Friday, 16 June 2017

an APB on Iain...

It has only just occurred to me that a good place to ask about our chum Iain Robinson would be right here, where he had commented so valuably.
We all know by now, no doubt, that his blog has been removed. I asked him by email if all was well and have had no reply, so if anyone has any idea what has happened to Iain, please let us know by commenting.

An APB on Iain....

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Never mind the quality...

.....feel the width, as they say.  Well the width of my wife's Pashley Picador Plus trike is certainly there. It wouldn't go through the gate, but the quality is shite.  No messing now, call a spade a spade...shite!
A make considered lazily by us all as a "Best of British" had the kind of paint on the mudguards that you would have expected from a just post War Beetle.  I couldn't understand why there were such rust bubbles on the mudguards, until I gave it a poke with a screwdriver and a four inch plate of thin cellulose just fell off.  No primer!!  Where the hell is the quality in that?  For some odd reason, one mudguard has a white primer on the outer surface, but none where the rain gets splashed inside and the other two have no primer at all.  I have a feeling the chain guard is a similar disgrace.

I find that appalling.  The construction of the mudguards is nowt special either.  Something with turned over edges, for strength, needs to be dipped to make sure the paint gets in there.  Ha! No chance.  If this thing just came off the slow boat from China I wouldn't be surprised.  They are £745 new!  I wouldn't pay a fraction of that.  Ok, I didn't anyway and I want to sell it well, so I will file the crap off the mudguards, sand, spray with self-etch primer and then spray with black enamel.
I'll show bloody Pashley what quality is!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Everybody loves a mock up...

Work has gone well with the Vanity model.

It started today with a desire to see the water line on it with tape, so that I can take it over to my son's garden pond and see just how much weight I have to put in her to make her float on her marks.
So, while I was at it, I thought I'd attach with more tape the spars to get an idea how big it all was.
Allowing that the mast is maybe not fully seated by a few inches and that the boom needs to be shortened a couple of inches,'s big!  That's a full sized door it's up against.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A gentleman of the cloth...

Well, it worked and worked well.  Rather than go for expensive, springy, have-to-wait-for-the-postie Fibreglass cloth in order to sheath my model of "Vanity", I elected to do the tight-arsed thing and use J-Cloth, that cotton waste stuff used for cleaning. It's very strong, is a non woven mesh so strong in every direction, lightweight and goes exactly where you put it.  Once the resin has gone "cheesy" you can cut through the laminate with a knife and, with a wet finger, stick the remaining cloth edge down.
First side done and bang on. Tother side tomorrow, all being well, then finally a test with a waterproof hull to see how much weight it'll need.  Rather than expensive lead shot, I may use the pennies I've saved for years. It's either that or I cash in the pennies, 2s and 5s and pay for lead, but I'd rather not.
Here's the first side before a quick trim.

The apparent moire pattern is the check print on the J-Cloths.  These, btw, came as a huge bundle for less than 2 quid in Poundstretchers!  Then, when you're done, clean up with one.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

...The Owl, The Pickwick and the Fields' Gar-Den...

They come, with the Waverley pen, in fact, as well as a boon and a blessing to men, as sometimes a curse. At least for this old fart they do. I love gardens. I love to have one, to look at one, to stroll into one, but you gotta look after them and that is getting a lot more like hard work.
But, planting the 4 Garlic plants my wife had brought on from simply planting a single clove of the stuff and waiting no great time at all, was very pleasant and took less time than my knees require to play up.  The plants, whatever they may look like below ground level are now over a foot tall and I just spent a happy half hour digging the ever present grass out and cleaning the ground next to the Honeysuckle and planting them straight from pots to ground, which, despite the dust dry top is reassuringly moist 2" below.
Woodland strawberries replanted into a nice big pot, placed in a garden bed (the garlic has gone into where we penned off a section for fruit and veg).  Fuschias are already flowering in hanging baskets.
The wildflower section has some huge results from the haphazard scattering of seeds meant for birds and bees, well, bees, anyway.  Gawd knows what they are, but they have heads on them, so something's about to happen.
And so goes the gardens. Constantly requiring attention and watering this time of year, although tomorrow night is set to be a heavy storm, they tell us.  I can quite see how this lark could become a real hobby, but it would still leave you doing little but reading seed catalogues (whatever they are!) for half the year.

