Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dealing with police

in a traffic stop is the subject of this post over at Kim's. Read it, and then read the comments. All 122 of them that got in before he closed them.

Something I'd read confirmed about .303 ammo

I'd read years ago that to increase lethality, the Brits had started putting an aluminum insert into the nose of the jacket to move the center of balance further back: the bullet remained very stable in flight and accurate, but on hitting a 'soft' target tended to go unstable much more quickly. This was the Mark VII ball.

Just looked at the Box o' Truth for the first time in a while and found this post testing just such ammo, including a couple of pictures. I'd never tried cutting a bullet in half to check the inside, here's the aluminum insert design:

And, to make it even more interesting, here's a WWII round with a WOOD insert:

Better than my describing it, go check out his results with this ammo on water jugs. Impressive, to say the least. A few years ago I wound up with several boxes of WWII Brit .303 ammo, I may have to move it up to my 'grab in case of trouble' box.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Ok, so I lied on one point

and was wrong on the other.

I looked at the parts of the pistol, sitting there all oily and disassembled, and I just couldn't wait. So I put it all together(minus the grips) and here it is in it's new, still very oily glory

In my case, I can't blame the camera. Mine's pretty good, but I don't have the lighting or the skill to really show how well this came out. It's just as black and even as the knife blade. And if I'd spent an hour or two with a file and some 240/320/400 grit wet/dry paper polishing the slide and frame, it'd be just as smooth and glorious a finish.

This is so damn pretty I will eventually take it back down, polish and re-black it.

The only post I will do about Paris Hilton

It's about damn time she was treated like anyone else would be. Anyone else would have spent time in jail when first arrested for DUI, not to mention the two times she was caught driving without a license after that.

When she showed up late for the sentencing hearing, anyone else would've been whacked for that, too. For that matter, as Lawdog pointed out, anyone else in any other venue, when the parents stood up in court and started mouthing off, they'd have either been whacked with a fine or jail time or both.

My primary thought is the parents need a serious kick in the ass. They raised this kid to believe that because they were rich, she was automatically something special. She became 'famous' for nothing more than being of a rich family, going to big-name parties and flashing her crotch at photographers when getting out of cars, and came to think she was immune to actually having to do things like obey the law.

Paris Hilton was taken from a courtroom screaming and crying Friday seconds after a judge ordered her returned to jail to serve out her entire 45-day sentence for a parole violation in a reckless driving case.

"It's not right!" shouted the weeping Hilton. "Mom!" she called out to her mother in the audience.

Maybe, just maybe, if her parents had held her responsible for her conduct in some real way years ago, she wouldn't be whining and screaming at being held responsible for it now.

The bluing tryout

A while back Og pointed me to this site with a home bluing formula/setup. At the bottom is a link to another, which has the formula I used. Having found the last ingredient needed, and having all the equipment, I gave it a try today. Here's the setup:

The burner is from Harbor Freight, cast-iron with two burner heads. The enamelware pot I picked up at a flea market, and the stainless pot(for the rinse) from a local store who has them cheap. They're both 16-quart. Not visible is the bottle of vinegar(in case of spill or splash), the heavy rubber gloves and the respirator(just in case). I set this up outside with a breeze blowing, no damned way I'd do it indoors unless I had some kind of fan or ventilation setup; might not be necessary, but I'd feel better.

I went with the second site's ingredients for two reasons. First, I couldn't find ammonium nitrate fertilizer that did not have sulphur added(Fed requirement, aftereffect of the OKC Bombing) and I didn't know how that might affect it. Second, the original site notes that his mix outgasses ammonia badly when you're mixing it, and the second avoids that.

I did have to order the nitrate of soda, as nobody around here carries it(hell, they'd never heard of it) and I thought I'd have to order the lye until I found it yesterday.

I got the two-burner rig so I could heat the rinse water along with the bath, so I lit the burner under the rinse pot while I mixed the ingredients in the other. I'd been afraid the stuff would have trouble dissolving in only a gallon of water, but no, the lye and then the nitrate went right into solution, just add no more than a cup at a time and keep stirring. I shut off the burner on the rinse water about the time the bath came up to heat. According to my thermometer(Wally World, bbq section, $5) by the time I had the nitrate dissolved the mess was already up to almost 200F, and it only took a few minutes to get it up to a rolling boil. It didn't start to actually boil until right at 250F, and with the slide, frame and some other parts in the burner on full kept it at a touch over 275.

