Tempus Fugit - Pete Insole's workbench oddities and other things

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Peter Insole, 16 August 2017.

  1. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad Mick's Minions

    No worries at all - it's my fault for being a little too sensitive (and biased) about it, I've no excuse really but I've lost count at hundreds of exhibitions about it being the same as an Uno. When you look at the work that goes into one of Bob's pen then for a craftsman made precision instrument the price of his lining pen in my opinion is remarkably good value for money. Sorry I'm off again - I'll get off my soapbox now.
  2. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Had it not been for your 'provocative' comments, we all may never have learned something of the history behind Bob's pen! Thanks too to @adrian for the history lesson.
  3. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thank you gentlemen for being so kind to me!

    Here is the final part of this little diversion:


    After lightly "pushing through" the outlines with graphite from the tracing, all the lettering is done freehand with a fine brush. The curvy sections are painted first, then the straights are applied by running the ferrule of the brush along a raised ruler. Normally this would be my trusty old steel one, but there was too much risk of scratching or scuffing the earlier work so I cut a strip of thick plastic for this particular task! The slightly rounded "working" edge indicated with arrows as a vital and unfortunately necessary reminder!!


    I wonder if it is perhaps a bit too close? It has not only revealed all the idiosyncrasies of the original, but a few more of my own making!

    SAM_w3848.JPG SAM_w3852.JPG

    Well, apart from some minor cleaning up, and a drop of polish after the inking has been baked, this beastie is done...!

    I'm quite looking forward to seeing it installed in it's restored case and hearing a working clock ticking away sweetly soon!

  4. BrushType4

    BrushType4 Western Thunderer

  5. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Masterful, thanks for sharing.

    And thanks too, to Adrian for the history lesson. I bought one of Bob Moore's pens, about 16 years back. I lined my Hall with it. Well pleased. Came to do my Castle and King and got very discouraged after several abortive attempts. Got Warren to do them in the end.

    I'll blame the eyesight, which is not what it was!

  6. unklian

    unklian Western Thunderer

    Beautiful work Pete, please show us the finished clock if you can .
  7. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    That looks really beautiful and somehow "tactile" too, such a lovely antidote to mass produced, soul-less computer generated precision.

  8. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thanks again to everyone, I'm glad you have all enjoyed it!

    It is amazing how quickly the pain recedes (I hope that has not got anything to do with short term memory issues?!) and I'm almost starting to be pleased with it too!

    There is indeed something very special about all types of mechanical clocks. They are not only extraordinary examples of precision engineering that we tend to completely take for granted, but are potentially capable of working for several centuries, doing the very same job they were originally designed for!

    Let alone the historical influence of "Railway time", of all the wonderful collectables available to interest us few items can do more than look pretty (for a few at least!) or provide some other pleasure, a clock however can be thoroughly useful for it's owner. That's not saying that nostalgia isn't part of the appeal too?! I am rather frustrated that it would be quite impossible to be able to shrink an LSWR, nine inch Fusee to hang in the Bagshot booking hall - despite 1/32nd being quite a large scale! Although I am looking forward to making a tiny static replica for same, I rather think an attempt to add a sound chip to produce that familiar, soft, rhythmic ticking might cause my sanity to be questioned even more seriously?!

    Tempting thought though.....!!

    Mentioning memory; I will try to make sure I get a picture or two of the completed "Joyce", but that may be a while away yet? When I informed my friend that (after having to wait over a year!) the dial was at last ready, he exclaimed:

    "Oh no, I wasn't expecting it back so soon!... ...now I'll have deal with the rotten, 'orrible old case now!"

  9. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Spotted this and thought of you!
  10. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Oh look, there's one Heather did!
    Dan Randall and Rob Pulham like this.
  11. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

  12. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    I surrender!

