31 May 2011

chief goes to work

If you didn't know already,
my '29 roadster pickup is nicknamed chief...

Last friday I actually drove the thing more than just around the block.
It's taken this long!
Holy Chit!

I went over the hill to the gas station,
and it wanted to stay there.
For a moment I thought it was the battery,
but noticed the unmounted water temperature gauge sparked out the fuel pump switch.
Fortunately I had some fuses,
so it was a relief as I had no tools.

I decided to drive it to work.

chief goes to work

A hot rod brings people out of the woodwork
that you wouldn't talk to otherwise.
I forgot that part about driving it.
It's one of the tests of owning a car like this.

Sometimes I don't mind chatting,
but if I'm burnt,  I try not be too rude,
and say "man I'd love to talk but I'm in a rush/working or ..."

I've realized that its best not to act like a dick.
People are genuinely interested,
and I've gotten parts, leads on parts,
 work and stories from just being civil.

george and chief

This salty dude, George, had a '28 or '29 roadster in 1948.
His was a typical postwar kids car,
flathead with bolt on speed parts, mechanical brakes, channeled 6"...

He had a story of going through La Jolla (san diego beach town) around sunset
and seeing a police blockade up ahead,
so he flipped around and drove down an alley.
A motorcycle cop chased him but he drove up a secluded driveway and coasted.
And sat there til he didn't hear the motorcycle circling around!
I love those stories.

Another guy I talked to had pics of his Dad's hot rod.

restless III - Art Maynard '51

He went back to his boat and dug out these photos.
His dad was Art Maynard,
the second guy to surpass 100 mph in this class boat.

loud pipes

Check out the exhaust in that thing!
The v8-60's were the smaller class (135?),
and these inline-6's were the next class up (265?).
I never knew the flat sixes were competitive,
but this was 1950-52, and this was a top boat on the circuit.

Art Maynard

I found this pic online from the above link.
He flipped another boat at about 70mph or so.
Can you imagine?

restless III at work

So throughout the day Chief was had its share of visitors.
It was crazy.
When it was in the garage,
I had coated all the nickel plate with thick grease.

There were hand prints all over the car.
there were handprints on the bed rails, the cowl, the door tops, the steering arm.
Like they were touching it to see if it was real or something.
I am glad it's just rattlecan black!

chief gets a massage

I've got to spend a chunk of time tuning it though.
The carbs are out of adjustment,
there's a good size oil leak from the stock fuel pump location,
and some shakes and shimmies to get squared away.
-probably from the tire pressure,
these are LT truck tires, made for heavy duty trucks.
Typically I'd run almost 15 PSI in the back, 20 PSI in front for the smoothest ride!
I checked when I got home they were all over 30.

Hopefully I can get up to the Father's day show in Pomona,
 or the Antique Nationals in Irwindale.
We'll see.


29 May 2011

never trust a machinist

the title is a little harsh, I admit.
in many cases I'll stand by that comment!

This past job has been interesting,
as there are 2 similar boats with the same project list,
just with different sizes and problems.

One needed a coupling machined.

big chunk of billet steel in a moriseiki lathe

They had to chuck that billet steel with a forklift it was so heavy.
I should have taken a picture of the original one, it was a nasty piece.

I'll admit that this guy (company) is an excellent machinist.
This thing looked great,
and was made to fit the shaft that was also done up here.

expensive chunk of steel

Looks great from over there huh!

see anything wrong?

In addition to the coupling and shaft,
they also modified the clamping nut for some set screws.
But do you see anything wrong with this picture?

always use for a grinder

The friggin socket didn't fit in the hole!
This is where the exactness of a machinist,
needs to be coupled with some actual work experience
with the job intended.
What was the machinist thinking the nut was going to be tightened with?

Fortunately the socket thickness was about 3/16",
so some meat could be grinded (sp?) off each corner.
(about half!)
It's not like an extra 1/8" taken out of the hole would weaken this thing.

too perfect fit

You'd figure for almost a couple thousand bucks,
and all the parts needed this would be obvious!

We were able to get it good and snug,
and this thing will last (hopefully) for a long time.
The other boats coupling was on for 34 years!

Let the other guys deal with it than!


While I'm on my little rant,
why not mention the other boat...

This is what a bearing/pillow block looks like after 34 years.

34 years later

Lucky they still make exactly the same one.

