Tag Line

"Built Dam Strong!"

29 January 2013

Back after a long break.

Yes, I've been getting pestered about why I haven't been posting. Life happens. I've missed blogging, for sure. I am not even sure why I like it so much. Anyway, since my last post, which had nothing to do with fabrication, I've had to move my shop stuff again. Where to this time? Home. And I can't even TIG weld here (yet). So, things have gotten complicated, but there are solutions in the works for everything.

First up, let me show you what I am currently working on. It isn't fun, but something necessary. Some more background:

The family house around 135 years old, give or take a decade. I'll have some pictures to highlight that fact in a bit.

The basement is not particularly a nice place, but it has been better. The reason I mention this, in particular, is that it is where a lot of work has been done, though it usually involves me cleaning up after other people in the house. That is what this particular post will mostly be about as a prelude to the next phase in my evil plan to clean, organize and make a very un-ideal space into something much more workable.

As always, on to the pics!

This is the Northeast corner of the basement:
It is the worst corner of the basement. The floors are most uneven. It is the dampest. The foundation walls are the worst. (More on that in the future.)

Here are a few pics of the current "setup:"

Yeah. It's a mess. A big, horrific, annoying, messy mess of a mess.  That is supposed to be a workbench, but my father usually uses it to hold a disorganized array of disorganization.

 One of my biggest pet peeves of the whole workbench area was the dang grey metal shelves right next to the end of the workbench. It was annoying to have them there because that is right where the vise is! Holding work in the vise and trying to work around those shelves drove me batty, but I only just found a simple and easy solution to that issue: move the shelves. Yeah, it only took a decade or two to figure that out. I've never claimed to be brilliant . . . 

Anyway, I moved the small table (actually a "game table" bought over two decades ago that has a knock hockey, foosball, table tennis and a couple other games built in) next to the bench and the shelves went to where that table was, off to the right:

 That will give me plenty more space to not bash my knuckles when moving the vise and work around. As you can also see in the above pic, I started using the bureau as parts storage. I have most of one transmission and a bunch of other engine related parts in several drawers and in another drawer I have some misc. tools that I re-discovered. 

Speaking of the vise, here it is:
 I actually recorded a video of how the vise works, as I haven't seen one like this before!

I like it a lot! It is very convenient as I can move it around easily, as opposed to having to loosen a locking collar with a separate lever, turn the vise, then lock the collar in place. This is a clever and efficient design! Not bad for free, eh?

 So, once that was all situated, I started moving stuff from the bench to the shelves:

After several hours of basically stuffing similar stuff in groups on the shelves, I got the workbench mostly clear!
I haven't seen that much of the workbench surface in YEARS!

Note: That is the main breaker box for the whole house. Yeah, it IS that small . . . 

I'd now like to show you some interesting (to me at least) stuff that has been uncovered, re-discovered and actually in the first item, un-earthed:
That was sitting on top of the shelves until I moved it. Honestly, the shelves have been there for at least a couple of decades. I had to swipe off a significant buildup of crud to even attempt to photograph the label. Now if I only had some liver and fava beans . . . heh heh heh

There are several of these "knobs" from the previous knob and tube wiring in the house:

Much to the contrary of popular belief, knob and tube is pretty darn safe if you leave it alone and don't overload it. It was just when more appliances with higher current draw were added to the circuits that the wires started heating up and acting like a lightbulb filament (and consequently burning the building down). However, that isn't really the fault of the system since people just abused it. The installation for knob and tube is actually much better than modern wiring, as the wires were thoroughly soldered together and the wires were supported very well by the knobs. Heck, if you look at modern high tension lines, you'll still see the same technology at work with the ceramic isolators on the tower joints. Interesting, I think.

This is probably my favorite pic of the whole evening:
 I think that belt has been there since I can remember, so probably about 3 decades or more. I have no idea what it is for. I'm leaving it there. =) 

Here is one of the original cast iron vent grates and an ice pick:

 The vent is HEAVY!

It still works perfectly, though, after five or so decades!
The house was originally heated by the main fireplace, but was converted to oil fired forced hot air sometime in the 60s, IIRC, or possibly even earlier. Before I remember it was then converted natural gas. There is a coal room, hidden away, too, so at one point the house was heated by coal. Gosh, that means it has utilized every major form of heating available in this area! I never thought about that before.