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Member postings for Bill Phinn

Here is a list of all the postings Bill Phinn has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: HSS or CS taps and dies
20/05/2019 16:11:43

Adrian, my go-to taps are Presto HSS

I would be interested to know what taps (i.e. brand/range) Andrew prefers and who the "professional tool suppliers" are he buys them from.

Thread: A Unique Word?
29/04/2019 23:10:10
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 29/04/2019 22:59:22:

Does this means antecedants are now predators?


Always were, Neil; specifically apex predators of the ursine variety, namely forebears.


Edited By Bill Phinn on 29/04/2019 23:11:48

29/04/2019 19:39:47
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 27/04/2019 20:59:00:

The use of the hyphen in English compound nouns and verbs has, in general, been steadily declining. Compounds that might once have been hyphenated are increasingly...combined into one word.



Yes, I suppose this is inevitable as we get more and more used to seeing a newly compounded word. I wonder whether anyone writes "girl-friend" any more? Or "to-day" or "cup-board"?

One bugbear (or is that bug-bear?) of mine is the word "predate". Having read widely in ecology in my youth I got very used to understanding the word "predate" to mean to "prey on". "Pre-date" was the other word. Now, they're both "predate". A useful disambiguation has been squandered.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 29/04/2019 19:44:29

Thread: Presumably this is done using CNC... but even so its impressive
20/04/2019 19:57:33
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 20/04/2019 14:02:14:

I find it rather frustrating that the initial posting on Twitter did not include a reference to the source of the video clip ... just the 'witty' comment: 17th qualification in passes plus 14th grade polishing.

Translation via DeepL **LINK**

... Such lack of simple courtesy seems to be the way of the world these days.




Edited By Michael Gilligan on 20/04/2019 14:02:50

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "source", Michael, but the four character company name cut into the side of the piece is 北京精雕 (Beijing Jingdiao), which just translates as "Beijing fine engraving". Their website is here, and they have an English version too.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 20/04/2019 19:57:54

Thread: Notre Dame
17/04/2019 01:25:28
Posted by Gas_mantle. on 17/04/2019 00:21:20:


The point is the £10bn the UK 'gives' in foreign aid isn't altruistic, it's a common misconception that we give away money to help the starving. In reality we (and the other western nations) donate enough money to keep the people alive who produce our cheap produce.

Donating money to a starving country comes with strings attached, we don't give away money for nothing, if you think that then you are naive.


Your comments may or may not be correct if you're talking about state aid. However, in 2017 alone British people as individuals (i.e. people like you and me) gave £10.3 billion in private charitable donations.

Perhaps you'd be good enough to acknowledge therefore that, contrary to your rather too sweeping assertion, the UK in the form of many ordinary British people does in fact give substantial amounts of money "to help the starving" and with no "strings attached".

Edited By Bill Phinn on 17/04/2019 01:29:20

17/04/2019 01:05:57
Posted by duncan webster on 16/04/2019 23:56:48:
Posted by Gas_mantle. on 16/04/2019 21:00:07:
Posted by Bill Phinn on 16/04/2019 20:46:10:

I'm sure the starving millions will sleep happily tonight after reading that sonnet and knowing the money is being put to good use

What a set of miserable buggers...Do these whingers want us to live in Nissen huts whilst our history falls apart around us

Duncan, a little reassurance that you've not (inexplicably) included me in the category of miserable buggers/whingers would be welcome at this point. It's a fairly drastic misinterpretation of my position if you have.

16/04/2019 21:36:29
Posted by Gas_mantle. on 16/04/2019 21:00:07:

I'm sure the starving millions will sleep happily tonight after reading that sonnet and knowing the money is being put to good use

That's a completely understandable response, Gas_mantle.

Your thinking was anticipated by a few thousand years by Aristotle, who in discussing moral virtues in Book III of his Nicomachean Ethics deals with the virtue of "Liberality/generosity" in the section immediately before the one on "Magnificence"; by magnificence he had in mind such things as lavish spending on public projects such as temples.

Incidentally, one thing I've not seen mentioned anywhere in the news is the beautiful and diverse range of trees that were growing on the site and what damage these trees have sustained.

16/04/2019 20:46:10
Posted by Nigel McBurney 1 on 16/04/2019 19:23:19:

And why spend all that money on rebuild on something that is of no real practical use.

I could give you a long disquisition on various needs and yearnings that make us human, but Francis Thompson summed it up more eloquently in his sonnet "O nothing in this corporal earth of man...", particularly in the closing lines:

"...Our towns are copied fragments from our breast,

And all man's Babylons strive but to impart

The grandeurs of his Babylonian heart."

Notre Dame is one such Babylon.

