Monday, May 20, 2024

Saturday, March 16, 2024

burning laurel

I've been clearing the mountain laurel out from our woods. We have around six acres of land and I'd say that the great majority of it is taken up by thick patches of mountain laurel that doesn't allow you to even walk through the woods. You would have to literally crawl through the woods on your hands and knees to be able to get through the woods in most areas. I'm using an old Husky chainsaw that I got from Adam. The stupid saw throws the chain all the time so it's slow progress. I need to invest in a decent chain saw.

Apparently when they clearcut this part of the United States, the laurel was the first thing to grow back and it saved the land from being errored away. However, there were bad floods during that period of time and a lot of land slides. It's hard to imagine the area where I live to have been clear cut, but one of the old timers around here that is my neighbor has described the steam trains coming in on my land to pick up all the timber. He said the trees were massive in this area. That means that all the trees that are decent size are all new growth. Well, the laurel chokes all the life out of the woods and engulf most of the healthy trees so I've been clearing it out. Most people around here warn about burning the laurel, but Brandon has lived here his entire life, has burned his fair share of it, and he says just to get the fire hot and let it burn. Of course if you look it up on the internet, you'll get a million experts that tell you one thing or another. 

Jill has always liked the laurel because it stays green through winter, but I think she is finally on board with getting rid of it now that she can walk through the front woods. She even came out to help me burn one of the piles the other day. Brandon came by to assist as well. We had a healthy fire burning. 

There's more to burn though...


aermacchi fix

I know I’ve posted before about this little Aermacchi Harley Davidson Spring that Jill bought for me when we were dating. I restored this bike a long time ago and then not leaving things alone; I decided to later repaint it a different color. Upon reassembly I inserted lower engine mount bolt and the engine slipped and the mounting bolt cracked the lower crankcase internally. From that point on it leaked oil and so I stopped riding it. Then we moved to Milwaukee.

It sat in my basement in Milwaukee at which point I decided to crack the cases open to asses the damage to only learn that a huge chuck of the case boss was cracked off. And there it sat….

I moved the bike in pieces when I moved to NC and now eight years later plus a few more years….

I have finally fixed the case. I TIG welded the motor crankcase boss and now I can put this motorcycle back together. Why oh why has this taken me so long? It only took me a few minutes to fix, and yet I have avoided this… or have I been preoccupied… or did I just not think about it enough…or did I not care that it was lying around in pieces…?

No bother…it is fixed now and it can go back together…

Shop Teacher Bob left a comment on Facebook about welding this up. It wasn't too difficult to weld. I thought high zinc content would make it a pain along with being submerged in oil for the last fifty years, but I cleaned it with brake cleaner and then brushed it good. Heating it up before welding always makes a big difference too. Gives things a chance to burn off and gets things prepped so the welder doesn't have to work so hard to get a puddle started. Anyway, it feels good to have this welded.

Also: a quote from Shop Teacher Bob below that has me thinking of the day when I retire from my job:

I like hanging out in the shop. Nice environment and my co-workers are all straight up folks.

Monday, March 11, 2024

clearing land

It was the first day of Spring Break today. The little spots you see out in our front yard are American Robins. There were so many in the yard; it was beautiful. I worked most of the day on clearing more laurel from the hillside in front of our house. I made three super large piles that are going to take a while to burn. It's really opened things up in terms of seeing our house. I look forward to seeing things when we have leaves on the trees. I uncovered some large trees that we just being smothered by the laurel. I still have a lot of rootballs to remove, but the uneven terrain should be good for laying out some trials sections for the girls and I to ride. Jill and the girls came out to help the last part of the day and I was so thankful. I was running out of steam.


Saturday, March 9, 2024

obscura manufacturing

Powder coating setup

Other machines

Scrap aluminum

Today I went down to Scott Hughes business called Obscura Manufacturing. Scott machines custom guitar pedals. He had contacted me to see if I might want some scarp aluminum and we've been meaning to connect for a long time. I finally got around to visiting him. It was cool to see the UV printers, the powder coating setup and his "new" Fadal CNC. I had a good time hearing about his business and his production setup. I also picked up some good tips and resources from him. I think we have a lot in common. I was super thankful for the scrap as we'll use this to cast some of Austin's electric motorcycle parts.