Saturday, December 31, 2011

63 Years Ago This Evening...

 My parents, Bea and Dwain tied the knot.  One year later my sister was born, and it's hard to believe that she is 62 now. 
 Dad's last visit to the farm was in 2003.  He and Mom helped us perform some repairs on the back side of the barn.
 Dad thought it was pretty funny the way I was always cranking up a chainsaw to do carpenter repairs, and he did get me converted to using a Skilsaw for some tasks. 
We sent a 6" tall swamp white oak seedling that had popped up under one of our trees.  He planted it, and this photo shows how it looked in September, 2010.  Cancer took him in '05.  I found out that he had never seen True Grit with John Wayne the night before he died, and I had just left the store where I bought the DVD for him when I got the call that he had passed.  Mom's doing a good job of hanging in there and living an active life, in spite of the trials of being 80 years old. New Year's Eve is a great day to get married; everyone who knows you can remember your anniversary.  At least it worked for me.

Weekend Steam

Here is an interesting photo and letter from the June 1921 Issue of The American Thresherman And Farm Power magazine. This Buffalo-Pitts engine was hit by a tornado, and you can see the cylinder from the demolished threshing machine on the left side of the photo. Click the photos to enlarge them so you can read the letter.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Crankin' It Up

Comedienne Margaret Young recorded this mildly amusing number in November 1922. Brunswick disc 2371-A

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Before You Crank That New Saw...

...check it over from end to end.  We were in a Rural King store today and stopped to look at the chainsaw selection.   One of the saws had the chain installed backwards, and this is not unusual for saws assembled by store personnel.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gun Blogger Rendezvous VII Dates Announced!

 Packing Rat at GBR VI

Mr. Completely has announced that the next Gun Blogger Rendezvous will be September 5 - 8 in Reno, Nevada.  Click Here to go to his post on the Rendezvous website.  The Rendezvous is a great event that raises money for Project Valour-IT, and it is just about the most fun you will ever have.  Click over to read all about it, and mark those dates on your 2012 calendar.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Here's What's Up

 The Mrs. stayed busy this fall laying out and painting a bear claw (with star) barn quilt.   She finished it last week, and we mounted it on a frame Christmas Eve. 

 Lifting into position was easy.   We clamped a hand winch on the end of the hay rail, loosened the top two siding boards, and ran the winch line down.  We cranked up the quilt, drilled the first hole for a mounting bolt, stuck the first bolt, and then clicked the winch up a bit to level the wife's masterpiece.  Lots of ladder moving and climbing up and down was necessary to drill the rest of the  mounting holes, but we soon had all the bolts stuck.
We finished up after dark, as usual.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Weekend Steam

Ghosts of Christmas Past. From Cletrac.

Heh...electric steam engines.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tucker's Corner

Here's Johny Tucker behind his little store at Tucker's Corner, several miles west of Dale, Illinois in the late 50's or early 60's.  Tucker's Corner was a common stop for oil field workers in southern Hamilton County for about forty years.  Mr. Tucker sold gas, had an air compressor out front, and made a lot of baloney sandwiches for roughnecks and well servicing crews.  You got good value with your lunch at Tucker's Corner; Johny was a whistling virtuoso, and a fiddler, and if you weren't in a hurry to hit the road, a floor show came with lunch.

(The little shed holds fire fighting tools.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Third Time's The Charm!

Everyone who has ever mechanicked on an old engine will understand the frustration that these fellows feel as they try to start this Oil Pull. The first video is understandable; the spark plug wires are reversed, so the sparkplugs are firing almost at the end of the exhaust stroke, sending a burning charge of kerosene up the stack. The wires are on the right cylinders in the second video, but the engine is still banging irregularly, and not running right. I have seen a graphite track in magnetos cause out-of-sequence firing, and that may be what is going on here. It seems to happen on freshly dressed mags, I think with fresh graphite followers.