This boat uses the same basic engineering as the other boat.
Here's what it looks like all buttoned up.

heavy duty chit

So we were able to get the prop on and slap on the rudder.
This was supposed to be the easy part.

descendants of the pyramid builders

I swear they both are descendants of the Mayan pyramid builders!
Definitely not the minds of machinists,
they can make stuff work with a hammer.

should fit right

Again we just expected everything would fit.


get out the hammer

The machine shop had whittled out a plastic bushing,
but had added a trick 1/2" spacer for the rudder to ride on.
The problem was,
there wasn't an extra 1/2" for the rudder to fit in the space!

It's kind of ridiculous,
as they'll be precision to the .0023 in some cases,
but then can be off .500 !

This could have been alot worse as the bushing was pressed in,
but somehow we were able to pop it out using a rod, some nuts, sockets
and a hammer,
without ruining the bushing.
It still adds unneeded time to the job though as its still not hooked up.

Eddy and Paulie
2 salty phux!

This is Eddy and Pops/Paulie.
Some guys are made to be on the water for long stretches!

sea chase
the real perfect storm

This is their boat.
It just looks like it could go through anything don't it!
I've got some more stories for later...


28 May 2011

the real steampunks

For the past couple years,
a small crew of guys have been whittling away on this boat,
starting from the salvaged remnants of a half-sunken wreck.

We've been observing from afar until this contraption came into use.

21st century steampunk engine

This propane powered steam engine is powering this thing.

doesn't look like much from here

This is supposedly the largest or longest steam box on the west coast.
Most steam bending projects are alot smaller, like furniture pieces.
In addition,
most bent wood projects nowadays use thin plyable sheets of wood,
glued and clamped to a form, like a skateboard.
Most large architectural curves are made by the clamp and glue method.

long steambox

This project is a restoration of a 150 year old boat.
It had been partially submerged for 10 years.
Designed by Colin Archer, this is a Norwegian ice breaker,
the owner/builder, Thadeus, called it a Lister Skoyte.
(any further or refining info is appreciated!)

Colin Archer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amazingly enough,
this particular boat has been through the polar ice cap twice.
It takes 3 years to get stuck,
and get pushed out the other side!

Fram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As usual,
I did a little online investigation,
and found out that this was probably an early version of the Fram,
which had a design that allowed the hull to be frozen in the ice.
Instead of being crushed like a deep vertical hull,
the boat was bowled on the bottom and it would be lifted up by the shrinking ice.

cubic dollars

This steambox allows 2"thick pieces 12" wide, 20 feet long,
of cedar or oak, to be pliable enough to bend.
The hull is already 4" thick,
and the last longitudinal strips will add another 2" on top or 1" on bottom.

Anyway this thing was steaming away,
and I had just seen Thadeus get steamed in the face checking the wood!
(At that time I thought he was just a worker not the owner)

just a little hot

The second time he actually geared up with a welding jacket and mask,
and his crew was ready to go.

3 minute worktime

The piece had already been force clamped into position earlier,
and some positioning holes had been measured,
along with a rough top cut since the wood isn't actually a straight line.

sliding into position

The board is a noodle for about 3 minutes,
so work must be quick.

old techniques

The guys had set up a series of 4x4's and rope,
that are used to clamp the wood to the hull by twisting the rope.

almost there

This is there first thick board,
so the methods hadn't been perfected yet.
There are 22 more to get it right!

checking gaps

I'll try to get some more info on the boat,
as well as updates while we're working in the yard.
There is some amazing wood joinery in the deck and house to show.
Thadeus said there's at least a year to go.


let's go to mexico! - TJ dentista

If this gets too personal,
don't worry,
I'll have another exciting post soon enough!

So I've got this problem.
I haven't been to a dentist in at least 20 years.
that's a small stretch of the truth,
as about 4 years ago I had my bottom wisdom teeth pulled,
but that was by a tooth extractor, not a normal dentist,
and it was a hookup as my friend Ed worked there.

Before that I went to one of those generic type dentist offices,
the ones with the $49 exam signs on the front.
They did a checkup and xray only,
and then gave me a "quote" for what I needed done.
It was like $8000 or more worth of work,
and even with the dental insurance we had at the time,
it would have been about half.
Not to mention they would have found other hidden problems.

tooth war

So besides a handful of smallish cavities,
I've been dealing with a "tooth war" for probably 15 years now.
Back then,
my wisdom teeth were pushing the other teeth forward,
and these 2 teeth basically smashed into each other,
at an extremely slow speed.
Flossing was impossible for a long time they were so tight.
One day I was trying to pick something out of that crack,
and the actual tooth just chipped!
It didn't really hurt,
it was just a surprise.

