Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

New Tools - Keeping it Square - Bridge City Tool Works

I have needed to really tune up my miter saw, every time I think I have it adjusted correctly it seemingly just falls back out of square. While I have a number of pretty standard squares in the shop; a combination square, a carpenter's square and a speed square just off the top of my head none of them are really good for tuning in the miter saw. At this point I have been taking the combination square apart and using that to try and adjust the miter saw blade to get a nice straight cut and it just doesn't seem to do the trick.

I have admired the Bridge City Tools squares and there was a sale (which is about the only way I can afford these) and I just had a bonus from work so I bit the bullet and dived in. I bought a mini miter square, a small try square and (drum roll) a Universal Gauge Imperial Left (yea, I don't know what it is either but it looks cool and it was half price).

The boxes are worth the price of admission, sleeves and heavy weight boxes inside. The squares are just amazing to look at and feel solid in your hands. Just waiting for an opportunity to get back into the shop so I can use them. 

Just the boxes are impressive

First up is the mini miter square, the extra steel piece is the foot which connects with three magnets and can then be slid from one side to other when flushing up against a piece of wood.
The try square so I know longer need to worry that my combination square is not actually square. It even has a profile for dove tail joints built right in.

And then there is this beast; the Universal Gauge (left handed in this case). You can use it to check angles on just about anything and the protractor is built right in. I'm pretty sure its smarter than I am.

Just need to let the cooler weather pass to get back into the shop.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Winston Churchill - Quotes

I have decided to step out of the comfort of American quotes and bring a few from across the pond. Winston Churchill may well be one of the most quotable speakers of his age. I do try and make sure that the quotes I list have been verified as being spoken by Churchill, just like I did with Mark Twain and John Adams There are lots of quotes out there attributable to famous individuals that have been twisted or just plain made up.

A few shorter quotes from Mr. Churchill

"Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." 1898

"I object on principle to doing by legislation what properly belongs to human good feeling and charity." 1902

"The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go." 1905

"The usefulness of a naval invention ceases when it is enjoyed by everyone else." 1913

"At the beginning of this war, megalomania was the only form of sanity." 1915

"Nothing makes a man more reverent than a library." 1921

"He spoke without a note and almost without a point." 1931

"France, though armed to the teeth, is pacifist to the core." 1932

"Never...was so much owed by so many to so few." 1940

"If we win, nobody will care. If we lose, there will be nobody to care." 1941

"We must beware of needless innovation, especially when guided by logic." 1942

"The English never draw a line without blurring it." 1948

"If you destroy a free market you create a black market." 1949

"Nationalization of industry is the doom of trade unionism." 1950

And a few longer ones to feed the beast:

"The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming o a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences."

"United wishes and good will cannot overcome brute facts. Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is."

"In the twinkling of an eye, I found myself without an office, without a seat, without a party, and without and appendix."

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

"Danger gathers upon our path. We cannot afford - we have no right - to look back. We must look forward"

"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. June 4, 1940

Some of those should get the blood flowing!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Mark Twain - Quotes

One my favorite writers, Samuel Longhorne Clemens, more famously known as Mark Twain, has a lot to say and his quotes easily relate to us today as they did when he wrote them.

Of course we start off with my most favorite quote:

"Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile."

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read."

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

"Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."

"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."

"Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most."

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason."

"In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards."

And wrap it up with one that is perhaps more thoughtful and less off the cuff:

"The government is merely a servant - merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them."

Hopefully some of those will make you both chuckle and think!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

John Adams - Quotes

As I continue to pursue my interest in the War of Independence I have read quite a bit about the founding fathers and, quite frankly, to have that many brilliant minds come together in one time and place is truly astonishing. It wasn't a single individual that led us to the Declaration of Independence but a combined effort of more brilliant men than this nation has seen since. I do think that we focus way to much on a few members of that team though; Washington, Franklin and Jefferson. But I do believe without the driving force of John Adams the whole thing would have stalled for a lack of a truly driving force. It speaks volumes that Adams was not on the list of continental congress members that the British would have been willing to pardon.

Obnoxious and disliked but still becoming one of my favorites among the Founding Fathers and our Presidents. Here are a few quotes from Adams that I find enlightening:

"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our constitution."

"The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain."

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, - as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims], - and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretest arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

"...Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrendered their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it."

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."

"Negro Slavery is an evil of Colossal magnitude and I am utterly averse to the admission of Slavery into the Missouri Territories."

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

"Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write."

"Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it."

Enough for now, hopefully one or two of those will appeal to you. Adams was a prodigious writer!

Monday, April 11, 2022

New Tool - Xtool D1 Laser engraver cutter

As part of the wood workshop build (hello retirement!) I have gradually been accumulating the bigger tools that we need while I'm gainfully employed. Two of the biggest areas of indecision have been around a CnC router and a laser cutter/engraver. Now I already have a small laser engraver and while it has certainly proven useful its not a great laser cutter (to be fair its an engraver not a cutter) and the "cutting" area is small. It has proven quite useful on several projects so I think there is real value in having this tool in the woodshop. Recently Xtool has released its D1 laser cutter/engraver and I have been very impressed with what I have seen it do and the maker's that are using it.

