johnsmachines

machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment.

6″ Vertical Boiler, Triple Expansion Steam Engine and Southworth Pump, all working together. Fairly well.

2 videos of the triple and the vertical boiler and the Southworth boiler feed pump working together for the first time.  Not perfectly yet, but working.

 

A VIDEO GIMBAL

A gimbal is a device which keeps an object on a steady horizontal level, even as its support moves and tilts.   Such as a ship’s compass.

Hand held videos often show unwanted evidence of movements due to shaking, walking or distractions.

Expensive gimbals have been available to professionals for a long time.  Recently gimbals have become much less expensive, and available to people shooting videos on smart phones, mirrorless cameras, and DSLR’s.

The following video was shot on my iphone, without a gimbal, but about a gimbal, which I recently purchased.  The video is brief, and not intended to be anything but a glimpse.  To be honest, there is a bit of a learning curve with the gimbal, and I am just beginning.

I hope that it will help to improve my video shoots.

ZHIYUN CRANE M2

34 degrees. Is it summer already?

A beautiful spring morning became blustery, windy, hot yesterday.  But I hardly noticed.  I was in the workshop making these small steam pipe connectors.

Normally I would buy these fittings, because they are fiddly to make and not very expensive, but I have fitted new rings to the triple expansion engine, and I want to try it out on the vertical boiler.  (see the previous post)

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one of the tails was not drilled deep enough.

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I needed only 2 of these nipple-tail-nut assemblies, but having made a jig to fit the collet chuck it was just as easy to make some extras for future use.

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The jig is required because having made one end of the nipple, it must be turned around to make the other end and there is not enough material to hold in the 3 jaw chuck.  So the jig holds the workpiece by the first made thread, and the piece is finished by holding it in the collet chuck.   The jig will be saved for future use.  It has external threads for  5/16″x32 and 3/8″x32, and internal threads for 1/4″x40 and 5/16″x32.

The tiny tails were drilled in 2 stages because there is an internal step, and the outer shape was CNC’d.

 

 

Thinking about future exhibitions….

Still recovering from The Royal Geelong Show, where my beam engine and the Trevithick      dredger engine ran for ~8 hours per day for 4 days, and required almost constant supervision. I was very pleased that they did so without a problem.

For future exhibitions I would like to also run the triple expansion steam engine using the vertical boiler, for which I recently made the Southworth boiler feed pump.  And there are occasions where I might run the triple and the beam engine together from the vertical boiler.  That arrangement will occupy a fair bit of bench space, and in this post I am considering options for the arrangement.

But first, I needed a steam outlet manifold to handle multiple engines, simultaneously, and hopefully to avoid a big tangle of pipes.  Here is the manifold.

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The manifold has 6 x ¼” outlets and one 3/8″  outlet.    

Option one lines up the boiler and engine like this….

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Option two is more compact, but ?less appealing.  Pics following..

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The lump of wood under the engine is temporary,  just to give an idea of the heights.

OK, this post is just an excuse to show some pics.  I have decided to go with option one.  It is closer to the appearance if the boiler and engine were actually in a boat, and also will make it easier to add the beam engine to the right of the boiler if/when I run the two engines simultaneously.

And I doubt that I will be able to avoid a jumble of pipework.  The triple has 6 pipes attached, the boiler has more, then there is the beam engine.  And, I will need a water container from which to feed the boiler.  That will be located behind the boiler.  Still considering whether it should be a squarish box on a stand like the railway water towers, or a cylinder on a low stand.   Any thoughts?

 

 

 

Royal Geelong Show 2019

The “Show” was held over the last 4 days.  I will not bang on again about my republican leanings.  See posts from previous years if that persuasion is of any interest.  The weather was ordinary.  Quite a few showers and blustery wind.  But we were mostly warm in the Vintage Machinery shed where our Model Machinery cage is located.  Fairly good visitor numbers, but not much real interest in our model engine offerings.

