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... not everyone has spent so many years making things, tool manipulation comes easy to me; but for people coming to this as a hobby and picking up my richard kell no.2 honing guide heres a few hints as to how I go about handling the device.

I have to admit i am a 'dyed in the wool' freehand sharpening man, i sharpen many odd formed hand tools, tools for the lathe and milling cutters but this large wheeled honing guide of mine ie richard kell no.2 LGE is an absolute winner for any chisel or plane iron and without question is the tool to reach for, both for sharpness of edge and for quick results. In addition my 3mm riser concept ie two slips of polycarb under the back wheels provides a five degree lift for final hone / bevel very quickly indeed, no need to touch the clamping at all. Because of all this toolmaker repeatability ie close tolerance manufacture and by nature of its design, merely two strokes on the finishing stone will get you back into action for most small chisels.


Above is ready to measure / set projection of tool to achieve the desired angle, I just use 1-1/4 inch for most things, the jig can slide up or down the chisel as you wish before tightening.


Above the no.2 LGE is in use on my roughing stone, is balanced and sharpens perfectly on the push stroke, for the last couple of strokes I centre both wheels on the middle of the stone to get the best chance of both repeatability and a square end, minimising the time for the finishing stone. Its all about 'feel' and thinking with your hands  ......

You would be perfectly okay to remove the hind-end on the bench grinder and jig mount merely for final hone (my preferred method).

Another advantage of my honing guides used in the above set-up is that I can utilise every part of the stone, not just a central trackway.


Its important the chisel itself beds onto the two stainless rods. Polycarb washers either side of the chisel provide excellent grip (ie 'stick-tion') and once inserted and set I give the hex nut the slightest of tweaks to help secure all firm.

Also above I am using my felt tip pen trick to verify repeatability.

Note that I have 3mm strips of polycarb available so that for the final five degree finishing bevel we merely run on the 3mm elevated track, again two strokes will do all we want, saving time and precious chisel steel.

short youtube to follow....  in meantime see my youtube channel ....

heres my website with paypal facility to order one ....

Please operate sensible and correct working procedures at all time, no liability accepted for any loss or injury E&OE.

copyright richard kell 2014


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So far I don't feel overwhelmed by any great sentimentality in moving out of my workspace of thirty years to a new location, maybe my progressive emptying over six weeks or more and a full years notice to get used to the idea have helped smooth the transition. Its really just a huge collection of 'stuff', where it is housed matters far less than what is achieved, but as would be obvious a man with so much stuff both accumulated and made by me over thirty years it will prove a disadvantage in some ways to disturb the immense amount of items that I knew the exact location of for retrieval, being unusual has its drawbacks.

For a year now my natural sleep rythmn has been disturbed, I get to sleep well enough since being told we were being closed down but my waking day starts much earlier as if in 'fight mode'. An instance was this morning when I took these pics, at work for 06:30 ..... already been up for two hours!

An unforseen big effect a few days ago was taking the workshop clock down for the new place, losing time from the old space seemed to very clearly declare it finished.

My first unit at for a few months at Plessey Road Workshops was three times the size way back in September 1984 but the expense of it pushed me to get into the smallest unit available at 168 sq ft as shown above. Actually its odd how the camera sees the image, its really not as grubby as it appears, is swept clean and the stainless drainer is gleaming !

I've had so many instances of good luck recently, being able to use a big unit across the gangway for overspill made life so much easier, considering the old place was only twelve feet by fourteen it is utterly incredible how so much was crammed into a fully operational and mostly comfortable space; I'd had thirty years to achieve this. However i did have tricks to enable this (needs must etc) such as six foot racking perched on brackets above head height. The walls were much thicker than the new place, could bear weight, the new place is single thin breezeblock, definitely not load bearing.

Next week when all keys are handed over I will be a fortnight short of when I moved in at September 1984.  Another tiny instance of unexpected luck was the morning the machinery movers were to arrive, so there I am at 06:45 17th July and half an hour before their scheduled arrival at 08:00 on the topmost shelf of some aerial racking that I'm clearing there precisely on cue are the nuts and bolts needed to secure the one loose plank of the heavy bench top to its frame so it can be slinged and lifted by the Hiab lorry crane. I had utterly no memory they were there, how could anyone after thirty years, completely out of sight but exactly where they would have been placed thirty years ago by me and as needed for departure, last thing to be taken from the uppermost shelf. Thankfully the machinery men had rescheduled to four days later, their original date wld have been impossible for me even with a continuous fortnight of getting ready !!

As with many projects triple the expected timescale to get nearer to reality.

The new place seems fine, only bug is increased rent to pay and issues with minor subsidence with the end wall otherwise its a pleasant enough space mostly retaining the central most used area as a pattern of efficiency; my immediate neighbour and his wife seem nice folk and its a space I'm happy to get to; closer to home saves petrol and increases output. The terrible incident of my beagle Smud being loose for more than half an hour was also astounding good luck, the one man that had said hello indeed remembered him and knocked on my door when with even greater good fortune a work colleague of my wife who miraculously lives nearby found Smud lieing down in the middle of a busy road. It struck me last night many days later that he must have placed himself so visible so that his master would find him as he would be disorientated and baffled. I shudder to think what might have happened.

