Friday, May 11, 2018

Relaxing On The Porch Swing

Here is a nice project that can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys quite moments in the fresh air. There are many different projects around for porch swings. I loved this one when I first saw it in Rodale's "New Shelter" magazine back in 1982. I made a mental note when I saw it again reprinted in Popular Science's 1985 Yearbook, where this copy comes from.

Cedar or redwood would look very nice and be most suited for outdoor conditions and in keeping with the light elegant look. Avoid pine or spruce, to weak, fir or the hardwoods suggested would also be nice.  It would look great hanging on any style porch, or if you prefer, on the lawn hanging from the optional stand.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"Say Good By Hydro-Pedal Power Yes"

Ha Ha wish it was that easy. Pedal power had it's hay day, modern power equipment is unprecedented. If you prefer to live off the grid or the slower bike path is more attractive than the high speed highway, then pedal power may still be very attractive. The early PM Shop Notes had many plans for treadle and pedal powered machines for the shop. Many like the file machine below still make lots of sense for the off grid user, who prefers leg power as opposed to running down his sun or wind charged storage batteries.

Others like the drill press pictured below don't make a lot of sense given the equipment available today. It was first presented in the Model Engineer Magazine and apparently someone actually built it,but to me it seems more like a Rube Goldberg machine, taking a circuitous route to its destination. Still an interesting article though.

Child's Room Bookcase

For the woodworker here is a nice plan for a small bookcase that would be perfect for a child's room. All the material is easy to work pine with a nice colonial look. The perfect size for a child to access his favorite books and small toys. The plan is by John Capotosto and published in the 1985 Popular Science Yearbook.

Furniture in a child's room is always in danger of toppling over if children attempt to climb on them. With a small bookcase this can be avoided by locating a stud in the stud wall behind the bookcase and installing a wood screw from the inside of the bookcase through the backboard at the center near the top and into the stud in the stud wall behind the bookcase. You may have to use a small spacer block between the bookcase and stud wall to compensate for the baseboard thickness. Make sure to size the length of the screw to actually engage the stud in the stud wall for a solid installation. You will have a very small hole in the drywall when the bookcase is removed but a small price to pay for a child's safety.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Track That Moose"

So beautiful day today, found some fresh moose tracks, so took a walk to see where he had been and get a few pictures. He came out of the woods on the north west side of the property, wandered around my wood pile a couple of times, moved across the lane way to the south east side, browsed on some overhanging pine for a while before heading back into the woods at the east entrance to my walking trails. Since I was there I took a walk around my trails to see how much damage that nasty ice storm did last winter. Not bad, it will require some clean-up to supplement my wood pile but could have been worse. Haven't seen any bears yet, though I did hear a handful of distant shots on my walk, one of the distant neighbours either getting some target practice or chasing down a bear. Gov. brought back the spring bear hunt but it doesn't seem to be reducing the number of bears that prefer dumpsters to browsing.

The east entrance to the trails.

The creek is flowing well, the beavers on the east side of the property must be happy, I'll have to go for a visit when the bush snow has all melted.

Even with snow still on the ground colorful wild flowers are already blooming.

Looking back at the old homestead site that I cleaned up and filled in three years ago.

Looking back at the west entrance to the trails.

Here's a better look at the terracing on the north side it doesn't look it but that bank is over 6' high, lots of grass and weeds growing their. It's more difficult to trim but the more the better to reduce the possibility of erosion, still easier than building a stone wall. Given my Portugese heritage, stone walls should be in my genes, but I don't think they survived the trip across the Atlantic, ha ha.

Early PM Shop Notes Files Preview

So as mentioned before I am working on some early (pre 1930) PM shop notes files in my spare time. For example J. V. Romig, the D. Gingery of his time ( maybe that should be stated the other way around since Romig came first) produced a large number of small hobby shop sized machine plans for publication in Popular Mechanics and Popular Science from 1921 to 1925. That file is now over 75 pages of some of the more interesting plans he produced.

There is another file of short plans and ideas from these early shop notes that I am working on. These all come from the 26 volumes of early shop notes reprinted by Algrove Publishing. Here is a preview of a few short articles from this file.

The first one deals with heat treatment, hardening, and annealing. It is not a well known fact but when heat treatable steel reaches the right temp for hardening it looses it's magnetic qualities. A metal worker who does heat treatment all the time can easily judge by color but someone who only does it occasionally will find this tool very helpful.

