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What Did You Do Today 2019

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derek hall 115/07/2019 12:43:18
62 forum posts


This weekend I have been boring.......boring the two castings LH and RH for the Quorn I am making.

BTW in another thread regarding boring holes, I had no problems at all in managing to bore 4 off 1 inch dia holes within a thou of nominal diameter and two pairs of these holes at 3.5 inches +/- 0.000 apart on my old circa 1962/3 Myford.

It took a couple of days though and I had to put up with "jokes" from my other half about me boring.....sigh...

I used a between centres boring bar made from a kit from Hemingway Tools.



Phil P15/07/2019 12:50:29
592 forum posts
164 photos

My wife always passes comment when I mention boring heads !!

Good result on those castings.


Edited By Phil P on 15/07/2019 12:51:07

Swarf, Mostly!15/07/2019 13:31:32
517 forum posts
41 photos

As for using Oak on a nicely made scale model the grain is of the open type and can look wrong on a small scaled model, personally I would have used a closer grained wood for appearances and then stain it Oak coloured.

Edited By Derek Lane 2 on 15/07/2019 10:43:17

I hope the following won't be considered Off-Topic:

When I lived in Essex, one of my regular Saturday morning errands used to be a visit to Brown's Corner in Loughton. They had a large room full of ex-Government surplus tools for all trades, including plumbers. They often had the egg-shaped wooden tool that plumbers use (used) to flare the end of lead pipe. These were usually of box wood, occasionally of lignum vitae. I used to buy the box wood ones for a work colleague whose hobby was making detailed scale models of the ships of Nelson's Navy, he used them as a source of material for making the blocks for his rigging.

I fear it is a forlorn hope but maybe, just maybe, there might still be some of that sort of stuff about, if only one knows where to look!

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Martin Kyte15/07/2019 13:43:25
1670 forum posts
24 photos

Hi Swarf

You don't need to chop old tools (or even new ones) about to get hold of boxwood. Any decent woodturners supplyer will sort you out. For example


regards Martin

Derek Lane15/07/2019 14:11:28
307 forum posts
70 photos

As Martin Kyte stated woodturning supplies for box wood as for Lignum Vitae if only very short pieces are required IE less than 4" then look for old bowls balls and cut them up they can be expensive you can pay £10 upwards for one in some places. I am fortunate in that I managed to pick up 18 for nothing.

geoff walker 115/07/2019 14:28:18
374 forum posts
145 photos

As for using Oak on a nicely made scale model the grain is of the open type and can look wrong on a small scaled model, personally I would have used a closer grained wood for appearances and then stain it Oak coloured.

Hi Derek,

Well I live and learn, I always believed oak, being a hardwood, was a close grained wood.

A quick internet search and I find it is the opposite, open grain as you said in your post.

Having said that I am happy with how it looks and it should blend in well with the colour scheme, dark grey and dark green. I just need to be careful in how I treat it!

Thanks for your comments


Martin Kyte15/07/2019 14:56:46
1670 forum posts
24 photos

Some comments on hardwood and softwood.

Wood is a little wierd when it comes to hardwood/softwood classification. Hardwoods are all angiospems (flowering and seed bearing) and softwoods which are gymnosperms, generally producing seed bearing cones or seeds with no covering. So loosely there are fir trees (softwood) and deciduous (hardwoods).

This classification makes balsa which is a hardwood but physically softer than the softwoods. Conversely Yew is a softwood which is considerably harder than many hardwoods.

Softwoods have long cell structures compared to cell width and hardwoods have shorter cell structures. If a tree is fast growing it's grain structure tends to be more coarse whilst slower growing trees tend to be finer grained.


A good place to start is to google woodcarvers and woodturners favourite materials. If you can carve it or turn it it's usually fine grained, easy to work, will hold detail and take a finish well.

regards Martin

Bazyle15/07/2019 17:13:41
5003 forum posts
198 photos

You can often find some nice wood around the garden in small sizes. Pyracantha and hawthorne being shrub sized are not in a tearing hurry to grow big like a tree so have fine grain.

