Old fashioned skills.

Colin

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Hi,

Whilst the rain; sleet; snow and hail are lashing the front of the bungalow with audio and visual effects added by thunder and lightning I thought I'd add this thread just for interest to show what an old dinosaur was trained to do 55 years ago as an apprentice mechanical engineer working in a deep coal mine starting the apprenticeship aged 15.

It's rather like riding a bike; once the skill is learned then it's never forgotten but regarding this type of work once the basics are grasped there is no limit to what can be achieved other than one of imagination. I have the confidence to design and make anything from scratch simply using the skills I was taught. Patience and accuracy are all that are required plus of course the means to do the work.

Years ago I bought a very rare Myford lathe through eBay this lathe being described as in excellent very little worn condition; I hired a van and collected the lathe from an address in Wales. Back home I reassembled the lathe and the first real job I wanted to do was to cut many cast iron gears so I got everything set up; as work proceeded the lathe kept losing accuracy so I investigated only to find to my utter disgust this lathe was a pile of scrap iron it having a broken headstock main bearing casting; this had been hidden under a lot of oily dirt.

I was trained by top engineers so a broken casting wasn't going to stop me; I made an heavy duty steel clamp to secure the top bearing casting in position whilst I completed the gear cutting. With the gear cutting out of the way and that particular job completed I now turned my attention to this load of junk.

It's an awful long story so I'll keep it short. Whilst the lathe was still running I needed to use it to make new bearings and bearing top housings. I bought a length of "Whale Tufnol" round bar stock also blocks of Meehanite (cast iron). I took immense trouble to turn the new bearings from the Tufnol then split them using the hacksaw; next I did the opposite of what people regard a lathe to be used for; I set up the blocks one by one and added perfectly flat faces then put two blocks together and using a boring bar opened up the bore to suit the diameter of the mandrel; Next I used hand tools hacksaw and files to cut away sections of the headstock this being the most skilfull part and most laborious to create new housings for the cast iron bearing blocks.

I then visited a local company taking along the new Tufnol bearings and mandrel (shaft) to a local company who metal sprayed the mandrel using stainless steel then they brought the mandrel back to original dimensions using my new bearings as a guide.

Once everything was reassembled and adjusted I ran the lathe under power for a couple of hours adding lots of lubricant allowing the new bearings to bed in; the bearings initially heated up but with adjustments they finally settled. The pictures show better than text the work involved. Later I sold this lathe because I don't like junk; the lathe though was in perfect working order when I sold it unlike when I bought it.

Any old apprentice trained mechanical engineer could do this kind of work but unfortunately we are now an endangered species because youngster's these days have little interest in such work.

I'm now picking up gardening skills but engineering is my background and my lifelong interest.

Kind regards, Colin.

Myford lathe repair (1).JPG


Myford lathe repair (4).JPG


Myford lathe repair (7).JPG


Myford lathe repair (6).JPG


Myford lathe repair (5).JPG


Myford lathe repair (2).JPG


Myford lathe repair (3).JPG


Undercoat 1.JPG


Side view..JPG


Repaired 8.JPG
 
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I can cane or rush chair seats, reproduce early 19th century stencils on furniture that has seen better days and the original stencils are worn almost away, and repair old baskets. None of these skills are as complicated as Colin's and Zigs' abilities, but I enjoy bring something back to usefulness.
 

Colin

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Hi,

What a fascinating hobby stained glass work is zigs; thanks for adding the picture; it looks to be coming along nicely; what size soldering iron do you use and what solder (60/40?) What do you use as sealant between glass and lead? Many years ago I considered having a go at stained glass work and I used to have very old books on the subject; the books showed how the cames were rolled by hand using a simple cranked machine. (y)

http://www.creativeglassguild.co.uk...glass-materials/lead-came-stained-glass-heaps

Skills are skills marlingardener; well done (y); how interesting to learn you can do cane and rush work also the more complicated stencils; I once made a caned tray after being admitted into hospital with fractured legs and found the caning to be interesting and therapeutic. Bron uses stencil stamps on her card making but her stamps are bought; do you make your own stencils? I enjoy learning what other members are interested in as hobbies or even jobs; being nosy I learn a lot. :)

It's amazing what can be done with a little confidence and making the effort to have a go; when I get things broken beyond repair many times I can make new items from scratch; here are three examples just for interest; the crank was made to replace a missing crank as was the aluminium knob to replace a missing knob on a machine I fully restored. I like to improve wherever possible so even this basic crank was given plenty of thought; the oak handle revolves around its axis and I added wire burned rings for decoration; small additions like this can make a huge difference.