I exhibited my beam engine and Trevithick dredger engines, both running on piped steam.  The vertical boiler and feed pump was on static display, of no interest to anyone.  My Stirling engine got the most attention from kids, who are attracted by the swirling spiral colours, and not much interest in the intriguing method of running.  I am convinced that models must be moving, colourful, and have some relation to what people and kids see on television if they are to have any traction with the public.

But, the model and full size engine exhibitors enjoyed the displays, and an occasional visitor engaged in conversation.  Here are some pics and videos of some of the shed displays.  There dog shows, bird breeding, monster trucks,  horse riding events, cattle and sheep judging, and side show rides but these were not recorded by me.   I did visit the Amateur Astronomy display, and will visit the workshop of one of the exhibitors soon.

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I had applied wooden lagging to the beam engine cylinder

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Steam for the engines is provided from this Package Boiler at 25psi.   Enough to turn them over.  Capable of much higher pressures.

Package boiler diag

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Cage Bench North includes the Trevithick dredger model, the beam engine and the Stirling engine.

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Cage Bench South.  Swen Pettig’s prize winning flame gulper, and 1″ Minnie under construction.

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Stuart and Swen ?discussing engine repairs.

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Model Engineering first prize!

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And the full size triple expansion engine.  The Vintage Machinery boiler is being upgraded, so there was insufficient steam to run the triple.

 

 

Boiler Feed Pump Pumping

Yesterday I reseated the pump valves, reassembled the pump, then tested it on steam.

Most of the following video has the boiler at only 25psi, but I did run it off camera at up to 75psi.

After making the video I redirected the exhaust steam from the pump into the firebox.  It actually seemed to improve the gas flame, maybe by acting as a blower.  Not so sure about this being permanent though, because the exhaust steam contains oil from the displacement oiler, and I dont want that oil to be deposited in the firetubes.

I will make a water tank to supply boiler water.  Maybe the exhaust steam could be passed through a heat exchanger in the tank, so the boiler feed water is preheated.

(if the video is not showing, click on the https link below)

 

First Steam for Boiler Feed Pump

 

 

 

Workshop with security

Every time that I open my workshop I wonder if it will have been robbed.  So far, I have had unsecured implements which are stored outside, stolen, and an attempt at stealing my Landcruiser ute, but no breaking and entering of the workshop itself.  Mind you, any thief would have a tough time working out what to take…   everything is scattered around, sitting where I last used it.  And then there are the tiger snakes….

Reader Brendan has a couple of guard dogs for his workshop when he is not present.

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They might not look too scary, but they do make a hell of a racket when a stranger approaches.

And Brendan’s workshop is not all in one location.  I counted 5 separate locations….

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The computer room and security monitor.  Mostly CAD and G codes here.

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The laser cutter occupies the entry porch.   See the backing board pattern?  That is from the gasket for my Trevithick engine.

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Then the main workshop.  Hmm… what is that red thing?

Brendan bearing press

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2 lathes in the garage.  Hafco with DRO, and CNC with Siemens controller.

Meanwhile, in my workshop…

I am taking some of my stuff to an exhibition at the Royal Geelong Show in a week.  The beam engine working on steam always gets some interest.   And the Trevithick dredger engine has not featured at this event before, so that can go.   I am currently working on the vertical boiler.   The Southworth Duplex pump which is attached to the boiler, was working on air, but it refused on steam, so another tear down is due.  If I can get it going that will be the third entry.  If not, well, there is always next year.   Fortunately Keith Appleton recently produced some videos on the Southworths, one of which had a similar problem, so I think that I know where my problem is.

Incidentally,  I showed the beam engine, the Trevithick, and the boiler at an exhibition in Melbourne last weekend.   Mostly well received.  But I had a succession of people who said of the beam engine “very nice.  Except for the cap screws.”  When it reached 6 separate commenters on the same theme I was starting to suspect a conspiracy from these rivet counters.   Yes it does have cap screws as the main fasteners.  And no, they are not true to the period (late 19th century).  But I quite liked the look of them.  But, one does prefer approval in preference to criticism, and after this concerted barrage of criticism, I relented, and spent a couple of workshop sessions swapping out the cap screws for studs with hex nuts.

