Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Southern Illinois Storm Damage

We have had a few e-mails from blog friends to check on us since Harrisburg was hit by a tornado on Wednesday.  We live about thirty miles north of the damage, so we are OK.  The known death toll now is at six, with many more injured.  Click Here to see a brief report on WFIW Radio's news page, and Here for a photo album they have assembled. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Titan Engine Update From Gary Bahre

 Gary Writes:  "A few photos of the update's on the titan project, all is done that can be done till the castings return, yes we have compression."

I'm betting that we will see this one running at Pinckneyville in August.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monster Maul Demo

Ever since our recent post showing our log splitter, we have been seeing searches for Monster Mauls in our hit counter. We aim to please, so we broke out our old Sotz Monster Maul for a brief demonstration on black oak that we brought in this weekend. The trick to using a Monster Maul is to LIFT it, not swing it as you would an ax. We used this old maul for nearly thirty years, and there weren't very many chunks that it couldn't handle.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

You Can't Face Monday Without Cornbread

Back To The Old Grind!

Video by TheOldMillSquare 

Chuck Childers, Miller for The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, TN, gives a brief overview of how we still grind corn meal the old fashioned way, the kind you can't buy in your grocery store.

Not A Victrola

This old photo is my double-great-grandmother Lovilla, and my great-aunt Bessie, around 1917 or 1918.   Bessie married a photographer, so we have several photos from their courtship and early marriage.  Carl bought a Stroud Aeolian Duo-Art player piano for Bessie, and she kept it all of her life.  Back in 1970, I visited her in Burlington, Iowa, and made a few repairs to the player action so she could play it again.  One of her favorite songs was Sidewalks of New York, which is played in the video.  This song has always been a favorite of mine, too.  Funny thing; Aunt Bessie didn't like the song, Bye Bye Blackbird, and I find that every time it comes around on my MP3 player, I bump it to the next song.

Uploaded by mechanicmusic45 on Jun 16, 2010

An old standard on Vocalstyle roll #13391 as played by Osgood and Black in 1925. Written in 1894 by James W. Blake and Charles B. Lawlor.

Take a tour of a Duo Art player piano courtesy of Pianosyncrazy

Playing Misty for Y'all

Posted by pianomn199

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekend Steam: Oldies But Goodies

At Blists Hill victorian village, Ironbridge, there is a working replica of the first operational steam loco designed by Richard Trevithick in 1804, predating Stephensons 'Rocket' by some 25 yrs. Sadly it was very heavy and not reliable enough for its initial backers to continue with. Trevithick then continued to work on steam engines for the mines. By cjb12121.

0-2-2 Stephensons Rocket leaving the Avon Valley Railway; by 1235train.

Riding on the carriage behind Puffing Billy Replica at Tyseley 100 Celebration. Really fascinating to watch how it works.But the lads driving it were as sooty as a pair of chimney sweeps mucky job. By EMuckSteam.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crankin' It Up

Fiddle and Banjo by Bill Chitwood and Bud Landress. Late 1924 or early 1925.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Titan Engine Progress

Our friend Gary has been working on his Titan, and he just wrote to us and sent photos along so we could see how he is doing. "Just a little update on the Titan, the cylinder is back on the base the piston is also installed. The head is in Kentucky getting a new butterfly made it should  be back before long. All the small parts for the push rod are built, pins and roller; they control the decompression function for starting. The clutch is off the engine; several parts are still stuck on it. The wheels and drop center frame rails for the cart are out back waiting on nicer weather to build a cart. The parts that have to be recast have been sent off for casting, that part will take several months to turn around. After I have it running the way it should, a tear down, sand blasting and paint job will finish it. My friend in KC is building the water tank and fuel tank, that might be done by the time I see him in June. Gary"

The frame was made for Sears engines, which were made with a base that reached below the bottom of the flywheels.  Titans built for use on the farm were made on a short frame and mounted on a cart (See Photo Below); industrial engines were mounted on a sub-base (Like Gary's engine) for stationary mounting.

IHC without sub-base; on cart. (Mt. Pleasant, 1987)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let's Tip Another One

This tree is a post oak that was struck by lightning last year. It was an easy tree to set up, but it was weighted opposite to the direction we wanted it to fall. The wood was solid; there wasn't any side lean, so wedging over was no problem.  I made the front cuts, punched through to make a hinge, cut out half the back, set the orange wedge to hold the tree off the saw, completed the back cut, and we started pounding.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Serious Side of Jerry Clower

A little more than forty years ago I heard Jerry Clower for the first time on WHO out of DesMoines. He was telling his coon hunting story (Knock him out John!), and I was hooked on his stories right then.  Jerry Clower had a serious side, too, and I think this recording is one of his best.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ruger's Latest 1911 Videos With Dave Spaulding

I hadn't checked Ruger's YouTube channel for a while, and just found two new videos with Dave Spaulding that will sharpen you skills with your 1911.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Monday For Many

Back To The Really Old Grind! (Inside George Washington's grist mill.)

