Saturday, 31 March 2012

Getting ready for tomorrow... or should that be later today, at this time of the morning!?...

Two workshops and an office full of the stuff and we still manage to cover the kitchen table with Meccano! Tomorrow is the Spring meeting of the South East London Meccano Club (SELMEC). At each meeting a challenge is set and this is why we have Meccano all over the table, it is far too hot in the office as the sun has been shining on the front of the house all afternoon making it stifling up there, so we loaded up a tray of the permitted parts and we are in the process of building our entry for the challenge.


I have also offered to PAT test members electrical equipment so I will have to remember to pack some test equipment, some spare fuses and and plugs. Our "no-win-no-fee" litigation culture has eventually started to rattle the nerves of the exhibition organizers. Most booking forms will have an instruction that all electrical equipment must have been tested for electrical safety and carry the appropriate PASS sticker. The fact is that this is very rarely enforced. The problem for the exhibitor who is using untested equipment might well find that if there is an accident then he or she could find themselves liable. 

The point of the test is not to protect yourself from being sued but to protect you, the visiting public and fellow club members from receiving an electric shock, should a fault occur. I am more than happy to test fellow member's equipment (of the clubs and societies I belong to)  free of charge if they bring the item to a meeting I am attending - as long as you let me know beforehand!  If you want more information about Portable Appliance Testing  (PAT) contact me HERE.

Ralph.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hello! is there anybody there?


OK, so this is a blog and I have (a bit late in the day) discovered how to er… Blog! I now have a whole lot of new words to use like “blogger” and I think I know what a “gadget” is. There are probably more. Would Sue be a Blogette? Time will tell…

The title is a little misleading as this blog is about what happens in our workshops. Workshops with an ‘s’? I hear you cry, yes we have two – I know, you wait for hours and then two come along together.

Let us put this into prospective. We grandly refer to the two buildings in our garden as the 'Workshop’ and the ‘Turning shed’. Readers who know me from my days writing for and editing woodworking magazines and books will recognise the turning shed as the little 8ft x 6 ft shed that featured in the long running series of articles in New woodworking and on the cover of my book about building small workshops.

These days the shed houses a couple of small wood lathes although there is still room for a spot of square woodworking. The shed has been used as a small workshop for getting on for 30 years now. Every couple of years it gets a good soaking of Wickes dark brown solvent based wood preserver and The roof covering has been changed once and I am just about to finish off a third covering this weekend. It stands on a brick and concrete base that incorporates a damp proof membrane linked into the damp proof course built into the brickwork. The result is a perfectly dry shed that is as solid today as it was the day it was built.

The Shed was bought from a shed supplier on special order to have the door positioned as you see it. Supplied in pieces it could be carried through the house. We live in a Victorian terraced house with no rear access. When it came to building a larger workshop a few years ago we decided to design and build it from scratch. The result is a building with a floor area of 216 square feet (12ft x 18ft) well over four times the size of the little shed. When it was first built it seemed like a ballroom. As time has gone on I am sure the wood has shrunk!

That’s it, the workshops are the home of woodwork and modelling. Meccano building and philatelic activities for the most part is restricted to the confines of the office (a room in the house where we are supposed to be working).

The workshop frame goes up September 2004

So now you know where it all happens you can start following what we are doing and where we have been. 

Ralph