Regarding biosecurity.

To all friends, customers etc.,

I am lucky in that I can control biosecurity better than most in fighting this virus outbreak  (I've 'got a thing' about personal hygiene anyway)  I quite happily live alone and work alone; I have never encouraged visitors to the house or the workshop as usually I'm too much 'on the go' and any encounters nowadays in this time of cv-19 such as delivery men are kept to a 3m distance and the parcel remains in the hallway unopened for a couple of days. All richard kell components have always been machined and assembled using disposable vinyl gloves, being changed frequently and now I am using gloves for all packaging and despatch. My often changed disposable vinyl gloves will have been the only thing to have touched your richard kell product or honing guide or enclosed invoice. Incidentally its interesting to know that my paperweight here next to the desk to keep handwritten invoices from getting lost or scattered is an actual museum quality Neolithic stone axe, I found it in an exposed riverbed and 8k years from its manufacture I have nothing but utter respect for those that made it, perfectly fit for purpose and a beautiful object,  (blogpost for this is on tags at right ie tag prehistoric stone axe).

No pet dog here anymore, Smud my beagle as pictured above say 2010-12 passed away June 29 2019, but I'm not sad at this, at nearly fourteen he had developed cancer and I'm proud I knew when to say goodbye, he hardly suffered and was fit to the end, my vets were first class, likewise the medication he was prescribed. For my girlfriends house I insist no-one pets or 'clarts on' with her pet labrador during this viral outbreak.... ie hands off ! Note how people love to lean over the dog and shower it with the damp vapour from their possibly infected hands and breath, its the latter that governments have not sufficiently highlighted.... the dog does not need clarting on with.

I am working on the assumption that any encounters are with persons possibly or probably already a potential carrier and therefore insisting on a physical 3m distance and minimal / zero interaction, not 2m but 3m. I also carry food grade clear bags, handy for the Pharmacist to drop in my monthly bp pills and for instance to grip the basket at the supermarket even already using my fresh disposable gloves. I'm lucky I never use public transport, have no need to visit the Doctors, never go to high streets or cities and I know lots of people-free locations so as to enjoy some countryside and wide open spaces as per usual. It seems at this time I've never known fresh air to be so enjoyable, the sound of birdsong etc and the feel of the breeze, if only everyone was so lucky.

Please note, it is damp vapour / human breath with tiny droplets resulting from (at the moment) needless chatter that carries the virus as well as touched surfaces. If you need to speak then turn 90 deg and NOT face the person, again at 3m minimum. Only buy bagged food. No-one has ever seen any virus, even the most powerful light based microscope cannot find or reveal a virus and face masks at this level of smallness don't stop it whatsoever (microscopy used to be my hobby)  so imagine how easily it can remain suspended in the air. However the value of a low tech face mask would be to hinder infected breath from reaching further.

I think my arithmetic is correct in saying the cv-19 virus is 120 nano-metres in diameter (or the more easily handled in my mind of 5 millionths of an inch) therefore we could line up 200 fully functioning and independant virus particles side by side when we have opened the imperial micrometer one thousandths of an inch. ie to help visulise, a thousand millionths of an inch would fit into that one thou gap; a thousand thousand being one million; I need to visualise everything, its how my mind works.  And I also still think the move to metrication in UK factories in the early 1970's was a total act of stupidity, slavishly blind, the metric micrometer being infamously liable to being mis-read.

Please be vigilant, beware of fools not seemingly aware of the problem, I'm not a daily email person (no mobile either) but always can answer the landline most mornings and alway provide a no-quibble guarantee even if I get a little sluggish with paypal responses, your order is always safe and will be honoured.

I feel so sorry for those in healthcare, the scandal is now emerging (mid April)  how they seem to have been grossly forgotten as for PPE equipment, particularly hospices, homes for the elderly. In fact the whole thing has not been sufficiently thought out, pronouncements are no good, its what happens at the sharp end that matters; as even woodturners know, a full head face mask and forced air circulation is the answer.

