Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

IconProjects, musings about guitar builds, guitar repairs, vintage tube amplifiers, old radios, travel, home renovation, and other stuff.

Finishing the Base: Craftsman King-Seeley 103.23141 Drill Press Restoration, Pt. 6

After painting the base, I brought it down to The Dungeon to unmask it.

Unmask, Dungeon...bwhahahha.

I figured I'd have some places where I didn't mask the edges fully. I'd rather have some paint to remove than try to get that rough edge covered exactly.

So had had to sand some of the paint off. Which led me to thinking - never a good thing.

Long story short. I still wasn't happy with the way the milled surface looked, so I went over it again, this time manually with my big sandpaper block (see the earlier post).

Started with 40 grit, then went up through 60, 80, 120, 220 and 320. It's better, but it will never be perfectly level unless it's milled again. At least it's presentable.

Then I coated it with Boeshield T-9 to keep it protected.

Now to reinstall the nameplate.

I wanted to match the look of the original rivets as closely as possible. I searched for something appropriate and didn't find rivets that would have the same nice rounded heads of the originals.

While searching on the incredible McMaster-Carr site, I discovered drive screws. They look like rivets, but are semi-threaded. You drive them into a hole and they fit tightly.

I matched up a drill bit for size with the shafts of the screws (3/32 of an inch) and ran it through the holes to clean up any paint that might be in there.

Set the nameplate into place, and lightly tapped the drive screws with a lightweight hammer to get them started.

Then I used a nail set to drive them in all the way.

Looks pretty good I think.

The drive screws look like rivets!

I had sprayed the decal with a clear paint to protect it. Unfortunately, it made the decal crack. Oh well, not losing any sleep over it. From 2 feet away it looks great.

Here's the finished base. Looks good.

Now I'll start rebuilding the motor and the head.

In case you don't remember, this is what the base looked like originally before restoration. Yikes. Came a long way, huh?


Easy Danelectro Pickup Height Adjustment Mod

Taking a bit of a break from the drill press project on this post.

You may recall my yellow Danelectro DC-2 I wrote about a while back. On thing that has been bugging me on that guitar is the fact that with neck shimmed, the pickups can't be adjusted very high up. Actually, even a stock Dano has this issue.

So I'm going to address the problem. It's a simple solution I put into place.

We'll need to pop the pickups out of the body, so it's necessary to loosen or remove the strings. I was (still) fussing with the shim height on mine, so I had loosened the strings to take the neck off (again, good thing I put those screw inserts on!).

The pickups actually can be adjusted up pretty high in the guitar's stock form.

The problem is that there is no spring to hold them up. so they fall down, and the adjustment screws fall down and stick out the back as you see here.

Ironically, vintage/original Danos don't have this issue. There was a piece of bent steel bolted to the center of the pickup mount which put tension the the mount and held the pickup up.

There is a means in place for the pickup to be pushed up on the reissue guitars, but as we'll see in a minute, the height is limited.

Remove the adjustment screws from the back, and the pickup can be pulled up from the guitar.

You can see the 'spring' the reissues use to hold the pickup up - it's a piece of foam rubber. The problem is the rubber isn't tall enough to raise the pickup up really close to the strings.

I suppose one could add another piece of rubber on top of this, but I simply decided to go with the traditional way of putting tension on the adjustment screws.

I just slipped a spring over the adjustment screw(s). Get a box of them at your local hardware store; you'll find a few that are perfect.

This is the sort of mount you'll see on Gibsons, Fenders, Gretsches, you name it. You could also use rubber tubing which you'll see on some Telecaster bridge pickups. Pretty much anything in that vein will work.

Run the screw into the body, then slip the spring down over it. I put a piece of masking tape over the screw on the backside (ha ha) of the guitar to hold it in place.

Then remount the pickup. You should be able to see at least one of the screw holes in the pickup bracket enough to get it lined up. Lining up the screws is probably the hardest part of this job...and it's not that hard.

Now you'll be able to adjust the pickups way up as you can see here. (This isn't where I left them, it's just to show how far you can jack 'em up).

This is a really easy mod that will let you dial in the pickup height for best tone and volume.

I don't know why the reissues won't adjust up this high, but it's an easy fix.


Recreating Model Number Label with Laser Decal: Craftsman King-Seeley 103.23141 Drill Press Restoration, Pt. 5

You may recall when I de-rusted the drill press base via electrolysis, some of the lettering on the  silk screened number plate was removed.

You can see it on the left. I'm still annoyed with myself for leaving the plate on the base but there you have it.

I pondered this problem for a while and decided to make a decal recreation of the plate.

I've done this for effect pedals, so I was familiar with the process.

I scanned the plate and opened the scan in Photoshop. I had also found some images online of plates from similar drill presses. None of those plates were in great shape (and the photos were marginal), but they would have to do.

