Friday, April 24, 2009

A tribute to the "hell box"

Everyone needs a "Hell Box". What's a "Hell Box" you ask? It's the workshop equivilent to the kitchen junk drawer. No, I didn't come up with the name. I got the name from a writer named Granville King. Not sure if that's his real name or a pen name. Ol Granville wrote for a magazine called "pickup, Van, & Four Wheel Drive back in the 70's. GK was a desert rat living in the Mojave and wrote of his travels in his WWII vintage Jeep. Today I was reminded of ol GK and his story about "Hell Boxes".We've got a local gun show tomorrow and I have a pair of CVA percussion rifles I'm taking to trade toward a flintlock if I can find one. I disassembled one of these rifles at one point intending to refinish it. Never got around to that project. I went to put this gun back together last night only to find the screw that holds the tang missing. Taking the screw from the other rifle (above left), I headed out hardware shopping. The place I currently work doesn't have it, so I headed to the place I used to work. All I could find long enough in an M5 thread was a socket head screw(center). I figured if I had to I could grind the proper head onto it, so I bought it and a nut. When I got home I remembered the "Hell Box", and found the flathead M5(above right). Pictured below are my "Hell Boxes" or HB's.Those readers that are mechanicaly inclined already know about HB's. For the rest of you let me explain the HB concept. HB's are a very delecate and magical things. They must be properly fed, housed and treated. Feeding them is easy. Most projects has a few parts left over when you are done. Parts you will probably never need again. When this happens a few of those parts speak magically to you and say "Don't throw me out you'll regret it". These are the parts that give a HB it's magic. Find a suitable container and place it in a dark place. Under a workbench is best. That is where a HB's magic is strongest. Treatment is easy. An occassional stir is all that's required, a tap of your toe is sufficient most of the time. Do all these things and the HB rewards you with it's magic. You see all those magic talking parts have the ability to breed. If you are lucky and follow the magic formula they will breed those odd and unusual parts that you need every now and then. When pulling out your HB to look for that item of your quest, be sure to talk to it in a calm gentle voice, telling it what you need. But, be careful, don't get greedy and push your luck. Your HB might bite if you do. Today after finding my M5 flat head screw, I made the mistake of not showing my gratitude, and continued to dig for a more suitable subject. As I stirred I nearly cut myself on a double edge razor blade. This blade was in like new condition as if schick made it yesterday. Obviously something my HB bred on the spot to tell me it's displeasure for my lack of gratitude. I took the razor blade and put it in the drawer with the others. I then profusely thanked the Hell Box for it's generosity, promissed to feed it soon, and returned it to it's home beneath the workbench. That my friends is how a Hell Box works. Good luck on starting yours. I couldn't imagine not having mine. Just remember to always express your gratitude when your HB pays you back. Woods

Friday, April 10, 2009

Remembering Norris

Yes remembering Norris. A man I never knew. It all started about ten years ago at a Place called Creekside Gun Shop. I was out for a saturday afternoon with buddies. Creekside had a shooting range and it was free to use. After our shooting session we would always head inside to spend whatever was left after buying ammunition. In the used book section was a copy of "Guns and Gunning" by Captain Curtis. Not a book I was exactly interested in. But, next to it was a copy of Ed McGivern's "Fast and Fancy Shooting". That was a book I wanted, but, being a first edition it wasn't in my price range after buying 30/40 Krag ammo and 44 specials for the S&W TripleLock I was playing with that day. When I returned Fast and Fancy to the shelf, I by accident knocked "Guns and Gunning" off the shelf. It was then that I was introduced to Norris. You see a hand written christmas note and ten pictures fell out of that book. The note said "Norris; Merry christmas, the eleventh one. Hoping there will be eleven more such happy ones. Pet" At that point in my life I hadn't met a woman I considered spending more than a christmas or two with. So, there may have been a little sentiment there, on my part. The first picture really stirred something up in me. In my deepest memories I could remember boat houses just like those. And between the ages of six and fourteen I spent more than a few hours in a wooden skiff just like that one with my grandpa.
Or maybe it was the guy in me that deer hunts with obsolete weapons. I don't know if that'a a Marlin or a Winchester. I do know it's not the usual carbine, that's a full length rifle barrel. Or maybe the vintage car nut in me was spoken to by the 37 ford sedan. Maybe, my first car back in high school was a 38 ford pick up truck.
Maybe it was the picture taken beside the lake. I wouldn't mind having that cooler to add to my vintage gear collection
Nice bass Norris! I can taste that one rolled in my grand aunts blend of spices, cornmeal, and milk now!
I hope Norris had the means to hang this musky on the wall! The one my grand uncle Gerald caught in the 1970's was only half that size. I wonder if that is "Pet's" shadow taking the picture, it does look like a females outline. Another picture of what appears to be the same fish. The only photo in the pile with any information on it. Written on the back is "Crowe Lake July 48".
Well it's obvious, I spent four bucks and bought the book I didn't want. It went home and sat on a desk corner for a month. Then one day I was looking at an old road map of Ontario, that was in my granpa's stuff. Like I said, I spent alot of time with grandpa in an environment that looked an awful lot like these pictures. I spent two weeks every summer at "Harrolds Camp" at Gores Landing, Rice Lake, Ontario. Right next door was the boat works where those cedar skiffs were made. And that day looking at grandpa's old map I saw something I never knew about until that day. Just a few miles over the hills north and east of Rice lake, there is another lake, It's name is Crowe Lake. So, you might say Norris and I shared summer playgrounds. We were just a few miles and a few decades apart from each other.
And you know, for a few years I really envied Norris. I mean a woman that loved him enough to by him a book for christmas. A book about something he really loved to do.
Then Pelenaka and the girls came into my life. I no longer felt envy towards Norris. I felt an even deeper kinship, to this man I never knew.