Once we are all cleared 22nd August its all to be demolished for housing. The main complex itself was as good as new but a huge old shed next door was dragged onto the rentable list by a tenant that apparently accrued rent arrears and hence created rates payable by the Local Authority following his bankruptcy so inevitably the whole operation came under scrutiny by accountants and commitees and planners and the axe has fallen.

The move in some ways has been pleasant, a total month out and probably more from my usual activity ie manufacturing, I've been able to take my time to be sure to group and collate like things together and i know full well much of it will never be unboxed and probably unrecoverable even when needed. Its been quite an experience, something totally different from my usual day to day work and something I never wish to repeat. I've had various windfalls, excellent good as new steel racking abandoned from another unit, boxes full of educational material again abandoned that distracted me from the tedium of the shift and other bits and pieces that fell into my hands.

Plessey Road Workshops was a very good facility, a success and allowed many many people to try their hand at small business. Losing Blyth Valley local authority meant a protracted hiccup in credit control, already having developed problems from the wrong person occupying the role and so problems snowballed .....

Pics for the archive .....



Here I am saying I'm unsentimental but admittedly I am posting pics of the empty unit ! More accurately I feel the need to document the now cleared space that has been my workshop for thirty years, as it is a complete novelty for me to see this unit cleared, it was not an easy task, very time consuming and for thirty years these walls have been my working space.

The easiest bit was the day of the machinery move; otherwise my endless clutter and bits and pieces (mostly made by me) hampered progress .... this is not just a desk a monitor and a tray of pens job !!

postscript; the temperature of the new place drops much lower in cold weather, at Plessey Road i was well embedded in the depths of the building, an additional cost will be background heating for whenever i'm not there, once heavy machine tools and any steel tools in fact cool down too far theres always the likelihood of rusting when you warm the place for the days work.


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Seems I have something rare.



The two long pieces of lancewood at left are 1-3/4 inches square, scale at bottom is in inches. Drumsticks too can be of lancewood.

Heres the text of the listing ..

Mainly boxwood, all items have been in my workshop for thirty years, also at left first / main pic is two lengths of lancewood and which I bought all those years ago to make spars for high quality scratch built ship models; also two roughed mallet heads of lignum vitae.

Scale is in inches, note the shakes and imperfections, don't get carried away thinking this is perfect, boxwood often shakes when dried in the round, however the lancewood is tip-top.

I am ring me if you want to discuss or do a deal etc.

nb. seems the lancewood is like hens teeth these days, so what I'll prob do is take one of the 1-3/4 sq sections out of the auction as a collector of wood specimens is v keen.

end of ebay description.

Yesterday as soon as listed I got a message from a collector assembling a museum of wood specimens, I jokingly wondered how that affects the price, I'm not particularly money orienbtated, I don't crave it but what I wil try and do is distribute this as best as possible, so maybe take out one or even both pieces from the lot. Big problem is how to get this into the hands of the right people?

I bought the lancewood thirty years ago for the spars of high quality scratch built ship models, I would have been thinking specifically of Reg Collins 'Myrmidon' as serialised in the late 1950's 'Model Engineer' magazine, I have all the copies here (as all ME 1941 to 1980 plus a few earlier bound volumes bought at random) when it went to my mind drastically downhill say early 1980's, I think specifically Stan Brays contributions stand out as dreadful, poor workmanship, a drop in standards, hideous photography of castings not even fettled before a slap of paint, the man was obviously struggling with the lathe. Problem is I was raised on the best so to speak, boxfuls of ME, Practical Wireless and Woodworker all from 1956 through to 1964, the latter signifying when we moved north and all magazines were stopped. I can suppose I can say I know 'model Engineer' from its best days with both the best calibre of men contributing and a distinct and adept skill from layout and Editor.

Lets list some of the contributors that set the bar high .... EdgarT Westbury, LBSC, Duplex, Dr Hallows, Ian Bradley, Austen-Walton, George Gentry, Scotia, W J Hughes, Martin Cleeve, Martin Evans, Joseph Martin ..... there will be other names that spring to mind once I click off.

Theres two lots so far as above, Lot 2 having African blackwood, I've actually found more boxwood that would make for a Lot3, and alder and lime and hawthorn and plum etc etc the stuff just keeps pouring out of every nook and cranny ......



Some are blackwood waxed as from North Heigham Sawmills originally intended for the musical instrument trade and some are pieces cut from purchased quartered log. The two big bits of boxwood came from Persia before the Second War, I visited Lawrence the boxwood engraving block makers in the early 1980's when they were in their workshop up many flights of stairs at Bleeding Hart Yard, London. Interestingly I live in Stakeford and one of the men told me his best mate in the Army was from exactly the same place! The boss had his 'secret machine' or machines for shaping or levelling the blocks and understandably this was one area he would not reveal; fair enough why give away your commercial advantage that you have devised and laboured to make real.


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We've had a whole year to worry and ponder and cogitate and yesterdays 0815 to 1215 operation with three experienced operatives and a big lorry with Hiab crane moved all the machines and benches in one morning, a bright sunny day and everyone working well. I regret not having my camera on hand to get a pic of the lorry fully loaded with the machines as for me its a once in a lifetime sight, its probable I'll never see it again; a sense of pride, all is old but serves well.

Perversely it was the machinery move that created anxiety yet it was all completed in half a day, all the other sorting, packing and boxing up has taken so far at a guess sixty hours to eighty hours minimum (actually 120 hours at final count) and much in boxes has yet to be taken over to the new place or established at the new HQ.