I took two approaches to recreate the label. At first, I tried copying letters that were clean and sharp and pasted them where I needed them. For example, I found one clean "C" and used that for all of the C's.

This worked ok, but it was tedious and I just didn't have good versions of certain letters ("K" for example).

So I did some experimenting and found a modern font that was as close match for the font that Sears used. I carefully resized it and changed settings including the kerning and width and got a reasonably close facsimile. All of the guidelines you see in the image above were necessary to get everything aligned properly.

Here's the final version of the label in Photoshop.

You will note that I put my copyright over the label in green. I have had several images from the blog appropriated and wanted to prevent it. This work represents hours of my time and, sorry, it's copyrighted.

Just because it's on the interwebs doesn't mean it's free! Most folks (including me) will help you out if you ask nicely. But just taking it is a violation of copyright law.

Lecture over.

Now let's print and apply the decal.

The original screen was black and was done so that the lettering is actually the silver surface of the plate.

I used clear laser decal paper to get the same look. First I had to strip the old paint off, and sand the plate so it was clean.

Here's the plate after cleaning it up.

I used 120 through 600 grit paper, and polished the tarnished area between the model numbers with a small felt buffer on my Dremel using Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish.

I printed a bunch of labels in case I made some goofs.

I found that the black print wore off on a couple of decals. I don't know if it was the printer or the paper. I have found a source for Papilio laser decal paper, and I plan to try that in the future.

I cut the best looking decal off the sheet.

Note that I tried to trim the opening in the center and the two curves at the end as closely as possible. I probably could have gotten even closer, but I didn't want to cut into the label accidentally!

Soak the decal in warm water for 30-40 seconds until it starts to come free from the backing.

While the decal was soaking, I put some Micro Set onto the plate.

This stuff helps the decal adhere to the surface. Not critical, but I like to use it.

Position the decal, and gently apply Micro Sol setting solution. This softens the decal and makes it take the shape of the surface. In this case, it's flat (duh), but the Micro Sol helps the decal look painted onto the surface. It's really great for curved surfaces on models.

I mentioned some of the print that came off the decal. I found some spots and touched them up with black enamel model paint.

I must be nuts. Not like anybody will really notice once the plate is back on the base.

Here's the finished plate.

I'm going to hit with with a couple of light coats of clear poly to protect it before I install it.


Final Leveling on Drill Press Base Table Finish: Craftsman King-Seeley 103.23141 Drill Press Restoration, Pt. 4

It's back!

When we last saw the base on our King-Seeley drill press, it had been cleaned of all rust using electrolysis and grinding.

However, the grinding left an uneven finish and some divots on the "table" part of the base. (I'm not sure what the finished part of the base is called - it's sort of a table, but darned if I can find what the proper name is). Originally, this would have been milled on a big mill.

The grinder is a bit too awkward to use to level the whole surface - you can't get to the center of the base with it.

So I began a series of efforts to try and get the divots out of the surface.

This part of the project took a couple weeks (hence the lag in the posts) as you will discover.

First I made this large sanding block to hold a whole sheet of 9 x 11 inch paper. It's just 1/2 inch birch ply with some kitchen cabinet handles attached. I offset the handles since I thought I'd have better control of the block that way.

I countersunk the handle screws on the opposite side so I'd have a flat surface for the sandpaper.

Even if this didn't work, I figured I could still use it for other large sanding projects.

Used spray adhesive to get a temporary bond between the paper and the block.

Note the paper: it's cloth-backed paper from Klingspor. This is 40 grit. Can't get this type of quality paper from the Despot, no sir.

And I started sanding away. I did use 2 hands - but I had to have one hand free to take this particular picture.

The good news is: it did work, after a fashion.

The bad news is: if I kept hand sanding, I'd use lots of sheets, and it would take me 8 hours. So I gave up and decided to use a machine.

I ordered some sanding discs for my trust orbital sander from Klingspor. This was order #2. So the project was delayed again for a couple days until I got the paper.

Long story short, the orbital was nowhere near powerful enough to really cut the metal.

What I needed was something heavier and more powerful. To quote Homer Simpson: "Strong like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball." Well, scratch the soft part. Strong and powerful would do.

What I needed was a belt sander.


Here it is.

It's a Porter-Cable, not the biggest, but way more muscle than my orbital...or my aching arms for that matter.

I ordered some sanding belts (it takes 3 x 21s) from Klingspor (order #3 if you're counting) and had at it.

The coarsest grit Klingspor sells is a 16 (!). That's really what I wanted, but they don't offer it in my belt size.

So I got some 24 grit belts (see left), some 36, 40, 60, and 80.

Oh yeah.

Let the machine do the work.

