Be A Guy

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If you can’t be handsome, be handy.

In Be a Guy, Did You See This?, Tool Kit on August 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

True story…

Wednesday my buddy sends me this picture.

And asks if I know what it is…

Which I don’t. It fell off his kitchen faucet hose.

And he follows up with “do you know any plumbers….”

And that night I’m up under the sink…

Thursday I’m on line

Friday I’m back under the sink and don’t ask…

But the faucet is working.

Sunday I’m over there to eat dinner and he mentions the dishwasher still isn’t getting water, but he has a plumber coming on Monday.. and I holler at one of his sons and get back under the sink and turn that valve..

And over dinner Peter tells my girlfriend about how well he set me up.

You know what they say?

If you can’t be handsome, be handy…


In Be a Guy, Tool Kit on August 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm

IPhoto Jul 27, 8 29 11 AM purchased the shotgun shown here as a just divorced gift to myself, just for the hell of it. Vaguely I thought it might come in handy if I ever were to find myself in brown bear country (I didn’t worry back then about civil unrest). replaced the furniture with a Magpul stock and for end for comfort and installed an oversized safety button because i have arthritis in my hands. I can put slugs on a paper plate, with it, at 50 yards; the slugs are both store-bought and from shells I load. I find banging away with this to be cathartic and just plain fun. I also get a giggle out of being a 2A liberal. One of the specific selling points to this Mossberg was the ghost ring sight.

More and more Red Dot Sights are transitioning from rare and expensive to utilitarian so I decided I’d give them a try. But I’m cheap and I’ve been waiting for the prices to drop. At $ 25- I decided to give the Fieldsport a try.  I did not want to remove the factory sights so I had to modify the firearm to install a short rail section on which to mount the sight. Every tool is a kit; hammer handles need fitting, knives need sharpening and guns need tweaking.  The process was not difficult, I’ve got 50 years of puttering behind me. It did require some workarounds. None of my transfer punches was the correct diameter to match the whole in the rail and I had to shorten one of the screws. it would have gone more quickly and smoothly if I had a mill- but I’m not sure the outcome would have been significantly improved.

Photo Jul 16, 5 36 08 PM

Photo Jul 16, 5 36 04 PMPhoto Jul 16, 6 25 53 PMPhoto Jul 16, 6 35 40 PMPhoto Jul 16, 6 51 18 PMPhoto Jul 26, 1 53 57 PM (1)Photo Jul 26, 2 01 15 PMPhoto Jul 26, 4 15 09 PMPhoto Jul 27, 8 28 34 AMPhoto Jul 27, 8 29 05 AMPhoto Jul 27, 8 29 11 AM




Swiss Army Knife

In Did You See This?, Tool Kit on November 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

  For 90% of the cutting I do a 1/4″ blade would suffice.
A good rule of thumb for knife use is to use the shortest blade that will get the job done- unless you have a small dick you don’t need to pull out a 6 1/2″ blade to cut the tape on a package.

After 50 years of pocket knife carrying I’ve learned

1- you will cut yourself

2- the less blade there is, the less damage done when you make a mistake.

Did this, this afternoon, cutting a cable tie and trying not to cut the cable it was holding.

Question for Open Carry Advocates: What if Muslims Start Doing It?

In Tool Kit on December 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm

I know where I stand on equal protection under the laws….
The language is straight forward and unambiguous.
And I know I’ve been boo’d for suggesting that the history of gun control laws in the US is rooted in rascism.
So I’m curious to hear what others think about this piece that appears, online, at AllOutdoor by Jon Stokes.
Question for Open Carry Advocates: What if Muslims Start Doing It? |
I’d suggest you read and think about Jon’s article before weighing in.
Been thinking about this for a bit, last year I set my heart on a new shotgun, a true SHTF (Shit Hits the Fan) if you had to walk through the Zombie Apocalypse with one firearm what would it be? So I started visiting various gun stores and the fact is I dislike a lot of the people in a lot of gun stores. I don’t like targets with UBL’s face or Terrorist Hunting License stickers…
So I asked a guy I know who wears Ramones’ TShirts and buys and sells antique arms about stores. He recommended a place, I went down there, filled out the paperwork and headed home with my combat shottie. He asked what I thought and I told him “I like a gun store with people who look like the crowd everywhere else and there are no Southern Swastikas” ….

