Monday, August 25, 2014

If a Pic is Worth 1000 Words, What Are 3 Videos Worth?

Various Times in 2013

So, I got married, and time kinda got away from me. Anyways, 3 videos from last year (I have not run the machine this year sadly) If anyone is interested.

This was the Willys first run. I'm not sure how long this thing sat in a 'ran when parked' scenario, but after new battery cables, spark plugs, and a lemon juice boiled carb, 2 seconds of cranking was all it took. I did find new oil in the pan, which probably helped. It only ran out what I had pumped into the bowl, but there was a heartbeat. Sounds fairly healthy too.

Bone stock Super Hurricane 6, looks mostly complete (sans oil bath air filter). Sounds like one of the valves is making a bit of a tapping noise, otherwise she sounds healthy for her age. The nice thing about a flathead is, with a brick and some string, you can fix about anything on it.

Using the most state of the art fuel delivery system, I managed to get the Willys drinking on its own (the mech. pump gaskets are shot). It has a nice burble, but given the amount of blackness coming out the tailpipe, it might be running a little rich. Of course, this could also be that the only fuel that fell to hand was mixed fuel, and the truck pre-dates having a cat. Either way, nice to give it a run.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Precision Tool Department Grows

March 1, 2013

Now and then you come across deals that you simply cannot pass up. In my case, this seems to happen with greater frequency than I would have expected, possibly due to the fact that I’m always watching, or maybe my patience.

 I once again found myself staring at possibly one of the best deals I’ve bought in ages – better than free 50’s lights, WW2 Toolboxes, or 600sqft of 60’s flooring for $50. This time, $50 saw me loading a vintage MYFORD metal lathe into the back seat of my Echo, complete with chuck, tailstock, toolpost, bits, and a few odds and ends. It had been cluttering my Uncle’s garage and with the going rate of $50, I snapped it up. Weighing in at 200lbs, it’s a little awkward to get in and out through the back door of the car, but we managed without destroying the car.

Brief Overview:

This is a British made lathe, and although I haven’t narrowed the year down yet from the ID stamp, I know it’s between the late 40’s and late 70’s. This was one of MYFORD’s most popular lathes, and parts are still being made by the original manufacturer today, so replacement parts should be attainable. It sports a 20” bed with 7” swing, and is backgeared with screwcutting capability. The 1/2HP motor drives a system of v-belts like you’d find in a car of the same era, and each of the main bearings have a small oil canister that drips oil while running. To the best of my knowledge I can use this on metal, wood, plastic, Renshape, and all kinds of other materials. A little bit of fabricating can turn it into a modest milling machine, with the cutting bit in the headstock and the work attached to the carriage (although the ‘mill’ would lack motion in the y –axis direction)

   The Good
    - Fairly complete unit, although it does not have the brigade of accessories that these lathes came with.  
    - It’s in running order.  
    - Has had very, very little use over the past 20 years, meaning the bed and carriage show very little signs of wear.  
    - The heavy grease was a blessing in disguise, protecting all the vital exposed metal components and much of the original paint

    The Bad: 
     - The rack-pinion gear for moving the carriage down the main ‘Way’ is missing, so to move the carriage I have to use the wheel at the end of the screw cutting shaft… nuisance until I get the part I need. 
     - The main 65 tooth backgear is missing 3 consecutive teeth. I believe this is for gearing down the lathe but I haven’t figured it out yet.  
     - From years of sitting some of the tooling on the carriage is very, very sticky. A good cleaning and oiling has helped immensely but I may need to make fine adjustments.

This does in fact pertain to the old Willys pickup, in that I should now be able to manufacture small parts such as knobs, bushings, shaft components, etc. 

For now it’s undergone a light cleaning and oiling until it’s moved into my new house, where I will build a stand for it and hopefully get years of use out of it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Better Than Stock

February 15, 2013

When my quote came back from the fabricator and I found it to be less than 1/10th the price of a reproduction bed, it felt like I’d discovered some secret restoration cheat code. Granted, the bed I designed does not have a corrugated floor, and none of the alignment holes have been drilled, but for savings of about $3100 over a reproduction bed, I can easily live with that. The other plus with this bed was that the difference between 16 gauge and 14 gauge was only about $20, so I opted for the thicker steel, giving me an extra .015” over stock thickness. This may not sound like much, but the heft is considerable, and should stand up to years and years of use without showing as much wear. 

Getting this load home in the little echo was not a task for the faint of heart, as it hung out the back of the trunk and touched the back of my seat. I did manage to mock it up in my garage for some pictures and an oiling, since I won’t be welding it for a little while. Note that the bed floor is placed in upside down, otherwise the centre flange wouldn’t let it sit flat.

This bed looks great, and only the trained eye would be able to spot it as a 'homemade' reproduction, since it was made using most of the same methods as the Willys factory some 53 years ago.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


January 30, 2013

First post of the new year, again a short one. Back when I worked on the replacement bed, I had figured on cutting the old 'cap rails' off the top of the bed and welding them on. Had this been a warehouse find that had sat since 1961, that would have been ok, however the current bed is pretty beat up and rusty, so I opted to redo the rails as well for a fresh look. 

