Teaching An Old Dog Some New Tricks

I have a friend who I believe can do everything when it comes to working with metal.

I’m not joking.

He is wicked smart and has an eye for detail that blows my mind.

Scotty and I work together and he has slowly but surely been trying to teach my stupid old ass some of the seemingly endless skills he has once in a while when we actually have a slow night. For a long time it was just the two of us on our shift but we have been getting another guy that comes in a few hours after we start to close a hole in the coverage.

Having a slow day doesn’t happen very often. We usually have more than enough on our plates to keep us completely occupied.

Once in a while though, everything is running as it should and there are just a few calls on the radio to look at something.

Some things I can pick up on, other things cause me to stare blankly off into space because my mind can’t seem to grasp them. I can be a bit dense some times and if there is Teh Maths involved you can pretty much count me out.

But God bless him, he keeps trying.

There was a bit of a lull last night and we dug out a hunk of scrap Stainless Steel bar.

I whacked a piece off, cleaned up the burrs and off to the lathe we went.

It a 13X40 and is a nice piece of equipment.

Quite a bit later and quite a few interruptions with calls on the radio later, he guided me through a bunch of steps and talked me through the process of turning threads.

It didn’t turn out too bad at all if I gotta say so myself.


Quite proud of myself I are actually and not bad for a first try.

5/8 X 11 threads. with a nice fit. Stainless friggin’ Steel too mind you.

Scotty is a good teacher.

I kept thinking of two other people while I was doing that piece also, STxAR and Irish.

Both of who have given me inspiration.

STxAR over at Budget Machining also sent me a shit load of tools and goodies last year.

Out of his own pocket.

I use them too.

He has been going through some real rough times and smacked the side of his head requiring a bunch of stitches the other day on top of everything else.

Stop on by and offer up a little prayer and some words of encouragement for the guy.

He is a very nice feller.

In other news, our Wayward Son Cederq finally got all his shit hauled across several states without winding up in a ditch and arrived in Idaho yesterday, only to find out his place isn’t ready to move into yet.

Thankfully he drug his 19 foot travel trailer, with a utility trailer behind that, and has a roof over his head until that gets straightened out. He sounded pretty wore out.

I’ll bet he is.

I have another fucking project I am working on I am trying to get finished that is for my Brother and am going to get off of this laptop and get after. It’s a beautiful day outside.

Oh, that reminds me, has anyone else noticed a very decided uptick in traffic lately?

I’m talking WAY more cars on the road yesterday than there has been since this Kung Fluey Lockdown bullshit started.

Little by little I have noticed the amount of cars going up.

As my buddy said, people gotta eat.

Anyways, thanks fer stopping by and if ya can’t be good, stay sanitary at least.


29 thoughts on “Teaching An Old Dog Some New Tricks

  1. Way more traffic today in the Kitsap area- Lowes was full of cars. People are getting tired of being cooped up on a nice day, about half are wearing masks now.


  2. Machinists and welders are the true artisans in the industrial arts. My best friend
    and coworker was a field foreman who always requested me for any job he was
    given. He was also my mentor. If you want to learn how to hand hone a 36-inch
    cylinder to .ooo5″ tolerance by feel, he was the best teacher you could find. His
    family disowned him because halfway through journalism school, he dropped out
    and embraced the biker culture.

    He was building choppers in his living room back in the 70s. I missed Jim when I
    when I hired in at a nonunion Millwright service company he had just left. I then
    moved on to a union Millwright company where I first met him (or so I thought.)
    We both ended up as maintenance mechanics at a paper mill. After he died, I
    was fucking gobsmacked to discover that I met him ten years earlier where
    I complimented him on his old school chopper at a local air compressor shop
    where he worked.

    When the number one machine was shut down at the paper mill, Jim, another
    guy and I were spared from the layoffs to demo the old machine. Here is the
    best biker story ever told:

    Jim wanted a wider piece of rubber on the ass end of his bike. Using a cutoff
    wheel he slit the rear fender down the middle, formed and welded an insert
    and ground, sanded and polished it to perfection. This fender (once painted
    and installed) was the basis of a world-class gag. He had a local upholstery
    company fabricate a rectangular bitch seat that was fastened by Velcro
    patches to the fender. He would park the bike at a local bar and remove
    the rear seat and stick in the frame. Whenever a woman wanted to go
    for a ride, he would take her out back and when she saw the Velcro patch,
    she would always say “How can I sit on that?” Jim’s reply was always
    “take off your panties!”