From the article;

“What I also wonder is if those who are pushing for open carry, or “constitutional carry” as they’re now calling it, have thought this through. This isn’t a rhetorical question; I’m really dying to know.
And not only is it not a rhetorical question, but it’s not a theoretical question, either, because this will happen. Part of the impetus behind gun control laws in the 70′s was the fact that the Black Panthers were the original “open carry” advocates, and the sight of black radicals walking around openly armed contributed greatly to public support for gun control laws. In describing this phenomenon of the late 60′s, lefty historian Rick Perlstein writes:
Things shifted, of course, when the Panthers started patrolling rich white neighborhoods, including the one where a right-wing supporter of Ronald Reagan in the state assembly, Don Mulford, lived. When the assembly debated Mulford’s subsequent bill to ban the carrying of loaded firearms in public places, Panthers strolled onto the floor of the state assembly fully armed. The Mulford Act passed right quick after that—and, ironically, one of the nation’s first high-profile gun control laws was signed by Governor Ronald Reagan.
So again, I ask, what happens not just to open carry but to the current wave of support for looser gun laws, when avowed revolutionaries tool up and tell white America to “come and take it?””
– See more at: Question for Open Carry Advocates: What if Muslims Start Doing It? |


How Do You Know How to Do What You Do?

In Be a Guy, Tool Kit on April 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

SpliceMy friend informs me that the most obnoxious phrase in my lexicon is ”Let me tell/show you how the big boys do it.”

There are acts we perform we cannot unattach from the memory of the man who taught us it and a certainty that we know how to do it correctly.

Hitting a golf ball, digging a hole, parking a car, loading a gun, planing a board and casting a lure are all activities that have me
channelling a mentor.

What do you do that is forever a tribute to a teacher?

In the course of my day I had the opportunity to discuss my concept of the “stick gene” which moved me a long way towards my belief that there is a very real difference between men and women and it is nature not nurture. The “stick gene” observation is based upon my Irish Twins. My daughter first emerged to walk the yard and picked up a few sticks and carried them or but them down with indifference, my son picked up a stick and wailed hell out of a bush the first chance he got, he jabbed the stick into the ground and found another and built a rudimentary something. My observations came about in discussing the emasculation of young men and their ultimate frustration arising from the dampening of the “stick gene” and that men cannot be fulfilled without expressing their innate “do” urge…..
You dudes are missing your stick genes- or something as prosaic as discussing what you do rather than expressing your deep thoughts and grand ideas is boring.
I mark a board for trimming by running a finger & pencil scribe and think of Ray Curry.
I put on a bandaid & think of Uncle Ed.
I sharpen and carry a pocket knife and think of my Dad who never carried a pocket knife but taught me to.
I load a revolver and think of Jim Keeling, born in a tent in a mining camp,where his father was the law.
I sight a rifle and think of Tom Kudrowski who learned the business in the SE Asia games.
I flick a zippo & think of a thug named Donnie.
I put a wrench on a bolt on a car & think about Cass Smith and breaking bolts.
I tie a knot and think of Frank Powdrell & Art Burbick- Scout Masters.
I trust a young guy and think about school disciplinarian Art Russo.
I coach wrestling and channel Marty Jacobsen, Lacrosse and think of Kal Wynot & Red Wylie, Soccer and that jerk I couldn’t stand.
I coached baseball and thought of that asshole in the mirrored aviators berating me.
I ease up on the clutch and think of John Evans as I do when I run any two or four stroke engine.
I plane a door & set the hinges and think of how much better at it I became than that smug Paul Bowles.
I foot a column of numbers on an AIA703 and think of Michelle Williams who taught me the term foot.
I love my dog without cutesy BS & baby talk and think of Victor Roggio.
I see a pitch fork and think of Victor’s Native American buddy who killed a red neck with one for trifling with his sister and then returned to the real world from prison to capture wild horses and build carriages.
if I ever nut another steer in this life I will think of Jack Stroh, similarly if I ever shoot another rattle snake I will thing of Jim keeling and if I ever roll a joint again I will think of Chuck Novack the Polish Pope.
If I ever pluck out a bartender’s eye I will think of long gone Jerry the Seal who I saw do that.
If I change a diaper again I will think of my Mother who taught me that chore and how to sew, iron, make stuffing & prepare a turkey dinner.
If I ever sing again in public I will think of Art O’Hanlon who wanted my early changed voice in choir and whose invitation fell on my deaf ears.
When I fold my shirt cuffs it is into my sleeves, more secure and safe from chalk dust as Bob Cressey taught me.
If I put my thoughts to paper, or keyboard, I think of the Real Ken Follett.