I worked well with the machinery men, proving I'm no slacker dealing with the many items (toolmakers generate / accumulate 'stuff') and grafting the equal of the workmen, up at 0500 for an 0645 start. The machinery movers had put back from Monday to Thursday and thank goodness, I would not have been ready for a Monday even though I had plenty of notice and have worked continuously for the last fortnight sorting out and boxing up, as in times of emergency all leave is cancelled. I'm sure many of the boxes will never be opened again, bits of projects and tooling from times past. There must have been half a ton of material sifted and irreducibly destined for landfill, all from an area 12ft by 14ft; for this landfill I feel bad but there was far more claimed as usable, worthwhile or recyclable and for past thirty years far too much has been retained. Basically I had to dig myself out, literally. I sincerely hope at the new place I do not degenerate to such clutter; in fact i am going to have a 'clean floor' policy, at the old unit this was just impossible at the margins.

Later I'll include a pic of the empty unit for my own purposes, maybe a before and after, meanwhile I still have a few days of smaller items, machine parts, bits and pieces to move and store, now a full fortnight into the project and say a full week to get me operational in a basic way ie embedded with all my paraphenalia, and maybe some time after that to tweak storage and layout. The stainless sink worktop on point of personal standards at the old place will be gleaming.  I'm also taking several steps to increase security, I take the Fort Knox approach, which again will take even more time. Budgeting total project time without exaggeration this must be a month of intense activity with zero production, but strangely I'm enjoying it, compared to the 'push-push' of normal working days on production its even quite pleasurable!  I'm also wondering how cold it will be in winter or how it will compare to the previous place of thirty years, the old place is now soon to be demolished for housing, time will tell .....

I cannot believe I've been there thirty years !!  Both my only remaining neighbour at the workshops and also my wife have said '"End of an era" ..... optimistically I tend to view it merely as an exchange of walls for the same old activity, ie my enterprise. However on reflection it certainly is the end of an era for all concerned, for all longterm tenants. Perhaps Smud my beagle has no more immediate grass to wriggle on as we return to the car after each session, but the new place has other grassy areas to compensate. Birds too, no more of the man that leaves two spoonfuls of birdseed a day at the side of the car, the latter demonstrated the lack of songbirds in the vicinity, an area of open fields and golf course is not the optimum habitat for them. The only twinge of emotion was ringing ahead to tell my wife the 'convoy' will be driving by, but she's not sure she saw us!

What is curious and baffling is that though the new place is twice the square footage and already is filled to the brim merely with machines and benches there seems hardly room for the extra storage I had in mind and yet still theres lots more to move in. The old place ie Unit Five was extremely cramped, needing to twist and turn once away from the working triangle of flypress, Bridgeport, bench-vice. Now I will have the luxury of being able to use more than one of the four sides of a bench or machine, two sides, three and maybe even four! The old unit was more an 'organic construction' developed over the years of thrift and the retention of anything that may be useful in the future; I started with very little capital and near zero security in my self employed endeavours and this poor mans cautious approach cannot be shaken off. Perhaps this approach is mirrored in my advice to anyone 'to live as a poor man' ie to not get caught up in needless spending, get your pleasures simply.

Heres a quick sketch jotted earlier today to explain how at the old more congested unit so much was poured into such a small space because most benches and machines were only accessible from say one side out of four, such jobs as rebuilding my capstan lathe gearbox a few years ago was a very slow and cramped activity.

I've had incredible luck on this shift, a not planned big unit available for overspill that increasingly amazed as to how much was crammed into my original place of thirty years; a chance to recycle materials that otherwise were destined for the wreckers ball and little things such as a coach bolt missing to secure the floor joist bench top and as if by magic half an hour before the lorry and Hiab arrive, topmost shelf last box to be brought down and hey presto theres the exact ones used thirty years to build the same bench.


And what is utterly staggering is/ was the huge amount of jigs and tooling, devices, apparatus, cutters, spare parts, materials, offcuts, oddments, lumps of stuff, all crammed into every niche. I even found a tray of three hundred beautifully first op'd components from the capstan lathe, a trial batch to prove makeability and times, a product that long ago fizzled; all in perfect preservation as wrapped in plastic sheet, these had spent the last two decades buried in accumulated swarf beneath the capstan lathe. I had utterly no idea they were still there!

Meaningless to others is the sketch above, but to me an accurate depiction of my previous workspace of thirty years. Six foot racking in two instances actually was held on wall brackets placed six feet off the ground, ditto a big shelf. The next place is so much easier to move around, perhaps too much moving around.  Also i've realised on the third visit I've a tree outside that provides green that is restful to tired eyes, signals the weather changing light and the seasons and also to be able to focus on anything more than six feet away is a total newfound luxury whilst at work; good for the eyes. Watchmakers and many suchlke workers in years past would have a greenarea for fine work.

And we are good for many years yet !!

There surely can be no greater pleasure than your energy and health.


Above from earlier this summer with our present beagle Smuddy Rossmaith, the second of two beagles we've had; each evening he wriggles on the grass, often its a trouble to get him to get into the car. For the last few years I've left two spoonfuls of birdseed where we park each day, but songbirds are strangely scarce in that locality, a spuggie if yr lucky and mostly a pigeon or blackbird or jackdaw.