I left enough steel in the cap rail to allow me to bend it around a die to achieve the rolled rail, and made the bed from 2 pieces that meet in the middle. I designed it in 14 Gauge for strength, but the factory stock 16 Gauge would be doable if 14 is too expensive. I nixed the custom bed supports underneath to save some pennies, and can use pre-fabbed steel for this, or just bend my own supports in the garage. 

Lastly, I added the maple strips and gave the model a nice blue for looks.

Note, the cap rails are not rolled down in the model. The finished product will look like a reproduction bed

At the moment, I have loads of other higher priority things on the go (wedding soon, new house, etc), but I still sent the parts in for quote... who knows?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


December 4, 2012

I know it's only one sketch, and this is a very short post, but I got to doodling and figured on sketching out my idea. Note that since I plan on just bringing this truck back to former glory, there really are no plans for huge modifications. Enjoy

Minor Differences include integrated rear tow hooks, and a hitch mounted in the rear frame rail, bolstered from the inside with steel gussets. I will surely try to hide some innovative tricks in this machine to make it a little more user friendly, but nothing as glaring as the power steering system from a 96 Chevy Astro or the Engine from a late Nineties Mustang.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tucked Away

October-November, 2012

Since I had been able to tackle laying a sea of vinyl across the floor, I decided to spring for some commercial grade floor sealant and top coat. 3 coats of each went down with a mop to give the floor a hearty buffer against scuffs, oil, and water (Sit-Rep, Zep floor sealers blister if water sits on them, and go milky white). 

Aside from the stains from a few yard waste bags, I think the floor should be OK  my theory is that they trapped moisture against the floor before the coating had set.

I rigged up a fuel canister that hung from the hood support when the hood was up, chocked the wheels, and snugged some battery jumper cables onto the posts of the rather aging battery that lives under the hood. With the system primed I rolled it full choke and the Super Hurricane burbled to life, much to the chagrin of all the late model cars on my street who know they don't have a hope of lasting 50+ years

In low-range, I slipped the Borg Warner T-90 Top-Loader 3-Speed into reverse, gently letting out the clutch while applying a touch of throttle. The Willys eased it's way backwards up the driveway into my garage, where it looks even better, in my opinion. I began gutting the lumber out of the bed and stacking it between my wall studs to save room and improve R-value.

Now, the garage has come a long way in the past month or so, namely due to one massive addition in the form of 5 free garbage-find late 50's tube light units, all in perfect working order. This garage has taken on a late 50's early 60's appeal simply because it seems building supplies from that vintage seem to be remarkably inexpensive or even free. After several nights of wire running and puzzle solving, I had wired up the garage on 2 separate circuits, one for left and one for right. This allows me total control over where I need the light, but it's such an improvement from my old little incandescents that I find myself just flaring up the whole deal every time.

rough garage budget so far,  somewhere in the $300 range for everything. the flooring, although cheap, cost a lot in glue and sealant, thus the price jump. all lumber, lighting, wiring, etc was totally free save my labour.

I seem to be one restoration behind on the 'good shop' philosophy; this new revamped garage is going to be very serviceable indeed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Garage Journal


I happened to be surfing the web for vintage toolboxes, for fun obviously, when I stumbled across a website out of the states called "The Garage Journal."

Right then, everything changed.

I was browsing through entries in this blog-style publication, and came across an article/discussion based on a 1950's popular mechanics issue showing the perfect small hot rod garage. This small, purpose built shop had all the basics, everything you need for your own personal shop on a budget. 

One poster left a link to his thread; "Jack Olsen's 12 Gauge Garage." It was as if I suddenly was staring at what my garage would be when I own a house. As an Industrial Designer, I cannot stress enough the value of basics. It is almost always the simplest looking things that have the most thought behind them, and this clever garage is no exception. Every inch of space is geared for productivity, and backed by someone with a good eye for deals, details, and in this case, durable cabinets. I knew that The Willys could not be restored in the driveway, so I set to work gutting one of the most packed garages i know of; Mine.

To start, I had moved the wagoneer up north, where it sits waiting for winter. I then, in limited detail, began purging the garage of years of built up nothingness and valueless junk. Things that had been kept because "someday i could use that" were binned, recycled, or given away. I had a huge table of free stuff at the end of my driveway, worthless to me, but to someone else it could be very useful, and everything was taken.

I came across 600sqft of vinyl tile online for $50, and pounced. there were 3 colours of tile, so ended up going with the ones that matched each other best. this worked out to the undeniably inexpensive 8c/sqft price tag for the tile, though the glue would add to that.

I built 2 storage units above the garage doors to make use of the dead space, and converted an old platform-mezzanine into a hanging loft across the back wall for more overall storage space. this is where lawn chairs, bags of fertilizer, snowblowers, etc go.

After a full evening of scrubbing, hosing, and solvent cleaning, I spent last Saturday smearing glue on the floor and fitting down this tile from 1964. My girlfriend helped me immensely racking these tiles, and it's obvious she loves me an awful lot to help out with things like a garage. Overall I'd say I'm impressed with the results, I still have to seal the floor in a few days but I think it will hold up to some abuse, and will be more comfortable to walk on than brute concrete.