Monday, January 30, 2012

Mystery Gadget Quiz

 Here's a little item that most people have probably never seen up close before.  Gary Bahre had it hooked up to an air line in his engine shed, and that is probably way too big a hint about how it was used.

The answer will go up in Comments Monday night.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Time Flew; I Guess We Were Having Fun

Back To The Old Grind!

Oil Those Pedals, Adam! The Charleston On A Player Piano

AdamGSwanson pumps out a great roll of The Charleston!  He needs a little 3 In One on the pedals, though.

Not My Victrola

VictrolaMan posted this timely song just a few days ago, on Burns Day; just in time for our annual Groundhog Day celebration.  VictrolaMan's notes: "
Uploaded by on Jan 25, 2012
Here is Edison Recording Artist, Bob Roberts singing the "Woodchuck Song" which begs the question: "How much wood could a Woodchuck chuck, if a Woodchuck could chuck wood?" . The Song, composed by Davis & Morse, was originally introduced in the 1903 Broadway Production of "The Runaways" by Vaudeville performer, and Stage Actress and Singer Fay Templeton. The record is an early 1904 Edison two minute black wax Gold Moulded cylinder, and the Edison Phonograph is a 1910 Edison Model 1A Amberola, the very first internal horn Edison Phonograph, which was first shipped to dealers in February of 1910. The 1A was the only Edison Amberola that was capable of playing both the early two minute Black Wax Cylinders as well as the new Edison 4 minute Amberol black wax cylinder records that were first produced in 1909."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Steam

CutterMedia posted this work of art. Their writeup:  "This is an accurate 1/16 scale operating model of the engine which powered the Civil War Ironclad USS Monitor. It was invented and built by John Ericsson in 1861 and was extremely compact for it's 300  horsepower at that time. Only one engine was ever built exactly as displayed, and it was retrieved from the ocean floor by the US Navy in 2001, and resides in the Mariners Museum ,Newport News VA, for conservation work. The model required over 3000 hours to build and all pieces including fittings and fasteners were
made from scratch ."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Crankin' It Up

Tonight, a recycled old record. We came home late, and don't have time to wind up the old Brunswick. George O'Connor was a great performer before microphones, and "I Ain't Got Nobody" is a classic that is still performed by musicians today.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recent Products From Ruger

Ruger keeps on introducing new models, and their catalog has guns for just about every need.  Last year they came out with a ten shot version of their Single-Six, an eight shot .22 caliber SP101, a five shot .357 SP101 (both with fully adjustable sights), and their polymer frame LCR in .22 Long Rifle.  You have to check their website on a regular basis to keep up with all the new products.  One of their latest introductions is the SR22 Pistol, which I first saw reviewed by Jeff Quinn on  There are people commenting online about this new pistol being awfully similar to the Walther P22, but if you read Jeff's review, you will see that it has some important differences from the P22.  Walther's little .22 has a reputation for being finicky about the ammo you feed it, and my experience is in line with that.  The P22 does run well on high quality, plated ammo, but the review on Gunblast showed that Ruger's SR22 will run well on most ammo you put in it.  The Walther has a slide that is made of a zinc alloy, and the word on the Internet is that it is subject to failure.  If you are using it as a defensive pistol that is a problem.  The new Ruger's slide is made from aluminum alloy, and I expect that durability will not be an issue.  The SR22 has a hammer drop safety, so it can be safely decocked.  The Walther's hammer must be thumbed down, which can lead to unintentional discharges. 

Hickok45 just posted his own review of the SR22 Pistol, and he also found that it runs well on many brands of ammo.  This gun looks like it can fill both recreational and defensive roles.  If you are in the market for a .22 pistol, give these reviews a look.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Birthday of Burns

Scotch Drink

Gie him strong drink, until he wink,
That's sinking in despair;
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's pressed with grief an' care:
There let him bouse, an' deep carouse,
Wi bumpers flowing o'er.
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
An' minds his griefs no more.
                       Solomon's Proverbs, XXXI 6,7

John Barleycorn, A Ballad

There was three Kings into the east,
Three Kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough'd him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris'd them all.

The sultry suns of summer came,
And he grew thick and strong,
His head weel arm'd wi'pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending  joints and drooping head
Show'd he began to fail.

His colour sicken'd more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To shew their deadly rage.

They've ta'en a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell'd him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turn'd him o'er and o'er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim,
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe,
And still , as signs of life appear'd,
They toss'd him to and fro.

They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us'd him worst of all,
For he crush'd him betwen two stones.

