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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Don't forget to put the clocks on an hour !

On the way Home.

My Sketch for today, Evershot Church. and Tess's cottage.

After reading an article in the Mail-Online 
(y interest in Thomas Hardy was rekindled after many years. We took the short trip to Evershot a couple of days ago with the intent of sketching Tess’s cottage, but as always my eye caught sight of an unusual looking church there beside the once dwelling of Augusta Way (Bugler) who was the inspiration of Hardy’s ‘Tess of the d'Urbervilles’
I marvel on rare occasions at the empathy of the literary mind such as Hardy’s, the story of Tess always reminds me of the compassion we were taught as youngsters by our loving parents not ever to judge others before knowing their circumstances.
There is, like always a little artistic licence in my sketch, but never the less a beautiful part of the world around here, that I consider myself lucky to be part of, I hope you like the effort.
We took the coast road home; in places deserted of all traffic, the isolation of the Dorset coast although bitterly cold, giving a sense of piece on an afternoon that had given me so much pleasure.
Looking out upon that vast ocean in front of me, those ever-rolling waves at first sight suggest to my small mind the idea of what I would call an eternity of percussion that the Gods of the sea play for us each day, always reminding me of home, always creating an emotion that brings back the memories of childhood on the cliffs and beaches of Thanet.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.



Friday, 29 March 2013

As Promised the ‘T’ Bolts

‘T’ nuts!

Picture 1: Ends of hex bar retreived from the scrap box in a         friends machine shop destined to be thrown away.
Picture 2: Ready to be faced on the metal lathe.
Picture 3: Faced and turned down to fit the top half of the 'T' channel.
Picture 4: Hole drilled (Tap size) in this case 5.5mm for 1/4 UNF Tap.
Picture 5: Bottoming Tap (1/4 UNF) started in lathe for correct 90 degree right angle.
Picture 6: Channel on Milling machine.
Picture 7: Channel on angled table.
Picture 8 & 9: showing where the 'T' bolts go on the angled table.
Picture 10: The Myford ML8 wood lathe compound slide.
(All these channels are a different size! and separate 'T' bolts have to be made to fit each channel)  

I have been fortunate in making the acquaintance of a very talented lady who is an ornamental turner; the work she produces is absolutely incredible. Talking to her the other week I told her of my latest acquisition, a tilting table for the milling machine in my little workshop. I have been amazed at the accuracy of this small table for the price I paid, but like everything these days there is one big draw-back and that is the ‘T’ channels to anchor it down on the milling bed.
We discussed this problem at length because all this lady has is a pillar-drill and there was no way she could utilise one because there is not any ‘T’ nuts available on the market that would fit the pillar-drill table and also the angle table. 
The Photo’s I have taken I think explains this a little better. (I hope)
I do not understand the logic of some of the retail outlets today; selling something that is totally useless because it is not complete. Fortunately I have been able to help her by making the nuts to fit her tables, and she is now a very happy camper. But I wonder at how many lost sales there have been in this country all having the same problem.
Why ‘O’ why are they not standardised like a Morse-Taper or screw threads making life so much easier.
Anyway, I have had my moan, and to be perfectly honest I quite enjoy the task of making them, being fortunate enough to have the equipment to do so.
So if you are thinking of buying a new piece of shiny equipment for your existing machinery, be careful! Ask yourself if there are ‘T’ nuts available to anchor it down first before you get carried away with the glossy pictures advertising its virtues.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

If I was honest, perhaps a dream come true in my silver years.

