Monday, 30 June 2014

I am sailing...

Well, not quite, but I have every intention of doing so with a Veron Veronica yacht model. I bought it with a friend last year. He wanted the plans, I wanted the model, so we split the deal and I took this out of its box for the first time last week!  I used to have the original kit, but it got lost when I moved afloat, but it's a very pleasant 27", hard chine free sailer, although it can be fitted with lightweight radio control.

Why?  Because my nice new shed gives me the space to do so.

It soon became clear that the boat had been quite nicely built, but with a couple of changes to the design of the deck and it came with a lot of bits missing. So I ordered a load of those tiny screw eyes that were the essence of early free-sailers and have been busy screwing them in booms, decks, etc.
I've made a load of S hooks and Shroud hooks, a mast base and stay-ring for the very top rather than just drill holes in the thin mast top.  Also made an aluminium mast step with a variety of positions for the mast base to help "tune" the boat.
The spray rails are now glued on, as are the shroud eye bases in nice hard pear wood.
The other day I pencilled the planks in and sanding sealered the deck. Yes, I know that yachts have their planks running parallel to the covering boards, but I didn't have the time to make a curved template, so just ruled planks on in the old fashioned way, because I rather like that old tradition and this IS an old boat.
The square hole in the foredeck had a rather crude "house" made for it, but I'll knock up something in pear to look like a mahogany decklight.
The Veronica shouldn't have a cockpit really, but this one has so I might just make a small coaming to help stop the water coming in when she's heeled over in a blow.  Depending on how well she sails free will decide me on whether to fit a servo and small R/C for steering, but I prefer non R/C if I can find some water I can get all round.

Other work in the shed has involved getting an exhaust manifold done for the Dragon Rapide master. Only three of the six branches show, so that's all it has, plus the "mega" on the end like an old BSA!

Friday, 27 June 2014

All finished, bar the loading...

Well, the wiring's done now, so I guess we can say it's all finished.
Here we have the door end, with the spray guns and air brushes on their rack and the air brush compressor just by the door on the bench.  The big compressor, which is buried deep in the garage somewhere can stay there as we also use it for blowing up car tyres, etc.

I had a sudden fancy to complete an old Veron Veronica sailing boat that I'd got for a song from ebay a year or so ago.  I'd sent two customer slot car models off to a chum for slush moulding, so I thought I'd fiddle with something for me.  So, having already made a carry case for the yacht, I made a system that locks it in place in the case, then made a new mast step for it.
Finally widened one of the bench sections to take the lathe on its drawer unit.  My son had turned up one day with a spare drawer unit from his kitchen, which enables me to keep all the lathe associated stuff in one place and also raise it up to a comfortable height.  I always stand at the lathe and this is now directly in front of me.  I don't bend easy any more!

My activity centre!  The English Wheel with all my body work tools below in a chest.  Over the wheel you can see the first mudguard I've made for my Cambridge Special, the body panels of which you can see standing behind with the steering column and steering wheel. Also behind the wheel is the double bubble scuttle that sets the Cambridge Special Sports apart from the rest and the reframed back panel.  I repaired that a while back at CUP Classics when I was working there.
Finally, because I don't want to weigh the floor down too much in any one area, I decided to build an outside engine store for my FWMs and Spitfire engine and gearbox and some other bulky bits.  Then the solution arrived in the form of my Granddaughter's old wardrobe.  Turned on its side and raised on the pallet on which the shed parts came originally, I now have a large, lockable engine store, which, where you see it, is under a very dense Alder tree that allows almost no rain through its canopy. This shady nook is just outside where the shed is and is up against the garage.  The step ladder was up against it at the time as there was a fair old breeze blowing and I didn't want the plastic sheet coming off.
The really sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that my daughter's bike has been subsumed by the Alder over the last 8 years.  That saddle is now fully 3" inside the bark and sapwood of the tree and the secondary trunk has engulfed the rear wheel and 5 speed gears!  Nothing will budge it.

So now we have the task of filling the shed with all the stuff in the old caravans, then they can be dismantled.

Friday, 13 June 2014

The shed, last lap now...