With that in mind, I have been getting on with my model of the yacht "Vanity", on which I used to live when I was young and stupid.
The hull has come off its building board and is currently being fitted for its deck, having had its insides coated with epoxy resin.  Soon, I will be doing the same plus cloth to the outside to ensure I have a waterproof, strong hull.  Vanity was always painted black so a good finish is essential. My somewhat hurried hull building has showed up in some lumps and bumps, which will be filled first.
Meanwhile, back in the indoors workroom, I've been making deck furniture and spars.
Here's the aft decklight:-

And here's the forward companion and bitts in roughly the same relationship to each other as they will be on the deck.:-
The companion is nothing fancy as this was where the crew entered their quarters.  It had lift out boards, rather than doors.  The sliding lid is yet to be made.  I have used the same Cuban Mahogany as I did for the hull, sawn from some old chairs my Grandad made.  The bitts are made from a piece of steamed pear I found. 
As you can see, the corners of the casings are made with real dovetail joints and the corners of the lids of the decklights are made with mortice and tennon joints, so every part of these structures held together without glue initially.  I used superglue for these which, to my utter surprise, worked very well.  I figured, since they would be varnished after these first two coats of cellulose sanding sealer they'd be waterproof.

Damn!  I didn't water the front garden!...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Round and round, the sound...

On my shelf, I have a line up of old model aircraft engines. Starting with my beloved old ED Racer and working through a PAW 1.5, Merco 61s and ending with a brand new Leo from a weekly parts deal with a coupe of oddballs here and there.

Now, what do I do with them?  Model aircraft are too expensive, with the cost of belonging to a club, mad costs of insurance, etc.  I gave up the idea of doing some nice model aircraft because of it.

Model boats? No, because almost every damned pisspot little pond that has model boats has banned IC engines on totally spurious "environmental" grounds, usually because we're forced to share the unsuitable puddle with those odd persons who are happy to sit and stare at a bit of coloured stick all day in the vain hope of hooking some feckless fish for the tenth time in a year and putting the poor thing back so they can re-catch it next time they need to escape the nagging wife.

There is only one thing left to me.  And then only because I am within travelling distance of the only example of a place where I can run a tether car.  Yup, tether cars.  A wonderfully English group of old farts, (and my God they're old!) have formed a collective under the guiding hand of Peter Hill (who goes under the pseudonym of R.T.Pole, geddit?)and in Peter's garden in Lincolnshire he has built a suitable circle of concrete with a pole in the middle allowing tether cars of a certain age to trundle round, purely for fun as he doesn't really want super fast things there. I think it's stop-watch only currently.  There's a youtube of a car going round on leaves, rain, bits of muck and having a good old time.  I figure what I can't afford to buy I can make except tyres.  A very reasonable membership fee opens up a quarterly magazine and an archive of plans and articles which I can use in conjunction with my collection of Model Car News magazines from the 40s, which I have carried with me from move to move for the last 40 years!  Back then there were not more but actually fewer circles to run on, Peter's being a relatively recent construction. The hobby in Britain died out in about 1960.

It is from rather earlier that I am going for inspiration. Being a Romford lad, I remember going to the shop of J. S. Wreford in North Street on a Saturday morning and watching him run diesels INSIDE on the counter!  I have loved that smell ever since.  It turns out that he made a series of tether cars called the Half Pint and the Pint.  I can reproduce a Half Pint using my metal bashing abilities and thereby run a car to which I have an historical connection.  I have gathered Pinterest pictures of the Half Pint and reckon it's well within my skills to re-pop. I have joined the Retro Racing Club for a sensible 16 quid and await my first bundle of goodies from Arty Pole.

Mine's Half a Pint.......