After a week or so of bearable pain,
I figured the tooth or teeth had basically died.
Over the years the teeth continued to move into each other,
until I had the wisdom teeth pulled.
So for the past 15+ years I don't really eat on the right side of my mouth!

About 2 years ago,
I found out that a co-worker knew a really good dentist in Tijuana.
His teeth are crooked but the teeth themselves are perfect.
My brother ended up going down there,
he had some really worn molars,
and in 2 visits the dentist fixed them beyond perfect,
and the price was like $300,
for 4 molar partial crowns.

About 2 months ago my wife had a painful cavity,
and also an annoying temporary crown that had been done about 3 years ago!
Well she bit the bullet and went to the TJ dentist.
Its a ridiculous story as she didn't know my co-worker Eric (Pikachu) very well,
but I'm not gonna tell it right now.

Anyway very nervously she went down there,
and all in all she ended up really liking the "dentista".
Unfortunately she found out her teeth are in trouble,
so she's already gone down there about 3 times.

Well yesterday I had some time off,
and decided to go down there with her and our guide Pikachu.
Its just overdue and they're not gonna get better on there own.

So me and the wife drove down to the Otay crossing.

loaded truck

You know you're getting close to the border when most trucks look like this.
As tall as the lowest overpass!

We parked in a pay parking lot,
and there was this really cool old Land Rover there.

Bitchin Land Rover
Rattlecanned side

I couldn't figure it out,
as there were no license plates on it.

Bitchin Land Rover
unpainted side

Looked like an awesome "Armageddon vehicle"!

perichbrothers (and sister): armageddon vehicles

From there we walked across the border,
Dora the Explorer style...

otay border pedestrian crossing

Over the bridge...

the final gate

through the gateway...

highway to 

Down the hill..

To  the dentista's office.

secret dentist lair

Definitely not your typical American storefront!
This is when you're thinking,
"what the hell am I doing here!"

Fortunately my wife had taken a picture her first time,
so I knew what to expect.
I also knew the dentista would scold me for not taking care of my teeth.

dentista and the crybaby

She wasn't too happy,
but could understand why I didn't visit a dentist sooner.
Really, from that above mouth shot,
not much had changed in the past couple years,
and I new it was a difficult problem to fix.

So next week I get to have 2 root canals.
These are Mexican root canals.
My wife had one (of many to go)
and she said they dig out all the root/bad stuff,
than take a burner thing and cauterize the hole.
Than they fill it with a metal rod and put the crown on.

She had one done by an American doctor,
and our Dentista said the guy barely cleaned the tooth out,
and he left a hole in her tooth/root area,
didn't fill it with anything.
This cost/is still costing us $700,
 for one badly done root canal and temporary crown!

Root Canal Cost: $1,000 per Molar | The Wealthy Dentist

That's the going rate for a Root Canal in Southern California.
And that's not including the crown or anything else.

Our Dentista is charging less than $350 for the 2 teeth!
The root canals themselves are $90 ,
and the balance is for the crown work.
There might be a $45 additional charge to fix a small cavity at the same time.

What the heck!?
Something is definitely wrong with the medical costs in the US.
Granted she's probably paying a couple hundred for rent,
vs a couple thousand in the US,
but still.

I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.
With alot more pics of the eastern part of TJ that I missed.

I'll leave y'all with a pic of a sleeping dog that looked exactly like our old American Bulldog ZIBO.

Is that you Zibo?

That sleeping white dog looked exactly like him...



26 May 2011

butts up

What do you do with 3 crazy kids and a mostly unused yard..

look closely on the left

Well it took us a couple years to figure it out,
but add a tennis ball and you got..

Butts Up!

Butts Up!

It's a great game,
I used to love it as a kid.
At school,
I'd stuff down my lunch just to get time on the racquetball court.

Butts up -
take a tennis ball and a group of kids,
throw the ball at the wall.
If the catcher drops it or it hits a player,
they must run and touch the wall.
Another player has to grab the ball,
and throw it at the wall (or the runner) before he tags it,
or the guy is safe.
If he's out,
than the tagged runner crouches down as small as possible,
and the tagger tries to peg him.

Butts Up isn't allowed at Jaxon's school,
I guess there's too much potential for injury,
so they play a lite version called wall ball.

