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.