Friday, August 1, 2014

Instead of Oshkosh?

Lori and I waited for the perfect wx window to OSH, but it never happened so we decided to play in our own back yard instead.  

Tuesday morning we took off from Greenville NC (home) and headed north to the Albemarle Sound.  We stayed on the south bank to avoid the restricted areas.  First stop was First Flight!

We talked to a nice fellow in a Bonanza.  We decided I would be Orville and he would be Wilbur.  We landed together on Runway 02 and then taxied back to the monument as a flight of two.  After paying our respects at the First Flight monument, we took off for Manteo (about six miles) and went to the North Carolina Aquarium.  It was shark week and there was a new dinosaur exhibit.  We had to take a selfie while being chased by a dinosaur. (Our granddaughter Erin was afraid for us)

After the aquarium, we decided to shoot down the Outer Banks to Cape Hatteras, then on to Ocracoke Island (our favorite back yard playground).  

We were having a great time when we had a brilliant idea to spend the night on a whim.  We rented a room and two bikes.  We spent two days biking around the island and enjoying the wonderful weather.  Then, we climbed back in the RV-12 with sore butts and 46 minutes later we were sitting on the ground at home.  Was it as good as OSH?  Of course not, but we had a blast close to home and put a little more xcountry time on the -12.  We'd do it again for sure!



Dennis W. Millsap
A&P Mechanic
RV-6A (sold)
RV-12 (flying)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The ravages of time

Decay.  It's everywhere.  Lori says it's a fallen world.  Well, it makes redeeming a 50 year old body difficult at best.  And yes, I am still talking about the truck!  

So, what do you do when the top of the cab is rusted all the way through?  Get a new cab?  Believe it or not you can get them, but they cost $10,000 and I'm not even kidding.  Instead, I treated the area with ospho, then used the grinder to cut out the rotten places and then fiberglassed the holes.
Here I've started to fit the fiberglass patch.

Then, I mixed epoxy resin with microballoons (dustlike spheres of glass) into a slurry and applied that over the top of the fiberglass.  Next, I sanded all of it nice and flush.  Believe it or not, this is an aircraft repair technique.  When it's finished you can't tell there was ever a problem.

Meanwhile, Matt and I started cut out the old rusted floor pans, 

But even as we were working to cut out the years of decay, surface rust was forming on the parts I had already stripped.  I didn't have a choice, I had to quickly get it primed to stop the rapid decay.

The day after hurricane Arthur came through (the 4th of July) the weather was amazing with low temperatures and low humidity, perfect for shooting primer.  So, I did a little final body work, wiped everything down with denatured alcohol, and sprayed on epoxy primer.  Now, epoxy primer is extremely hard and actually much better than what they used on the truck in 1964, but authenticity be hanged in this case, we want it to last.  It turned out great and stopped the surface rust, now we can concentrate on the floor pans.  More to come.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Avengers to the Rescue!

Well, good news!  After I power washed the bottom of the cab, I found that all of the rust damage was limited to outboard of the longitudnal supports.  What does that mean?  Well all of the damage was on the outside of the floorpans and none on the inside.  This is really good news because it means we can paint the bottom and front, then set it back on the frame.  And, that's just what we did.  However, Lori and I couldn't lift it (we tried).  So, we called our daughter Maggie (aka Nick Fury) who quickly assembled the team of young people to put the cab back on the frame.  Maggie and all her "Peeps" swooped in and saved the day.  I'm very sorry that I didn't get pictures of the operation, but it was over in mere seconds.  Good job Avengers!!

Here's a shot of the bottom after two pressure washing sessions and acid treatment.

So, now that the cab is back on the frame, I can fix the rust damage with it in place.  I also have a lot of other work that can be done.  I spent all day prepping the dash for paint.  Here's what it looked like once I got all the old paint off.

Black is the new orange, right?  Here's the dash with a handsome coat of black primer.   Hmmmmm.  I kinda like the flat black.  More to come.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A "Ruddy Mess"

I was watching a British sitcom this weekend and realized that I don't use the word "Ruddy" enough.  Well, this is the perfect opportunity because the old truck project has turned into a ruddy mess!  Lori and I tipped the cab onto its back with the help of the tractor.  I wanted to pressure wash the underside of the cab and get a better view of the rust in the floorpans.

This is what we found.  By the way, its not supposed to have big holes like that.  The problem will be finding good metal to make the repairs.  Just a ruddy mess, a ruddy, ruddy mess!  Lori says, "Watch your language Mister!"  I could say its a Bloody Mess, but I'm just not that vulgar.  Stay tuned because it it bound to get better.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pistol Pontifications

If my dad is a pistol, does that make me a son of a gun?  Hmmm.  Makes you think, huh!  Well, I encountered another detour while working on the old truck.  A pistol found its way to me that needed some love.  This is a Browning Buckmark semi-auto .22 pistol.  This poor little thing didn't work at all and looked like a train wreck.  Someone had actually tried to refinish it with paint from rattle cans.  Isn't that crazy?  So, I decided to refinish it with, um...  Well, a rattle can, but this is different.   I used a product called Duracoat.  It is a two part finish in an aerosol can.  It's cool, when you are ready to spray you simply punch a button on the bottom of the can and the hardener is released inside.  Then, just shake it for two minutes and spray away.  The resulting finish is as hard as Chinese math!  