And they hae ta'en his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise;

'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'Twill heighten all his joy:
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
Tho' the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rest In Peace, Ken

 Ken Powers of East Point, Kentucky died at his home January 23, 2012 after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease.  Ken was one of of my roommates at Mizzou, and worked in eastern Kentucky for the Kentucky Division of Forestry, and later in mine reclamation.  Ken was a farm boy from Chanute, Kansas, who really loved the outdoors and working with timber.

 Ken was a pretty sharp guy, and you couldn't get anything past him.  One of our other roommates and I cooked up a batch of chili for supper. We didn't have any hamburger, but we did load it up good with mushrooms and beans.  When Ken came in he went straight to the stove, lifted the lid on the Dutch oven and loudly proclaimed "Where's the meat?!" 

 Ken is the third guy from the left in this photo of our crew on the Continental Divide.  This was the Barker Creek Fire near Anaconda, Montana in 1979. 

Ken adds a little water as we cool down the fire line just below the timberline. 

Ken is survived by his wife, Misty, her daughter, and brothers in Kansas and Oklahoma. 

Fire photo credit: Mike Skinner, KDF

Trimming Down

 The Mrs. and I have been accumulating things for many years, and the realization recently hit us that we can't get to all of our projects in our lifetime.  Our friend Gary Bahre has been stopping by for several years to admire our engine accumulation, and he is a darn good old iron restorer.  We called him recently to see if he needed more projects, and in a few days he showed up with a trailer, and his friend Jim Phillips, who also does fine restorations.
We got the business out of the way pretty quickly over a few cups of coffee, and then we got down to loading the trailer.  Mrs. TBS was mighty surprised by my ability to find all of the parts that came with the big old brutes.  Gary made it back to his shop before dark without any trouble along the road.

One of the engine parts, the ignitor trip rod for the IHC Titan, was still in Kentucky where we picked up that engine, and we had that shipped to us.  We took it over to Gary's shop, which gave us the opportunity to see his collection, and some of his restoration work.  This photo shows the ignitor points (bead-blasted) out of the Titan, and they show almost no wear at all.  Evidently, the Titan didn't work very much in its youth.  The piston, cylinder, and rings all show very little wear.

 Gary recently completed restoring this 1906 IHC Famous; in fact, the tank hasn't even had gasoline in it.  It has been run on ether, just to make sure it all works.

 Back to the Titan; Gary has cleaned it up and inventoried all of its needs.  He is having some missing parts cast in a foundry over in Missouri, so it will be a while before this engine is running.  He located a replacement for the exhaust valve push rod, and a rebuilt magneto.

 When the ignitor trip rod arrived, I thought it was bent, but left the kink in it for Gary to fix.  When I told him about it, he said "It's not bent."  and then he showed me how it fits on the engine.

Boy am I glad I left well enough alone.  We will be checking in on our old treasures occasionally, and will keep you all posted on Gary's progress .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Works For Chicken Feed

Back To The Old Grind!

My Life, In Rags

Scott Joplin's Ragtime Dance, performed by BachScholar.

It has been nearly forty years since the Mrs. and I met in college.  Early in our dating, I had her over to the apartment I shared with four roommates.  The first thing she heard from them was "Wait until you hear the kind of music he listens to!"  They were referring to Joshua Rifkin's recordings of rags by Scott Joplin.  That turned out to be a good thing since she liked them, too.  All these years later we are still listening to that music, most recently as performed by the BachScholar on YouTube.

Not My Victrola

Gene Austin, "She's Funny That Way", 1928.
Upload by BSGS98.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekend Steam

This ad from the May 1924 issue of The American Thresherman magazine shows us a glimpse of an important and little remembered industry. On a related note, pulley advertisements are also scattered through these old magazines. All that horsepower produced by steam engines had to be moved to the machines they ran, and flat belts were the method. An interesting thing I have noticed is how horse-power sweeps used tumbling rods to run threshers and other machines. They are the equivalent of power take off shafts today, but they were not used on steam engines when they came into common use. I guess one reason belts were used for threshing was to lessen the fire hazard of a steam engine near a straw stack; but it is odd to think that horses spun power take off shafts long before they reappeared on gasoline powered tractors.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2" X 4" Kit

Kentucky coffetree seedpods have been falling, and we picked some up for a fellow blogger who wants to add coffeetree to his new forest.  The seeds are inside these thick-walled pods with a jelly surrounding them, much like honeylocust seedpods.  The seeds need to be kept cool after they come out of the pods.  Let them dry out, and the hard seed coat will shrink and split.  We left jelly on most of the seeds, and sealed them in sandwich bags so they should be OK in the mail.