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The before.  With cap screws.

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After the upgrade with studs and hex nuts.  Was it worth the 2 workshop sessions?

Sometime soon I will paint parts of this engine, and apply wooden lagging to the cylinder.

 

 

A Workshop as Dark, Messy, and Dirty as Mine! Well, almost.

These shots were sent in by reader Russ, from Tasmania.  He reckons that he will tidy up the shop after retirement…. Ha!   Little does he know, that there is less spare time after stopping work…  there is so much other fun stuff to do.

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Is that a Porsche 924 or 928?

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No!  Much better! It is a Jensen Interceptor Mk 1. Love that aesthetic rear window.   Beautiful Tasmanian landscape.  Number plate ablated by me.

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Now that is a real man-cave!

I think that I still win the prize for the messiest, dirtiest, darkest workshop, but Russ comes in a close second.  Note that Russ is a busy surgeon.  Hmmm.

 

 

Mounting the Boiler Feed Pump

Today I mounted the Southworth boiler feed pump on the boiler base, then started on the pipework.  Nothing is tested yet, but it is looking interesting IMO.

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The Southworth pump, located behind the hand pump.

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The steam supply pipe on the left, and the water delivery pipe on the right.  The hand pump and the Southworth pump deliver water to separate clack valves on the boiler.  There is yet another clack valve in case I ever add an injector.  The water supply tank and connections are yet to be added.   I am not planning to install a bypass.  Note the displacement oiler for the valve chest.

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I tried a new trick to bend the pipes for this installation.  I read about this somewhere.  Bent a piece of wire to use as a pattern when bending and cutting the copper pipe.   Worked a treat!

Looking forward to firing up the boiler and testing the boiler feed pump on steam.  If it works OK there will be a video.

 

Boiler Feed Pump -Working

I could not induce my Southworth steam powered boiler feed pump to work.

Initially I thought that it was a bit tight, and spent time easing the glands, and slightly deepening the O ring grooves.  That took a couple of days.  But no luck.

So today I took it to our model engineering meeting, with some tools to perform a tear down, and 2 of our senior members took a close look.  After some to-ing and fro-ing, the verdict was that I had reversed one of the steam passage blocks, and machined it back to front.  I had mis-interpreted the plans.  It was due to not really knowing the rules for rotating a part in 3rd angle plans.  Pretty annoying.  A 3d view of the part would have removed any confusion.  Fortunately the fix was not too complicated.  2 threaded holes to fill, and 2 new holes to drill and thread on the other side.

That done, I re-assembled the steam engine side of the duplex.  Hooked up a compressed air hose, and see the result….

This is on approx 10psi air.  There is no load, so it is running faster than it would if actually pumping water under pressure.

Next I will mount it to the boiler base, and hook up the pipes.  Then there will probably be another video.

Workshop in the Deep North of Oz. North Queensland.

This one is interesting.  It is located in the basement of a multi storey apartment building,  in the centre of a major city, and occupies a car parking space.  It is screened off from the other car parking spaces, with security mesh and visual blocking.

In the photos you will see some of Peter’s projects.  Woodworking, kids toys, and metalworking.  Peter also is involved in model railways.

Nice to see some mess.  Must be genetic.

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Nice bandsaw!  I wonder what the bell is used for.  Maybe to warn the other apartment occupants that Peter is about to fire up some machinery.

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Heavy duty lathe.

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It is obviously used!

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A grand daughter will be very happy with that!

Thanks for those photos Peter.  It is interesting to see another workshop in confined space.  I do wonder how the other apartment occupants respond to woodworking thicknesser noise.

Next Tool Project…A CNC Laser Cutter

The Southworth steam powered boiler feed pump has many gaskets.  I have not counted them, but there must be 15-20.  All with many 2mm and 4mm  holes.

And in the process of making the machine, I have broken quite a few of them with the multiple assemblies and tear downs.

But, fortunately, 2 of the members of my model engineering club have laser CNC cutters, so extra sets of gaskets has not been an impossible ask.  (Thank you Brendan and Stuart!)

