Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Grandpas Table Saw

 A long time ago when my Grandpa passed away, I received his old table saw. Its a Shopmaster brand made in Minnesota a very long time ago. Shopmaster was in business from the late 40's to 1970. I remember Grandpa saying he built his house using this saw but the more I think about it I probably remember that wrong. I think he bought the house and then about doubled its size with an addition. He would have used the saw for that addition and I guess that gives the saw a birthday in the early fifties, maybe a bit later. No matter, its old for a home owner power tool.

 The actual Shopmaster saw is a tabletop unit. All that framework and wooden top are an addition Grandpa made to more easily cut sheets of plywood. Its heavy. That huge motor is only 3/4 horse so you know its old school.
 Over the years I've used this saw and struggled with it. The fence guide rail is bent and the added deck no longer sits flush with the table top.

 I also had some belt slippage problems. I thought it would be nice to just buy a decent saw but how many table saw projects with I really have? Turns out more than I ever figured and I just kept fighting this saw. If I replaced it today it would cost about $160 for a benchtop unit with no extended table. Recently I decided if I can refurbish this one for under that amount I'd be happier than replacing it. The first step is to tear it down and see what I'm dealing with.

 This old Craftsman motor still runs fine but the wiring is all cracked. In fact I found a few spots where there was arcing. I knew the wiring was bad but didn't know I was that close to blowing a fuse. Ya, my garage still uses fuses.

 This is the Shopmaster removed from the framework that Grandpa made.

 Patina? If I don't run into any broken parts that can't be replaced then it will get cleaned and painted.

 Underneath everything looks like it held up well over the years. It really just needs cleaning and lube.

 I found my "belt slipping" problem. Turns out the driven pulley on the saw arbor was slipping and ruined that shaft. I'll take it to a local machinist and see if he can bring it back to spec. I saw an old ad for these saws and it claimed to have "sealed for life" bearings. They still feel great but I might replace them if closer inspection shows any seal degradation.

 This is where it sits for now. Once I'm sure the arbor can be saved I'll move forward with cleaning the rest of the pieces. Yes I could slap it together and run it but maybe if I do it right the saw will run another 60 or 70 years.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

US General Power Drawer

 In an earlier video I hinted toward making a power drawer in my 72" tool box. A power drawer is simply a drawer in a tool box that has an electrical power strip in it. This is usually used to charge power tool batteries, flashlights, test equipment or even phones. I had seen the way SnapOn did theirs and figured I would do something similar to my box which never offered the option.
 The editing seems hacked up mainly because I was trimming time off the video to keep it under ten minutes. I'm also struggling with another part of the editing process that originates from the filming process. First let me say that my computer isn't super fast. This means if I film most of this nine minute video in one shot then decided to shoot it again in one shot, both versions having creative genius in them that I want to use, then loading and editing them is time intensive. If I record in small bits then the video is definitely gonna be choppy and thats also a lot of small bits to sort through. Thats lots of note taking and such to piece it together. I don't know if there is a better way or if it just gets easier with time.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Carb Cover Pin Mystery

 So yesterday I found myself at work diagnosing a string trimmer with running issues. That in itself isn't unusual at all, it just seemed odd running a strimmer outside in the cold with snow on the ground. I determined the unit was starving for fuel which isn't unusual either due to the fact that many of my repairs are fuel related and most fuel related repairs involve lean running conditions, or a lack of fuel. The usual suspects range from a stiff metering diaphragm to a cracked fuel line or plugged fuel filter. Maybe even lack of fuel because its being displaced by water. Usually I can guess at the problem before actually finding the problem but this time just seemed different. I have a routine that I follow and the first step is to dump the fuel and investigate. The fuel I dumped out was clean enough and smelled fresh enough to trust it in the space shuttle, if it were a two stroke. For you gearheads, lets just take a moment to imagine the sweet sounds of a two stroke engine big enough to move the space shuttle. BRAAAAAAAAAAP! RING-A-DING!
 Ok, I'm back.
 I removed the fuel filter and it looked good too. Next I connect a Mity Vac where the filter was and pressurize the fuel system. It should hold 10 psi but I was having a problem. The carb wasn't holding pressure. Once removed from the engine, this is what I saw:

 For the non-gearheads I'll give you a hint. That cover is on crooked. In fact its crookeder than a second term politician.  I've seen rifle sights at the county fair shooting gallery that were less crooked. In fact, I'll bet it was something like this that inspired Chubby Checker to write that song about the Twist.

