Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bean rock lighthouse.

I am back from NZ now and and getting back to normal life.  I had a lot of time in Auckland to watch you tube instructional videos and practice my drafting skills.  I had a crack at drawing the bean rock light house with Rangitoto in the background.  The lighthouse was erected in 1871 as a response to increased shipping servicing the gold rush and is an Auckland icon.

The other memento from my trip is a copy of The Dinghy Cruising Companion by Roger Barnes.  I enjoyed read his collection of articles about boats and sailing.  Stories of his sailing misadventures probably wouldn't entice a novice into dinghy cruising but if you are already a wooden boat tragic they are a good read.  I was most interested in the details of his Francois Vivier designed Ilur and the amount of electronics he has packed into a 15 foot open boat.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Auckland's rolling lift draw bridge

I recently came across Auckland's rolling lift draw bridge, which I have seen before, but have not paid any attention to.  This time I noticed a gear rack embedded in the road way and took a couple of photos to try to understand how it works,  This particular bridge was supplied by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company in 1932 but it seems the rolling lift design originated by William Scherzer who died in 1893.  The drive pinion retracts the bridge along the rack located on top of two frames anchored to the bridge abutment.  Two curved edges at the end of the bridge truss are engaged with the gear racks embedded in the road and the whole structure rolls up and back out of the way of passing boats.

I had to make a paper prototype model to illustrate and understand the mechanism because I haven't seen the bridge working.  Notice how the pinion stays at the same level as the drive motor and gear train revolve around it.  William Scherzer gets my vote for induction into the Tinker's Hall of Fame.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2B or not 2B

After being banished to Melbourne's western suburbs for most of the year I am now holed up in Auckland on family duties.  2014 is looking like  the year without tinkering.  After my last post I had a kind offer from Greg Merritt ( to use his knot tying illustrations but the thought occurred to me that I should be producing my own drawings. I am probably one of the last generations of engineers who has spent time at the drawing board with a pencil and paper so I should be able to produce a usable instructional drawing.
The interesting part of the exercise was realising that I really needed to illustrate hand positions as well as rope.  Not something they covered in engineering drafting 101 in 1985.  The other interesting point was just how difficult it was to communicate the sequence and details of operations so the Mrs Tinkerer could follow.
2015 could be the year to improve my drawing skills.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lessons learnt

I have, once again, had the pleasure of helping some Wooden Boat Association members tie knots.  My plan was to cover a handful of simple knots and get every one to make a small key fob with 3mm line by the end of the night.

I think I succeeded in confusing the hell out of every one.  Still, there were some very good lanyard knots completed and I think every one had a good time.  Congratulations to every one for keeping their sailors swearing to a minimum.

I guess I won't be launching my teaching career any time soon.

Here are my youtube training videos in case any one wants to practice.
lanyard knot
four strand braid
wall knot
crown knot
wall and crown knot

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shakedown sail

Day light savings has started and the weather is warming up so today was the day for a quick shakedown sail in preparation for lots of sailing this summer.  The boat has been under tarps for the winter and has developed some mold which needs to be cleaned and oiled.  Other than that everything seemed to go pretty well today.

One hour at the helm brings my total to 148 hours.  That's not many hours over 8 years.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Smith and Smith

I have just come back from Sydney and had the opportunity to visit Smith and Smith suppliers of tools and parts to what was once a clock and watch making industry.  I had been wanting to visit for a number of years and was hoping to browse through their stock and buy a souvenir.  Most of the stock was behind the counter so I didn't get the chance to rummage through old tools so I had to settle for a nice chat with the proprietor.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Swedish style trestle table

Not much tinkering has been going on in the workshop lately so it is with a real sense of achievement I can announce the completion of my trestle table.  I have opted for my preferred treatment of pine which is white paint.  I have tried to age the finish a bit with contrasting coloured under coats and a light rub so that some of those colours show.  The design is an interesting one and the table should prove useful because it knocks down to a flat pack for easy transport.  The cross beam has through tapered mortises which take a wedge.  The table ends fit over the cross beam ends and the wedges lock in place.