Some jobs should be simple and turn out to be anything but. We have an ornamental windmill in the garden. I think it turned up last year. What I do know is the sails fell off. Somehow the nut holding them on vanished.
All I had to do was replace it surely?
Not a chance. Nothing in the garage would fit, and since this is over 100 feet away from the windmill, I got fed up walking back and forth. Taking the pivot off the front proved to be the first challenge, involving removing more wood and metal than expected. Never mind, it's only 4 cross-head screws.
This is the problem. No nut in my collection fits better - and that includes those rusty ones in Golden Flake tobacco tins. Those tins that just appear in garages and workshops. Well, the sort of garages and workshops I like.
Right, out with the big tap and die set. The nearest to the threads is a 1/8NPT27. I have no little what this means and it does seem to be an oddity in an otherwise metric set. I have a metric set because I have old VWs and if you find an imperial nut, it's wrong and you should throw it away.
Anyway, I ran it down the threads on the spinny bit. I don't care if it's wrong, I just want a matching nut and bolt. It ran down nicely though so can't be very far off. Next, I tapped the nut to match. This isn't pretty so I didn't take a photo. Not sure the Nylock insert will be much good now, but then this isn't exactly critical work.
A washer is a good idea, but of course, I can't find one with a big enough hole. I can find my old tapered reamer and this far it (I used to use it for model bearings so used the pointy end) is perfectly sharp enough to open up a hole in a nice big washer.
Someone will tell me holding the washer in mole grips is bad. It worked though.
Anyway, after all this and a few minutes work with sockets and screwdrivers, the windmill is repaired. The sails spin and it looks lovely again.
I'll probably find the lost nut now.