They had a sale in March and since we had a little extra money we opted to take the plunge. I also pre-ordered some of their accessories at the same time including a more powerful laser head. Still based on what I have seen the existing 10w laser is going to be able to handle most of the ideas that I can come up with and there are more than one or two ideas percolating around in my head. The other big plus is the much larger cutting area 17" x 16" which means that a couple of my ideas will be much easier to pull off especially for cutting out buildings for Calamity! 

As you can probably tell I'm pretty excited about this tool, the only drawback I see right now is that I don't have anyplace to set it up and start cutting things out!

That's a lot of black foam! The first thing you see in the box are the instructions and the risers. There is an extra set of risers so you can increase the height based on the material you need to cut or engrave.

Side supports

The coolest bit in the box, this is the rotary engraver that allows you to engrave cylinders and spheres (I'm thinking some pens will find their way into this at some point).

More side supports, the laser head and power and communication cables

I have read through the instructions and it should be pretty easy to setup. Then it will just be a matter of picking the software and learning how to use it. Xtool has their own software; Laserbox basic or just about any other software will work we will probably be going with Lightburn.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Caboose Project - C&N Caboose #1 - Step 1

C&N Caboose, photo property of the Carnegie Branch of the Boulder Public Libary

Really, the last thing I needed to do was start another project but here we go right off the deep end again. It started when I was trying to organize the basement workroom...again and I opened up one of the unlabeled Bachman On30 boxes. It turned out to have been my attempt to change the Bachman short caboose to a bobber (2 axle, no trucks) caboose. It wasn't bad but in the end I would count it as a learning experience and besides I really wanted to make a model of the C&N caboose. There are plans for this caboose, by Ed Gebhardt, in the July/Aug 1986 issue of the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette. 

The biggest issue facing me is building the underframe and how the two axles are supported. While I was muddling through this bit I was watching a YouTube video from Thunder Mesa Studio, from about a month ago, about building an On30 Short Caboose (ThunderMesaStudio). The base kit was by Chris Bohn at Full Circle Models (ibrake4trains@yahoo.com) and the 2 axle underframe is cast in resin (it might be 3D printed, I didn't think to ask). I downloaded the catalog for FCM from the link in the Thunder Mesa Studio link and reached out to Chris. The base underframe for the FCM kit has a wheelbase that's to short and overall the whole frame is to short and I figured that was a non-starter. Chris suggested that I just cut the existing frame into three pieces and lengthen to fit. That's why talking to other people about your project is a good idea! Chris was willing to sell me just the underframe and wheels, so I purchased two and those arrived earlier this week so I'm off and running!

The C&N cabooses, there were two, were very similar to the early D&RG cabooses (the class 1s) about the same from the frame up to the roof. I found a set of drawings made by John Maxwell online at JohnMaxwellDrawings which pretty much confirm that. They differ radically at the cupola. The D&RG caboose has a cupola that is centered and is the full width of the roof. The C&N cupola is off centered, taller, narrower and doesn't have any windows on the sides. The only windows face forward and backward. I would love to see what the interior of one of these cabooses looked like, especially since there is a smoke jack for a stove but that stove would have to be directly in front of one of the center windows. Alas neither of these cabooses survived so what that interior looked like will remain a mystery.

Found online at http://www.missouri-riverside.us/railroading/JohnMaxwell/
The initial D&RG cabooses where built by Jackson & Sharp and its possible that the C&N cabooses were built there as well just based on the similarity in design. 

Here are the plans from the Gazette, and the FCM underframe. I need to stretch the whole thing out to 23' and change the wheelbase from 6' to 9'. That means adding 3' to the middle and 1.5' to each end. That 1.5' needs to be added between the axles and the steps. A little hard to describe but pictures are worth a thousand words.

Here are the first cuts, separating the ends from the center. This is where the 1.5' inserts need to go, so two of those. You can see the line for the center cut going across the top of the frame.

The second cut is right down the middle. I'll insert a 3' section here to stretch the wheelbase to 9'.

I laid the parts out on a ruler to get a feel for what it will look like. At this point I just need to find something to make the inserts from, probably styrene. Time to rummage through the boxes and see what I have on hand.

Next step is to put the whole thing back together!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Railroad Research - New Book - A Century + Ten of D&RGW Narrow Gauge

This is a weighty tome, everything you ever wanted to know about D&RGW narrow gauge freight cars! This is a second edition of Robert E Sloan's "A Century + Ten of D&RGW Narrow Gauge Freight Cars, 1871 to 1981", published in 2008. The first edition was published in 2000 but the 2nd edition has been expanded and the photographs and drawings were improved/enhanced.. I have seen this book going for almost double the retail price, but I decided to visit the publisher's website (BHI Publications) and they still have it in stock for $80, still expensive but better new at $80 than used at $160!

Just broadening my knowledge of the D&RGW narrow gauge empire With visions of designing the layout of the C&N, I figured that I should have a few D&RG visitors on the layout. There are a few photos in the "Switzerland Trail of America" by Forrest Crossen showing foreign freight cars on the C&N and that's all the excuse I need. With the new project in flight I'm really mostly interested in the cabooses; chapter 8, pages 191-256, that's a lot of information about cabooses. Pretty much a must have reference book for devotees of the early days of the D&RG (before the W). The one feature that makes this a great book for modelers is the spiral binding, every page can lay flat for scanning or photocopying when using a plan from the book.

Here is my, soon to become dog eared, copy.