- The brick was laid out and the new location was marked upon the sidewalk.
- Using the diamond carbide drill bit each of the four corners was drilled out a bit. The bit would not go too deep because of all the gravel.
- The outline was first cut into the sidewalk. Starting on the north side of this cut out, the inside was scored into small sections and chiseled out with a steel chisel and sledge hammer. This starting area was the worst as there was so little area to work in. Ever so slowly the first half of the opening got cleaned out.
- With more room to work with the second half was cut out much easier and faster. All the while I was working in a cloud of dust and playing John Henry with the chisel and sledge hammer, the game day party was being set up across the street. I could just imagine what the people were thinking of the commotion going on!
- My poor 4”diamond wheel was toast by the time I was doing the final fitting. This entailed making a duct tape sling to hold the brick to lower and raise it from the opening for the process of cleaning out the corners. With the initial space cleaned out this went amazingly quick.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Thursday, April 7, 2011
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Things have been so crazy as of late. Some great stuff has been turning up in E-Bay land. This phenomena resulted in my latest road trip was to Decatur, IL to pick up a cast iron whistle sign. This heavy thing was originally positioned along the railroad roadbed. It signaled the engineer to sound the whistle code for “approaching a grade crossing” which is two long - one short - one long blasts on the whistle or horn of the locomotive. I remember seeing these along the roadbed of the New York Central Railroad which was across the street from where I grew up. These old cast iron signs are quite collectible. The seller had this as a local pick up only. There was a New York collector who was hot for it, but the seller did not want to deal with shipping companies and the like. He held it for me to pick up.
Monday morning I did up the last of my packing and straightening up the house. Stumpy delayed my departure by some twenty minutes hiding out! That bad boy!! The house was locked up and I was on the road at 5:30 a.m.
My first stop was Trader Joe’s in Nashville. Here I stocked up on Trader Joe’s Pound Plus dark and bittersweet chocolate, New Mexico Pinion Nut Coffee, Maple syrup, and a case of their Bavarian Wheat Beer.
Back on the road I took I-24 into Kentucky. Kentucky and Indiana were the worst states driving. Not so much for the roads but for the weather. I knew I’d be in for some rain, but I never expected tornadoes to be part of the equation. I finally gave up on trying to listen to the radio as it was just one storm alert after another. The tornado warnings did me no good, as they go by counties. How could I know what county I was driving in?
There were times the rain was so intense I was down to 45 mph with the four ways flashing. I knew conditions were bad when the trucks did not fly by me. When the tornado sirens sounded I got scared. Ever so slowly I drove out of the rain and the sky stayed a lead gray with low hanging clouds. The only clue this was not a chill November day was the faint hint of green in the trees.
I’m truly spoiled with my Garman now. It is such a convenience to not have to drive and look at a map at the same time. That little screen shows what the speed limit is and how fast you are driving so keeping to the limit is so easy. I no longer fret about missing a turn or street sign.
Driving to Warrensburg, IL I had to take a lot of secondary roads. These can be so dangerous: being able to give full attention to traffic and road signs can be a lifesaver.
I arrived to pick up the sign right at 4:45 p.m. some 620 miles from home. This hunk of cast iron is better in person: I’m very pleased. I settled up with Tony and we loaded the beast into the bed of the truck. My next stop was Decatur, IL some eight miles distant.
Cities of this size and location usually lack a Motel Six. I went for the big time and booked a room on-line at the Comfort Inn. I liked the fact a Texas Steak House was just across the road. Outback is my favourite restaurant chain, but Texas Steak is a pretty much in the same league.
Got cleaned up some, put a couple Trader Joe’s wheat beers on ice and headed to supper. Things were not too terribly busy. I settled in at the bar and had a tall Shock Top beer and some hot rolls and butter in no time. My meal tonight was Caesar Salad, small New York strip steak, and fries covered with cheese and bacon. I ordered my steak rare and smothered in onions.
When the steak came out it was totally covered in onions and a small additional bowl of onions was on the side! I was in onion heaven!! It was all so good! When I’m on the road like this it is always more fun to sit at the bar and interact with the bartenders and others. People are a lot more open and relaxed at the bar.
Back at the hotel I was able to shift the sign into the cab of the truck. I really doubt anyone would take the thing from the truck bed, but with the investment I have in it I’m not going to tempt fate! That drive did me in. One beer in the room and I was dead to the world. This boy slept good…..
Today, Thursday April the 7th the phone rang at 5:20 a.m. The conversation went as follows:
Phone: RING RING!!!!!
Jamie: Hey Debbie, I’ll be all set to walk when you get here.
Other end: This isn’t Debbie…..
Jamie: Who is this????
Other end: Let me put Hunter on…..
Hunter: Jamie, are you going to cox today?
Jamie: I’m coxing Thursday. Today is Wednesday…
Hunter: No Jamie; today is THURSDAY…..
Jamie: Oh ***k!!! I’ll be right there!!!