Martin King 215/07/2019 18:10:02
652 forum posts
242 photos

Old broken chisel handles are a good source of small pieces of boxwood.

Perfect for the model ship purpose above and can be picked up at car boots for peanuts!

We use LV bowls for making mallets, hardly any waste that way! They have got harder to find and therefore more expensive but I never pay more than a fiver for one.

We remove a LOT of broken boxwood handles and keep the best ones for using to replace bits of lost "boxing" on antique fillester or rebate planes. Fiddly work to get the end grain right but worth doing on some of the more valuable planes.


mechman4816/07/2019 13:54:39
2587 forum posts
392 photos

Picked up a set of side frames for my present project that were laser cut at a friends ex workplace ( he's now retired but is called in occasionally ), superb results I must say...

2.balance beam engine frames.jpg


Jim Nic16/07/2019 17:50:48
235 forum posts
145 photos

That's cheating George. (Says I with tongue firmly in cheek having had these parts laser cut myself.)

return conn rods.jpg

You certainly got a good looking result which has probably saved you a whole lot of tedious work with fretsaw and file.


Colin Heseltine16/07/2019 20:15:30
372 forum posts
90 photos

Basswood is a fine grained wood which is lovely to carve and has a fine grain. Blocks of this are available from places such as hobbycraft.

I have recently used it to make a couple of patterns which go off to the foundry to make some parts for my Excel Die Grinder.



mechman4817/07/2019 13:11:12
2587 forum posts
392 photos

Earlier in the week actually; received via courier delivery my belated birthday gift from 2nd daughter, what she actually said was 'get some metal bits for the garage for your birthday & I'll pay for it' so, as I was in the process of setting up to make a sensitive drilling attachment for my lathe from some drawings & getting together the material this offer to get 'some metal bits' changed the plans so to speak so I ordered one of these off eBay, at a very reasonable price I thought, anyhow it arrived a couple of days ago... nice piece of kit, looks & feels reasonably well made & lubricated ( for Indian made ), not as precision ground on the yoke as I expected but everything has been through a grinding process, & the sliding operation feels smooth without any noticeable play, so we'll see how it preforms at a later date...

Sensitive drill attachment (3).jpg

Sensitive drill attachment (4).jpg

So a nice thanks to daughter # 2 was duly proffered, a neat birthday gift at the price never the less.


Boiler Bri17/07/2019 16:57:45
821 forum posts
191 photos

I have now finished fitting and piping the steam header that i made. Its a lot better looking than the old 16mm square one that the engine came with.

Header 2 .jpeg

Andrew Johnston17/07/2019 22:21:25
5194 forum posts
599 photos

I have now finished forming the rectangular slots in the anchor bolts and frost spikes for my traction engines. To summarise the sequence:


Three holes drilled and then the slot milled to size with a slotdrill, both on the CNC mill. Finally the square ends were done with a keyway broach, thinned on the surface grinder to be a snug fit, using an arbor press, with a drill and shims as required:



Ian P18/07/2019 08:28:18
2324 forum posts
95 photos

Andrew, what is the material or method you used to hold the spikes whilst you were slotting them, and were they hand-held?

Nothing appears to be clamped down.

Ian P

Andrew Johnston18/07/2019 10:09:07
5194 forum posts
599 photos

The spikes are resting on two lengths of nominally 1/8" keysteel, held in place with double-sided tape. Keysteel is normally a few thou over nominal size so gives just enough clearance as the stock material was 5/8" and the machined shank is 3/8".

The spikes were hand held during broaching. Once pressure was applied the down force kept everything in place. The biggest problem I had was maintaining the broach vertical. The relatively small diameter of the shank meant that at best only two teeth were engaged at a time. Sometimes the broach went straight through with ease, other times it jammed. A jam simply required the broach to be twisted slightly back towards vertical and then it went as normal.