There was even more clutter since this pic was taken nearly twenty years ago.


The above two pics are circa mid-1990's with our first beagle that passed away in 2005, I've posted these pics before but as they are deep down in old blog posts it does no harm to post again. Snuffy Rossmaith is sleeping on my dads old ammo box (note that it was not his personal ammo, he was not a mercianary, merely an ex-WD purchase) ... nowadays our replacement second beagle tends to sleep in his deluxe insulated cabin at left. The first beagle is buried over in the Lakes in a garden and house we stayed many times, beautiful views around Loweswater and a location he knew very well indeed. Smud seems to know fine well whats happening, at visits to the old place he stays in the car which I drive to the unit itself indoors and has seen his cabin now at the new HQ ... the penny has dropped.

postscript : taken my wife around the new place tonight, we think its fantastic, obviously thirty years of very cramped conditions have been remedied and for the first time in forty years I can see sunlight, green leaves and the weather whilst at work. Also when wifelette is on her day off and my dog as he often does prefers to stay at home it is now a possibility i could cycle or walk to work when the weather is fine.


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Its good to see this go to a new owner, its been part of the workshop for thirty years, but now I'm moving to new premises and it really needs to find a new home.

Ironic as the new place has twice the square footage of the three decades cubby-hole of 168 sq ft, but I want to minimise fire hazard and not the clutter that has slowly developed into my present 'nest' which can be said to be the result of my various interests and all the different work that I have done as a self employed toolmaker. There was a big tidy up ten years ago, excess offcuts and bits and pieces for electronic tooling manufacture and now i need to offload things that it would be silly to take with me. It is very difficult finding premises at an affordable price for the one-man craftsman, theres not many admittedly and there is minimal provision for them, the units we are vacating have served their purpose admirably, several people have said to me that Governments and Councils are no longer interested in this type of tiny enterprise; but i think its a valuable resource for the local community that anyone can 'have a go' at minimal expense.  Still, the problem for me looks to be solved, fingers crossed !

probably under-priced at £100 and it is worm-free, so hopefully it will soon attract bids, sorry collection only ... i can barely lift it ... weight 34 kilo.

I bought this elm burr slice from a sawmill on the edge of the Blagdon Estate, Northumberland nearly thirty years ago. I remember him telling me he was very keen on horses and carriage driving, a really nice man to meet. They had lots of elm and would be quite happy to slice up elm trunk for my first batches of green turned elm vessels in the mid 1980's as per previous posts here ie


Scale is twenty inches overall, graduated one inch intervals.

Its a beautiful object, as is the plank of yew and the blacksmiths leg vice I also have for sale, more items to follow ....


a beautiful piece of yew  ....

expertly seasoned as not the shakes that can develop with yew ...



Its actually not rusty, just how the digital camera has read the oily dusty surface. I have three leg vices, the largest is used  for a specific purpose. I bought this thirty five years ago from a scrapyard in the local town, got other bargains there too .. now is all gone and a modern supermarket (second build to exist there) covers the site ... to my mind a change for the worst.



Cube or engineers box angle plate .... grade A with invoice to hand somewhere to prove it .... 7x9x6 inches tall, complete with wooden crate it arrived in. Note slight tarnishing / discolouration at one end ie last picture, there is utterly no mechanical degradation or pitting, merely cosmetic.  No nicks, no dings, no scratches even!

Hardly ever been used, bought in 1986 as art of improving facilities in my place. Practically as good as new, twenty hours use ??  an utter bargain at £150 ... remember this is serious industrial grade kit and the new price is much more than this.

weight 21 kilo



Mid seventies purchase of castings for the J M Wild clock depthing tool. £30

Seller beware ..... not such a happy sale for the depthing tool castings via ebay, I lost £6 on postage and the new owner has turned a blind eye for my requests for the money spent to be reimbursed; the wazzecks at the Post Office didn't tell me that i should be in the place earlier each day to catch Parcel Force and so then I would have had the option to send by seemingly lower cost Parcel Force, sending by Royal Mail which is the only service issued after the much earlier PF collection means higher postal cost. This had not been explained to me, they know fine well over say a hundred visits at the new place that my routine is a later afternoon postal drop.  This is bloody ridiculous.

No damage to the above castings, only the spigots on one casting have been turned otherwise there has been utterly nothing done to them other than some scraping and filing to fettle them. See mid seventies Model Engineer for the instructions; not a beginners project and in fact a poor solution to the depthing problem, the castings themselves are unwieldy and i wonder at what the accuracy of the finished result would be. as a toolmaker my solution would be totally different to this vintage pastiche. Remember, i can place a drilled hole consistently to better than +/- 0.002 in ie two thou from its marked out and desired position and often much closer.

As toolmaker trained my own solution wld be very different to this slavish adherence to the traditional, my solution building in so much accuracy that would be both easy to construct and easier to verify its accuracy.


Bought 35 years ago from a scrap yard lamentably long since gone, I remember the man said "Its over the other side of that scrap" and as I had to move it uphill and downhill some old geezer in the hut was cutting up strips of old tyre to poke into the turtle stove, result being not only manhandling an anvil over a tenfoot pile of crap but also being asphyxiated with smuts of rubbery smoke.... as with my larger leg vice at home it presumably has coal mining connections.