PS April 2013

I saw a man today who I met 50 years ago. He was the older brother of a classmate and I was terrified of him. Today he is a tiny Buddhist, who led chants, at his Father’s wake.
I had reason to think of him last month when I had use for an axe on a stump; Mark taught me and Paul to sharpen a Boy Scout hatchet which he probably threw at us like Ed Ames…..
He showed us the file & whet stone method, I used an angle grinder and a belt sander– but I still honored him…

This is taken from a poorly received piece I did at the GMP where 1/2 the readers think a set screw is choreographed sex.

Well Done, Weld One: 10 Paragraphs On Welding

In Be a Guy, Cat Skull Studio, Did You See This?, Tool Kit on March 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm

This originally appeared at the Good Men Project and I thank them for the exposure.

2Anvil (1)

Back in my bar days more than once we started and accomplished a drunk just talking about welding. I recall a guy who worked on 6″ thick aluminum tank armor discussing tricks. Another pal had learned from ship makers and tried to explain how they could move massive plates into alignment with the heat of the weld. As with most besotted lessons I didn’t learn how to do these things, but I was aware of the possibilities.

A good man’s skill set includes changing physical things, to create wealth & tangible items, to make & repair. A good man knows you can’t heal the world, but you can change your immediate surroundings. In much of the country the question is “who’s got a welder?” I’ve heard plenty of guys say I wish I knew how to weld. I can weld, I’m not a welder.

1It is not rocket science unless you are working on rockets. Or high pressure steam. Or gas or oil transmission. Or fire escapes on which people’s lives depend……

Weld Burn- a 6' high top rail on a lax goal is overhead for me,

Weld Burn- a 6′ high top rail on a lax goal is overhead for me,

2Safety Rules. I’ve rarely started a fire with a clean station and a fire extinguisher handy. Don’t stand in a puddle of water. Work in a well-ventilated place. The leather thing is not a Village People thing- protection goes a long way towards strong welds; it is tough to concentrate on the puddle when you are on fire. You don’t need the full kit- but don’t wear polyester which will melt and weld with your skin. Yeah I know; eye protection is for sissies & one-eyed mechanics, I wear glasses under the welding helmet or face shield. I wear a leather apron because I’m tired of pulling cup brush needles out of my scrotum. Once you use an auto-darkening helmet you’ll never go back.

3- MIG Welding is not as easy as caulking. [neither is caulking .] You can buy a wire feed welder for the cost of a golf outing. Get a pile of scrap, cruise YouTube and you can make stuff pretty damned soon. Follow the directions, flip open the cover on a MIG welder and there will be a handy guide for setting amperage and wire feed speed. Technically I’ve been talking about flux-cored arc welding. Add inert gas and a different wire and you really are MIG welding-gas metal arc welding- which has it’s advantages.

