Shade Tree Cub Mechanic Tools, Tips and IdeasRudi has suggested that all the Shade Tree Tools, Tips and Ideas be collected into one article so it can be more easily used as a reference. The idea made a lot of sense to me, but I don't want to lose any feedback from readers. Please, I would appreciate any feedback you have. This link will take you to the Feedback thread: Shade Tree Feedback
The following are a brief overview and a link to the relevant article on tools and techniques that I have found to be useful while working on my '51 Cub. Since I'm still working on the beastie, I expect that there will be more entries as time goes on. Check back often since this is a "living document". If these ideas have no direct application for you, perhaps they will serve as a jumping off point for something else. If you another slant on the idea or a suggestion for something that interests you, take this link to the Feedback thread: Shade Tree FeedbackThe Shade Tree Tool Tips
The Shade Tree Renew/Redo/Update
- Shade Tree Spot Applicator For Grease
For those difficult to reach places without a Zerk fitting, this may be what you are looking for. Shade Tree Spot Applicator For Grease
- The Shade Tree Tool For Applying Gooey Stuff
If you need to smear some gooey stuff, (Bondo, JB Weld, Automotive Glazing Putty), this might be just the ticket. And it is unbearably cheap! $0 Applicator
- The Shade Tree Tool For Removing The Steering Box Drain Plug
There are several pipe-threaded plugs on old tractors which typically have a square head. Here is a Q&D tool to get the stuck plug loose. Plug Removal Tool
- The Shade Tree Wheel Bearing Packer
When it is time to pack the front wheel bearings, check out the Shade Tree Wheel Bearing Packer
- The Shade Tree Sanding Tools and Supplies
Before and during painting, you will probably need to sand something. Here are some tools I use and a source for Bargain sandpaper. If you feel the need to raise some dust, go to Shade Tree Sanding Tools and Supplies
- Shade Tree Modified Pipe Removal Technique
Water pipe corroded? Exhaust pipe broken off? Do you need to remove a bad pipe from a casting? There is an article on the Wiki that discusses removing the exhaust pipe from the exhaust manifold, And after reading and thinking, here is a modification of the standard approach. If this technique does not work for you, you can always fall back on the standard removal process. This will take you to the Shade Tree Modified Pipe Removal article.
- Shade Tree Moderate Pressure Washer
Want to help some peeling paint come off? Remove caked on crud from your Cub? Irritate Hornets? My friend, you need the Shade Tree Moderate Pressure Washer. It won't replace a real pressure washer but it is a low buck way to improve the performance of the average garden hose. You may find yourself using for more things than you thought possible including blasting grease off the shop floor, cutting grooves in your wooden deck, and delaminating cheap plywood. Alright, I don't know why you would want to do any of these things, but you can with the Shade Tree Moderate Pressure Washer
===========EXPLANATION OF FORMAT CHANGE============Continuing to edit a large document in BBCode was too cumbersome. So I'm in the process of changing the format of the Shade Tree Cub Mechanic Tools, Tips and Ideas. In future, the articles will be written to individual threads and this document will have links to each of the threads. This will allow you to find a particular thread and go to it without having to read through the entire collection of articles. If this change causes you problems, send me a PM and let me know. Until the all of the articles currently extant are incorporated into the new format, the old format will remain below.==============OLD SECTION BELOW==================Shade Tree Cub Mechanic Tools, Tips and IdeasRudi has suggested that all the Shade Tree Tools, Tips and Ideas be collected into one article so it can be more easily used as a reference. The idea made a lot of sense to me, but I don't want to lose any feedback from readers. Please, I would appreciate any feedback you have. This link will take you to the Feedback thread: Shade Tree Feedback
- Shade Tree Rehab For A Cub Steering Wheel
Is your steering wheel a little the worse for wear? Getting carbon black all over your hands? Falling apart before your eyes? You may be able to rehab your steering wheel rather than buying a new one. See if Shade Tree Rehab For A Cub Steering Wheel might work for you.
What follows are tools and techniques that I have found to be useful while working on my '51 Cub. Since I'm still working on the beastie, I expect that there will be more entries as time goes on. Check back often since this is a "living document". If these ideas have no direct application for you, perhaps they will serve as a jumping off point for something else. Shade Tree Tricks and Tips!
The Shade Tree Tool Tips
UPDATE (12-AUG-2007): After you have spread the gooey stuff, epoxy, Bondo, etc., you can save yourself some finishing time by using a little "lubricant" on your $0 applicator. Before the gooey stuff sets up, wet the surface of the gooey stuff with alcohol. Now run the plastic over the stuff. The alcohol acts as a lubricant and allows you to slick the surface. If you have a compound surface or place where the credit card will not fit, dip your finger in the alcohol and smooth the surface. The credit card applicator and the alcohol lubricant also work very well on autobody glazing compound. I suspect you will be amazed at the result.
