Monday, April 30, 2012

The Ugly Gun Lives!

I had intended to make this project another tutorial. Unfortunately it took forever for me to get going on the project. Then a friend wanted a beater rifle to hunt with. You see the area we hunt was until this past year shotguns only. When they opened it to rifles, guys with shotguns stopped seeing deer within range. The deer got smart fast. He was in a big hurry to get it before his wife spent the tax return. I was going to rust blue the gun for practice. He wants a duracoat finish. I don't have access to an oven that big, so I left the metal as is.

The gun was priced at $100 when I bought it. I did some trading with the dealer and it only ended up sosting me about $60. I've told you in the past about swagbucks . Using swagbucks enabled me to get the stock and scope mount for free. Both were purchased off of Amazon using gift cards earned with swagbucks. The scope is a Tasco long eye relief pistol scope purchsed in a consignment shop for $20. The rings are Millets and at $30 break the low budget theme of this rifle. More about that later.

I can highly recomend the Fajen F34 stock  . This stock was nearly drop in and well worth the $65 price tag. It only required minor fitting. I used a dremel with a sanding drum on the lowest speed. It could also be easily accomplished with a four in hand file. There was only one minor hitch. After doing some minor relief work at the front action ring and along the sides of the sight base. The action still wouldn't  seat into stock. The hole for the front action screw had some heavy flash. This flash prevented the recoil lug of the action from mating with it's counterpart in the stock. A quick pass with my Dremel and everything dropped right in as it should.

The scope base install was uneventful after finding a little trick. The base came with no instructions. So, I just went online and read the instructions for similar units. You have to remove the leaf from the rear sight. There is a spring under the leaf that needs to be left in place. This spring is pretty strong. The problem is getting the holes lined up. Actually keeping them lined up. It takes both hands to compress the spring. You either need a second person to thread the screw through the hole or a third hand. I didn't have either. What I did was line the holes up then drop the shank of a jewelers screwdriver through the holes. Then I used two thin blocks of wood and a large C clamp to hold everything in place. Remove the screwdriver and install the screw. Be careful, the sight base is made of aluminum. It will be real easy to bugger up the threads.  I had trouble finding a set of rings that would drop right on to this base. The rings I did find while not outrageously expensive weren't the cheapest I could find. The slots on my base were slightly under size. This could be easily corrected with a fine file. Doing so will remove finish from the base.

The only other work done to this gun involved lapping the crown to correct some damage. I'm not a huge fan of the 8x57 cartridge. So, I decided to sell it rather than add another cartridge to the stable. Should another VZ24 action come my way I will probably buy it. The next one will be a little more involved.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Tribute

This is pretty much a continuation of the previous post. I intended to attack the mushroomed wedges with an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel. I didn't have a cutoff wheel and the wife had our one and only car. I wasn't going to walk 4 miles to a hardware store.

Well I wanted it done. I had two teachers who both passed away too young. Ray Bishop my science teacher and George Schaefer my shop teacher. This post is a tribute to both men.  Both believed in keeping the old ways as common knowledge. This afternoon I spent 45 minutes remembering George Schaefer. I recalled the day he taught me to properly use a hacksaw and file. The prepper side of me decided to use the old way rather than let the skill atrophy.

You can see the crack in the piece I cut from the large wedge. To be honest I was pretty skeptical myself when I started. It is a 1.5x2" piece of metal afterall. It made me glad I took the time to aneal them. Another 15 minutes chamfering the edges with a mill file and it will be done. Just think no noise , no electricity also no sparks or grinding dust all over the place. I did one side of the small wedge with a grinder. It took as long as doing two sides with a hacksaw.

Thank You George and Ray. You may not have known it when you were still here, those old skills are apreciated. Thanks for teaching me the proper use of hand tools. They really aren't that much work when you know what you're doing.


Opening the shop

It's that time of year again. Sometime around the start of hunting season in the fall. My workshop begins to acumulate stuff. Good stuff, junk, stuff that could go either way. It's too cold to work out there with no heat. The days are short and there is no electric for lights. You want something out of the way, put it in the shop.

