Thursday, January 24, 2013

Looking Back To Look Forward

I was always taught never look back unless your looking forward. This I have been doing for some time to see where and how I can improve on what I am doing using the knowledge I gained during my life and in my trade training days and long after.

I started my training long before leaving school, firstly with my dad in what ever he did about the home or when he was woodworking, gardening etc. Progressing to mowing lawns for others and weeding gardens, running errands (from the age of 6 I was sent to corner stores over 2 miles away). I doubt if we see this sort of thing today. The treat was a penny's worth of lollies would be enough to last a whole day, whilst sixpence worth a week.

Oh I have run off track oh well it shows I was taught responsibility from a young age.

So roll onto a few years ahead and things like paper runs, pamphlet drops, behind the counter in a service station while the mechanic worked in the garage doing repairs (this was when we had mechanics and fuel at one place). Kitchen hand in an Swedish Inn Restaurant on weekends. School holiday work at Grace Bro's Roseland's my first real pay packets oh and Tax.

Then onto my apprenticeship as a 1st year Motor Mechanic for Wight Ford (now City Ford) they were just off William Street in the city, just down from Kings Cross close to the Swedish Inn. After about three months I was asked to transfer to become a Coach Builder as the company had to many apprentices if I had said no I would have had to leave three others did.

At Technical Collage (now TAFE) I signed up for my first year, the course was titled Coach Building the following year it became known as Motor Vehicle Building to be more in line with modern day vehicles being built.
Some where during the first year one of the fellows at Tech come into a situation where by he had to leave his employment at Custom Coaches Manufacturing Company and find another apprenticeship he went on to be a Saw Dr.
I was finding my time at Wright Ford a strain as my work there was far from what I was learning at Tech. I was still doing mechanical as well as "Rattle & Squeaks" as we used to call it, it was an amazing nine months tho I leaned a lot. Worked on some brilliant and now legendary cars now collectors items, such as the Ford XW GT and XY GTHO, Capri, Cosworth engined Escort racing vehicle of John Pierce.

So somewhere about October I transferred to Custom Coaches at Sturt St Smithfield where I spent the next 4 1/2 years building Buses and Coaches.

My first year Tech teacher Mr Bob Macky was due to retire he had been the courses had teacher for a  number of years, he was an old school tradie and very much into Vintage and Veteran restorations and grounded me more into woodwork. I had taken metal and woodwork as electives at school MR Woods another tradie who became a teacher during the Vietnam War teacher shortage and Mr Bryant in metal work.

The trade of Coach/Motor Vehicle Building encompasses so much from humble cars, trailers, horse floats, caravans, truck of all descriptions. Even though Custom Coaches allowed me to travel along a wide multi lane road from chassis line to finish line, Fibre glass, repair, machine/top shop, a short stint in upholstery. It would never spread wide enough as the trade itself does. It even covers welding, machine shop use of basic lathe work, design/draughting and development and pattern making. You see even push/motor bikes and horse drawn vehicles were covered during my first two years at Tech. 

I located a few videos to give some insight into a little of my past although I worked at none of these places. They do not completely cover my career as I did go on to become a licensed Mechanic and Spray Painter during the years while a Coach Driver/Yard Person after leaving Custom Coaches.

Multi tasking they deemed it during the 80's it didn't last, companies wouldn't pay for the additional skills you brought into their work place.......something about Union's wouldn't allow it.

Below are links to a few videos of.

Vintage Restoration

Motor Vehicle Building

Now whats the reason for looking back to look forward.......I still play with wood and steel when the body allows it and its with my past I shall continue to travel forward.

Skeins & Spindles

This where and why we started our Blog Skeins (Wool) and Spindles (Wood). We work together and apart to create what ever it is we create at the time and as said "Often their paths cross as Sue delves into wool and Ray makes more wooden things for Sue to play with."

The Skeins light colour are Wool from Fairfield Spinners Guild not dyed at all it is the fleece colour, spun in the grease (lanolin) and then washed.

The coloured were dyed earlier these are Wool and Alpaca as posted earlier in December.

These are all for a joint project between Izzy and myself.

Eleven Drop Spindles made out of off cuts from various woods. Huon and Rosewood segmentation x2, Segmented Spalted Macadamia, Burl, Oak, Elm a couple of unknown timbers. Sue had asked for some fine spin types to replace those which had been seconded by the ladies whom had fallen in love with ones Sue used often when demonstrating.