 The red arrows point to where alignment pins used to be. They are part of the casting and how or why they broke is a mystery. The screw that holds the cover on was tight and I have to wonder if it was assembled wrong at the factory. This trimmer was traded in and I think the reason was because it always ran like number 2. See, this cover seals the fuel pump diaphragm and this would explain the lack of fuel getting to the engine. No problem, I have a big bucket of carbs I can dig through and find a new cover. The new pump diaphragm will come in a rebuild kit.

 The lone cover in front of a pile of carbs. Surely I'll have a donor in here.

 No such luck. This carb isn't a common Walbro or Zama, its some other cheap brand with a name I can't pronounce without straining a tongue muscle. Like a lot of things from over seas, these are duplicates of name brand parts just built cheaper. The difference here is that they build these 180 degrees off. Oh they work the same but everything is flipped end for end or inside out or kittywampus. That means a zama cover won't work even though its the "same" carb. My big bucket of carbs has let me down and the entire carb is too expensive to justify the repair so I'll just order the cover. The boat carrying that new cover should arrive on our shores by the time the snow melts, just in time for strimmer season.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Keeping A Factory Moving With Salt

  So heres the deal. For now I'm happy with making more videos. I'll try to mix them up with varied content like the blog normally features but I'll limit them to one per week on Sunday. This way if it lasts more than five minutes like todays video does then it won't interfere with your regular work routine. Wednesdays will feature a traditional post with boring content and lousy pics, just as you'd expect from a blog titled The Greasy Shop Rag. As always, this plan is subject to change.
 Last Wednesday we got a little snow. It wasn't enough to plow but it did get slippery enough that we had to go out and salt. My entire route consists of taking care of one factory that is split into three locations. James made a run through earlier and now it was my shift. At the last minute I thought it might be interesting to talk and film through the process. I guess it was about an hour and a half of windshield time condensed to fourteen minutes. You can decide if its interesting or not but I've decided that with a decent camera mount it might be a good way to do a quick video if I just want to babble about something.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Plow Controller Mount

 It seems I've been designated our official snow plow/salter controller mount fabricator dude at work. Thats fine, I enjoy the challenge. What I'm talking about are the control boxes for truck salters and back blades. These units typically are mounted on or under the dash or sometimes strapped to the middle seat. I hate that. The dash of most vehicles doesn't offer a decent spot for these things and usually if you do find a spot then its a bit of an odd reach. Controllers that are strapped to a seat tend to move around. This means you don't develop muscle memory for finding the function you want when you need it in a hurry. I like attaching my mounts directly to the seat either at the frame underneath or sometimes at the head rest. If the truck has a middle seat with a head rest then I remove the head rest and put a couple of rods in its place and make a mount from there. With the seat folded forward this gives you an arm rest with your hand just in the right place over the controllers. The seat will have to remain in this down position for the entire winter season.
 For vehicles that don't have a middle seat and head rest I like to make a bracket that comes up from the front bottom framework of the seat. Usually this involves unbolting the seat and tipping it back to allow for drilling. This is a lot easier than it sounds. This truck will need a back blade controller and a salter controller. The operator has the nic name "Hammer" so I made this one a little stiffer than some of the ones I've done in the past.

 That grey box and the black one sitting in the cardboard box need to get mounted.

 I've done this with straps in the past but decided on a larger one piece design for Hammers truck.

 This is the mount and the back blade controller. Notice the bottom of the mount has provisions for eight sheet metal screws. Those get fastened right up into the seat frame from the bottom.

 This is a work truck with a back seat. Nobody will ever need to sit in that middle seat so making this kinda permanent is no big deal. If it were for a customer then we'd discuss options ahead of time. The nice thing about this setup is that it moves with the seat so the reach never changes.
 In the summer this truck will get a dump body and my bracket is large enough to accommodate that controller. There is also enough room to add switches for lighting or even a pre-wet system for the salter. Otherwise, that a wrap.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

US General Pull Handles

 Followers know that I've made a few videos for this blog in an effort to change things up a bit. In fact I've made more videos than I've posted just to practice. They sucked pretty bad and you'll never see them. The ones you do see are supposedly the "good" ones. Ha! I still have a lot to learn about the whole process including, but not limited to, loosening up in front of the camera. Sound, editing and camera work have progressed a very small amount but I can see things are a bit better than that first disaster I posted. Todays post is a bit of a combo between traditional posts and video and you'll be happy to know that I kept the video near my five minute goal. The video could use a bit more editing but I just don't feel like going back to fix it. This isn't work or a money making venture and I don't want to take the fun out of it by being too hard on myself. Bottom line, it just doesn't matter.
 My new tool box came with white paper inserts for the front of the pull handles. I don't like using them and without them in there it looks like something is missing. I found the answer on a YouTube video where a guy just added tape instead of the paper inserts. His looked good so I did the same.