"Belt Cranking a Rumely Oil Pull after new valves where installed. What we don't know is that the spark plug wires where reversed, causing one cylinder to fire on the exhaust stroke. This caused Some serious backfires. Pioneer Acres Museum, Irricana, Alberta"

"Another attempt to breath life into the oil pull. The mag was still giving us trouble. The valves where also brand new and unseated, so the tappet adjustment still needed some fine tuning. Pioneer Acres Museum, Irricana, Alberta."

"The electrical gremlin has finally been defeated and the old Rumely kicks to life again."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Steam

This closet-fresh toy steamer probably made some kid happy on a long-gone Christmas morning.  It is surprising and gratifying that toys like this are still available in the Computer-Age.  Don't tell the regulators that a kid might burn a finger.  Here's a re-play of a video produced by Mamod, which shows how these little gems are assembled.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Like I Said, They Show Up

We're still working on the taming of Rambler, and another one has appeared; Tinkerbelle, who tamed down in just a couple weeks.   Tink was dumped out down the road a little over a month ago, and we hadn't seen her for two or three weeks when she moved into the barn.  Smart cat, coming in out of the coyotes at night.  She's confined now, and will soon be going on a trip to see the doctor.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finally! New Videos From Ruger About The SR-1911!

Ruger has been bringing out new products on a regular basis, and it's been tough watching all the new goodies, and not spending money like a drunken sailor. One gun that is sharing the top of my Must-Have list is the SR-1911, and Dave Spaulding is going to be showing this fine piece of machinery in some videos on the Ruger YouTube channel. Bea and I stopped in at the Coralville Scheel's store over the weekend and looked at one of these. The salesman told us that it was not for sale; if we wanted one we had to go on a waiting list. The supply will eventually catch up, so save your pennies and stock up on .45 ACP ammo.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gittin' er Done!

Back To The Old Grind!

Thanks to EJ for the vid!

Hey, Hi-Pointers! (Back To The Top Re-Post) Final Notice: Please Give This Lonely Blogger Something To Do!

 Today, December 11 is the final day to send in your pistol carbine targets, and old True Blue hasn't been exactly flooded with targets yet.  If you shoot it, and send it in, I will post it, even if you just threw rocks at the target.  Send them in by Midnight.

 The weekend is coming up, and if you are planning a range trip, print out some targets and take along your Hi-Point Carbine!  Manfred still has not posted the November e-Postal contest, but don't let that stop you from shooting this special e-Postal event.  Take along family and friends!

Billll and I both shot Mr. Completely's October e-Postal Contest with our Hi-Point Carbines, and that led to the idea of having a class just for these neat pistol caliber carbines.  Messages back and forth between other e-Postal shooters have firmed up the rules, and we are going to start by repeating the October contest, just for pistol caliber carbines.  This means that you can enter not only with a Hi-Point, but also Marlin Camp Carbines, Marlin, Winchester, Uberti, and etc., lever actions, even Ruger 77-.357's and .44's. 

We will have just two classes for shooting pistol caliber carbines; iron sights and non-magnifying optics will shoot in the same class, and guns with magnifying scopes will be the second pistol carbine class.

CLICK HERE, PRINT OUT THE TARGET and head to the range.  Shoot the target standing, unsupported at sixty feet; five shots per bullseye, for twenty shots total.  Touching a line counts as a hit. Scan or photograph your targets, and e-mail them with the following information:
1. Your score.
2. The name you want used when we post the results.
3. Gun description – Brand, model, semi-auto, lever action, or bolt action; caliber, and type of sights.

E-mail your targets to: truebluetravelinman(at)gmail(dot)com by the end of November Midnight, December 11. 

Results will be posted on

Mr. Completely's November e-Postal Contest should be up soon, so watch for that, and shoot it too, at sixty feet with your pistol caliber carbine if a distance is not specified for long guns by the host.  Send the scans of your November targets to the host for this month.  If this experiment works out well, we will encourage folks to enter their pistol caliber carbines in the e-Postal contests next year.

Results of the October Contest can be viewed HERE.

