Friday, 29 February 2008

More of a wimper than a bang

I got a response from Cilit Bang today,

Reference No: 14541840
Thank you for your email regarding Cillit Bang

We would not recommend the use of Cillit Bang for preparing steel sheet or tubing before brazing or soldering, as it has not been tested for this use.

Kind regards
Cillit Bang

I'm sure that's from their legal department rather than their technical department. So there recommendation is not to use something without testing it first, a sensible suggestion, I'll have to think up some appropriate tests.

Apart from Aggy and Kim, it would appear that there's some other cleaning experts out there. The Toxics Use Reduction Institute have a database of cleaning solutions.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

More grinding

I've been sent a couple of useful links on grinder jigs that you can make.

There's also a useful book in the Workshop Practice Series, called Tool and Cutter Sharpening which describes lots of different grinders and some instructions for building your own jigs.

And you can also buy part kits for Quorn, Kennet and Worden grinders.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Benches and Bench Grinders

This weekend saw the drilling and first coat of paint for the new bench legs. Due to the need to let the paint dry for 24hrs and not really wanting to paint them inside the shed, I've waited till a dry day to paint them. The legs are attached to the framework via dowels and a screw. I drilled 3 holes in a diagonal line through both pieces of wood with a small pilot drill. The two outer holes are then counterbored on the inner faces to the size/depth of the dowels. The middle hole is countersunk to take the screw. When it's all lined up correctly in situe I'll glue it with some woodglue and tighten the screws, there's enough give in the setup to allow for the lack of rightangles in the shed. The worktop has had 3 coats of "garage floor paint" and will be screwed down to the top once thats dry. I'll fill the pilot holes and the screw holes that hold the top with some filler before touching up with a splash of paint. Here's a quick diagram, there will be some photos when it's assembled.

I've also been thinking about how to sharpen my new lathe tools (to be delivered shortly), a bench grinder is the obvious choice but there are so many different kinds and prices for them, ranging from a B&Q special at £10 to the "Creusen DS9300 Industrial Grinder" from Axminster Power Tools which comes in at £819 (partly I expect because it's 3 phase). I've delegated this job to my Dad as he's bought and used more bench grinders than I've had hot dinners.
Lathe tools

Thursday, 14 February 2008


Why would anyone want to clean a penny? asked a comedian last week at the "Poodle Club" comedy evening in Stoke Newington. At the time, I just chuckled and agreed that it was just a crazy suggestion by Mr Shouty, Barry Scott.

However, since then I've been reading some books about materials including Workshop Materials(Workshop Practice) by Alex Weiss and have been thinking about pickling, that's pickling of metal, not pickling of cucumbers. The idea is that you need to get all of the oxide and grease off your metal before you do things like plating or brazing or welding.

So there is some possibility of Cillit Bang working for this process. The description from the FAQ on the website is that it contains a mixture of acids and surfactants, so I've dropped them a note asking what they think about this idea.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Choose lathe

Choose lathe. Choose a chuck. Choose a tool. Choose a work piece. Choose a 12in angle plate, Choose cross slides, micrometers, parting off tools, and electrical hacksaws. Choose good lubricants, sharp tools and quality measuring instruments. Choose fixed steady and travelling steady. Choose a tail stock. Choose your drills. Choose a indexable lathe tool and matching tool tips. Choose a rotary table on a compound slide with a range of t slot bolts. Choose imperial taps and wondering where to buy them on a Sunday morning. Choose turning your own rivets making mind-numbing spirit-crushing repetative rivits from excessively large brass bar. Choose cleaning up at the end of it all, choose packing away at the end of it all hoping your model ends up in a renound exhibition, nothing more to do than build a case from a picture frame that used to hold a pic of the kids. Choose your future.

Choose lathe... But why would I want to do a thing like that?

With thanks to Irvine Walsh for inspiration for this poem.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


When cleaning out the cupboards in the side of the shed some damp was found in the back of the lower ones. Looking round the side of the shed, I discovered a large pile of items that were leaning part way up the side of the shed. On investigation, I found the totally rotten remains of a scaffolding plank. I found the metal end of the plank and a load of mush, some plastic pipes (white and grey), some hardwood that was mostly rotten, some rusty angle iron, some large plastic trays, other bits of rotten wood and some snails (they liked the pipes). The gap down the side was too narrow to get into so I dragged it all out with a hoe (found elsewhere in the garden) and dropped the level down by about 4 inches.

Hopefully this will sort out the damp in the cupboards, I soaked a couple of damps spots with some wetrot wood hardener that I had left from another job and the mold was cleaned off with flash and bleach.

The snails were put on the bird table so unless they can jump they will be bird food by now but I gave them a fighting chance.

I had a nice email from the "North London Society of Model Engineers" who suggested that a bit of swarf will keep the snails away from your selected plants.

On Sunday, I had a trip to the local DIY superstore, ordered some timber and 18mm ply to make a new bench with. The current thought is to use garage floor paint on this, unless I have any better ideas before the wood is delivered.

Workshop Practice Series