    I have his newest ride in my workshop which I hope to restore. Here is
    a photo of his brother with the notorious bike:


    Liked by 2 people

  3. I graduated HS in ’79 in a rural farming community. Half of my junior and senior year the agriculture class included metal shop. We had a Rockwell mill and Ingersoll metal lath in addition to mig, tig, and a stick welder. All of this was donated from the rial road when the shops upgraded their equipment.

    My uncle who worked at the RR taught me to stick weld. I learned the basics of mig and tig. I was also introduced to the lathe and mill. I have had few opportunities to use these skills as I went a different direction. The ability to turn a piece of metal and cut threads is a great feeling. Too bad I have forgotten how.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. SS is actually softer than low carbon steel. Dents more easily.
    It is soft and gummy. (300 series). It work hardens if feedrate is too low. Tough though. When you cut it, it doesn’t want to let go of itself
    Get your rpm right, then you can show it who’s the boss with your feedrate


  5. Some men work with metal. Others with wood. Some with the new composites and plastics. I do all three… BADLY… 😦


  6. Threads look great.

    I’ll tell you something, I worked for a company up north years ago and we had our own shop as the production lines were designed by the owner and crafted by a T&D Maker. By the time I got there they were on T&D Maker #2, a WWII vet that right after leaving the Army took the GE apprenticeship course for tool & die and worked for them for 20 years. This old guy was amazing. Taught me micrometer, caliper tools. You could hand him 10 pieces of metal and he could tell you 9/10 times the thickness without using a mic. One of the coolest tools he introduced me to was his spring making tool. there wasn’t one CNC machine in the shop, all old school and all cool. The machines we had were chain driven with cams, rods and Heim rod ends, but these things were spitting out paper paint strainers at 90-100 per minute X four production lines. It was unreal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heh. There is a hole in the bottom that I have to bore out to 5/8’s. It is going to be an arbor to put on an old 120 volt motor so I can mount a flap wheel grinding disc on it.


          • High sulphur cutting oil is best for machining SS. High film strength
            Even HSS tooling will last all day if speeds and feeds are correct.
            Do you have the Machinist’s Bible?

            Liked by 1 person

            • I can’t remember the name of the stuff we have at work right off the top of my head, it comes in a yellow plastic bottle. It is some very good stuff with a high sulfur content just for Stainless. I’ll have to remember to get the name of it and see if Amazon carries it.
              I do not have a copy of the Machinist’s Bible, yet.
              I do have an older copy of something very similar though called The New Machinist’s Handbook.
              It’s damn near the exact same size and everything.
              It has all of the tables.
              I want to say my buddy has an app on his phone for feeds and speeds but it may be that he is just using the calculator.
              This is all fairly new to me, I have always been a Gimme A Bigger Hammer kind of guy because most of what I did for many years was on the job site repairs.
              Except when I worked at the dealership but even then there was a fair amount of brute force and ignorance involved trying to outsmart the fooking engineers.
              I hate those bastards with a white hot passion.


          • I was thinking of milling a couple of flats on it to make it easier to drill and tap for a couple of set screws as a matter of fact. That would double for a wrench, even better!


  7. I’m Back! Oh so refreshing to be able to cause mayhem and dissent, give advice, snarky or serious. Give Phil a hard time and take shit back. Renew my bromance with Phil Carson, egorr, and Notwende…

    Liked by 1 person

      • I am ready for it, I am rested, and fresh… just took shower. How have you been Phil? No layoffs at your plant? Last I remember ya had a meeting and what was the outcome?


        • It’s still up in the air.
          The outfit we get 70% of our work from is laying off almost all of their workforce over in Portland for two weeks on the 20th.
          They cast engine parts for Boeing and Boeing has already laid their people off.
          The Big Cheese at our plant was apparently going to keep quiet about it but me and my buddy cornered him and put the screws to him about it.
          We got the typical non answer but it forced him to acknowledge it and send out an email saying that they won’t know more until next week.
          I ain’t holding my breath. If they do shut down and it’s only two weeks then I should be OK. Anything longer than that could be a problem. We shall see.


    • Hunker down, and grab your flak jackets, people!
      Heeeeeeee’s *BACK*!!

      Rest and recuperate, man. I’m trying to chase down an alternate fan motor for my TWO A/C units in the Motor Home, been sitting at the PC all day trying to research the part. Company that made ’em went TU in 1988, so far can’t find a suitable sub or something I can African Engineer. Weird motor, 1/6 HP 115 VAC, single phase (capacitor start – typical), 5/16ths shaft. All the ones I look at are either too wide, wrong voltage, wrong size shaft – you get the idea. My sanity is starting to go, Dave… I can feel it… Daisy, Daisy…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for the shout out Phil. I figure I got a concussion. The brain fog hit with vengeance yesterday. I’m heading to the doc today, if they will see me.


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