Here it is about halfway through with 24 grit paper.

You can see it's getting level and the divots are much shallower. The edges are still a bit rough, but are getting better as well.

Here it is after using 24, 40, 60 and then 80 grit belts. It's level now and just needs to be smoothed out more.

See that the edges are much more defined now. The rust had eaten them away. I can't make them perfect because there are chunks where the rust left uneven parts of the original machined surface, but they are not too bad.

Then I used the orbital with 100, 120, 180, 220 and finally 320 grit papers.  There are still some sanding marks visible, but I think they'll come out with a final machine polish which I'll do after I repaint the whole base.

Even though you can see some marks, the thing is really smooth to the touch - like the bottom of a baby, or the soft fur on the bottom of a dachshund's neck under its mouth.

If the marks annoy me too much after I polish it, I'll go over the thing again with finer grade belts. I only had course belts - but I can procure finer ones if needed.

Here's where it stands now. Still need to paint the whole base (next part of the restoration), but it looks good I think.

And recall this is what I started with!


Grinding to Remove Rust: Craftsman King-Seeley 103.23141 Drill Press Restoration, Pt. 3

Work on the Sears Craftsman/King Seeley drill press continues.

Actually, work on other projects has continued too, I just haven't written about them. Yet.

You may recall from our last installment that we used electrolysis to remove the heavy rust from the base of the drill press. Looking back at the picture of the base before the start of the rust removal is scary. The base has come a long way. But there is more to go.

One thing I should have done as prep before the electrolysis dunk tank is removing the name plate on the base. The idea of removing the plate actually ran through my mind, but it ran so fast it was gone before I did it!

Along with most of the rust, the process also removed/loosened up some of the paint on the base. Now, that's not a bad thing, since I'm going to repaint the base, but some of the paint on the plate came off also. Dagnabbit.

So I'll need to restore the name plate too. I've actually started on that process and I think it will be successful.

Anyway, I drilled the plate rivets out before I got going on Phase 2 of rust removal. You can see that process in the picture above.

And here's the plate after removal.

Not to worry, I think I can restore the original label.

The electrolysis process removed the vast majority of the rust on the base. But it did leave what is called "black rust" on the machined table surface.

Since that surface started life as a nice smooth unfinished metal surface, the rust really attacked it.

The rust was transformed into solid black rust which needs to be removed.

I did some reading on the interwebs where a wire brush was suggested to remove this black rust.

So I procured a braided brush and mounted it in my grinder.

Long story short, some of the surface rust came off, but the heavier rust and pitted metal wasn't moving.

So I moved up to a metal grinding disc.

Made quite a few sparks (see some in the picture, they were hard to photograph) and started seeing bare metal.

If you do this, wear glove and eye protection! Bits of rust, metal, and sparks will fly.

I went through 2 discs in this process.

Here it's almost done - you can see just a few pits remaining.

I had to remove the rust, which actually went quickly, but then I had to grind the metal down until all of the pits were eliminated.

Finally I got all of the pits out. No more rust! Compare this to where I started before the electrolysis.

The surface is now reasonably level, but I'll need to do more grinding and then sanding to get it levelled and get it nice and shiny as it first was when it left the King-Seeley factory in 1953. More on that as it progresses.


Electrolysis to Remove Rust: Craftsman King-Seeley 103.23141 Drill Press Restoration, Pt. 2

In Part One of this series, we got the drill press column removed from the base. I had to get the column off to make the base easier to work with and get the rust off in preparation for repainting it.

You can see the rust is bad. I believe at one point there was a mini-flood in my friend's basement where the drill press lived for a few decades.

And you can see the result.

This is the bottom - ironically aside from the parts that touch the floor, it's in good shape.

In pondering how to approach the problem, I did some searching on the interwebs and discovered a popular (and successful) way to remove heavy rust like this is by electrolysis.

There is a whole series of videos on rust removal on YouTube by a poster called "tubalcain" which is very much worth watching. He does a great job demonstrating the electrolysis process.

However, most videos and web sites show how to derust tools, not 80-lb cast iron drill press bases.

The main issue is I needed a tank large enough to hold the base. So I took some measurements, went to my local Despot, and found a suitable storage container.

It's a 17 gallon container. And it's big enough!

Now to connect it all up.

There is a lot on the internet about electrolysis to remove rust, so I'll spare you the details. But in short, you mix a solution of water and washing soda (sodium carbonate), and submerge your rusted part in it.

Then you use a battery charger to provide current. The negative side of the charger connects to the piece itself, which becomes the cathode in electrical terms.

A positive charge is put on rods or plates that are partially submerged in the solution. These, then, are anodes.

When the charger is turned on, the direct current flows from the negative cathode to the positive anode(s). And the rust goes with it!

