A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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01 August 2012

The Good Life.

Self-sufficiency, that's the key.

I've been doing a bit of research, prompted by the assembly of the handbrake lever.

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Aha! I thought, this is ripe for some nickel plating. The only trouble is that, unless you do it yourself, there's a 3 month lead time with most (and they're getting fewer by the day) plating outfits. And the fact that there are fewer platers is compounding the problem - they're only going to get busier and the queues longer. Decisive action was called for and, after an evening of watching the guides on YouTube and mugging up on the gen available on the net,  I ordered a nickel plating kit along with the necessary to plate first in copper (as required) so the finish is even more durable. I'll report on the results.

The other event which prompted this move was that I acquired on permanent loan, a dedicated polishing whizz thing which looks like a bench grinder but isn't. Also, another bench grinder with a brass flail that's done wonders for the cleaning up operation. I've got access to a sandblasting cabinet at work which is also a great bonus. In fact, I could almost set up in business with all this kit - but let's not run before we can walk. (I've fallen foul of my business ideas before....).

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This is one of the pulleys at the end of the handbrake cross-shaft. The pulley and its clip and bolt were caked in finest Ullswater soil but after showing them the brass flail and the polishing mops, they came up as good as new. I'm only jury-rigging everything for the moment as there's still some paint and corrosion proofing to be applied before final assembly. In the next picture the whole cross-shaft is shown. The rear drums each have 2 brake shoes - one for the service brake and the other the handbrake.

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The handbrake cable is one length of cable and runs from one drum to the other via the pulleys and through the cross-shaft. Fine adjustment is effected by the knurled knob on the handbrake lever and coarse adjustment is achieved by a rather crude, but obviously trouble-free and effective system of holed plates and cable clamps on the hub levers themselves:

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I think I might splice the cables rather than use the clamps - just a simple Naval splice - it's a lot more reliable and doesn't risk crushing or breaking the strands and weakening the cable. I've drawn up the holed plates and should collect the new ones from the laser people in a few days time. As the service brake uses the same method, I thought it as well to fit new all round.

The other thing that self-sufficiency implies is economies and due to the recent out-goings (see 'Short Commons') I've convinced myself that this new move into the world of plating will pay dividends and in the long run afford my table a few extra little luxuries - oysters, Champagne, you know the sort of thing.

I don't take a lot of convincing.

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