Best Regards,
Richard Kell

ps ... pundits on the radio tell us homemade alcohol based sanitiser of 70/30 surgical spirit to glycerin is a handy homemade solution, in my opinion this is nonsense; if they had acually made it themselves they would know it is a problematic slippery gunge, far better use say 95% surgical spirit with (my preference) 5% Silkia 'Cracked heel' repair cream, with a few drops of essential oil, I use juniperberry. As my friend Helen says ..... brilliant!

I am Richard Kell .....

And I make things...

... of my own invention with my own hands. And its all got my name on it.

I sell lots into the USA and generally worldwide, my website can be viewed by anyone on the planet and I can supply likewise.

You will find in the links at some good stockists. Likewise they can supply genuine Richard Kell.

This page is in response to what seems to be misinformation I found on Amazon, entries and listings blocked specifically to one country ie England where I live.

The general purpose of this blog is to add background workshop information in addition to that you will find on my paypal sales website ie   I am well known for my clever and very well made honing guides (fast and accurate) and my Richard Kell bevel gauge etc. They are simple and effective to use. It takes a lifetime to pare things down to the essentials.

I am the inventor and manufacturer of all the products here at Richard Kell.

I am an enthusiast for old time craft manufacture, I enjoy using my hands at this close tolerance work, have done for many years; I work alone and prefer it, no distractions and I can push quality to the limit. I like to feel how the tools are cutting and to hear that 'sweetness of sound' all is going well. The skill is in my hands. I am passionate about quality and making an effort to hit the top level. But note never 'needless quality' but a result appropriate, I work to close tolerances where appropriate and strangely tighten tolerances further as I become familiar and expert at whatever task. Hand turning is a significant feature of what I do here, long since discarded by any manufacturer a hundred years ago.

Everything here is made by me, my no.2 LGE honing guide and my Richard Kell bevel gauge are very well known and highly regarded, made in my own workshop and by methods long discarded by modern methods. Beware of a despicable inferior copy of my bevel gauge and also of my centre finder, all I think now long disappeared; which in fact these hackneyed rip-offs never last the course, handle as poor items and as can be guessed are what prompted me to write this first post for my blog here.  I am known for the quality and detail of my work ie hand deburring and utterly consistent and flawless surface finish on every item; I actually suffer physical pain if it is not tip-top!

Buy my products and I give you the benefit of a lifetime in the workshop from being a young boy, I am a stickler for measuring critical features of every component as I make them, they are even plotted on charts; for instance the selecting 'matched in pairs' of one third of a thou inch (0.0003in) honing guide bobbin diameters has a reason for such precision, it is so that all marries up and functions as I wish it for when the two parts are matched together and clamped up into the jig on my Bridgeport milling machine to drill the pairs of holes for the stainless guide rods, therefore there is a reason to the accuracy. My Ward 1A manual capstan lathe of Second War vintage I've fitted with large dial test indicators graduated at a thou per division are a real advantage to controlling size / tolerance, both X and Y axis.

I was so lucky my Dad had boxes of 'Model Engineer' and 'Practical Wireless' and 'Woodworker' for me to read over and over again, a home workshop lots of hand tools and abench plus a Myford ML7 screwcutting lathe, this gave me an immense 'head start' on what a usual schoolboy would know and realise. With hindsight ... I was better off than I realised. My dad Robbie Kell named after the great bard himself also bought me a set of Caxton encyclopedias (I still have them here fifty years later and they are still most useful) ...  when I was say ten years old, but he could only afford half the set, therefore its fair to say I know everything to 'G' !

Serious in my activities yet I am not a 'miserable git' ...  I enjoy my work and as my afternoon helper will testify I am worthwhile, wide ranging conversation and fun to be with; open and always keen to help, to enthuse and educate my assistant.

My honing guides (and I recommend my Richard Kell no.2 LGE) are regarded the best in the world; the quickest to use, ultra reliable and 'spot-on' repeatable, they satisfy my own impatience. Theres a full no quibble money back on anything you purchase.

Please read all you wish of this blog,'drill down' as the modern term goes (theres lots to uncover) .....

copyright richard kell 2019,
E&OE no liability accepted.

