Monday, January 31, 2011

Reel News

gregslic shares an old newsreel from way back in BC (Before Cronkite). Going to the movies isn't what it used to be.  A long, long time ago, I remember movies with newsreels.  By the time I could take myself to the movies, they were gone.  It's something we will never experience again, sort of like anvils falling on cartoon characters.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Get To Crankin'

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

bsgs98 posted this great Brunswick recording from 1921 by Isham Jones.  'Make Believe' is a new song for me, and it has that great 1920's Fox-Trot feel, except, I wonder where did that slide whistle come from? 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"I Didn't Need A...WHAT?"

Typos are a problem whatever you write, whether it's personal notes or business, and once the ink is on the paper, you can't make them go away.  Here's a good one!

This player piano selection is by AeolianHall1.

Baby Face was written by Harry Akst, a composer of note who worked with (among many others) Nora Bayes, Irving Berlin, and Al Jolson.

Weekend Steam

Here are a couple of great steam train videos from Down Under, by Rocketboy1950.  This is a 2' 6" narrow gauge engine, and be sure to note that the wheels are inside the frame, and the cranks are outside the frame,  like most of the engines you see on the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge railroad. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

One Thousand Flags

Go read the news reports about Sgt. Michael Bartley through January 17, on,

and visit the pages honoring him on WFIW's website.

Crankin' It Up

The Revelers recorded this vocal number on September 4, 1925. Acoustic disc, played on the old Brunswick, just to be authentic.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Old Times Mostly Forgotten

 Looking at old farmsteads is  enjoyable and educational, and I always wonder what became of the families who lived on them.  This still-sturdy barn shows that this farm was prosperous in its day, with lean-to additions on three sides.  The tin roof has allowed the barn to survive well past its working days.
 These dilapidated corn cribs show us that the farm was not a huge corn producer, and that the farmer who used these cribs never made the switch to shelling in the field.  The farm ground would have been rented out to a neighbor when this farm family retired from agriculture.

 This proud old manure spreader was a horse drawn unit, and was always stored inside, protecting the paint from the elements until recent years.

 Collectors of John Deere equipment would probably put on a real show if this old machine was put into an auction.  I haven't seen one of this vintage with original paint on it for around fifty years.

The windmill and pump sit about mid-way between the house and barn.  This well is located on a low river bluff, and sits atop Illinoisan alluvial deposits on the Little Wabash River in Edwards County.  It's deep enough to be a problem for anyone who might unwittingly fall into it, so I hope that this well is filled in when the ironwork is scrapped, which will probably happen sooner than later.  The wooden cover is already crumbled, and is a hazard to animals.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beer Can Burglars

About one month ago a beer can showed up under our mailbox one day.  I noticed it when I came home from work, and I thought right away that it wasn't necessarily an ordinary beer can tossed out of a passing vehicle.  Cans usually land a bit farther into the front yard, and this one just seemed a bit "placed," being right under the mailbox.  I see lots of trespass issues in forestry, and one thing I have learned is that trespassers often test the waters with little things to see if anyone is paying attention, such as making a No Trespassing sign disappear.  Just in case this can was such a test, I smashed it and put it back under the mailbox, and then came back with a .22 and put a hole in it.  The next evening, the can had been moved, so my suspicion was confirmed that someone was using it to check our attentiveness.  A day or two after that, Susan called me to report that a beer can had appeared adjacent to Patti's driveway, and it too, was obviously placed.  She smashed it flat and put it right in the middle of the driveway for the crooks to see.  The next day she almost made the crooks as they circled the drive on their visit to check.  She saw that it was a black Chevy pickup with two occupants, but couldn't get the license number.  I saw a vehicle of the same description reconning our house again, but they didn't let me get close enough to see their license.  About a week after that excitement, one of our neighbors was burglarized, losing a .410 shotgun to the thieves.   We haven't seen the black pickup again, and I assume they are working other neighborhoods in our part of the world.  True Blue Sam is passing this on to our visitors as a reminder that criminals are alway looking for an opportunity.  Be vigilant, and don't give the crooks a chance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here's A Nice Engine Display

This Fairbanks-Morse engine display was shown over at Evansville last summer. The adjustable stroke on the pump is worth noting, so it's in the video.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tactical Carbine Tips Episode 5: Shooting Fundamentals

Ruger's latest by Dave Spaulding: 
"Dave's back with more Ruger Tactical Carbine Tips.

