Sunday, November 30, 2014

Oh dear, this looks bad

And I’m not talking about the weather either.  Although, at minus 28 this morning with a minus 41 degree wind chill, it looks pretty ugly too. 

Nor am I referring to my little Case tractor, despite the fact that it royally let me down yesterday.  First the steering wheel insisted on slipping on the steering shaft.  I’ve got a bad setup there.  The original “system” sucked a bit and my repair to it didn’t really improve the situation.  The original relied on a bakelite hub fitting tightly to about a 1-1/2” knurled shaft.  The two parts are held together by a nut but there isn’t enough taper on the knurled portion, there is no key and eventually the bakelite wheel broke into pieces.  I fixed that with epoxy and ended up with a wheel that looked like it would work but the epoxy isn’t hard enough to hold on the knurled shaft and over time it has just worn out the epoxy.  I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board but in the interim I have drilled the shaft and put a bolt through the steering wheel.  However, no sooner had I solved that problem than another much more serious problem appeared. 

When I started the engine the blade wouldn’t raise and I quickly realized it wasn’t going up because the little tractor was bleeding all it’s oil out.  Its not as serious as it might be – there’s a piece of 1” flex hose that connects the hard line return to the cooler which has failed.  I replaced it when I reconditioned the tractor but perhaps I used the wrong kind of hose – I used whatever I could find at hand which likely wasn’t the best way to select a piece of hydraulic hose.  Regardless of the reason, the tractor is hors de combat until I replace that hose again.  Fortunately all this happened in the relative comfort of my (unheated) shop. 



That’s the real reason for my heading.  My lathe finally arrived.  I ordered it several weeks ago after determining that whatever I was going to find for an affordable used lathe wasn’t likely to be significantly better than what I could buy a new Chinese lathe for.  The one I ordered was shipped from Toronto.  They wanted an absurd amount to ship it to Buchanan but only about $130 to ship to Regina.  I was planning to go to Agribition anyway so I told them to ship to Regina and hold it for me to pick up.  That turned into a bit of a fustercluck because they seemed incapable of providing the most basic order confirmation and their idea of tracking information consisted of a weblink saying “its shipped”.

Early last week I got a phone call from Ridsdale Transport in Yorkton.  Evidently my crate had been passing through the depot in Yorkton when the manager recognized my name.  My little skidsteer went through that depot so that must have been why he remembered me.  Perhaps there was some mention of Buchanan on the bill of lading despite the final destination of Regina.  Whatever the reason, he called me and asked if I really wanted to pick it up in Regina.  I agreed that coming to Yorkton would be preferable.  So I did and of course the excellent manager was away when I arrived and I had to deal with his idiot helper who I had a run in with when I picked up the skidsteer.  This time he was freaking out because I also had a desk in the back of the truck.  He started by asking “How are we going to load it on there?”  I was baffled by the question so I assumed he meant he didn’t have a forklift – the crate weighed around 400 pounds.  When I finally figured out that he was simply too stupid to understand that I could move the desk I told him to find something else to worry about.

The next challenge was getting the heavy crate from the truck to its destination in the basement.  The desk was easy and I was spared any idiot commentary from Ridsdale’s temporary help.  The lathe was a bigger problem and at one point I seriously wondered what I had got myself into.  The little skidsteer easily moved it to the porch and I was able to drag it to the head of the stairs with relatively few problems.  Once it was sitting at the top of the stairwell though the reality of moving 400# down the stairs without losing control of it set in.  I ended up entirely removing the crate except for the plywood base that the lathe was bolted to. That allowed me to remove all the loose parts in the crate as well as most of the weight of the crate and likely dropped the net weight to be moved to around 300# – still enough to get me in trouble but manageable.  Then we strapped it to the little 2 wheel cart which has served us through several moves and I slowly dropped it one step at a time into the basement. 

The next challenge was to get it raised onto the desk but that was anticlimactic.  I just screwed a couple of brackets onto two floor joists, stuck a 1” swing handle through them for a bar and used a nylon ratchet strap as a winch. 


Now I need to figure out how to use it which clearly will take 100s of times as many hours as putting it in place took.

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