This short article is an interesting method of casting brass worm gears. The second article is another plan for cutting circular work. There are lots of plans for this type of fly cutter, I have posted a few. For very thin sheet metal this is probably a better idea since it incorporates a shearing action with less chance of grabbing and damaging the work.

In addition to the many plans Mr. Romig authored, he also produced many articles for publication in the "Popular" magazines of the day. Here is one on making "no casting" machine slides for the hobbyist who would rather avoid setting up a small foundry.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Accuracy In Drilling And Sanding

So here are a couple of articles, a plan and some jigs, to increase your accuracy with the drill press and belt and disk sander. The first is a nice plan from a pre-1930's PM Shop Notes, for a fine feed attachment for your drill press. The fine feed can't be beat for doing accurate drilling in the drill press. You can also do light milling work on your drill press with this attachment. The problem here is that without a draw bar, few import drill presses have spindles accurate enough to keep your chuck and tooling from dropping out and the spindles often have a sloppy fit and light bearings. Ok for their intended purpose, but even light milling can be a step to far.

The second article is a nice collection of quick jigs for doing accurate repeatable work on the disc and belt sander. The article is by R. J. Cristoforo and if you do woodwork, then you have probably come across some of his many books and articles on the subject. This article was published in the 1984 Popular Science Yearbook.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

"Sure, Grass Will Grow Any Where"

Thats the response I have gotten more than once when bringing up the subject with people. Well I have never been accused of having a green thumb and trying to grow grass on a sandy moraine hasn't changed that, ha ha. It's coming, but requires lots of applications of seed and fertilizer. Two so far and hopefully the third this year will do it. It still works out much cheaper than importing 10 grand worth of top soil for the 8 acres or so around the house. As you can see from the pictures it is coming but there are still lots of thin patches and many outright bare spots of exposed sand.

So here is this years application ready to go. I got 165 lbs of seed and a similar amount of fertilizer. We will give it another similar application of fertilizer later in the year.

It is still a little early for application, another couple of weeks probably. In the meantime, I tuned up my chainsaw, I will have to build up my outdoor firewood storage in the fall so I want to get my indoor storage done now and free up the space for my outdoor storage.

ROAR-Here Comes The T-Rex

What child doesn't like a dinosaur toy, especially this well animated T-Rex. This plan was originally published in "How To Make Animated Toys" by David Wakefield. This copy came from a reprint in the 1989 Popular Science DIY Supplement. As far as toys go this is not overly difficult but care must be taken to do a accurate job of sizing and finishing of the moving parts for proper action.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Can I Use That Bearing?

So here are a couple of articles I assembled from a few sources around the web on bearing nomenclature. The numbers and codes on a bearing can be confusing to the uninformed but a little basic information will go a long way to making you comfortable with those numbers.

Bearing numbers are standard and interchangeable across manufacturers. Prefix and suffix codes describe different design elements and special features of the bearing and can be at the discretion of the manufacturer. These features are usually described in the bearing description.

So here is another take on prefix and suffix codes.

My old Delta planer bearing and the new one I used for a replacement. 

So above are the old and new bearings I used in my planer rebuild in a previous post. The standardized numbers match up, these relate to bore, series, and type. The suffix codes do not, that is because the old bearing had a standard type seal. The new NTN "FORMULA" bearing is designed for snow machines and has a specialty double lip seal, designed for the extreme conditions and temperatures encountered by modern snow machines. I had 6 in stock so this was the way to go. As far as I am concerned the double lip seal is an improvement over the old bearing. I changed them because they were running dry and you can see the fine wood dust worked into the seal contact joints.

Friday, May 4, 2018

How Babbit Works

To compliment the previous article on Babbit bearings, here is a more technical explanation of how a babbit bearing works and the specifications of the metal itself. This article came from the site. You will have to visit if you like pictures of old iron, huge manufacturers index and publication uploads.

Click and then click again for best view. 

Here is an interesting little article from Popular Science May 2004, on operating a small carbon arc furnace for melting small amounts of high temp. metals.

In the second last paragraph the writer states the minimill industrial melter draws 100 megawatts. Many years ago I worked at a small co-gen plant supplying power to the grid and low press steam to a Domtar dimension lumber mill. The co-gen was rated 7.5 megawatts ( it only ever ran flat out when I was operating, the ego kicking in, lol). Those 7.5 megawatts were enough to power a small town of 1500 people, all the services, and the Domtar saw mill and drying kilns. So how much can 100 megawatts power, a small city of 30 or 40 thousand, or 1 mini industrial carbon arc mill, wow.