20 December 2014

How to - build a shop truck

Haven't done a "how to" for a long time.
Here's a quickee...
A buddy has a bitchin '56 F-100,
a cammed 350 chevy engine (cough), 
turbo 400 automatic transmission,
9" rearend,
and a Volare independent front end.
The ingredients of a fun to drive street rod.
It was time to make it a work truck.
A plan was set,
a materials list was scribbled out,
and Mario must have lost it.
He found the thickest angle iron in the remnant pile.
While it doubled the whittling time,
in the long run this will last forever,
protect the rear fuel tank,
and should be strong enough to pull any trailer.
The slip-in receiver saved some hassle,
as it's already prepped for the hitch.
Typically there's a 5' minimum for steel,
and another route would have been acquiring the square tube,
make the receiver part and the crossbar from the same stuff.
The concession to this style,
was ruining the smooth bumper.
A more traditional approach 
would have been to have a permanent ball,
on a tongue that jutted out from the bumper.
Perfect for scraping shins.
I had one on the 40 for a couple years,
still have a couple scars...
A friend allowed me to mooch off his facilities.
Good to use the old MIG again,
although this project was made for stick welding.
Thanks Jason!
This thing was so heavy!
A holey chit is in order.
Here's a better shot of that rear fuel tank.
Man that was f-ugly.
Stoked that it fit in after all the welding!
There were some trade secrets used,
other than the magic flat black rattlecan.
Now Mario's got a real shop truck,
not some overpowered girlie car...
The hitch was christened with a friends project,
a 1957 Glasspar Del Mar cabin cruiser.
More on that later.
Hopefully Mario will send a pic of the canned ham trailer the hitch was made for.
I'll admit that driving his truck made me want to hot rod the 40's V-8...

09 December 2014


A few old pics from deep in my 
does-this-make-my-butt-look-big file.
This van was made for this seasons gas prices.
I drove past $2.75/gallon!
When I moved this cart,
a guy was tailing me so close.
He was testing my knots.
I should make a bumper extension,
a slip-in trailer hitch with bolt tabs on the sides.
I'll add that to my STD list
(Chit to do)

08 December 2014


Last bike post I noted the Rauler got parted out,
specifically the seatpost.
Yawn yeah another bike post...
Well a friend Mark had one in his stash.
Not as cool as the sleek aero post,
but I can't get too picky over a freebie.
This was the same size as the previous seatpost at 26.8 mm,
which was too loose.
A 27.2 mm seatpost wouldn't fit.
See that brownish thing jammed in there?
A strip of aluminum can is the perfect shim,
this one back from when we drank Dr. Pepper.
The big upgrade was a rear brake.
Almost 4 years riding with a front only,
and each time there's that something ain't right feeling.
An NOS shimano 600 fit the Japanese-parts-on-a-70's-Italian-frame theme.
This triggered my writing.
The brake line housing ferrule didn't fit the adjuster.
Why I don't know,
these are mainstream parts here.
A little Sunday morning project,
turned into a hand-lathe honing session on the drill press.
Holey Chit I need to clean my nails.
A little drillium to the cheeseball brake lever,
and it was good to go weight-weenie style.
If anyone has a right side Fishbone skull brake lever,
send it over.
And some brake line clamps...
This 21 lb frankensteined bike always rode smooth.
There's a rear Phil hub and a Campy front,
and the first generation Suntour Cyclone derailleurs are as good or better then Campagnolos.
Now squeezing the brakes won't send me into a somersault.
Time to get a ride in.

07 December 2014


Imagine being stuck on a Navy ship,
you're on the hunt after Pearl Harbor,
and are on the long haul to the deep Pacific.
My grandfather was a Navy guy,
WWII, the Korean War and after.
One thing I remember is his leisure Sunday mornings,
playing cribbage with his buddy Ski.
Playing cards was a perfect way to pass the time on a tour,
and remained years after.
In coincidence of Pearl Harbor day,
the old cribbage board was dusted off.
The boys took to it quick.
I thought this was from Papa's stash,
but the memory of it's acquisition is vague.
A cool thing about cribbage is the board.
Paper and pencil is no fun,
and drilling a piece of scrap is part of the history.
This is a thick piece of phenolic,
but I've got custom aluminum and wood boards too.
If you like cards,
search the rules.
It's great strategy and mathematics for kids too!

