. Both the table and chairs are from the same era 1920's-1930's.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Water Fowl Alignment

Phew....I made it. I worked 12 hours everyday (7days) last week and only had to drive home in freezing rain once. But I see that there is a weather advisory for tonight. Lucky me. Spring cannot come too soon for me.

Since I have been unable to actually work on the house, I've had to live vicariously through other people's blogs. Thank gosh everyone is staying busy or I would be bored. Keep up the good work.

This is the time of year where you really don't want to start a big indoor project when good weather is just around the corner and being outdoors is calling your name. That is where we are right now. So the next week or so is sort of a spring time prep period for us. I guess you could call it a 'water fowl alignment period'Speaking of water fowl alignment...I've been busy setting up the garden and kitchen blogs. Not much in content as of yet, but just laying out the blog gives me a headache.

On the Tony front......well....let's just say....grrrrrr and leave it at that.This is not the reason they call him 'Smoke'.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday Free Stuff

I was dashing out the door on my way to work when the mail truck pulled into the driveway. This usually signals...PACKAGES! So I delayed leaving for work because I wanted to see what goodies the mailman had for me. Guess what? It was free stuff!!!

A free wide screen DVD from Pepsi and a electronic version of Sudoku from My Coke Rewards. Probably didn't need either one, but I do like Johnny Depp...he makes such a sexy pirate and well I am a novice Sudoku player and they don't make an eraser big enough for me to complete the advance puzzles.

I added a new link under Fav Links called Cool Steals and Deals. Check it out.

On the home front...the snow is melting. I am hopeful that maybe next week I can look around outside and see how the exterior of 'The Gear' survived another winter. R has been busy picking up twigs and fallen limbs once they are exposed by the melting snow.

Window work has stopped again as I am working 12 hours all this week. But in the meantime I am revamping my blog. I've decided to start two additional blogs, a gardening blog and a cooking, kitchen, and recipe blog. The cooking blog will be the result of having to do something with the mass quanities of produce that will grow at Gear Acres. If this year's crop is like last year's, don't look for much cooking on the cooking blog. I felt that my house blog was straying from the restoration of Gear Acres and this should allow me to limit the house blog to just house related topics. The same goes for the garden and kitchen blog, though sometimes there will be cross posts. So many things to talk about and so little time to blog.

I'll let everyone know when I start posting on those blogs.

Oh and just an FYI...I have not been busy removing all the Goodyear tires from my vehicles. This week Tony starts in the top ten. Let's hope he finishes well and stays out of the Nascar trailer after the race. Go Smoke.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

More info on sand blasting

Here's a little more info on sand blasting for those interested in purchasing blasting equipment.

First you will need a air compressor. The small portable air compressors commonly used for air nailers will not work. You will need a unit with a large storage tank. The larger the tank the less the compressor motor will need to run. This will save electricity, extend the life of the compressor motor because it will not need to run as often, and there will be less noise.

Blasters comes in two varieties. Cabinet style that contains the abrasive inside a cabinet and can be set up to reclaim used abrasive. The other style is a hopper style which is a total loss system and is used outdoors on larger pieces such as patio furniture.

Your first inclination is that the cost far out weighs the amount of use it will get. Not really. Your compressor will have numerous uses. Pneumatic tools are great. They have an abundance of power and can be used in damp situations (no electricity). How many times have you wanted to sharpen your lawn mower blades but you haven't the time to remove the blade or blades, sharpen it or them, and then reinstall. If you had a pneumatic hand held grinder you could pull the spark plug wire, lay the lawn mower on it's side, sharpen the blade with your grinder, reattach the plug wire, and start mowing. You will be able to do that really quick if you install a quick disconnect air line outside. Then when you are done mowing your yard, you can blow the grass off the mower deck before you put it in the garage. Then blow the grass clippings off the driveway with this and you'll be inside watching the baseball game before you know it.

Blasting units use a variety of abrasives from course to fine. The type of abrasive used is determined by what you are trying to remove and what you are removing it from. Glass bead and silica sand are two that come to mind. If you blast soft material such as brass you will lose the shiny appearance. Blasting also will give a surface some 'tooth' which will hold paint. If you blast cast iron or cast aluminum vintage light fixtures and then clear coat. They will blend nicely with the new brushed nickle and stainless finishes.

Blasting not only removes paint but also rust and in the case of car parts baked on grease and oil. If you are using a unit that reclaims the abrasive do not blast oily greasy parts as it will contaminate your abrasive. Also all abrasives wear out. You'll notice after a period of time that it takes longer to remove paint etc. This is because the abrasive has pulverized into dust causing it to lose it's sharp edges. Think about what sand at the beach looks like upon close inspection. Each grain has multiple sharp edges. That's why after a day at the beach your feet are smoother. We generally use play sand in our hopper style blaster. The reason being that it is inexpensive (cheap) and we can just sweep it into the lawn when we clean up. Most people use glass bead in the cabinet style units. Also remember when using the hopper variety to wear a protective hood to protect eyes and keep abrasive substance out of your hair.

When setting up your compressor take into consideration noise. Some people locate their compressors in the garage and then run the line to their basement work shop. The most convenient way to plumb your compressed air is to run your piping completely around your workspace. Every 10 feet or so place a quick disconnect. You can even run a line overhead with a quick disconnect over work benches. If you can plumb for water then plumbing for air will be a breeze. The good part is if you have a leak after won't get wet. Also if you run a line outside you can easily air your tires up or inflate the inflatable kiddie pool.

Tonight I sand blasted a cast iron mailbox that I intend to place by the kitchen door. It is made by Griswold of Erie, Pa.
After about 30 minutes of blasting the mail box looked like this.

I used a brass brush and razor knife to loosen some stubborn areas and I will probably blast it one more time before I prime it. I'll wait and paint this when I paint the light fixtures.

I was asked if I was using an online source for information on how to blast. No, I'm not. Fabricating is part of my job as a journeyman. At a later date I'll talk about the week long metal fabricating class I attended. The week before I took the class, Jeff Gordon's fabricating crew were there perfecting their technique.

Tony is starting 25th tomorrow in the race in Las Vegas. Good luck and goooooo Smoke.