Thursday, October 30, 2008

Anybody have an Aspirin?

This is a picture of my neighbor. He had a slight accident and ended up with a saw blade stuck in his head.

Actually, this is just part of the costume he is working on for tomorrow night. I won't give away the details until the costume is complete.

He brought the blade down this evening along with a template of the shape of his head. I cut the blade using my meta-saw. Next I welded a few support rods on that wrap around his head and hold the blade in place. He will add some blood and guts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Madison County Woodworkers Guild is back in action. Danny, David, and I are all working on duplicate projects. This keeps fighting over the tools to a minimum. ("You go first!", "No, please after you", "No, I must insist that you go first"). It only took us about an hour to accomplish the first cut of the evening. Excellent progress.

The neighbors must have left their refrigerator door open last night because it was cold outside this morning. I suppose this was our first frost of the year. I am already looking forward to spring.

Monday, October 27, 2008

This weekends camping trip went well. The rain stopped before we arrived at the trail head. We arrived at the trail head around 4:30 or 5:00 pm. We didn't get to hike in very far because the sun went behind the next ridge rather early. The camp site we selected was at a fork in the trail next to a fork in the Sipsey River.

We did enough hiking to suit everyone. Friday evenings campfire was weak due to a lack of time to collect wood, but we made up for it Saturday evening. We enjoyed plently of good food as well.

All in all, it was a great trip. I am looking forward to next trip out in the spring.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Camping 2008, Take II

I am heading out this afternoon for another camping trip. We are going to the Sipsey Wilderness again, though a different area. This is a really nice area for camping. Lots of trails, large rock formations, plenty of trees, and several large creeks. (In Texas they call these rivers.)

The weather is not optimal but it appears it may cooperate later. Currently it is raining but the skys are suppose to clear up mid afternoon, maybe.

Time to get packing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GMC Update

I bolted the rear coil springs on the GMC this evening. It is starting to look like a real truck again!
Two of Ten

I have now completed two days of observation in a local middle school. This semester I am required to do a total of ten days. So far so good. It is a nice school with a very friendly set of teachers, faculty, and administrators.

The school I am visiting is on the block system. Today I learned the names of about 50 kids between the three classes I am observing. I hope to know them all, about 90, by the end of the week.

It is still odd being addressed by my sir name. I feel a power trip coming on.
I keep thinking I need to update the pictures of the kids on the side bar. No telling how long ago they were taken. For you viewing pleasure, here is an update. This picture is only a year and a half old.

Late to the Party

OK, I just discovered face book. I knew it was out there but I had been avoiding looking at it because it seemed like a time sink. It certainly is.

Besides wasting lots of time, I have managed to find some old friends. It is certainly good to be in contact with all of you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Woooooooooooooo Whooooooooooooo!!!

Yesterday, I bolted a couple of wheels back on the frame of the truck. This was huge progress, bigger than when I reassembled the front suspension which seems like eons ago.

What did I accomplish?
1. Installed new bushings in trailing arms.
2. Bolted trailing arm brackets to frame.
3. Bolted trailing arms to brackets.
4. Bolted differential to trailing arms.
5. Installed front coil springs and spindles.

The last step required two neighbors to sit on the frame to sufficiently compress the coils while the spindles were bolted on.

What did I not accomplish? I forgot to take pictures!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I had a mid-term today.

The test had eight essay questions along with many multiple choice problems. Before the test the professor offered us an option. We could answer 4 of the 8 essay questions (along with the multiple choice questions) or one of us could select an envelope from a set of 9 envelopes containing a number between 0-8. The number in the envelope would be the number of essay questions everyone had to answer.

I convinced the class to select an envelope rather than holding at 4. I was then voted to pick the envelope. Without hesitation I selected an envelope. I should have bought a lottery ticket this morning. I picked the zero. No essay questions for anyone.
Camping Trip, Fall 2008

This past weekend we (Myself, Billy, Chad, Danny, David, David, Steve, and Jim) went camping at the Sipsey Wilderness in the Bankhead National Forest. It was a nice trip but it seemed like someone was missing.

Oven 4.0 was somewhat of a success: bread, biscuits, brownies, and muffins.

The weather cooperated. We heard lots of wildlife after dark, probably due to the almost full moon. Plenty of trails for hiking. I took two short hikes. One included a trip to the gas station for water. (The water filter gave up on us.)

