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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. I regret not having my camera on hand to get a pic of the lorry fully loaded 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 and much 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 many small boxes and crates (toolmakers generate / accumulate 'stuff' especially with own products) 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, for this 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.

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 parephenalia, and maybe some time after that to tweak storage and layout. The stainless sink worktop on point of personal standards 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, though I will miss the other ppl in the two dozen units at Plessey Road Workshops and doubt in the wide open yard of the new place to get to speak much. So will Smud my beagle as no more grass to wriggle on as we return to the car after each session. 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 nearly twice the square footage and already it 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.


Meaningless to others 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 seven feet off the ground, ditto a big shelf. The next place is so much easier to move around, luxury being the word! Also i've realised on the third visit I've a tree outside that provides green that is restful to tired eyes, as watchmakers in years past would have a green area for fine work.

And we are good for many years yet !!

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


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 of 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 the sky and green leaves whilst at work. Also when wifelette is on her day off and my dog as he often does prefers to stay at home its now a possibility i could cycle or walk to work when the weather is fine.


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A twinge of being sorry to see this go, 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.


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

No damage to them, 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.

As toolmaker trained my own solution wld be very diferent 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 .... 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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I'm busy with a book at the moment that I've had around here for a decade, when I first bought it and found it quite by chance in our local remaindered bookshop I knew instantly it was a good'un ... 'New York 1960' ... 1,300 pages of fascinating detail of the built environment of New York City from the end of the Second War to the Bicentennial in '76. I don't fly and I don't travel beyond the hills on the horizon but I do have an inkling of what the world is like out there .... I'm not keen on being a tourist, I find it shallow and transitory, near to meaningless apart from possible good food.

Architectural solutions fascinate me, the built environment, what it is that goes into making a good place to live and function; why some locations work and others do not. I've several books here that feed into the subject and an utter gem of a readable overview is Kenneth Framptons 'Modern Architecture' in the Thames and Hudson series, easily readable but packed with knowledge, an education in itself. You must remember I did not hear conversation of these things when I was young, all that I've read and remembered since then is purely for the interest and insight it provides me, lucky the child that grows up in a clever household. But to my dads credit lathe, workshop and books were there for me to pursue if I wished.

I've exported to New York City since 1983, stockists included Constantines in the Bronx (now gone) and for all that time Garrett Wade in NY and nowadays Traditional Woodworker in Texas, Hartville in Ohio, Japan Woodworker in California and latterly Infinity in Florida as well as others via my wholesaler Robert Larson in San Francisco. So I feel a connection, an affinity.

I had to drive through our local city Newcastle upon Tyne because of a crash at the tunnel and apart from being bamboozled after twenty years by no cars allowed over the only two ways i could remember for getting south of the river i was utterly saddened and angered by the hotch potch and mish mash of the built environment, the city authorities have had thirty years of buggering about and it still looks no better, more like a heap of forgotten toys scattered on the floor. The view up the Tyne from the Redheugh Bridge (apologies to Chinese friends) looked like a shanty town on the Yangtze from years ago......

The actual point of this post is to set down some fascinating detail i found out from a search of the architect of the twin towers in Manhattan,  architect Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the World Trade Center towers and the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport main terminal. A huge project of his, the disastrous housing complex Pruitt-Igoe in St Louis was dynamited because of its disastrous consequences, crime, poor environment, apparently doomed to fail. Theres an awful lot of 'architecture' out there that really is not very good.

the links above are via a wiki copy and paste.

heres some Pruitt-Igoe material ....

postscript, a few months later I stumble upon the South Bronx, Al Pacino mentions growing up there at an Oscar acceptance speech so I google and wiki it and its more information from a world so different from here.


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Thats an old expression my dad would use but theres some workers around that aren't so good ....

In fact theres probably lots of them, I saw two of them yesterday as i left this house, one across the road attempting / pretending to be able to garden and as i drove out another 500 yds further on, some poor kid set a task, both were hired in or employed and both useless at performing the task and handling hand tools; seemingly being in charge of 'the hand tool' meant they had to grind down to 'dead slow'. Admittedly the latter was edging or trying to edge grass at the kerbside with the utterly useless half-moon shaped edging spade which anyone that has attempted to use one will know they are an abysmal non-solution .... I use my grandfathers spade sharpened to a knife edge.....  this has done massive amounts of edging and is a tip-top solution, fast and accurate. The impression I get is that perhaps the grass-edger had never seen a competent man at work, or indeed done any manual task before? The other duffer the first one was gardening for ppl that know very little about gardening, his hamfisted movements told me he was clueless but he seemed clueless as to how useless he appeared.

My grandfathers spade has excellent weight and 'heft' .... something not found in any modern-day replacement; salerooms are where you are likely to find the better solution. The tool appears to be forged from two sheets of fire welded steel forged to a perfect taper that extend halfway up the double curved handle; I replaced the 'D-shaped' handle grip about eight years ago as it was badly wormed and so far has given good service. I reckon it must be before the Second War if not the First. The days of such manufacture are long gone most likely.