You must always comply with safe procedure, remove bystanders when changing circlips, wear eye protection etc. Think !

My love of nature, landscape, the outdoors.

I posted this elsewhere this morning ie 21st October 2018 as two comments and as it makes such good sense its a shame not to allow others to read these words. The subject was the loss of insect life and climate change.

Quoting myself ....

Its saddening to see so many gardens turned to block paving, gravel or a sterile 'nothing'. I like abundance and a 'jumble', lots of nooks and crannies for the Vanessids (butterflies) to over-winter and goodness knows how many other things too, Lacewings etc; all are welcomed. Likewise I always allow autumn leaf litter and organic debris to aid soil life such as microbes, algae, molds, worms etc. If we are obsessed with eliminating leatherjackets, wireworms and daddy-long legs (all the same thing) what will bats and birds have to eat?  Theres few pests in this garden, I think the birds get them all. And try not to cut back too far in the autumn, its natural to have leaf fall and some debris. I've many layers of flowering things here hidden beneath the soil that unfold as the year progresses, in fact I would like to put a 'no-dig' covenant for one year onto the deeds of this house.

For instance, being mindful of encouraging a healthy soil and its inhabitants, each hand fork of earth when weeding always exposes lots of earthworms, often a Robin or two following me around in this garden and feeding from next to my feet, even landing on my boot! In winter or when feeding young i will deliberately be in the garden turning over a couple of forkfuls each day to assist their survival. But note i am hesitant at the near universal promotion of 'garden compost' as per say Gardeners Question Time on bbc radio (not a favourite programme of mine) as a wonder 'do-all' ... it will in fact destroy crocus bulbs and as a very old compost is little better than 'dust'. Maybe dug-in for a veg patch but otherwise i would say merely replicating natures way ie leaf litter, twigs, organic debris is by far the wiser route; the worms would agree with me.

Often the best route to encouraging worm activity and loosening up a heavy soil is FYM / muck left exposed on the soil surface over winter.

After a half century of tv gardening programmes how is it most ppl garden as ten year olds?

I'm a bit sceptical of how Local Authorities eliminate dead or decaying wood, strim and cut back as they do. I'm sure it can be tweaked to aid insects, invertebrates, molds, fungi, algae, diatoms. Mindful or the fire risk of course, vandals and firebugs.

Gardening should be a subject at school, I mean to some depth, with spirit and detail, the interconnectedness of things, not just as punishment for the backward lads as it was fifty years ago; it would also aid in helping the kiddiwinkies to actually settle to a task and get something done, something achieved with their hands and something to observe over the months as to their success or failure, the results of their efforts. Something to nurture and not just some one-off exercise that is seldom re-visited.

Even the smell of freshly turned soil is theraputic.

Here I added to the above ...

  • Oh yes and my hobby horse - diatoms. These are a fascinating google image search, wonderful for children to learn of. Its my opinion that the diatom collapse with their symbiotic relationship with Bryozoans ie the coral reef is also at the base of all marine food chain collapse ie in the Pacific. I've not been able to specifically find this connection in general media. The massive Pacific seabird collapse of say three years ago also is hardly reported, huge numbers of ocean going birds flying to shore (whole populations?) ... all stomachs empty. We can assume diatiom collapse again? As James Lovelock explained diatoms also generate ocean cloud formation and with other microscopic algae convert 20% of the worlds CO2, check out James Lovelock and DMS. And please fact check all I say, only my hazy recall to depend on.

    Its a horrible irony that we obtain 70% of the worlds oil and gas from ancient diatom deposits deep within the earth, the worlds best paid diatomists work for oil companies.

    With climate change theres now too great a timelag between data being collected, peer review and publication. As Sam Carana tells us the situation is dire and we need action very quickly; the IPCC does not stress sufficient urgency and totally ignores impending methane release fom the shallow East Siberian ice shelf. Likewise the IPCC most recently discarded material written by the worlds expert on Arctic ice ie Prof Peter Wadhams.