Having worked most of the week on the shed internally, we now have benches all round, machinery installed and even starting to clear out the old caravan workshop into the new shed.
I have a few old tin signs and have now started to dig em out and screw them up.  The Grandad's Fix-it shop was one I've had in the living room for a while and since Grandad and little Owen are apparently "working as a team", I thought it ought to go on the door.
The machines bench looks narrow and crowded, but in fact the bandsaw and disc/belt sander always get taken outside as the dust they produce is too risky in an enclosed space.  The ancient Hobbies Gem fret saw is one that my father-in-law gave me. His father had motorised it from the treadle original, so I thought my other son, Mike, might like it as it was owned by his Great Grandad and he likes to make stylish stuff in woods of different kinds. So that's off to him, when next we visit.
These badges are some of many we have from various events or canals we've visited, mainly on our old historic boat, Heather Bell.  Chris is having he rest of them for her potting shed door! The above were mainly when I had an Albatross speedboat and was editor of the Classic Motor Boat Association's magazine.  I had a barney with them over content and I was kicked out effectively, but I'm a brass whore, so up go the badges and the middle finger!

I ended this evening with the Special building bench on the opposite side, so we're very nearly done now.  On top of that my son, Bazz, has offered to come over on Sunday to wire it all up for me.  Nice Father's Day present, eh?  And as good a time as any to break out the Spatlese.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Bergerac was my first...

Many, MANY years ago, I made two brass masters for the then new Grand Prix Models to bring in a range of white metal kits. They were a Trojan Chummy and a Morgan GP Aero 3 wheeler.  Somewhere along the line he decided to do racing cars, so I ended up with both masters.  The FIRST brass master I ever completely finished and which got produced was the Triumph Roadster. I did it as a try out for Mikansue Models. They had only done a kit from a Holts Cataloy filler master, which broke under the pressure of mould making.  The brass Roadster stood up perfectly to the 12 tons of pressure and 230 degrees C which happens in a mould vulcaniser and it proved a popular model.
At around that time, Mike gave me a 1/5th scale Sunbeam Talbot 90 that had been produced for Rootes group for the Duke of Gloucester when he were a lad.  The tool room foreman saw it and decided he could do better, so he did and the first model was quietly disappeared to a manager's child, whilst the Royal laddie got the better one.  The model found its way to Chuffs in Portobello Road where it was swapped for a Green Chesterfield and a box of Hornby tinplate.
It was by then lacking a bonnet, boot, one wheel and tyre and its petrol engine.  My brief was to replace all, but the engine and give it back in Talbot metallic finish.  "No rush", said Mike.

27 years later I phoned an understandably shocked Mike Richardson and told him the Talbot 90 was finished.
So delighted was he that he came to pick it up from me in Norfolk all the way from Eton Wick and, unknown to me, left Chris with the Roadster master, the only one they kept of a range of about 50 they had sold, with instructions to give it to me on my birthday as a thankyou for finishing the Talbot 90 and only charging what I had quoted 27 years before.  Alas, such gentlemen are rare in the model industry these days.

I had, to my shame, forgotten where I'd put the master, until yesterday, when, needing some documents from a small potable safe I inherited from my Mum, Chris tapped in the numbers and nothing....We'd overlooked the fact that if it beeped, it needed batteries.  They'd run out.  No keys came with it, so we had to pay a locksmith to come and break in to it, which he did in seconds.  Ch-ching, £35 please guv. Nice young ex Bomb Disposal chap with an artificial leg and a ticket out of Afghanistan.  But he'd trained as a locksmith and started a flourishing little business and came 7 miles to help out at 6-30.  He'll do well, methinks and rightly so.
The door swung open and in one of my old Guild Master Models kit boxes was the Roadster master.
The light was fading so the pictures aren't much good, but this is what one of the first ever brass masters looks like.  I still think it's not bad, but I did get better, honest.  And yes, John Nettles has one of the models painted as Bergerac's maroon Jersey cop car.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

And so to a well earned day orff!...

After two weekends and a week of full days (except Tuesday which was pouring all day) the shed is finally as near finished as makes no odds.

