A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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25 December 2021

You'd Think....

... that when you order a master and slave cylinder for the same car - the Series II Land Rover in this case - they'd have the same pipe fittings. Good Heavens no! What were you thinking of; that would be far too simple. Let's complicate things by having 3/8" on the master and 7/16" on the slave.

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So it was another few days wait for a special fitting to arrive - by which time it was the Christmas break.

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But before I went off to Kent to stay with Big Sister - where excellent food and entertainment is de rigueur - I was asked to produce a tool for the Talbot 75 engine that I've been helping with. The crankshaft bolt (on the right) is torqued to 100ft lbs which is why it's an odd design and on aggregate presents a large surface area to distribute the load. Of course, over the years the grooves had become distorted so a custom job was required. I cut up 6mm gauge plate for the wings of the adapter and tacked them into grooves I'd milled in the circular body. I thought it would be clever to use the six sides of the stem to align the tool in the mill - wrong! They're not very accurate.

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I had more luck with a repeat order for a couple of stainless steel stone traps. These go inline in a pig feed delivery system. Under the lid is a very large and powerful magnet (which is fun to get off the bench) and as the liquid feed passes through the box it picks up nuts and bolts and whatnot before the pigs crack their teeth on them.

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I found this image on the web and I started to have doubts about my plans for employing a tubular structure for the bodywork frame. Two things put me off. 1. I'm not a master craftsman, unlike the maker of this frame, and two, ash is about £3000 a cubic metre.

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On strict instructions to get fit, Christmas Eve saw the start of my new exercise regime. An early morning two-mile walk - I shall be building up gradually to double, perhaps triple this in time - through the lanes of Kent where unlike Suffolk, there are some steepish inclines - enough to raise a mild sweat. This I'm informed is a good thing. The magnetising work is undoubtedly a sedentary occupation and it's taken its toll over the years. I'm generally on my feet in the workshop when I'm not at sea or in some foreign land, but that's not enough. I've rigged up Pa's 1925 Rudge Whitworth bicycle on an exercise fandango in the attic, so when it's raining I have no excuse.

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As I walked along this lane, the 'Allegory of Plato's Cave' came back to mind. I'd jotted down a few thoughts along those lines in 'Joining the Dots' (June 2020). Since then, the fires have been stoked, the shadows sharpened, and the puppeteers have cranked up their frantic manipulations as nations wrestle with the conflict between actual truth (the narrative) and real truth - the sum of experience and new understanding. Whatever the outcome, getting it wrong doesn't bear thinking about.

To all those who've stuck with me for yet another year, thank you; your comments and input are always welcome and much appreciated. A Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

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