Saturday, April 26, 2014


OK, still ‘detouring’ with the strollers- starting to work one over…

So, here we go… I started taking it apart and media blasted everything to get it down to bare metal.

If I’m gonna do it, it’s gonna be done right. I know you guys understand.

Well, during this time of reworking and learning all I can about them, I found another one on ebay and it had the ‘high-class options’ of “wheel pants” and a foot tray. These are groovy little fenders that cover the wheels and don’t let the rider’s feet scrub on the tires and a tray that is put under the rider’s feet when the stroller is used as a ‘pusher’. Lucky me, I won the auction- so now I had 2. (it really does end, but who knows where?). So I get the second one and right off, I discover that it still has the date code that was stamped underneath the seat AND it has most of an original seat decal still in place – oh my…a prize catch indeed! This thing was made in 1949. Ok, change of priorities… the one from ebay became the project.

I completely disassembled the entire stroller, media blasted everything on this one and primed it. I had the original color matched at Dupont and shot it with color, and then went back and sprayed it with a hardening clear coat. Wow - this thing shines better than my truck did.

It turned out nice…but it has to be just RIGHT. That leaves the decals, buggy bumpers and wooden roller beads to need the same attention.

During the time I was restoring the body parts and the mechanical parts, I was also looking at the various decals that came on them. As I said earlier, the professor sent me a copy of his front decal - it was paper. I suppose I could have glued it on and no one would have been the wiser…but I would know. Ya understand?... and if I’m going to go ‘all out’, the seat decal needed reviving too. So I took the paper front decal down to my local sign shop and had them make one in vinyl. The seat decal was a bit tougher. The wording was not completely readable, but as my good fortune lasted, I kept watching the ebay ads and someone posted the wording from their stroller seat decal and WALLA (that’s a Southern term for “Hot DOG”!) mine made perfect sense. So I took what I had back to the sign shop and after 2 tries, they got the thing just right.

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014


The who?...Oh, the singer?

The blog guy?... uh, no…. But it IS time for one of my famous...OK, infamous ‘detours’.

But before we do… HAPPY EASTER !!!  HE IS RISEN !!!! Never forget.

Believe it or not, Taylor Tot is a … stroller. But not just any stroller…it was the premiere baby stroller of the 20th century. From hours on hours of research, it seems they were made from the 1920’s till the 1980’s. The company was the Frank F. Taylor Company of Cincinnati, Ohio (which moved to Frankfort, KY in 1964)

So, how did I get in such a shape?... Well, as you may have already figured out, I love old stuff. If I had my way (and the moola of course) my home would not have anything newer than 1960 inside it…well, other than the TV, the washer/dryer and the computer…but you get the idea.

Here’s the tale… in May of 2004, my wife and I were at a West Tennessee Antique Auto Club car show around the square in Jackson, TN. We were walking along and checking things out and one side street was the location of the ‘swap meet’ (EVERY car show has to have one of those areas - it’s in the rules). Anyway, I spotted this kool looking stroller sitting there and I told her, ‘hey, that’s gotta be old’. So we looked it over a bit- thinking wow, this would be a neat thing to restore and use for the grandkids. There were no nameplates on it anywhere, so I had no idea what brand it was or how ‘old’ it really was, only that it looked ‘old’. I asked the fellow who was in the area how much he wanted for it and he said “40 bucks”… Well, we started to walk away, slightly wondering what we would do with one anyway…but then, the deal clincher… He blurts out: “But I’ll let you have it for 35”… yep - SOLD.

Well, we get the thing home and I start trolling the internet to find out more about what we had. It turns out that ebay had some pictures that looked just like it…and that’s how I found out the name; Taylor Tot. At least I now knew what it was…ok. Now I go trolling for Taylor Tot…and lo and behold, I find a guy who was a college professor who was restoring the actual Taylor Tot stroller from his childhood. Man, he had his lookin sweeet! So I emailed him and we started talking. Sure enough, he knew a lot about them and had even figured a way to copy his front decal. He was kind enough to send me one for mine. (I didn’t use it, but more on that next week).