I've spent an hour or two a day for the past couple weeks just sorting through stuff and making things as neat as I can. That tends to be a loosing battle as I have more stuff than can be neatly organised in a 12x16 foot space. The ten box challenge is well underway in attempt to solve this. I've made the decision to just put much of it in consignment shops. Much less hassle that way. It gets things out of the way quickly and I only have to handle things once.

At this point the shop is cleared out enough to start projects. In my efforts to clean and neaten I found a project started several years ago. Sometimes I tend to over think things. This Stanley #78 plane was relatively clean when aquired 4 years ago. In spite of having around 90% of it's japan finish intact I intended to have it bead blasted and redone. When I came accross it sunday afternoon I could only ask myself why. I ordered a set of replacement parts from Stanley and they had arrived exactly 3 years and 3 days before sunday. So I spent some time sunday chasing out rusted threads with a set of taps. Then installed the new fence and depth stop. I spent the yesterday evening cleaning rust and putting an edge on the iron. The pictures were taken midway through the project. It's now a working plane again.

I also managed to fire up the forge yesterday. Earlier this month at the Rochester gun show I ran into an old coworker. He has a business selling survival stuff. He also does primitive skills workshops on the side. He expressed an interest in aquiring some flint and steel sets to sell and give out in his workshops. So I spent part of the afternoon straightening a couple old coil car springs out. Hopefully by the end of the week I will have turned them into steels. I also intend to dig out my little retort and make some char cloth up to go with each set.

A couple years ago I aquired a couple splitting wedges from the local Habitat for Humanity store. I think I paid a quarter each for them. I've been playing russian roulette with those mushroomed heads and know it.

They had become pretty work hardened too. The larger one has actually begun to crack lengthwise though it doesn't show in the picture. I decided while I had a fire I would aneal them before grinding the mushroom off.

Here is the small one in the fire. I'll bring it to a dark cherry heat then let it cool slowly. Quenching it would just make it hard again.

Shortly after this I put the fire out. The wind put an end to my nice day. Even if the nieghbor's house is in forclosure, I wouldn't want to burn it down with a stray spark. It gave me a chance to finish up that Stanley plane.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Dealing with Herbert

I have this aquaintance. He's been following me about lately. I mean really follwing me about, almost like a stalker. You see back around the end of october Lowes decided to close 20 stores nationwide. I just happened to be employed by one of those 20 stores. Right after the store closed in november my last surviving grandparent took severely ill. On my 30 mile treck to pay what was at the time possibly my last visit to her our car decided it was time to have the idler pulley on the serpentine belt sieze. Now here I was half way between home and my dying grandmother stranded. Stranded over a $40 part that GM in it's infinite wisdom decided it's dealerships should not keep in stock. Now to make it worse it was friday afternoon, so the part wouldn't arrive from ohio until monday. Well to make a long story a bit shorter, Pelenaka found a way to get to me and get me to a car rental place. Hours after starting my journey I arrived at grandmas bedside with Pelenaka beside me. Half an hour after getting there Pelenakas phone rang. It was our local police. My stepdaughter A.K.A. "the sidekick" was riding her bike home from her job right around dusk when an inatentive driver blew a stop sign and knocked her off her bike. She was at the hospital being checked out. Luckily a few scrapes and bruises was all she suffered. She managed to jump free of the bike just as the car hit. The bike didn't fare so well and was a total loss.

Jump ahead a few weeks. I'm cutting a few walnut trees for a friend in exchange for some free firewood for next winter. We had a very mild winter this year. Things never really froze up. Well except for the ignition switch on the tractor that was supposed to pull my utility trailer full of wood to the road. Not a problem says my friend. I look over my friends shoulder and see what I've now come to know as Herberts shadow. All I say to my friend is don't do it, I got a bad feeling about this, we should hotwire the tractor instead. well we spent the next two days jacking up my friends truck, driving it to the end of the planks we had. Then jacking it up and doing it again. You see all was fine as long as the truck kept moving. When it stopped it sank axle deep. By the time we got it up on the planks it was afternnon and things were really soupy. About 3:00 am the following night things had gotten cold enough to freeze again and we drove it right out.