I left the parts in for about 25 minutes, stuck them in the rinse and put the rest of the parts in(all hung on iron wire from a rod across the top of the pot). Everything came out a nice black except for the slide, which had an odd-colored section on the left front. It I scrubbed with a steel wool soap pad and washed off, then put back in for another 20 and it came out nicely. I've got everything coated in oil, and I'm going to let them sit until tomorrow before I reassemble. However...

I wanted to try this on a knife, so I took a dagger blade and treated it while giving the slide the second bath. The blade had a 400-grit finish, not mirror but very smooth and shiny

Please note that the tang was left with forge marks on the sides(the better for the epoxy to grab), and the tang is annealed to be easy to drill. I wrapped a wire around the tang so it held the blade horizontal; the solution was getting a bit low and it would not submerge completely if vertical. It got 20 minutes, then a good rinse, then oil. Now, these are not the best pictures, but they do give the idea:

The above was shot in the house. This one was shot outside so I could get the sun glinting on it:

I need to get a better shot, these just do not do the finish justice; it's not just dark, it's gleaming BLACK. The only contrast on it is that there's a bit of difference in the color between the hardened blade and annealed tang for some reason.

The pistol doesn't look like it'll be quite this marvelous, simply because it wasn't polished. I went over it and smoothed everything very nicely, but did no actual polishing. If this blade is any indication, if you do take the finish to (I'm guessing) a 240-grit or above, the result should be just as pretty as this blade.

Overall, this seems to work very well. It's supposed to be good for another 5 guns minimum, which makes it pretty cost-effective. I was going to use the knife to test out how well this finish wears, but it came out so damn pretty I hate to mess with it.

I had to use the wire it was hung on to hold the frame on its side; one gallon of solution in this size pot wouldn't let it submerge completely if you had it vertical.

Before putting the slide in for the second time I thought I'd add some water to bring the level back up from what had boiled off: Don't Do That, it is a Bad Thing. If I hadn't been standing well aside I WOULD have been spattered when the stuff spit. Wait until it's cooled off to add water.

It take the bath several hours to cool down, mine had sat for about two and it was still very warm when I put it in a plastic container for storage.

Do remember, lye will mess you up if you get careless with it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ok, Timmeeee, here 'tis

Lye has been found

at a local store. Ace Hardware, to be specific.

Understand, I'm glad to have found it. I just wish I'd found it a week ago. When I was in this store and asked, and they said "We don't carry that".

Just happened to be passing by on my way home from work and decided to check the plumbing supplies(just in case) and there, among the other drain openers/cleaners are 16oz. bottles of 100% Lye.

Moral: unless you KNOW the guy, and are certain he KNOWS the stock, go look.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Stock finish/refinishing Link added

There's lots of ways and lots of stuff to use, right now I'm going to hit one. I got the original information on this from a string at The High Road, but they've been unavailable for the last week or so and I can't find the thread to link to.
(update: this is the link)

The stuff I used here is Minwax Antique Oil Finish. Really nice finish, and there's no stain involved so it won't change the color of the wood. And being an actual oil finish, it soaks into the surface of the wood, fills pores and/or grain and once it cures it's a very hard, protective finish. Easy to repair if damaged, too.

Start with a stock that's been sanded, grain raised, etc. Use a soft cloth and put a generous coat on the wood. 'Generous' does not mean 'dripping off', just covering the wood nicely. Put it aside for a day to dry.

After dry, get the steel wool out: the first few coats are to seal the wood and fill in the grain, so you want to clean the surface off for the next coat. So use the wool to cut the finish off, down to the wood. That'll leave what's in the grain. Then put on another coat, set aside for a day, repeat as necessary. Depending on the wood, it can take anywhere from 2-5 coats to fill the grain most/all the way.

Now you're at the point the grain is completely or almost completely filled, so for the next stage you put on a light coat, let it sit a few minutes until it gets sticky and then buff it with a soft cloth, then set aside a day, then steel wool it off. This stage is to finish filling the grain and level the finish, so repeat as needed.

At this point you've got two options: you can go for a matte finish or the full-out gloss. If the matte, two ways to do it. One is to put on the final light coat, let it dry, and then wool it down to the wood; the stuff is soaked into the surface and will give good protection, and this gives a dull finish. The other is to put on a final very light coat, and buff it all off, as much as possible: this gives a bit more shine than the first, but not as much as the gloss finish. In either of these cases, after putting the final coat on let it sit for at least two days so it can cure hard.

