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Member postings for Sam Stones

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

Thread: John Wilding 8 day Weight Driven Wall Clock
24/11/2021 02:44:28

WH - Although one click spring is like another, it will be clear that I'm talking about my John Stevens' skeleton clock and not Mr Wilding's 8-day.

Irrespective, I had several types of brass, e.g. round and flat bar, thin sheet, and for the frames CZ120. However, I'm not sure which brass I used.

The Great & Maintaining Wheels

At a guess I probably commenced with an off-cut of CZ120 although the drawing shows a thickness of 3/32 inch (2.4 mm). Although not obvious in this photo, the drawing also shows the spring as a lightly tapered section to be curved (bent) later. I now have a feeling that CZ120 was not the grade after all, but a somewhat softer (leaded) grade.

Did I anneal before bending it?

I can't remember.


PS - Get a load of those non-descript great wheel tooth profiles; neither involute or cycloidal but a beginner's choice. devil

It worked and has done for years.


Edited By Sam Stones on 24/11/2021 02:45:50

23/11/2021 01:15:10

Adding to the above, this was a paragraph I wrote when I described building John Stevens' skeleton clock. (refer Model Engineer #4526 - Jan/Feb 2016)

To transfer the power from the barrel to the fusee I had used braided plastic fishing line. The (yellow) fishing line was rated as having a breaking strength of 80 lb. My fairly rough measurements had suggested that the main spring was exerting a tension in the line equivalent to a weight of about 10 kg (22 lb). There was plenty of strength to spare, or so I thought.

I trust this helps.


22/11/2021 21:44:15

This happened to the 80lb fishing line I was goaded into using. Only our dog was there at the time it broke, but I imagine from a near full wind, it must have got off with quite a din.

photo 17.jpg

BTW, from my background in plastics, I should have known it could happen (creep before failure).

Here's the result of a three-year stretch -


I replaced it with steel, generously supplied by a local antique clock repairer east of Melbourne.


PS - I wasn't the only one that got the winding direction wrong. It turned out to be how the barrel arbor had been drawn, and my lack of knowledge.

The knots on the ends are a mess, and will stay that way.


Thread: How do you stop brass tarnishing
19/11/2021 03:19:50


I sent you a message regarding the British Museum and their use of Renaissance Wax.



Thread: Decent hacksaw blades
16/11/2021 21:07:14

Rob, I have been tempted to regurgitate an eleven-year-old thread I opened back in November of 2010. I called it ‘Over the counter’.

It wasn’t about 12" hacksaw blades but primarily, the 6" (150mm) type known as 'Junior' hacksaw blades. I bought the blades at one of the major hardware stores known throughout in Australia.

You can, if you wish find the thread here - **LINK**

Unfortunately, the images did not appear and my initial post was largely incoherent. Not until August 2017 when (for some odd reason), the thread was revived did I discover that the photo (this one)


was missing.

For convenience, here’s the second (2017) page of the thread - **LINK**

Buyer beware!



PS I can't remember the original Latin expression, but someone will cheeky

Edited By Sam Stones on 16/11/2021 21:08:03

Thread: Lantern Pinions
08/11/2021 03:01:51


I used this method as nominated by Mr John Stevens in his skeleton-clock article. It was a breeze.

drilling lantern pinions.jpg

Just take it steady cheeky

Pardon the pun

Thread: What is it
05/11/2021 19:08:11

Thanks for your input and link djswain1.

Thanks Clive for making me think.

I now admit to having egg on my face as to their correct function.embarrassed

It seems likely that what I observed with a high degree of ignorance, was either complete misuse or ‘clever’ re-purposing.

With some relief Tim, you might have got me off the hook!

Keep safe,

Sam sad


Edited By Sam Stones on 05/11/2021 19:09:12

Thread: Vac
03/11/2021 03:12:14

Another for your further amusement from the program 'My Word', was when either Frank or Dennis offered this gem -

"La Donna è Mobile" … "The Bird Rides a Motorbike."


