All posts by Clay

Favorite hand tools – a new series

Guys, how many of you have a few hand tools that ALWAYS live up to your expectations?  I have some and they never let me down, not in the rain, snow, hot summer or when I’m in a hurry and don’t use them exactly as intended.

One such tool is my air gauge.  I use it to check pressures in all our tires; from our 3 SUVs to the 4-wheeler to our trailers, bikes and even to thinks like a two-wheel dolly and our portable generator. So many of my things have wheels and with those wheels – TIRES.

Invest in one of these and you won’t be disappointed.  This Accu-Gage has been a steady high performing tool for years for me and I have it in my lifted Land Cruiser at all times.

Click the picture to check it out on Amazon, this thing is selling for under $20 with the protective rubber cover.  This cover wasn’t on my original Accu-Gage, but I think it is a great addition to protect it from the occasional drop on hard concrete or a rock.

I’ll be posting up my favorite tools weekly, so check back often!

Take care guys! Clay

Tracking the weather can be fun

I’ve recently gotten into tracking different weather phenomenon especially since moving to Northern Virginia.  We’ve enjoyed four real seasons here, but sometimes the weather is different just in our little neighborhood than it is about 5 miles away…

I chalk this up to the mountains to our west.  They seem to create a little micro environment where snow and thunderstorms thrive.

Do you enjoy tracking the weather where you live?  This is a small weather station by Oregon Scientific that could be a start into this wonderful hobby for you and the family… check it out.

41% OFF Oregon Secintific Backyard Pro Wireless Weather Station w/ Weather Sensor – $49.99 at, ends 1/26

If you guys are into the new Smart Home controls, has tons of this stuff at great prices.  I’m considering the wifi camera doorbell button!  Click below to see what they have available…

Working on old springs…

When it comes to restoring a vehicle, there are three phases a person goes through to get it done.  One is the teardown, where all the old parts must be pulled off and apart.  This consist of many hours of taking old things apart that most of the time don’t want to come apart.  Some, it seems, are even melded together after 45-50 years!  Second, you have to clean it all up, restore broken parts, find a few missing parts and paint or chrome or polish everything.  Third you get to put back together all those nicely restored parts.  This is my favorite phase of any restoration.  Today I’ve been working on leaf springs that belong to my 1967 F100 Pickup project.  After removing the spring packs from the truck, and disassembling them, I needed to press out the very worn bushing in the eyelets of the main springs.  The shackles also have a bushing that needs replacing.  I used some sockets that were just the right size and pressed them out with my shop press.








These things were nasty…





I don’t think the bushings in the shackles had ever been replaced in 49 years!  They were very hard to get out.

img_8690 img_8689

Spring laid out to sand blast
Spring laid out to sand blast

I sandblasted them and went through about 200 lbs of blasting media.

All dolled up...
All dolled up…


Once sandblasted, I was ready to thoroughly clean them.  For the use of my paint of choice, POR 15, I have to first degrease them completely


Between each prep phase, they must be dried well… My tool of choice for that… the leaf blower

After degreasing, I then needed to etch them and stop any microscopic rust.  I used Metal Prep by the folks at POR 15.






Once dried and brought up to about 65 deg. in the shop I started the job of painting them.  More on the next post.  Take care guys!



Review of the Topdon T01 – Makes a good present for anyone!

Guys, if all your loved ones think you have one of everything, this may be something you should look into…  My relatives think I’m the tool king, but I didn’t have a super portable car starter and device charger.

These devices are now becoming very affordable and as such no self respecting Do-it-Yourselfer should be without one of these great tools.

Watch this video to see me put this thing to the test, Texasknowhow style!  Haha

Link here to the device for purchase –

Click here to see my review – 

Sometimes it’s the little things…

Guys, I’ve been rebuilding the junkyard 2000 Explorer Rearend for my ’67 F100 build and I’ve ran into a hiccup.  This little part is frozen up on both sides and I can’t find it anywhere online or at stores…


These are the little levers that are pulled on when the e-brake cable is pulled tight.  They expand the two parking brake shoes inside the disk brake rotor thus holding the axle.

These little guys are supposed to pivot at the rivet you see holding them together, but mine are very (I repeat very) hard to move.  I can get them to move if I put one end in a bench vise and hit the other piece with a hammer, but that is the only way to make them budge.

I can’t see any part numbers on them and haven’t been able to find them anywhere online….  Any thoughts or help?

Lastly, I’ve soaked them overnight in penetrating oil, rust inhibitor and oil.  Nothing is working.

One more close up:


New GoPro Hero4 Silver

I’ve had a standard definition GoPro since probably summer of 2011 when the company first produced a digital version.  Their first small cameras actually used film!  My little GoPro didn’t get too much use because about the same time, everything else was going High Def (HD) so I purchased a Sony cam corder that was about the size of the palm of my hand and shot awesome footage.

My Old Standard Def GoPro Hero

But now, I’m all about the GoPro again.  The company has done a ton of development and has gained customer base in just about all the sports and crazy things folks do around this globe.  Yes, there are several competitors out there including Sony who has a very small and capable wearable camera.

Sony’s little camera

Once the GoPro guys were able to capture 2.7K HD and do it at 60 fps, I had to take a look.  This coupled with the pretty much unlimited supply of mounting options (all my old mounts would work with this new camera too), I was in.

I used some Health Points from a work program and turned them into a Amazon Gift Card worth $200.00, combined that with $139.00 and I had a GoPro Hero 4 Silver on the way with Prime 2-day shipping to boot!  Sweet!

The newer GoPros have a LED back panel for viewing the shot live and also replaying existing footage and also for the menus. It’s a touch screen. Very handy

There will be many more post as I learn the ins and outs of this little gem, but I’ll leave you with this quick video of a winter sun-set in northern VA.  Until next time, take care all!  – Clay