    When the President of the USA knows nothing other than golf courses and a ten second soundbite and is a total climate change denier then the outlook is bleak. The canary is screaming and all they can do at the EPA is deny, dismantle and wreck ....

    As you can imagine, as an engineer / toolmaker these incredible items ie diatoms fascinate me. For eight years say 1994 - 2002 freshwater biology and the microscope were my hobby, an excellent adjunct to my rambles out with my first beagle.

the way to hold it ....

Richard Kell no.2 LGE honing guide (ie large roller)

... 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 (was) a 'dyed in the wool'  freehand sharpening man, I sharpen many odd formed hand tools mostly all made by me, form tools for the lathe and profiled 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.

Due to its repeatability there is no wondering "have I raised the burr yet" .... telling us we have created a fresh edge; 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, but this is not essential, can be dispensed with if you wish. Because of all this toolmaker repeatability ie close tolerance manufacture and by nature of its design, merely two strokes on the finishing stone will often 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, these are the datum, picking up from the chisel face that matters. Polycarb washers either side of the chisel provide excellent grip (ie 'stick-tion') even when only hand tightened and once inserted and set I give the hex nut the slightest of tweaks with a spanner 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 ....

Full instructions enclosed with the honing guide, please operate sensible and correct working procedures at all time, no liability accepted for any loss or injury E&OE.

Be warned, chisels are very quickly and repeatedly made super-sharp on these honing guides of mine; here below is my associated bevel gauge, note that it carries my name and beware of cheap clones !!

See my website with paypal for details and how to order.

E&OE copyright richard kell 2014

bbc misinformation .....

Bias at bbc r4 is seemingly endless, I'm thinking of their presentation of Trump to a UK audience.

Also George Sturt of century old classic 'The Wheelwrights Shop' gets a mention today and they make multiple errors !!

I'm increasingly 'cheesed off' at inaccuracy and plain downright nonsense. This is why I cancelled the Saturday FT and Grauniad eighteen years ago as the sections I bought it for ie gardening, design, etc held errors. If its a subject that interests me I can listen to a half hour programme and often can recall lots of it but if there are factual errors then I am made to look stupid if I were to recall this information at a later date.

Likewise this morning two minutes ago ie 10:55 am Thursday 21st June 2018 bbc r3 (posts here at my blog are dated to stagger in an appropriate sequence so as not to bury what it is that I want to be the first couple of pages/ posts).... more nonsense and misinformation was broadcast.

We have a wood pundit and craftsman in interview produce a string of errors regarding  'James' (George actually) Sturt, 'The Wheelwrights Shop' being an absolute classic, a valuable work and part of the reading list I was given at age fourteen from Dennis Thorold in Suffolk. The endless reference to the making of 'carts' when in actual fact it would be WAGONS that was the primary interest and occupier of time in the Sturt workshop and the far harder thing to make. I read the book in my early teens, much of it stayed with me as often does when the subject fascinates. A wagon is a four wheeled vehicle and the cart a more trifling humbler two wheeled contrivance. I couldn't listen, I'm practically being quoted but also being revulsed .... they got it wrong!

I hope bbc r3 gets it right when it comes to the music bits....

I get annoyed at being fed inaccuracies. But these last few days I've heard several.

Lets get on my soapbox, likewise (I don't watch tv or even have one) but David Attenborough seems never from what i can gather (from recently purchased charity shop books) to go down to microscopic level and reveal the beauty and importance of diatoms, a particular hobby horse of mine from years ago; being an eight year hobby fascination with microscopic freshwater algae. I admit my sampling of what David Attenborough has written is patchy. Theres pages I could write, but at the moment its an incredible irony that it is the oil from ancient diatoms (each diatom say two thou inch long) deep down within the earth that has caused both their own demise (particularly so far in the Pacific) and with burning this oil that leads to our present predicament of Arctic ice loss, change in weather patterns and the eventual release of methane in geological, microbial and thawing frozen hydrate. Since November last i suddenly 'turned on' to the realisation that climate change is the biggie! Though microscopic and individually totally invisible to the naked eye they turn out to be vastly important. For instance, the worlds best paid diatomists all work for oil companies. Next time you see a 'brown oil' or rich brown shading to the bottom of a shallow puddle or water filled footprint then thise are diatoms, probably 'Tabellaria' or 'Navicula'.