An Amateur Engineer, and the satisfaction of producing something out of nothing that you can’t buy anymore.
Certain tactile materials that are all around me have a certain appeal, wood has always given off an aroma that reminded me of my granddads timber yard up the top of Queen street in the chalk pit, the sounds and smell of sawdust as the wood was cut to size has left a lasting impression on my senses. 
Metal and the smell of oil reminds me of my Dads overalls and his workshop at the bottom of the garden when I was growing up, a small little place that was heaven to me, and just to be allowed to enter was a joy I would give up playtime with my chums to be with Dad out there in the winter with the heat and smell of the little paraffin oil fire in the corner. The knowledge passed on to me in those hours spent with him has been invaluable over the years. Watching him make threads on a piece of metal to fit perfectly, reviving a machine that had been broken to last another few years. Learning how to sharpen the many different blades that he used to razor sharpness with just an oil stone and elbow grease, never letting his precious chisels anywhere near a grinding machine. He did have a water stone that I was instructed to turn by hand at a certain speed, but that was all, there wasn’t any electricity out there at the bottom of the garden to run machines, everything was done with hand tools. I’d sit there in the corner with the pressure from the Tilly-Lamp hissing away, not only giving light to Dad but also keeping me warm as well.
Since then as time has gone on the need to have my own small haven at the bottom of the garden was a dream I never thought would ever materialise, the cost of the tools far beyond my pocket when the children were growing up. But gradually it has become a reality and I have never been happier than when I am out there with the wind whistling through the trees outside, the rain beating against the roof on a cold winters night, warm and cosy in a cocoon of my own making.
I have collected over the years all the hand tools that have ever been invented, sets of chisels too numerous to count. There are at least two-dozen planes all in mint condition of varying sizes and they are sharp and all in use.
But it is the metal work that I find most rewarding now, to be able to skim a thousands of an inch off a piece of metal on my small milling machine is very satisfying, to turn a bar for a press fit in a bearing on the metal lathe also gives me a thrill every time. I wonder sometimes if Dad is looking down on me with a smile on his face, nodding his head in that way he used to when I did something right, without a word ever being spoken.
I have read books, watched video’s, studied and asked questions to engineers, learning over time on the how and the why and also with a lot of ‘what ifs’ that must have sounded at the time rather stupid to them, but realising there is always something missing in my knowledge as an amateur machinist that I needed to refer to from the books in my small library.
What has surprised me is how lucrative it can be, gone are the days when a small component could be obtained for a small amount of money from the local machine shop if it had been broken or had worn out. Now, because the majority of machines I suppose are made in far away places, it is not possible to get anything repaired, you are expected to buy a new one. I have never advertised, its all word of mouth, if I accepted every job that came my way I would never leave the workshop to indulge my other pastimes, to sketch or to enjoy my retirement generally, so if you can buy it I won’t make it only for myself. But if it is unobtainable then I am interested, so long as there is no time limit, only under extreme circumstances will I work until it is finished, burning the midnight oil, it is very rarely appreciated. 
Anyway ‘T’ nuts, a pet hate of mine, you ask ‘What the h*** are ‘T’ nuts, well, I will tell those of you that don’t know tomorrow and why they are a pet hate of mine.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.     

Friday, 22 March 2013

The Pesky 'Letrit'

