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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: Looking for solution to incorrigibly jumpy needle roller bearings
17/08/2021 21:59:19

Thanks, Roger.

There being one that doesn't require re-sizing would be preferable.

17/08/2021 19:31:54

Thanks for the replies.

Jeff and pgk, the hedge cutters are used commercially, often on very uncivilized hedges that have got way out of hand. I fear the £55 Mastercraft or the Lidl offering would not "cut it" on some of these, and certainly not be much use with only one battery with a one hour run time.

Stihl and other big names such as Echo and Husqvarna do offer more viable cordless alternatives for commercial users but they currently work out ludicrously expensive relative to their gas-powered counterparts; worse, they come with no guarantee how long the working life will be of the £300+-a-pop batteries. We'll all be forced to go electric eventually, but at the moment choosing cordless doesn't make sense economically for the commercial user. Which probably explains why I've not seen a single landscaping outfit in the flesh that has gone cordless.

Alan, yes, this terrible bearing design is not universal on hedge trimmers by Stihl, whether electric or gas-powered.

For the record, or on the remote chance that such a thing exists and someone here knows where to get them, the replacement bearings required would have an ID of 26mm, OD of 30-32mm, and a thickness of 6mm.

EtA: This appears to be the current style of bearing fitted.


Edited By Bill Phinn on 17/08/2021 19:43:58

16/08/2021 21:01:46

I have four Stihl hedge trimmer cutting heads of the kind you can see in a recent Youtube video put up by someone who undertook the repair of one.

The weak point in these gear boxes is the two con rods with their three dozen or so loose needle bearings in each: the individual needles jump out of position at the least provocation. You can see the result at 1.54 in the video.

I have looked into a total of eight of these gearboxes now (four belonging to other people) and all the con-rods I looked at had displaced needles; in half the cases some of the needles had leapt completely out of their races and were free to travel around in the gearbox and mash themselves into the gear teeth etc.

Sadly, what the chap in the video doesn't realise is that it is practically useless paying for new conrods (currently at £25 a pop) unless you're also going to buy a new spur gear (at £50) because if the needles were prone to jumping out of the race they sit in and causing havoc when the gearbox was new they're even more prone to doing so when there is extra lash between a worn spur gear and the new bearings.

My question is this:

would it be feasible to retrofit a better kind of bearing to these gear heads that will not be so prone to disintegrating?

Obviously the ID of any replacement bearing would have to match the OD of the raised areas of the spur gear that sit inside the con-rods, and it would have to be possible to achieve a good tight fit for any replacement bearing inside the (bored-out?) con-rod.

Thread: Service
07/08/2021 15:26:43
Posted by Samsaranda on 07/08/2021 14:23:52:

I think the service from the postal system depends very much on where you live and where your goods are despatched from.

Yes, it's literally a postcode lottery, in which the lucky are frequently jubilant and the unlucky learn to be patient.

Thread: Worktop suitable for small mill
07/08/2021 15:20:23

The SX2P's net weight is 60KG.

Unless you're going to be bolting unfeasibly heavy items to the milling table I'd be astonished if that bench couldn't support the mill's weight long term.

Thread: Centre Drill Leaves a “Pip” - Sometimes
26/07/2021 15:49:16
Posted by Dr_GMJN on 26/07/2021 15:26:40:

I was wondering about that - no length was specified.

66mm, I reckon:

Thread: You could not make it up ! [Olympic Cycling]
26/07/2021 15:40:41
Posted by ega on 26/07/2021 14:42:07:

Bill Phinn:

If Peleton gets people on to "real" bikes then I suppose there is something to be said for it.

I'm not sure any more, Ega. A former clubmate was killed a week ago when a vehicle pulled out on him during a time trial. By a cruel twist of fate the organising club's event-secretary had recently had to give up competitive cycling permanently after a flatbed truck pulled out on him during another event.

Maybe we should stick to riding the track or the turbotrainer, at least here in the UK.

26/07/2021 11:44:08
Posted by ega on 26/07/2021 11:07:04:

all the more surprising that the fashionable (solo) exercise bike is so named.