It would be interesting to learn of the pattern and shape and size of anvils as the centuries rolled by.

23 in overall x 11in high, 75 kilo as measured on my bathroom scales.

In these modern days these look to be such 'ancient things', as with the leg vice nice to have around in the workshop, a reminder of how we would have worked in previous centuries.


swage block 12in sq x 4in thick x 48 kilo ....

there will be other bits and pieces as the weeks roll by, some old radio components such as ex-WD tuning drives, valve holders, valves for amateur shortwave gear, whatever reveals itself as I complete the worshop move.


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In essence a fixture to machine / mill the windows or apertures in a bar-turned fly fishing reel, needs to find a new home too in my first in thirty year workshop move. It illustrates my approach of perhaps not much money to throw at it but lots of application and hard graft.

When I was at Hardys of Alnwick world renowned reel and tackle makers circa 1975-82 it was nearly all turned from castings from the foundry, the need for purer anodising spec bar material was not yet neccessary to any great extent but on reflection hazy memory tells me batches of sawn billets had started to appear. The foundry product is a much quicker and economical way of doing things as opposed to masses of machining to reach the 'as cast' dimensions before finish machining, foundry frames even have the rough cast apertures for the windows and is nice stuff to machine.

All my own Richard Kell reels were hard anodised and probably the first in the world to be able to resist the 'Stanley knife test', a standard of anodising that is very specialised and few if any anodisers either agree to it or can be trusted to give the reel maker what he wants. In the design and development work I had three patent applications also that were I assume unique (and useful) features. But after a few months in the mid 1980's and another two thousand hours over three years 1996-99 my enthusiasm dwindled, I was tired of it as a one-man activity as it is an awfully tortuous and long route to a finished saleable product, and so I am left with a lot of dedicated tooling, work in progress and development work that only sold a handful of reels, lots of it probably unique because of my approach to such work. If you are given a regular wage at this activity then the pressure is a fraction of being a one-man business living from what you make and deliver, but when you are financing everything yourself such big projects are very dangerous, the pace as with all self employed price work is fast but at least with simpler products you arrive at something saleable much quicker. Points of quality and detail drive the completion time further and further away. My problem also is that my standards are too high, I am a fast worker and intensely applied but at too high a level, I see faults that others cannot, it pains me if something is not 100% correct.

There was a lot of innovation in the tooling as well as the product, not so much as 'development' as I usually got the tooling right first go in my head: I have incredibly good visual imagination, so that i can build/ make whatever i want in my head and run it, theres no need to 'lets see if it works' crap. This is as long as I'm interested in the problem, latterly with very occasional customers for one-offs I'm afraid I run up to a blank wall, not interested.  All this multitude of new tooling and apparatus occasionally embodied new processes that I've never seen elsewhere. I'm not particularly clever as its what you do for a living therefore you are bound to be adept, have insights, probably merely just a little bit ahead of most workers and with the luxury of working on my own. I was obsessed with tooling and controlling the process, to generate the quality I was looking for and once fully tooled many imponderables would have been dealt with.

So this fixture is a good example of what I achieved.

To cut a long story etc this device is an excellent solution for a difficult problem, its not a Hardy solution (they do it differently and probably a more realistic solution)  but mine is merely a method that sprang to mind with the resources at my command and aiming for a flawless and repeatable solution. Engineering is all about minimising what can go wrong, to control the process.


So that is the start of it, bar turned and as shown above the need to mill the 'windows' cut with a homemade concave cutter, with a high quality finish straight off the tool, reflected light is the great test. Also fool-proofed in operation as already there has been a lot of time invested in the component ie turning, drilling (accurately) and engraving. All turned moulded features are hand turned and never touched with abrasive paper, freehand turning. The 'art' of hand turning metal ie the brass finisher is very rare indeed in this modern world and couldn't count myself a turner if I couldn't do it, because in my own place handturning of metal adds so much more to product quality, for instance look at all the tiny gleaming chamfers on my honing guide bobbins, for other work I often apply double chamfers ie 30 and 60 degrees cut with razor sharp tools.

Theres also a practical 'art' or delicacy in being able to both drill accurately and fit steel location pins as per the location plate above, unless anyones done it to an equal standard they don't know how close I can make it as in the above situation there must be no slop or discernable movement, wheras in many jigs and tooling there must be a controlled clearance introduced so that the jig and component are easily manipulated.  For instance knowing the feel of a transition fit and knocking off a half thou or a third of a thou to give yourself the clearance you are aiming for becomes intuitive, its mostly done in the minds eye with a micrometer to determine and verify; your hands are trained, they know themselves what to do. Also, I never use a drill 'straight from the packet', always doctoring it to produce better and more accurate results, I can control how a drill works or size it produces to within say a quarter thou in small sizes, its a developed intuition that comes form pushing ones-self to do better, mostly its minds-eye stuff. If I worked amongst others there would be too much of the 'near enough' I have the luxury of being able to focus and concentrate in my own environment ......


The frame of the fly reel clamps onto a multi-pin aluminium location pad that accurately registers onto the larger steel rotating faceplate and shaft, circular motion actuated by the large (ex lathe of 1895) changewheel and custom-made worm to match the DP (diametrical pitch) of the Edward Hines changewheel.  In fact the change wheel is going back to where it belongs on a stack of them, any (if any of say half a dozen makers in the world) is a potential buyer of this window milling fixture they will need to locate or have made a suitable replacement, its not an impossible task.