For gloss, wool it down to the wood and then put on a very light coat and, after it gets sticky, buff lightly with a soft cloth. You don't want to remove much, just leave the last coat very thin and smooth. Again, let it cure for at least two days, and then buff it with a pad made of burlap.

Done right, this stuff makes a beautiful finish, very hard and protective. And if it gets scratched or otherwise damaged, you can sand or wool it clean(whichever is needed) and repair it by putting on a couple of coats.

The M1 Carbine I built turned out very nice, and the stock Og found is a very nice piece of walnut which I decided needed a proper finish. So I smoothed it a bit, then treated it with this finish. Here's the result

This is the semi-gloss finish. Took about two weeks with the drying periods, and came out flat beautiful.

It wasn't the NOR shoot, but

since I had some time yesterday afternoon the lawn went unmowed and I went to the range. No loads to test, just took a couple of rifles and pistols to shoot. Which was nice.

Rifles, took the M39 Finn and the M1 Garand, pistols a Ruger Single-Six .22 and a S&W .357. And except for a sight check/adjustment I didn't use a bench, shot the rifles sitting and prone(note to self: elbow pads are nice, but I do need a mat of some kind for the prone stuff).

It was fun. I really do need more practice in general, and in the different positions as well. This is about my average for prone at 100 yards with the M39:

And yes, it will do better than this. I couldn't decide if I kept pulling a bit to the right or if the adjustment was off, so I took a rest and fired two:

Adjusted the front sight a touch, and it was dead center in windage, with the next two equally tight. This is one of my favorite rifles: good sights, excellent trigger, smooth action. The Finns did a wonderful job on these.

On to the M1. Again, I need more practice, this was about as good as I got:

The one way off to the left was a called flyer, I knew it was off as the trigger broke. I was using Greek HXP ammo, which(from a rest to cut down on my error) will usually give about 2.5" groups in this rifle.

I need to make more time go to out for stuff like this, I really enjoyed the hours.

Course, I really need to make sure I get to the next NOR shoot, too.

And of course there's nothing more important

for the Ministry of Defence to worry about than somebody, somewhere, possibly being offended by the nose art on a Harrier:

The Ministry of Defence has decreed they could offend the RAF's female personnel.

Officials admitted they had no record of any complaints from the 5,400 women in the RAF.

But commanders are erring firmly on the side of caution and "nose art", as it is known, has been consigned to the history books.

Because this is obviously more important than the British Navy being turned into a coastal defense force, and the infantry and air force units being cut down- again- and so forth. Somebody might be offended, and that's all that counts.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I've mentioned differential hardening of blades,

and here's a picture that shows it.

For this process you can do one of two things: one is to bring the whole blade up to heat and quench it to harden, then use a torch or other heat source to heat it from the back so that when the edge section is at the desired hardness the back will be a bit softer; or heat the blade so that only the section you wish to harden is at full heat and then quench it, like this:

The effect is very visible here, with a fairly sharp demarcation between the fully hardened edge section and the softer back. I do one other thing to add to the effect, which is to hold the blade into the quenching oil almost horizontally so only the lower half is in the oil. You do move it up and down just a touch until it's lost most heat, then go ahead and lower it all the way down*.

After tempering this gives an edge that's hard enough to hold an edge well, with a back that's more of a soft/springy hardness; makes a blade that's very tough and flexible.

The GFW reading of the 2nd Amendment,

found here:
The Population of the nanny State, being composed of irresponsible rednecks, rejects, and retards, must not be allowed to have Arms.

Found through The War On Guns

Have I mentioned the Brits

are screwed?

Middle-class wine drinkers will be the focus of government plans to make drunkenness as socially unacceptable as smoking, The Times has learnt.

How truly joyous.

Please note the following:
But the British Medical Association said yesterday that such measures did not go far enough, adding that customers in licensed premises needed better information to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive drinking and drink-driving.

Anytime some nanny-state socialist uses the term 'raise awareness', you know they're measuring you for a shock collar.

If there's anybody in the damn world who lives in a place where cars are affordable who DOESN'T know about the 'dangers of excessive drinking and drink-driving, they're too stupid to be allowed out without a keeper. Of course, this crap gives the nanny-staters one more excuse for assigning a keeper to every damn one of us.