    3 LINK likes this.
  13. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    We shall repair clocks on the stations, we shall repair clocks in the waiting rooms, we shall repair clocks in the kitchens and in the offices, we shall repair clocks in the homes; we shall never surrender,

    With apologies
    Osgood, Peter Insole and Rob Pulham like this.
  14. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    " This was their finest hour" :D

    simond, Osgood and Peter Insole like this.
  15. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    .....no prize for best caption.
  16. Tom Insole

    Tom Insole Active Member

    Got to admit chaps... These jokes are timeless!! :D:));)
  17. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Things have been quietly ticking along lately... (sorry!)..., but now it's time for something completely different:

    I was very happy to accept a commission to repaint the brickwork on an already superbly crafted and beautifully accurate model of this particular Great Northern Railway "occupation" bridge:


    Located on a long defunct mineral only branch in the Lincolnshire Wolds that served the ironstone quarries of the district, this splendid example was built entirely in "Staffie" Blues.

    Not that obvious at first glance though is it? In fact, the colours range widely from the true and proper brownish/purple blue, through delicate pinks to bright orange - sometimes on each individual brick too! This is going to be quite a challenge...?! ...but now it has become even more interesting:

    During discussions, my customer described his intentions and the purpose of the model for his layout. In it, the bridge will be located on a severed section of the main line, with a branch and cutting leading off and down to an imagined newer quarry working. This means that the bridge will be shown disused and becoming increasingly derelict (as it is now) but significantly, part of the normally buried abutment structure will be revealed at one end.

    Unfortunately, the original model design had not allowed for this, and whilst I really relish the prospect of adding some very interesting features, I was terrified of going anywhere near the model with any sharp tools or implements!

    Quite apart from not knowing how the model was put together on the inside, I wanted to be absolutely sure of exactly what was required, and where I was going to make any cuts into the fabric! I have therefore taken a bit of trouble with the research - while plucking up the courage!

    Firstly, here is a prototype clue to the upper part of the works that has been exposed by normal erosion:

    wybridge 1922 (2).JPG

    Some quite rough and stepped brickwork just below the core surface level and the earthen approach ramp!

    Although my sketch is somewhat exaggerated, I hope it shows what is proposed for the "good" end...

    wybridge 246.jpg

    The real problem is the dug out section at the opposite end!

    Here lies yet another tale...:

    I was assured that in my own locality a very similar bridge, albeit a Great Eastern one built in ordinary "reds", was still extant on our long closed section of the Stour Valley Line. It too was disused and had become completely isolated in a short section of cutting by a housing development at one end and field reclamation at the other. Even after fifty years, it would appear that Network Rail are still responsible for maintaining it?!

    Recently observed, I noticed that a farmer had bulldozed out the approach ramp in his field, thus exposing part of the foundations. Perfect for this job?! Just hop in the car and motor over for another quick look, this time armed with a camera?

    Ah...! So who is the fool...?

    The design of a plain arch bridge like this means that the centre arch thrust is counter-balanced on the piers by the smaller outer arches, that in turn bear their load on the end abutments. Remove some of the backfill and soil (in this case for easier ploughing) and the whole lot started to move sideways with an inevitable result...

    Someone has in the meantime had to pay a not inconsiderable sum of money, time and effort to reduce what had become an extremely dangerous structure to a huge pile of unrecognisable rubble!

    Oh well, back to the search then...?

    Without absolute proof, it would seem reasonable that the bridge construction would have been something similar to this next sketch:

    wxbridge 247.jpg

    Fortunately, we wont need to do the counterforts, but the top of the abutment, (core wall?) some of the haunch fill and a bit more of the stepping on the spandrel walls will be...!


    Gulp, time to get busy with the hammer and chisel....?!


    Oh, lor' lummey, that's an awful looking 'ole! Gorn an' done it now though!

    ...and it's got to get worse before it can get better?

  18. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    After a bit more choppin' an' sawin' this afternoon, and having just lit the living room fire with a pile of scrap wood, (don't worry, not from this bridge!) it's a good moment to continue with today's post!

    It was a bit awkward cutting into the lengthwise stringers, particularly the ones acting as thickeners at each side, and I don't have any suitable cutting discs in the toolbox, so resorted to the trusty but rather risky chisel.

