20 December 2010

off the wagon

Well I tried
2 weeks 2 days 17hours  28minutes ...

And broke with a reheated cup of yesterdays brew with a ton of creamer.
Actually had to do a family vote for this, 3-2!

Now lets get some real work done.


16 December 2010

coffee, tea, soda pop, pee.

I'm struggling.
A couple weeks ago I realized how much coffee I was drinking.
When the daylight savings time stops and it gets colder,
I'll usually drink way more.
Normally I'll try to go cold turkey one day out of the week,
deal with the headache,
just to keep my tolerance down, but I haven't.
It's worse when you actually feel sleepy after drinking a cup or two,
than after the 4th cup you feel like busting out of your skin!

Another issue is we have the kids preparing the coffee maker,
and holy moly some of it comes out so strong, so good though,
but is it good when you take a leak and it smells like coffee?

So I decided to quit.
Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks.
Am I proud?
I can't say,
as all that's happened is I've replaced it with hot tea, Arizona Green Tea & Dr. Pepper, Snickers...
What is better?
At least I'm not into those energy drinks.

My production level is also for shit,
I can do a normal day fine,
but  by 8pm I'm burnt, instead of working into the 2am "sweet spot".

shades of brown

This is what I get to wake up to.
The dark richness of a home brewed pot of coffee.
For my wife,
who leaves half the pot just in case I'm gonna crack.
a tasteless dishwater Tea.

Yesterday I was about as close to cracking ever.
The craving, the need was so strong.
It will be tough today,
I just want to do 2 weeks and start up again.
Whoever says coffee is not a drug...

I'm living the first 2 minutes of this Bob Marley song!


14 December 2010

inflatable frenzy - v-ii

I've got a habit of buying and selling stuff,
probably from the 14+ years of having the kayak shop up in Ventura.
Now our backyard looks like a swap meet, bikes, boats, motors, car parts...
so what I do is post a couple things on there at a price high enough to let go of stuff.
Sometimes I come up and sometimes break even.
Having fun with a cool toy(s) makes it all worth it in the end.

Well this summer I got caught up in an inflatable boat frenzy.
As you'll see, it got a little out of control, just a little.
We were able to put the yard to good use without freaking out our landlord!
I need to post this just to remember how crazy it got.

It all started with this thing...

avon 3.10

This is an Avon 3.10 rover.
It's a great boat, made out of Hypalon which is a rubber coated fabric,
the best material for durability and sun.
The Avon brand also uses a really heavy duty air valve.
(The wood floors aren't installed in this picture)
My family had this model when I was younger,
so when it appeared on craigslist I snatched it up cheap.

I also ended up finding a really clean Suzuki 9.9hp two stroke,
(they were relabeled Cabrea for a while)
and me and the kids had a blast tearing around San Diego Bay.
We quickly realized the boat was kinda small and it would be fun to have two...

So, I picked up this roach of a boat for super cheap.
Zodiac Green Roach

The boat was a Zodiac and was a hunk of crap,
both in its condition and just the way Zodiacs are built.
I talked Luke/Pigpen into taking this thing out one early evening with the kids,
and holy shit was it a toad - leaked water, couldn't hold a plane,
engine would flip up, and these tweaker wheels...

tweaker wheels

Someone rigged up these wheels and they constantly flopped down, ridiculous.
It was actually a good idea just poorly executed with gate latches on the bottom.
Luke was a trooper though,
I didn't know he had never been in a little boat with an outboard before.
Ask him about crossing the channel in front of the ferry with the spotlight.

The Roach purchase was worth it as it came with a good running Nissan 8hp outboard, tank,
a pump, and box of boat junk - anchor, repair kit, life jackets,
and one of those red utility trailers making it alot easier to launch.

8hp nissan

That little trailer came in real handy,
because one night, about 10pm someone posted an achilles inflatable for super cheap.
(One thing you DON'T do when selling on craigslist is post after 9pm,
unless it is overpriced or you don't really want to sell it.)
The guy had put a phone number on there and after a couple texts, an almost midnight deal,
our backyard was a little boat shop.

achilles beater

For $60 this thing was a great deal.
When I got it, it had black tar splotches all over it,
the reason why it was so cheap.
Boat workers use dinghys to paint the hulls in the water,
and this one definitely had some overspray/spills.
Achilles use a PVC material and a really cheesy air valve,
but this was a way better 2nd boat then the Green Roach,
so we offed the Zodiac and kept all the extra stuff.