Good times.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday's List of Accomplishments

After spending several hours this morning doing homework, I had a couple of free hours to spend outdoors. I managed to get two more things accomplished, in addition to my homework.

The first was unscheduled. My neighbor has an old 1980's model Honda Passport. He wanted me to help him get it running. He is actually the expert with regard to gasoline powered engines, but I have better eyes. After checking the spark, and draining the carb bowl, we finally got the motor to kick over and run even with old gas in the tank. Unfortunately the rear tire has a huge hole in the tube so we didn't get to cruise it around the driveway.

Today I also mounted two tires to the freshly rebuilt 10-bolt GM differential. I now have a partially rolling vehicle. Ha! The next step will involve connecting the trailing arms to the frame and the differential to the trailing arms.

A differential with wheels certainly takes up more space than a differential on a work bench. This is creating a problem for me, not enough space. Therefore I will make another small effort at selling the turnip truck.

For Sale: 1925 Chevrolet Superior Series Model K Truck

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Camp Oven 4.0

A camping trip is planned for the near future. I decided it might be time to build another camp oven.

The previous one (see Camp Oven 3.0 here) was very successful. We used it to bake cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, bread, etc. on many trips to NC, TN, and AL. The only real problem it had was a hot spot directly over the burner. This tended to cause the food to cook unevenly sometimes. I would use a rock placed over the burner to spread the heat.

This is my latest attempt at a DIY light weight camping oven for back packing.

The oven itself weights 23 oz. That does not include the weight of the grill or burner. I reused the burner, grill, thermometer, and PVC from the previous design.

The oven is made from 20" aluminum flashing formed to make a cylinder. The cylinder is held together by 3 qty 4-40 screws. The diameter is 17" so that two 6-cup muffin tins will fit in it.

The top is simply another 20"x20" piece. The top is removed to gain access to the cooking rack. Because the top is so light, I expect a good gust of wind may try to carry it off. To resolve this and to improve the seal between the main body and the top, place an item on top. I have found a handsaw works fine. Alton Brown would be proud because this makes my saw a multi-tasker and gives it a legitimate use in my outdoor kitchen.
I hung a wind screen below the grill to improve its overall heating efficiently. (It will preheat to 350 F in less than a minute). The wind screen does not completely encase the burner for several reasons: ease of changing the tank, ease of lighting, and not wanting to get the burner valve hot.

The previous oven was used many times. From it we learned that a wind screen was absolutely necessary on a windy day. The outside temperature doesn't seem to matter much though, Oven 3.0 was used many times while the temperature was in the 30's or while it was raining. Simply adjust the valve to compensate for the current weather conditions.

Below you see the oven at 350 F. Reaching over 500 degrees is no problem. The lowest setting on my burner only reaches about 225 F. I have found most things I want to bake need 350 to 450 F.

I drilled a second hole in the top for a second thermometer. I don't expect I will have the diverse temperature range with this oven between the two as I did with the previous version. I haven't verified this yet, as I only have one thermometer. I will be borrowing the second one to verify this soon enough.

According to the spec's for my burner, the propane tanks last 2 hours on the highest setting and 4.5 hours on the lowest. Most cooking occurs somewhere in the middle.

The final picture was from the test-run. The oven heated up quickly. I cooked a few mini-corn-dogs. (My son ate them for dinner.) Below the pan you can see the blue ring of fire on the burner.

The rack shown here is simply aluminum wire. I drilled 12 holes evenly spaced 6 inches from the top. Six inches allows plenty of room for baking a loaf of bread. You can also see a couple of the screws holding the cylinders shape if you look closely.

If you have any questions or want additional details to build your own, email me and I will try to help you out.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Madison Street Festival Parade

This morning the 1925 Chevrolet Truck was rolled out of the garage to attend a local parade. The local temperature was just under 50 when I left the house. I stopped at the nearby gas station to top off the tank, surely the most expensive gas this truck has even seen. (It made me wonder what the least expensive gas price was.) The trip to the parade staging area went pretty fast, probably about 7 miles. The speed limit was mostly 45. The truck was position 16 of 38. We loaded up the truck with our troupe of Girls Scouts along with a brother or two. All total, we had 8 people in the truck. The truck was pretty full thought we might have been able to fit two more small people.

I was amazed again this year at the number of people I there that I know. I met a couple of guys with the local chapter of the antique car club.

All in all, it was a nice little trip.