The Shade Tree Prep, Painting, and Finishing Tips
- Shade Tree Magic Masking Stuff and Substitute Zerks
When I'm tearing down a part of my '51 to renew/redo/refurbish, the first thing I do is degrease. Once the part can be handled, I will either wire brush or sandblast the piece to get to competent metal. Another cleanup to remove the dust and then it is on to paint. How do you keep the paint where you want it and prevent it from going where you don't want it? I agree that masking tape, in all its 97 varieties, is great stuff. But sometimes, you need something a little different. Here are a couple of ideas for those difficult to mask items.
Before sandblasting or wire brushing, I remove all the Zerk fittings from the piece. In their place I screw in 1/4-28 bolts.
These bolts serve several purposes. They plug the hole keeping paint and debris out and they gives me a handle to hold on to while cleaning or painting. These bolts are also reusable but they do get awfully red after awhile. So dump them in your degreaser every so often.
Ok, so the 1/4-28 bolts were pretty obvious. But here is something that may not be so obvious. On the steering gear arm, there is one Zerk fitting that feeds both tie rods. If you look closely you can see a small hole in each tie rod depression that is open to the hole for the Zerk fitting. The hole is small enough that you really do not want to paint to get into the opening. A possible answer is to use toothpicks shoved into these holes.
But it would be nice if you could keep the tie rod socket clean as well. You have already cleaned the sockets out, so why paint them? You'll only have to clean them again. Here is where you get to use Magic Masking Stuff...
The sockets are covered and this means the grease port is also covered. Once the item is painted, the Magic Masking Stuff (MMS) can be removed. Here is the same steering gear arm after the MMS is removed.
Pretty neat! A 1/4-28 bolt and a little MMS and you have avoided having to clean out the sockets, the Zerk fitting hole, and the grease ports to the tie rod sockets.
At this point you are probably looking for a source of MMS. I suspect that Toy R Us or HobbyLobby or Micheal's all have MMS on the shelves. But they call it Plasticine or Modeling Clay. I suppose that Play-Doh would work as well, but it tends to get dry after awhile.
If you get a little carried away applying MMS, not to worry. It is soluble in just about any solvent except water, this includes, oil, gasoline, paint thinner, acetone, or whatever.
You now have some new tools for those difficult masking jobs. Go for it.
The Shade Tree "You Needed What?" Tricks
- Shade Tree Anvil or The Portable Stump
I frequently ask myself when working on the 'Cub, "how would Farmer Jones have done this, back in the day?" I sometimes need to pound the bejezuss out of something, and a 100 pound anvil would be just the ticket. But I don't have a 100 pound anvil.
During a consultation with Farmer Jones, he suggested a tree stump. Great idea! It is massive, anchored well, and can take a lot of pounding. While I have some stumps around, they are never very handy, and never in the right place.
So how 'bout a portable stump? It has to be stout enough to pound on, light enough to be portable, and stable enough to stand on its own while I pound. Aha!! The venerable 4x4 post! Fairly common, fairly cheap, easily transportable. I grabbed a piece of 4x4 about 30" long and stood it on end. I grabbed a hammer and started whacking. As long as the hammer was lined up on the center axis of the post, it worked well. But a little off center and the 4x4 falls over.
I think I'm getting close, but a 4x4 could do with a bit more stability. OK, so it needs feet. I had some cut-off L-iron about 4x6, 5/16" web, 12" to 14" long. I drilled some holes and welded 1/2" bolts, 2 to each piece, onto the angles. Here you can see the L angle pieces with the bolts welded on.
Here are the 2 L angle pieces loosely assembled waiting for the 4x4 to be inserted.
And here is the assembled Portable Stump.
The addition of the protrusions on the inside of the L angles will help to keep the 4x4 post from moving inside the L angle base. When the Portable Stump is assembled, don't tighten the clamping bolts until the 4x4 is seated on the ground.
Onto the L angles, I'll weld some 1 1/2" angle iron as feet. The big L irons add weight at the bottom and clamp the 4x4 in place. The small angle iron should provide stability. The L iron and angles do not interfere with the bottom of the 4x4. This means that any force down on the 4x4 is transmitted directly to the ground. I now have a portable stump, that is adjustable in height. (keep 2 or 3 pieces of 4x4 in different lengths for different kinds of pounding.)
But I really wanted an anvil. So I got a piece of 1" steel plate that was a cut off and welded strips around the edges. This cap fits loosely over the top of the 4x4. Now I have both a portable stump and anvil. Is it as good as a 100# cast iron anvil? No, but it is real handy and does not take 2 men and a boy to move it.
Here are pictures of the top and bottom of the anvil.
