Saturday, April 14, 2018

Champion Porta Champ Air Compressor - Head Gasket Problem

My detached garage needed an air compressor. I could have purchased a new one but for someone such as myself, older is usually better when it comes to tools. This Champion air compressor showed up on the local Craigslist and I was able to pick it up for $50. I wasn't willing to pay more because it didn't have a hose or regulator (or safety relief valve for that matter), so it was in need of some TLC. Right up my alley.

Friday, April 6, 2018

New Shift Knob for the 1966 Sport Fury

Yesterday I was helping my brother get his 1966 Barracuda Formula S (273, 4-speed - woohoo!) running after he'd done a lot of work to it. I noticed he made a shift knob from a red billiard ball for the factory Inland shifter in his car. He had several more billiard balls so he gave me one so I could make my own shift knob since I have an Inland shifter also.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Wilton Model 656 6" Vise

My wife and I were staying at a "Boondockers Welcome" site in our camper this past week. The host, Jack, is also a metalworker who makes a wide assortment of yard art items. He and I were talking about his new-to-him vise to replace the one he'd been using for many years. Here's a photo of the old vise:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Blast From The Past - Part II

Blast From The Past Part II, this time from 2005.

Fabricating A Display or Exhibition Back
For My Vintage Omega Seamaster 30

Friday, March 2, 2018

Lagun Table Leg For The Bigfoot Camper

Many truck campers have a rudimentary dinette table mount, usually a metal tube that inserts into a floor mount, and into a corresponding mount on the underside of the table. Ours was no different. A year or so ago I replaced the original table with this egg-shaped one that took up less space and used only one of the two legs from the original larger table. It was an improvement in space optimization but still was lacking somehow.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Blast From The Past - Part I

I ran across several web pages I'd done back in the 1999 to early 2000's time frame, long before I ever thought about having a blog site (almost at the inception of the internet.... OK, maybe not). Reading through the pages, I thought it would be fun to reproduce some of them on this blog before they got lost to oblivion. So I'm calling these pages Blast From The Past. Back then my main hobby was wrist watches. My grandfather was a watch repairman, so I guess it was only natural that I had more than a passing interest in mechanical watches.

Back then I was hosting my pages on a free website server ( but haven't done anything to the pages for close to 15 years. I am actually surprised they are still out there in the ether. This first Blast post discusses how others (like-minded folks on and that I frequented back then) could make display backs as I'd done for a few of my watches. I'd purchased a Harbor Freight 7x10 mini lathe in part to do the work. I do still have the lathe but don't know if I could do the same type of delicate work now...

The photos from back then are nothing to write home about but they hopefully get the point across. So without further ado, following is a web post I created in 2003.

How To Make A Display or Exhibition Back For Your Vintage Watch
Photos, scans and text Copyright 2003

Monday, February 26, 2018

New Seat Covers for the Plymouth Sport Fury - Part II

I didn't intend on making a second blog entry for the seats but as I was recovering the rear seat, I thought of a few things I'd like to mention. First off, the tools I found most helpful in removing the old hog rings are shown here (L to R: nippers, needle nose pliers, side cutters, awl):

Saturday, February 17, 2018

New Seat Covers for the Plymouth Sport Fury - Part I

My dear wife bought me seat covers for my car quite a while back. Like two years ago. I don't really know why it's taken so long to get them installed, but now that I've started the process... let's just say it is a workout. Now I know what the guy at work meant when he said installing seat covers is difficult (btw, hi Jason Huff if you happen to read this).

Here is the first seat finished and back in the car:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sheldon Lathe "Under-Drive" Speed Selector Explanation

There isn't much information online about Sheldon lathes, I've found out. Atlas/Craftsman, South Bend, Clausing/Rockwell? They have quite a presence online (OK, Clausing not so much, but better than Sheldon). When I picked up my Sheldon 11-inch lathe a few months back, I immediately started scouring the net for information. Sites like and are great sites and have lots of free and valuable information. Yahoo groups also are a good place to find that elusive manual. But enough rambling. This post is about Sheldon's very cool four-speed "Under-Drive" or "U-Drive" system and how it works. Here's a photo of the U-Drive in my lathe (the two handles are removed to get the pedestal door open - they fit onto the two shafts poking out).

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Bucket O' Bolts - Or, where to find that elusive screw.

I'm sure most guys that grew up like me tinkering on cars/trucks/tractors/etc have a large Bucket O' Bolts (BOB) out in the garage full of the remnants of past projects. You know the scenario, something gets pulled apart to fix or repair it, then gets put back together, and whatever leftovers there are scattered around on the floor get thrown into BOB. I personally use a 5-gallon bucket. It is no lightweight either. It's got to be tipping the scales at 80 pounds or more.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Atlas 618 Progress - Part VI: More 3D Printing - Cross Slide Chip Guard

A couple days ago I showed a photo of my cross slide chip guard cobbled from a piece of sheet metal. It worked but didn't look that great. What do I have at my disposal that could possibly make a better guard? Why, a 3D printer, of course.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Atlas 618 Lathe Progress - Part V: 3D Printed 40t Gear

I never did get immersed in CAD/CAM software up to this point in my life, as I never really needed the skill at work or home. That was for the younger folks, don'tcha know. Well, times change. My daughter bought herself a 3D printer a year or so ago and has been making things. Hmm, that looks like fun. But I have no idea how to even start to learn the skill. But then Mr. Pete (Tubalcain), "your YouTube shop teacher", put out a few recent videos on how he learned to make things on a 3D printer, specifically lathe change gears. And my 618 lathe was missing a 40-tooth gear. If he can do it, so can I. And by jove, it wasn't that difficult.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Atlas 618 Lathe Progress - Part IV: Tailstock Handle Repair and New Cross Slide Cover

The third and final handle to be fixed on the Atlas 618 lathe is for the tailstock hand wheel. The original handle was snapped off flush with the wheel.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Atlas 618 Lathe Progress - Part III: Compound Slide Handle Manufacture

Now that the cross slide handle is glued together, time to concentrate on the compound slide handle. The handle on the compound is currently two 1/4-20 nuts jammed together, which makes for slow going.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Atlas 618 Lathe Progress - Part II: Cross Slide Handle Repair

There were a couple pieces of broken handle bits in amongst the goodies I got with the mini Atlas lathe, and they happened to go with the broken handle on the cross slide. Not wanting to throw away perfectly good handle bits, I attempted to repair the handle. Besides, I'm cheap. Or Frugal. Not sure which.