So, some time ago I asked Stuart, if it would be possible to attach a laser cutter to the CNC mill.  His initial answer was NO.  But recently, he changed his tune.   He attached a laser head to his 3D printed CNC mill and started producing gaskets on request!   So, as is a recent pattern, I am walking in Stuart’s footsteps, and I have purchased a 15 watt laser head on Ebay.   Chinese of course.

Laser kit 15w

This is the kit.   Cost $AuD146.

Laser head

And this is the 15w laser head.  Now I have to work out how to attach it to my mill.  Shouldn’t be too difficult, as long as I don’t turn on the spindle while it is attached.

 

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My CNC mill, during the electronics upgrade.  Most recent photo.   Soon to have a laser head.

Stuart assures me that Mach3 can be configured to operate the laser….   turn it on and off, move the axes at an appropriate speed, etc.  I think that some trickery is involved.

And future gaskets will be as simple as ….

So watch this space .

Southworth Steam Boiler Feed Pump Progress.

With book reviews and OP’s workshops on this blog you might be wondering if anything is happening in MY workshop.

Well, yes.

I have been beavering away, making parts for the Southworth steam powered boiler water feed pump.  Today I made the final parts.  The machining has been fairly basic and straightforward, so no special photos or videos.

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These are the parts and assemblies.  Top is the steam cylinders left, the water cylinders right.  The water pump stack not attached.  The the tails for the valve rods, the valve rods with valves attached, the cylinder caps, the valve rod levers, and some of the gaskets.

I will make a separate blog about the gaskets.  These were all laser cut.  I will never hand cut another gasket.  Laser cutting is cheap, fast and accurate.  Way to go!

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The valve levers and fittings.   These are small, precise, and accurate.  Quite a pain to make, even with CNC.  I remade more than one of these, due to dropping and losing the original.  The fasteners are M2, and not finalised.  The off centre drilling of the left hand fitting is of no consequence (I hope).

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The valve rods, M2.5, and valves.  Cutting those threads, 2.5mm diameter and 25mm long, was also a challenge.  I learnt about fixed steadies, but too late to use on this job.  Subject for a future blog.

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And some of the cylinder end caps.  There are 8 altogether.

So now that all of the parts/components are made, I will commence the assembly, then the timing of the steam engine component.  Watch this space.

Book review of “A Military History of China” coming up soon.  Quite an eye opener.

If you have not sent in photos of your workspace, please do so.  The series has generated quite a lot of interest.

 

A European Workshop

Most of the workshop pictures so far have come from Australia, and one from UK.  This one is from Holland, sorry Huib, the Netherlands.

Interesting differences.  Huib built his own workshop, and he has some nice gear.  All of these photos came upside-down.  Funny how they consider Oz to be “down-under”.  Obviously their reference points are wrong. THEY are the upside-down ones.  I mean, we are walking upright, right?  They must be upside-down!

 

Hello John,

Here finally my contribution to your workshop series, as always I might want to show and share too much with others, that’s why I want you to show  what you can support and is in line with the possibilities you have on your blog. 

See if you can make one blog part of it or cut it into pieces. That’s up to you. I transfer the pictures with WE TRANSFER to you, as it is right you got a mail with the link to download the pictures.

It looks like the pictures that it is all clean and tidy maybe but appearances are deceptive, most of the time it’s not so tidy for me either, for the pictures I cleaned it up.

I have tried to be as complete as possible but if there are any questions please let me know.

I built the barn myself, so as the floor plan was drawn. First I built room 1 which is completely isolated and where I can work during the winter, there are also the most expensive machines. 

Later on I built room 2, to store also the wood for the stove. Finally, 5 years ago I built room 3, the largest room where also other things are stored as only hobby stuff, also our bikes and everthing els.

Room 1 is the room where I stay most in, coarse work I do room 2, such as sawing, sanding and coarse drilling.  In room 3 I mainly do business that need some space, the large, homemade workbench is a good tool for that. And as you can see, I can’t throw anything away and I keep everything I think of that can be useful in the next hundred years.