The anvil is not a tight fit on on the 4x4. Rather the cap sits on top of the post and is prevented from sliding off by edge rails welded to the anvil. This way, the anvil is easily removed and the portable Stump can be used for pounding out sheet metal or as a support when drilling holes.
At this point, you have to ask, "Where does he get these pieces of steel?" Believe it or not, the best place for me is at the scrapyard. I pay scrap metal prices for small pieces of steel that are very handy for building things. Yes, the scrap yard is one of my favorite places.
Paint Prep --or-- "Plowing the Ground"
- Before painting or prep begins
You are finally going to paint all or part of your __________. Great! Are you going to buy a couple of rattle cans of International Red and get after it? After all, why go to all the bother of getting your work area setup, preparing the surface, masking the non-painted parts, and doing a through clean up afterwards. Of course, the paint you put on today will peel off before it has time to oxidize and turn chalky.
Step away from the rattle can and nobody gets hurt. Like most things, every hour spent in preparation for painting will help to make the final result impressive. STEP AWAY FROM THE RATTLE CAN...
OK, the first step in painting prep is deciding what you are going to paint. Yeah, yeah, I know. You are going to paint a Cub tractor. Are you going to do it like the factory and paint everything after it assembled? Or are you going to take it to pieces, repair and renew the parts and paint major sub-assemblies? Or just paint every piece as it comes off the tractor? The answer(s) will determine what your painting setup will look like and the kind of preparation you will do.
Let's imagine that you are going to take the tractor apart and then repair and renew the parts before painting the pieces. Before you remove a single piece, think about the steps in the process.
1. Remove the piece from the tractor
2. Degrease and remove old paint
3. Repair and Renew, bearings, gaskets, seals, fluids, etc.
4. Paint piece
5. Replace part on tractor
Seems simple doesn't it? But before you do step 1, take a few minutes and think about the entire process. You don't to be holding a rattle can in one hand and a wet part in the other and wondering where you are going to set it down.
Visualize the entire process before you remove even 1 piece. Walk through all the steps. Here are some questions that may help you plan the painting process.
A. After you remove the piece where are you going to put it until it gets degreased?
B. How and Where are you going to degrease the part?
C. If the Degrease also removes the paint, does the part need to be protected while you renew and repair?
D. Do you want to renew and repair before painting if the process involves grease or oil? Remember, paint does not stick well to grease or oil.
E. Are you going to prime the part before putting the color coat on?
F. Where are you going to put the part while waitnig for the primer coat to dry?
G. What color are you going to use for the primer?
H. Did you remember to mask off those places that you DON'T want painted? Bearing surfaces react poorly to being painted.
I. Did you do any surface preparation or cleaning before the primer coat?
J. Are you going to do any work on the surface between the primer and color coats?
K. Do you have a plan for removing masking materials without lifting applied tape?
L. Are you going to apply more than 1 coat of primer or color?
M. How long will you let the parts "cure" before you move/assemble/repaint?
N. And so forth...
Once you have the process thought out and the space set aside, it is time to begin the Pre-Prep Preparation.
- Pre-Prep Preparation
One of the things that make my painting easier is having a place to hang the parts while they dry. This includes drying after degreasing, primer, and color. The first requirement is a place to hang things. Every job and shop will be different, but here some ideas:
Pipe Rod for Hanging Parts
Put up a gas pipe rail. The parts are available from a plumbing supply house, hardware, or Big Box Store (Home Depot, etc.). I would not use anything smaller than 3/8" pipe because some of the things hanging may be a little heavy. Assemble the pipe rod as shown and screw to a wall, ceiling, or overhead. Again because of the weight, make sure the rod is mounted solidly. Test it before you use it. Dropping your newly painted casting on the concrete will probably muss the paint job and could cast the casting to break. [better safe than sorry]
2 pipe flanges
2 short 4" to 5" nipples [depends on how high you can reach and how high the overhead is]
1 3' to 4' long pipe threaded on both ends
2 90 degree elbows
2 Tees and 2 12 nipples [this gives you an arm at each end of the rod]
Another possibility is a piece of EMT electrical conduit and a couple of 90 degree shelf brackets. EMT is not as stout as gas pipe so space the shelf brackets every 32". EMT comes in 10' lengths and a 10' piece would require 4 shelf brackets with 12" on each end hanging in the air.
If neither of these ideas take your fancy, grab that folding clothes storage rack your spouse has stashed somewhere. That will work as well. Then explain that the paint job is a family affair.
