All Boat Misc

1910 John Leckie, Limited, Toronto – Gimballed Compass

This is a gimballed compass, meaning it stays level while being tossed around at sea. Physicist Edward Ritchie was a well-known American compass maker who developed the first liquid-filled instrument in 1861. He was prolific, and the company he founded, Ritchie Navigation, is in business to this day. This instrument dates to somewhere between 1910 and 1920. John Leckie operated a netting and hardware business for commercial fishing between 1861 and 1908, and that business continues to this day under the name Leckie’s Lakefish Net and Twine.

Didn’t want to break the glass so I removed the drain plug and used the air compressor to push the glass out. I had never tried this and was surprised when it popped out with so much force my family heard it upstairs and thought something exploded!

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1937 Envirude Barn-find

Found in a barn in Youngstown, this outboard was destined for the scrap pile. Rinsing the barn dirt off started to expose the good condition of the motor. Dismantled the lower unit to inspect the gears and water pump which had minimal wear (after removing a substance I hope was grease…lol) despite their 83 years.

The project snowballed into a complete dismantle and next was the gas tank and head unit. Each part was lightly cleaned, inspected and set aside. The tank and carb needed a good cleaning but didn’t need to have any parts replaced.

Reassembled and added a 1/2 quart of TruFuel and checked for leaks. 3 pulls later, It ran for a few seconds and stalled. Noticed a leak in the fuel line connection to the carb and the water pickup tube needed to be secured to the water pump. A few adjustments and the second attempt ran until I turned off the fuel valve. On to the next project…


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The Crucible

My friend Dan asked if I could help him with a special project for his GF.  After he described the weekend vacation the Marines call “The Crucible” that she was attending, it was easy to say yes!

The piece is made using Cherry, White Oak and a piece of convex glass.

Semper Fi!


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1944 US Navy Generator

I have been in negotiations to acquire a 1944 portable generator for a few months now.  Finally, this weekend I went to pick it up.

From the looks of it, it has not seen much use.  The generator case had some welds on top but other than that, it looked brand new.  It still had the first use label on the front and the parts box in the lid had all the original parts.  The motor would not turn so I guessed it was just “glued” together given there was little to no oil and the gas tank was completely clean inside.  I was just going to look under the cover panels and that quickly turned into an almost complete dismantle.

Update 30-Apr-2012

  • Mechanical
    • After checking out the major parts, everything was in good working order…with the exception of 3 of the lifters.  They were completely “glued” to the block with old fuel.  Some gentle persuasion (dead-blow hammer) and Corrosion-X finally freed them up.
  • Electrical
    • Wanted to make sure there was good spark and I have had good luck with sealed electronic ignition conversion kits so I removed the points and converted to electronic ignition.  Tested and there was still no spark.  I put all the original components back and got it to fire with some starting fluid in the cylinders.
  • Fuel
    • The mechanical fuel pump leaked as soon as gas was poured in the tank.  Removed the carburetor and fuel pump and began a quest to replace the main diaphragm in the pump.   After a few weeks and dozens of calls, I decided to make the part myself.  A stove bolt and a heavy nitrite glove were donated to the project and appeared to work fairly well.


  1. First attempt
    • Belt to Bosch drill
  2. Second attempt
    • Direct drive to retainer nut on generator shaft – bolt un-screwed
    • Direct drive to retainer nut on motor flywheel – tightening while starting.  Was working until motor fired and reversed retainer nut of the end of the shaft.  The nut backed off and snapped off a cooling fin on the flywheel.
  3. Third attempt
    • Found a pulley and shaft that would fit in the drill and tried the belt again.  It almost worked however it seemed to never fully fire.
  4. Fourth attempt – success
    • Was thinking of how I could get more power to start the generator and happend to look over at the snowblower.  A quick removal of the pulley cover and belts and a long belt made for an efficient and strong starter.  After a few seconds, the motor finally started and ran for about a minute and stalled.  It looks like the fuel pump fix is not keeping up with the motor.  Back to the drawing board..

