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The Restoration Posts

The Rambler Train gets a new open air car.

October 31, 2018 • jdonahue

The Three Rivers Rambler is a train you can ride in Knoxville Tennessee. Information on riding the train is HERE.

The new open air car was made from a recently purchased coach. It was completely remodeled. I did the painting and lettering. More information about the painting is HERE

Here’s a picture of it when it was nearly completed.Observat_2Observant_4.

Painted Red caboose

February 22, 2018 • jdonahue

I just painted a steel caboose; more can be seen at THIS PAGE


Experimental Walnut branch tool handle.

December 5, 2017 • jdonahue

It was one of those nights where one thing leads to another. I had a pile of nice steel cables that needed a temporary hanging place. I looked next to my workshop, and noticed the Walnut tree had a dead branch. So I sawed it off, leaving a stump to hang the cables on.

I noticed the branch had a nice little bit of heartwood, which I decided to make a sledge hammer handle from. I’ve used Walnut one other time, with good results. I couldn’t use the lathe this time because the branch wasn’t straight enough. So I removed the sapwood with a circular saw. Then i cleaned it up more with a four inch angle grinder that had a metal shaping attachment. It’s an odd looking thing, has all these little bits of metal or diamond welded to it. Man does it remove wood. I also used a flap disk and a bench sander.

it’s only a small six pound hammer, and I haven’t been able to test it yet, as I threw my back out again yesterday. That hasn’t happened in a couple years. I then hung the cables up. I saw experiment, because the branch did have a couple knots on one side, which I normally reject. But they’re only one side, and, it was supporting all the weight of the branch and leaves. That might make it a very sturdy handle.


Tool handle wedge idea.

November 27, 2017 • jdonahue

I finally found a fast way to make a great steel wedge for striking tool handles. More info at THIS PAGE.


Making 19th Century Paints

August 27, 2017 • jdonahue

This is a subject I’ve been interested in for years; I’m finally exploring it. HERE”S a page I made about it.Chef_LeVarneesh

Carbide Scraper Test

August 12, 2017 • jdonahue

Tried a very nice carbide scraper on some old planks today. Read more at THIS PAGE. plank_1

Experimenting with Oilcloth.

August 2, 2017 • jdonahue

For years, I wanted to make things out of oilcloth. It’s what they used before modern tarps. I experimented with a small one, made from Duck cloth, and Linseed oil. The stuff is DANGEROUS, so read the warnings At This page.


The Molly S. Wire Brush

July 18, 2017 • jdonahue

Serendipity can be awesome, and this time is no exception. A gal at Grainger help chat led me to make a wire brush that’s new to me. the details can be READ HERE.


Painted Rooster for Pigeon Forge.

July 8, 2017 • jdonahue

A recent project, more pictures and details can be seen at THIS PAGE


Tool report: different wire wheels

April 17, 2017 • jdonahue

ox_cribNot all wire wheels for a 4 inch angle grinder are created equal. Or I should say created the same. I’ve encountered 4 types: Cupped braided, cupped unbraided, flat braided, and flat unbraided. Since the cupped wheels spin in a smaller circle, they usually are less aggressive. Unbraided is less aggressive than braided, so the cupped unbraided is the least aggressive. I’ve heard people say that wire wheels don’t actually remove rust, they merely polish the surface. There is a lot of truth to that, but not always. The nice thing about a wire wheel is that it can conform to, or reach places that other tools won’t; such as around large rivet heads. The wire wheel is a tool I use a lot.

In these pictures, I’m cleaning some bronze mechanical parts, for the sake of appearance. That’s why it’s not necessary to polish the entire piece. In the first picture the bronze piece has been cleaned with the flat braided wire wheel visible at the bottom of the picture. The unbraided wire wheel is mounted on the angle grinder. The next pictures show what a difference the softer wire makes. The braided wheel is indispensable for steel, but not as good for softer metal.bronze_1bronze_2bronze_3