Video by xgeckomanx.

My Life, In Rags

Another great one by BachScholar.

Not My Victrola: Help For The Love-Worn

Uploaded by mechanicmusic45 on Feb 17, 2012
His Notes:
"This well known song was composed in 1911. The music was written by Nathaniel Davis Ayer and lyrics by Seymour Brown. It remained popular throughout the years of WWI and was part of the music played by the band on the "Titanic". It has been used in many different movies and even in some Looney Tunes cartoons such as "Hair-Raising Hare" This is a recut of a roll produced by Playrite music rolls. Enjoy some of the sounds of popular music from 100 years ago, as it might have been heard in someone's home. The piano is a 1923 Harrington player."

That was very nice, and Oh You Beautiful Doll is one of my favorite old-time songs. But before you start crooning this song to clinch the deal with your new girlfriend, have a listen to the next song.

Uploaded by MusicBoxBoy on May 16, 2009
His Notes:
"Here's another favorite Edison Disc from my collection. This is the Golden Gate Orchestra with Jack Kaufman on vocals. It's a delightful jazzy spoof indicating the plight of the fellows in the 1920's trying to figure out how to find ("Pick") a girl ("Chick") with all the ways that ladies had to disguise their age, "...gray haired Granny and Sister Sue...I can't tell 'em apart can you?". The phonograph is a very early Edison model A-250 with the button type start/stop and side cabinet sound vents usually found only on the earliest Edison Amberola cylinder Phonographs. I temporarily replaced (for better sound) the original reproducer with a rebuilt Edisonic reproducer in original nickel finish. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I always have."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekend Steam

Harryolnyx posted this great video of the world's largest operating triple expansion engine. His notes: "'The Biggest Operating Triple Steam Engine at Kempton'.

Kempton Park in the West of London is known for its horse races, but there is still another reason for a visit : Kempton Engine Trust, a former London waterwork pumping station with two giant triple steam engines, 62 ft from basement to top, one of them operating again.
The second engine is in restoration and you can, because of its partially disassembled state, understand perfectly - if you want to - each detail of the working one.
See .
It was interesting, to see the starting procedure of the big triple similar to a combustion engine with a kind of starter motor - in this case a small two-cylinder steam engine. That 'barring engine' is used to move the pistons of the triple into the correct starting position.
The big one is a triple expansion engine, that means that the admitted steam is used three times, each time with lower pressure and bigger piston diameter.(The resulting force is the product of steam pressure times piston area and must be the same for all of the three cylinders).
Well, I can give you an absolute recommendation for a guided tour - you'll get perfect explanations of any questions by real experts.
Enjoy and thanks for watching!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Name That Motor!

 This little homebuilt gem resides in the Orchardville fire house, and is used for parades and odd jobs.  When I first saw it, I asked the chief if it was a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ motor, and he had to know how I would know that.
Before small and medium tractors were common, home craftsmen would build their own using one of these small four cylinder engines, and I have seen others like this tractor being used to plow snow and performing garden chores.  I've been looking at old junk for a long time, I guess.  Leave your best guess in comments, and I will post the answer in comments Thursday night.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

You just scratched down the chimney and the stove still smokes in when you feed it; nothin' to do but pull the stove pipes and clean them out.  Holy Cow, that's gnarly!  We have been burning lots of leftover pieces of wood this winter to clean out the corner of the barn, and it appears that white pine scraps aren't worth feeding to the stove.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tipping Point

I cut several snags last week, and they can require a lot of wedging if the crown is unbalanced because of limbs having dropped.  This one was pretty neat to watch because we reached a balancing point, then had to add another wedge.  I think I could have pushed it over with one finger at that point; watch and see what happens.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monday Morning Blues?

Courtesy of Bartholden.

My Life, In Rags

Another great one by BachScholar.

Not My Victrola: Harry Reser's Banjo Crackerjacks

Harry recorded Fair and Warmer in 1928. Posted by EdmundusRex.
His notes: "Harry F. Reser (Jan.17,1896 - Sept.27,1965) was an American banjo player and bandleader. Born in Piqua, Ohio, Reser was best known as the leader of The Clicquot Club Eskimos.

Reser was regarded by some as the best banjoist of the 1920s. He played with midwestern dance bands, relocating to Buffalo, New York in 1920. Arriving in Manhattan the following year, he became an in-demand session musician during the early 1920s.

