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!

All Misc Workshop

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!


All Misc

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…


All Misc

Grandma Pardo’s Treadle Sewing Machine

Tony_n_RoseGrandma Pardo had a treadle sewing machine that we would play with when we visited.  Years of kids hands, basement humidity and Grandpa using it as a place to put his leftover paint, caused much of the veneer to peel.  When we cleaned out the house, nobody could bear to part with it even though it was in rough shape.  It spent the next 2 decades in a box with good intentions to restore it.

Cleaning out the shed, I decided it was time to see what I needed to do to put it back together.  For 2 weeks, I have been cleaning, adjusting and scraping paint…much of it needing dental picks!

Invalid Displayed Gallery

All Misc

Singer 29-4

Here is functional restoration and deep cleaning on a rescued Singer Model 29-4.  For the most part, it is functional and didn’t appear to have many repairs or “fixes”.

At first, all I was going to do was make a shelf with drawers however that quickly turned into a complete tear down and additional upgrades.  After working through the layers of grime, paint and varnish (that somebody thought would be a nice addition), I got down to the original japanning and decals.

All the parts were cleaned, polished, tuned up (if needed) and reassembled with some current lube that won’t turn everything black.

Next on the tasklist is to cleanup the stand and find a donor sewing machine for a motor and footpedal.  LED lighting and some new decals will complete the project…I think.  🙂

All House Misc Workshop

Misc. Fabrication

Here are a few mini-projects that I spent way too much time thinking about:



I got tired of trying to drain the compressor and it had been awhile since it was done.  To keep the rusty water from staining the garage floor, I took it outside on the front lawn.  When I opened the drain, nothing happened.  I powered on the compressor to give it a little push and it finally opened up…at 120 psi!  It made a crater in the lawn and coated the bottom of the tank.

After a trip to Ed Young’s for some hardware and an old water bottle, the compressor now has a catch-tank.  Now, a quick open of the valve and any condensation is sprayed into the bottle.

img-20120819-00018 amherst-20120819-00019


img-20120819-00020 Take one garage sale find; a tiger maple drafting brush  and some rubber pond liner and now the brush can hang on the wall and didn’t require a hole in the handle.</>
img-20120819-00021 img-20120819-00022 img-20120819-00025


Take some aluminum screen, the metal shipping crate from a table saw, some leftover Ipe and a few lengths of Hardie siding and now the generator has a stylish house to stay out of the weather.  It just happens to be the same height as the grill and a couple of wheels makes it mobile…

img-20120831-00040 amherst-20120831-00041 amherst-20120831-00042 amherst-20120831-00043

All Misc


img00327-20111029-1128I finished this project last year and it’s now time to get it out of my shop.  I made some temporary legs however I didn’t like them.  Between work, family and projects, I thought it was time to make the table usable so I can lend it out for events.

I used some heavy diamond-plate aluminum and some aluminum tubes and they seem to work much better.  I will add some more pics later…

UPDATE September 10, 2012: Donated to Roswell Park Alliance Foundation.

Materials Used

  • Table Back: Pre-finished Maple plywood (8 ft x 4ft x 3/4 in)
  • Table Frame: Rock maple
  • Bumpers: Cherry
  • Table feet: Nylon feet with custom built-in bubble-level
  • Finish: Tung Oil


[foogallery id=”5307″]
All Misc

From Video Game to Reality…


My son wanted a project one day so he printed a picture of the shield from The Legend of Zelda.  The project was some scrap 1/2″ plywood, sign vinyl, 3 stove bolts and some silver paint…


[foogallery id=”5497″]” template=”/home/tony175/public_html/woodforge/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/ngglegacy/view/gallery-caption.php” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]

All Misc

Double-wide Cat Door

Another project for my friend Laura

It’s not often you come across a 22 lb. cat.  Let’s just say, they don’t fit through a normal cat door.

22lb Cat - 1 22lb Cat - 2 22lb Cat - 3

The cat needs to “go” downstairs but if they leave the door open, it gets very drafty in the kitchen.  The solution; one surgically modified basement door.

Before  —————————————————————————>  After

Door before

Got it

Now get in there and don’t come out until you are done!

Dad stuffing me in the door

All Misc

Pack 280 Pinewood Derby 2011

Welcome Race Fans!!!

It’s that time of year again when Scouts are given a block of wood and 4 wheels to create a Pinewood Derby car.

This year, I was asked to help with making stands.  After unsuccessfully searching for a design I liked, I created my own.  50 stands later, I had made a nice dent in my scrap wood pile…

[foogallery id=”5265″]