Flux Core Welding vs. Solid Core Welding With Gas – Kevin Caron

4- Stick welding, shielded metal arc welding isn’t as hard or dangerous as it is supposed to be. It does raise sparks and the work gets red hot. Make sure you have the right electrode, both for your machine and for the application you plan. Read the package for amperage. Buy new rods for anything semi-important; if you are getting anything from this piece you don’t have an oven. Yeah I know it’s not the tool, it’s the craftsman but dry electrodes work a lot more effectively. In my experience woodworking, carpentry, logging and bar tending were a lot more dangerous than welding.

How To Weld: Understanding Stick Welding Duty Cycle by ChuckE2009

5- I have no personal opinion on TIG welding, other than I pay a pretty penny to have it done, it is worth it and it is pretty. Anyone who would like to assist me in having an opinion on the subject I’m available nights & weekends. I’ll bring my own hand tools and lunch.

Tig Welding Stainless Steel Repair  by Jody Collier

6 Torch welding/brazing and faggot welding are subjects for another article. [Faggot welding is a blacksmithing process here; it’s a marriage equality issue on the rest of GMP.]

Blazing Brazing byKeith Fenner

Faggot Welding by Keith Aspery

7- Cheating isn’t cheating, 40 some years of on & off welding and within the past year I saw a guy guide the end of a new, long, rod to the joint with his off hand- Brilliant. Lay the project on it’s side or set it on milk crates, whatever makes it accessible. You don’t need to make each assembly a 6G test. I recently clamped a plywood angle to the table parallel to a joint I wanted to look great and drew the rod against it; it worked. Clamping is not cheating.

8- Preparation is time well spent, clean rust, scale & oil off of the material. At the level that I weld there is no percentage in blowing through rust, paint and grime. Grind bevels at the joints, space the joints & preheat the pieces. A good ground is as important as a good lead. Make a dry run through the length of the joint, better to know how you will get there before you have to get there, wear your helmet during the practice. Clamping is a must.

Stack of Dimes by Jody- a Big Boy

Stack of Dimes by Jody- a Big Boy

9- A stack of dimes bead in not inherently strongest- but when you run one, you will take a picture.

10- Certification is a bit tricky, there is AWS (American Welding Society) certification , In-House certification (let me see you run a bead) and Get-Er-Done (can you fix this?). With a welder in your tool kit things need welding. My rule of thumb is: I’m certified to do whatever I feel comfortable doing. I’ve been paid to make things and that qualifies as certification for that project. That being said I wouldn’t touch anything “go fast” like a motorcycle frame. I would repair a bumper for you. For me I’ve got joist hangers holding up the floor of the bedroom where I sleep most nights that were inspected by an engineer and that I made.


Octagon Box

The Complete Anvil Stand

Do it Yourself, America

In Be a Guy, Tool Kit on July 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm


This piece originally appeared in the good men project.

In a world where anyone can watch fifteen ways to sharpen a hand saw or to build a rail gun, is craftsmanship lost?

The New York Times reports that we are losing our craftsmanship skill set and spirit: the spirit that enabled GIs to modify tanks in Normandy to cut through hedgerows without needing Defense Contractor Consultants; the same spirit that had GIs up-armoring Humvees sixty years later on their own in what was essentially an act of mutiny.

We haven’t lost American ingenuity and capacity. We have stopped fostering it.

In a world of piano lessons and travel soccer starting at age 7, there Isn’t a lot of time to fix your bicycle.

With a helicopter mommy over your shoulder, one is unlikely to make a tennis ball cannon.

It’s hard to get excited by making thirty-five dollars an hour in a world of Money Guys making thirty-five bucks a minute. School districts have been only too happy to jettison Shop class as a sexist, dangerous, essentializing, vestigial skill set. We have gutted the trade unions and the apprentice system, and made it obvious that working for a living is tough to get excited about. As Jody Collier of welding tips and tricks points out, where the hell are the certified welders who can pass a drug test?

The intrigue of Norm Abrams is not that he is a master craftsman, it is that he’s a guy who does. Norm is no rocket scientist; he is a guy who for some reason decided to make a living that included sweat. Abrams was the most vilified and divisive subject in the annals of the magazine Fine Woodworking—which is sort of the Harvard Law Review for it’s own subject.