Not My Victrola

Courtesy of Jim020206.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekend Steam: A Christmas Tradition

Santa Trains, Holiday Expresses, North Pole Expresses; they're popular events all over the country. Ervans has posted many high quality videos on his channel, and this is one of his latest. You can practically smell the cylinder oil!

Mt. Pleasant, Iowa is hosting their annual Christmas train event this weekend, but you need reservations if you want to ride.  They are usually booked up for every trip around McMillan Park. This video by Ctrapiowa was shot last weekend, and shows Number 6 arriving at the North Station.  Don't look for Santa; he's at the South Station, at the other end of the line.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Skidder Bridge

 Even the flat flood plains of Southern Illinois present obstacles for loggers.  Creeks and old channels have to be crossed while dragging logs behind the skidder, so bridges often have to be brought to the job site, or built from materials at hand.
 The type of skidder actually determines when a bridge has to be installed.  Cable skidders can cross a stream with a load by free-wheeling the winch as the skidder heads into the creek, which leaves the logs on the creek bank.  After the skidder is on the other side, the operator winches the logs to the machine, and continues to the landing.
Grapple skidders must hang onto their load all the way from the stump to the landing, thus, bridges must be used to cross creeks on the site.

Click Here to see how the skidder can place logs for a bridge.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dropping A Problem Elm

 This big ungainly elm sort of got away from us, and presented a big removal problem when we realized we needed to take it down.  It does have nice forward lean, though, and it's nice not having to pound wedges.

 Here's the problem.  It's a double stemmed tree; both stems have enough side lean to take them in the wrong direction, and each stem had the potential to strike a building.

 But...the stems shared a common stump, and appeared to be joined strongly enough that they would fall in the direction of a hinge, balancing out each other's side lean.  An open face cut would have weakened the joined stump, so I took out a box shaped piece to form the front of the hinge, leaving the stems hooked together at the junction.

They stayed together and fell the way we wanted them to....

...and didn't break apart until they hit the ground.


A question in Comments inquired about the aiming cut I used. In order to keep the stems tied together well at the stump, I did not use my normal Open Face Cut, but instead established the front of the hinge with a vertical bore cut, then made two horizontal cuts to take out the rectangular piece seen in the photo. Unless you have X-Ray vision, this cut requires some cleanup to make the two sides match, but it is not difficult. It is a handy technique to have in your toolbox.


In Comments, KurtP mentions using chains to bind together problem stems.  Very Good Point, Kurt!  Serious woodcutters should have high-test chains and binders in the back of the old pickup for  problems like this.  Click the photo to go to a post about this split ash tree.  Be sure to visit Trainwreck In Maxwell on your daily blogwalk; Kurt know how to get things done!

Go, Look, and Never Forget

Photos from Pearl Harbor. (Click)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here's A Rare Beast At Boonville

This nicely restored Eagle tractor was a real treat to watch at the fall show this year at Boonville.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ready, Willing and Able!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

"Don't Bring Lulu" was one of my first records, fifty years ago. This version, (Uploaded by YouTuber cdbpdx.) with Bennie Krueger's Orchestra and Billy Jones performing the vocals, is still in my record cabinet, but it's not as clean as this one, mainly because I played it to death with old needles when I was a kid.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekend Steam: Something A Little Different!

Itsper uploaded this neat video, and it's not the only sled of this type on YouTube.  And Another!  0 To 60 in 4 seconds!  I'm not too sure that I would get on one of these contraptions, but they look like a lot fo fun

Crankin' It Up

Gene Rodemich's Orchestra, November 1921.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weather Worth Working In

 The weather last week during the long holiday weekend was warm for November; warm enough to paint the new wood on the old barn.  We fired up the Graco sprayer, and soon had a good coat on the newest siding, and recoated the siding we had painted earlier.

 We had sprayed thinned linseed oil on all the siding a few weeks back, and added extra oil to our paint.  We hope that it will help the barn shed water for many years.

We finished up the painting right at sunset, and cleaned out the spray equipment in the dark.  Next weekend:  Firewood, weather or not!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gotta Go On A Treasure Hunt!