Of course while it was posted on CL,
this thing showed up...

Patten Inflatable

A Marine from Oceanside was selling this at almost the exact time I posted the Zodiac.
This is a RIB - rigid inflatable bottom, instead of the roll-up soft-bottoms with inflatable keel.
They had been out of my price range up until now.
I had never heard of Patten, but found out that they make military inflatables,
really heavy duty and they had a really cool Bravo air valve.

This was my goal in doing this inflatable flipping,
as the RIB's were usually a little out of my budget.
These little boats are so bitchin,
they just plow through swells and it is so fun to surf on ship's wakes,
they are almost impossible to flip so you just do crazy stuff.

So then I tried to sell everything to keep the RIB and get a bigger motor,
but it totally backfired.
Instead of selling, people just wanted to swap stuff.
We ended up trading the 8hp Nissan for a really clean 9.9hp Nissan,
and did a 3-way trade on an old bike for a 15 hp Johnson, perfect for the RIB.

outboard crazy

And to top it off, instead of selling the AVON,
I ended up trading it for the next size up!

Avon 3.40 couch

This Avon 3.40 was immaculate for a mid-80's boat,
just needed a new valve seal.
The guy just wanted a smaller boat for camping,
and since we could use the extra space, perfect swap!
It also came with a non-opped pink slip which was great.
The other boats were either seriously delinquent or had no DMV papers.
(only motorized boats need CF numbers)

At this point I realized things were a little out of control.
The $$ was relatively low, it was just the amount of stuff in such a short time.
Fortunately the beater Achilles sold by itself which cleaned up the yard.
I didn't mind having 3 outboards in such good shape.

Fast forward a couple months...
School starts... daylight not-savings time starts...rain...we all get colds...excuses excuses.
After school started we used the boats one time, okay maybe twice.
It's a typical seasonal use I guess, but it's still a drag.
Another bummer was watching the RIB get weathered in the sun and rain.
The drawback of the rigid is they don't roll-up for storage.
Yacht owners leave them out but it's the sure way to ruin them.

So to free up some cash and some yard space, I posted the RIB on CL,
and it was quickly snapped up...
but not after a fun day that really made it all worth it.

The buyer wanted to see it out on the water, and I gave him the option of 2 engines,
so it was the perfect excuse to get us out there in both boats.
I'll admit it was a bit sad losing the RIB especially after watching the video,
but like I hinted earlier there is a price that makes it easier!
(Ok now on the hunt for a bigger one, cheap of course!)

These inflatables are a great way to get the kids close to the water.
Fortunately we still have the roll-up AVON and we kept the 15hp so we can still get out.

Thanks for tuning in...


had to edit this in.
This was the view from the other side...

Thanks Pig!


13 December 2010

v8-60 running stand

Decided to get the kids out of the house this past saturday.
I had a small side project that was perfect to get their hands dirty.

grease moneys

This little ford v8-60 engine and its tranny have been sitting on the shop floor for weeks.
Long enough that its become normal to walk around them.
(I think this was my 3rd post on this thing)
Although I have enough projects right now,
it would be nice to see if this thing actually runs.
I've got a '27 roadster body that would be a fun cruiser.


It didn't take long for the kids to get into it.
They actually welded the wheels on the frame,
with a little help.
Bummer I didn't take any pics.


We didn't finish it but at least its a roller and can be moved around.
It was good to see them having fun getting dirty making something.
Now to figure out some wiring, fuel and radiator...


10 December 2010

hurtlocker truck - rearend relief

Months ago I had started the set up of the independent corvette rearend on the '56 chevy truck frame.
It was trickier than I had expected.

First I tried to simulate a loaded frame so stuffed a bunch of heaviness on the frame.
I realized quickly that the frame would need to be notched.
kickup start

I'm not a big fan of notches so figured a kicked up frame would flow better.
More importantly, this would also keep the bed floor flat.
boxing plates

The frame didn't need alot of tweaking, only about 1.5" higher.