In this episode Spaulding shows you how to build the fundamentals of shooting into your carbine training regimen.
Dave Spaulding, winner of the 2010 Trainer of the Year award by Law Officer Magazine, has returned for a second series of self-defense tips for shooters. In Ruger Tactical Carbine Tips, Spaulding focuses on the popular AR-style carbine to explain a host of techniques and help prepare shooters for an array of combat situations."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some Mondays You're Hardly Able

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola


mlprarie posted this copy of "Clementine" by Jean Goldkette's Orchestra on YouTube for all of us to enjoy. This recording was made during the orchestra's final session, and when you listen you will wish they could have gone on for many more years. Be sure to listen for Bix on his trumpet, and Joe Venuti on the violin. mlprarie's notes from his YouTube post are quoted below:

"Clementine" was recorded by the Jean Goldkette Orchestra in Leiderkranz Hall in New York City on Sept. 15, 1927. The session was supervised by Leroy Shield. The Goldkette Orchestra had been struggling financially and the members knew that this would be their last recording session.

The performance was adapted by the orchestra from a stock arrangement. Soloists are Bill Rank, trombone, Eddie Lang, guitar, Bix Beiderbecke, cornet, and Joe Venuti, violin. It is considered to be the finest performance of the Goldkette Orchestra captured on records.

The record player is an Orthophonic Victrola model VE4-4X, or "Granada". The "E" in the model number indicates that the Victrola is fitted with a synchronous A/C motor instead of a wind-up motor. The machine has a full "orthophonic" playback system (for electrically-recorded records) including the special orthophonic sound box with a duralumin diaphragm and a folded exponential horn inside of the cabinet. Although the gigantic Credenza Victrola produced deeper bass, the Granada had the most accurate overall frequency response of all the acoustic Orthophonic Victrolas. The serial number indicates that this machine was probably manufactured in 1926.

I shoot my video with a Sony Digital 8 format camera. For audio, I use a Shure SM-57 microphone on a stand placed about 4 feet in front of the Victrola horn. I use "soft tone" needles to keep from overloading the microphone. The mic is plugged directly into the video camera. The videos are edited with Windows Movie Maker. I use Sound Forge 9 to clean up the audio, but don't worry -- you're hearing the record exactly as the Victrola plays it!
For more great music, videos, and trivia from this era, please visit my website,"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Become A Steam Engineer!

Heritage Park of Forest City, Iowa is now enrolling people for their steam school May 21 & 22.  Click Here for the link to the information you need.

I haven't been to Heritage Park, but the steam school and shows are highly recommended by blog friends in Iowa.  I checked on YouTube and found several videos from the shows at Forest City; here is one that shows some of the engines you are likely to see there.   Video by oldfarmshow.

Weekend Steam

CohassetFilms posted this video of the recently restored Engine 315; here are the notes from his YouTube posting:   The Durango Railroad Historical Society announced in March that they are restoring Durango's long-neglected narrow gauge 2-8-0, former Denver & Rio Grande Western No.315. This class C-18 Consolidation, built by Baldwin in July 1895, has been displayed at Durnngo since 1950 and is the only steam locomotive in town not owned by the Durango & Silverton. No.315 was originally Florence & Cripple Creek No.3. the Elkton, and in 1917 was acquired by the Denver & Rio Grande and became D&RG 425. After the D&RG merged with the Rio Grande Western in the early 1920s, No.425 was given its present number, 315, and worked out the remainder its life around Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray and Salida, Colorado.
In the late 1940s No.315 was assigned to the Durango yard as a switcher, along with No.319. When larger power became available, both C-18s were retired on October 13, 1949, and No.315 was donated to Durango for display. No.319 was destroyed in a staged head-on collision on the Silverton Branch during the filming of the movie Denver & Rio Grande. Another C-18, No.318, survived the collision and is being restored at the Colorado Railroad Museum.