06 December 2014

Hardcore Balloon Car

I don't remember 8th grade science class being that much fun.
An old lady drivelling on about textbook stuff.
Our kids got lucky,
a younger teacher with fun experiments.
Jake just finished his balloon car project,
reminiscent of a 60's slingshot dragster.
Wish I had pics of it's evolution.
It stretched out,
fenders were added,
then the runningboards like guards.
All to keep the balloon from getting caught in the wheels.
At home the speeds were over 2 m/s,
and ended up being the fastest in the class.
The cool trick done in the classroom was making a faster engine.
Two balloons doubled up to squeeze the air out quicker.

04 December 2014

Holdsworth update - cut down and drilled

Can you tell I'm a little obsessed with this old bike?
It goes in waves,
like waiting for the perfect set,
when the urge hits ya take advantage.
I did learn my lesson about overspending with the wheels,
and have gone back to scouring for cheaper beat up parts.
The baby drill press has been invaluable,
Perfect for this light-duty work...
Freehand drillium on a pile of aluminum goodies.
These are 1973+ dura-ace center-pull brakes,
masked as mafac's, weinmann's or dia/gran comps,
by switching the left and right arms,
hiding the lettering.
Next were these cool Barilla brake levers,
garnished with old black Benotto bar wrap.
These levers were tough to drill with all the curves and no jig.
The handlebars were tweaked hard and not symmetrical,
more obvious in the last post.
Jake and I got them as even as possible,
without risking the fragile tubing.
A couple mismatched Campy shifters fell victim,
very tough to drill with the deep lettering.
A little off,
I got out the Dremel and cleaned them up after the pic.
Only one is used on this frame,
as there's only one shifter braze-on.
Either this had no front derailleur,
or possibly an early lever-operated Simplex or Campagnolo model.
Yeah you know I'm hunting for one!
The big project was this early Brooks Professional saddle.
I thought this was a score as it was one of the lowest priced on eBay...
The quality control  changed throughout the decades.
This is a 70's model,
and they used cheesy copper rivets,
instead of the cool hammered heads they use now.
I was bummed at first,
but the smaller early Brooks badge makes it authentically vintage,
and there's a fix to make the rivets flush.
In a way this inferior seat was perfect to experiment with.
A Brooks Swallow will run an easy $300,
and I've always wanted to try this cut-down mod.
I followed a series of steps found online,
making it an easy one night project.
The biggest trick is soaking the wings in water overnight 
to make the leather more pliable.
Super stoked on the outcome.
It doesn't have the Swallows sharp angles,
just a clean thin profile.
I dislike robbing parts off of running machines,
however the aero seatpost from the Rauler was an exact fit.
A bunch more parts are still needed,
and thankfully it's raining,
plenty of nights to keep hunting and tinkering.

01 December 2014

McIntosh MC2300 - BlueBall

I've written about this mc2300 amp for the past couple years,
and now christen it BlueBall.
The majority of the time it's been in my possession,
it's looked like this.
On it's back,
top or bottom off,
ass in the air.
It's reproduced about an hour of sound,
but not 300 watts,
maybe 4 watts 
and yeah it actually sounded great...
Which is why I'm nurturing hope,
to pursue this tortuous courtship.
In august I chose to drop it off at the local tech.
Three months later,
the call to pick it up.
I was jazzed,
had some dough set aside,
was expecting to bring it home and crank it up...
Guy said it had too many hack repairs.
Too many stalled gigs,
the sound guy searching the floor of his van for any useable resistors and transistors,
trying to bypass the problem.
Probably while in some smokey bar,
soldering with a flashlight in his mouth,
already a few beers after sound check.
Those top 3 white cubes are only sposta be one,
and those little striped cylinders (film resistors),
Is like reusing your toilet paper,
ya just don't do it.
No wonder the tech didn't want to get his hands dirty.
He suggested find a generic Honda amp,
not rebuild a clapped out 1973 dodge charger.
Them's fighting words...
If you know me by my posts so far,
there was either two ways to do this.
Part it out and get stuck with the worthless carcass,
or spend hours learning a trade.
I researched the schematics,
read other amp rebuild issues in forums like audiokarma.org,
ordered the parts,
and carved out a nook in the dining room.
Les do this.
Oh my holey chit.
There are 8 heat sinks,
with 24 transistors and 32 resistors.
Really it shouldn't be that hard,
but only one heat sink followed the schematic.
What the %#@$&!!
On top of that,
while explaining to Jaxon what I was doing,
I realized the heat sinks weren't in the correct order.
Say they're in an AABB-AABB configuration,
these are BAAB-AABB,
so the left side is all wacked.
Here I was wondering why the wires weren't the correct colors.
It's gonna be the slower boat to China.