Reloaded with weight, the frame was level.

The next course of action was to make some cups to hold the stock rearend hangers.
All that is needed is a left and right cup to wedge in the trapezoidal insert.
This is the main piece that locates the rearend to the frame,
while supporting all the rear weight!

This was the tricky part.
The 85 corvette uses a carbon fiber transverse rear spring that is behind the axle/driveshafts,
so when there is a load, it kicks up the 4-link bracket above the framerails, like the picture.
Fortunately I took measurements off the old corvette frame,
and was able to adjust the pivot point by simply jacking up the rear of the axle housing.

Now the angles were the same as the corvette.
When bouncing the loaded rearend, the travel seemed real smooth.
garage engineered

After making all the major brackets and gussets out of 1/4" plate,
everything was welded up,
strong enough to finish up other parts of the frame, but not finished,
just in case something needed changing.

This is how it sat for a couple months while other stuff was done.
Every time someone saw it I'd have to tell them the same "work in progress" excuse,
since it was ugly and unknowingly to some incomplete.
The plan was to finish the frame front to back.
After boxing the middle of the frame,
this week the rearend could finally be completed.

After making some templates, Luke cut them out for me.
I was impressed he did such a good job.
This was all out of 3/16" steel plate.

Things are good when both sides match!
Welded everything up with the trusty MIG...

And since Ken wants a show car and I like grinding...

I was relieved that it matched what I was imagining it too look like.
Had to make these little pieces for the bottom too,
but didn't take a pic of them installed.
bottom pieces

Also whipped out the top shock mounts,
still might gusset the top,
but this will have to wait til the rearend is dropped out,
when all the hard to reach grinding/welding will get done,
like on that rear cup!

There is so much more work on this thing,
but at least its a solid rolling frame at this point,
and Ken is happy!

I'm hoping this is going to be one bad ass all chevrolet truck!


waste not want not

What more is there to say,
a picture is worth a thousand words right?
cold filtered

Well, guess I can say I'm not going to waste the "Red Trolley" nectar just cause I broke the bottle top!


07 December 2010

tool - gloves

After scrounging around the shop today looking for my good set of welding gloves,
I was crackin up after finding what I'll show you in a minute.

Any "high risk" activity comes with its own set of tools and protective gear.
I'm going to call building stuff out of metal "high risk" since there's so many variables to injury.
As you get more confident though,  (or is it just lazy?)
its easy to strip down to the bare essentials and not use certain things.

I will rarely do dirty work without glasses/faceshield , ear protection and a mask/filter,
its just not worth it.
I've already got the high-pitched noise in my ears!

Anyway gloves are a hit or miss.
Sometimes its easy to get away with,
but man if I get little cuts and burns, it just slows me down.
Especially like this.


This happened earlier this year, march or april.
No gloves, the cutting disc just got pinched between 2 half inch plates,
and man that grinder zipped around so fast - I was even holding it with 2 hands!
I was just relieved that it missed any major tendons or vessels.
When something like this happens you feel like an idiot really.
Since the part I was working on was due the next morning.
Fortunately I was able to duct tape it all up and finish.

Since than I make it a point to use gloves as much as possible.
I guess its good to get spooked into being safe sometimes.

So this is what I started digging thru.

backup glove

These are driving gloves, but they are a good multi-use glove,
-welding, grinding, torching, cleaning - especially since they're so cheap.
Obviously this one is past its prime, but its a good backup...


This one is my current workhorse,
I can probably get a month or two out of it with some duct tape.


This is a real TIG glove,
but like the above gloves they are used for everything.
These are about 3 times the price of the driving gloves,
but the seams last alot longer and the leather doesn't get stiff.
Definitely not as good for picking up hot stuff.

(didn't have time to find my big MIG gloves,
but may edit them in later, they're pretty funny.)

Interestingly enough the right hand gloves are impossible to find.
Usually they're in better shape as its my trigger hand most of the time,
but they just disappear.

Unfortunately gloves are useless for stuff like this...