The white rectangle helps 'damp' any potential chatter when cutting, ie to achieve a very good surface finish, split at bottom to nip up onto the O/D of the rotating steel faceplate. The ally block underneath means for fast setting up, merely held in the machine vice, small cutters are used so this is quite tolerable, and its all done in the Bridgeport so we have the advantage of mass. I'm usually quite secretive re my methods but as theres a vast amount of other techniques and tooling, this is merely one tiny part of the whole.


I think this post illustrates my integrity as a workman, you cannot fake this calibre of activity, this pleases me.

On top of this chagewheel fits an ally plate with a fork and a pair of locknuts and allen screws that adjusts and clamps onto one of the changewheel spokes, this has to be deliberately set up so that the overlying brass plate with apertures to allow movement against a fixed index pin functions and provides 'windows' where they are needed in correct relation to the drilling and the engraving.

All clever stuff and a dream to use when its all correctly set. The changewheel is not my largest for the Edward Hines treadle lathe, merely an 80 tooth wheel; diameter 6-7/8 in, the fixture is 11-1/2in tall. The Edward Hines treadle lathe has been an inspiration throughout all of my working life, I bought it in 1976, just turned eighteen, impeccable design and workmanship that still astounds in this day and age !


note extractable stop pin in bronze block; forked block to engage with one of the changewheel spokes (that is the original paint from 1895) and makeshift detachable dividing plate to form handle.

What prompted me to write this post in the first place was brushing this down and being amazed how accurately and easliy the rig still worked, showing this next day to a neighbour at the workshops, a mechanical man, he too was very impressed.

I have mvi footage to add to this later  .......

see my honing guides and woodworkers tools on

copyright richard kell 2014 all rights reserved.

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Note that anything metric pisses me off but i do happilly use their threads when not screwcut with a single point tool in the lathe ie fastenings, tapped holes.

I've always been interested in typography and printing and the machinery that goes with it. What I hadn't read about or perhaps hadn't understood was the decision firstly in the USA of 1886 and adopted by Britain in 1898 was the idea that 83pica = 35cm (pica is the printers unit of measurement) tieing it in EXACTLY as a subdivision of a particular number of metric units. And so this new height was 0.0014 taller than the old 0.9166 inch; the new 'idea' being 0.918 inch. Note that the French had the 'ligne' when reading about this.

Note that we are to divide 35cm by a horrible and difficult prime number ie 83 ... goodness ... what insanity. Anyone ever heard of accumulation of tolerances ?

What i didn't realise is that the number 83 actually has its own wiki .... and interestingly tells us that indeed '83' follows 82 and precedes 84 .... wow i am in awe of this, best laugh i've had for ages and indeed 82 and 84 have their own links.

Big question is and thats why I write this post is how did this affect the industry, the workers, printing houses and jobbers because the link above tells us it was a 'big jump' and thus would cause problems, at one and a half thou, how noticeable would this be, I'm guessing 'borderline'.

But what makes this the most baffling move is to tweak it for 0.0014 inch in the first place ... we read from the link above that the two heights of type cannot be mixed. Typefounders would have massive amounts of accurate carefully hand made moulds and tackle all tied to the old height which was shorter than the proposed dimension, in other words they needed to cast at a bare two thou higher, you cannot 'put metal on' so they would need new parts, note that the moulds are multi-part not a single solid block, so you only need replace the section that provides height.  Even small towns had printers, larger towns perhaps several, all needing and using huge amounts of white metal.  The volumes were terrific and it was all hand made.

I wonder how long it took for this 'directive' and adoption of an exact subdivision of 35cm took to trickle to ground level or perhaps a dual offering from the founders .... there must be articles and perhaps a book treatment of the subject somewhere, I'm stuck for time right now but certainly its worth exploring the changeover and its troubles and consequences and i think would make for interesting reading.

My mind tells me it doesn't matter what your notional idea of an ultimate far-away standard actually is as long as all the practical real handleable type actually functions quickly as required, that the dimension at inspection level can be verified. Printing the old way must have often been a thankless job, customers would be blind to all the faff and manipulations required to complete their printing request at price and on time. The requirement of needing a subdivision of 35cm is so abstract, why metric ??....  why does it matter, why the need to be metric based? Perhaps they are thinking 'International standards' but metric based countries at that time were certainly in the background, not front runners in manufacturing and i assume never adopt anything Imperial.  I'm fully aware of metrology and in engineering the traceability and subdivision from a safely stored remote 'standard' and standards available in all countries around the world BUT for the practical man having to do this for a living and for the owner of a business needing to buy in type both replacement and new fonts was this new height a problem?

We had the same problem or worse with the loony adoption of the metric system in the UK in the 1970's, a move totally oblivious of the conveniences of the existing Imperial system and Britain at that time was stuffed full of manufacturing and machine tools; a best / worst case example being the use of the metric micrometer a most foul and so easily mis-read instrument. Oh dear, politicians stick their oar in ..... likewise with all index dials and leadscrews on machine tools, once a man has learnt and intuitively can manipulate an imperial machine all speed and convenience is torn away from him by going metric. Being a practical man my over-riding concern is what is easiest to use, repeatable and 'on-size' ie what is quick for us?

heres where i got my info ....

fascinating  .....  .....but at first glance its section on 'punch-cutting' is a bit scant to say the least.