The diatom scare is a real problem, Pacific algae and plankton (two distinct levels of the food chain the former one could say actually the more important, without it nothing follows on) .... dieback is horrific and grossly under-reported, the science community time lag is baffling, as is their reluctance to speak out in the first place. Another prime example is the Pacific seabird die-off two years ago, again next to no follow up, as one blog puts it  ..... 'the silence is deafening'. Vast quatities of seabirds flew onto shore that would always stay at sea, their stomachs empty.

Likewise earlier in the week i think it was a bbc r4 review of the previous weeks progs and we get some twit utterly and hopelessly mispronouncing 'zaijian' ie 'see you again' in Mandarin. Its the first word you ever learn along with 'me' and 'you' ie wo3 and ni3. They are supposed to have a Pronounciation Unit at Broadcasting House but theres no actual indication for this at any time when they encounter a word from China, they cannot even get the pronounciation for the Chinese Premier, utterly hopelessly lost. They need only ask a passing child of say Han descent or basically anywhere in Asia or walk into a Cantonese take-away and they'll get all the tuition they need free of charge. Likewise in general books and articles on China, 99.9% of the time there is never any indication (tone 1,2,3,4, and nuetrel ie 5) for any word or name in Mandarin. This even is a problem from specialist publishers ie poetry. I have one book here 'Poems of the Masters' that cost me good money and is near worthless because of among other drawbacks the Editor omits any form of tone indication whatsoever. Mandarin is a tonal language. Try typing in a few simple words and phrases into google translate to hear what I mean.

Likewise bbc r4 errors, Laurie Taylor on Wed afternoons in his always excruciating overloud musical bits tells us 2 million died because of the Cultural Revolution, ehm thats a figure that is way too apologetic to Mao. He never mentioned the previous 'Great Leap Forward' when thirty times this number died. Prof Taylor often comes up with errors, my having a retentive memory for things that matter to me I cringe at being fed nonsense. Thers a lot can be discussed re what we are being fed, the spin and bias of news reporting and these last eighteen months where moral decency and truth has been flushed down the pan. That same programme dealt with China as its main subject and in fact was near unintelligable, word soup of the worst kind; oh dear George Orwell we need your wise words to guide us now !! So when discussing the current sad state of American politics, to get a real handle on events the bbc radio news is not worth the effort, online is much more realistic. Goodness knows how they'll window-dress trumps visit and impending protest. One contrary good point of bbc radio news is their 'World Tonight' just after ten, it is a better job altogether. Lets hope it remains.

sorry for typos, from top of the head in 20 mins and short of time today .....

scraping a flat surface .....

I have a disc of cast iron previously machined and scraped flat, it is eight inch diameter say one and a half inches thick and which I use as a stable surface to help assemble and check for parallelism of my richard kell honing guide stainless rods. But now it needs a re-vamp, looks a bit sorry for itself; an excellent excuse to do some engineers hand scraping, something only self taught (but doesn't that go for so many things in life).

Be careful when googling for 'hand scraping' as with many things workshop there is a lot of nonsense, half-baked misinformation out there. Everything i'm talking about on this post is referred back to an inspection surface plate, its not just making pretty patterns. Scraping falls basically into two areas, to aid oil retention as to build a Beilby Layer on machine tool slideways and scraping to get closer to a flat surface as defined by your surface plate.

The three hours flew by, it can become so absorbing, but i have utmost sympathy for men stuck on this work fulltime. Its actually strenuous, hard work and goodness knows how arms, tendons and ones back would fare.

The real hard work would for instance have been to achieve the  'Whitworth three plate method'  in producing a verifiable flat surface or set of three master surface plates as we all know from textbooks. What a clever man ....  ... and my heart goes out to those men engaged on any work such as this, the actual men that did the work.