    One slip would cause horrendous and irreparable damage, so working slow and steady I sliced layer by layer either side and then made the final horizontal and vertical cuts to remove the remaining material...

    SAM_4537.JPG SAM_4539.JPG

    Despite the chisel being keen and sharp it still left the MDF seriously fluffy in places - some bits were really bad!

    No worry though, it will all be covered up anyway.

    I have found that Mount-board is an almost perfect match for the 3'' depth of brick, and by adding thin strips of paper between to build up the mortar the new work lines up sweetly with the existing courses...

    SAM_4545.JPG SAM_4548.JPG

    The brick pattern at the top of the core wall part of this abutment does look a bit odd, but matches all the reference material that I have found so far. I would have thought that the top row laid in "stretchers" would be far more vulnerable to knocking out than "headers", but then again the wall is meant to be buried anyway?

    Next comes the Haunch - or rather a plate to close the gap and support the crumbling core fill to be made up later.

    I layered the card on the back to accentuate the slight pitch required...

    SAM_4645.JPG SAM_4649.JPG

    I am very tempted to rough that near edge up a bit, maybe break or completely cut out the odd brick or two before painting.

    Don't want to overdo it, so I will wait until the rest is fitted to see how it looks?!

    Now that freshly lit fire needs poking and a shovel of coal putting on it - or it wont be very welcoming when my wife gets home! I was thinking of posting today's brickwork after dinner, but if I've not been a good boy....?!!

  19. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Whew, just in time the coals were glowing nicely, so here is the final part!

    I know I've mentioned scribing brick on mount-board before, but this time here are some pics in sequence:

    First, by using a section of the very crisp laser cut brickwork as a guide I have scribed enough horizontal courses for the lower spandrel walls.

    Then again using the template, the vertical joints of the nine inch "stretchers" were drawn with a hard (4H) pencil...


    It was then fairly straightforward to likewise drop the four and a half inch "headers" equally spaced between for these strips of "English" bond:


    The pencil will partly indent, but can be a bit scratchy and uneven - and being brittle can and does sometimes snap when unintentionally pressed too firmly, thus ruining the joint!

    I prefer to mark lightly, then use my scriber to finish off. The tool will tend to follow the drawn lines so is not so tricky. This might add a bit of extra work, but I think the effort is worth it?!


    The strip was separated from the sheet and measured lengths glued to another strip to double the thickness.

    I do this instead of gluing the complete strip to help avoid curling during curing - I don't want to apply too much pressure with weights or clamps as the unpainted, raw card is still quite delicate!


    The visible top edge joints were cut with a scalpel.

    Wriggling the blade from side to side in the cut to open out the slots is the preferred method as the scriber or pencil tends to fluff up and delaminate the softer grain in the backing card and utterly spoil the corners!

    I also find it best to start the cut at that top front edge, from the vertical joint, and draw the blade to the back, again to reduce the risk of delamination occurring.


    The separated sections can then be trimmed to fit, and the fun, fiddly bits cut out...!


    This small piece seems to be suffering from all the handling - but can be tidied up a bit when finally glued in place!

    Looking at the reference photo the top edges of the buttressing are laid with stretchers here too, and when exposed some have predictably been dislodged, broken or otherwise gone missing!

    SAM_4704.JPG SAM_4706.JPG

    I will add individual headers and along with some paper slips, tie them into the existing wall later for a neater blend!

    The top of the core wall has not been scribed as this is the "good" end - with only the corners washed out and visible.

    SAM_4707.JPG SAM_4708.JPG

    It wont be long now before I can get some primer and first coats of paint on this lot to seal and strengthen it!

    Meanwhile, although there's the "day job" for tomorrow (it's only a short session), I'm hoping to get a bit more done at first light?!

    Ha, hah, for ever the optimist! Perhaps I will learn one day?!

  20. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi Peter,

    that is really great and although it may be time consuming, it is easier and quicker than the 'cut, tooth and bonding' sequence that would have be required in the 12" : foot version, especially into Victorian Staffs Blues and mortar!:eek::eek::eek: