The American Garage

The American Garage Blog

A Blast from the Past

Hey projecteers! As we wind down the last 3 episodes of the David Bradley project, I thought I would give you a glimpse of The American Garage before we were The American Garage. Now, just FYI, on the DB project, episodes 7 and 8 are in the can, ready to be served- the holdup is shooting a few needed scenes for episode 6- which I will try to get done this week. If you have been paying attention, then you know that I love to woodwork- and I also love sailing. So, while I am hard at work on episode 6, I thought you might enjoy hearing about a project I did years ago- the building of a 24 foot Light Schooner. A beautiful sailboat. I built it, sailed it, and sold it to move up the boat chain. We had great fun with it, and in the process made a friend, Tim Fatchen, down under in Australia. Tim is a Light Schooner officinado, and helped with much needed advice. You can learn about Tim and his adventures with his boat, Flying Tadpole, at his website-

He also featured an article on my building and sailing adventures of Faith, my Light Schooner which you can read here- I was delighted for the write-up Tim did for my project, and I especially enjoyed the cartoon illustrations he put in the article. Thanks Tim, and keep sailing!

So, now it is back to work for me, while you enjoy this project from the past.


The American Garage Episode 6-1 S01E06.1

Episode 6 has been broken into three parts. In Part 1, Steve will cover diagnosing problems with the engine, and Andrea drops in to lend a hand taking the valves out of the engine.

The American Garage Episode 6-2 S01E06.2



This is the longest part of episode 6, covering internal parts examination, reassembly and gasket making. The detail is intended for those who want to rebuild an engine, but have never tried it.

The American Garage Episode 6-3 S01E06.3

This is the final installation of the Engine Rebuild episode, focussing on the reconditioning of the transmission.

The American Garage Episode 7 S01E07



Painting! Seems like it took forever to get here, but we are finally to the painting stage of the David Bradley project. Steve shows us how to use a paint gun, and paints the David Bradley.


Coming August 5, 2013 David Bradley Project Finale



David Bradley right sideThe finale of the garden tractor project is upon us! Yay! Gather your friends, and watch the final episode of the David Bradley project as we wrap it up on Monday, August 5th. Steve took you through the process from acquisition, all the way through to complete restoration. He used it to plow his garden, and it works wonderfully! We learned a lot in the project, and made a few friends along the way. We covered teardown and organization, metal repairing and welding, rust removal techniques, priming and painting, engine rebuilding, and reassembly and troubleshooting. It was a great project, and we enjoyed it immensely! As we wrap up the first season of The American Garage, we are already in works on the next project. As we prepare for season 2, we are looking for your input. Let us know what topics you have found interesting, and what projects you would like to see us tackle in the future. Shall we build a boat? Repair furniture? Cover different painting techniques?  How about woodworking? Steve loves woodworking and has a woodshop that is just aching to get on the show. Also, we are looking for garages to feature- tell us about your garage, and send us some pictures! We’d love to see what is going on in YOUR garage. Okay, so the next project- have a look at the picture below, and tell us what it is-





The American Garage Episode 8 S01E08




Steve completes the David Bradley project, and takes the tractor our for a spin. In this episode, Steve covers reassembly, shows how to instal decals, and goes through the steps we took to accomplish this project. It has been a great little project, and Steve will use it for gardening and other tasks around the yard. We hope you enjoyed the project, and invite you to stay tuned for the next project. With the completion of this project, Season 1 comes to a close. Join us for Season 2 in the fall- and keep building!

BBQ Pit Project

It is time to start the next project on The American Garage! Yeah! This project was inspired on the 4th of July when my gas grill caught fire, and ruined the whole mechanism- and nearly the picnic!  So, I thought- I could repair the old grill, or I could just scrap it and build something really nice! I vote for that. After much deliberation, I decided to build a BBQ pit. This project will go much quicker that the DB restoration project, and have a more delicious end result. I started by doing some research. It seemed to me that old style pits always had a chimney, new gas grills all have a cover, and some were just wide open. So, I talked to a friend who is a BBQ expert, and we talked about pit design, and what different elements are for. So, out of that conversation, I made a 3d model of what the pit might look like.

BBQ pit with pizza oven rendering

with pizza oven added

Now, I decided to take it a bit further than just a pit, and in my research I found plans for building a wood fired pizza oven, and there. Just like that I had to add a pizza oven. So, if you look at the illustration I made, you will see that the pizza oven looks like an igloo made out of fire brick, and that is essentially what it is. You see a small chimney coming out the opening at the front, and this will keep smoke out of our eyes while we cook. We will encase the pizza oven with a nice exterior, but I wanted you to see what the insides look like, to give you an idea what we are building. There are many different styles that we can use for the exterior, but we will get to that later. As you can see in the renderings, I am planning on using cinder block for the main structure. I will line it with fire brick- the proper name is refractory brick- and us some kind of nice stone or brick for the outside aesthetics. We will be starting soon, so get your work clothes ready!

Now, I’d like to share with you some pictures of  finished pizza ovens, to give you an idea what a finished oven may look like. I am not sure which way I go, brick or stone, formal or informal. But for sure, we will make it look nice! These pictures were happily loaned to us by  the R.I Lampus company, and you can find them on the web at . If you are in the Pittsburgh area, be sure to look them up. 

Fall/Winter Garden Made possible with the David Bradley

Currently, we are working on some sponsorship for the BBQ project, so in the mean time, I thought I would catch you up on the results we have had trying our hand at gardening. I plowed in the fall for the fall/winter garden, and it has been a trial and error process. I grew up in the north where the dirt was so fertile you could just throw seeds out the back door and have an abundance of produce. Well, that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. On the Gulf Coast in Texas, our dirt here is nearly clay, so it is hard to get it broken up and soft. My brother is a horticulturist, and he gave me some pointers on what to mix in to get better results from this soil. But, we didn’t fair too bad, and each time we plant something, the results get better.

Steve with the first green beans- the purple variety!

Fall Garden 2013. We had a good start, but the cold killed some of our progress.

 At the end of the season, we were able to get some nice carrots, and harvest the last of the beans to dry for seed.

And now we start plowing for the spring.

The last harvest from the winter garden.


The American Garage Minute- Headlight Polishing

TAG Minute- Headlights! I know that you have noticed how your headlights do not stay clear and bright- especially as your car gets older. Check out this brief episode where Steve shows you how to clean up those headlights, keeping them clear and making your night illumination brighter. And, it helps keeping your car look great. It’s simpler than you would think! 


Metal Casting!

announcments button


We want to know what you would like to do. Want to learn woodworking? Mechanics? Something else? Let us know! Click this link to send us a message. The American Garage is not just a show to be watched and copy what is being done- it is a show to get involved with. We will select people and projects submitted to us to highlight on the show. So, don't just watch- participate! Become part of The American Garage's team.

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