If anybody has any experience with this type of generator, please drop me a note.


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Thor and B&D Bench Grinders

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Buffalo Forge 418 Drill Press

Buffalo Forge 418 Drill Press

Scanning the local Craigslist one day, noticed a post for a barn cleanout.  Looked a bit closer, there was a rather large post mounted drill press in the background.  I asked the seller if he had any additional info and if it said “Buffalo Forge” on it.  Lo and behold, it was and I decided I needed to save it from the scrapyard.

My partner in crime, Dominick D. offered to help rescue this with me (miss you, buddy!).  This was in a barn I drove by for years near a new office park.  Proof, you just never know what you will find.

Unattached the drill from the main post in the center of the barn.  The owner said that last time his dad used it was about 60 years ago.  Surprisingly, I was able to complete dismantle the drill with a 6″ adjustable wrench.  There was some surface corrosion on the bare metal however there was no pitting and the only missing part was the table.  I kept the original board it was mounted to, cleaned it and sprayed a few coats of lacquer to protect it.  For the finish, I cleaned away the grime on the lettering and still had the original gold paint.  The rest of the drill was sprayed with Corrosion-X and then wiped down to preserve the metal and original paint.

Hope you enjoy!


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Town of Lockport Military display cabinet

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Over engineered Lathe Duplicator attachment

The following math formula results in another project:

Rottweiler + Chair = Project


A friend’s Rottweiler wasn’t getting roughage and she developed a taste for wood…especially their oak dining room chair spindles.

1st attempt – the tried and true method is to turn the spindles by hand.  It is definitely a task that requires some practice.  My first attempt looked like a spindle from a completely different style of furniture.

2nd attempt – I decided to update my wood lathe with a duplicator attachment.  I didn’t like the way the commercial ones looked so I decided to build my own.  Mounted a piece of plywood to the lathe bed and then made a block out of a stack of plywood so that it was even with the wood blank.  I used a carbide cutter from a metal lathe and it was working good…until it caught an edge of the blank and got pulled under the turning.  The end result was a partial spindle in 4 pieces.

3rd attempt – replaced the carbide cutter with a 1/2″ Sorby gouge.  I figured I would have more control with a long handle tool.  I was wrong.

4th attempt – didn’t even get to the testing phase…

5th attempt – it’s not a real project until the welder is turned on…hehe.  Using steel from a bedframe, handles from a junked Bridgeport, parts from a basketball arcade game and a vintage trim router, it is now able to make a round blank.  With the added profile track above the center line, I can now reproduce just about any profile.

Future improvements

  • Calculate the rotation and linear distance to create spiral designs.
  • Add a Deflector to keep the chips from flying all over
  • Replace handles with computer controlled stepper motors and use the system to create intricate designs programmed on the computer.

I shall name it DUPLI-FORGE!



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John M’s Special Project

John Millen was a Disney Cars fanatic and even had his bedroom custom made in the style of Cars complete with a car bed and a life-sized “Mater” mural on the wall.  ( and JohnsJourney on Facebook )


My son (when he was younger) was also into “Cars” and when I got tired of replacing the D-cell batteries in his “Cars Mountain Challenge Hot Wheels track”, I wired in a transformer.  It was no longer being used at my house so I gave it to John’s dad.  Rumor has it, if they did not take it away at night, it would have been going 24 x 7!

When John passed away last August, I offered my condolences and asked if they needed anything.  Dawn asked how I was with metal and never one to say no, asked what she had in mind.  Well, that started a 6 month project involving contacts over 3 counties.  I never thought I would be in the Urn business however this was a project that was personal.