I joined Practical Machinist forum the largest forum of its type in the world; I was seeking information regarding an Hydrovane compressor I had bought this being faulty; one very arrogant forum member openly declared I should not be on this forum asking such questions inferring the forum was only for experts but if so why would such a forum exist if every member already knew everything? I spent many hours browsing the web but came to the conclusion no one in a home workshop had stripped one of these Hydrovanes so I stripped mine and not only carried out the necessary repair I made the complicated part it being called an "Unloader valve" the original valve wasn't working correctly allowing pressure to creep up into the red zone; this called for accurate work but not a problem for me so I added the repair story onto Practical Machinist just to let the forum know there are still people around who can make things without using huge computer controlled industrial machines; I dislike arrogant people.

I believe if something is broken then whatever I do further to it I've a good chance of repairing it; if it's already broken then I can't break it further? :)

Kind regards, Colin.

Home made crank..jpg


Home made knob..jpg


Hydrovane unloader valve (3).JPG
 
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I can't do anything! :unsure:

Although I sometimes do something that would make a skilled person shudder.

We used to have an old garage with two wooden doors with hinges at the sides. The fascia on the bottom of each door was scraping the ground (tarmac had swollen over the years) so the doors needed removing, shortening and replacing. The hinges had 4ft long triangular sections that screwed into, and across the door.

I found that they had been there so long 40+ years, and painted over many times, that I couldn't budge the screws. So I decided to remove the fascias at the bottom, shorten the doors and replace the fascias. The fascias were also impossible to remove for the same reason (couldn't actually see any recessed screws as they were hidden by years of paint.

So I used a crow bar to lever the fascia off, pulling out the screws like a claw hammer would pull nails. I then lay down on the ground, sawed 1" off the bottom of the doors with my chainsaw and then hammered the fascias back on. Looked as good as new (the sawn edges were hidden by the fascias) and took half an hour. (y)
 

Colin

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Hi,

Thanks zigs. (y)

Thanks Bootsy for adding your interesting story; you did what you set out to do in shortening the garage doors even if the method you used was rather crude; it's the end result which matters not how its achieved. :) One thing worth mentioning regarding doors especially exterior doors is the bottom edge of the door is the edge to suffer most from the weather; if this bottom edge is left untreated it simply soaks up water and moisture. Well done Bootsy; one job well sorted and onto other jobs?

A single skill can be built upon; I've been using my head and hands for so long it is now automatic for me to sort out anything at all; if it's beyond repair it's possible I can make a new one. Bron and I replaced our bungalow roof 28 years ago doing the work ourselves without a bit of outside help or advice but at that time the chimney wasn't touched other than to install new lead flashings.

A few years ago we suffered slight water ingress into our front room and I suspected the chimney at fault so I went up to check; the chimney pointing needed replacing so not a big job; I set about with hammer and chisel to chop out the old pointing; as work progressed I felt the chimney stack move; to my horror as I hit the chisel with the hammer the whole chimney wobbled like a jelly. My usual bad luck was with me; I ended up removing the chimney down to roof level. I bought new manufactured stone and cut the stone to size as I built the new chimney stack; Bron and I visited a local company who made clay products and on special offer was the perfect chimney pot for us this being in two parts; the old chimney was open to the climate and never was fitted with a pot; this new pot was sealed at the top with plenty of lower vents so the inside of the chimney would be protected at last. With the new chimney stack built I used concrete to bed the new chimney pot making a neat job of it all as seen in the pictures below.

I've been recording jobs I do for many years using a cheap digital camera; I've built up a large collection of pictures and these pictures are better than relying on memory as to work carried out; I also make notes of materials used for future reference. Bron and I would have been quicker demolishing this bungalow and building from new because we've been working on the bungalow for the last 30 years so we know it from the foul drains right up to the chimney pot; doing the work ourselves has saved us a fortune allowing us to use best materials. I would encourage anyone to have a go at repairs and these days there is an enormous number of "how to" videos on YouTube; if I'm tackling something new I research first; just jumping in is inviting failure and I never ever start a job without finishing before moving on to the next job. Bron has never ever complained about the noise or dirt many of these jobs create because I tidy up after myself although Bron has gone over making a better job of tidying; we support each other in everything we do.

Kind regards, Colin.

Cutting new blocks to length..jpg


Close up of base.jpg


Chimney completed.jpg
 
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Colin, yes, I do make my own stencils. I trace whatever remains of the original stencil, look up patterns in several books I have, fill in the missing bits, and then cut a stencil from architect's linen. The linen can be cut with clean edges and stands up to several uses.
I have a range of gold, silver, and bronze powders, and the stencils are applied using velvet "fingers." I cut a piece of close-nap velvet, sew a finger cover of it, and gently rub in the powder until the desired brilliance is achieved. It is painstaking and slow work, but bringing back something that has faded over almost 200 years is very satisfying. Of course, I'd never touch an original stencil that was in good condition!
 

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