It’s The Letrit !
You know the stuff the gas board sells, there again it could be the water board in your area. Comes out of a little plug on the wall. 
I learned to loathe electricity many, many years ago. I had an old Morris Minor, the one with the split windscreen. Talking to a mate the other day it would be worth a small fortune these days, but there ya go, I never could get it right where cars are concerned. Anyway, I remember it broke down one weekend coming back from Maidstone along the Thanet-Way and had to be towed into a garage that was out in the middle of nowhere. Back in those days there was nothing from the end of the M2 until you reached The Sportsman Inn, just fields. This guy turned up after a long walk that took me an hour to find a telephone,  I swear he was older than I am today, he must have been eighty, perhaps even older. He was the mechanic in a one-man band that drove a pick-up truck; today, that truck would be in a museum, and looked as if it had been put together with a ‘Mecano’ set he’d been given at Christmas.
There again he had probably been brought up learning his trade on steam cars and attributed all the troubles of the motoring world to electricity. Come to think about it now, he was probably right.
He took one look at my paralysed four-wheeled ‘pride and joy’ and said with scorn and distaste in his voice: ‘Betcha it’s the letrit!’
He opened the bonnet, pointed to the petrol pump and spat out the word again ‘Letrit’
Jabbed an accusing bent middle finger that had mysteriously no nail on it, at the distributor and actually snarled, I swear to this day a lion couldn’t have done any better: “Letrit! It’s all down to the Letrit boy” he said.
His eyes then moved to the fuse box, and there was an audible sigh as he shook his head: ‘Letrit’!
By this time I had got the hang of it all and as he glared at the starter motor we both chorused ‘Letrit!’
Still nodding his head in agreement with the acceptance I had given him;
“Nothing wrong with ya car boy, ‘cept the pesky Letrit! No good will come of it mark my words.”
And I have since had good reason to agree with him when I get the bills for the ‘Letrit!’.
Without ‘Letrit!’ we could be free from television. That small square box in the corner of the living room that used to be when it started, a couple of hours in the evening, ending with the national anthem at eleven o’clock. 
Without ‘Letrit!’ we could be emancipated from the telephone. And I wouldn’t be pestered with cold calls trying to sell me insurance that I have already paid a fortune for at the beginning of the year. 
Without ‘Letrit!’ there wouldn’t be high-voltage guitars that blare out of a car radio whenever I have to stop at traffic lights from the open windows of the boy-racers? Hairdryers? You don’t need a hairdryer, walk down the pub and let the wind dry it for you. There is a good side to this as well, when you walk into the lounge bar, because your hair is standing on end and your appearance emulates a mad professor, everyone disperses leaving a clear path to the bar-keep who immediately serves you hoping you will occupy the furthest corner seat and not frighten his clientele away.    
Buzzing razors, I’ll grow a beard!
Neon signs, guided missiles and simply the enormous shocks that amateurs like myself receive when we try to put a new plug on the vacuum cleaner . . . . .use a broom!
But there again there is the kettle, can’t do without the kettle. I remember we had a power cut a we while ago, it took ages to boil a little tiddy bit of water in a pan for a cup of tea. Got to have a bit of  ‘Letrit!’ I’ll put up with it a bit longer I suppose.
Have fun,
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Disillusioned and Disgusted !

Absolutely unbelievable that grown men and women who have been elected by the working people of this country should act in the way that I viewed them yesterday: I turned the news off!  If I had heard my children screaming at each other like they were, they would have received a sanction that none of them would ever forget.
Anyway, a few doodles today.
Remember when you had to get up in the cold dark mornings to go to work, dreaming of the day when you could lay in till quite late, taking your time over breakfast instead of a piece of toast between your teeth as you drove down the motorway to another days toil.
Take it from me, it doesn’t work that way! As time goes on I am rising earlier and earlier to cram in everything there is to do nowadays.
A few things that caught my eye today, sketching perhaps for future reference. Sitting in the car waiting for the little wife, the radio playing softly in the background, my ever-present sketchpad on my knee capturing the different things around me.
Eves dropping on a conversation the other day, I heard a lady say she was bored since retiring, however can that be? There doesn’t seem enough hours in the day sometimes, so much to do, so many things to see and always afraid I will miss something. I like the saying that has come across the pond to these shores, namely: “Onward and upward, we are burning daylight” as soon as my eyes are open, the joy each day brings and all the mischief I can get into has to be crammed into a few short hours, the hands of the clock wiz round and I have only achieved half of what I set out to do come bedtime, but I live in hope there is always a tomorrow.
Reading the Blog’s today reminded me of yesterday when I switched on the ‘tele’ to watch the budget as I had my lunch.
These people who call themselves politicians that are supposed to have our interests at heart in running our country, were acting like children in a playground, there was unbelievable pandemonium from all sides of the house supposedly there to discuss the very important subject of our finances. It seems to me, and many like me, the system that the world once regarded as a model of government have reached a new low in our history.
There is nothing I can do about it! No place to turn to for help only to shut my door and pray I survive another day in the turmoil this country has got itself into, everybody blaming everyone else instead of putting their heads together to fathom out a future for our children. I thought this was what we elected them to do; …..wrong!
So I sketch, busy myself in the workshop, listen to the music I love and remember the statesmen that ran our country in days long gone, hoping the youngsters of today will not have to rise up like in other countries around the world before sense and reason is resumed.
I am sorry, I promised not to get political on this ‘Blog’ but when I am presented with what is supposed to be news to people I, and all of us little people have elected acting in the way they were I begin to wonder where it will all end.
I’m sorry, no more politics, I promise.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