In an emergency maybe six years ago when my father in laws spade had reached the end of its life i stupidly bought a quick replacement, a 'ladies border spade' seemingly from a reputable UK maker, it was an expensive buy for what it was, a shaped sheet of shiny pressed stainless with an incredibly crappy handle and this has even worked out more expensive, a total disaster. Merely picking the thing up makes me annoyed; a piece of garbage; I detest it..... its obvious neither the designer nor the top bods in that company know anything about nor can use hand tools.

Theres a line from Arthur Millers 'Death of a Salesman' (I wonder where he got the line from, his own father perhaps) it certainly was something that my dad would echo in his own 'good with his hands' evaluation .... "A man that cannot use his hands is not a man" .... if thats the case there'll be few men around in this world in a few years time!

Its a strange play, but it does open questions that are worth addressing.

Seems i may possibly have churned and modified this quote, but still i'm on the right track ....


I have Arthur Millers  'Timebends' here, a book that lay around for nearly twenty years until eighteen months ago when at last i was able to 'get through it' ... having listened to Miller on several youtubes I was able to  get into his manner of speech and the way he explains things; until now this had eluded me and being 'across the pond' was proving a barrier to enjoying his autobiography. He was a keen woodworker, I have tried to find a pic from 'Timebends' online but so far this has eluded me, its of AM in his workshop making a table of cherrywood, a tree i would think from his own land.

I think he would see it as a vital part of life ... preparing, making, finishing, evaluating ... and learning (for the next one).

postscript (half a year later)  ... the larger of the two books I've photographed from my shelves is by Christopher Bigsby and its 700 pages are crammed with with the most interesting material; no single page is without fascination and as with 'Timebends' is one of the best books I've read for a long time. I didn't realise until this morning when i finished the last two pages that his final reference and theme is 'craftsmanship' and how Arthur Miller liked best of all to talk with craftsmen. It reads very much that AM had a hand in composing these references to craftsmanship at the end of the book. I  don't know where we are on copyright here, I've always thought ppl should be glad you quote a book and mention it somehow, as its not for any monetary gain I suppose we are okay.  I wish i cld quote the entire two pages as it all sheds light, illuminates but theres a poem he wrote called 'Making' and it was read by his daughter Rebecca at his Memorial Service in Manhattan 2005. When he was dying he had asked to be driven back to New England to be where he had written most of his work, he died in the bed he had built himself Feb 2005.

I cannot find the poem.

some quotes ....

I'd suggest to anyone to watch the film 'A View from the Bridge' ... its powerful and had me gripped, few films can hold my interest, certainly not much if any that come out of Hollywood these days.  Youtube has it all and led me to an interesting diversion reading about the area Red Hook and how its has changed since the fifties, from goods yard handling vast quantities brought in by ship to now a windy contrived plaza when the work has gone .... lots of leads to other topics, actor Raf Vallone, urban change, Red Hook, etc etc

The man himself .....


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richard kell honing guide

As from August 2013 my no.2 guide is issued with large rollers as above. It really makes it an all-round success, I am delighted that I cracked the problem of making larger rollers. Capacity is zero to 2-3/4 ie 70mm. The only guide in the world that will comfortably cope with the narrowest chisels to the heavy section iron from my Norris coffin sided smoother.

The no.1 will continue as small roller, with a 'retro-fit kit' for anyone wishing to change to large rollers, price £10 per kit, all is detailed on my website ....

I also have a pair of polycarb strips ie '3mm risers' to give the final finish hone as per my vid over on youtube, these provide a five degree final lift for finish honing.  Will be added to the sales website soon, price £3 a pair plus post.  These allow the guide without any re-setting to throw up that final finish bevel and because the whole procedure is so 'well controlled' you can achieve far more re-sharpenings before needing to rough hone again.

I'll make a new shorter film in the next few days re using my no.2 LGE and showing how fast, accurate and repeatable it is. To re-touch a dulled edge is very quick indeed, this accuracy and repeatability means you get more touch-ups before needing to remove metal on the grinding wheel.

                                        All you need to remember is ... one and a quarter inch (32 mm) projection from the sides
                                        of the stainless rods and ride on the '3mm risers' for final finish hone. I use a sharpening
                                        board as per my film and it really makes life easier for this guide.

Nothing else is needed to produce the quickest most repeatable results, saving you time and valuable chisel steel.

Hint ... once you've 'raised a burr' the chisel will be sharp, that is all we are looking for and look at my first film re this no.2 LGE to see how a felt pen can illustrate the accuracy of re-loading the chisel.

......shorter film  to follow.

see my prevous information two posts ago on this blog.......


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Name: richardkell
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