Step one was to completely disassemble, strip everything off and use the blast cabinet to take all the finish off. I soda blasted all of the individual pieces. As I disassembled everything, I noticed a few internal pieces that needed to be replaced so I ordered them online.  I wanted to be ready when it was time to reassemble everything.

Then, I sprayed each part with WWII Olive Drab Green.  Last week, I had a friend who drives a Prius suggest that my "Huge Truck" wasn't earth friendly and that I should be more "Green" minded.  So, this is my first attempt to be green!  Right?  Starts with the guns....

I sprayed the screws individually.  Notice them in the cardboard.

In the end, it turned out great.  I took it out to the range and rattled off a magazine of .22 ammo and everything fed perfectly. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's ALIVE!!!!

Dr. Ricky said it looks like someone on life support.  Notice the gas can hanging from the ladder and yes it does look a little like an IV bag.  I won't bore you with all the details, but when I first tried to start the newly rebuilt engine it didn't light right up.  Instead, it stumbled along, coughed, sputtered, and even back fired. It waited until I was leaning over the carb to explode in my face; it singed my hair.  You should have Bugs Bunny and Road Runner visions in your head.

Well, I recently went to Tennessee and attended an FAA school where I got certified as an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic.  Why do I mention this?  Because, it helped me diagnose the engine trouble in the old truck.  How you ask?  I finally narrowed the problem down to a very weak spark.  I checked the coil and that wasn't the problem.  But, there was a test question in the FAA course that asked, "What hastens the spark from the coil?"  Answer: The condensor.  So, a condensor tester would cost $80, but a new condensor costs $5. I can do that math!  I went and got another condensor which took about thirty seconds to install.  Then, it fired right up and purred like a kitten.  

Now, with the engine all sorted it's time to start on the cab.  I have to weld some new floor pans in, but I'm excited to get it done to get the cab back on the frame. 

A little more rust and we could use the Fred Flintstone brakes.

Stay tuned, we'll be doing some welding soon.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rifle Ramblings

So, if you are reading this you know I was born in 1964 like the old truck.  But, you may not know I was born in Germany.  My dad was stationed there with the Air Force.  So, here's a story relayed by my dad.  My mom, dad, sister and me were coming back from Germany after the overseas tour.  We were in the airport and dad was holding his two most precious soveneirs from Germany.  One was a Browning Model SA-22 Takedown Rifle in a leather carrying case and the other was a screaming toddler making everyone around him miserable (Yep, it was me).  Dad says he finally got to the ticket counter and the guy at the counter asked, "What's in the case?"  Dad said, "It's a gun."  The guy behind the counter didn't even bat an eye because he was tired of the screaming toddler, he said, "Yeah right, come on through."  So, dad carried his toddler (me) and a .22 rifle onto the airplane and stowed the little case in carry on luggage.  Can you imagine this in our Post 9/11 world?  Yeah, me either.

I tell this story because I was recently back home and told dad that I was looking to buy a Browning SA-22 like the one he brought back from Germany.  He said,"Let me show you something."  He pulled out a look alike Browning he had recently bought.  It was in pretty rough shape, but he said I could have it.  I brought it home and took it out to my range to see how it performed.  It jammed on every shot.  I knew this was a great gun, so I started to restore it to its former glory.  First, I disassembled the whole thing.  I used a razor blade to scrape away lead, powder residue and general gunk from inside.  After a couple of hours of cleaning the mechanism looked and functioned great.  But, I decided to restore the stock and forearm too.

I started by strpping all of the old finish from the gun.  I used a toothbrush to get into all of the checkering.

You can see the scratches and dents in the old finish.
The old finish had a lot of deep scratches and bruises.
There was even a crack in the forearm that I was able to fix with fiberglass epoxy resin.  I used a great technique, but didn't take pictures of it, sorry.  But, here's what I did.  I took a towel and soaked it in water.  I squeezed out the excess water, laid it over the wood stock, then took a hot iron and ironed the wood through the towel.  So, the iron turns the water in the towel to steam.  Then the steam plumps the wood back up removing about 80 percent of the dents.  This reduces the amount of sanding required and saves more of the wood.  In other words, you don't have to sand as much of the stock away to get to the "good wood".  It worked great, you should try it.  It should be included in the list of life hacks!

I used Tru-Oil to finish the stock.  I would add a very light coat, the let it dry.  The next day I would go over it with fine steel wool, then add another light coat.  I ended up with about six or seven coats.  The end result turned out great.
Now, I have a great little rifle to remind me of my childhood and that cool story about the time my dad took a gun on a commercial airliner, what a hoot!