 These photos showed up in my mailbox recently, and were sent to me by an old friend who took these shots about fifteen years ago, not too far from Oblong, Illinois.  The engine is a Superior, of the same type as in this video.

 The engine and an eccentric assembly sit in a power house, and rods connect the eccentric to oil wells in the surrounding area.

 My curiosity is killing me, and I am going to have to make a trip and find out if this artifact is still in use.  The tank in this photo is made of redwood.  They were assembled with copper hardware, which withstood the ravages of saltwater better than steel.

There is a bellcrank assembly at each well to transfer lateral movement to vertical.  Wells opposite each other on the eccentric would pretty well balance each other so the machinery ran smoothly, and iron could be added to individual wells for fine tuning the load.

 UPDATE!!  It's Still There!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekend's Over!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Vintage Humor

Victrolaman posted a real beaut from 1906, and at 105 years, it still got a laugh from me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Steam

 There is always more than one solution to a problem.  Simple engines use steam on one power stroke before it is exhausted, and compound engines were invented to improve economy by using steam on a second stroke.   Cross compound engines had separate cylinders on individual cranks.  Industrial and maritime engines went to triple-expansion technology, using steam three times before it was spent.  Tandem compound engines like this Port Huron had both the high pressure and low pressure cylinder on the same rod, which simplified the crankshaft considerably.  Several steam engine manufacturers used a layout similar to the Port.

 This Russell tandem compound is a real eye catcher.  The high pressure cylinder where steam is first used is closer to the crosshead, which is reversed from the layout we are used to seeing.

 Steam is exhausted from the high pressure cylinder to the larger, low pressure cylinder where it expands a second time, yielding more power before it is sent up the stack.

Cross compound engines, with their cylinders on separate rods and crankshaft throws, can have live steam sent straight to the steam chest from the throttle for extra power, and for starting without being stuck on dead center.  Tandem compounds have the same starting characteristics as single cylinder engines, which means that the engineer must pay attention to the location of the crankpin when starting, and use the reverse lever skillfully to make the iron beast go.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Take A Break From Shopping

and go to the range!  This is the last weekend to shoot the special Pistol Carbine e-Postal Match.  Manfred has still not posted the Mr. Completely Match for November, but don't let that get you down.  Click Here to download the target, Click Here read the rules, and send your entry in by the end of November   Midnight, December 11.  Don't have a pistol caliber carbine?  Take your visiting family and friends to the range for an outing, and submit your targets with whatever you have to shoot. Send in your target scans, and I will post the scores.  Use the name you want posted on the internet on your target.

Crankin' It Up: One Worth Repeating

I posted "Bluin' The Blues" (June 25, 1918) a little over two years ago, and in that time only a few more than 100 folks have listened to this great number by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band. We have been busy with family, so I haven't had time to wind up the old Brunswick this week, but I'm sure you will enjoy this repost.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789." G. Washington

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smokey Was Right, You Know

I've worked on both sides of fires in the forest.   Eastern Kentucky has a bad history of wildfires during dry spells, both spring and fall, and I have seen a lot of ruined timber.  I also saw plenty of advance oak regeneration while I worked there.

The landscape and road networks of Illinois reigned in wildfires, and most oak woods in Illinois aren't burned often enough for trees and other plants to reproduce adequately, so there are lots of folks out there who are anxious to push the use of fire in timber.  These stumps are a good reminder of the damage that wildfires can cause to trees.  The top one is hollow due to rot from major damage, and the second stump illustrates ring shake, which is caused by the tree separating new wood from the old after an injury.  Fire is an important component of forest management, no doubt, but landowners need to protect their crop trees before they light up, or they stand to lose much of the value in the trees they have produced.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Positive Crankcase Ventilation

That open crankcase with the rod and shaft spinning around lets the smoke clear out pretty well. I bet someone is putting in a set of rings before next summer's shows.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hickok 45 Schools Us About Pocket Carry Options

Every little bit we hear a news report about someone having a negligent discharge because they carried a pistol that wasn't holstered properly, and a lot of those were pistols in a pocket with no holster. Hickok45 covers the basics about pocket carry, and whether you carry or not, this is a good video to watch just to learn a bit more about gun safety.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Enjoy Your Work As Much As This Fellow?