My willing and helpful son-in-law, Ian, shimmied up carpets laid on the felt and masticked and nailed the final strip of felt, so it should now be weatherproof.  I believe he is actually Spider Man!
We left it till after dinner this evening for the lack of the burning sun and it seemed to work well.
During the day I finished lining the inner walls with hardboard over the polystyrene insulation, put up little Owen's bench (he insists on working with Grandad) and then continued it right round the end wall as a mixed bench cum shelf for the model boats that I have never had space for, despite starting ages ago.  It's nice to have Vanity out and level for the first time in its life.
Son, Bazz lent me his circular table saw, which has sped all woodwork up no end.  I have been given one as well, but it needs the blade tilt sorted out.
The end shelf/bench is supported by my favoured cantilever system which gives a free area below for storage of model carry cases. etc.  It's dimensions are governed by the free stock of black ash chipboard which I believe was once a child's cabin bed or some such.  All the 2"x2" was donated by Ian's work from unwanted tractor wheel stillages.
My understanding lady wife asked earlier, "When that last felt's on the roof, will you slow down?"  Well, I think I can now do that. I just wanted to get it all weatherproof, so I might put some barge board on tomorrow....or I might just have a well earned day off as it's Chris's Birthday AND our Anniversary tomorrow which means a lazy day and a nice meal out in the evening.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Innies or outies?...

Meaning do I get to work inside or outside the shed today?
Well yesterday, the weather was so warm that the existing laid felt was floppy and tacky in extremis, so would not allow the laying on of roof ladders with me on to lay that last strip of felt, so, I just got on with the insides, waiting for my polystyrene insulation boards to finally arrive.  I made the first of the bench frames, which would go up once the lining was done. Only a foot deep, but we need an overhang for the clamp-on vices that I have (and Owen, come his birthday next month).  I always find that people with overly deep benches fill the back of them with useless or rarely used stuff and still end up with a useful surface about a foot deep.  So, save space and start off with a foot (actually about 15") and put the rarely used stuff in cupboards or on shelves.
I also have a lot of black finished chipboard from some long dead flat packery, which we'll be using as bench top, hence the size of the framing.  The framing comes from my son-in-law's work, where they get deliveries of big stuff that sits on huge pallets. Every so often he takes the trailer to work and brings home enough timber to build almost anything with.  Nothing like buckshee timber to brighten a chap's day.

We picked up a pair of those high stools from a remarkable and tiny boot fair that our village has on a Thursday morning.  We have never been and come away empty handed.  We ALWAYS find something of real use, even though there are only at best, about 8 stalls. If nothing else the strawberries are delicious being locally grown in what is considered England's fruit bowl.  The stools, by the way were a tenner for the pair and we also got a superb fully galvanised gate with posts to stop the dogs getting to the shed for just £20.

I did some more sealing with the polyurethane sealer/adhesive of panel joints, corners and the like, then the plastic arrived.  I had assumed as the shed was nominally 16 feet long, it would require 4 sheets a side and another four for the ends.
For reasons I can't now fathom I didn't take account of the windows or the doors or the reduced height at the sides.  With Grandson Owen's help we soon had every "bay" of the insides filled with insulation and found ourselves with 5 1/2 sheets spare!  Which, I imagine, means much the same will be found with the same number of sheets of hardboard.  Oh dear!  What a lot of model boat carry cases I can make now!

I'm sure I can use some on maybe lining the doors and a couple of midi-height partitions to help portion off the inside space.
....Oh and then there's Chris's potting shed.  She'll need that as toasty as mine, of course.....

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Topped off, just!...

Well, the lad came round with a circular, our belt sander, a huge box of screws, the heaviest toolbag in the world and not one, but TWO De Walt battery screwdrivers and batteries AND chargers.
A quick cuppa and off we went, shed building.  After shortening and narrowing the base, once the panels total dimensions were measured, we got the panels up quickly, but some were so cock-eyed we had no choice but to face some filling later.
Thank heavens we were having a very rare windless day, because the whole structure was decidedly wobbly until the trusses were made and fitted.

Finished off with the roof boards, which help to square it all up nicely, but having got one side on easily, the other side wasn't square at all!  Work that one out.  Anyway, we got it on as light was starting to fail and were all very pleased with our long day.