One for 'The Friends of Ellington Park'

You have got to be joking !
My Vision now of 'The Park Keeper' as he was in my day.

We could smell the acrid tobacco smoke from his pipe and knew when he was around, every one of us was mortally afraid of him during our young lives. Petrified in fact.
That fear rose to a climax about the second or third week in September when the chestnuts hung in bunches from the trees in Ellington Park; it was conker time!
His flat peaked cap and spectacles were imprinted on my subconscious, right up to when I went to sleep at night, planning and scheming for the following morning when I had arranged with my mates to reconnoitre the perimeter, this was where the best conker trees were in the Park. (all chopped down now.)
I have watched him from the long grass at the back of the Park and been racked with anxiety, no long grass now, just a plain brick wall. I have looked in terror at his thick stick, which he always carried as I hid behind the dahlias and rhododendrons feeling week at the knees in case I was discovered.
The Park Keeper was the symbol of authority and the implacable enemy of every small boy between the ages of five and ten. His reputation struck almost permanent terror into several hundred young hearts, ghastly stories of the revenge he took on lads whom he was supposed to have caught lurking in the Park at dusk, long after he had blown the whistle that preceded the ceremony of locking the big iron gates.
The thing was, by hurling large sized sticks into the chestnut trees, it was possible to bring down a substantial shower of the coveted conkers, so much so that you sometimes had to quickly jump out of the way of the falling nuts, this was when you had to watch out for him. Chestnuts were quickly stuffed into your pockets along with fag cards marbles bubblegum and lumps of toffee and you took off like rabbits bolting for home at a pace Roger Bannister would have a job keeping up with, you had to avoid being caught at all costs.
Guerrilla warfare was ceaseless. The Park Keeper did sentry-go for hours on end at this time of year, but us young shavers with devilment in our hearts stalked him and created diversionary tactics on the flower beds while the main party of us went in on the conker raid.
We always won, there was too many of us!
As a footnote that brought on the memory of all this, we were walking in the park a couple of days ago and I noticed a poster nailed to the trunk of a chestnut tree, see photo! ( I found this on the internet, and it is evidently being displayed in another part of the country as well.)
Although we had a good laugh at the time, I have since thought what a crazy, crazy world we live in, because when questioning a councillor this week he informed me, quite seriously, there was litigation in progress concerning a woman that was taking the council to court for damages;
A falling conker had given her a black eye and she had been off work since last September because of it, we are now in March……..6 months later!
Can you believe that? . . . . . .Crazy, no wonder our rates are so high, because no doubt the cost of such an action will come out of the council coffers.
You have got to laugh; otherwise we would all end up in straight jackets.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.


What it all boils down to is we weren’t mollycoddled !

Received an email today that I thought you might like to read, these are not my words but reflect on many occasions the way us pensioners look at things when the world around us gives cause for utter bewilderment in the state we have got ourselves into in this country.
It read something like the following:
Were you born in the 1930’s 1940’s, 50’s or 60’s ?
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. . . . . 
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.
Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.
We had no childhood lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Nandos. . . . .
Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn’t open on a Sunday, somehow we didn’t starve to death !
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and ON ONE actually died from this.
We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble-Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because . ………..
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day but we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we had forgotten the brakes.
We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii, X-boxes, no video games at all no 900 channels on SKY, No video/dvd films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms . . . . . . . . . BUT !
WE HAD FRIENDS ! and we went outside and found them.
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no Lawsuits from these accidents.
Only girls had pierced ears!
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time ……..
We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays, we rode bikes or walked to a friends house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them !
Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and throw the blackboard rubber at us if they thought we weren’t concentrating . . . . .
We can string sentences together and spell and have proper conversations because of a good, solid three R’s education. Our parents would tell us to ask a stranger to help us cross the road. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. THEY ACTUALLY SIDED WITH THE LAW !
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Is it me, or is it getting colder ?

