Monday, August 31, 2015
Lady LaFong and I decided that it was time to get out on the road for a month. After a few days with old friends in Northern California, we headed north into Oregon. Stopping at the first big town, Medford, Oregon, we decided to stop and pick up a few items at the big box supermarket. Upon pulling out of our parking spot, I heard a minor thump. Looking out the window, I was greeted with the sight of a wheel passing me by. I hopped out to find that one of the wheels on our, nearly new, fifth wheel trailer had said, "Buh Bye" to the axle. The hub, brake assembly, bearings and the axle were ground into a fine red rusty powder. The trailer has, perhaps, 2-2500 miles on it. We limped on three wheels to Grant's Pass, where I have family. After setting up in a small RV park, I contacted the manufacturer. They referred me to the axle manufacturer. As it stands, at this point,we are waiting for a new axle to arrive from Elkhart, Indiana in a week. Installation will be my responsibility. I can deal with that. I have tools, help and a place to work. It isn't an especially difficult task. Eight nuts and four wires and we'll be good to go................I hope. I checked the other three wheels and they all seemed good and full of grease. I pumped in some additional lube just to be sure. The bad axle had no signs of any grease whatsoever. I really think it was never lubed at the factory. Live and learn, I suppose. The only upside is, that it happened at 3 mph rather than on the highway where it might have been a bit more spectacular. Also, Grant's Pass is a better spot to break down than Barstow, Lodi, Compton or Stockton
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Here is a drum thickness sander that I built 6 or 7 years ago. The base in an old desk that I salvaged while dumpster diving at work. Most of the remaining skeleton is 1 1/2 inch steel tube and a few pieces of 1/8 flat plate. The motor is one that I had laying in my motor pile. I bought two 3/4 inch ball bearing pillow blocks for each end of the drum assembly. The drum is a stack of 3/4 plywood discs on a 3/4 inch CRS shaft. I assembled all of the discs on the shaft with glue between each one. After it dried, I drilled and pinned the drum to the shaft. I trued up the drum on my metal lathe, though I could have used the sander as it's own lathe by rigging up a tool rest. The finished size is a sliding fit into a piece of 4 inch ABS sewer pipe. The sandpaper strips are glued to the ABS with contact adhesive. A pin at the pulley end of the drum registers with a notch in the pipe to keep it from spinning. The notch is angled in the direction of rotation to keep it from coming off. I have several of these drums made up with different grit strips glued on. Changing them requires removing two bolts and pulling off the pillow block on the free end. The drum is 24 inches long and with the open end, it has a four foot capacity. The bed assembly is 3/4 MDF and 3/4 plywood. The hood is 1/8 Masonite. The bed is raised and lowered with the crank handle which pushes or pulls on a carriage with four wheels. The two outer wheels ride on tracks that are parallel with each other and the floor. The inner wheels ride against triangular members that are screwed to the bottom of the bed. As the wheels travel in or out, against the triangles, the bed goes up or down. These pieces all needed to be exactly the same as each other and exactly coplanar. I managed to get pretty darned close. Any variance from left to right was adjusted with shims under the pillow blocks. I had envisioned some sort of feed mechanism but never got around to it. I think if I could get my hands on a belt from a large, wide belt sander, I could rig up a feed. Probably would be hand cranked rather than power feed. As it is now, I use a push board, as pictured. Though I don't use it often, It has proven to be a pretty good tool.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
I knocked out this tool board to keep my lathe chisels off of the floor, where I kept then in a plastic bucket. It's just a scrap of 3/4 oak plywood, edge with some pine with two magnetic strips that I got from Harbor Freight. I added some cleats to keep the tools from sliding off. I put on a coat of Danish oil and a few layers of clear, just so it looks nice and matches the lathe.The edging is the trademark red. All that remains to complete the turning station is a lamp, over the lathe, so I can see what I'm ruining
Monday, August 10, 2015
I have accumulated quite a collection of dull cutting tools. My attempts to sharpen them have been less than stellar. It requires a steady hand to maintain the proper angle on chisels and plane irons. After a search, online, for some sort of jig, I found one that seemed decent. I did have to purchase the plans to build it but they were only a few bucks. I made it from scrap lying about the shop, in a couple of hours. It is adjustable for setting the angle of the bevel and it is no problem to add a few degrees after the initial sharpening to put a micro bevel on the end. I sharpened three of my planes and three or four chisels. It took a while because they were all very dull, nicked and poorly sharpened, previously. They all turned out quite sharp. The planes will now take off very thin shavings and the chisels will pare the end grain of oak and maple very cleanly. Another cheap and easy fix for an ongoing problem of mine.