Then there was family movie night. We're all sitting watching a movie and I decide to get up and fix us all some dishes of ice cream. Walking into the kitchen I flip the switch and the lights flicker and go out. Along with almost half the light fixtures and outlets in the house. Lets just say there has been some strange things done to the wiring in this house over the years. I have never seen two circuits pigtailed to one breaker in a service panel before I encountered this one. Why they didn't remove a knockout and put in a second breaker I'll never know. Electricity isn't my favorite thing. I did plumbing for a living at one point. Something nasty leaks out of a pipe, it washed off. You can't wash off electricity. I'm pretty cautious. I got a good idea of two possible places for our problem. One of these days I'll find my tester that finds wire in walls. One of the possible places is a pigtail inside a box that somebody drywalled over. Pelenaka was here when they did it, she knows it's there. Just not exactly where. I'd rather not tear out the whole kitchen ceiling and find out that's not where the problem is.

A couple months ago Grandma finally passed. She like grandpa had donated her body to the local medical school. So, many things that are a problem for many people in this situation were taken care of. However such times can reveal the worst in people. I was unlucky enough to find out about a betrayal of me by my own parents. It has really put me in a funk the past month and a half. I can't blame this one on Herbert. My parents had the free will to do this on thier own.

Two weeks ago I go to a saturday gun show with a friend. (Same friend with the muddy truck) When I get home Pelenaka asks me to go pick up submarine sandwiches for dinner. (Yes we are pretty frugal, but, when funds are there we treat ourselves every few weeks) I go to leave and the car is dead. I mean dead not even a click. That's a first. Well, the battery is 8 years old and it's due. Have I mentioned I hate electricity? I think Herbert has two cousins one named Mayhem, he's in TV commercials and another named Shorty, he's an electrician. Sunday I charge the battery and drive over to a local auto parts place to get the battery and alternator tested. The battery had a bad cell. No big deal you say just replace the battery. Normally I would, except a week before I thought the amplifier had died in the cars radio. One at a time the cars speakers buzzed and died. No big deal I can live without radio in a car. Well on the way to get the battery tested I noticed something. When I put the car in reverse the speaker in the back seat buzzed even though the radio was turned off. When I hit the brakes same thing. Put on the turn signal and same speaker makes a popping noise. I took half the interior out of this car and still couldn't find the damaged wires. I ended up pulling the fuses for the radio and clock. The new battery hasn't gone dead yet. Now the car gives me shocks when I touch it. Last vehicle I owned that gave shocks like this was a 74 dodge that had had a fire in it's dash board.

On my way to grandmas memorial service a few weeks ago the car was making a clicking sound in slow right hand turns. Well most people with automotive experience would look at the CV joint on the left front wheel. A couple days later I stopped in at the garage and had them take a look. Wasn't the CV joint. Bad wheel bearing instead. I also already knew the tie rod end on that side was getting loose. I figured the tax returns were do any time, no big deal we'd get them done in a week or so. $400 repair just wasn't in the budget without the tax returns. Yesterday I took the old girl in. The mechanic started taking things apart and I kinda watched from the waiting area. All of a sudden I see a large piece of metal fall from his hands and hit the floor. It turns out the hub just fell away from the bearing when removed from the car. Now the hub and wheel bearing are supposed to be pressed together and be a tight fit. The hub was so worn and scored it no longer pressed tigh to the wheel bearing. Another $135 part. And knowing about the idler pulley you know exactly what was going through my head. I kinda lucked out. The hub was only 50 miles away at a Chevy dealership in NY's souther tier. Thankfully they didn't charge me an hours labor for the guy they sent to get it.

It was a cloudy day yesterday. As I left the garage I turned to my mechanic and said, "See that really dark cloud over there? It's been following me around lately. I think I'll name it Herbert!"

It's a clear day out there today.

I need to go back to the garage and get my utility trailer inspected.

I think I'll call ahead and make sure Herbert isn't there waiting for me!