Not really, Ega. The main appeal of the Peloton bikes, as I understand things, is that they allow you to participate in virtual group rides/classes via your* computer/phone.

What many people don't appear to know is that you don't need a Peloton bike in order to be able to do that. You can do it on any static bike as long as you have an appropriate digital device to participate in online group rides via, for example, Zwift.

I've never bothered myself with the interactive stuff; a Kurt Kinetic trainer (12 years old now), heart rate monitor and power meter are enough to tell me how woefully I'm performing these days.

*EtA: actually via their computer

Edited By Bill Phinn on 26/07/2021 11:49:03

25/07/2021 15:32:05

I suspect this is not common in elite circles; normally they'd get essential updates from their team car etc.

It's a good illustration of the hubris of paying insufficient attention to underdogs.

Thread: Centre Drill Leaves a “Pip” - Sometimes
25/07/2021 15:23:13
Posted by duncan webster on 23/07/2021 19:53:29:

So why are spotting drills so expensive, best I can find for one off 3mm is ~£5 whereas I can buy a set of 5 different centre drills for that price.

They are more expensive, yes, but we can do slightly better than £5 for a 3mm one:

Zoro currently has 90 degree 3mm and 6mm at £3.69 and £3.99 respectively.

Thread: English members who have moved to France.
18/07/2021 12:00:29

Some fascinating reading there, Tony (J.). Thank you!


Edited By Bill Phinn on 18/07/2021 12:01:56

Thread: Driving style predicts Alzeimer’s …
17/07/2021 17:25:02
Posted by Bazyle on 13/07/2021 23:06:06:

They are very quick to take your licence off you once there is a hint of dementia, even if you appear perfectly fine to non medical people.

My admittedly limited experience tells me it largely depends on your GP's judgement whether the DVLA revoke your licence. At the time I took my father's car key off him, he had only recently passed a fitness-for-driving assessment done by his GP.

Ultimately, though, the responsibility for whether someone is fit to drive rests with the people closest to them.

Thread: English members who have moved to France.
17/07/2021 17:08:01

To echo what Tim says about language, it will handicap you enormously if you either don't know French already or don't learn it quickly.

To illustrate the point, I know countless native Chinese people who have moved to the UK. In every single case I can think of, the ones who struggle to integrate and succeed are the ones who have not learned and, for one reason or another, cannot learn English. They are handicapped in all their dealings with English speakers.

When these English speakers are tradesmen, utilities companies and local government, for example, the handicap is generally a big inconvenience; when the English speakers are the emergency services and medical personnel particularly, the handicap can be a matter of life and death.

A serious question: has your wife understood the nature of your health condition - that it is not likely to improve and therefore is not a good starting point from which to learn French and build a life in a foreign country?

Thread: Driving style predicts Alzeimer’s …
13/07/2021 20:25:51
Posted by br on 13/07/2021 14:07:09:

I have seious issues with it and some days I just wish it was all over .

I wish you well.


Hang in there, Bill.

In the hope that I can make you feel better about your current abilities, I've posted a photo showing a note written by my father four months ago. He has advanced dementia. Don't ask me what the note is trying to say; I've no idea. The date at the bottom wasn't written by him. My mother has Alzheimer's, and is considerably worse than my father.

Amazingly, my father was still driving just over a year ago, and I'd not noticed any significant deterioration in his driving abilities/road sense. It was me that took his car key off him - to protect the public and keep intact his sixty-three year unblemished driving record.

alzheimers note.jpg

Thread: Shock at low pay for high skill
09/07/2021 22:25:45
Posted by brian jones 11 on 09/07/2021 15:20:15:

The question is - would you advise your kid to go into engineering?

It depends, firstly, where the kid's inclination and aptitudes lie, and secondly to what extent a chosen field's ultimate earning potential is a deciding factor.

If you believe the research, in the long term Humanities are a route to higher earnings than STEM.

