Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Keystone Railroad tool grinder

A Railroad tool...grinder you ask? Well yes, they make a handy sized hand crank grinder for using 6 inch stones. But lets back up a bit...

Once in a while I scour my local KIJIJI for tools, cause you never know what can comes up sometimes! Missed on a few good deal on some rarely seen tools, but for the most part, I have been happy with what I found.

This one came up in my regular hand tools search in Nova Scotia:

The infamous Railroad tool grinder.
An Elephant in a China shop??

Decent looking, as far as I could tell from the pics, but would have to be seen in person, since we are paying cash, so if nothing serious, it's a good price. Well worth asking price.

Here is another, broken handle, worse paint loses etc, for US $100
I'e seen them all day long on Ebay around US $70-90 range, and of course sometimes ridiculous asking prices...

Here are the photos from the original poster's ad, the one I got

As they are mostly found, it is missing the tool holder, only a part of it (the receiver) is present. They had various one, including one for the adze. An Adze? Yes, that would had been a commonly used tool on railroads timbers (ties) for notching them: For grades or around fasteners

See the adze holding in the attachment for grinding?
In case not obvious pic from Vintagemachinery.Org

Here are some close ups of the strange tool holder it used. It is missing some parts (?)

Were around early to mid 20th century. They were reputed to make some of the best hand crank grinders, rivaling those by PYKE-Peerless, no less.

What are the attributes to a good grinder?
Little to no slop in the driven spindle.
It is next to impossible to grind straight on a wobbling wheel...
Some grinder's design allow some adjustments.
Lots of the wobble on older wheels are caused by an out of true or unbalanced wheel. so changed it before trying to Fix the wobble.
You must be able to remove the wheel. I have seen some which were solidly rusted frozen and no amount of my usual tricks worked.

Attain a good speed and keep its momentum, with minimal effort.
This is were gear ratio, friction, and driving mechanism comes into play
Worn gears will give you troubles, jerkiness etc. Worse if missing teeth altogether.
The type of lubricant, would ease or make more stiff the gearing mechanism.
Originally, they were designed for using lite machine oils, and were not sealed. Hence they throw oil out and make themselves quite messy thru the years.  Hint, they always had oil port. Using a grease could make them harder to operate depending on viscosity, but they then wont throw out oil all over...
Can you overheat a tool edge on a hand grinder?  Hell yes!. Grinders are coarse tools, leave the end of the edge a bit thicker, to be finished on your stones. Just like you are supposed to do on electric grinders. And quench as needed.
Notice how the handle spins for while after cranking? If you stop it abruptly, that is hard on the gears... Gears have been stripped easily by doing so repeatedly.

A solid enough stand or jig to offer the tool to the wheel at the correct fixed angle
Many grinders have flimsy sheet metal tool rest, others are often missing altogether, especially with antiques. Numerous after market jig exist and numerous DIY articles / plans published on how to.

Appropriate wheel used for a given application.
This can seems complicated, but it is not:
With electric grinders you basically get two speeds: 3450 RPMs or the slower speed ones at 1725 RPMs (@ 60 hertz) With hand crank or foot power, the resulting speeds are all over. Why does it matter? Because the resulting surface speed of the grinding wheel in relation to the tool, will determine the optimal friability of the appropriate stone. Too fast rated RPMs stone, used slowly will result in the wheel glazing, and not wearing out fresh particles to do its job, it will also quickly overheat, thus promoting more glazing.

Reverse scenario, low speed rating stones, would results in the stone literally exploding at turn on used on a high speed grinder. Scary.
Ever tried a PACE rotary brush attachment (used a flex mechanical shaft) on a Dremel electric tool :-)

But seriously, we want the stone to be friable, thus wearing out, to continuously expose fresh sharp particles to do its job properly.

Therefore what about the idea of using your 6 inch electric grinder stones on a hand grinder? They may not spin fast enough to wear correctly. In which cases you may have to dress the stone more often. Enough people have been using Norton 3X white stones on them, so safe to say they work. Just remember to dress the stone often.

But sweat not (Who me, speaking or writing backward? :-), you can still find the proper stones made for us Galoot's powered grinding machines that we are.

Here is the code you have to know in order to make sense of it and specified the correct ones.
A shorter look at the code on Wikepedia

Often the stones that comes with them are pretty well used up and small(er). 
The maximum diameter can be figured out  by measuring the distance between the spindle and the two bottom legs which secured it to the work surface. 

I want to be able to re-used my 6 in Norton stone currently mounted in one of my Delta grinders.
It has been chipped, and I would not trust it at high speeds, but would feel safer on a hand crank grinder

I know, you must be asking yourselves, how can this happened
in such a well manicured shop ?? :-)

The small guy (Hoppe) I was using besides my new one.
Yes, it is bigger, but which sizes stones do they accepts?
The answer may surprise you.

Measuring from center of spindle to supporting legs.

The large Keystone measure almost 4 inch.
It would almost take an 8 inch wheel

The smaller Hoppe, is just about maxed out at 2-1/2 inch
5 inch wheels seems to be the maximum it would take

Shown mounted to a work surface, you can see the clearance I am referring to.