In 1925, he found fame as the director for NBC's Clicquot Club Eskimo Orchestra, continuing with that weekly half-hour until 1935. At the same time, he also led other bands using pseudonyms. "Harry Reser and His Six Jumping Jacks," with vocals by Tom Stacks, were the zany forerunners to comedy bands like Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Harry Reser played "Tiger Rag" and "You Hit the Spot" in the Vitaphone musical short Harry Reser and His Eskimos (1936).

Reser remained active in music for the rest of his life, leading TV studio orchestras and playing with Broadway theatre orchestras. In 1960 he appeared with Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee and Buster Keaton in "A 70th Birthday Salute to Paul Whiteman" on TV's The Revlon Revue. He wrote several instructional books for the banjo, guitar, and ukulele.

In 1965 Reser died of a heart attack in the orchestra pit of the Broadway stage version of Fiddler on the Roof just prior to a performance. He was inducted into the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame in 1999."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Steam

The current issue of Engineers and Engines Magazine arrived a few days ago,  with this gorgeous Nott Steam Fire engine adorning the cover.  This engine is a 1909 model, and it was married to a 1919 American LaFrance two wheel tractor in 1934.  The rig belongs to the East Hampton Fire Departmenti in Long Island, New York, and was on display at the Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association's 61st annual reunion at Kinzers, Pa.

I first subscribed to E & E more than forty-five years ago, and it is better than ever today.  Brenda Stant, Editor and Publisher produces this bi-monthly magazine from her office on her family farm near Bethlehem, MD, and has just recently changed printers for a huge upgrade in printing quality and better use of color.

Engineers and Engines covers steam, gas engines and tractors, railroads, and farm machinery with historical articles, show reports, articles by subscribers, ads for engine shows, and classified ads for anything engine related.

Click one of the links to visit the E & E website, and click the What's Inside button for a sample of what you are missing if you are not a subscriber.  While you are visiting, click the Subscribe Button to have E & E delivered to your mailbox.

True Blue Sam is a hobby blog, and I do not accept pay for advertising.  This plug for Engineers and Engines is posted here just to spread the word about a great little American made magazine.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Crankin' It Up

Eubie Blake and His Shuffle Along Orchestra recorded this gem by Sissle and Blake on July 15, 1921.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One That Will Make You Nervous

This black oak snag was in a high traffic area, and I was asked to drop it. I turned it down at first, but on a return visit I looked it over again and decided to give it a shot. I was able to set up a hinging point on both sides, but figured that the right side would fail, letting the tree come down uncontrolled. Both hinge points worked long enough to guide the tree, and it didn't come down around my ears. Watch the dust fly as the cuts are made. There wasn't much good wood to work with.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Get Your Kitty On Again!

Eric has announced that he is going to do another run of his Kalashnikitty shirts!  The deadline to order is March 4, so click over to The Smallest Minority to read all about it.  True Blue Sam is not involved with the manufacture or sale of these shirts, but I do enjoy wearing mine, and promoting responsible gun ownership.  Click here to see more folks with their kitty shirts.

Gas And Brass

This little lesson was picked up at the shooting range last fall during the Gun Blogger Rendezvous.  I hope the shooter who lit it off was wearing safety glasses.   This case is a .40 S&W, evidently fired off in a .45 Auto.  One of the topics I remember from my first gun safety class fifty years ago was matching the correct ammo to your firearm.  The instructor then told of the danger of blowing up a 12 gauge by blocking the barrel with a 20 gauge shell, but there are other combinations that can mess up your day or your guns.  A relative gave me an old 16 gauge single shot shotgun several years ago, and cautioned me that it would pop open if I shot it.  I checked it over and couldn't find any problems, then I sorted through the shells he gave me with the gun.  Mixed in with his 16 gauge shells were several 20 gauge shells, which wouldn't drop down the barrel as they would in a 12 gauge gun, but gas could sure blow back around them when they were fired.  He was lucky he still had both of his eyes.

I saw a comment on one of the gun forums that one of the reader/commenters was shooting .22 Long Rifle ammo in a .22 Magnum revolver cylinder, which is guaranteed to give you gas and brass problems.  The possibilities aren't endless, but I am sure there are many other combinations a shooter could find to get hurt with the wrong ammo.  Anyhow, pay close attention to your ammo, and be careful out there.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

His Ramblin' Days Are Over

We have been working on taming Rambler for a year, and recently he became comfortable enough with me that I could pick him up to pet him.  One night I put on the welding gloves, brought Rambler in and put him in a pet carrier.  (That last part took only about half an hour, and we were astounded at Rambler's wall climbing abilities.)  Two days later he was home from the vet, and calm as could be, lying in my lap and purring away.  This has been our experience with all the feral toms that we have been able to catch, but it never ceases to amaze me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hundreds And Hundreds Of Little Fire Lines

The landowner you see here purchased this white oak forest more than thirty five years ago, and careful thinning over the years has made it one of the highest quality stands of white oak you will ever see.  He is planning to have a major harvest in about ten years, and has begun a burn program to stimulate natural regeneration before the trees are sold.  His first burn was three years ago, and I am finding new oak seedlings in the understory; that is gratifying. 

