My father passed away nearly two years ago. OldNFO was incredibly gracious and allowed me not just one, but two guest posts detailing the events (I don’t normally do guest posts and Guest Post Follow-up). But now that I’m all grown up and have a blog of my own, I’m going to add more about Dad without having to bother other folks. OldNFO, thanks so much for the support!
So, about Dad. Mom and Dad got divorced when I was about 9 years old, and I lived with Mom. Dad got remarried several years later and adopted his new wife’s son, who is a few years younger than I. Visits with Dad were occasional but treasured, whether it was out on his small sailboat, horseback riding with him at the old Percy Warner Riding Stables (now gone), or going shotgun shooting at the Gun Club or friend’s house. Dad had a mechanical gene, always working on something. He never really worked on vehicles or large house projects, but was a master when working with wood. Dad had no fear when it came to ripping the stock off a Beretta, Browning, or Perazzi shotgun, sawing it in half, cutting here, adding material there, and customizing the part to fit his short thick body. Wood was carefully chosen as filler and beautifully refinished when complete. He did other things with wood, like kids play houses for the Kiwanis Club, and always was working on small pieces for the house or car. When Dad passed away, I was privileged to select among his tools to bring home for my own. And boy, did he have a bunch of hand tools. I selected carefully those tools that would complement my collection, and am glad that I did. A lot of tools I did not bring home but left at the house. Some went to my stepbrother, but many meant something only to Dad. I knew the stories, but they were Dad’s treasures, not mine.
I did not get Dad’s woodworking gene, that gene had been mutated. I work in metal. Hence, the Zombie truck, the RV from Heck, and any number of metal projects that I’ve done.
That collection of tools has come in handy twice now. Can’t remember the first time specifically, but I desperately needed to fix something, and among Dad’s collection came the exact tool to do the job. Today was the second time that Dad came to the rescue.
Back story: For the last week, there has been an occasional “ringing” noise from under the Zombie truck that I couldn’t easily find. This afternoon I found the source of the noise: One of the starter bolts had come loose, and dropped about an inch to where it rested on the front driveshaft. As I don’t run the transfer case in 4-High or 4-Low, the noise was hard to find. But find it I did. Tried to thread the bolt back in to no avail. Dropped the driveshaft, pulled the bolt – the bolt had snapped off at the threads. Dropped the starter to find the remainder of the bolt buried in the engine block, recessed about 1/4 inch. Damn! I HATE broken bolts. Center-drilled the broken part and started looking for an “Easy-out” type extractor. What do you know, but I’d brought a nice set home as part of Dad’s collection. Popped the thread-extractor in, connected the T-handle, hosed it down with WD-40 (another of Dad’s favorites), and said a little prayer. What do you know, but with a little torque, the broken piece was slowly and carefully extracted from the block! No snapped extractor, only one broken drill, no on-site visit by a machinist or overdrill-and-helicoil. Just need to get two new starter bolts to replace the 30-year old original ones.
(T-handle, thread extractor, and broken piece of bolt at the top end)
I’ll bet you were watching over me the whole time giving encouragement and advice.
Thanks Dad. I miss you.