Chiddingstone Kent

The old bones I think are getting soft as age creeps up on me, that wind to me seems more bitter than ever this week. So I don’t want to venture out, my snug little home is too much of an attraction, so I stay indoors and wait for the sunshine, hoping better days are ahead.
The tantalising aroma of freshly baked bread from the kitchen drifts into the lounge and makes my tummy rumble along with that distinctive smell of percolating coffee. Listening to the wind whistling round the eve’s and rustling the trees out the back of where we live, I realised there was a smile on my face this morning as the reflection back to the time when work was the order of the day no matter what the weather was like.
Snuggling down into my favourite armchair, it was time once again to get out my well-worn pencils, to do what I had always hoped I could do when working long hours in the past, those last few years when working I dreamed of the day when retirement came to just sit and sketch some of the fantastic memories of the life I had led, the places I had been to, the people I had been so fortunate to have met and laughed with.
I wanted to jot down the little incidents that I found pleasure in remembering, purely for my own gratification; there are so, so many.
Going through the box of photographs I came across one of Chiddingstone and I remember sitting in the beautiful church grounds one afternoon there, drawing the building opposite next to the Post office, going through my old sketches I found what I had drawn that day. There is a little bit of artistic licence in what I have drawn so I hope the residents of this building can forgive me, but basically it is, how it is, a treasure of our heritage that must be kept for the prosperity and our grandchildren.
But getting back to to day I have been doing a little more to the train drawing of last Wednesday (6th) it’s a long job but I am enjoying doing it.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.
p.s. I had thoughts today of another memory of Ellington Park which definitely requires a drawing!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

A very pleasurable experience.

Up a little alley, off the beaten track.

Up a little alley hidden away from the hustle and bustle of a busy town, we were escorted back, upon entering the foyer, to a few decades ago; the welcome was obviously genuine, the service of the staff was part of the experience of dining out. We were treated to excellent food and a small tipple, all presented to us in a first class manner from a waiter that discreetly attended to our every need.
I could have stayed there overnight, but instead contented myself to sitting in the window seat to capture a scene of such tranquillity with my pad and pencil, there was no anxious looks from the staff to vacate that seat, in fact they seemed to encourage my activity as the picture took shape, offering to open the curtains wider to let in more light.
I hope you like the end product.
Thanks for stopping by, please call again.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Thanks for the memory Michael.

Before the concert in the Bournemouth gardens.