The easiest example is here where I scrape a simple flat surface against a known reference ie the surface plate, but also for more sophisticated and difficult applications we could scrape to produce dovetail surfaces that would be our best chance of creating accurate and lasting sliding surfaces for machine tool bedways, creating a correct a form of 'running in' and thus enabling the Bielby layer to develop, a very thin 'bedded-in' surface layer measured in millionths of an inch that is extremely low friction as in (and is needed) in machine tool slideways. Correctly run-in surfaces are both so bright and low friction we read that the initial scraped surface help hold the lubricant so that the Bielby layer can be developed. Something of this phenomena is shown at the end of the exercise when we reach a close approximation of flatness, the heavy CI disc 'floats' for a second or two when laid carefully back onto the surface plate.

I had previously machined the disc both length and crossways ie X and Y axis on the Bridgeport milling machine, these still show after the finished session of scraping but as they are undetectable to touch they must I think be less than say a quarter thou inch.

I use a fourteen inch hand file ground at its working end and honed on the arkansas stone to do the scraping. Heft and weight do matter a lot in this activity, as with all hand tools and often forgotten these last eighty years in 'making it cheaper'. The M&W commercial scrapers sold years ago which my dad had a set (still here) are little more than over-priced de-burring tools, the 'three square' pattern is particularly offensive and useless for anything. I've blogged on this before, see tags at right. And often the best de-burring tools are ones you make yourself, with long experience comes the intuitive insight into how tools cut, this applies to lathework, any machine tool and handwork. This finer points of insight (and a craftsmans development) can no longer exist when CNC rules. I realise the need of CNC for modern manufacturing, its the only way however I'm lucky I can choose a time era that maximises my enjoyment of the craft.

Pics explain best  .....

Above, looking a bit 'grotty', an excuse to waste some time and rescrape. Its quite flat actually and realy needs no attention but ....

Machined slots at the side of the disc allow me to clamp it onto the Bridgeport table to resist the scraping pressure therefore I get 100% access to the surface in question.

Here above we can see some initial material removed. It is random, but it is controlled, hard to explain until one has actually done it firsthand.

This surface plate came from Robsons Marine Engineers at Seahouses in the late 1960's. I can remember quite clearly going down with my dad on a dark winter night to look at the contents, an old standstone building in a back lane above the harbour.  Fifty years later I recall happy memories of autumn and winter nights doing kids stuff, as we had moved there from Whitby when i was seven, our locality ie North Lane in North Sunderland (we were 38 North Lane, the house being that which Mr Lindors the policeman had lived in) ... the lane being so quiet (safe) and devoid of traffic, winter nights were so peaceful. My dads employers at the quarry group at that time were Thomas Tilling (previously Mark Appleby) based at Easington Quarry, Belford, Northumberland and had purchased the remaining tools and tackle that remained in the old sandstone building. My dad told me the micrometers, calipers, hand tools etc had long since gone. This surface plate was still there as probably too heavy for scoundrels to run away with. As a kid occasionally going to quarries around north Northumberland on Sundays with my Dad when the plant was down it gave me an insight to the more remote quieter areas of this county, I now see I was lucky. I have a very distinct memory of hand grinding valves (endlessly ?) into cylinder heads ie spinning with your palms the wooden rod with a rubber suction cup for grip, it seemed to go on forever (punishment perhaps, vindictiveness?) ... and theres lots of them in one engine, yet I was delighted to be part of the working mans world, my Dads world. He served me well, it was impressed upon me the importance of work, to learn, to develop, to make an effort; there never was any hanging around on street corners for me !