Thread: Impressive Workshop in Germany
15/04/2019 02:16:20

It's rare that people of Theo's age (23?) with such impressive workshops and skills have achieved what they have without considerable parental involvement. It does look as if this is the case here too:

I say this not to detract from Theo's achievements but in order to put them in context, mainly for people like myself who had little or no parental guidance in any of the practical activities they chose to undertake in their youth.

People in my position can easily be demoralised by seeing such a young person with such a well equipped workshop and such an array of practical skills at his fingertips. However, learning how he got there at that age (i.e. thanks in no small part to parental involvement) goes a long way towards explaining why you didn't, and exonerating you (with your sense of self-worth intact, or maybe even heightened) for not having done so.

Thread: Folding Bike design & build
10/04/2019 01:57:25

Very interested to see this, Alan. It looks very appealing.

I'd echo Roderick in liking to know what gearing it has.

Other questions:

  • Is there any adjustment on the handlebars, whether up and down or towards/away from the rider? If not, how practicable would this be to incorporate into the design?
  • Is there a tool-free wheel release system?
  • Would it be possible to fit clipless MTB-style pedals and still be able to fold them in?
Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
08/04/2019 22:33:33
Posted by Jim Young 2 on 31/03/2019 17:58:10:

Re brittle strimmer cord, I moaned at my local mower repair place about the short life of coils of strimmer cord. They recommended storing in an ice cream tub in water. Seems to help but of course it soon dries out when left on the strimmer.

Jim, I've been using Stihl strimmer line for the last 38 years, and never had a problem with it even when used with my relatively powerful Stihl KM130 brush cutter. I've never had to keep it moist or resort to any other method to reduce brittleness, because it really isn't brittle unless I make the mistake of trying to cut excessively tough material with it such as thick brambles, which, as the manufacturer advises, I would normally use a (Stihl) metal blade to cut.

Just make sure you buy the right diameter line for whatever cutting head you're using. I use 2.4mm cord (orange coloured) but you may need a thinner one. Your manual should say.

Thread: What new lathe?
25/03/2019 22:15:01

The Colchester looks wonderful, David.

My initial thought was "he's got that nice Boxford and a Myford already. Why does he need the Colchester as well?"

And then I realised it was just my jealousy talking, and I might do exactly the same as you if I had the chance/space/funds.

Which is still jealousy talking, but amicable jealousy at least.

Thread: How Are Letter / Hallmark Punches Made?
20/03/2019 23:11:55

Dave, did you ever see this thread, particularly my post about punch cutting?

Brass and steel moveable type and decorative motifs for the printing and binding industry are still made (or were until last year) by deep relief engraving on pantograph machines. CNC machines are the more up-to-date method, but cost prohibitive perhaps for most home workshops. Files and gravers are the cheapest method, assuming you can make the time to develop the skill required to use them to good effect.

Thread: Soba rotary table
12/03/2019 22:43:41
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 12/03/2019 21:59:11:
Posted by Ron Laden on 12/03/2019 20:00:25:

I have heard the term "rivet counters" is there such a thing as "micron chasers"..devil


But the real question is:

Is it intended as a term of abuse? ... and if so: Why?


I'd say it's legitimately pejorative when chasing microns means aiming for a level of precision that is considerably in excess of what is required for the satisfactory functioning, or satisfactory appearance, of the item being made.

On the other hand, though speaking pejoratively in these circumstances has reason on its side, it fails to take account of the potentially high levels of satisfaction experienced by some people when they aim for and achieve a higher level of precision than is strictly necessary for reasons of form or function; achieving such satisfaction might be rightly considered an end in itself.

And then there are circumstances, which perhaps few home machinists meet with in real life, in which very high levels of precision definitely are called for and to achieve which you may well have no alternative but to chase microns.

12/03/2019 17:40:12
Posted by Vic on 12/03/2019 15:51:30:

As a matter of interest, Vertex are based in Taiwan and rightly or wrongly Taiwanese stuff is reckoned by some to be superior to Chinese products.

I'd say the generalisation is justified, Vic.

The manufacturing environment in the two regions is fundamentally different. Probably the most elusive yet important factor is the political situation in each region, and the degree to which this allows fair competition (healthy for innovation and quality assurance) in private enterprise to prevail.

Going back to Soba, I've got a three inch rotary table of theirs that I bought ten years ago, and it's been fine for what I've wanted to do with it. Maybe Soba's manufacturing standards were better ten years ago or maybe I'm just not a sophisticated enough user (yet) to have discovered its limitations..

Thread: Brazing after milling whilst preserving accuracy
09/03/2019 13:30:24

Many thanks for your contribution, Nick.

