Author Topic: What I do or have done with minimal tools on 2 square feet in my crowded dungeon  (Read 348 times)

Offline TelePlay

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The following was split off of a hijacked, by me, candlestick restoration project

     http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=16425.0

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This is not a complaint. It is a statement of fact and meant as encouragement to new forum members who have little or no experience working with tools and chemicals.

Quite some time ago I was criticized for calling this restoration epic in that someone like me who had a fully equipped metal working shop was far ahead of the average forum member who would not have the power tools and equipment available to them that I had at my disposal to create the brass ring spacer to fit a smaller transmitter into a larger cup - these spaces were made by phone companies to do the same thing but finding one is near impossible so one had to be made out of a flat, brass metal strip. This is the full topic.

     http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=16425.0

Due to a few things that came to my attention over the past month, I want to set the record straight. I was accused of hyping up my restoration which was no bid deal since I had a complete large and fully equipped metal, plastic and electrical workshop. In reality, my work bench is 20 inches by 30 inches in size and the only power tools I have are a $100 10" cheap Craftsman drill press from Sears, a Dremel with bits from Home Depot, a Ryobi polisher, a buffer, a 140 watt soldering gun, a $25 multi-meter, a 30 year old bench vice from my father, an assortment of hand tools (hammers, files, pliers, vice grips clamps, etc) collected over a life time, a $50 convection oven to bake paint, a $50 ultrasonic cleaner for dial cleaning and a home made paint station made out of a cardboard box, box fan, turntable and furnace filter. And all of this was accumulated over 8 years as the needs for each arose. Every time I do something new (lantern, phone, different phone, different lantern, radio, etc), I have to clear my bench and upload it with whatever is needed for the next project. My work bench is about the same size as a stove cook top or the top of a washing machine. I spend more time looking for tools. Contrary to the opinion held by some, I don't have a 10,000 square foot well lit air conditioned and vented work shop with thousands of dollars of specialized tools. I have a 15" by 20" rug on which I stand to work on my 20" by 30" work bench, nothing more. But more than enough to enjoy my hobbies.

One of the two best tools I have is the internet so I am able to research metal bending tools and methods and with that knowledge, took a trip to my local Ace Hardware store and created a home brew metal bending set up which allowed me to make the spacer ring. Actually 2 in that the first was tossed as part of the learning curve. The other was my creativity, my ability to analyze, plan, find common parts and assemble a tool/jig that allowed me to make one good ring. Wish I had one of those $175 bending rigs with the appropriate dollies to create the ring but I did it on the cheap. The attached pictured is the million dollar metal bender I made for about $10 - I already had the hammer. The image of the metal bending creation is shown on about 75% of my total work bench area. It does not take much space to do good things.

I am posting this here to encourage anyone, any member, who has the desire, imagination and creativity to try something to go ahead and do so. Chances are it will work out fine and something will be learned that can be used in the future or the procedure modified to successfully do something different.

Bottom line is, if you are new to phones and have a problem, do the research on Google and the forum, figure out what you would like to do or try, get the tools, meters, clip leads, chemicals, polishes, paints and whatever else is needed that you will use in your plan and AND HAVE AT IT. I do believe that is how every member who restores phones got started. As the lantern guy told me after a sticky lantern fix, "you learn by doing" and how true that is.

And if you can't find it on Google or YouTube or the forum, ASK. There is a wealth of knowledge held by our long term members and they are more than willing to provide assistance with anything - there is no problem that someone on the forum has not faced, resolved and is willing to share with other members (other than how mcmurdosilver gets that shine on Bakelite which to this day is a tightly held secret).

Sure, we've all screwed up something and sometimes the created additional problem can be fixed, or tosses, but that's the price of a hobby. But the point is to try and not let another member demean you work by making an assumption that you accomplished a fix or restoration or problem with a lot more resources than you have. Credit should be given where credit is due to true hobbyists who successfully venture into the unknown of a new problem with minimal resources at hand rather than being dismissed by a wrongful assumption.

As Doug Rose has said many times, "it's a hobby, it's supposed to be fun" and I'd like to add, criticism of anyone trying to do anything, regardless of how well or how successful the result may be, is neither desired or acceptable.

Anyone who feels they are the subject of such criticism are free to PM me or any other moderator.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 02:34:28 PM by TelePlay »
            John . . .

              

Offline TelePlay

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In reality, my work bench is 20 inches by 30 inches in size . . .       to work on my 20" by 30" work bench, nothing more.

To correct the record, I overstated the size of my work area. Was putting a top coat on a lantern today and tipped my one ounce bottle over so had to put new cloth on my work area. Being totally free of any project, I measured and found it to be only 18" wide by 16" deep. Sorry, my error and "nothing more" is really "much less."

But it does look nice when cleaned off . . .
            John . . .

              

Offline TelePlay

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And as encouragement to those who have limited space, this is my 18" by 16" work bench set up for taking photos (my photo studio), and what it looks like with the back drop and over head light filter removed. It doesn't take much space to work on phones, lanterns, radios or whatever can be place on a square foot of real estate or less.

I know, quite the mess in my dungeon but I get stuff done, one thing at a time (extra points of you spot my drill press).
            John . . .

              

Offline TelePlay

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My current project was to dismantle and clean a Coleman lantern I bought in 1980 and stopped working while in storage. Seemed to be a lack of fuel getting to the mantles.

Pretty easy to take the super structure apart but getting the fuel/air tube out of the fuel font was difficult.

First step, pulling my inherited father's red vise from under my table saw and mounting it to my 2 square foot work area with "C" clamps.

Next was drying the fuel out of the rust built up on the inside of the fuel tank (compressed air into the tank while heating it with a hair dryer until most of the smell was gone).

Put painter's tape on the jaws to protect the brass and mounted the tank upside down on the vice.

Wrapped a split bicycle inner tube around the tank to get some grip.

Attached my large Husky strap wrench to the tank over the inner tube.

Put a long nozzle on the air line and taped it to stay in the tank.
 
Turned on the air and used a butane torch to heat the brass threaded into the tank to soften the red sealant. I was concerned that any fuel trapped in the rust would come free and without a lot of air moving through the tank to dilute it, it could become an explosive event. My set up worked well.

When hot, cranked carefully on the strap wrench with one hand and using the other to keep the tank vertical in the vice.

Took 3 tries, 3 heatings, but it finally gave way and the assembly came out for cleaning.

I was a bit amazed at the layer of rust inside the tank that accumulated I would guess from using the lantern in the humid summer outdoors when camping.

Next step, cleaning the rust out of the tank and then re-assembly. It might even work. At least the 2 sq ft are now open (vice back on the floor).

My 2 square feet of space available for the next project effort.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 11:11:38 PM by TelePlay »
            John . . .

              

Offline AE_Collector

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Actually, and just for the record.....16" x 18" is EXACTLY 2 square feet (288 square inches). You were likely confusing a 2' x 2' area with being "2 square feet"!

Now to see how long it takes me to clear off 288 square inches on my work bench!

Terry

Offline TelePlay

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Terry,

I did the calculation and was surprised that it was exactly 2 feet before posting. Just worded the title poorly. At least I didn't say "2 foot square" which would have been twice the area.

So, thanks, changed the title and am waiting for photos of your dungeon.
            John . . .

              

Offline AE_Collector

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Well the "before" pictures of my shop are here:

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=7735.msg91126#msg91126

But the "after" pictures show it has returned to the "junk storage room" status it had previously. I plan on tackling it yet again to get it back into shape so I can work in something in there again soon.

Terry