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Member postings for IanT

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

Thread: What is it with the Tap & Die co ?
04/02/2014 21:52:23

I've used them once or twice for items I couldn't find elsewhere John and just accepted that they price for Trade and therefore assume that the VAT is transparent. But their products have been OK and their service generally good.

I used to use another company based in the West Country, ordering by phone. We were down in the area on holiday and I was organised enough to think about visiting them for an ME tap & die set I wanted (hoping for a slightly better price by visiting in person!). It was just after 1 pm (weekday) and the front door was open - so I wandered inside as I could see someone was there. I was promptly told to clear off (in a less than polite manner) as it was his lunchtime and I should come back later. I didn't go back!

Funnily enough, I've not found it necessary to buy from them since then and I also managed to get the ME set elsewhere (for less money) too. Haven't thought about it for some time but "Tap & Die" triggered the memory!


Thread: Open thoughts
04/02/2014 17:20:21

Strowger 2-way Switches! Ah.....

Happy days in Hong Kong Central Exchange - pottering around the aisles with my Buttinsky and a burnisher looking for dud switch contacts. Funny how time mellows the memory. laugh


Thread: Rust?
04/02/2014 17:01:24

Doesn't sound like it Mike


Thread: Cast Iron vs Mild Steel
04/02/2014 16:58:44

Where to begin Thomas?

Most of the cast iron I use comes in the form of 'castings' (just saying that sounds a bit daft) but the casting process means that specific shapes can be made fairly easily - with the machining bringing any required surface down to size. So for instance, the wheels on my locos are cast, as it would be more work to fabricate them. I have recently acquired a set of Stent T&C castings for this reason. I mention the Stent because some people have produced basically the same design from 'stock' material. There are different types of CI but generally it machines very well (once under the outer skin) and can form a good bearing surface because of the graphite it contains. It can however be prone to cracking as it is not nearly as strong as steel.

Mild steel is much stronger and will come in stock sizes. Generally larger assembles will need to be fabricated by welding, brazing or screw fixings. Mild steel is relatively 'soft' but can be surface hardened. It generally does not make a good bearing surface but these days most will use some form of other bearing within any steel structure.

Both will rust but in my experience CI seems to absorb a degree of oil (?) over time and my older CI machines seem less liable to rusting than the steel parts in the same environment - but this is purely anecdotal.

Generally, for my tools and models I use mild steel and only purchase castings for specific applications. You didn't mention cost in your question (edit - sorry you did e.g. 'Price'  ) but this is an important consideration. For instance, the Stent castings will normally cost a lot more than the stock material required to build the same grinder.

This is a large subject and I would advise you have a surf of the Internet for any specific areas that might be relevant to your needs.




Edited By IanT on 04/02/2014 17:04:28

Edited By IanT on 04/02/2014 17:04:55

Edited By IanT on 04/02/2014 17:05:24

Thread: What did you do today? (2014)
04/02/2014 11:14:36

I thought I would have much more time to myself once retired but I hadn't understood that my wife would also be retired too and that her 'hobby' would be getting 'out and about' (Gardens, National Trust, English Heritage - the list grows as her mastery of Google improves!). So, I haven't full-time retired after all and my new part-time job is as a Chauffeur & Tour Guide

However, my life would be very grey without her - so I was sorry to hear of your loss John.


Thread: Need to make a spring
04/02/2014 10:49:54

I always keep the 1/2" steel banding that is sometimes used to 'wrap' the crates/boxes of heavier goods. I rescued 3-4 good lengths last year (I cannot remember for the life of me what it came wrapped around now - maybe a washing machine?) and it goes a long way & lasts me quite a while

Not sure if they are "clock" quality steel (or could be usefully coiled) but they do work well for hold-down fingers on my router table (much better than the useless plastic fingers supplied) or any other application where a flat spring is required. I cut them to length with a Dremel but don't try to drill them, simply making a slit metal clamp to fix them in place.


Thread: ARC Eurotrade
04/02/2014 10:31:29

The reality is that these businesses have to go online or cease to compete (and go out of business).

Once you begin to operate as an 'online' entity, then all your systems (inventory, shipping, accounts) have to be aligned to that online model and so quite apart from any other considerations (like whether a Trader will make enough at a show to cover their costs) - the disruption to the online business makes 'physical' trading extremely disruptive. Ketan has explained this very well here in the past.