Myself, I disagree with how he does some things—but then I spent 20 years in a tool belt and the next 20 supervising construction. I greatly admire his growth as an artisan and his practicality. Not everyone chooses to bring furniture to the masses under the nose of The North Bennet Street School—the MIT of furniture-making.

There is a resurgence in interest in traditional trades that is part a rediscovery of Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and part a practical reaction to the concept “you can’t turn a wrench over

the Internet”. Additionally there is simple fact of the economy that the Money Guys are going to have to pay $135/hr for a plumber and the 99% will have to do it themselves. Without it being taught in schools, increasingly people are becoming aware that the 1% don’t create wealth: they play games with the wealth the rest of us forge from raw materials.

While we have disconnected from grandfathers and local shops that knew how to do things, the spirit of self-sufficiency and craftmanship is thriving in the virtual village. There are 10 million do it your-selfers wielding hand and battery driven tools, bragging about and sharing their prowess on YouTube. The only greater number of home-made videos belonging to such enthusiastic do it your-selfers are in various stages of undress as they also wield battery-powered tools with  confidence.

Home Depot is like the soft porn you can get on the restricted channels at name brand hotels. Not quite the real down and dirty, but it has made tools and materials accessible to the masses. Clean, fresh smelling and well-lit, it has seduced a generation into thinking they “can do it.” While Home Depot and Lowes have gutted the corner hardware stores and local lumber yards of this country for its helpful souls and crabby old

guys who bent more nails than you’ll ever pound, it has allowed a nation of people the opportunity to dream of capability. And led more than a few to the real thing—which as often as not is accessible via the internet.



Anvil for Cat Skull Studio

In Cat Skull Studio, Tool Kit on July 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Fisher 1893- why not Oxblood?

Since I can’t find a 200 # unit, nor do I have the room- this will have to do for now. The plates add maybe 50# to the equation.

Historically anvils are supported on a log butt or a concrete plinth in shops.

There are some subtle details that I’ll brag on a bit here. The bevel on the bolts is a nice touch. To do this I put the bolts in a die & ground them by eye on a bench grinder and rethreaded the ends backing them out.  I did think about hardening the ends by heating and oil quenching and decided that would be onanistic.

Welding the stand pipe to this will be a chore- I sold my old Sears Home/Farm AC buzz box. Frankly it was a pain in the ass to even strike an arc on this machine, the amperage was inconsistent and one didn’t get all that much penetration. For this I will either use my woefully under powered Lincoln MIG or maybe try to get some time on Tom’s equipment. If I do the work in house I will gap the joint, preheat and run multiple,passes. I’m thinking this morning that it could be a real bone breaker if this stand fails.

Tacked it and played with it, turned out one of my framing squares is out of whack. Gapped it just about 13/64th.. Preheated the hell out of it, turned the amperage all the way up & the wire feed way down. The root and first cap passes were cherry, the others probably just for show.. Ground & cup brushed between each pass. Looks pretty good, sounds solid. Seems I got the layout correct too, if it balanced without the base. The center of mass & the geometric centers are different.

Please read the rest of this and view the pictures

Craftsman Circle H Ratchet

In Cat Skull Studio, Tool Kit on May 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Circle H Craftsman Maybe a cheaper/value line rather than extremely old... The ratchet mechanism does not lock in forward or reverse. Evidently the Circle H means it was made in New Britain, CT between 1931-1947. Sears rolled out the Craftsman line in 1927.

Circle H Craftsman Maybe a cheaper/value line and not extremely old… The ratchet mechanism does not lock in forward or reverse. Evidently the Circle H means it was made in New Britain, CT between 1931-1947. Sears rolled out the Craftsman line in 1927.

Shaft Detent 2 Speed (Torque) Chest Drill

In Tool Kit on May 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Shaft Detent 2 Speed (Torque) Chest Drill

Shaft Detent 2 Speed (Torque) Chest Drill





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