And this from the President of the Royal College of Physicians: “We really need the spotlight more on health. While crime and antisocial behaviour is important it’s too easy to concentrate on that because it’s somebody else causing the trouble."

God, yes. Just stop worrying about the assaults and murders and rapes and terrorists, you bloody peasants, and worry about a real problem.

On the subject of changing tires,

ever had the desire to find the idiot with the impact wrench at the tire store and use the wrench on him?

While back came across someone with a flat. This was on an old Oldsmobile full-size car with the old-style jack & lug wrench that doubled as a jack handle, which gives you a lever damn near three feet long to remove the lug nuts. I weighed about 175 at the time, and I actually had to bounce on the end of the wrench to break three of the nuts loose; this was an old couple and there's no damn way they'd have been able to change that tire.

New tires, mind you(sidewall blew out on the flat), put on two weeks before. I told them to go back to that store and get the tire replaced, and tell the service manager to make sure an average human could get the damn nuts off without having to play acrobat.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A question for the chemically knowledgeable out there

I'm putting together the stuff to blue by the same method Og used here. You'll notice one of the ingredients is lye, which is proving a bitch to locate around here.

Here's the question: the formula notes 'sodium hydroxide' as the lye. I found a place nearby that has potassium hydroxide, which(from what I read) is also considered lye. Anyone know if they're basically the same, or if they're different enough that I should not try this stuff?

A bit more on do-it-yourself

This reminded me of something. Couple of years back, one of the open-mike nights I used to hit was usually run by a guy who was a speech teacher during the day. One night he was griping about the trip to a contest last weekend. Two cars, he drove one and one of the students drove the other.

The second car got separated- due to traffic, he thought- so a ways down the road he pulled in to a station, parked where the car could be seen from the highway, and they sat down to get a coke and wait. About an hour later the other car showed up and parked. First question, as you'd expect, "What happened to you?"

"We had a flat."

"It took you an hour to change a flat?"

"No, it took a while before someone stopped to change it for us."

He was dumbfounded, along with most everyone else listening. Five in the car, three boys, and none of them knew how to change a tire or were willing to try. Most had the same background: if you, a guy from twelve or thirteen on, had confessed to having to wait by the road until someone could change a flat for you you'd have been laughed out of the room. Only an injury or medical condition would have exempted you from that. Where/when I learned to drive, most of the girls that age could change a tire if they had to(rural area, might be a while before someone comes by), they just didn't like to.

This is one of those things that's also a safety matter. Weather might make it a bad idea to just sit a while hoping for assistance, and some people who stop might not have 'offering assistance' in mind, especially if the one broken down is a woman(This used to drive me nuts with my first wife. She'd never let me show her how to change one: "Someone always stops to help me with a flat.").
Again, you might not enjoy something like changing a tire, but you should damn well know how.

New postal match up

at Sailor Curt's place.

The previous post got me thinking about writing,

and authors, which made me think about the first time I met some authors. And about how someone's work gets fiddled with over time.

That time was the Fourth World Fantasy Convention in Fort Worth, 1978. First Con I'd ever been to, and my first real trip without parents involved. The big thing that caused a friend and I to buy tickets and save up for the trip was that the Guest of Honor was a gentleman named Fritz Leiber, who wrote(among other things) the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories, just about my favorite sword & sorcery fiction pieces then and now. So the chance to meet him, and maybe chase girls(shut up) sent us south.

Very nice weekend in a number of ways, though finding the hotel was not one of them(note: do NOT trust directions the con staff send you) Met Leiber(not for long, he was rather in demand as you can imagine), met Andrew Offutt and a few other writers. In the dealers room found all the Fafhrd and Mouser books(all but one collections of short stories) I didn't have and got them all, and the drawing of them in the schedule, signed by Leiber. Met the wife-to-be. And was introduced to the works of Robert E. Howard.

Yes, the creator of Conan, and Bran Mak Morn, and Kull the Conqueror and Solomon Kane and others. My previous acquaintance with his work had been glancing through those godawful comic books: no matter the weather, enemy or place Conan was always in a breechclout and boots, etc. The Con was actually dedicated to Howard and his writing, and I'd wondered why. No, I didn't take the time to dig up one of his books and read it before the Con. The introduction to the actual Howard stories came through hearing them.