One detail I didn't explicitly mention is that my current milling machine, a Proxxon MF70, accepts cutters with a shank diameter up to a maximum of 1/8", so I don't know that any woodruff cutter properly speaking would actually fit in my spindle.

Also, I'm not absolutely sure I've understood what you've proposed, but wouldn't passing the woodruff cutter along the channel when laid flat on the table produce radiused inner corners? Avoiding these was the main reason I wanted to be able to stand the channel upright for milling.

08/03/2019 17:54:50

Thanks, David and Jason, for your comments.

David, yes, electrically heated typeholders are not unknown, but have always experienced a poor uptake among the binding fraternity. Factors against them are:

  • Cost: the last new one I saw for commercial sale about ten years ago was around £400, as opposed to £100 (at today's prices) for a typeholder of the kind I've made. Typically you would want to have several typeholders on the go at one time to hold all the words you're lettering with on a particular day.
  • Convenience: athough having the typeholder at the correct working temperature all the time definitely is convenient, having an electrical flex trailing off the end of your typeholder isn't. Anything that might interfere with the smooth motion of a typeholder across the spine of a book could create big problems; if at the first hit you stamp hot brass into leather in the wrong place (a mistake it's easy to make when accurate alignment of lettering or other tooling comes down to fractions of millimetres) it's very difficult to undo your error without starting again with new leather; and at around £200 a skin for properly tanned bookbinding leather, such errors can prove expensive. This steep learning curve is one of the reasons so few people nowadays even attempt gold tooling on hand-bound books.
07/03/2019 23:29:59

I've now completed this project. I ended up hand-filing the long edge flat. I'd have liked to be able to make knurled thumb screws, not use bought ones of the kind pictured, but I've no metal lathe to knurl with (or do anything else with) at present.

The tool handle is made from a Magnolia that I planted 22 years ago and lopped some branches off last year.

Perhaps the newest aspect of the project for me was hardening and tempering the spring steel (sold annealed). My technique seems to have worked in producing the desired elasticity, but I'm slightly unsure what the optimum tempering method is for spring steel, i.e. what colour to look for in the steel. Some say straw coloured; some say blue. I veered towards blue without managing to retain it exactly in the finished look.

Thanks again for everyone's advice.



Thread: Neil's Irrelevant Press Release Thread
04/03/2019 17:18:18
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 04/03/2019 16:37:22:

“Its place as a true, mould-breaking British icon was cemented in the epicentre of Great Britain in the Swinging Sixties and has been galvanised in the 21st century’s Cool Britannia movement.”

Cemented and galvanized. Good to know.

I've fond memories of travelling in my mother's corrosion-prone Mini in the early 70s and being able to see the tarmac whizzing past through a hole in the passenger footwell. Yeah, Minis were cool.

Thread: What Did You Do Today 2019
03/03/2019 18:34:06
Posted by Martin King 2 on 26/02/2019 17:08:11:

Hi All,

Just made these two large bolts for an antique book press that was fiitted with riser blocks so the bolts were too long.

dpress 6.jpg

This was my first attempt at a serious thread 7/8" by 9tpi, 36mm AF and it did not go without incident!

I decided to cut both threads using either end of a single bar; the first one went absolutely fine and I was very pleased at how easy it was!

Turned the bar around and did the scratch pass into the dykem and checked the pitch just to be sure. Started taking 5 thou cuts in back gear.

Halfway through the next cut or so I got distracted and turning round I must have caught the cross slide and accidentally wound on 15 more thou! Result was a big bang and my Tufnol tumbler gear disintegrated! Wrecked the HSS cutting tool also.

Got a new one a couple of days later and installed it. Everything else had been left exactly as it was so I carefully did a blank no cut run to see that the alignment was all OK.

At this point my brain deserted me as I reset the next cut at 2 thou to check alignment again TOTALLY FORGETTING that the disaster happened halfway along the work and I should have started the check cut at the high point to the left of the previous cut!

YUP, another bang and wrecked tool and tumbler gear!

Walked away in disgust for a day or two when someone on here very generously lent me a gear so I could finish the job while waitng for a new one. ( Thanks Brian! its on its way back to you!)

Some serious lessons learned and finally got it done.

I am now the owner of what must be the two most expensive bolts ever! blush

Cheers, Martin

Martin, in spite of your frustrations, I'm very impressed with your restoration work. I hope the press goes to a deserving home.

For the record, these sorts of presses were originally marketed as copy presses for document duplication, not as bookbinding presses, though many ended up being used as binding presses, particularly the ones with generous (i.e. above about 3.5 inches) "daylight" between the platens.

In the pic is one of two dedicated bookbinding presses (known as nipping presses) I own. Its platens are 21" x 15" and daylight is 15". I've also got four copy presses dotted around the house.

nipping press.jpg

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