So thinking about this for an hour the author of the first link tells us the height difference of 0.0014 inch ie the change from 0.9166 to 0.918 (as an exact subdivision of so many cm) the two cannot be interchanged, but i wonder at this, after all, wear will occur based on both the standard dimensions, creating a spread of size or crossover. Being a toolmaker, gauge tolerance and wear allowances are very important.

This post raises masses of questions and fascinating avenues of thought ..... it has transmuted from reading an online post and the alarm of a new standard being forced onto an industry to consider a much wider sea of ideas and methods.

for instance, wiki states ....

  • 0.918 inches : United Kingdom, Canada, USA

  • 0.928 inches : France, Germany, Swiss and most other European Countries

  • 0.933 inches : Belgium height

  • 0.9785 inches : Dutch height

Which means we treat each country individually, which we knew already,  the type in my own twenty drawer Adana case measures 0.920 in.  bottom size, many at 0.921 and one or two 0.924 in. I wonder what the manufacturing tolerances are and the wear allowances? Googling for white metal type produces very little indeed contrary to the avalanche of information that seems to exist for most other imaginable searches. Yet there are still enthusiasts for moveable type, youtube has many fascinating films of old time machinery and methods. I shall delve into my own books here, theres half a dozen at least on typography and the history of printing and the relevant machinery.

see my prev post of a few years ago ... from May 2010 on the incredible ability and precision of punch-cutting by hand for casting white metal type ... .... this is utterly fascinating.



The book above and below is an excellent introduction, written by an enthusiast with talent for putting across his knowledge and fascination of the subject. Note the punches at left for striking into the matrix which forms the business end of the cast white metal type. My prev blog post has more on this.


Highly recommended and nowadays I would have thought costing very little to find online, but having just looked online it carries a price.


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......this is so astounding as to fill me with wonder and delight.

It starts off with a journey through a part of London that includes the Peter Jones department store which I assume is at Sloane Square; a location I memorised in 2001 when I visited a furniture maker whose auntie at one time easily had the power to chop my head off and was stronger than any person in the land.

So firstly its the embed of some old fashioned 'polari' chatter (London gay rhyming slang) and the pair of them get away with lots of dodgey innuendo, and then I googled Peter Jones and from the map lots of street names are again familiar, this time I google the Grovesnor Canal and the wiki is what 'blew me away' so to speak ie the place where the Engineer came from that built this complex of locks and gates actually originated up here in Northumberland and is a place we visited hundreds of time for recreation and replenishment of our minds and bodies, the air is wonderful, scenery is a step back in time, masses of archaeology.  We still drive past the old blacksmiths shop which is perhaps older than we realised and so now will wonder if that is where the young John Armstrong gained his first knowledge of things mechanical. So the land that I have walked on many many times will have been the land that he roamed as a youngster. In fact one of the two pics i have on my site is taken up on the land when out with my first beagle in the early 1990's, i think in May and in the evening after a hard days work.

to quote wiki ... The resident engineer for the construction of the tidal lock and upper basin was John Armstrong, originally from Ingram, Northumberland.

end of quote

All i can say is...  "Its a small world" and I am so proud of what John Armstrong achieved, originating from a location that has provided many peaceful hours 'recharging my batteries' in fascinating countryside, its also where I found my prehistoric stone axe, its 100% complete and of museum quality, without doubt exactly what we think it is. The stones in the riverbed, the vegetation even the microscopic algae was material for study.


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Schaublins are hellishly expensive and for many or most jobs the sadly no longer Beeston Notts manufactured Myford 7 series will do as well and often will be quicker. The clamp down instrument makers style carriage looks 'pretty' but can be cumbersome and slow as opposed to the sliding carriage of the Myford ..... in my opinion. This being borne out by working to tolerance (say +/- minus half a thou inch) in both one-off and batch work from a dozen to the low hundreds mark. I know my stuff and its all 'against the clock' and this includes the handmade flyreels of fifteen years ago and lots of model engineering.

These two Schaublin catalogues are going onto ebay soon and its a shame not to share these just taken pics.

Where Schaublins score is the variety and number of collets available, for industrial second op work these will be essential.

Note the Schaublin 70 has the older look and the 102 sadly suffered a revamp to the hideous box-like appearance, no doubt with terms  'modular / clean / new'  attached to the description (read ugly).

People in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire have Myfords now, I wish them the greatest good luck. Something like a Super Seven is an incredibly good example of quality design and manufacture. My dad had the basic ML7 from new in 1953 and it triggered and facilitated a huge amount of fascinating work for me, I was very lucky to have a father with such interests.

These cats also provide ideas for bits and bobs you can add to your own lathe but experience proves that whatever you make it must be simple .... the KISS approach as borrowed from electronics. For instance the George Thomas attachments of 'Model Engineer' magazine fame are undoubtedly 'good looking' but no toolmaker or full time practitioner would ever get into such needless complication; as hobby projects they work okay. Its a hard lesson to learn but essential to keep it simple.




I'll say one thing for Schaublins they gave you variety or put it another way can relieve you of your money .... yes i realise,  various applications.


Above are all Schaublin 70 (ie 70 mm centre height) and below we 'progress' to modern styling .....