I don’t know what happened to Wednesday. The last thing I remember is this bright green light that enveloped my truck and a little man with pale skin and large elongated eyes who poked needles all over my body…….. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!!!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
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It was the early fall of 1972 I signed on to the midnight sort at United Parcel Service in Lancaster, PA. Working nights loading the delivery trucks on the line and “hogging” in the trailers necessitated having warm rugged clothes. Champion Apparel had a “real” outlet store in Perry, NY. The clothing they sold was true factory rejects. My favourite basketball jersey from that store had a big 16 on the front and a 17 on the back! That shirt drove people crazy when I used to wear it!
It so happened I was home in Lockport, NY before I started that job assignment. My mom, dad, good friend Toni, and I made the 55 mile trip to Perry, NY so I could stock up work clothes. We left early on a bright Saturday morning, driving through the Alabama swamps, the city of Batavia, and the rolling farmland till we reached Perry, NY.
Whenever we made this excursion we would have breakfast at “The Hole in the Wall” restaurant located in the heart of the village. This place was famous in they would always give a serviceman or woman their meal for free if they were in uniform. That tradition began during WWII. My metabolism was off the charts back then. I can still remember the look from my dad when I ordered bacon, eggs, homefries, and a side stack of hotcakes for my meal. I ate every bite!
Going to an outlet store was a big deal back then; I made the best of this opportunity stocking up with lots of heavy sweat pants and heavy sweatshirts. I have two of those sweatshirts remaining from that trip I can still wear. They are so battered and worn I only use them for the really messy jobs I don’t want to risk my better clothes on.
Working on the Graphophone mainsprings this past weekend was one such job where I was wearing the Temple University Football shirt. The cuffs were so ragged even I had to admit they made the sweatshirt unwearable. I did a laundry of my nastiest work clothes Monday. The grease washed out really well from that old sweatshirt; I could not bear to rip it into rags.
Google searches for “sweatshirt knit cuffs” led me to a discussion board. It was suggested that the elastic tops of socks can make perfect cuffs. What a great idea! It was easy to find a pair of socks with the bottoms pretty much worn through to use.
It was easy work to sew the sock-tops to the sweatshirt sleeves. I should be able to get at least another ten years wear out of that garment!
the shreds of the original cuffs and the new "sock cuffs"
This aspect of my life I can’t make sense of. I’ve made playing the “miser” into an art form. But, truth be told, I can get a comparable sweatshirt at the thrift store for a few dollars any time I want. Hell, I can even go to the “yuppie stores” and pay top dollar if I were so inclined. It is not the money aspect. Whenever I wear those old sweats I think back to when they and I were young. The memorable trip with those I cared about that early fall morning to Perry, NY: Working on the loading docks at UPS, doing chores around my first house in Lockport and now my home in Alabama. I always have happy memories wearing those worn out clothes. It is also a good way to annoy people… I’ve got ammo for years now harping on how to make use of worn out socks!!!
Friday, August 22, 2008
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One step forward, two steps back. It is times like this I wonder why I put myself into the situations I do. Yesterday morning the double mainspring assembly arrived along with the needed fixings that will allow me to install it to my machine. I think the easiest comparison would be to think of the main platform that supports the motor assembly as to a basic automobile body that can take many forms. By switching out a mounting bracket and some gearing, a single spring motor can be improved to a double spring.
After I unwrapped the parcel I did a quick switch out to see if the springs were intact. It appeared the hooks on the arbor were disengaged from the spring. Opening the spring barrels I discovered the ends of the springs were all mangled. SHIT!! I had to say it.
The mainsprings had to be removed anyway, only now I’ll have to install new holes and reshape the inner spring coils. This loss of material will also shorten the running time a bit: This was aggravation I did not need. There was not much choice in the matter. Once removed from the spring barrel, the mainspring was uncoiled and clamped to a board. The end with the damaged section was heated with a torch to take the temper out of the steel that will allow the shears to cut the now “soft steel”. This end section was again annealed. Lay out blue was painted onto the end and the outline of the pear shaped hole was scribed. This was drilled and filed out. I can’t make any further progress until the graphite arrives and I can install and grease up the springs.
The new grill cloth has been glued into place and looks wonderful. One aspect of this job at least progressed without trauma!
A fast road trip looks to be in my future next week. The guys who have been salvaging the bricks from the
I’m not that far from Billy’s new home getting these bricks…but…. he and Linda will be in Ft Meyers for the next two weeks! It looks to be just a fast trip down and back.
It looks to be a lazy 4th of July tomorrow. If all goes as planned I’ll bicycle over to Debbie’s and the crew will spend the day lounging around her pool. It is so hard for me to think back and realize it will be 12 years ago this week I put in the purchase offer for my house. I know I’ve mentioned before how I’m judging things by decades now!! I want to keep it at that!
Friday, July 4, 2008
The dirty gearing and oil tubes. The pot metal yoke it the gray part on the right.
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To Hell with high gas prices! I need bricks. The way things now look I’ll be on the road to
Until the flake graphite is delivered for the spring barrels I have to do other servicing to the motor. Thursday involved cleaning the old dried oil from the gearing. My ultrasonic cleaner does a good job on this nasty chore.