Thread: Strimmer /BrushCutter … any recommendations ?
03/07/2021 17:21:20
Posted by An Other on 03/07/2021 17:10:50:

none (including the expensive 'quality' machines) have lasted longer than three years,

That sounds like very bad luck. Could you say how many Stihl or Husqvarna machines you've owned?

Posted by An Other on 03/07/2021 17:10:50:

The other repetitive problem I have had is failed spark-plugs - I have no idea how long these are supposed to run - my estimate is about 8 to 10 hours.

None of my Stihl or Honda machinery has ever had a spark plug failure, and my spark plugs get hundreds of hours' use between changes.

What make or makes of spark plug are failing on you?



Edited By Bill Phinn on 03/07/2021 17:27:36

03/07/2021 17:14:05

Yes, those kinds of dedicated flail mowers, if properly guarded and otherwise up to standard, are approved for use under HSE "rules". What's more, their cutters are one-piece and will simply wear down with use, posing no risk of detachment.

The chain that killed Anthony Robinson (illustrated in the HSE document) is ordinary loop chain. Did it never occur to the user (who was not Anthony) and his supervisors that the outer links would wear down (the wear can clearly be seen in the picture), and once worn beyond a certain point inevitably detach themselves, probably at high speed?

The reason why we should be particularly intolerant of the continued sale of chain cutting heads for strimmers is that it is almost always going to be a bystander, not the operator, that gets injured by flying chain links. That bystander could be you or me, or our children or grandchildren...

03/07/2021 15:02:48
Posted by pgk pgk on 03/07/2021 10:16:26:

The ultimate answer is a fail mower

Just don't think of using a flail brushcutter/strimmer, i.e. one using two pieces of steel chain instead of nylon line.

Remember the sad case of Anthony Robinson.

In spite of HSE intervention, chain strimmer heads are still being sold on eBay, albeit not of the kind in the Three Shires/Anthony Robinson case.

02/07/2021 01:32:18

Michael, my experience with Stihl goes back to 1982, when the first 2-stroke landscaping machine I operated was a Stihl backpack brushcutter. I've owned 12 Stihl machines and currently have 9, the oldest at present being 16 yrs old.

Experience tells me carbs used by Stihl on their machines in the last ten years are not generally as good as the ones they used to fit twenty plus years ago. I could be wrong but I seem to remember Stihl bought out Zama some time ago and it was around then that carb quality started to decline.

I've done numerous carb strip-downs over the years, mostly just for routine maintenance but sometimes to cure uncharacteristic lumpiness.

The worst carb experience has been on a KM55R bought ten years ago. Thorough ultrasonicking, new diaphragms, gaskets, even new metering needle and spring didn't help. It's currently on its third carb, the last two being non-OEM ones bought direct from China for under £7, after my local Stihl dealer wanted £125 & VAT about five years ago just to supply an OEM replacement for the first one that went phut.

One thing it's nearly always necessary to do, in my experience, as soon as your machine is run in if not before, is to adjust the high and low mixture screws to optimize throttle response from idle and not to have the engine running too lean at the top end.

My best Stihl strimmer has probably been my KM130R Kombi, which has the 4-mix engine. Have had it thirteen years and only had to reset the valves twice. It has a solid steel driveshaft (unlike some of the other Stihl strimmers/Kombis) and more grunt than a herd of pigs. It's too powerful for tickling round trees and routine lawncare. My preferred line-cutting head is the Autocut 25-2.

As others have said, a hedgetrimmer is good on thick brambles. My KM130R will cut through all but the very thickest brambles with just the line head, but the downside is you end up having to bump out more line much too frequently. The Stihl KM-HL hedgetrimmer attachment for Kombi engines lets you cut brambles effortlessly without excessive bending down.

Thread: Irwin Record vice swivel base
21/06/2021 23:34:47
Posted by not done it yet on 21/06/2021 22:25:25:

It'd be good to see a photo or two, Alan!

Here is one. Just click on the small pic to see it full screen.


I was mainly interested in seeing what Alan does to make it able to "rotate by about 30 degree[s]".

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