Hardys had small Accuratool capstans (as well as lots of Wards, I have the Ward 1A the same size lathe that started Mamods so I've read) .... and if only i could find an Accuratool in good nick ... would do all that this bottom ill. Schaublin can and at much less cost.



Yikes .... the cost !!

The 102 cat of circa early 1980's comes complete with a quote (1984) for a complete lathe set-up, not far off the price of the small two bedroomed terraced house we were buying at the time ie house £10k in 1980, lathe £8.5k in 1984!!


Other items posted on ebay today for sale include ....

P1290443    P1290439

P1290438    P1290440

The Scottish Pistol by Martin Kelvin priced £90 on my ebay channel. Unread, never opened, as its something i thought i might be more interested in due to the design and craftsmanship of these things but somehow got sidetracked .....

P1290444   P1290445

P1290446    P1290448

Experts on Guns and Shooting by Teadale-Buckell, unread, unopened, again something I thought i should gain some knowledge of as pieces of craftsmanship and the process of development by very clever men but I prefer to be silent when in the countryside and guns and shooters are not my scene, i prefer to ramble quietly. This reprint is as rare as hens teeth ... priced £150.00 to start the auction.


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richard kell

The above is my new large roller no.2 guide, below I discuss my no.3 ......

                           Its always nice to see and read of someone that 'gets the idea' of what i am about, heres a good
                           example of a man that indeed does 'get it' ... he approaches my no.3 honing guide with an open mind
                           and its a pleasure to see his natural aptitude shine at appreciating the product he handles.


                          May I quote .... "The finished product very clearly looks hand made...but not in a bad way. What I mean
                          is that no company would mass produce anything of this caliber, with the attention to detail that is paid.
                          This honing guide has a feeling of quality that I haven't felt from any other "new" tool that I have handled".

However sometimes ppl don't get it..... a quick email or chat with me will always shed light on where the customer is perhaps unsure, its upsetting to see ppl toil in darkness ....... and of course with my no.3 there is no such thing as 'all those wedges', two quick bits of hardwood will do all you need. Note also i now have a deep throat version of my no.3 that will cope with deep section mortice chisels, retro-fit kit available, see my website.

Heres another convert .....

I'll soon post a shorter intro and youtube to my new improved large wheel no.2 - an absolute winner, fast, accurate, incredibly repeatable and hence the minimum of time and metal is needed to restore a dull edge. I enjoy using it so much I'm searching around resharpening chisels i haven't used in decades.

Meanwhile heres the original vid of my richard kell no.2 LGE honing guide .....

hint ... Note how i talk about positive and negative rake in cutting tools.
           The use of the felt pen marker to demonstrate the repeatability when re-loading into my honing guide to resharpen.
           The advantage of larger rollers for increased bearing life (ie less revolutions).
           The utter delight to get into the super sharp corners of your sharpening medium.
           Restoring a chisel cutting edge is all about 'raising a burr' .....

my sales website  .......

,,,,,, and theres something about a guide produced edge that seems so much sharper, probably because of zero 'rock', the extreme edge is so much more acute and my guide gets you 'spot-on' when reloading for minimum time and metal removal. Its actually a very pleasant experience as illustrated by the 'felt tip pen trick' to get right back onto the finishing bevel, two strokes and another burr raised to get sharp again.

richard kell

richard kell

The label says to 2-5/8 but in fact it works perfectly well to 2-3/4 inch capacity.

Above is a parcel under construction a few minutes ago for Matthew at Workshop Heaven near Banbury, a box full of no.2 LGE. Matthew has championed my no.3 honing guide and realises its merits, for my no.3 guide in America try Japan Woodworker and Hartville Tool. In Europe Dieter Schmid is the man, he is a skilled tradesman, a knowledgable user of tools.

As shown on my sales website reto-fit LGE rollers are available, will fit my no.1 or no.2 guides, all parts are made to interchangeable limits.

I've some newly purchased re-cycled boxes that take thirty two no.2 LGE per layer and so any multiple of thirty two off is very convenient for me. A few years ago a customer in the States asked "If I had a degree in packaging" .... and Dieter of 'Fine Tools' in Germany tells me my parcels "are the best" ... praise indeed and much appreciated, i often get good feedback such as this, the reason for good parcels is I am worried the contents are damaged so therefore I go 'OTT' on packing ie internal layout, compartments, crush zones etc. I've been doing this for thirty years so its second nature so to speak.

The bottom of the carton is strengthened with a sheet of heavy duty board cut to fit and each layer is separated by internal 'floors' and tissue is used to keep all product packaging clean and un-soiled; I always install crush zones so that most instances of mis-handling do not matter. I'm wrapping the no.2 LGE in a roll of corrugated and this solution is excellent, travels very well indeed, the leaflet is wrapped with the honing guide and the gummed paper strip has been on the shelves here for thirty years ..... at last i have a good use for it !

Below is the new version leaflet to go with my large roller honing guides, this yellow version supersedes the previous white
one .......

honing guide instruction leaflet for richard kell no.2 LGE

E & OE

observe correct safety procedures at all times, you MUST wear eye protection if ever changing circlips, remove bystanders, circlips can 'fly' and cause injury if handled incorrectly ....

copyright richard kell 2013 all rights reserved.


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Name: richardkell
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