What's New at 120studio.com

Site News Archive - 2017 May  (Click here for current)

2017 May 28

Woodworking, Metal & Shop

The second phase of the Milwaukee Hand Truck Upgrade project...

New Article:  DIY Tool Crate From Plywood.  You can build this one out of 1/2" sanded ply.

2017 May 24

Ferrania Slide Film

As this update from Film Ferrania reminds us, they are actually making film.  This is quite amazing, given the original state of the factory.  (From what I saw in pictures, it used to look pretty rough.)

Looks like they're doing the film production on a small scale, but still, wow.  Especially now that I've been doing a lot of metal & woodshop-type stuff, I've gained an appreciation for just how much work it is to get any type of workshop together.  Imagine re-tooling or refurbishing a big factory, full of multi-ton machines.  Some of the machines in film manufacture are practically one-of-a-kind.  They take up whole rooms.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of them weighed 100 tons.  In fact some of them probably weigh a lot more than that.

And I'm sure a lot of the smaller equipment is still big and heavy.  There's a whole lot of auxiliary stuff needed.  At some point you're going to need a fairly comprehensive maintenance shop to keep all that stuff running, too.

Imagine having to move some of these things around the shop floor, or even hoist new parts into place.  So, it sounds to me like these guys are doing great. 

Tools, Metal & Shop

Review:  Yost 480 Bench Vise

2017 May 21
Sunday Evening

Metal & Shop
The other day I was wondering what to do about that vise I was going to review.  It had a couple of major issues, straight out of the box. 

Here's a bit that I saved from that entry:


"Just thinking about this some more; the retaining bolt for the main nut doesn't really need to be heavy-duty, so maybe a 1/4-20 would work.  Supposedly, this part never takes the full forces that are generated when you close a vise;  all it's really supposed to do is let you open the vise jaws.  If it's not there, the main nut will move backward as the main screw turns, while the dynamic jaw will just sit there. So, I guess I could understand why they used a light-duty bolt to hold this in place.

(But what if the vise was designed improperly?  What if it's pinned some distance away from the forward stop?  I have to check, because if it's that way, it would be Pure Fail.)

Because it has to be drilled out, I'm wondering if the pilot drill for 1/4-20 is going to be enough added diameter to remove all the threading for the old bolt.  The pilot drill for quarter-twenty is either a #7 or a 13/64.  If the old bolt was 3/16" (which is 12/64"), you've got to get that centered exactly or there will be some thread remnants. Unless, that is, the original was actually a pin instead of a bolt. "


The review is almost ready, and actually it's shaped up to be more positive than I expected.  Even though companies want to run the other way when they see a truly independent review site, I do try to be as fair as possible in a review.

I did go through a lot of work to get this thing working properly, but I also found a way to make it work that doesn't require "backyard machining".  So I'll have that review up soon, with plenty of photos. 

Film Photography

Lens selection is something I got kind of careless about for a while, and I've realized again lately that focal distance is really important.  Photographers have always been in the quest for that "one lens that does it all", and even though there's no such thing, we think maybe there is one just around the next corner.  Soon I'm hoping to do an article on film lenses, and which is the most versatile... for what I'm doing.

That's the catch.  What's your main purpose for the lens?  What do you need from it?  The incredibly good Canon 40mm pancake is a good example of a really handy lens for some things, but it's not the "everything" lens.

More about this soon.

One of the best photo accessories you can have is a "real" multicoated UV haze filter for your zoom lens.  It gets tiresome having to remove a cheap one whenever it causes ghosting and flare.  Which means the filter is usually not on the lens, which means scratched glass.....

It makes more sense to ruin a $60 filter than a $600 lens, but the $20 filter makes it MORE likely you'll ruin the lens... because it's not even on there.

2017 May 16

Metal & Shop

As promised, New Article:  Milwaukee Hand Truck Upgrade.  A welding & fab project that makes a good hand truck even better.  Many of the same techniques can also be used to upgrade a welding cart.

This build was very simple in concept, but I tried to include a lot of details in the article so it might be helpful to my fellow beginners. 

