Friday, January 31, 2014

Goodbye to an old friend

Believing that what was shall always remain.
Sometimes it's just not true.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Comes' The Revolution

In the Huffington Post Robert Reich asks "Why is there no outcry?"
He is wondering why there isn't an uprising of the people. A new Progressive Movement or New Deal.
If you want his reasons you can find them here.

In the 60's on college campus's through out the US there was a battle cry. Comes The Revolution.
Chicago had a Democratic Convention and the SDS went wild. Bill Ayres bombed government buildings. Detroit burned. Watt's rioted. The kids of the middle class had a revolution. Mom and Dad were trying to make the payments and send the kids to college. In 1968 parents lived in fear that their kids would leave college and drop in/out to the counter culture.
I was one of those kids. Fortunately I lived through the experience. I was lucky. I didn't like being drunk or high because it wasn't something you could stop doing in the middle. Riding a motorcycle was cool. If you got tired or wanted to stop you hit the brakes and pulled over. Watching your friend light up something called a nose bomb that sent flames up his nose so you could see the glow in his sinuses wasn't cool. He couldn't stop and think "Bad Idea." I never got started down that road.
We ran the world. Everyone was sure that we would burn the whole place down and they ran scared. I graduated high school in 1969. There was a break in tradition. The school decided that the practice of having the senior class walk through town in mass would be to dangerous. For the town. So Senior Swingout ended.
As a group the children of the 60's became the adults of the 70's. Now we are the old farts of the 2010 decade. Our children and their children have gone through the same crap we did. The rules had changed though. Outrageous behavior was no longer isolated incidents. There was a thread of insanity that crept through society that said be nicer to the kids and they won't be bad. Don't tell them "No" you will stifle their free expression of their personality. When you don't correct bad behavior it is no longer bad, just different.
Why revolt when everything is handed to you?

As a superuser of the Huffington Post, Dennis Umphrey sums up the party line.

"Dennis Umphrey (den1953)  Super User·8,713 Fans
The only thing you can blame on the inequality of the middle class can be accounted for the decline of labor board and unions, from the time Republican Ronald Reagan attacked the air traffic controllers to the lack of restricting those middle class jobs from going overseas to the lowest bidders. Between the pollution deregulations to relaxed labor rules and regulations that started the decent of the American worker, and those plutocrats in Washington can take all the credit! This nation cannot produce it's own steel or clothing like it used to those jobs are told outsourced and will never come back, but the real question should be why did they ever have to leave the country in the first place?

Dennis what makes you think that pollution deregulation caused the decline of US industry?
I started working in the 60's. The EPA was just starting to gain momentum in the workplace. With the growth of their power in the 70's it became increasingly clear that they were at best inept. In 1981 I became the Environmental Coordinator for the United Technologies plant on Industrial Avenue in Coldwater, MI. I held the position for 9 years. During that time industry was fleeing offshore. Arbitrary rule changes and a distinctly antagonistic relationship between the EPA and business in the US made it far easier to build new plants in foreign countries than in the US.
Now the EPA's labors have borne fruit. The US is living the life of HG Well's Lotus Eaters and we are waiting for the Morlocks to drag us away.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Installing A Quick Adjust Bench Vise Part 4 of 4 - a video tutorial from...

The vise is installed and working quite well.
I've sanded off the top, filled in the screw heads, and painted the bench.

On to the next project. Repairing the Silver Mfg Co. hand cranked drill press will require some silver soldering to repair the broken flywheel.
Two and a half years ago, during the move, the drill press fell off the back of the truck in rush hour traffic. Quite exciting.
I'm going to try and use the blow torches to heat up the flywheel for silver soldering. It's been better than 40 years since I've used blow torches but they are the best for heating a large area. Lots of heat and a big flame. I'm going to set up the fire bricks in the blacksmith shop and see I can make an oven top to contain the heat.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ruining your own life for fun an profit. Or why I don't wish to be in business.

As I approached my planned retirement age I cast about for things to do that might provide a little pocket money. More to be able to lay claim to earning my keep in my own mind rather than need.
Saw sharpening hit the mark on a number of levels.
1. It is a useful skill and it fit in with my core training.
2. There is little investment in equipment.
3. The end result has a personal use component as well as a marketable component.
4. The rate of pay per hour of time spent will never bring me into a higher tax bracket.
5. The very first handsaw that I had tried to sharpen, 20 years ago, was such a failure, forget cows and calves, it was elephants and chipmunks, that there was nowhere to go but better.

I began by reading and studying multiple sources and watching an amazing amount of video with an equal number of methods, some better than others. 

My next step and the most satisfying, was gathering XX practice saws. (You really didn’t expect a number!)

With the raw materials available I set about the practice of sharpening. Being a geek/engineer I videotaped my first efforts and studied them like I would any time study. Holding the file at the proper angle with guides and fixtures seemed like a pain in the butt. It was. Having reference lines on the vice did more for holding the angle than having to adjust a jig each time. Muscle memory and proper stance brought that problem to heel.

I found that boredom was the chief culprit. I would get distracted and lose my place in all the teeth. Having found the problem I went back to the beginning and remarked the teeth after every pass with a black marker. No more lost place.

My second attempt at sharpening a hand saw, after the dreaded elephant/chipmunk fiasco, cut appreciably faster and smoother than it had before I sharpened it. The third attempt also improved but less markedly. After the first 10 saws the mechanics have become less of a problem. I have found that most people have little interest in a sharpened handsaw. I have tried to interest family in the idea of having a saw, the only taker so far has been my son. I cheated and gave it to him for Christmas this year.

I have sharpened enough saws for personal use that I don't think I’ll need to touch a saw file for at least a decade.

Saw sharpening will fall into the same category as my frantic efforts to improve at pool, welding,  tennis, golf, machine tools, softball, etc. As long as it was my business, with money on the line, or my friends were willing to be interested and play along, I wanted to be the best. When it became a solitary quest for excellence my interest faded.

How much should it cost to sharpen a saw?

For me the first measurably sharp saw took 22 years of practice, 10 practice saws, at $2.00 each, a half dozen files, with handles, one nifty $10.00 antique saw jointing file holder that I didn't need but couldn’t resist 25 years ago. Divide that by 10 sharp saws and $35.00 for 2 hours actual work on sharpening a nice 8 point crosscut with the proper fleam angle, sloped gullets, even teeth, and sticky sharp points doesn’t seem so bad.

I’m still not ready to sharpen saws as a business. I’m happy with my work but I don't want to have the hassle of a person with an unrealistic expectation and a magnifying glass strapping themselves to my back for a $35.00 ride through hell.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Old Sneelock's Workbench Recycling at it's best - a video tutorial from...

The huge snowfall isn't really affecting Old Sneelock's workshop time. Since I'm trapped inside I'm using the time to improve the basement shop.