Around this time of the year, I like to strike up conversations with the question, “Do you have any resolutions for the New Year?” Inevitably, I will get predictable replies. An audible scoff, followed by “I don’t do New Year’s resolutions,” or, the person will eagerly list the changes they wish to make. Occasionally, someone will say they haven’t given it any thought, but maybe …
I’m a firm supporter of resolutions, of self improvement of any kind, really. I love a good list, and, even more, I love ticking off those to-dos. At the root, resolutions are just goals and positive life changes, both concepts I give two enthusiastic thumbs up.
But who says you need to wait for a new year to get started on the “new you”? The tradition dates way back to the days of Julius Caesar, 46 BCE, when he took it upon himself to modify the calendar and establish January 1 as the start of a new year. The Romans then used that month to offer sacrifices and make promises (resolutions) to their deities, hoping for a more prosperous future. The Romans weren’t the first on record to resolve to improve their behaviors. This practice can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians — 4,000 years ago.
Now don’t go killing your favorite goat just yet; blood sacrifices aren’t what I’m suggesting. Nor am I suggesting you quit carbs or hire a personal trainer. I’m advocating that there’s no time like the present to take action and check a few hobby housekeeping items off your list.
Winter has many of us firmly planted indoors, so what better time to get a jump on that project you’ve had sitting in the corner of the garage collecting dust. Go through that pile of parts (you know the one) and decide what you’ll use and what you can sell to another collector. Your unwanted junk may end up being the missing piece to someone else’s puzzle. Hunt down needed resources and supplies for your next restoration project. Clean off that work bench and add some long-needed tools to your collection.
If one of your outstanding projects is to figure out why an engine doesn’t want to start up, be sure to read the newest technical feature by Dr. David Cave. In this issue, Dr. Cave will teach you the ins and outs of bench testing a magneto. While your magneto may spark on the bench, it may still be too weak to hold up under the pressure of compression and result in a lack of combustion.
If you are resolving to read more, that’s excellent to hear! You’re already off to a great start. I recommend the cover engine story. Wayne Grenning — author of Flame Ignition — details his lengthy search, 10,000-plus-mile shipping adventure and the restoration story behind his Crossley KB. His tale of determination is bound to inspire you to see some projects through to the end.
Whatever your resolutions may be, I wish you all success in the coming year.