No.315 was first placed on display in September 1950, and just five years later the 2-8-0 was borrowed to appear in the movie Around the World in 80 Days. Due to mechanical problems (reportedly a cracked or broken cylinder) No.315 was not under steam during the filming, but was pushed around with a motorized box car with smoke blowing out the stack to make it appear "live." Shortly after the movie wrapped, the Consolidation was returned to the park wearing the gaudy paint job, large diamond stack, box headlight, and phony cowcatcher from the filming. When Durango officials complained to the movie producers, the engine was repainted into a more authentic D&RGW scheme, but the fake stack and headlight remain to this day.
Over the past five decades No.315 has deteriorated badly, and was in such rough shape by 1997 that members of the San Juan Large Scalers club asked the city about painting and caring for the engine to honor a member who had recently passed away. Since then, the organization has refurbished the 2-8-0 to its circa-1930 appearance and repaired its rotted pilot beam and cowcatcher. They wish to take the restoration a step further, and have reorganized as the Durango Railroad Historical Society, hoping to return the engine to steam for use on the Durango & Silverton during special events, such as the railroads annual Railfest held every August. The City of Durango, which owns the locomotive, has given their blessing for the project and pledged to help with funding for cosmetic repairs.
The first task is to perform a thorough boiler inspection costing between $6000 and $8000 which will be done at the Durango & Silverton roundhouse. After the inspection, the decision will be made to restore the engine for operation, or just cosmetically. Odds are if the 106-year old boiler is in good shape, a full restoration will be done. Funding is a major concern, and DRHS Director Lynn Daogherty recently wrote in a letter to the Slimrails email group that, "If it looks reasonable that she (315) can be put into operating condition but the funds aren't available, we'll do the cosmetic restoration with that goal in mind, such as adding a working air pump, etc." Costs to put the C-18 back in running order are estimated to be between $150,000 and $500,000.

The five year restoration was completed about two years ago, so yes as you can see by the video, 315 HAS BEEN RESTORED,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crankin' It Up

'Ain't You Coming Out Malinda' was recorded in June, 1921, but really is not a Roaring Twenties kind of song. It would have fit right into the live entertainment circuit in the first years of the Twentieth Century, and I can picture this song being performed in a Chautaqua tent in a shady grove on the outskirts of Punkin Center.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gunblast's Shot Show Videos

Jeff Quinn of Gunblast has posted new videos from the first two days of the Shot Show.  Have a look at them, and then click over to Derek, CS TacticalFirearms and Training,  The Firearm Blog and Gun Nuts Media to see what the other bloggers are looking at in Vegas.    Many Thanks to Jeff Quinn for making his great videos public, so they can be highlighted on blogs other than his own!

I'd Rather Be In Vegas

The Shot Show is going on right now, and since this firearm trade show is not open to the general public, the blogs are the place to go to see what is coming from manufacturers this year. The National Shooting Sports Foundation recognizes gun bloggers as media, so I may attend in the future, but right now I must be content with coverage by blog friends like Derek, The Packing Rat, Firearms and Training, and the CS Tactical team, whom we know from the Rendezvous. The Firearm Blog is posting from Vegas, and Jeff Quinn, who authors the online gun magazine GunBlast, is also providing some great coverage. Here is a video he posted from the media range day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good Reporting At The DesMoines Register

Followers of Between Two Rivers (Stranded In Iowa in my blog list) are well aware of the new carry law in Iowa, and some of the excitement and hysteria going on in the news coverage.  Kyle Munson is a columnist at the DesMoines Register, and he did something that I haven't seen any other journalist do in Iowa; he went to a class to learn about carrying a weapon for self defense.  Kudos to Kyle!  Click here to read Mr. Munson's thoughtful article.  Bea, Stranded, and I will try to coordinate with Kyle when winter is over, and see if we can get him to a range for some trigger time.

This Just In...

I signed into YouTube to check my numbers, and this video was in the current selection.  I clicked to have a look, and I was the first viewer...that's a rare treat!  What a great selection of old tractors: Oil Pull, Reeves, Avery, Hart Parr, Big Four, IHC, and many more.  The uploader, Sacklaustom, is from Germany, but no description is included, so I don't know where he shot this video.  (It's at Crosby, North Dakota.)  I think it is in our northern plains, or across the border in Canada.  If any viewers know the location, please tell us in a comment.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Like a Scene From a Marx Brothers Movie

Description 1916Scripps-Booth B.jpg
1916 Scripps-Booth Model "C" Roadster automobile on display at Tallahassee Automobile Museum.
Date September 2007(2007-09)
Source: Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans

I've been reading a book from my shelf by Groucho Marx himself, and he very proudly points out in his book that is not done by a ghost writer: Groucho And Me, The Autobiography of Groucho Marx (Published by Bernard Geis Associates, distributed by Random House, 1959).  Every page has pearls of wisdom, nostalgia, and humor, such as this zinger: "The reason the farmer gets away with so much is that when a city dweller thinks of the farmer he visualizes a tall, stringy yokel, with hayseed in his few teeth, subsisting on turnip greens, skimmed milk and hog jowls and living in a ramshackle dump with his mule fifty miles from nowhere.  But what's the good of my trying to describe it?  Erskine Caldwell wrapped it up neatly in God's Little Acre."