Tall timber, coming right up!  These will be mailed to Stranded today, and he can figure on cutting lumber from them in about forty years.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Made In...

My friend Troy retired last year from his law enforcement job, and he has been keeping busy hunting, babysitting for his grandkids, and transporting veterans to the V.A. hospital at Marion, Illinois.  He was wearing this hat the last time he stopped in to visit, and I took that opportunity to have him tell about the fight where he won his Silver Star.

He and a buddy jumped out of a helicopter so they could rescue two helicopter crewmen who had crashed and were surrounded by enemy.  Troy landed successfully, but his buddy broke a leg when he hit the ground.  So...Troy fought his way to the crashed helicopter, fought his way out while carrying one man, threw him into a helicopter, then did the same trip again for the second crewman.  Then he had to rescue his buddy with the broken leg and throw him into a chopper.  The chopper couldn't set down during these rescues, and Troy flew out of there hanging onto a helicopter skid with one leg and one arm.  When he finished retelling all this for me, Troy handed me the hat and said, "Look at where this thing was made!"


Monday, January 16, 2012

Stumbled Upon This The Other Day...

 This old Ford was a pleasant surprise the other day while I was looking at timber.  This spot used to be a homesite, and once again, walnut trees were the giveaway as I got close.  The only other clues at this spot were a couple of fence posts and an old rusty hog feeder.

I reached for my camera and realized that it was in my truck, but I did have my cell phone with me to take up the photographic slack.  I gave the old truck a quick once-over, and it appears that one headlight rim, the grill, a few engine parts and the rear end might be of use to a restorer.  Send an e-mail if you  need a part off this truck and I will contact the owner for you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Need Of Renewal This Week?

Back To The Old Grind!  With A Brand New Grinder!

Click Here to see C. S. Bell's website, where you can shop for a mill to fit your needs!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Not My Victrola: Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave To Me

Ted Lewis really lets loose with his clarinet on this old masterpiece.   Critics still make disparaging comments about the clarinet playing of Ted Lewis, but it always makes me smile.  This record was posted by CylinderPhonograph.

Weekend Steam

Click on the pic to enlarge; from the April 1922 American Thresherman and Farm Power magazine.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crankin' It Up

Ted Lewis lets a saxophone take the lead on this oldie. 2/25/1921

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Long Ago And Far Away

We were digging through some old photos recently and found this nice shot of Mrs. True Blue Sam, our Skips, Merky and Cracker, and an abandoned Pattin Brothers Spence oilfield engine somewhere near Oil Springs, Kentucky. One of our Eastern Kentucky friends revisited this engine, and it had been buried during road maintenance. Oh Well, that makes the remaining engines more valuable, I guess.

UPDATE! ASM826 of Random Acts Of Patriotism took pity on my faded photograph, fixed it up and e-mailed it back. Looks just like 1978! Many thanks!

The video below is Tom Geier's Spence engine, courtesy of PileOfIron.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dave Spaulding Is Back For Another SR1911 Training Session!

Ruger's notes: "Dave Spaulding is back again, this time with the Ruger SR1911™, to show some basic training tips designed to enhance your skills with the Ruger SR1911. In this episode Dave explains how the superior ergonomics of the 1911 evolved and how to use them to the shooters advantage."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our Plumber Is A Nice Man

 We had some plumbing issues come up that we couldn't handle ourselves, and had to have a plumber come in to do the heavy lifting for us.  This outfit came highly recommended, and they knocked out the work quickly and neatly.  The Mrs. took some photos while they worked so I could see what they had to do.

I  had to ask what this fellow was doing down at the pond.  While they were digging out the problems in the back yard, one of the guys spotted a hibernating frog in the mud.  Work stopped for a minute so they could rescue the little critter and move it to the pond.  Nice guys!  I hope the bookkeeper is this nice when the bill is added up.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gas Engine Show Prep

Photo Credit: Jim Phillips

Before you load up that Minneapolis to go to a show it will need 14 gallons of:
A. Fuel
B. Motor Oil
C. Coolant
D. Paint

Answer in comments.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Work Three Times As Hard This Week!

Back To The Old Grind!

(This mill has three sets of burrs, and was used to produce corn meal.)

My Life, In Rags

The Great Crush Collision March, by Scott Joplin.