After a few hours working in SketchUp, I sent them a 3-rendering.  They were happy with the design so I went on a hunt to find materials.  A huge thanks goes out to all of the people who offered materials, advice and discounts;


The “wings” are a lamination of 3 pieces cut on the band saw, soldered together and then shaped with files by hand.  The first connecting rod was donated by the Napa Auto machine shop on Wherle Drive.  It came from a 350 Chevy but didn’t have the scale I was looking for so I went looking for a larger one.  I got a tip that Casey’s might have what was needed.  John Casey came through and provided a connecting rod from a 500 HP Caterpillar Diesel motor.

I wanted to lighten up the look of the connecting rod so I removed the top, center and rounded the base by removing the “shoulders”.  I had to cut the connecting rod outside because of the shower of sparks.  I then switched to hand files and sanders to shape the connecting rod further.  The steel remaining in the center looked like a small flame so I decided to leave it.

I brought the connecting rod over to Steve at Tripp Plating for polishing and brass electroplating.  Two days later, I picked up a brass electroplated GOLD connecting rod that had been polished and sprayed with lacquer.  Drilling and tapping the steel so it could be used as the support was a lesson in persistence.  So many taps broke I lost count.  I found that finishing nails and pliers could sometimes get the broken tap out of the hole.

The bottom of the cylinder is soldered and pinned in place.  The top needed to be tight and flush.  The offcut of brass left over from the wings was a ½ inch wide strip that was straight on one side and irregular on the other side.  I thought the profile looked similar to the terrain from the movie.  I formed the brass to fit inside the cylinder and soldered it in place.  I thought of making decals so the inside would look like Radiator springs but this worked well.


I assembled all the metal and had Steve’s crew do a final polish on it.  The base needed to be wide enough to keep the top heavy piston from tipping over but able to fit on an 8 inch deep mantle.  3 pieces of black walnut glued together made the blank to be turned on the lathe.   A recess in the top for the connecting rod, a tread pattern and some final touches made a black walnut tire.  A recess in the bottom  was a good place to add a hubcap/engraving blank that also hid the connecting bolts…


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Visit to ReUse Action – One way to do Rust Removal

It is that time of year again when the garage changes from summer storage to winter luxury accommodations for the car.  I decided to take much of the useable items to the new ReUse Action building at 980 Northampton St, Buffalo, NY 14211.

If you are looking for great bargains in doors, windows, wood, insulation, old tools, hardware, cabinets, tile, antiques, restoration art…and a bicycle, then you need to check it out.

I picked up a couple interesting items and had a discussion about rust removal and tool restoration.  This is the process I go through to cleanup old tools.

  1. Get some old tools
  2. Brush off any loose dirt and look for any makers marks.  If the “Made in” is followed by anything other than USA, then go to the end of this post… 🙂
  3. This triangle didn’t look like much; buried in a box of rusted tools…
  4. In the same box was a couple odd tools, I small breaker bar and a thin wrench that despite its rusty exterior, was still a quality tool.  After scraping some of the rust away, I could see it was stamped “PROTO”…score!
  5. I also found a military sorter cabinet that was supposedly used for ammunition and thankfully, it was empty.
  6. The steel tools go into a 6 gallon bucket with 2 gallons of “Evapo-Rust”.  Previously, I had taken another bucket and cut it into a “basket”.
  7. Set the timer for an hour
  8. For the sorting cabinet, I used Oil Eater cleaner which is my primary cleaner.  You can watch the grime just wash off.
  9. I have never had paint react like this; It washed off with cleaner and warm water.  It was almost like it was temporary paint.  If anybody has experience with military finishes, please let me know.
  10. The tools right out of the bath, already look better.
  11. They all get a wash with Oil Eater
  12. The remaining residue can be removed with a brass wire wheel and the bench grinder.
  13. Once cleaned, I like to use some CorrosionX spray to coat the steel.  Wipe it down with a clean shop towel and let dry.
  14. Tools that have a ball bearing detent, I put a couple drops on the ball and then use something flat to push it in to allow the oil to get to the spring.
  15. This tool needed to be put in the vise and worked back and forth; working the dirt and corrosion out.
  16. The finished tools.  Better than new; now with character!   WF

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