"S" Hooks for Hanging Parts
Once you have a place to hang things, you need... [wait for it] Hangers
I actually use 2 types of hangers, "S" hooks and copper wire. The "S" hooks are bent up using 1/8" or 3/16" welding rod. The rod is mild steel, usually copper coated, and comes in straight 3' lengths. My hangers are 18" before bending the hooks and about 15" when finished. I use a pair of vice-grips and a piece of tube the size of the hook I want. Grip the end of the wire against the side of the tube and bend it around. Here is how I bend the hooks:
I try to bend them is an "S" shape since they hang better than when in a "C" shape. These "S" hooks hang from the pipe rod and stay with the rod rather than staying with the painted part. You can use just about anything for hangers, including clothes hangers. But 5 pounds of welding rod from the welding supply outfit is cheap, straight, and good mild steel.
Copper Connections for Hanging Parts
The connection between the painted part and the hanger is a piece of copper wire. Copper is soft, easy to bend by hand, and won't mar the part. If you plan ahead, it is even free. We rewired the house and had some #0 and #00 wire left. After stripping off the jacket, the individual "strands" of copper are accessible. On the #00 wire, the strands are almost 1/8" diameter. Cut off a piece about a foot long, thread it through or around the part, and that copper stays with the part throughout the process. Here is a picture of a Cub front spindle, painted in primer. Notice the copper wire through the cotter pin hole on the axle. The twist keeps the copper secure on the part
- Surface Prep
I will update this as I get it written.
- Giant Q-Tip
Q-Tips or generically, "cotton ear swabs" are handy for cleaning and can also be used to apply paint, grease, wax, and all kinds of other stuff. I usually go to the Dollar Store, or someplace that has cheap Q-Tips. A bag of several hundred will usually be less than $2. But what do you do if you need a very long Q-Tip to reach waaay down into a hole. Well, the next time you see the doctor, ask him for a handfull of the long wooden swabs they use. And if you really like them, ask the office manager to order you a box, the next time they place an order. Most Doctors/Office Managers are open to you purchasing things like swabs.
But what to do if the doctor swabs are still too short? That's right, make your own. A Q-tip is nothing more than a stick with a bit of cotton on the end. So, we first need a stick that can hold a bit of cotton. The simplest is a piece of wooden dowel rod with a nail stuck in the end. Once the nail is driven into the dowel, cut the head off. Then make some barbs on the nail. You can beat on it with a hammer, cut barbs with a file, or ... The dowel has to be small enough to fit into the crevise or hole and long enough to reach the bottom. Since dowels from the hardware or crafts store are usually 3' long the length shouldn't be a problem. And the size ranges from 1/8" to 1" diameter.
If you the handy sort, make or find a piece of steel or brass rod that has a threaded hole in one end. Take a bolt that threads into the end and grind the end to a point. Now you are ready to wrap the cotton around the threaded end.
Another possibility is use a piece of threaded rod. My local nut and bolt place stocks 3' and 10' lengths from 1/4"-20 through 3/4"-10 threads. And they can special order as small as 2-56 and as large as 1"-8.
The next level of sophistication is to use a gun cleaning rod. With some cotton threaded through the eye, you have an instant Q-tip. Rods exist for .22 caliber up through 12 gauge for shot guns. Most of the time you probably want a break-down rod. A one-piece cleaning rod for a rifle is a little unwieldy. Better would be a rod which breaks down into sections. Usually each section is threaded for the same thread as found on the cleaning tips. This way you have a 12", or 24" or 36" Q-tip.
We now have a stick of some sort for the giant Q-tip. Now for the cotton. You can get cotton balls or cotton pads at the grocery store or the dollar store. But wouldn't be great if there was a stiffer kind of cotton? Something that you could really bear down on? For this kind of cotton, you'll need to visit the dentist. They use cotton rolls to keep your cheek away from the teeth when they are working on you. Ask them for some cotton rolls. They are about 1.5" to 2" long, about 1/2" diameter and solid. No air in these bad boys!
If your rod has a sharpend end, work the cotton roll onto the rod. You are now holding a giant Q-tip. The spring assembly that connects the Touch Control arm to the mid-mounted cultivator is composed of three parts. The outer spring, an eyebolt tube (A) and a solid rod (B) that slips inside the eyebolt tube.
After painting the individual pieces, I needed to apply some never-seize to the inside of the eyebolt tube to prevent rust. The tube is about 1/2" ID and 12" deep. Here is the giant Q-tip I used to smear never-seize inside the tube. This idea also works for larger tubes such as the front axle tube on the adjustable track front end. In this case, I wound up a rag around the Q-tip stick and pretended I was swabbing out a cannon. Now the front axle will not require several days of strain to adjust.
Upcoming topics in the "Shade Tree" series
If you have any ideas you would like to explore, send me a PM and I'll see what pops into my head.
- Shade Tree Sand Blasting Booth
- Shade Tree Moderate Pressure Washer
- Other masking techniques
- Parts Hangers
- Drying Rod