Saturday, August 15, 2009

Brake Job

I had a chance to expand my mechanical skills last week. As typical, it started as an afternoon job and expanded into a week-long ordeal. Just my luck. But it was enjoyable. I like jobs like this that are physical as well as technical.

The shape of the torque plate (the bracket that hold the caliper and disc pads, the foundation of the whole brake system) struck me. A rather slim yet hefty cast iron 3-D casting of precision and strength. The rough finish was tactile. The color varied slightly by varied aging processes. Then I think of the energy it takes to produce such a part. Energy to mine the iron ore, energy to smelt, energy to heat to 2730 degrees F to create liquid metal to cast. Then energy to mill, drill and tap. And this is just one of thousands of parts on a car . . . one car in our mini-fleet of a typical American family. We really ARE a country of energy hogs. And it's like dieting. It's easy to figure out it's time to loose a few pounds (OK, like 25 pounds) but yet another to do anything about it. I like my cars.

...100... This is my one hundredth post! I'm putting this in smaller font. Don't want to distract from the REAL post here. It sounds like I'm bragging, and I guess I am. But it means something to me to have sketched and journaled and posted one hundred times. That means this just isn't another fad with me. I get distracted sometimes by a flaming interest of the day. Looks like I'm in a routine here and this is now part of my lifestyle. I like that. And this made one LONG post of 351 words (I used Microsoft Word to count because I was curious). But it’s my little kingdom and I can do that. I am grateful to all those who have visited my blog over the last 1.4 years and hope some will always find it interesting to stop by. I’ll always be checking out your sites, too.


MaryO said...

Congratulations, John, on your 100th!
I haven't been here from the beginning, but I've enjoyed following your blog for a good while.
Meantime,you may be the only auto mechanic in the world who takes the time to draw each brake part, then blog about the replacement job!

Art is for the Making said...

This is my first visit here. I really like your sketch journal pages. I'm just starting a similar venture so I'm very, very interested in looking at your work. I like the way you lay the pages out.

And I love the topic of car repair! That's fantastic.

Thanks for the stuff here!

nanke's stuff said...

100 - good for you! This post is interesting and well done artistically, as well. You have every right to feel proud, my friend! nancy

kazumiwannabe said...

Bravo for the 100 posts! Cool drawings, too - I like mechanic a lot more in drawings than in reality : ) . Loved your "pepper" post a lot, it's greatly done!

vickylw said...

Congratulations on breaking through the "fad" stage to making sketching a lifestyle! I can SO relate to that, having had many "total focus" hobbies before coming back to art.

I always enjoy visiting your blog.

Scrappy Cat said...

Congrats on post 100 John!

Sandy said...

Big Contratulations - 100 is a big milestone!!! I love your post and if you can post break parts and I read every word ! You have got something real going!!!! And congrats on doing your own brakes too!!! Drive safely!

Barbara said...

Hi John -- Regarding your one hundredth post - Congratulations!

Regarding your mechanical expertise - oh do I have a honey-do list for you!

SideShowMom said...

Congrats on your 100th post!!

My dad's a mechanic (retired from TWA via American) and I grew up watching thousands of brake jobs! I'm the one who'd sit in the seat and pump the brakes so he could bleed the air out of the lines. Never thought to draw them or the tools then, will now. Nice work John!