A fine spring evening with the sound of the ocean gently lapping on the shore of the beach a few yards away, we sat on a freshly refurbished bench in the gardens of Bournemouth that had been beautifully planted out with spring flowers, devotedly attended by a couple of very young people who obviously enjoyed their task as they both stood back to admire their afternoons work before packing up.
We were waiting for the concert to start in the B I C behind where we sat. No graffiti to be seen anywhere, not even a sweet paper littering the freshly mown grass, I felt as if I had gone back in time to the Edwardian era as two young ladies strolled towards us obviously waiting like we were for the B S O to treat us to a night of our favourite music.
The elegance, deportment and beauty in their dress was mirrored by many in the gardens that evening; it was strange, I felt part of something very rarely seen these days; I was young again, remembering a time when language, manners and appearance made you feel good and meant everything.
I had thought, many times, it had all disappeared in this material world we live in today, but that night I found a world that was for a few hours, a brief snapshot of the past.
There wasn’t a sketchbook and pencil that night because we both had evening-wear on but the memory of those two young ladies stayed with me, and I have tried to sketch one of them that stood quite close to where we sat as she admired the flowers in the gardens, my thoughts I remember, how lovely, how feminine, what have we lost over time? Her scent mixed with the flowers as she stood there made that evening listening later on to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing Strauss so perfect.
 It is not all lost in the past, viewing Michael’s pictures of the Winter Gardens interior brought back memories when the refinery of the ladies in evening dresses and all of us gents in tails and white ties danced to Joe Loss and Ted Heath till the early hours there, these memories of those times I know are for us oldies who lived through a period in the fifties and sixties that was splendid and refined and so graceful. It seems to me living so far away now; at least one of the fine buildings in Thanet has been kept up to the standard I knew it by.
I hear the Blue Danube being played in those beautiful surroundings and see the Viennese Waltz being danced by couples on that enormous dance floor with the chandelier-lights catching the sequins on the ladies dresses, circling round to music that will never ever be lost over time.
Going through the glass doors to the balcony overlooking Margate harbour and into the estuary, was where I had my first real kiss that meant anything, it was I remember to my utter joy, reciprocated, accompanied to the music of a Lilac Waltz that drifted out across the water on a night of a million shining stars, winking at us from up above in the heavens.

Thank you for the memories Michael, so greatly appreciated.

Thanks for dropping by, please call again.




Thursday, 7 March 2013

Did I go to art school?

Definitely No !

No art college Brian for me, my Dad, bless him, insisted when I was fifteen I had to have a proper job as he would put it. Serve as an apprentice earning a living with responsibility and not dependent on the State in any way.
He taught me perspective and encouraged all of us children to follow a pass time of some kind or another, but to go to art school he considered a ‘cop out’ from the main aim in life for a grown up, he considered that was to provide for his family and children with a proper job.  
My Dad always had encouragement for us all though in what ever we did, with me it was my music, my dancing and also the sketches I did even as a child. Both my parents insisted we all went to church every Sunday which involved choir practice for me, this of coarse introduced me to the choirmaster at that time, his name was Mr Wraight and he played the organ at St Marks church in Pysons Road offering to my parents one day to give me lessons on the piano which Dad found the money for one way or another.
I remember what we all called Wraight’s Alley off Chatham Street (Eagle Hill, you would know it by) he was, I believe the owner or manager of a large coach works down there.
Mr Wraight’s hobby was oil painting, which he carried out in his front room where the piano was. His paintings were unbelievable, I have often wondered as I got older where all his pictures went, but I remember the piano lessons ‘went out the window’ so to speak when he found I was more interested in art than music at that time. So you could say I was schooled by a Master, which he definitely was.
I never told Dad and I don’t think he ever found out that my lessons were taken up with drawing and sketching instead of doing scales on the piano. Ever since those heady days I can’t be without a sketch pad and pencil something my dear wife has learnt to live with, what that truly talented man gave to me as a foundation, has given me so much pleasure over the years adding to my very full life, the relaxation and calmness it creates has given me a peace in times of intense pressure from every day life that only immersion in a subject that needs to be studied gives you.
Thanks for your interest Brian; I hope this explains things a little more.
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Sketch in progress

The sketch so far, not finished yet.
Tunbridge Wells Engine sheds (I think 1959 or 1960)

I haven’t finished the sketch, you could say its work in progress, but I did promise to post it this week, so this is as far as I have got and there is quite a lot more to do.
Can anyone suggest a number; I’m not a train buff, but appreciate the engineering needed to construct such magnificent movement and power.
I think it is what was called a ‘Standard Tank’ because many years ago I fired one of these out of Tunbridge Wells down to Brighton in the summer holidays for a few weeks, see photograph, I’m the one on the right at the back without a hat on. The fascination of anything mechanical has always fired my imagination (sorry about the pun) even in those days my sketchpad was in constant use, what ever happened to those sketches I really don’t know but I remember the pad I used being covered in coal dust, I’m sure you can imagine, being a very dirty job my hands were always black, but it didn’t stop me passing many happy hours by the track side drawing what was around me.
Like I have said many times, the memories of those times, were exciting and although hard work, bring only joy to what I have lived through in my life. 
Thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

A much needed project.