The story that I am compelled to share with you involves a Scripps-Booth Cycle Car, similar to the one above, way back before they all went to the scrap yard.  He should have put this experience in one of his movies:  "I realized that, romantically, it was going to be a barren summer unless I could get a car.  After weeks of prowling the used-car lots, pretending I wasn't a potential buyer, I finally exchanged a hundred and fifty dollars for a Scripps-Booth.  The Scripps was a tiny car.  It had two seats and an auxiliary seat that swung out from under the dashboard.  The gimmick that sold me on this auto was a button on the top of the right-hand door which was, in some mysterious way, connected with the battery.  It was like something out of the Arabian Nights.  Press the button and the door flew open.  It was sheer magic!....

...There was a girl in our neighborhood who was a beauty.  I met her by accident one night in a movie theatre.  She was munching popcorn, and part of it, either by accident or design, was falling into my coat pocket.  I'm not going to describe her looks in detail, but she was so beautiful that I even returned the lost popcorn....In talking to her, I discovered she was an automobile nut....It had been raining all day and the streets were still full of water.  But the night was clear and the moon was shining...She was wearing  a white dress, a large white hat and white shoes.  I met her halfway, greeted her with all my well-tempered elegance, and quickly rushed back to open the car door for her.  The door stuck a little and in my eagerness to get it open before she arrived, I slipped a foot or two under the car.  I brushed off the mud, moved in beside her and away we drove toward the lake.  I was delirious with joy.  My heart was making more noise than the engine, and when she smiled at me I knew that, at last, I had found the girl of my dreams. 
     The car wasn't too well balanced, and even at slow speed it lurched around corners like a rolling drunk.  As we went around one corner, she tried to steady herself by placing her hand on the door.  What she didn't know was that this was the door with the electric button.  To my horror, the door flew open and the glamorous creature slid gracefully out of the car into a large, muddy puddle....I quickly backed up, almost running over her in my excitement, hopped out of the car and helped her to her feet.  Though she was wet and muddy, I recognized her immediately.  I tried to explain and apologize but all she said was, "Take me home, you bastard!" "

They don't make them like they used to, and this story proves that on a couple of levels.  It also makes me very glad that dating is a dim and distant memory.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Game of Logging Opportunities In Illinois!

You too, can make perfect stumps like this one, amazing friends and family!  Two chainsaw classes are coming up in Illinois; taught by Game of Logging instructor Joe Glenn.  One class will be in northwest Illinois on February 9-10 and March 19-20.  John Torbert is the contact person for this class; call him at Three-Zero-Nine Three Three Seven--Zero Eight Seven Nine.

The second class will be in Marion County, east of Forbes State Park, February 25-26 and March 11-12.  Tom Beyers is the contact; call him at: Six-One-Eight Two Six Seven-Eight Nine Zero Zero.

Cost for the class is $400.  I spoke to Tom Beyers last week, and he has only three empty slots available, so don't delay if you are interested.

Photos in slide show are from a GOL class held at Dixon Springs Ag Center in 2009.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Monday For Most

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Livery Stable Blues

peppopb uploaded this great jazz song for our gratification, and it is interesting to note that this is the first jazz recording made by Victor, way back in 1917.  Be careful; this one sticks in your head!

Notes from peppopb's post: Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was founded in New Orleans in 1916. Their first jazz recording is dated 1917. In late 1917 it changed the name's spelling to "Jazz."

L'ODJB first members were: Larry Shields (clarinet), Eddie Edwards (trombone), Henry Ragas (piano), Tony Sbarbaro (drums) e Nick LaRocca (cornet).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Magnum Shooters Supply; Now Open For Business!

Mr. Completely now has his online store open for business! Mr. C is starting out with a small product line of high quality necessities for recreational shooters, and I encourage everyone to click over to his store to look around.  Mr. Completely is serious about shooting well, and the products he stocks are all high quality items that will enhance your time at the shooting range.  Magnum Shooters Supply is now listed in my Resource section, over on the left side of the page, so you can find it easily any time you are visiting this blog.