Leaders and stems and notch fitted by Sue, all tested for weight and balance.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Knocked Off My Perch

Lucky escape yesterday and again today.

I use an old gas lift draughtsman stool when out in the workshop puts me at almost standing height  and normal lathe working height. Has wheels two lockable if need be makes getting about the garage/workshop easy.

Yesterday I was sitting sharpening tools, when my son noticed that welds under the seat were cracked 1/4" was all that was stopping me from toppling off in any direction. From a height of about 750mm+.

Imagine me just the day before leaning over while on the stool at full height to pick up stuff I had dropped on the floor. Face plant or over backwards when rolling about the workshop.

Set too today and weld the two cracks, started packing up when due to heat transfer the seal blew lifting the seat off the bench and almost hitting me as it was up-side down.

So now without a stool to work on ATM no wood turning till I get it.   I have a spare but its 45k's away possibly pick it up Wednesday.

I will be checking the welds first.

Just edited 8th Jan 1300hrs I have been using the term "Draughtsman" instead of "Draftsman" . The difference is the correct English spelling of Draughtsman and someone had pointed out it should be "Draftsman" the American spelling. Being English I'll continue with the correct spelling.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

They Come in Three's from Tree's

I had was getting frustrated over the Christmas break due to weather here in Sydney its been all over the place temps of 20C to 35C wet and windy. I couldn't work on what I really wanted to so I started 3 small bowls.

A piece of Coolabah  Burl given o me by Pat Keefe.
A Piece of QLD Beach  given to me years ago by a fellow called Noel from QLD.
A piece of Banksia.

All are approx 120/130mm (5" to 6") dia and 50mm (2") high.

Coolabah  Burl is as Pat say's Concrete like to turn, hard as rock, blunts even the best tools. This piece has some wonderful grain and colour. I had planned on first picking it off the shelf to turn the opposite side to which I did. I found someone had drilled a 1/4 hole about 3/4 deep, unless I filled it it was useless as the base side. The other side was rough and ready.

I am so glad it worked out this way as no one would have ever seen the brilliant work nature had done in creating the interesting grain. Yes the bowl design and my first idea's were lost but it was worth it.

Right is the base side of the bowl and the rot which had set in, this is the bark side. It was to be the top and then I was going to hollow out a vessel.

 Queensland Beech
A very pail timber which if spalted (has began to stain/rot due to being wet) can have some interesting advantages.

I think this piece came from David Laird of the OTGA. Strange wood to describe to turn very open grained.


Santa's Christams Helpers

A good friend Alan Flett had a project to do and asked if Sue and I would also like one or two for our grandsons as Christmas present....... a little detail and we were more than willing.

So began the major project of construction of four 3 story Car Parks with elevator,ramps and Heli Pad.

Alan as Engineer works manager designed the whole lot.. He cut out the main shapes from MDF, drilled the holes for the dowel which was to be the joiner for the columns. Made the first series of columns. Constructed the ramps and lift.

Sue painted all the main MDF, the columns and painted the lines and parking bays.

I cut and drilled the remainder 40+ columns and the joiner dowels, turned the lift crank and parts.

Our grandchildren all four where thrilled to bits so much so we have to make another for young Brodie's 2nd Birthday come February. Nathan and Christian were just over joyed and started playing with them even before presents were given out as they were to large to wrap.

No early photos were taken by us although Alan and I did do a running Collaboration thread on the Toy Section of the Woodwork Forum

 The 8 story car park, the only way Sue and I could store it during painting as I was also making other things.

To cut all the small dowels I designed up a cutting jig. I used a piece of pine, drilled the depth of the two required lengths and also a relief hole so I could push out the off cut pieces. I just held the block then in a vice and had two dowels cut into two sizes in a fraction of the time.

 Alan's fitting of the lift section and ramps. The ramps are plastic electrical conduit which is used to hide cables.

 Lift mechanism fitted. H for the Heli pad painted.

 The four Car Park's all with names and final painting done just days before Santa arrived.
 The Fuel dowser's Alan also designed and made and fitted.

Sue and I would like to thank Alan for the pleasure of seeing our grand children's joy and faces when they saw them.