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Tools or 'things' as therapy

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Nigel Graham 218/06/2019 10:14:34
359 forum posts

Ah yes, the satin sheen on exposed steel parts, and general patina, of a well-used, well-loved machine or tool... One of my tap-wrenches is now becoming too worn to be very useful, but years of mine and previous owners' hands as well as predecessors have given it such a sheen and pleasure to feel.

This reminds me of visiting the tiny, 13C church in the French Pyrennean village of Ste. Engrace. The columns' plinths are decorated with stone balls, about tennis size; and I noticed some were black and shiny whereas the rest of the stone retained its limestone creaminess. I realised from their location, those ones had helped all those generations kneel for Communion: the patina from thousands of hands over hundreds of years. (My girlfriend wrote one word in the visitors' book: " Peace ".)

The satisfaction of using any very old functional article - not necessarily a workshop tool - as intended, when and where its use is still legitimate in purely practical terms....

Though including a large carpenter's trammel whose hardwood rule's brass-end fittings look (at very close inspection!), hand-made; or a very useful, neat little adjustable-square with 4" blade. I so wonder of their history.

The scent of clean oil.... The pleasure of using a bench drill, a Meddings so a good one, that was second-hand to me but actually has no lazy-holes in its table!

The neat contrast between 18C interior-decorating elegance and 20C modernity in a former town-house used by the IT training company my employer sent me to.

The slow, very soft, almost inaudible, " whoomp whoomp whoomp " of a large-scale (6"? It was certainly 4", scale) Showmen's Road Locomotive ticking over, though still generating for its canopy lights. (I wonder what would be the common reaction if someone displayed a miniature or indeed full-size SRL without canopy lighting? )

The rhythmic splash-splash-splash of a large water-wheel in a restored mill, while hardly a sound comes from the cast-iron pinions meshing with the hardwood "cogs" of the larger wheels. ("Cog" here is the millwright's term for the teeth, but not the gear as whole.) .....

.... and this lead only slight obliquely to...

"The click of a ratchet". Ah yes...

Just outside Sherborne, Dorset, is a Wessex Water fresh-water treatment-plant alongside its predecessor, a bore-hole pumping-station driven by a water-wheel. This has been restored to demonstration state as central to a local water-supply museum by a Trust which holds occasional public Open Days. (I am not a member, but yes, this is a plug - it's a charming little industrial museum to visit, the sort more conserved than pickled!)

The wheel-driven pumps were replaced in due course by steam-driven ones, in turn eventually displaced by electric of course. The Trust found a similar engine, and installed it with a coal-fired vertical boiler in the original shed. Built by E.S. Hindley & Sons, of Bourton; not very far from Sherborne, this single-cylinder mill-engine is so quiet the only sound is the soft tick-tick of its lubricator ratchet.

On one visit, I saw the volunteers had placed a small hot-air engine on the valve-chest, cheekily using heat escaping through the casting!

The water-wheel, also a Hindley product, had rusted beyond repair. It is on display, and the working wheel is a replica by preservation-engineer Richard 'Turbo' Vincent, fittingly near Bourton and Sherborne. He was also the builder of a replica Hindley Steam-wagon, to commission, and which uses a pair of wheels that are the only known remains of any original Hindley wagon.

@

On a very different metallic " tick ", I can assure you that as also a caver, when you are dangling from a rope with a hundred feet of dark thin air below your tootsies, there is nothing more reassuring than the sharp, metallic " Click " of a karabiner snapping shut on the belay!

SillyOldDuffer18/06/2019 11:02:47
4599 forum posts
988 photos

Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 18/06/2019 10:14:34:.

...

On a very different metallic " tick ", I can assure you that as also a caver, when you are dangling from a rope with a hundred feet of dark thin air below your tootsies, there is nothing more reassuring than the sharp, metallic " Click " of a karabiner snapping shut on the belay!