At right of the surface plate is the fourteen inch hand file doctored to make into a scraper, a diabolical useless hand file and not very good product bought new many years ago at high expense, its from Oberg Sweden, supposedly a high end product but in fact total crap. Diabolical because it 'skates' like mad over the surface and is most reluctant to cut when functioning as a hand file, a very good example of a badly cut hand file; will have cost me lots from Henry Osborn when i first started self-employment in 1983/4. Far better go to the scrapyard and see what they have to offer for a scraper ie a big 'massy' discarded file or for a working file look around for Spanish or Indian hand files which can give better service at a fraction of the cost, ie 'bite' and not skating uselessly as per the expensive Oberg above. Beware also of the crappy file handles made unbelievably from Ramin, the absolute worst choice of wood for this purpose, chosen because its so easy to rapidly machine turn but useless for its purpose, it splits the instance you fit a tang. Loony thinking. I use elm from discarded or roadside offcuts.

Also in the above theres far too much engineers blue but useful for photo purposes and shown before I rub it thin into a more useful state (done with the palm of ones hand). A rag has lint, this would foul up the whole procedure, a complete no-no. You need to feel it is clean.

Heres what to avoid, far too much blue on the surface plate, very much false results, usually where beginners trip up from the little I've seen online. I avoid online workshop vids like the plague, so many are full of errors and mis-assumption, no rigour of thinking, just as in the over-blued example above. The trickier edges i try to scrape but its not easy, a dead smooth worn six inch hand file copes with it, procedure is to attend to all the blued 'high-spots' individually, better shown as per below, remembering not to repeat the same 'angle of attack' between scraping sessions.

Above, here we are proceeding nicely, with hindsight I should have taken a deeper cut for the first couple of 'all-overs' to break the old surface and eliminate the remains of the machining.

Thats the three hours done, need to get back onto production work, it will do well enough for what I want; feels incredibly uniform despite the lines visible and has developed the amazing property (expected from previous sessions) of floating on air for the first couple of seconds as it is laid face down onto the surface plate.

Pics do not do it justice, in reality the plate sparkles and gleams as one moves vantage point .....

postscript  ..... But it bugs me that those machining tracks still show even though i cannot feel them from finger touch so as this even a couple of months later still 'bugs me' I shall repeat the process and get it to what I want, in other words greater rigour is needed. If I'd had someone do this for me i would not have let it pass!

I really like ....

... how this man is not hindered in pushing forward with his ideas into workable apparatus. Lots of talent and immensely practical too, it all works and appears dependable.

I try not to trawl the web endlessly, in fact there will be masses of fascinating material I will be oblivous as to its existance, but this is impossible to not want to share.

Interestingly I can hear sounds from Henry Cowells soundworld, a few weeks ago we had him as 'Composer of the Week' on bbc r3.

and here below are three links to three stunning pieces by Henry Cowell ....

my Dads lathe .....

... was the best £48 (more probably Guineas) he ever spent, circa 1953 and the motor and accessories cost as much again, the Myford ML7.

He was as far as I can see tea-total and so could save from his wage, this purchase of his has been with me all my life (born 1958) and means a lot to me. Its had a lot of use and is tip-top .... nowadays used as it should be and not my earlier years of abuse from milling cutters and goodness knows what other model engineer 'practice'. Myfords made too good a lathe, amateur workers saw no limit to the work it could handle. Most turned components I make involve my Dads lathe say on second op ie honing guide bobbins, stainlesss guide rods, m4 studding etc.

I've a couple of mods myself including a slightly larger drive pulley on the motor to up the revs slightly.

As a second op lathe it is very good indeed, very much what we would term a 'brass finishers' lathe, certainly as the way I use it with hand tools on metal, a long extinct trade that strangely I have evolved into.  Jim Hardy in around 1981/2 said when in Development regarding the stainless series of Zane Grey Big Game reels I was working on that   "What we need is a brass finisher"  ie the trade that his ancestors in turn of the century Alnwick would look to when starting to make reels from scratch; Dingley brought up from Birmingham was indeed such a worker.  I must insist that Dingley reels fall below that of Hardys, looking at his general run of work, the internal workings (not the 'specials' sometimes put forward as Dingley) ... it can be 'rough'.

