workshop jottings #2: my approach ... richard kell

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Blog entry by richardkell posted 09-04-2013 10:07 PM 1158 reads 1 time favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: my workshop ... Part 2 of workshop jottings series no next part

So …. my workshop is distinctly not the most modern, not a plastic handle in sight, but the tools machines and methods give me exactly the results I am looking for. I stop just short of lineshafting, but if i had the choice would have some installed, nothing like it for exact vibration-free turning of small metal components with the most perfect clutch effect of fast and loose pulleys.

I have more than one workplace, I assemble honing guides in my kitchen and package both here in my sitting room and upstairs in my workroom, my garage too is useful for messier tasks ie buffing, linisher, smaller flypress, drilling machine and some turning. Yet its my Industrial Unit of 168 sq feet where most of the work gets done, unfortunately to be demolished for housing in a year or so, an interruption I could do without, I’ve been there since Sept 1984. Never mind, we’ll overcome that problem somehow ….and curses upon the pillock that instigated this idea; or more exactly the idiot that occupied the biggest unit and never paying his rent for a year before bankruptcy has jeopardised us all.

My max speed for all turned components is 770rpm and I use hand tools for all chamfers, even on my ‘repetition’ Ward 1A capstan lathe of circa 1940; take a look at the brass bobbins of my honing guides ie Richard kell honing guides no.1 and no.2 and you’ll see tiny well defined and gleaming chamfers at 45 degrees at the end of every diameter. Never is a file used and never abrasive paper for this, the finish is ‘straight off the tool’. I use two particular type of hand tool and I’ll detail them later.

I cringe so often when I see youtubes of workshop practice, last night I was viewing a watchmaker in Germany make a fusee ie a coned spiral of brass to equalise the falling power of the unwinding of the mainspring in an old fashioned pocket watch and immediately its apparent the hand tool to turn with is blunt by virtue of the resultant surface finish but also the resulting spiral was irregular. I respect he will have skills I am ignorant of but in this case i was not impressed; yet what a massive collection of tools and exotic gizmos. I have that useful combination of precision industrial background and Technical College with a deep desire for the highest quality craft effort. At the second half of my only ever paid employment which was at Hardy Bros of Alnwick its now very obvious I was being trained to think, four years in Development were as good as a degree.

You could also say there was a seedbed of information laid upon me at an early age, a strange perhaps not reliable man in Suffolk England seemed to my father the way for me to enter working life and though he turned out to be slithery and a deep sadness to us he did me the favour of writing down a list of books for me to read. We were from this nowadays more experienced vantage point simple country folk, we were too trusting and easily impressed. Yet that reading list was extremely valuable and for that I am grateful, I recommend it to anyone. And this was 1972, long before any of this material (apart from Saunier) was available as a reprint.

Suchlike ….

Holtzapffel ‘Turning and Mechanical Manipulation’.
Bergeron ‘Manuel du Tourneur’.
Walter Rose ‘The Village Carpenter’.
George Sturt ‘The Wheelwrights Shop’.
Rex Wailes ‘The English Windmill’.
J. Geraint Jenkins ‘The English Farm Wagon’
C.H. Ward jackson ‘The English Gypsy Caravan’.

and theres others that crop to mind …..

There are several other books i have here that are worthwhile, theres some for sale too, see
my youtube channel.

Point is, its all about ‘inputs’ to feed your mind with good quality material, to see how others have developed and pushed technique and technology to arrive somewhere worthwhile. I should mention that since before I could read my dad would have boxes of ‘Model Engineer’, ‘Woodworker’ and ‘Practical Wireless’ magazines that have all fuelled my interests. And of course my dad always had a good worshop at home, Myford ML7 and a good range of tools for wood and metal. I actually was a late reader and its due to the concern and persistence of my auntie Annabell that I was able to read at all, I can certainly still remember settling down after lunch in the front room of ‘Ugiebrae’ circa 1965 where she lived with my grandmother for another session at books which would have been her own readers when she was my age. In fact, I still have them here on the shelves a few feet away.

Generally I blog over at …. but here perhaps I can take a different angle and it’ll do no harm to work up this information again from memory.

-- richard kell:toolmaker

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