The photos contain references to the machine and the space where they are located.

I hope you like the total information.

Kindest regards

Huib

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The thing about Holland, is that they HAVE to make the world’s best pumps.  Otherwise they are under water.  Much of the country is below sea level.

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Now, that is nice!

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Ahhh!

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Ahhhhhh!

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Nice!  But I will stick with CNC.

Huib also sent a video of his steam plant.  Unfortunately I do not have the space to post it, but if Huib can remember the YouTube address I will include that later.

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Storage is always a problem no?

So, thank you Huib, for sharing your workplace with us.  It is very interesting to see how other model engineers work, and their equipment.  I have posted only a fraction of Huib’s photos, due to space limitations.    I hope that the chosen shots are of interest to my readers.

ps.  Huib, I found the YouTube video…Very nice work!

 

Book Review. Battleship Bismarck. A Design and Operational History.

No hesitation about this one.  It is magnificent.  A big, expensive, superb book.  Very detailed.  Lots of photographs, maps, diagrams, plans, tables.  And written by people who really know their subject.  All naval architects.  Very readable, but probably not in one session.  In fact, I have read it, selecting sections almost at random, then finding it very difficult to put down.

Here is my official review.

 

BATTLESHIP BISMARCK-  A Design and Operational History

By William Garzke, Robert Dulin and William Jurens.

 

This superb book, IMO, is destined to become THE authoritative account of conception, design, building, brief naval history and destruction of one of the most famous ships ever.  Written by expert naval architects, the 610 pages of double column text are illustrated by many original photographs, maps, and diagrams.

 

I suppose that some people will read it cover to cover, but I found myself being drawn initially into the design and building of the massive battleship.  In a later reading session, I read the incredibly moving accounts of the German survivors.  And in another session, the sinking of the Hood.   Then, not necessarily sequentially, the chapters leading to the discovery of Bismarck, the disabling of the rudders, and the final, fatal confrontation with the vengeful Royal Navy.

 

Recently we have been treated to magnificent Seaforth publications of books of plans of warships Helgoland, the Repulse and others.  I confess that I was slightly disappointed that similar detailed plans of the Bismarck were not included in this publication, but I understand that there are limits.  Perhaps a separate book?

 

Congratulations to the authors and publishers of this magnificent work, which I am delighted to add to my library.

Some pics of the book.

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At £55 it IS expensive.  But in this case you get what you pay for.

Seaforth Publishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another John’s Workshop.

Now this is a workshop where I would feel at home…..

“Hi John some photo’s attached.

I work in my double garage 56 square meters. I have been self employed for the last 30 years but have reached the stage where I want to retire, some of my customers still send me jobs to do which I cannot say no to so it keeps the hobby going.
I have a Bridgeport copy converted to 4 axis CNC running Mach3 using MachStdMill screen set (love it).
My lathe is a Prototrak SLX on a King Rich lathe bed ( toolroom quality).
Misc other machines small surface grinder,tool & cutter grinder, compressor, 15 tonne press, bandsaw,welding gear electric & oxy acetylene, overhead crane ( 250kg capacity )
I am running out of space.
I am close to finishing my boiler will send some photo’s soon.
Cheers
John”
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Thanks for the pics John.  A bit of gear envy happening here.  Love the gantry!

Workshop Photos. Are all Modellers Obsessive -Compulsive Neat Freaks?

I am starting to regret asking for the workshop photos.  Another reader, John, has sent in photos of his super organised, super clean workshop.  We must admit that it looks quite inviting,….

and fairly safe, unlike my disorganised dirty mess.

Here are the photos.   Somewhere in Oz.

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And some notes from John….

“Thought you and possibly your readers might enjoy some pics of my ‘shop. All crammed into a two car garage! I really am running out of space and have to try and be as efficient as possible in that regard . Note the ladders etc hung on brackets from the ceiling in one of the pics. I also have an anvil and coke forge outside, plus materials, bolts and the like stored in one of the garden sheds outside the workshop.

