Steam models

Posted by jerry on October 17th, 2004 — Posted in History, Journal, Steam, Technology

Having just encountered the wonderful steam models page of Forest Classics in the UK I was amazed at the range of steam models now available. It used to be mamod and more mamod, but little else – now it seems there are many manufacturers of high quality kits and assembled live steam models – from stationary beam engines like this one from Sussex Steam Beam & Mill Engine Kits

model beam engine

to full-on radio controlled live steam cars, like this model 1907 stanley steamer from the MiniSteam company…

Model Stanley steamer

After seeing a mate run his radio controlled petrol driven model race car up and down our street, I thought nah, I prefer steam!


RIP Jacques Derrida

Posted by jerry on October 15th, 2004 — Posted in History, Journal, Writing

I really should keep more abreast of the literary theorist blogs – I have only just found out that Jacques Derrida, one of the key postmodern philosophers has died aged 74. Whether you revere or revile him, there is no doubting his enormous influence on 20th century philosophy. While his writing was never easy, the journey was always worthwhile. His famous philosophical practice of deconstruction, for which he is best known was of course not about destruction, but re-construal. His was a philosophy akin to existentialism which implied an ethics ultimately based on self-responsibility… He will be missed by supporters and detractors alike.


Bellringers song

Posted by jerry on October 12th, 2004 — Posted in Music

Another fine session last night at the Canberra Irish Club – good music, good songs and of course there’s the Guinness.

A friend of mine managed to track down the words to song I have been trying to find for the past several years – the Bell Ringers Competition – about teams of bell ringers in various parts of Devon in the UK. I heard the song about 20 years ago in Perth western Australia and the tune stuck, along with the chorus – but the words proved elusive the song started off:

In the month of October, neither drunken nor sober
On Broadbury Down I was wending my way
When I heard of some ringing, some dancing and singing
I ought to remember that Jubilee day

CHOR:In Ashwater Town, the bells they did sound
They rang for a belt and a hat laced with gold
But the men of North Looe rang so steady and true
that there never was better in Devon I hold

The tune could almost be sung as a round – anyhow, many thanks to Sandra for tracking this one down when my own net searches had proven fruitless.

Click here to hear the tune

Can’t play .mid files? Here it is in mp3


Table loom

Posted by jerry on October 10th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Woodwork

I have long had a fascination with looms – perhaps something about the combination of timber and machinery – but they’ve always been something of an expensive luxury for a hobby. Yes I have built a couple of simple box looms and made the usual scarves and place mats, but multiple shaft looms seemed always beyond my capacity as a woodworker. Others have known about this interest for some time – indeed it came up in dinner party conversation about a couple of months ago with a friend of ours from Art school. At the time I thought little of it, but there was passing reference to being careful about what I wished for…

Then the phone call – it has a couple of broken parts, but it is basically complete – and it is just taking up room in my shed… She wasn’t kidding! So this weekend saw a quick visit with the van.

A nice simple four shaft loom – although the castle has lost the dowels that hold it upright and one of the shaft lever stays is broken, and the reed is rusty… I don’t think I was quite able to hide the boyish grin creeping around the corner of my face. So a real table loom to play with!

The loom is a four-harness (or four shaft) Sheridon table loom, made in Melbourne – I guess about 20 years ago. It is basically complete. So as soon as I got it home I set it on the workbench. I could perhaps have glued the broken harness lever support back together, but decided it would be stronger if I fabricated a new part. I carefully unscrewed and removed the broken part, then wiped the screws with silicon polish to remove the rust and ensure an easier reassembly.

I laid the broken piece on some pine I had lying around, thinking to make a test piece before remaking it in a harder wood.

Table loom component

Then after drawing around the old part, I carefully cut the pine to length on the bandsaw, and then cut in to define the ‘feet’, chiseling out the void below the ‘ramp’. Then back to the bandsaw to cut the curve. Then using the other lever support as a template, marked out where the screw holes should go and drilled them. Finally I used a medium grit on the belt sander (mounted belt-side up in the vice to free both hands) and smoothed out the curved section, then a quick dressing all round. Time for a trial fit:

Table loom (detail)

The fit is perfect and the action is smooth. Still a fair bit of work to do, but it will hold for now while I locate and cut some suitable dowels for the tower (I have found a couple of bolts that are the right size against which to measure the dowels). I still need to remove the rust from the reed comb (although the heddles are surprisingly rust free), replace the harness-raising strings and I suspect I will probably need to do some further disassembly for sanding and refinishing before rendering it fully serviceable again.

And then I may just want to build a boat shuttle – but that’s a future project! Here is the loom in its present state:

Table loom


Trellis in Spring

Posted by jerry on October 9th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, Woodwork

I promised earlier that i would provide a picture of the completed trellis I built for the carport – so here it is:

Garden trellis

I think it adds a certain charm to the garden. The trellis itself is ready made in sheets 1200mmx2400mm and I framed them in pine channelling. The arches I have described before – the tops are made from recycled brick pallets salvaged from the post Canberra bushfires reconstruction.

Speaking of the garden – it is now Spring time with a vengeance! for those of you in the northern hemisphere just starting to feel as though Autumn is fast turning into Winter, here are a couple of photos of our tulips and gazinias in our garden: