Rummaging through my dad's shop's attic

Since my dad passed away in 2012, the workshop doesn't get used much anymore. Mom mostly uses it as a place to store junk, If I need to cut something, I usually have to move stuff around.

My mom and a friend were about to make some apple cider in the shop, so I set up the press and my old apple grinder.

This is the trap door for the attic. It has a rope, pulleys, and a counterweight consisting of a wooden box full of rocks (left in the photo).

The door has a stand on the back so it won't fall all the way open. But I found if opened quickly, the stand would bounce off the floor and the door come shut again. So I added a box full of sand for the leg of the stand to push into. That eliminated the bounce.

Here's my stashed junk. I carted the most useful items away years ago, but there are still lots of old treasures. You can see two 60-sided geodesic domes that I built. These are basically the same geometry as this one that I built recently.

I have always saved induction motors.

Some big transformers. It's hard to find old equipment with big transformers anymore, since everything uses switch mode power supplies today.

My very first oscilloscope. All tubes. Not a very good one. The linear sweep wasn't very linear. I guess the capacitors had dried out.

At right, a live catch mouse trap that I built. I caught a few mice with it, but the novelty of having a live mouse in the trap soon wore off.

This is the last batch of chairs my dad built in late 2008. He was already declining, and after that he stuck to simpler projects. Still, I was impressed he was able to keep track of how many of which part he needed for a large batch of chairs. But when I cleaned up the shop, I found a lot of unfinished chair parts. I think for that batch, he just made a lot of each part without really counting, then assembled chairs until he ran out of something.

This is the coolest thing of mine still in the attic. It's a little remote controlled fork lift. No batteries or electronics - I just ran it off a long cable. The stick sticking out the top was a "mast" for the cable, so it was less likely to drive over it's own cable.

The wheels are individually driven by a windshield wiper motor. The main lifting mechanism is made from two car window lifters (hand cranked ones). They are connected with a shaft in the back, and that shaft is driven by another wiper motor with a belt.

I initially built it in late 1985, then played around with it a fair bit in the summer of 1986, moving pieces of firewood and boat anchors and such. The only limit to its ability to lift was that it would tip over forward if there was too much weight on the fork.

I originally built it with wheels, but after having success with my tracked vehicle, I upgraded this one to tracks as well. But the tracks ended up having way too much side-to-side traction on the grass, so it became impossible to make turning manoeuvres. So I took the tracks off again, but left the sprockets on because they had much more traction in the grass.

This toy hasn't run since 1986, but in 2006, I took it to my shop and got it working again.

I also made a video touring around the shop and where the old sawmill used to be:

See also:

To my Woodworking website.