Wall ball is different as only 4 are on the court,
and the rest are in line.
If you miss a catch,
than your out, and the guy in line is in.
Yawn.. ;)

it's been fun to watch and play with them.
They'll play for hours.
Finally using the yard for more than just storing stuff!


25 May 2011

receiver hopskotch - Onkyo TX-8500

So this past sunday I cleaned up the garage a little bit.
There was a bit of motivation to finally get Chief off jackstands,
 since the registration sticker was finally cleared by the DMV.

kinda clean garage

After tightening a bunch of nuts,
and installing some cotter pins,
I took it for a spin around the block,
and like clockwork it started to rain.
it wasn't really rain, more just like a thick mist,
but it was enough to get wet.
Yeah yeah yeah,
it's a car I know,
but after sitting protected for 3 months in the garage,..

This was probably for the best,
as I cleaned the clutter in the corners of the garage.
It was getting difficult to walk around, no feng shui here.
The green 40 wouldn't even fit on the other side.

So here's the segue into my receiver/stereo addiction...

kenwood kr-7600

Lately it's been fun working in the garage,
digging out the old bootleg tapes.
Tapes are weird cause they are like a clock.
A 90 minute tape has 2 45 minute sides,
so time flies by in 45 minute segments.

I've been using the 70's Kenwood KR-7600 that was briefly at the shop.
It's more than enough for a 2-car garage with 85 wpc,
in a weak moment last week,
I scored a really cool  1976+- receiver,
an Onkyo TX-8500, about 110 wpc,
and this little rain break was the perfect time to hook it up.

onkyo tx-8500 - 110 wpc

Holy smokes this thing cranks,
and it takes alot to push these speakers.
To refresh your memories,
I had found these old technics sb-a70 speakers with 15" woofers a while back...


...and I had thought the Kenwood did a good job pumping air,
but this Onkyo just plain thumps.
My neighbors will love it!

The older original owner seller had listed it for a couple weeks on CL,
but way too high.
He progressively lowered the price every couple days.
This gave me some time to study the reviews of the Onkyo,
and also think about my lowball price as there were no other offers,
and he delivered it!

Well I found out that this was Onkyo's all or nothing receiver from 1976.

In '74 or so,
they came out with the tx-2500 and tx-4500,
basically putting there company on the line with these 2 receivers.
The success of these models,
allowed them to produce the big tx-8500.

Back then Sansui, Pioneer, Technics and Marantz ( to name a few) were tough competition.
Each had certain characteristics that made loyal customers.
Onkyo had some tricks up there sleeves,
and while not even close to being the strongest WPC (watts per channel) of the time,
it was so overbuilt it needed 6 rubber feet.

six rubber feet under

This thing weighs almost 55 lbs,
and is even wider than the Sansui 9090 at the shop,
and that's a big one.

And this is why...

dual mono

Underneath the vinyl covered plywood case and double metal guards,
are 2 good sized laminated transformers,
those 2 black square things in the center rear part.
It's called a "dual mono" amplifier design,
so basically each channel, right and left, are separate,
with no shared components.

This design seemed great for a receiver that would be on half the day cranking 4 speakers,
so my original plan for the Onkyo was to use it at the shop,
and take the Sansui 9090 home since they have equal power output. (110 wpc)

onkyo receiver and tape deck

Well the shop system sounds so good it was hard to dismantle it.
Now that I know the Onkyo is a kickass receiver though,
I may take it to the shop.
It definitely has a more utilitarian styling compared to the Sansui.
We'll see.
It sure does sound good in the garage.

kenwood kr-7600 lit up

So now the kenwood is the new computer system,
and i'm listening to it right now.
It's strange,
an 85wpc system at low volume sounds nothing like the 45wpc system it replaced.
Even with the small speakers,
there's a fuller sound, like there's more detail, hard to explain.

modified kenwood kr-7600

The only drawback of the Kenwood is there is a huge grille over the top,
too easy to accidentally drop stuff in.
I better make a cover or something.

(If anyone is reading this looking at this receiver,
I switched the cheesy original knobs with the KA-7002 I used to have.
Way better quality and the volume is LARGE, not the same size as the others)

So go and save up a $100 or so,
scrounge your local craigslist electronics section,
and look for an early receiver.
Just make sure to listen to it first,
sometimes the ones that are clean and look perfect have issues,
the reason why they are clean and perfect!

Both the Onkyo and the Kenwood were like 100,000 mile cars,
a little rough around the edges but good runners with lotsa miles left.
Sometimes that's better.