Film Cameras
Still haven't put the new light seals into the Mamiya RB67, and now I've got to do a Canon rangefinder.  With all the metalworking and build projects I've been doing, I'll sort of have to shift gears back to the scale of camera maintenance.  It's a different set of tools and techniques.  You're not centerpunching stuff with a hammer or running a 60-grit flap disc on a camera ("usually"). 

Many film cameras do indeed work perfectly, but light seals do eventually need to be replaced.

2017 May 12

Technology, Film, and Vinyl

There is no inherent property of technology by which new is always better than old.  We think there is, often... but there are many examples of where it's not true.  There's this idea that new technology is driven by the demand for "better".  From what I've observed, "cheaper to manufacture" is often more of a factor.  "Cheaper to manufacture" is a big reason why cameras have more software and fewer buttons today.  There are many more examples;  I'm sure you've seen more than a few of them. 

As consumers, we don't have to buy into this, but it's all too easy to do that.  I used to think, quite ignorantly, that a $40 shop tool could be just as good in every way as a $400 shop tool.  Or how about this one:  Ever see those multi-function garden carts advertised on TV?  They even have someone trying to push a wheelbarrow and it falls over, as if this new product is so much better than a wheelbarrow.  But wait, look at those wheels... they're held on by crimped-on sheet metal caps;  you're not getting a good axle with a cotter pin or any of that.  And soon you realize they cheaped out on a bunch of other design elements, too. 

That's one of the illusions of technology:  that it can somehow give us increasing quality with decreasing price, every time.  That works with some things, but only for a limited duration.  Anvils, car tires, two-by-fours... there gets to be a limit to how much you can cheap out on these, and the same basic designs are just as good as they ever were. 

And then there are designs that have been "replaced", so they say, by new inventions;  but only in certain ways.  You can listen to music that's all been digitized, but it doesn't provide the experience of using a turntable.

If it's a niche to like well-made things that are enjoyable, I'm OK with that;  I know I'm not the only one, either. 

Slide Film

Just a few compositions for your enjoyment.

This Is Why You Need A Work Table

Fujichrome Velvia 50

Because welding on the ground is kind of... challenging. 

Starlings, Or:  The Unintentional Use of Artistic Tension

Fujichrome Velvia 50

[(As soon) + n]* as I figure out the angles on this, I'd like to use that basic design and scale it up into a somewhat heavier stand. 

*where n is a number greater than zero but less than prob'ly a couple-three months.

Minimalist Tool Set

Fujichrome Velvia 50

Linseed oil finishes look great on wooden handles;  but this finish is even better. 

2017 May 9

Slide Film

Fujichrome Velvia 50

That hammer is similar to this and works great for blacksmithing. 

2017 May 5

Vise Deal

What do you know, that awesome 4" USA vise is now on sale for even less than it was yesterday.  Amazon likes for its affiliates not to mention the price on our websites, so instead I'll just put up a widget that displays the current price. 

For this price, you don't need to have just a "vise-shaped-object" in your workshop.  I used to be one of the many people who would give a 5-star review to a 15-pound cast iron vise, until I tried the real deal. 

Workbench Deal

This might not be a special one-time-only deal, or maybe it is, but I just noticed you can get the Seville Classics UltraGraphite Commercial Workbench for considerably less on Amazon than the lowest price on Ebay.  On the 'bay, the lowest price I found was $196 or so, with free shipping;  even that's a great deal for a brand-new workbench like this, which looks to be welded up from square tubing.  I couldn't make it for that, that's for sure.

This worktable / bench has a laminated wooden top, it's got wheels (casters), and it even has a couple of metal drawers so you can store stuff under it.  The top is 48" x 24" and is 1.5" thick;  I don't know if the top is bamboo or maple or what, but it looks to be a laminated butcher-block-style top.  And you should be able to mount a proper bench vise on it. 

When can you have too many work tables?  This one looks great and has a lot of positive comments.  It's fun to build worktables (or it can be, I should say...), but sometimes you just want something that's all ready to use, no sawdust involved.

Tools;  Metal & Shop

Review:  Yost 104 Machinist Vise.  Fixed-base, 4" jaws, Made In USA.  Excellent!!


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