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Courtesy of SilentBacchus...and, a bonus from the other side of the block!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Steam

Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Club, by OldFarmShow.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Crankin' It Up

The flip side of "Arabian Nights", "Sand Dunes" (1919) I guess, is also supposed to make us dream of the exotic near east, but even my demented musical mind can't quite make that trip with this tune. It is fun to listen to, though. It is kind of funny to me how songs have glamorized the Arab world through the years. "Midnight At The Oasis" came out when I was fresh out of college, but my favorite of all time is "Ahab The Arab."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All The Inventin' Is Done For You!

 An acquaintance showed me his fish scaling machine recently, and if you like to fish, you will want to build one of these.  Start out with the air filter housing from a big earth moving machine, cut out and hinge a door, and install pop-rivets all over it so they project in a bit.

 Build a manifold to spray water into the back side of it...

...and install a motor and transmission out of scraps around your shop.  Fill the cylinder with as many as 100 bluegills, and watch the scales wash away!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Know About Hammer Bite?

Watch Hickok45's review of the 1911; you will see how hammer bite occurs, and how to prevent it with Band-Aids before you are bitten!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Don't Like Spiders And Snakes

Susan was sorting through some things in the garage Sunday, and was bitten by a brown recluse spider.  I keep snake bite kits handy in my man-purse, and put a suction cup on her hand right away, within minutes of the bite.  We use these things frequently for insect stings, and they pull wasp and bee venom out effectively if we can apply a suction cup right away.  This was the first time we used one on a spider bite.

I pulled it off after a few minutes to have a look, and we were astounded at the amount of blood that had come out.  Evidently, brown recluse venom has anti-coagulant properties.  We put the suction cup on again, and pulled less blood out on the second go.  The third time pulled very little.  The patient has no redness or swelling, only a tiny scab at the bite site. 

If you read about the Cutter kits on the Internet you will find that medical folks despise them, and say they do more harm than good.   I have never been snakebit, and I can sure understand the harm that can come from using one of these kits instead of seeking prompt medical attention, but I also appreciate the way they work for me on bee stings, and insect bites.  Now we know the little suckers are good for spider bites, too.

This is a brown recluse spider.  They like to hide in dark places, under boxes, rags, or etc., and can deliver devastating tissue damage with their venom.  If one gets on you, brush or shake it off; don't smash it on your skin.  Get it on the floor and then step on it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Superior Oilfield Engine

One of the big engines on display at Boonville in October. Engines like this one pumped the wells that produced oil and fuel for our war effort in World War II.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Whole Lotta People Don't Take Off For Veterans' Day

Doin' The Old Grind Every Day

U.S. Navy Seabees hard at it in Korea, courtesy of the webmaster at, a fascinating site with lots of photos from the Korean War.  This photo appears to be by Charles Godshall, who can be seen with his trusty grease gun at the top of this page (click).  Many thanks to all the veterans who keep us safe in the USA!

Not My Victrola

bsgs98 gives us a great slide show with Birmingham Breakdown, by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekend Steam

 This set of photos is courtesy of Zeke, the Engineering Johnson, from his Labor Day Weekend visit to Old Threshers.  This Avery is a top mounted, straight flue engine, which is slightly unusual since most people think of the undermounted design when Avery is mentioned.  Bill Sater, one of the founders of Old Threshers had one of these engines at the show until the 1970's, so it was sweet to see these photos.

 My dad and I went to an auction near Wayland, Iowa about 40 years ago and thought we might buy an engine just like this, but the bidding left us in the dust, and I realized that I would probably never own an engine.  The sale was the estate auction for a Mr. Swartzendruber, and we found out last year that he was a relative of Stranded In Iowa, of the Between Two Rivers blog.  It's a small world.

 I think that the Avery firebox door is just about the neatest thing going in operating platform hardware.

Just Stomp and Stoke!