I was at Sandown this year and it was disappointing to see fewer Traders there this year. I did purchase some castings from CES (and thereby saved money on postage) and some boxes of stainless metric/AF cap screws. The later will probably get purchased directly over the phone in the future, so for that particular Trader, maybe the potential repeat business will make his attendance worthwhile.

The reality is though that most of my pocket money last year was spent online with people like Arc, Axminster or Amazon/eBay. I'm afraid it's a bit like complaining about the 'loss' of the High Street (or your local pub closing) when the truth is that we shop at Tesco's (and have friends around for a drink at home). Most of us find buying specialist items online very convenient, so perhaps we should not be too upset about the consequences of our own behaviour.


Thread: Is it time to give up?
03/02/2014 17:28:33

Hi John,

Sorry didn't notice the date on this thread till just now - but sounds like a "Well Done" to both you and Nigel is deserved..


03/02/2014 13:32:28

It sounds like Baggo is already on the case (John - not Bilbo) - so I think Nigel is in very good hands.


Thread: Faceplate was the cause
03/02/2014 13:03:18

That's a very clean looking machine Becky! Very nice.


Thread: Bigger Lathe
03/02/2014 12:08:17

I first learned to turn on a Colchester Student and my old Myford S7 felt really flimsy by comparison when I first got it. So I'd really like a big, heavy lathe - but the key word there is "heavy".

I purchased a McMaster hacksaw recently (that needs a lot of TLC) and even unbolting & dissembling all the parts off it that I could, I still nearly 'did' my back getting just the base out of the car boot and into the wheelbarrow for its trip to the 'Shed'. The same guy selling it had a nice, floor standing mill but I'm clearly well past the stage where I want the hassle of moving very large lumps of iron across someone's lawns and down gravel paths (etc.) and I'm frankly too tight to pay someone else to do it for me.

I used to build 3.5" N/G engines but decided on weight (and cost grounds) to go to a smaller gauge, so I don't really need very large machinery for that - although they would be useful for restoration work on my collection of vintage machinery (e.g. keeping the scrap metal I proudly call my "Workshop" running)

So I am more than a little jealous of those who have these larger machines but unfortunately the word "downsizing" seems to be getting used more frequently in my household these days and I have to (try to) be realistic I'm afraid.



Thread: Gear cutter help
03/02/2014 11:25:37

I like my clays cooked 'medium rare' but I now know who to blame for all those lead pellets in them!

Thread: Faceplate was the cause
03/02/2014 11:22:19

I'm with Martin on this Becky - why not just skim the backplate?



Thread: Lathes old and new
03/02/2014 10:36:34

That would look to be a very nice bit of kit you've acquired Nathan - the write up on 'Lathes' is very complimentary.



Thread: material required to support a thread
02/02/2014 10:35:55

If you are worried about the Loctite joint 'moving' Mick (and I've not had this happen) why not just drill through and pin it? It would make any subsequent removal that much harder to do though - as the Loctite-only joint can be simply broken with heat if required.



Thread: Holding small items
02/02/2014 10:14:52

Having completed my EW slitting saw - I was anxious to test it and cut off Qty8 x 20mm lengths of brass angle for one of my modelling projects. It all worked well - nice clean cuts (no cleaning up) and very little wastage - & I was a Happy Bunny!

This morning I've realised that some of the next machining operations would have been much easier if the parts were still attached to the parent metal.

As I said Gary - I've not completely mastered this myself yet. sad



01/02/2014 20:22:21


A slightly more sophisticated version of my earlier (clamping) suggestion would be to drill and tap two square bars and make a very small toolmakers clamp - assuming you don't already have a small one. Just make sure the clamp will lie flat by drilling the clamping holes in line.

A spot of superglue on the jaw tips will help stop the work from twisting and the small clamp (if held correctly) would be re-usable in that you could saw between the jaws without damage to them. Extra time to make but it might "come in handy" again sometime.

However, if you don't mind soldering the piece - I thought Jeff's suggestion was a good/quick one.



01/02/2014 11:31:18

Hi Gary,

I'm afraid that I might have done the work in a different order and machined the fork before I parted the piece off from the main stock. However, you are where you are. Either start over or make up two small brass clamping pieces and hold the work piece between them. Then saw the whole lot (clamps included) - they will be sacrificial.

It's something you learn the hard (e.g. expensive way) but it's always best to try and think through all the required operations before you start doing anything - something I will admit I am yet to completely master!



Thread: Lidl Workbench - something slightly different
31/01/2014 12:42:27

Hi Luigi, I've not seen the Draper version but it does sound similar.