We will be doing another burn this spring, and just like last time, preparation is being done in advance to protect all of the crop trees from fire damage.  This would be difficult with a rake, but with a blower the work progresses easily.  Stay tuned this spring for the fire photos.

Twenty seconds of video would have been enough to show you how this is done, but I was having fun with a new video camera, resulting in over seven minutes of the same thing over and over again.  My new camera shoots high definition video, and I was surprised by the upload time to YouTube.  This video took THIRTEEN hours to send out over our rusty wire.  I probably should figure out how to adjust the settings on my new toy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Steam: Steam Schools In Iowa, Coming Right Up!

Our steam friend Barb has let us know that steam traction engine classes are being offered again this year in Iowa.  Heritage Park of Northern Iowa is hosting their class on May 19 and 20 for the very low cost of $30, which includes a breakfast, lunch and refreshments.  Click Here to visit their website for contact information, and to sign up online.

Old Threshers at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa is hosting their steam class on two weekends this year.  The sessions are on April 28 and 29; and on May 5 and 6.  Old Threshers does not have a site for you to sign up online, but you can call  (Three One Nine) Three Eight Five-Eight Nine Three Seven for information and to reserve a spot for yourself.

These photos and video are from the Old Threshers steam school in April 2009.

Thanks for the note, Barb!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Crankin' It Up

Last week we reposted "I Ain't Got Nobody," recorded by the great George H. O'Connor. (Troubador To The Presidents) This week we finally got around to recording the flip side of this record from 1917; "Everybody's Got The Doggone Blues But I'm Happy."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Are You Ready To Try Rafting?

 We used to canoe, and traveled all over to take family float trips with our college friends.  We started planning for a trip out west in 1995, and one of our crew wanted us to find a place to rent canoes so he wouldn't have to carry one on his rooftop across the country.  We finally learned ( I think from someone in a Forest Service office.) that the Wallowa and Grand Ronde rivers aren't canoe trips; they are rafting rivers.  We found TRT rentals in Elgin, and soon had arrangements made for our group to rent  rafts, and for vehicle shuttling.  When you call the Forest Service or BLM offices, ask them if they can provide a list of outfitters so you have a selection to choose from.
 Paddle rafts carried most of our group, and we had a couple cargo rafts to carry the camping gear.  The Wallowa and Grand Ronde are white water rivers, and are too rough for loaded, open canoes, but they are easy to navigate in a raft, and are a good transition for folks who want more excitement than they would have on a flat water canoe float.  The paddle rafts require coordinated paddling from all the occupants, and I preferred to be in charge of a cargo raft.  Most of the maneuvering in the cargo rafts is done by back paddling and cross ferrying to position your craft and miss obstacles and rough spots.

 Most of the camping along these rivers is in high desert, and you will need to bring a stove for cooking rather than building campfires.  Here we see Susan whomping up one of her great river meals.

 Desert...think rattlesnakes, all the time onshore.  We saw rattlesnakes at every spot we occupied, but they were little, timid snakes that would move away if you gave them a chance.  We didn't move about much after dark, and always used a good flashlight.  Tent doors were religiously zipped shut to keep the little buggers outside where they belonged.
 We did have Douglas-fir timber at some of our stops, and they sure do smell good to Midwest forester.  You can check out information on this trip on a BLM website, and also on a Forest Service page.
 Get a load of that video camera!  Susan shot a lot of footage over the years with this camera, and it sure is nice to have cameras today that use SD cards.

When you read about this trip you will learn about the Narrows.  This spot is near the end of your trip, and the river chokes down from nearly 300 feet to 50 feet, so it is a bit like being shot out of a hose.  The cargo rafts are easy to center up for shooting this spot, but one of the paddle rafts in our group got off center, and was flipped.  You will have many miles to practice before this little challenge, and you can find several videos of it on YouTube so you will know how it looks beforehand.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Hot Is Your Mag?

Spark intensifiers are a rare item; this one is installed on a 7 HP D.T.Bohon engine. It's the first one that I have seen, and it can keep an engine running when the sparkplug would fail to fire from wear or fouling. I have made engines run on all cylinders by pulling the spark plug boot back until I could hear a spark jump, and most shade tree mechanics seem to know that trick.