Thread: What is it
31/10/2021 00:34:53


Sorry to be labouring the point but ...

I’ve no idea what they are called or their prime/original use. However, they were (perhaps are with the right name) available in a range of diameters and lengths.

Between experimental trials, technicians in our plastics laboratory used them for cleaning out extruder barrels. They would insert steel wool and other slightly less abrasive materials than emery cloth.

Perhaps they were originally designed for gun barrel cleaning as Bob suggested. I'd be concerned about altering the bore size.

An alternative practice I've used before (nothing new here) was to saw down the length of a rod into which the end of a strip of emery could be inserted. Same principle, less complex.

Sam smile d

30/10/2021 21:38:52

Agreed Bob,

A bit big for valve guides. There's a clue in the direction of wire twist. In use, they tighten around the cloth.

Sam smile d

30/10/2021 21:25:48

A strip of abrasive cloth inserted between the wires is then wrapped around to form an abrasive 'cylinder'.

Thus equipped, the device is held in a powered drill or similar, and can be used to polish and otherwise improve the bore of (as suggested by Kiwi Bloke) valve guides, etc. etc.

30/10/2021 19:57:42

It’s for gripping a strip of abrasive cloth.

Thread: Advice from the photographers.
23/10/2021 23:49:21

This was a Kodachrome slide taken through my first 35mm camera; a Baldessa 1a or 1b, I can't remember. The slide hadn't been stored between glass, and other than cropping required no extra editing.

raf-nicosia - c.1958.jpg

This next one (before and after) was one in a bad condition, yet stored between glass. It shows what's possible in Photoshop. The original slide (c1960), was Kodachrome taken in Holland via a Leica M4 (not mine).

a-&-b---photoshopped -ed.jpg

Good luck Nathan!

Samsmile d


Edited By Sam Stones on 23/10/2021 23:51:08

23/10/2021 23:27:12

These days I would do what John Haine recommends.

However, here's another approach.

Back-lit with flash through a (plastic film) diffusion screen.


A cut-down cardboard postal tube set the distance, with a Speedlite transmitter for camera to flash sync.

Conveniently, I used the slide carrier from an ancient slide projector.

Many of the slides taken in the late 50's and sandwiched in glass were badly in need of cleaning. Very laborious, but overall a pleasing result.

I'll post a sample now that I've remembered, i.e. load picture files first!


Sam smile d

Thread: First Clock in Metric
21/10/2021 19:44:31

I imagine Iain, that you've come across this series by Chris of Clickspring?


Which ever way you go, watching Chris's videos as he makes the 'Large Wheel Skeleton Clock' is well worth a visit.



Edited By Sam Stones on 21/10/2021 19:46:37

19/10/2021 22:14:38

Iain, you might consider John Stevens’ Skeleton Clock, (Model Engineer c1972*).

As an impressive starter project (that superseded my original intention of building a model beam engine), I can now describe this clock as a ‘Not really for beginners’. However, apart from Mr Stevens’ design being entirely Imperial, you appear to have all the necessary skills and equipment to succeed.

Over a period spanning many years, the project consumed a considerable amount of time, not just mine but that of many others. I can’t recall how many ME members came to my rescue.

Peruse my two albums to see the sort of ‘warts and all’ mess I got myself in.

Part 1 (47 photos) **LINK**

Part 2 (23 photos) **LINK**

*Mr John Stevens’ clock design appeared in five issues of Model Engineer commencing in February 1972. Vol 138, issues 3434, 3435, 3437, 3438, & 3439.

Then there were my own efforts described here …

Building John Stevens’ Skeleton Clock –

7 Parts - Model Engineer – #4526 – 22 Jan 2016 – Last part #4538 – 8 Jul 2016.

Good hunting.


Thread: Sphere Turner
12/10/2021 22:45:25

Yes Paul, very similar.

