Category Archives: Tool Repair

Acceptable Tech Level

Today was a great day. I got up early to head out to the Saratoga Fire Station to take my Amateure radio Extra class exam. I am happy to report that I can now use the temporary callsign KK6GXG/AE, for those not in Ham radio, that means I passed. Needless to say I was stoked to reach this, the highest level of amateure radio licence. Lots of plans are piling up for radio projects on my desk/bench so there will be reports on those to come, this post however, is not about radio.

Water Grinder & MotorAfter the test the wife and I went to the De Anza College Flea Market. I found something I have been looking for for a long time, a sharpening stone (wet stone) grinding wheel. What I had been looking for was a manual, or hand-crank type that can be easily adapted to a foot-treadle or bow-spring drive. The one that I found was attached to a motor via a reduction pulley-and-belt system, though in honesty I didn’t realize how low the reduction was at first.

My initial reaction was to remove the motor and adapt the wet-grinder to a manual power source right off the bat. After looking up the patent info on the motor and seeing what it was originally intended for a story began to emerge on the origins of this particular assemblage.

The board everything is mounted on does not appear to be that old. The dimensions are modern, making the mounting 2 x 12, at oldest, from the 60s. The mounting hardware is a mix of 50s and contemporary. The casting and markings of the wet-grinder suggest that it was cast in the 1920s to 1930s. The patent date of the motor is from 1926. This particular 1/4 HP motor was designed for washing machines of the 20s and 30s. A newer motor was produced after the war and the model and frame numbers on the data plate suggest that this motor was produced in the 30s.

20140607_191708The story I have come up with is that these parts were cobbled together in their current configuration some time the 70s from parts and used regularly for a significant time as such and eventually shelved in a shed where they had been sitting for at least a decade.
I ended up doing a mechanical teardown tonight. I was planning on getting started with the electrical teardown and testing tomorrow. For the most part this was an inspection teardown. I didn’t do any “repair” although I did fill the water reservoir with a rust remover to begin prepping it, and to see if it still holds fluid. I didn’t detect any leaks and we will see if it develops any overnight.

20140607_191718The plan is to deal with the mechanical and electrical as completely separate restorations. The mechanical is the primary because I can still set it up as a manual wet-grinder and begin using it.
I have a number of sharpening projects that need to get done soon and this would be a big help in speeding things up. Once rust is abated I think a couple of coats of iron oxide primer followed up with a couple of coats of oil-based paint should provide a sufficient level of protection.

Once the mechanicals are all taken care of I will spend some time on the electrical motor. At this time I have no information on the motor other than what’s on the data plate.

20140607_114338So why the title “Acceptable Tech Level”? one of the reasons I wanted a manual grinder was to further the off-grid hand tool goals I have been trying to work with. With this particular configuration I can easily swing it over to manual and with the motor most likely being from the 20s-30s it falls into my era of interest in aircraft and is also from around the same time as several of my inherited and acquired hand tools meaning it fits right in with many of my vintage tools. The important part is that it CAN be used with manual power.

Until next time…

☮ ♥ ✈ & 73,
~FlyBoyJon / KK6GXG

Clean Tools are Happy Tools

I have several topics I want to cover in September, but I did want to get a quick post in about cleaning tools before the end of the month.

I have been down in the shop several times over the last week, but that time has been devoted to getting stuff back in order after remodeling my shop space. As I am going through all of the stuff (I say stuff but what I really mean in many cases is crap) that was filling my workshop, I am finding that I have been holding on to things I know I don’t need. One such category is Telco materials. Yes, I also worked for Pacific Bell for a while as a repair tech. I have accumulated lots of miscellaneous connectors and even some communications tools that I will most likely never use again, not that I’ll get rid of the tools.

While reminiscing over this accumulation I discovered something else… I have been neglecting some of my tools! I felt so guilty about it that I had to stop, clean them and make sure they were is good working order. Many of the communications and networking tools like toners, amplifiers, and meters just needed fresh batteries, but some tools like screw clamps needed a full cleaning; digging out debris from the threads and a good scrubbing with some Scotch Brite. A few things needed a full tear-down so I could clean them properly.

One tool that needed the full treatment was an old Black & Decker 7″ circular saw I inherited from my great uncle when he passed away in 1989. I figure he bought it around 1979 or thereabouts, so this saw has been in service for 30+ years. This tool, like any other, deserves my respect and attention. It was an in expensive saw back in the day but that doesn’t change the fact that it still does its job without complaint.

My tear-down consisted of removing the blade of course, the guard and and clamping rings. This is when I cringed; there was a thick build-up of debris and oil behind the guard. I am embarrass to say it, but I don’t think I have removed that blade in 5 years, maybe more. I cleaned off the mess and wiped the area clean. The disassembly continued by separating the housing and inspecting the inside of the body and handle. Here is where I was pleasantly surprised. It was mostly clean in here, a little compressed air and a wipe-down and all was well. The commutator and brushes looked good, as did the wiring and switch.

The gear section was opened to check the gear case grease which was also in good condition. I was about to bolt everything back together when I noticed a nick in the power cord. Not really bad, no copper showing, but I could see the white shielding of the neutral wire in the two conductor cable. I don’t have any extra power cord or plug ends on hand, and the damage wasn’t at the point that it would be a structural hazard so I decided to heat shrink that section of the cord. I disconnected it from the switch, slipped on some heat shrink and got it nice and snug, then reconnected everything.

After getting the saw back together and buttoned up I gave it a short test drive on some 1/4″ ply. She sounded happy to have had some time at Dad’s Tool Spa.

More shop and tool cleaning on my schedule for September.

Till next time,