Toopie Walks!

It's been a month and a half since Toopie was paralyzed by a stroke. He is improving rapidly, with obvious changes on a daily basis. He is now able to mark territory, walk, and go up short steps. He is also enjoying going out with other dogs again. He still has trouble with his front paws turning under, and he loses his balance and falls down frequently, but he is way ahead of our expectations.

Something Old, Something New

This beautifully restored Minneapolis is pulling on a Prony brake which is used for measuring the horsepower output of an engine.
 Nowadays, engines are hooked up to a dynamometer to measure the power output, but it hasn't been very many years since engines were hooked up with a flat belt instead of a power-takeoff shaft.
 The operator of the brake is adjusting the tension on the brake band to find the spot where the engine cannot maintain the running RPM.  At that point, calculations are made based on the pressure exerted on the scale, and the RPM of the engine.
But; no pencil pushing here to crunch the numbers.  The assistant is punching figures into a pocket calculator to give instant gratification to the engineer.  Oh well; pocket calculators have been around forty years now, so they are approaching antique status, too.
"you calculate the horsepower of the engine by measuring the braking force in pounds being applied at the end of the brake arm at the engine's stall point, multiplying that number by the circumference of the circle the end of the brake arm would describe if it were free to rotate, and by the RPM of the engine at the stall point. Then you divide that product by 33,000 to get the brake horsepower rating for that engine. The brake horsepower rating is equal to the maximum power the engine can put out."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crankin' It Up: So Long Oolong

Isham Jones Rainbo Orchestra recorded this great dance record in June, 1920.  The sax really heats up the wax on this one.  This record was well liked, and has been played many times in a former life.  There is a one inch long crack from the edge, so there is an annoying tick during the first part of the record.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Girl Named Frankie

On January 13, 1951, Mary Frances Housley was called to work, and on January 14 she became the Bravest Woman in America, going into a burning DC-4 eleven times to save passengers on her flight.  As Mackinlay Kantor wrote for the fifteenth anniversary of this tragedy, "and 11 times was just one time too many."  Frankie was "as brave a woman as ever breathed." Go read about this forgotten heroine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Know Your 800 Pound Gorilla, Part Two: Determining Tree Height

Foresters are usually more concerned about merchantable height in trees than the overall height, but if you are cutting trees down, you need to be able to determine how tall a tree is on a fairly regular basis.  You need this information in order to tell if a tree will fall short of things you do not want to hit, such as power lines and houses.  You also need to know the height to estimate whether you can handle the back lean and side lean of trees before you stick your saw in them.

A quick and fairly accurate method for height measurement is nothing more complicated than a stick in your hand for creating similar triangles.  Look at the diagram above, (Click on photo to enlarge.) and note that segment ab is the same length as segment bc.  Point a (A), is your eye, which must not move due to head bobbing during the measuring process.  If you set up your stick properly, the distance AB will be equal to distance BC.

Back away from the tree you wish to measure, tip your head back so your eyes can easily roll to the top of the tree, extend the arm which holds your stick, and place the top of the stick at the corner of one eye. 

 Bring the stick up to vertical, and sight over the top of your hand to the bottom of the tree. Holding your head still, roll your eye up to the top of the stick and compare it to the top of the tree. If the tree stands taller than the stick, it can reach you, so back up and re-measure. If the stick stands taller than the tree, move in closer. When the segment bc matches BC, you are the same distance from the tree as the top of the tree is from the ground.

 This is about how it looks as you move forward and back to adjust your measurement.

Next, you pace in to the tree to determine the height.  Pacing is the quick, easy way to measure distances and height while working in timber.  Briefly, a pace is two normal steps.  Foresters alway start with the left foot, and count each pace on the right foot.  Set up a measured course for determining your pace, and check yourself occasionally.  Biltmore sticks, which are made for measuring merchantable height in trees, are set up to be used at 66 feet from a tree, or one chain, so every forester knows how many paces he has per chain.  A course 100 feet long is also handy, and in much of the country, you can pace across twenty acres to go ten chains.

Hardwood trees usually have broad crowns, so the top center of the tree is often hard to spot.  You have to be careful not to measure to the edge of a broad crown, or the height will be exaggerated greatly.  Practice this a bit while the leaves are down to get a feel for it. 