As my memory mist clears slightly, I feel sure it was described with drawings in ME. That would have to be pre '72.

When I made it I'm not sure. Late 60's or early 70's. It went out with my ML7 and most other stuff in '07.



From a still chilly Melbourne.

12/10/2021 19:59:39


FWIW - I have a faint idea that this one was described in Model Engineer many years ago, perhaps in the 60's. A round cutter (e.g. a piece of broken drill bit) is inserted into the left hand end and pokes out as per the illustrations in the links above.

Other than making a couple of stainless steel handles (for a six-way turret and a rear tool post, oh and an aluminium ball on the end of the handle which I carelessly cropped off in the photograph), I hardly ever used it.

Capacity? About 50 mm max.

spherical turning attachment.jpg

One extravagance was the bronze body, a left-over from another job.

The bronze body was made to be clamped in the normal (ML7) tool post.

I seem to recall making the lead screw with a 40 tpi thread. It allowed very fine adjustment.


Sam smile d

Edited By Sam Stones on 12/10/2021 20:01:28

Thread: Hardening gauge plate (O1)
04/10/2021 22:07:12

Thanks for an interesting thread Robin. Apologies for any repetition.

It’s too long ago and I no longer have the endurance to try to reiterate what I learned in ONC and HNC Mech Eng, but for a theoretical insight into what is taking place, take a peek at this -


Someone here might like to highlight in simple terms, the basics of the rate-of-change from FCC to BCC and the way it influences properties.

At a practical level, I’d recommend attention be given to –

  • minimising sharp notches
  • improving surface finish (polishing)
  • thickness transitions
  • times and temperatures
  • immersion technique
  • cleanliness of process
  • tempering
  • finishing
  • etc.

Incidentally, it may be a surprise to discover that Young’s Modulus of Elasticity hardly changes.

Have fun, especially with your tests, Robin.



29/09/2021 01:24:25

As a follow up to Andrew and Tony’s comments, I couldn’t resist telling the following story.

I was into my 2nd or 3rd year of my apprenticeship when a rather precarious situation developed.

The toolroom heat-treatment plant (a closed off section of the workshop measuring about 8 metres by 6 metres), was equipped with various gas and electric fired cyanide furnaces. A basic gas torch and a brick hearth, along with a bucket of whale oil were there ‘for personal use’.

Quenching of the major throughput was either into a warm water bath for smaller parts, or a very full tank of oil. This tank measured about 150cm deep and was roughly the same diameter. One of the older toolmakers was responsible for all of the once-a-week ‘serious’ heat treatment.

Almost full, the large oil bath became a considerable (flash) point of interest when a large and very hot piece of tool steel (an insert for a compression mould) was being quenched. For scale, the piece (effectively one of several thick-walled cylinders) measured about 150mm diameter and some 400mm long. It was bored out about 45mm diameter through its entire length.

Transferred with some difficulty from a cyanide bath to the hand-operated hoist, the hoist failed (jammed) while the hot insert was half in and half out of the oil. It doesn’t take much imagination to visualise what happened next.

During the initial struggle to free the jammed hoist, the oil began to boil and instantly caught fire. Flames quickly crept across the surface and out to the edge of the tank. Within seconds, flaming oil was dripping onto the floor.

Of greater concern was what was on the other side of the brick wall and thin cement sheeting. It was the powder room known as the drugstore. It supplied measured amounts of rubber, sulphur, and powdered coal to several Banbury mixers and two-roll mills.

Having, for a short while peered through the open door as a not particular welcome spectator, it was time to make my exit. The foreman and a couple of others succeeded in releasing the jammed hoist, quenching the steel, and extinguishing the fire with sand etc. The fire brigade arrived to find the toolroom filled with smoke.

I suspect the other cylinders were subcontracted.

Perhaps that's why I prefer a water quench devil


Samsmile d

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