Not ideal, but I suspect the original spikes and rectangular holes would have been made by the blacksmith, so at least I'm better than that.


Nigel Graham 218/07/2019 11:01:59
520 forum posts

Andrew -

Quite possibly forged originals, but very likely drop-forged, not hand-made. The technique was well-established by the end of the 19C.

Alternatively your method was rather closer to the original than you suggest, because that's a large amount of steel to remove compared to the total, by forging. Also of course, the factory needed to make a lot of these components! So forged to form the head, then the shank drilled, and not broached but machine-slotted. (Dedicated slotting-machines were common then, especially good for cutting internal splines and keyways.)

Nigel Graham 218/07/2019 11:48:46
520 forum posts

Well, yesterday but I was too tired by the time I arrived home!

Not so much What Did You Do Today?, as How Stupid And Selfish Can People Be?

Retuning by Cross-Country Trains from Leeds to Bristol, our steady 90 - 100mph trip was interrupted in South Gloucestershire by a rapid slowing.

"For Bristol Parkway", I thought.

Then drawing to a stop, with the engines idling. "Signal", I assumed - until the last few tens of yards were accompanied by awful grinding noises from somewhere below. (I was near the front of the train.) I wondered if a brake lining had broken up.

We sat still for a while, with a fair amount of to-ing and fro-ing by the crew, and doors slamming somewhere fo'rrad.

The Guard apologised for the delay and explained we'd hit an armchair someone had placed right in the Four-Foot! He and the driver managed to remove it from under the train; but the delay was lengthened to nearly half an hour in all by our losing our planned Bristol PW and TM access to what should have been services following ours.

Just as well the driver had seen the obstruction far enough ahead to slow us to perhaps 10mph or so before hitting it.

I hope they catch the wilfully-useless scum responsible: they might live in the new-looking housing estate we'd stopped alongside, some miles N of Parkway Station.


Ironically, earlier in the trip a young man told me he'd been on one service that derailed, throwing him against an electrical panel that gave him a shock right across his chest (by induction I assume rather than contact) - pace-maker and all - whose circular scar he showed me. The cause was similar vandalism, a mattress placed on the line.

After our incident, a fellow passenger agreed with my hope that because such vandals are so stupid, that they'd boast about it on Facebook or similar... not realising they can be traced.

(BTW, I know its original thread was closed by straying well off-topic, but does anyone know if the wilfully-rubbish who destroyed that model-railway exhibition have been caught and at least charged, if not yet tried?)


On Tuesday afternoon, all services - DMU as well as EMU - around Leeds, Bradford and Skipton were disrupted for over an hour by balloons entangled in the overheads near Silsden. My own trip, Skipton to Horton-in-R, on the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle route, was delayed by an hour though luckily that did not matter to me. (It would have been personally serious on the Up service that morning, when I was on my way to a funeral.)

That was probably due to some child losing helium-filled party balloons quite accidentally, but such and other problems with them does add weight to calls for the gas to be used only for serious purposes. It is a possibly-finite resource, and "used" or lost helium diffuses and floats irrecoverably to the Upper Atmosphere.

Andrew Johnston18/07/2019 11:49:08
5194 forum posts
599 photos

Nigel: Thanks for that, no doubt you're correct. In the only picture I have of fullsize frost spikes they're so rusty it's impossible to tell how they were manufactured. You're also correct about quantities, I've made 36 and that's only for one engine.

It's not clear how the frost spikes and anchor bolts were held in place. A straight tapered key wouldn't fit properly if perpendicular to the axle due to the curvature of the wheel rim, and if parallel to the axle there wouldn't be room to fit it. In the picture referred to there is a partially hidden tapered key; so that's what I've gone for. It's designed, a 1:1 card model made to check the fit, and the next step is to make one from metal strip. which arrived yesterday..


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