I have done some very clever work on my Dads lathe, ie mods and rigs to do the unusual, for instance copy turning scale model boat stanchions using a device I have never seen elsewhere based on a sliding headstock Swiss auto and tiny form tools circa 1988, some twit knocking on my door presenting me a problem I couldn't resist to find a working solution. I am now hardened to such silly enquiries, ie left me out of pocket from the enquiry of basically a conman.  Plus lots from 'Model Engineer' 1950's and 60's articles, oval turning, other forms of copy turning, a capstan attachment (not such a workable idea only good for wood and plastic) also spherical turning, indexing/division, slotting and keyways, a filing machine attachment, auto clutch for single point screwcutting to a shoulder and various tricks for repetition work.

The Myford Super Seven is a much slicker faster-revved machine, a more premium article with a very good sensitive tailstock feed, but the mandrel speed on my Dads machine does all I want (I've no choice) and the clutch is the nearest thing you could find to the perfect speed take-up characteristic of old fashioned line shafting with fast and loose pulleys. For the clutch itself a letter of 1953 acknowledging my Dads order of the clutch unit I found when sorting out the Myford leaflets and brochures a couple of days ago. He would be driving I assume up near Edinburgh, sometime he worked for Croans (as well as Adams at some other time) .... and I do know when they married they first lived in Portobello. And like all newly married probably happier then than anywhere since, no matter how simple and modest their situation at the time. So the Edinburgh connection looms large, co-incidentally twenty five years later I bought my Edward Hines treadle lathe and lots of accessories (ie 'ornamental turning') from Dr Wood at Cluny Gardens, Edinburgh; aged eighteen and in at the deep end. And of course not knowing the lathe itself descended from the 14th Marquis of Culquoy and his grandson Jamie Maxton Graham which a few years later would reveal itself.  A small world indeed and with connections that could not be premeditated !!

Note the date on the above.

I much prefer the styling of these 1940's and 50's machines, what I call real machine tools, something that draws you into the subject. When early in the 1970's firms went 'modern' styled more like childrens building blocks (ie witness a Ward 2 capstan from that time) ...  and looked hideous, looked also as if finish and apparent visible quality went downhill or as an excuse for and of course the worst of all is modern day CNC listings ...  where in endless pages of endless CNC all we are shown are boxes of steel enclosure! How can any young lad be now drawn into this subject nowadays? Someone rang me from the RSGB asking in a survey what it was that so few younger people were interested in short wave and amateur radio these days (Radio Society of Great Britain) and to my mind a first step would be to get back to a more interesting front cover of their monthly magazine. More important than I think than they had realised.

I would just like to say I cannot stand re-painted machine tools, I would be dearly interested to add a Ward 2 capstan lathe to my workshop (near unobtainable these days, all scrapped years ago) BUT the only ones I can afford are so abused/ broken and hideously re-painted that I would stay well clear of. So many that are offered at a realistic price are untouchable, re-paints that try to cover what? The paintwork tells a story, what are they ashamed of ?

best hour for ages.....

Note that the above is a 'staged shot' ie the machine motor stopped for illustrative purposes only.

The blade guides on my Startrite 352 bandsaw could not be excused any longer, likewise the replaced thrust rods to take cutting pressure were needing to be re-ground to flat, merely rods of hardened steel I made say twenty years ago to replace the beyond hope originals.

The machine itself is a good one, no qualms, in fact on a recently viewed youtube its the same machine that Purdeys use to profile their walnut gun stocks, but once I got the side blocks out there was no option but to regrind. I use the Bridgeport vertical mill for this, an aloxite cup wheel permanently mounted on its own arbor solves lots of proplems, can be rigged for tool and cutter work too. Advancing a thou at a time (ground dry) soon cleaned it up to flat again.

Once re-assembled and aligned a joy to work with.....

Above is before I break the sharp edge (ie deburr) the edges on a fine aloxite wheel.

Sounds working ...

I don't know how well known this film is of people in Africa, but it is well worth watching ....

We see timber extraction and timber being formed, the blacksmith working accurately and a community both at work and at play.

Three people sharing hard effort in the blacksmiths hut illustrates the advantage of 'community'.

Dear God please allow them to be themselves  - to resist the needless and endless encroachment of westernisation (quite needless) and to be left alone.