A few notes to go:

103350 my ML7 Myford lathe lives behind the large red tool chest which is handily placed to mill and lathes. Parts washer (green lid) to right of pic, under cloth foreground is completed riding trailer to go behind current long term project 2 ½ “ Burrell traction engine. In welding area, BOC Industrial MIG, Unimig plasma cutter sitting on top, orange cabinet is sand blaster. Note also the copper pipes across the ceiling – they run across and back to help cool the air and dehumidify, with droppers and drain cocks at various locations, plus there’s two inline filters (one to 3 micron) to help ensure dry air for spray painting and sand blasting.

103407 ac/dcTIG, folder/g’tine/rolls (blue in corner), new welding/fab bench frames under construction on floor by current welding bench.

103450 press, tool and cutter grinder, bandsaw, oxy, compressor.

103575 mill, drill press and two grinders/linisher.

103558 ML7 – my first lathe

103633 bench area, tall grey cabinet holds lots of gear – taps, dies, tooling, roatab, dividing head etc etc

104041 recent mods to compressor to quieten the beast using an old Holden red motor air cleaner. Replaces the small plastic jobbies that screw into the heads. It’s been quite effective.”

So, thank you John, for further magnifying my inferiority complex regarding workshop organisation.  And I know that these machines are put to work, making a traction engine, and currently a beam engine.  Plus a full time job, unlike this retired medico who has time to kill.

Dear readers, if anyone has a dirty, disorganised, dark workshop, please send me some photos.  It will do wonders for my self esteem.

 

 

Bad Paint Job

As I reported on Sep 3, I was recovering from a decent dose of influenza, and feeling a need to do something after almost 2 weeks of inactivity, and I decided to put some more paint on the Trevithick dredger engine.  After all, what could go wrong?   Just a bit of gentle painting.

I was quite proud of the job.  No paint spills.  No brush marks on neighbouring items.  No brush hairs in the work, and minimal brush marks.

I wondered how long I would need to wait between coats, so I checked the paint tin.

O shit!   I had used the wrong paint….

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I had used the epoxy enamel instead of the high temperature resistant Pot Belly Black!  The brain had apparently not recovered fully from the ‘flu.

I decided to sleep on the problem.  Checked with my resident paint expert (SWMBO), and on her suggestion, next day applied some mineral turpentine.  The paint was dry, but the turps did seem to soften it.  So I applied some more turps, then attacked the epoxy paint with a rag.

To my delight, it mostly came off.  I was not too bothered by the paint in the deep cracks…. that could be a filler.

Then I carefully dried everything, another rub with clean rags, and applied another coat.  This time using the correct paint.  2 coats.

Reader Huib asked how it had all eventuated, so today I took some pics of the engine in its current home…  our kitchen.  The budgerigars are SWMBO’s decorative touch.

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The kitchen is due for a renovation.  I made those cupboards and benches 30 years ago.

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But the paint job looks ok hey?

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Another view.  In the background is a painting of a dog training group in the grounds of the MCG, by Samantha Lord.

Hey readers (male and female), waiting for more workshop photos to post.  It doesn’t have to be the whole workshop…. just a photo of your favourite machine would be great!

The Boer War. A Book Review. Excellent!

THE ANGLO-BOER WAR IN 100 OBJECTS

 

After reading this book, cover to cover, in 2 days, I felt that I had a real grasp of the reality of the 1899-1902 war which so shaped South Africa’s history. I now realise that my previous knowledge of the war was very sketchy.

 

The 100 iconic objects which are held in the War Museum of the Boer Republics, and 200 other objects, maps, and many photographs, are beautifully presented in this high quality book of 260 pages.  The story of each object is told in short essay style by gifted, expert writers.

 

The many subjects include battles, weapons, military personalities, politicians, places, civilians, equipment, prisoners of war, concentration camps, costs of the war, and longer term outcomes.

 

The book does not glorify the Anglo-Boer War.  If anything, it is an anti-war treatise.  It certainly has had a major impact on this reviewer.

 

Thoroughly recommended.

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