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

V5.15 - Bench Grinder: Tips & Techniques

We’ll finish up our look at Bench Grinders with a few Tips & Techniques.

Every once in a while, we run across something new about Bench Grinders, but most of our knowledge is tried & true, and time-tested.

First off, every ‘store-bought’ grinding wheel that I know of has blotters on its sides. ‘Blotters’ are those pieces of paper, or cardboard, on each side of the wheel. While they might look like just a convenient place for the manufacturer to put warnings and such, they actually do serve a very critical purpose. When a wheel is put on a grinder, there are metal flanges that squeeze against the sides of the wheel. If the wheel had no blotters, those flanges would be tightening up against the actual rock of the wheel and you would stand a very good chance of cracking the wheel. Blotters provide a ‘buffer’ between the flanges and the wheel rock and thereby cushion and distribute the tightening force. Bottom line: Don’t buy a wheel that has no blotters or, if you do, don’t put it on your grinder without making some blotters and using them.

While we’re talking about blotters, they have another use. Most manufacturers put their product warnings on them and one of the major warnings is “Do not grind on side of wheel”. Now, do most of us follow this warning? Probably not, but I am here to tell you that if enough sideways force is applied to as grinding wheel, a wheel explosion is a very real possibility. Years ago, I saw a training film (yes, “film”- not tape or DVD- I’m dating myself) wherein a grinding wheel explosion was created and it is not a pretty sight. Even though I might use the side of the wheel to do some very light & delicate, precise grinding, I’m only able to do so because of my many years of experience with this and I know that I am not applying any sideways force at all. My general advice to everyone is: Don’t grind on the side of the wheel.

Lastly, always keep the tool rest adjusted as close to the wheel as possible, in order to provide the most support for what you are grinding on. Use your safety glasses. Keep the grinder’s eyeshield in place to provide added protection. Make sure the spark arrester is in place and adjusted to within 1/8” of the wheel and always keep an open container of water handy for cooling off your material. If your grinder has a factory water pot, that’s even better. Keep it full.

These hints, and our last two columns, should help you get the most out of your Bench Grinder. Happy Grinding!   

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

V5.14 - Taking care of Bench Grinder wheels

Last week we talked about one of the staples in every shop, the Bench Grinder. This week, we’ll continue that theme and talk about the ‘care & feeding’ of your grinder.

Just for a bit of clarification from last week, my point about using a slow speed grinder (which is what a 1725rpm grinder is called in the industry) is that one needs to be careful when grinding metal and not heat the metal up too much. With a slow speed grinder, it is much easier to keep the grinding heat under control.

Ok, let’s talk about one of the natural problems with any grinder. After some grinding time, the face of the wheel will get ridges, or become tapered and one must “re-face” the wheel to get back to a smooth grinding surface. There are a couple of ways to do this.

Some grinders, the more professional models, usually have an accessory that is used to re-face the wheels. It bolts on in place of the tool rest and uses a diamond-tipped tool to re-face the wheel. Having one of these makes the task much easier. Unfortunately, not all grinders offer that. If your grinder isn’t that sophisticated, just buy the diamond-tipped tool and use it free-hand. The technique is not that hard to learn, in fact, if you have had enough grinding experience to get your wheel out of shape, you certainly have enough experience to re-face it.

So, let’s say that you don’t have the re-facing accessory and you must do it free-hand. The diamond-tipped facing tool I am most familiar with has a round shank, so that is what I will speak to. The technique is to place the tool on the tool rest as if you were trying to grind the diamond off of the end. Support it very well with your hands. In fact the tighter you hold it, and control it, the straighter your face finish will be.

Make sure you have your safety glasses on, and turn the grinder on. Put the tool on the tool rest. You would let the diamond tip touch the face of the wheel very lightly- you do not want to ‘deep grind’ this- and move the tool side to side as straight, and smooth, as possible. Keep the tool at 90degrees to the face of the wheel and realize that the high points of the wheel face will require a lot of material removal before you will get close to having a straight wheel face again. With patience and a bit of time, you will again have a smooth wheel face to use.   

Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.