 The above pic is the finished result with a midway and before pic below.

 I like the way it turned out. The job was easy to do and if I get in a funky mood I can pick up some colored tape and mix things up. I stand in front of this box six days a week so how it makes me feel is important to my mental health. I guess thats one way to justify this project.
 Followers also know about the pull out work surface under the 26. I finally made a pull handle for it as you'll see in the video. Heres a couple close up shots of what I did.

 These metal pieces of channel held magnets that I removed for other projects. I cut off one side of one channel and welded the two pieces together like this:

 This pic is before I finished welding and cutting to length. Now I had a handle shaped like a tool box drawer handle that could be screwed to the bottom of my work surface. You'll notice I found another use for those magnets that came out of those channels. This one is holding the two pieces square while I weld things together.
 As I post this I am reminded that I had taken a big piece of cardboard and wrote notes on it so I could read it during filming and do it in fewer takes. In fact it worked and what you'll see is one take with most of the BS cut out. That cardboard is still leaning up on my work bench behind where the camera was placed. The notes are cryptic like "welcome", "bummer of the week", "dude on youtube".  I'm sure whoever beats me to the shop on Monday morning is gonna be wondering wtf was going on there. Oh well.
 Check out episode four.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Tool Box Tour

 I haven't given up on posting videos yet mainly because not enough of you have told me to stop. You won't find any improvements in sound, script or my comfort level because it was filmed on the same day as the last video.

 Heres the worst part...this one is ten minutes long. So if you don't have the time or don't want to see my special use for Harbor Freight magnet rails then I'll understand if you take a pass on this one.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Dummy Lights

  As a driver there are a few things you should know about your vehicles engine, and dummy lights on the dash can warn you of problems. If your temperature light comes on then you know the engine is overheating and you should take measures to cool it down or stop entirely. But which do you do? Maybe you don't need to stop and all thats needed is to select another gear or adjust the position of your snowplow or quit drafting the rig in front of you. Warning lights aren't always gonna come on when things are convenient and sometimes you need to decide if you can make it a few miles to a safe place to pull over. What if your oil pressure light comes on? With an idiot light all you can do is assume the worst and stop the engine to investigate. I prefer gauges and the ability to make a reasonable decision based on real numbers. This was the scene yesterday on the way to work:

 Visibility was crap. It felt like one of those scenes where the starship goes into warp drive and everything flies past you. A few minutes after I took this pic the oil pressure warning light and buzzer where screaming at me. A quick look at the pressure gauge showed between 5 and 10 pounds of oil pressure. If I didn't have a gauge I would have had to pull over and shut off the engine immediately. This would have made for a bad situation with the limited visibility. I pushed on the accelerator a bit and noticed the gauge go up slightly. I then downshifted one gear to raise the rpm and see what happened. Sure enough the pressure went up enough to shut off the light and buzzer. Now I'm driving with one eye on the road and the other on the pressure gauge. I turned the radio down to see if I could hear any engine noise and everything sounded good so back on with the tunes. Hey, gotta have my jams.
 A few miles up the road was a gas station that I pulled into for some investigation. The dipstick showed oil almost to the full line. This is what I would have expected to see without this low pressure incident because I had just added some oil the other day. So now what? The best place for me to proceed investigation is eight miles down the road at work so off I went. The pressure seemed better after the restart but slowly fell to about twenty pounds. The gauge fluctuated with the accelerator and I made it to the shop without issue.
 Sending unit? Plugged oil filter? Bad oil pump?
 The big ass station wagon has a drinking problem that costs me a quart every 500-750 miles. I figured I was adding so much oil that it was kinda like a perpetual oil change and actually the color of the oil wasn't bad. Its not like I went beyond a reasonable mileage between changes because the suggested oil life as shown in the below picture was at 4%.

The problem could be with the filter so I decided just to do a regular oil change and see what happened.

 The above pic is the result after the oil change while rolling down the hiway.

 This is what I have idling in drive with hot oil. I meant to cut the filter open and see what there was to see but totally forgot. Maybe next week if its still in the drain pan.
 So for me having gauges is a no brainer. I know its not needed for everyone because a large portion of the driving population is only guessing at what the numbers on gauges mean. If the light comes on you either stop and call AAA or you drive it till it dies and call a tow truck.
 How about the odometer reading two pics up. What are the odds of something weird like that coming up? Are they 1 in 171717 or just 50/50 meaning maybe something odd will show up or maybe not? Now what are the odds that the engine is also turning 1700 rpm?
 While you're pondering that let me give a special shout out to Brooke and Mike for hosting their annual Halloween costume party. As usual the chili dump was delicious and a good time was had by all!