Saturday night the main event was a couple of readings. Harlan Ellison read two of his shorts, one funny as hell and the other equally creepy, and then Leiber walked to the podium. Leiber was about 6'4" or so, slim, with a mane of white hair and a deep, resonant voice. He'd been an actor at one time and it showed, with the hall quiet he could be heard fairly well even without the amp. Then all the lights in the hall went down except for the candelabra on the wall behind him and the small reading lamp, and he began to read.

The story was The Phoenix on the Sword, the first of the Conan stories and one Howard said he wrote 'as if Conan were standing behind me telling the story'. And Leiber had the gift of reading so that you felt you were in the story, watching and hearing instead of just sitting and listening. It was bloody awesome. And it started me reading Howard.

His Conan was very much a wandering barbarian mercenary, pirate, thief, whatever filled his purse. When it was cold he wore furs, when it was hot and sunny he wore pants and a shirt, or a robe, whatever was found where he was. And he wore armor. Not the character I'd expected from those comics. I've still got the books I picked up after that.

That was some weekend. Meet authors, buy books and get them- and that drawing- signed by Leiber, meet wife. Definitely interesting, and with long-term consequences in a variety of ways.

(I'll throw in something about the books: Karl Edward Wagner edited some of them, and did it the right way: corrected obvious spelling errors, set it up properly for paperback format as opposed to the original pulp magazine columns, and otherwise left the stories the hell alone. Read one as originally written, and compare it to the same after it had been 'edited to make it better'; you can really tell the difference. Which is why I'm still ticked at L. Sprague de Camp)

I think I could call this a 'spike in traffic'

I looked at Sitemeter for the numbers for the last seven days. Here's visits:

And here's visits and page views:

Guess which day Insty linked to my post?

Of course, the day after it's a big drop downward(ah, fickle fame...) so I'm back from a tall soapbox to a standard size with a saggy lid.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wow, Instalanche!

over the post on using your hands.

To address something Bruce said in comments:
No, if you're a lawyer/doctor/software engineer working on a $200/hour job, I don't think it's generally a good idea to drop everything to fix the furniture yourself. And not everyone enjoys working on the car, or fixing the lawnmower or whatever.

I do think it's a Good Thing to be able to do some of that, for a variety of reasons. It makes you less dependant on someone else for some work(I'm not fond of crawling under a house working on something, but knowing how to fix the problem in question saved money I couldn't afford to spend), it can save time, and, what may be the big one, people I know who can fix some things on their own are generally proud of it. May just be small things, but they like being able to take care of it. And knowing they can fix that makes them more likely to fiddle with something new and either fix it or figure out exactly what's wrong(which can save time and money when you take it to a pro).

I would flat hate taking the top off the truck engine in the driveway, especially some times of year, but it's comforting to know that I could find a manual and do it if I had to. And I'll admit that if I had to call someone to change a tire because I couldn't figure out how I'd be embarrassed as hell(which happens often enough, I don't need it over something like that). I'd much rather read, or screw around on the computer, or go to the range than fix the mower; but fixing it has saved money and time over taking it to someone else. And the kids knowing how to do some things on their own has helped them out.

Side effect for the kids? Cuts or scrapes or small injuries were generally seen as something to gripe about a bit and get over, because they were in the way of what you were doing, not obsess over. Which, in the long run, is a very Good Thing.

What Congress does with your money,

which they say they don't have enough of to do things like this:
Tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars soon could be flowing into the National Council of La Raza, an organization that advocates for civil rights for Hispanics and has connections to groups that advocate the separation of several southwestern states from the rest of the nation.

If you haven't read anything about La Raza, I'd suggest you do. And especially check out MEChA, a group just as warm and cuddly as the Nation of Islam. And just as racist. Then start yelling at your Congresscritter about this.

What goes around,

do indeed come around. Current/former hippies dealing with drugged-out people acting- oh, like they used to.

"I used to be a hippie. I wore beads and grew my hair long," he said. "But my generation had something these kids do not: a standard of civilized behavior." Well, just maybe. Here's the bit that sums up the whole attitude:
Panhandler Jonah Lawrence, 25, insists it is residents who need civilizing. "They say, 'Get a job!' " he said. "And I say, 'You got clothes for me? Or a place I can take a shower so I can look for work?' It's so bogus to tell me to get a job if I have nothing."

Well, try this you little bastard: stop spending what you have on drugs and booze and you'll have something to use to clean up and find a job. Assuming you actually want to try.

Found through Michelle Malkin