The Keystone

The smaller Hoppe

The Keystone has a much thicker work surface capacity.
Shown installed on a 2X4 top, roughly 1-1/2 in thick

The smaller Hoppe had to be mounted on a thinner board, nominal 3/4 in this pic

The small Hoppe has a pinkish wheel, which has acquired a rounded profile on its face.
I used it a lot for metal shaping

This so call Railroad grinder is a good size for our needs, it will accept readily a 6 in wheel.
I heard it says that all hand grinders out there accept 6 in wheels, I beg to differ, based on my own finds...

All in all, I am happy with my new find. They both have some wobble in the stones, which I may be able to address later. I don't need to start another tool rehab project right now....

Besides, that table top I cleared earlier of my pile of accumulating tools... Well, it has started to accumulate its own pile of gardening stuff.
Like I said, Jean is getting anxious to start, so, she will need the room :-)

On this space future seedlings coming up

Bob, the toolman trading his shop apron for a gardener apron

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Divide and conquer...

Now that the BBM is “mobile” around the shop, I was able to clear my bench and dry mounted the boring till in place. I wanted it to be in line with the top of the big plane cabinet on the other side of the window.  Measured and put a mark on the wall and window trim.
In place and just resting on the mallets & hammer’s top on its rack, put it in, at just about the right height.  Maybe max 1/4 in lower as is?

Took a few pics for references and tested my reach around it. There are obviously no tool racks installed yet, but the two pieces of painting tape on it are, were they will go.
It’s a bit high, but I am  a Six footer...

With the bench top cleared and cleaned, you just knew it was asking for Crapolla on its horizontal surface ...
With Spring around the corner, Jean is itching to start growing from seeds. That of course will commandeer most horizontal surfaces downstairs in my Man cave.

So good time as any to start cataloging all my recent acquisitions, that would clear a couple of tables downstairs. Problems has long been, no room to bring them in the shop.

I started by rounding up the planes on my bench. Tight fit, there are some overflow spilling over around.

Next I can see that  my tool chest is in dire need of a clean up

The Woden jack and a rare Stanley....

The rarely seen Stanley Bullnose Smoother :-)

These planes I own for a while

They almost all fits...

A grouping of woodies

For size comparison, my small Infill smoother

With all these gone I was able to spread the remainders from nearby tables on the top.

Now, it may seems a bit much, but not all of these are recents or new acquisitions, some of these tools I had for a while. It just that they were used in previous work or blogs.
Now my bigger problem is, with my main PC still kaput, I have no access to my files. I could go and buy a new one, but that still wont let me access my files. My son is coming over to help me get it back to life, between the two of us (probably mainly him :-) we should be able to resurrect it.

In the mean time, I just lumped them together for mug’s shots, to be used later to figured out what has been recorded and what has not yet.  No, I do not record consumable (hardware, sand papers etc) but whatever I had around is round up for further dispatching...

After all the appropriate marshalling and dispatching, I shall return to the Boring till. Incidentaly, while the upper cleat is on the cabinet, the lower part and the lower spacer have yet to be fastened to the wall. These little things I can do in between burst of tool’s inventories.  And yes, I have a back up copy of my files, but they dont read on my Ipad or smart phone...

Gotta love technology !!?
Apple and Blogger do not like to play nice together, so I start typing my blog on my Ipad, but it wont let me see my pics. I then go to my smart phone to load the pics, which then makes the draft too big for Ipad, I can only see so far down, so back to smart phone for most corrections... &$#@*

Bob, who miss his PC but only so much...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Progress, small progress

With the BMM reassembled, I can now move around the shop easier.  So, next project to give me more room is to hang the Boring till. Ready or not, once hung, it will sure free up some space.

Some of these steps involved waiting in between, so.... make myself short daily list 4-5 items.

NO 1 Today was Finish the brace bits that soaked overnite in Evaporust.

I was so impressed the other day, how my BBM bit came out of the Evaporust, I have been dunking various bits in a variety of conditions from light rust mark to solid piece of rust. Pretty cool. Works great and practically sharphen itself in the process.

A very rusty Irwin type bit.
The other one still has plating
 but light surface rust

Two basket case nose bits?

The 4 bits out of Evaporust 

Top one was the rusty one.
Bottom one was the plated one after a few minutes with Rust eraser fine. 

Both bits after rust eraser 

That nose bit has a damaged edge but it makes no difference to its operations 

Nice edge were it matter

A good bit salvaged

NO 2 was to scrape the wooden balls on the BBM.  The nights before I put on some wood filler, yesterday put some gel epoxy in the crack, today it was time to scraped them.

Only thing left is a lite sanding, then decide on a stain (thinking darker color) to both hide my gap fillings and for esthetics ....

Wood filler for all the deep scratches and dings

That one is a deep crack

Used a 5 mins gel epoxy

Scraped, ready for a
light sanding, then stain

NO 3 was to attach the upper part of the French cleat. It is to be screwed and glued to the main carcasse.

Carcasse empty, all the brace bits are removed, some of the bits took a bath in Evaporust

Prepare to trim pieces to length

Used my Sweet Sweden Miter box

Yes, im working on the floor...

And done. Now we wait again

In between, took some time to investigate the frame....

Square up front

Same here 

Hum my eyes were not lying...
I can squeeze it almost square

That side is definitively bowing out

That one straight up

Hummm definitively got some butt scratching on that one.  All the tenons are sitting tight in their mortise??

It is now time for a coffee break, last part on my list is clean up....

Bob, making small but steady progress...