A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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24 January 2019

Late On Parade Again.....


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I mustered this lot this morning, to demonstrate to them the latest, must-have accessory for the modern household.

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A few days ago, at the start of the current cold snap, I stoked up the wood burner and placed my newly purchased fan-dango on top. It whizzed up to full chat in a couple of minutes and - as advertised - distributed the warm air around the house. Selecting which doors to keep open and which to close, directed the warm air where needed. The following morning, I came down to see the blades still turning, albeit slowly, at around 30rpm. It was an indication that the fire hadn't gone out overnight and, sure enough, stirring up the embers, adding some kindling, opening up the vents and leaving it whilst I completed my ablutions, produced the hoped for result. The fire has been going for 4 days now and everything's toasty warm!

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This week's much-anticipated excitement, was a visit to the annual Model Engineering Exhibition at Alexandra Palace. Two events stick in my mind from the time I used to live in Wood Green, just around the corner from 'Ally Pally'. The first, the Wood Green Riots (which, despite my being more or less on the front line, I managed to sleep through) and the second, the fire at the palace in 1980, which I watched from the window of my attic garret and that destroyed much of the organ hall. Oddly enough, in 1936, my father had cycled from his home in Addiscombe to watch the Crystal Palace burn down.

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A Meccano Eiffel Tower was impressive....

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... and model steam engines were in plentiful supply. In the late 80's and early 90's, with the other Wright Brother, I used to visit on a relatively regular basis, the Model Engineering Exhibition at Wembley Conference Centre and Birmingham NEC. The show last week was barely a shadow of its former self. Apart from the almost complete lack of aviation related exhibits, the preponderance of stalls selling tools gave the event the feel of a boot-fair. Having from about 8 years old, made scale model aircraft from empty Corn Flakes boxes, I sometimes wonder if that's where patience and an ability to both concentrate and think in 3-D, might first be learnt (though ruler skills might in some cases be a step too far). The latest Lego Technic (Choking Hazard: Yes. Small Parts: Yes. Ages: 16 up - for goodness sake, surely they should know by then, not to eat Lego!) is a poor substitute for a pencil, razor blade and a pot of glue.

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Here's what the model of the Alvis Teardrop Special looks like at the moment. Clearly there's some work to do. I'll make up a couple of templates of the side view, throw together a hot-wire foam cutter and, with a template fixed either side of the block, probably burn grooves in my fingers and fall over from toxic fume inhalation by the end of the exercise, but that's the way we learn.

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And after some minor adjustments to the frame, the English Wheel is more or less finished - a little behind schedule, but better late than never.



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