As you may have gathered, I already use T-slot track for my jigs (& similar uses) and a year or so ago (after lots of hints) received an Axminster Jig set for my Birthday. This contains quite an assortment of knobs and "T-bolts" for use with this track. However, I also found it useful to make some simple square 'nuts' (my set uses US 1/4" 20 thread but I had a tap) and I cycle these components back into the box after use - sometimes keeping any baseplates made (and sometimes not if it's been badly cut into). Not measured the T-slots on the Lidl unit yet but I will probably not use the plastic 'clamps' you mention very often - more likely to just use my own T-clamps.

Details below - not that cheap but they are re-usable (and you can buy some bits individually if preferred)


I am concerned to hear that the jaw system may be fragile, as this is one of the most useful aspects of this workbench in my view.

My other two Workmates have moving jaws that are effectively only locked when actually gripping things and (on mine) the jaws also lift, so they do not remain level with each other. This is one reason why I've not used them as part of my jig/guide solutions in the past, instead just using them as a glorified table. This workbench has a fixed jaw and a sliding jaw but they do seem to lock level (I am still to test that statement) which means that hopefully, they can be an integral part of any jigging system and not just support it.

Even so, if the jaw locking system does break, I will probably just fix the moving jaw in one position as I am not intending to use the workbench as a Workmate-type "vice" per se - e.g. to directly grip the work piece.

I have not used the bench in anger yet but I have been thinking about a few potential applications for it in my modelling. I will have to experiment to see if these ideas will work in practice though.

Some aspects of the design remind me of the "Triton" Workcentre - e.g. using a sliding table to pass a tool over the work (held under the jaws). However (again like a Triton), it should also be possible to pass work over a tool (if mounted on a sub-table). In the former, a sliding table would therefore provide X-axis movement but the tool could also have some movement on the table in the Y-axis (hopefully both controlled by stops in the T-slots). It should then be possible to cut repeatable square(ish) holes (e.g. windows) with a small router (my POF or Dremel). If the Y-axis was hinged on one side, I might be able to (incrementally) cut long 'profiles' (using a height template at the other end) either still using the X-axis for shorter parts or sliding the work under the fixed tool for longer ones (model coach roofs and tumblehomes for instance?)

The tool (or work) could also be fixed to the rear jaw and the work (or tool) moved past it using a sliding table. So a router held horizontally for instance (with some form of height adjustment provided) could be used for cuts that might be a bit awkward on my conventional router table (e.g. This is a Horizontal Mill - I am primarily a Mangler of Metal, so my (mis)treatment of wood is heavily influenced by this experience)

Anyway, sorry to rattle on but I hope these lines of thought will be of interest to anyone who "machines" small wooden parts occasionally. Whilst I'm on this subject, there are many books on Routers (and Router Jigs) but if you are new to routing (especially smaller work) then I would recommend Bob Wearing's "Router Tips & Techniques". There are a number of simple jigs/devices described by Bob that I've found very useful for my modelling woodwork.


Ian T

29/01/2014 18:35:11

It was time today for me to be dragged around the Town "Shopping". Part of this weekly routine involves popping into our local Lidl's - where there is often something tempting to look at whilst Herself gets on with the important stuff.

Last week I spotted a workbench that looked a bit different from the normal "Workmates". I managed to resist then but this week the Manager had knocked £5 off -so I had a closer look (e.g. quietly opened the box). I was sufficiently intrigued to lash out £39.99 for one. I should add that I already have two workmates (my 'posh' one and the one I do dreadful things to!). I think the last one only cost me £10 but that was while ago.

So what's different about it?

Well for a start it has four T-slots in the 'Jaws' that take some plastic workholders - but could easily take a few homebrew fittings (I've purchased some T-slot track recently for a jig and it was about £10 for 2ft!). Secondly the jaws also have slots in the edge, so that plastic clamping pieces can be fitted but you can also you can run saws, routers, jigsaws between them (parallel slides). The work can be held underneath the jaws by two clamp bars that are operated by dials set in the jaws. I think they will hold work 'tables' too - enabling routing/drilling/sawing of smaller work with some precision.

I did (briefly) think about adapting one of my existing workmates along these lines - but life's too short (and my Manager seemed supportive) so I purchased one. This may not be everyone's cup of Tea (especially the more professional woodworkers amongst you) but for anyone who works wood for small scale models might find this a quite a useful tool (or at least the basis for one) - and it's one I've not seen before.



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lidl workbench - 1.jpg

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