From The writeup on YouTube: CORY HALL (b. 1963) is a retired concert artist, college professor, and church organist who currently devotes his time to making YouTube videos and composing. He wishes to inspire and offer advice to aspiring pianists and musicians worldwide via videos with his thought-provoking performances and tutorials. An independent scholar as well as performer, Hall holds graduate degrees in piano and historical musicology from The Eastman School of Music and The University of Kansas. BachScholar™ website:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Weekend Steam

The March 1922 American Thresherman magazine provided this pleasant threshing scene.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crankin' It Up

Ted Lewis recorded this little fox trot on Feb 15, 1921.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Basic Falling Cuts Review

Winter is a great time to be in the woods, and lots of people are out working up firewood during the weekends now. It's a good time to review the basic cuts you need to drop a tree where you want it. This tree is a black oak snag, with very little top left, and pretty well balanced. We made a high stump because there was some rot down low, and I wanted to work in solid wood. The stump height is more important on sawlogs, where a tall stump represents dollars left behind in the woods. I like to cut stumps off as close to the ground as possible when I work up a tree, so the tractor and cart can roll over them with no problem.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Have You Been Watching The Moonshiners?

 We've been enjoying the show about moonshining on the Discovery Channel, and we have fun spotting bogosity in the well produced depiction of the way moonshiners might work.  One of the sad truths about real moonshining is that much of it is made primarily with sugar.  The corn in the mix does little more than provide a little flavor, and that type of whiskey isn't what moonshining used to be.  Not so many year ago, moonshiners would soak their corn, let it sprout, dry it, then take the malted corn to a mill and have it cracked before they mixed their mash.  The enzymes produced in the sprouted corn converted the corn starch to sugar, and that produced the alcohol, instead of cane sugar in poorly crafted illegal whiskey.  I bought this burr mill many years ago from the miller who ran it near Martin, Kentucky, and I asked him whether his mill had ground malted corn; and YES it did!  (The red Sears engine in the background ran this mill.)

 Just about every major creek in Appalachia had a place to have corn ground, so folks could have their daily bread.  Most folks didn't have much money, so the miller would take a toll, typically about 1/10 of the corn to pay for milling.  Malted corn couldn't be sold to corn-less customers, so millers simply remembered how much was ground for moonshining, and took the toll later, of unmalted corn from the same customer.  This engine was on a remote creek in Pike County, and it's mill, barely visible in the background of the last photo, undoubtedly ground malted corn, too.

 D.T. Bohon is a pretty rare label on gas engines, and we tried to purchase this engine on several occasions.

We drove up to look at it one day, and it was gone.  I hope it went to a collector, and not a scrapper.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Let's Review The Basic Falling Cuts

Dropping a black oak snag. The cuts are shown in order at the beginning.

There was rot down low, and I wanted to stay in solid wood. A low stump isn't all that important when the whole tree is going into firewood.

DavidN23Skidoo 14 hours ago

What is with the incredibly high stump?

Sure Beats A Monster Maul

Click Here to watch a Monster Maul in action.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dave Spaulding Shows Us How To Grip Your Pistol Effectively

"Dave Spaulding is back again, this time with the Ruger SR1911™, to show some basic training tips designed to enhance your skills with the Ruger SR1911. In this episode Dave discusses where to position your hands to best take advantage of the classic 1911 ergonomics." Courtesy of RugerFirearms.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year Of Mondays

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Uploaded by bsgs98 on Dec 5, 2011

Unfortunate Blues
Words and music by Henry Winston and Fred Ham
Ted Lewis and His Band
Recorded Dec. 4, 1923, Chicago
Columbia 48-D

Walter Kahn, Dave Klein - cornets
Harry Raderman - trombone
Ted Lewis - clarinet, director
Dick Reynolds - piano
Harry Barth - tuba
John Lucas - drums

Ted Lewis was born June 6, 1892 in Circleville Ohio. With his brother Edgar, he played in a local boys' band. Ted organized his own band in 1910. In 1916 he went to New York, worked at the College Arms Cabaret before joining Earl Fuller's Band. During this time he also toured in vaudeville. In 1917 he formed his first professional band. In the mid 1920s he had his own night club and appeared there often. His career spanned more than 60 years. He worked mostly as a band leader, featured on clarinet and vocals, sang in a lazy, half-talking style that earned the title "The High-Hat Tragedian of Song." His famed trademark was the battered top hat and catch-phrase "Is Everybody happy?" During his career he employed many famous jazz musicians including: Harry Raderman, George Brunis, Don Murray, Muggsie Spanier, and Jimmy Dorsey. His recordings in the 1930s often featured outstanding personnel such as Benny Goodman and Fats Waller. In the 1930s and 1940s, he led larger sweet-styled bands, and toured with his own show in the 1950s. His last major engagement was at New York's Latin Quarter in 1965. He appeared on TV several times in his later years. Ted died in New York on August 25, 1971.