Saturday, February 17, 2018

New Seat Covers for the Plymouth Sport Fury

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.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Atlas 618 Lathe Progress - Part I: Drum Switch Repair

The first item to check off on the to-do list for my new miniature Atlas lathe was to fix the motor / switch issue so I didn't have to give it a kick start to get it going. First thing I did was pull the motor off the mounting board and tear into it, which in hindsight was the wrong thing to start on. I'd figured the motor was the most likely culprit, and it was either the start winding was toast or the centrifugal switch was not working. Nope. The motor was fine, albeit a little grimy inside. Next step was to pull the Furnas Electric Co. drum switch apart. Hopefully I'd find a clue to the problem at hand.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Atlas 618 Lathe

I knew this would happen. Even after I picked up my Sheldon lathe, I kept looking at the want ads (Craigslist and OfferUp) for that great deal of the day. Funny thing, or maybe not so funny if you ask my kids, an Atlas 618 lathe popped up on OfferUp for a good price. And surprise, surprise, it almost magically jumped in the back of our car.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sheldon 11-inch lathe progress - Part IV: New Steady Rest and Clamp Modification

So, is it "IV" or "IIII" to depict the number 4 in Roman numerals? Watch dials usually have "IIII" (if they are sporting a Roman numeral dial) while pretty much everywhere else it is "IV". Moving right along to the real subject of this blog entry, I was able to purchase a steady rest for my 78-year-old Sheldon lathe. Here is a photo from the seller:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rebuild of a Bendix Two Speed Automatic Hub on an early 60's Schwinn Bicycle

I've sort of inherited a couple of Schwinn bicycles. They were my parents' bikes when I was a kid. Somehow the bikes just kept following either my parents or me around during moves and whatnot. Both bikes have a two speed "automatic" Bendix hub. They've sat in one garage or another taking up space, but never got used in the last 30 or so years. Below is a photo of Dad's bike. I'm not sure if Dad had planned on painting the entire bike blue or if he was satisfied with the color scheme once he'd finished painting the fenders. The red paint is original.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Yet Another Singer 66 - Why, oh why do I keep buying these things?

Yep, another Singer 66. *sigh*
Straight stitch, no reverse, no real redeeming qualities. Ok, maybe that last sentiment was uncalled for. After all, it does look kinda nice even with the layers of grime, dirt, and crusty varnish. I guess it's called "patina" these days. And ooh-ooh, "barn find"! Yes, I can call it a barn find, right?! And it's old - from 1912.

So, an honest-to-goodness 106-year-old anty-que, with the "early" 6-spoke hand wheel, high-mount "treadle" bobbin winder, rear-mount foot.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sewing Machine Stitch Length - an unscientific evaluation

A friend was wondering about which domestic sewing machine might have the longest stitch length. So I thought, hmm, I have a "few" sewing machines that I could test out to find an answer. And let me say right off the hop, I have no formal sewing machine training, so any opinions I might have are strictly from my own observations.

That being said, I was a bit surprised at one of the test subjects I used for this evaluation. But you'll have to read on to find out. Here are the results. DUHNNN.. DUH-DUH-DUH.. DUHN-DUHN-DUHN-DUHNNNN! And the winner is......

SewMor Class 15 clone (1950s, straight stitch, cast iron):

Sheldon 11-inch lathe progress - Part III: Tailstock Threads

Ok, I've realized that Super Glue has its place, but not where I used it on the lathe. My last post showed the tailstock screw insert that was just kind of floating in the spindle. I glued it in but the first time I tried extracting a chuck from the tailstock spindle, the threaded insert pulled free of the spindle. Soooooo, the option I chose was to repair what someone had previously done. There was a hole in the right end of the spindle that had been threaded at an angle to hold the insert in place but the both the insert and the 1/4-20 threads were damaged. I was able to drill the hole slightly larger and make new 5/16-18 threads, then insert a set screw. Here's the result:

That should hold things in place quite nicely. And me being a hobbyist, I'm sure it will last a long time.