Small Faceplate and Banjo
Side View
Underside of Table
Table in situe
Bits I used out of the scrap box
Table Drawing
I have neglected the workshop these past few weeks but now the fine weather is starting to show and spring seems to be in the air, all I want to do is get outside either sketching, gardening or in the workshop with the doors open. The winter pastime of sitting in front of the computer is now relegated to the still dark evenings when the television has nothing to offer, (Friday was an exception to this, wasn’t Brenda exceptional, such a talent, and to think she comes from our hometown, and a few doors away from where I was brought up.) what happens when we turn the clocks back in a few weeks time is anybodies guess.
So, something I have been meaning to do for a long time now has occupied me for the last couple of days out in the workshop, so I must apologise to all for not posting during this time.
Many years ago I was I suppose fortunate enough to purchase an old woodturning machine, in the many years of my working life I had often wondered if I could turn my hand at turning a piece of wood into something of use.
Wandering round a local market one weekend tucked away in the corner of a stall was a very rusty old machine that had obviously been neglected over many years, it was in bits, presumably for easy transportation and now forgotten by the stallholder with piles of books and a lot of other paraphernalia covering it from view. With trepidation, because money was rather tight in those days, I cautiously asked him ‘how much’ and was surprised to hear him say £80 and there were a few chisels to go with it. Bearing in mind I had previously looked at machines on sale and found them to be way out of my reach price wise, the cheapest being in the range of three to four hundred pounds even in those days and dismissed the venture out of hand until I had come up on the pools, or a very distant relation that I hadn’t heard of left me in their will a sum of money.
I remember thanking him and walking away out side to think, ‘where can I get £80 from?’ Needless to say with the help of the little lady in doors we came up with the money and I have never looked back, spending many hours repairing and refurbishing that machine to its former glory to the envy of many since. It was a Myford! Beautifully engineered in the first place to a standard that today is totally unheard of, ‘British Made’ and built to last. But . . . . . . . . . . . .
I soon discovered the accessories needed to complete many of the operations in turning cost more than the machine, this is still the case today with the modern machines on sale and being made in far away countries are not in any way finished to the standard of my old Myford. So I set about making all the bits and chucks to fit my machine, a task that I have enjoyed over many hours, giving satisfaction to a hobby far greater than I could have dreamed of. For those that are in the know, I have even acquired a compound slide that is extremely accurate, some saying that it is cheating, but my lids fit to a thousands of an inch ……every time! Even the chisels I have made, collecting pre war old discarded ones and turning them into whatever shape that I needed at the time, making brand new boxwood handles to a shape that fitted my hands. To say I haven’t bought parts would be wrong and telling porkies, but the first thing I ask myself is ‘Can I make it? And if I can then that is the route I take, keeping my precious savings for a rainy day.
Something that I have been meaning to make for quite a long time now is a small table to fit into the ‘banjo’ on the bed and it had to be accurate. I have an old ‘Picador’ 14” sanding disk with an ancient twin tub motor attached (Pre 1960) that has served me well over all this time, but its big and also heavy kicking up a lot of sawdust so its wise to use it outside because of the dust. Turning a small 3” aluminium faceplate to fit the headstock with a sacrificial hardwood front I found it necessary to have a small table in the ‘banjo’ to hold the work I was sanding, this is the project I have been working on these last couple of days.
Any questions, please feel free to email me. I have included one of my primitive drawings that I made before starting; everything used was out of the scrap box and didn’t cost me a farthing, (that’s old money, the real stuff )   
For those of you that are interested in my sketches, I have started one that is taking me a little longer than normal, and will post it sometime this week when it is finished.
Thanks for stopping by.