Next time: Diameter measurement, and segments.
Link Back to Part 1

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lindbergh Newsreels and Photos

My uncle out in Las Vegas sends me links on a daily basis, and I look at every one of them.  He had a 27 year career in the US Air Force, so many of the things he sends me are military or aviation oriented.  This link, about Charles Lindbergh is well worth your time to visit. Click on "Contact" when the page comes up and begin on Part 1.  I read Lindbergh's book, "The Spirit of St. Louis" before I saw the movie starring Jimmy Stewart, so I was familiar with nearly everything shown, but the newsreel footage of the takeoff is still incredible to watch.  This site really does a great job of covering much of the important historical information about Lindbergh, his plane, and the flight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ruger's History of the Gun, Parts 10, and 11

Ruger finishes out this history series by looking at revolvers and semi-auto pistols.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

I Love My Baby, uploaded by Pax41, performed by Esther Walker, and Rube Bloom, January 1926.  A comment on this song says it is a "happy, snappy number."  That's for sure; it's a real upbeat song that leaves you feeling great.

UPDATE:  Pax41 just uploaded "You're The Cream In My Coffee" during the night, so let's make this post a double!  This selection was recorded by Annette Hanshaw in November, 1928.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Crankin' It Up

Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra recorded this hot little number on March 27, 1924. Look up Jean Goldkette and you will see that Joe Venuti was one of the many musicians who played with this orchestra. Joe is not listed on the label, but keep your ears sharp and you will hear this great jazz violinist do his part starting at 2:10.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Five Minutes To Better Shooting

 Danno and I had a brief conversation in the comments on his blog about improving one's shooting ability for Mr. Completely's e-Postal contests.  If you shoot a Ruger Single-Six, Blackhawk, or Super Blackhawk you can cut your trigger pull in half by installing an aftermarket trigger return spring.  I have Wolff springs in my Ruger revolvers, and Bea has them in hers, also.  They will give you trigger pull around 35 to 40 ounces, which makes hitting a tiny e-Postal sweet spot much easier. 

After you have your spring in hand, clear a small work space, unload your revolver, and gather your tools.  The tools you need for this task are:  a small screwdriver for removing the grips, a small pin or punch to push out the pin that goes through the trigger return spring, and a set of small pliers or needle noses.

I like to remove the cylinder when I am working on one of these guns so that it is obviously unloaded without having to repeatedly check the chambers every time I pick it up.  Replace the cylinder pin so the action can be cycled easily, without the transfer bar catching on the firing pin.

 The little pin in this photo has to be pushed out with your punch.  Set it aside in a safe place so you don't lose it.  Unhook the back end of the trigger return spring from the grooved pin at the back curve in the frame.
 Rotate the spring downward so it is parallel to the mainspring, and bring it out of the frame.  Insert your new spring.  You will need to watch through the pin-hole to see when the spring is lined up properly.  The mainspring spreads the trigger return spring so it tends to catch as you wiggle it in, and I like to stand the gun on its muzzle so I can get my fingers on both sides of the trigger return spring as I do this. 

Replace the pin, hook the back end of the spring over the grooved pin, and cycle the action.  Replace your grips, and the cylinder, then take it out to the range. 

Wolff springs can be purchased from Brownell's and Midway; both are supporters of the Gun Blogger Rendezvous.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Know Your 800 Pound Gorilla

We are going to tackle practical limits of lean and weight when you are dropping trees with a short series of posts.  These items are not understood very well by most weekend wood cutters, and even loggers get in trouble with lean and weight if they become complacent.  Reviewing your basic falling plan steps is recommended if you don't know them, and lean and weight evaluation will be added to your skills to improve your falling plans.  The first step in determining lean and weight of the tree you wish to cut is to look at the tree from the spot you want to drop it on.  The red maple in the above photo has a stem that is pretty well vertical, but you can see the crown is heavy on the left side.  As you look at your tree, extend your hands in front of you, and surround the crown with your index fingers and thumbs.  Mentally draw a vertical line down from your fingers and thumbs to the ground.  You will see that this tree is balanced about three feet to the left of the stem.  That is side lean from where you stand, and it is probably a safe amount that you can handle on this tree if you make a good hinge.