Of course I secretly agree wholeheartedly with Nigel, but:

  • When you're stood in front of a firing squad there is nothing less reassuring than the sharp, metallic "Click" of a Carbine bolt snapping shut.
  • Society is not well-disposed to men who fondle their tools in public.

I apologise. I have lived too long on the dark side!

devil

Dave

Mick B118/06/2019 13:00:38
1155 forum posts
64 photos

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 18/06/2019 11:02:47

...

  • When you're stood in front of a firing squad there is nothing less reassuring than the sharp, metallic "Click" of a Carbine bolt snapping shut.

Dave

It's unusual for those who've heard that to comment on it... devil

roy entwistle18/06/2019 15:38:21
1021 forum posts

I find that there's something about old tools, somehow they feel right whereas a new tool tends to feel awkward.

Roy

roy entwistle18/06/2019 15:39:20
1021 forum posts

I find that there's something about old tools, somehow they feel right when you're using them, whereas a new tool tends to feel awkward.

Roy

AdrianR18/06/2019 16:01:15
272 forum posts
20 photos

I guess old tools were made and refined out of necessity and the design was honed to fit engineers sense of aesthetics. "if it looks right it is right" and "It looks beautiful" ​​​​​​​

I have even had software code that looks beautiful and some that is dam ugly.

The one thing jumps to mind is metric coarse threads, they never feel right. Whitworth a thing of beauty.

Neil Wyatt18/06/2019 16:42:15
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Moderator
16438 forum posts
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74 articles

Just to say, tools as therapy... buying them is almost as therapeutic as buying them

Mick B118/06/2019 17:11:24
1155 forum posts
64 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 18/06/2019 16:42:15:

Just to say, tools as therapy... buying them is almost as therapeutic as buying them

No, some of those therapeutic to use are those you've made, found or acquired without money changing hands.

Nick Clarke 318/06/2019 17:17:20
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359 forum posts
9 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 18/06/2019 16:42:15:

Just to say, tools as therapy... buying them is almost as therapeutic as buying them

Presumably you mean as using them?

The pleasure of sorting through the adverts and catalogues, some sell it cheaper, but delivery is longer - is the item someone else is selling the same? But the first supplier you look at has a reputation for poor customer service, while the next is great, but more expensive - then someone suggests an auction site or an Asian mega site. What to do?

At last the decision is made. To hell with it, hit the credit card. When the box, crate or Jiffy bag arrives unwrap it and remove the preservative. Stroke it. Stroke it. My precious, My precious.

Imagine Blofeld in the Bond movies with the white cat and you get the right image.

Better stop now and get back to my drawing. With green crayon. They don't allow me anything sharp in here!

Nick

PS To Plasma: "I love all my tools, machines and assorted nick knacks"

Look at my username please.

Assorted????

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 18/06/2019 17:26:52

Mike Poole18/06/2019 17:26:01
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2048 forum posts
47 photos

I think a tool has to be well made finished to be a therapeutic aid, a poor tool is an unpleasant thing to use and will not be a calming experience.

Mike

Howard Lewis18/06/2019 17:33:56
2217 forum posts
2 photos

When working with my father on a car, often one particular spanner would be used for particular fastener, or task.

Engineers tend to be magpies, fascinated by bright, shiny tools, (The joy of a nice shiny mic or vernier. I still have the Rabone Chesterman vernier, bought from my Chief Instructor when he started selling off his tools. No dull chrome, but a joy to hold and behold )

And, the satisfaction of making tools, and seeing them perform the task for which they were made!

Howard

How did the extra character slip min there?

Edited By Howard Lewis on 18/06/2019 17:34:58

not done it yet18/06/2019 17:54:44
3247 forum posts
11 photos

Plasma,

Only one handed? I can change mine with both - the mechanical lever on the left and the VFD, by pendant, on the right.smiley

Much the same with the mill, although both the handle and the VFD are on the right side of the machine (but I am right handed).

Overkill, maybe, but it increases the available speed range and I have not needed to use the back gear on the lathe so far...

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