I'm trying to keep the nail whole to add it to my collection!
This was Luke's payback for the couple times I smashed his finger(s) or burned him.
I think we're about even, hopefully.

maybe its time to get a new pair.


06 December 2010

chief - bbq's and towel racks

The last Stool Time I showed a pic of chief's new seat.
Here's a better shot.
chief's butt grill

This was the easy part,
a simple bent tube frame with expanded metal.

I spent days trying to figure out what to do for this part.
The problem is the batteries are underneath the seat,
so it needs to be hinged or removeable.


On friday an idea popped into my head,
so after making a couple cardboard templates,
the grinding session could begin.

assembly line

My tools are the equivalent to the guy with a chainsaw carving bears and tiki's.
A torch and grinder is all you really need,
okay and a bunch of different discs - flapper, sanding, grinding, cutting...
so 2 grinders make it alot easier.

towel racks?

Each piece had to be the same so the seat wouldn't bind.
Than the pieces were fitted to the scrap tubing they would be attached to later.
Who is the guy that designs towel racks?
It really got me thinking.

flying chicken

Hours had gone by at this point, its almost midnight.
I've done this enough to know that its better to keep going.
Saturdays are made for sleeping in anyway!

flying chickens

Finally the pieces are finished enough.
Fortunately there's a 24hr mexican food place up the street,
and Luke had bought some "banquet beers".
I needed a little break!

simple seat hinge

2am, i'm feeling a little sloppy.
So after a couple tacks,
would it work?

battery box top

Just enough room to access the batteries or u-joint.
Hopefully won't have to use it too much,
but this is the stuff that pays off when the cars busted on the side of the road at night!

hinged butt grill

Now only need a couple rubber stoppers for the back part,
and then I can start on the floorboards.
After over a year off the road,
I can finally sit in it.

Until next time...


05 December 2010

football - 21st century gladiators?

So this past Halloween an old buddy had asked if I wanted to go to the Charger game against the Titans.
Rob is one of my oldest and best friends and we've had some crazy escapades,
usually involving a road trip and serious delirium,
somehow emerging unscathed,
kinda like the car or plane that somehow pulls through the massive explosion.
How could I say no!

Since Rob had season tickets,
all I had to do was get the bloody mary's ready before the trolley ride out there.
Instead of  going to a bar, we met at the shop which is right by the trolley station in old town.
Fortunately there is a liquor store right around the corner.
Unbelievably we polished off a 750ml bottle of some cheap Polish vodka in less than an hour.

John, me, Rob

Another old friend was tailgating in the lot.
I've known John since 3rd grade!
The three of us have done some really stupid shit, all good times though.
A couple beers later we were ready.


The seats were great.
It was hard to focus though in the beginning,
not concentrate, vision.
When drinking I get a little one-eyed especially with long distances.

first win

The Chargers won this game.
It was a fun game to watch,
close enough to want to pay attention.
Did you know you can't buy beers in the 4th  quarter?
Fortunately we had some beers stashed in the lot for after the game.

Where's my glasses?!

On the trolley ride we made a little ruckus.
Rob had to aggravate the biggest dude on the train.
After some tequila and more beer in old town,
we both got the calls to get home.
Wife and kids - Halloween, holy chit!

Good times,
and a great way to catch up.
Thanks Rob!

Oh shit, the Raiders today.

Go chargers!


03 December 2010

stool time V

After a decent work week,
what better time for the fifth installment of stool time.

boxing hurtlocker frame

Finished boxing the hurtlocker truck frame.
Lotsa grinding and cutting with those oval slots.
Still nice to not have to imagine what it was going to look like!

elephant man firewall

Also finished about 95% of the welding and grinding on that damn firewall.
So crazy, I measured almost 32 feet of welding!

removable tranny x-member

Also finally finished the front lip on the transmission crossmember.
The outer part and the lip is the original chevy with a modified center piece.
Also took out that ugly sharp angle that was on the bottom outside of the back.

chief seat

After having overload on the hurtlocker truck,
I really needed to work on my own stuff,
so made a much needed seat for chief.


And like another hole in the head,
I've been picturing the next project,
a steel '27 roadster on an A frame, possibly with this v8-60.
Yeah, just what I need another distraction!

Back to work...