The process does give off hydrogen gas, so I did this outside. If you do it inside, make sure you have good ventilation.

All of the reading I did said to use a manual battery charger. I do have a nice modern charger, but it's automatic. What this means is that an automatic charger connected to our electrolysis tank will not run because the charger has a sensing circuit to determine the charge state of the battery. No battery, no current.

Hence the manual charger. This is a 'classic' Schumacher 2/6 amp manual unit I procured. You will see many folks using this exact charger (or variations thereof).

I used some steel bar stock in the corners of the tank to serve as anodes. This is a typical connection - the positive lead of the charger (red clip) goes to the bar - I drilled a hole in the bar to facilitate a good connection with a 10 gauge wire (gauge not critical, but it was handy and easy to work with) which ran in turn to the other 3 anodes.

The green clamp just holds the bar to the tank.

You want to ensure the anodes and the cathode (the piece) don't touch each other.

And remember, the piece should be connected to the negative side of the charger.

This picture shows the negative connection to the drill press base. I cleaned up the column mounting screw and used that as a contact point.

Here I used bare galvanized wire for connections. Later I added another 10 gauge wire instead of the wire you see here. (I'll explain this later).

I used a few wires mainly because I saw some of the wire in tubalcain's videos get destroyed by rust during the process!  Although I'm not sure how that happened, since rust should be going away from the cathode side of the setup.

I mixed up about 2 cups of washing soda in a couple gallons of hot water. Hot water just to make the soda dissolve easier. Put that water in the tank, and then used a garden hose (see it in the picture) to fill up the tank the rest of the way.

Make your connections first, then turn the charger on. I had the charger set on the 6 amp setting.

You can see the large clamps on the tank - these are for the 4 bar anodes near each corner. The far-right bar has the positive side of the charger connected to it.

The small black clamp is the negative side of the charger.

After a few minutes, the solution should start to 'cook' - it will bubble as the process starts to work. You should see a current draw on the ammeter on the charger.

In my case, there was a small amount of bubbling, but I didn't get a current reading at all. It was clearly working, but very slowly. I let it run for 24 hours, but there wasn't much happening.

So I did some more reading on the process. Ideally, the anodes should surround the workpiece. Clearly, that wasn't practical for me.

However, I did take some thin (22 gauge) steel sheet and make bigger anodes.

I connected some small pieces of sheet to each of the bars in the corners.

Then I used two 1x1 foot pieces - one lying submerged under the drill press base, and one submerged suspended over the base - I drilled holes to use wire to suspend the plate over the drill press base. You can see that in the picture below.

The other element for me was the sheer size of the tank and the drill press base. I wasn't derusting just a small tool, so more power was needed.

I also read that it IS possible to use a modern automatic battery charger as a power supply. The key is to connect a battery in parallel between the charger and the electrolysis tank.

I took the battery out of Grey Girl, my 900S, and used that. I hadn't driven that car for a few weeks and the battery was nearly flat anyway. So since it needed a charge, the timing was good.

On the connections - just connect the battery to the charger as you usually would - then run leads from the positive battery terminal/charger lead to the anode on the tank, and do the same with the negative going to the workpiece.

And of course, I figured I needed more current, so I put the charger on the 15 amp setting.

Oh yeah.

Immediately I had a bubbling brew of electrolytic solution. You can see this on the left. (Note the top steel sheet suspended over the base - the other sheet is on the bottom of the tank.)

I was definitely cooking now!

I was wary that I'd need to pay close attention to this thing as it worked.

So I kept checking every 15 minutes or so.

After about 45 minutes my charger's readout (told you it was modern) said "Aborted - bad battery." I was concerned, so I unplugged it.

This what the solution looked like at this point - disgusting green, floating hunks of rust.

The anodes were covered with rust (just like those videos).

The charger read "Aborted" because the process had stopped, and most of the rust was gone from the base!

Wow. It's like magic. Forty-five minutes.

Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of the base post-electrolysis after I took it out of the tank. But we'll see it as I continue to work on it.

I lugged the base down to The Dungeon. After the process, there's light surface rust remaining, but you just take it off by hand with a wire brush.

This is one of the sides - compare this to the shots above. The rust is GONE.

It also took some paint with it - paint was flaking off. But I'm repainting it, so it's not a problem.

I decided to spray some corrosion protectant spray on the base, since I have some areas of bare cast iron and it's going to take a couple weeks to be able to repaint the base.

In the background, you can see how clean the piece is - heavy rust is gone!

I'll continue this in the next post and have some better shots of the base. The polished, finished table part of the base is still covered with black rust - it was transformed during the process and still needs to come off. (You can see that in the picture above).

I'll use a wire cup brush on a grinder to get that off. But I'm thrilled I've gotten so much rust off at this stage.