"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Projects

Live Steam Bait

Live Steam

Live Steam

CliShay

CliShay

Some progress is better than no progress. I have the desire to be back hacking metal parts, but I can’t get my body to do what my mind desires. It’s not a physical thing. Just switching mental gears from what I already do and getting to other things I love to do. I have way too may interests and options. I thought retirement would give me more time. Boy, was I ever wrong!

I just gave myself a Christmas present. I just re-activated my subscription to Live Steam and Outdoor Railroading. That may get the juices flowing. I also ordered the Building the CliShay from the same source. Not that I am going to build one, but I like to study the material and details of any build project.

I kind of like the concept of the CliShay where anything goes, nothing is wrong, do your own thing, that a non-scale live steam project permits.

I viewed an 0-gage CliShay on YouTube that was pretty much a work-in-progress disaster. Flames rolling out, up the outside of the boiler shell and melted off a steam fitting. So inefficient the operator was chasing around with a small blow torch heating the outside of the boiler to keep it running. BUT…

He had a live steam locomotive running and was probably having a great time working out all the issues. He was living the dream, not still in the dream state. Nothing wrong there. I was envious, but still getting a chuckle.

I would probably change places with him for a day…

Model Engine Builder 2016

mebheader

I have always looked forward to getting my copy of Model Engine Builder (MEB)

If you want to build model engines this is the publication to get. There is also a free Newsletter:

“Sign up today for our free newsletter at www.modelenginebuilder.com. The sign-up form is on the right of the page. This newsletter contains some articles from the magazine but more information about other relevant issues like taking good pictures of models, etc.

Go check out their website listed above or click on the logo and start your subscription today. I just re-newed my subscription and I am not even sure where I stood on my previous one. The fact is for me each issue alone is always worth the cost of a subscription.

The author, Michael Rehmus just sent me (and probably many other subscribers) an email regarding the timeliness of his publications. The schedule is intended to be tri-monthly. However, Michael has been and still is enduring some very serious heart problems. He received a new heart valve replacement and is presently battling an infection with that surgery.

That has understandably slowed down work on the magazine. The next publication has been pushed to late October, 2016. He and his wife Toni, run a very small publication house they call Elmwood Publishing, Inc.. But he hasn’t forgotten about his subscribers. Let me say his heart is still in it. Sorry Mike, bad pun, but it’s the truth…

I figured my renewal is a vote of confidence. If you have never subscribed, now is the time. It is not all that expensive and the information is priceless, whenever it comes.

If you ARE a model engine builder, this is the publication to which you want to contribute. Mike is always looking for tips, tricks, pictures of… Continue reading

Coasting on the Flat

Maintaining steam but not building speed on the A3. I am coasting at the moment. A honey-do piano stool restoration has taken over the workspace in my shop. Staining, shellac and urethane require a fairly pristine atmosphere. With the cool temperatures and now (finally) a bit of rain the drying process is slow.

Staining is over but I am looking at about three coats of shellac and then a coat or two of polyurethane. Sanding between coats of course.

The teardown and rebuild is the easy part but finish work is laborious. Metal chips flying soon.

Timing is Everything

I have been setting myself, meaning my workshop, up for the last decade or so, to have the tools I need for retirement. I have succeeded nicely. I just have to force myself to realize I have reached that goal.

I have retired so I have the time and need to start using my shop in its full extent. I am heavy into lost wax silver casting and CNC micro machining. That will continue. But there are other projects I have put off, “for when I have the time.” The Kozo Pennsy A3 live steam locomotive is the most “machine shop” intensive of those put-offs.

I have just posted the pictures below of the A3 work completed that was put on the back burner many years ago, just waiting for this time in my life. These are the tender trucks and the tender frame. The front steps are here too. The coupler box is made incorrectly (oops!) so that will be a re-do.

I have a drawer full of brass sheets, and plates, and bars. Enough to be close to all the material needed to finish the tender. So it hasn’t been for the lack of material this project has been on the shelf.

I am not going to get into all the details for my reasons. Let me just say that priorities in life can change and can change again. As before, when I started with a machine shop project of this size and complex details, it is not the finished product that is the primary goal. It is all the details and skills in the construction that provides the fulfillment. The locomotive will be grand when finished but it is the trip to get there where I intend to find my enjoyment.

Weird maybe, but… Continue reading

A Model Shop Story

Maserati_T61_engine_bay_DoningtonI read a story many years ago about a small team of Italian craftsmen. I think it started as a single person but the team grew with demand. They made exact working miniatures of exotic European sports racing cars like the Maserati birdcage. The models are the size of a child’s pedal car, so they were fairly large, but nowhere near actual size. Not designed for riding within. Somewhere around a quarter actual size I assume.

As I remember they were quite exquisite, all real metal construction, completely finished, not kits. Also very expensive, like back in the day when say $10,000 or more each was a lot of money, much more than it is today. A rich man’s toy car. The design/manufacturing team made a good profit on these vehicles as a sought after collector item. I believe they had operational scale or scale-like engines too.

What made me pay attention was they claimed they had many years’ worth of back orders to fill so the business of building these cars looked very successful.

I don’t know if there are people who will spend like that today. I have to assume there are, if the product and subject is good and unusual. For the very rich, they know something like this is not likely to lose value and is far easier to own than the full size version.

I have thought of this story many times as I wonder what I could make in my small metal shop that will have such lasting value. Not so much that I would make it a business, but just knowing what I am investing time in making the best I can, will have continuing value as a finished object.

It is the justification I tell myself when I put a lot… Continue reading

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