While cleaning the gears I realized the “yoke” holding the felt pads that regulate the motor speed was frozen. Again I have to say “SHIT!” Out of the entire motor assembly this one integral piece was cast of pot metal. It shows all the classic signs of “exploding”: cracks and fissures over the entire assembly. Any force to free this up will cause this cheap casting to crumble. The post this rotates on is riveted in place. Using a small escapement file I’m able to file the top of the rivet off. Then ever so carefully I tap on the center of this post with a punch to remove it from the housing. Just the tapping set up enough of a force to let loosen up each side of the yoke. One side flew onto the workbench, the other landed on the floor. SHIT!
There was good to come out of this. I moved that shaft just enough to free up the frozen yoke. The broken pieces were large and easy to work with. Thank God for JB Weld. The pieces were epoxied back into place yesterday. This morning I cut out supports out of copper that were scabbed onto the back of this yoke with the miraculous JB Weld. Tomorrow I’ll add more supports to the front of the yoke just to be sure. That will hold for my lifetime!
Soon as I post this it is time to head over to Debbie’s. The entire crew is supposed to meet there and lounge around the pool. I need a day off from the aggravation I’ve been putting myself through. Being “Green” now I going over on the bicycle. It is getting to be a habit now of riding everywhere….
A Happy 4th to everyone!!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
|The Mushroom Effect|| ||Tuesday, July 01, 2008|
There is a term in house restoration called “the mushroom effect”. I think I’ve touched on this subject before. It is when a minor project evolves into a huge undertaking. That is what I’m in the middle of. UGH!!
This current phonograph restoration project was SUPPOSED to be just a cleaning up of the case and installing a new grill cloth. WRONG! The reproducer rebuild required a new diamond stylus. This was easy enough to order. But, to fit onto this late style head I needed to install a hook underneath the needle that attaches to a small tension spring. Again that is no impossible task.
Before electronics entered the sound reproduction scene, the sound waves recorded into the record groove were recreated mechanically. The Edison system utilized a “hill and dale” method where-by the record groove went “up and down” as opposed to the “lateral” method where the sound waves were recorded going "side to side" used by Victor and the other major record producers. A parallel comparison to this would be the battle between Beta and VHS video tape systems in the 1980’s. Technically Beta was the better system (as was "hill and dale), but because of poor marketing and business decisions by Sony it eventually lost out.
*I have to interject here… my good friend Donald was one of the first people I knew to have a tape system. He used to say..”Oh, I have a Betamax!” Talk about dated. Today, that sounds almost as obscure as me saying, “I have a Victrola!”
The needle in the groove transfers the information to a diaphragm which vibrates and is then amplified through a horn. That is the reason for the old records rotating at 78 rpm. That surface speed generated enough energy to the needle to properly recreate what had been recorded. In the
After nearly 80 years these linkages are getting pretty worn and frazzled. (Hey that sounds like me!!) On this particular reproducer I’m working on, the link was almost broken through. A little bit of super glue is just what the doctor ordered. That repair worked fine until I happened to twist the damn thing installing the needle, where by it just snapped off.
Pretty much my Sunday was spent dismantling the diaphragm assembly and making up another linkage. It was pretty much one frustration after another. This aggravation is a reminder to me why I refuse to take work in from other people!
I worked out a system to where I first drilled out the fabric from the old linkage. From there I was able to open up the crimped housings and fish a new piece of woven material through. Through researching various message threads on a restoration site I learned the perfect replacement “string” can be obtained from “decorator tassels”. I have only one of those annoying things that came with a novelty music box I purchased a long time ago. Crazy as it sounds, it worked perfectly!
That was pretty much my Sunday.
Monday morning was spent at the bench making up the connector linkage for the diaphragm. A tiny threaded rod is screwed into an ivory button and then shellacked into place. I had one snap in half when I attempted to remove it. Nothing left to do but make up another one. It is not like you can go to a hardware store and buy any of this crap! Working under such tiny close tolerances is very draining. Figuring out the techniques with nothing to go by can be very frustrating. The next one I have to make will be much easier! Once it was done, I walked away from the bench. You have to know when to quit!
The double mainspring assembly should be here soon. It will be so nice to work with big things again! Everything is going to get torn apart, then cleaned and regreased/oiled. The best mainspring grease is 40% flake graphite and 60% Vaseline. I stopped at an auto parts store figuring if any place would even know what graphite was they would. They had never heard of flake graphite.
Once again I was saved by the internet. I have two pounds of #2 Flake graphite en route to me. I figure it is cheaper to pay the shipping over driving untold miles and getting aggravated. I get so tired of the pained looks I get trying to track down things nobody has ever heard of!
This morning I’ll apply a coat of oil finish to the phonograph case to see if I can breathe some shine into that alligatored finish. It all cleaned up pretty nice, but it was a junky/cheap cabinet to begin with, so I’m not expecting miracles!
Then I have to be in
Enough of this sad and depressing stuff… time to feed the birds, fix my last cup of coffee, and then work on that cabinet…..