Now, look at the tree from a spot that is 90 degrees around the tree from your first spot, and determine if the tree is leaning, or heavy to your right or left.  You have now established quadrants for the tree, and you can safely say which quadrant the tree would fall into if the stem was severed with no hinge, and no wedges to guide it.  You also know now if you will need to use wedges to tip the tree in the direction you want it to fall.  Some will say this takes too much time, but these easy steps make each tree fall where you want it, and they save you from smashing saws, skidders, and other valuable items, such as houses.

In the YouTube video below, you can easily see a wedge cut out on one side of the stem.  Many people think that a tree will magically fall toward this cut, but the opening is actually made to allow a tree to rotate downward on the hinge you should have built right behind it.   There is nothing magical about this cut.  As you watch the video you will see the cutter severs all the wood holding the tree up, and it falls the way the lean and weight are directed.  At least no-one was hurt.

Balanced stems are rather special, and they MUST be pushed or pulled in the right direction, with a good hinge set up to guide them.  Simply cutting them loose turns them into unguided missiles, as this smokestack drop demonstrates.  After watching the video a few times, it appears to me that the explosives knocked out all the support except in one spot, and the stack fell away from that point.  Since I am a forester and not an engineer, I won't give my opinion on how this stack should have been set up to fall, but I do think that the guys who did this ought to spend some time in the woods with a good logger before they do another.

Parts Two and Three: 
  • Put It Where You Want It: Part Two
  • Put It Where You Want It: Part Three
  • Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Toopie Recovery Report

    Regular visitors will recall that our little Terrier dog, Toopie suffered a stroke in the early hours of December 1.  I thought that his doctor would put him down, because he was totally incapacitated.  The doctor kept him for a week, and we have been working with him since then.  Toopie could not stand on his own, but could stiffen his legs and stand with help when he came home from the vet.  We have been working his legs and he began crawling on his own.  He has started walking after a fashion during the last week, and his daily progress is surprising.  I don't think he will ever negotiate steps again, but if he continues to improve, he will be able to spend time outdoors with Jack and HeyJoe when spring arrives.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Ruger's History of the Gun, Parts 8, and 9

    Parts 8 and 9 of this historical series by Ruger cover breech loaders and repeating rifles.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Oh No! This New Year Has Mondays!

    Back To The Old Grind!

    Not My Victrola

    240252 posted this 1929 Brunswick version of the St. James Infirmary Blues, by George E Lee's Novelty Singing Orchesta. The history posted with this song from Wikipedia is interesting reading; the third time was the charm for this great song.

    "From Wikipedia:

    St James Infirmary -- American folksong, made famous by Louis Armstrong recording from 1928. (Many records credit it to Joe Primrose, which is a pseudonim of Irving Mills - agent and songwriter, probably an autor of an original arrangement).

    George E. Lee Singing Novelty Orchestra steadily grew in number and sophistication throughout all the 1920s. George and his sister Julia's showmanship and strong vocals made the band a hit with the audiences in the 18th and Vine area. In August, 1923, the six-piece Lee band recorded for the OKeh label, becoming the first African American band from Kansas City to record. Unfortunately, Okeh judged the result of the session unsatisfactory and declined to release the two selections, "Just Wait Until I'm gone" and "Waco Blues." Having missed an opportunity for national exposure, the Lee band continued playing the dance halls and cabarets in the 18th and Vine community.

    In November, 1929, the Lee band recorded six selections for the Brunswick label, including "St James Infirmary." Louis Armstrong had recorded an up-tempo version of "Saint James Infirmary" a year earlier, but it failed to catch on with the record-buying public. Lee's slower-tempo version better matched the solemn lyrics describing a gambler meditating on his own mortality while viewing his dead sweetheart's body in Saint James Infirmary. The record sold well locally, but Brunswick did not promote it nationally in the advent of the Great Depression. Cab Calloway's cover of Lee's version of "Saint James Infirmary," recorded the next year, created a national sensation."

    Here is a Betty Boop cartoon featuring Cab Calloway singing "St Jame's Infirmary Blues;" scoot the slider over to 4:10 to go right to the song. This video was posted by abadhiggins.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Happy New Year!

    From BBC after midnight in London:

    Weekend Steam: Engine Envy

    A great wintertime activity is spending time with your lathe and milling machine turning rough castings into machine parts. Most folks don't have the tools or the skills, but luckily for us, many who do share their handiwork on YouTube. This video is from LiveSteamMan.