Sunday, November 1, 2015

Low tech ideas from the gold rush.

Spent yesterday afternoon at the Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo where I saw a couple of interesting ideas I would like to experiment with one day.  The first idea was hardwood bearing blocks sighted on a grinding wheel and a crank mechanism.  The blocks looked to be simply drilled out the the shaft size, mounting holes drilled and split in half.  An oil hole was drilled in the top half to keep the bearing lubricated.  The second idea was spotted on the large battery ram where brick laid wooden blocks formed the drive wheel.  Iron compression rings bolted through kept the wheel in tact but the belt ran on the wooden surface.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Some router work

One of the projects that has been on my to do list for some time has been to make some small bowls with my purpose bought router bit.  I have never really done any template router work before so this was a bit of an experiment.  I decided to start small with a batch of butter dishes.  My template has two uses.  With the work piece mounted one way I can cut out the centre of the bowl.  Then when I flip the work piece over I can use the same template to cut the handles.  The final shape was cut free hand on the bandsaw and sanded.  Not bad for an experiment,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The home of the Couta Boats

I was lucky enough to receive an invite to tour the Wooden Boat Shop in Sorrento today the home of the Couta boat.  I find it truly remarkable and inspiring that, in 2015, some one can make a living as a wooden boat builder.  The yard was full of interesting boats from historic wrecks to new, lightly built, racing Couta boats.  The highlight for me was to see how they bend that iconic bowsprit of as Tim Phillips calls it the "jiboom".  Originally the bowsprit would have been steam bent from a single piece but these days they are laminated.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Buying engineering supplies in Bangkok

I have been on the look out for a pair of stepped pulleys for a future project for some time but most of my usual suppliers in Melbourne don't hold stock and will give me a ridiculous price out of a catalogue.  After seeing some of the shop fronts around Bangkok Chinatown I thought it would be worth asking.

I did a rough sketch and showed it to a randomly chosen shop proprietor who pointed across the road.  Initially I thought she was trying to politely fob me off but to my amazement I had directed to a shop that specialised in cast hand wheels, pulleys and chain sprockets. Unlike Melbourne suppliers these guys held stock!

Well worth a look at the engineering suppliers around the Odeon Circle Monument.   Specialist shops for stainless marine fittings, bronze hardware and lots of metal merchants.  Make sure you get lots of baggage allowance.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Geelong Maritime Museum

I have been to many maritime museums all around the world and the knot boards at the Geelong Maritime Museum are as good as you will find anywhere.  Apparently the craftsman who made them was moving to a smaller house without a garage and donated them to the museum because "if the kids got hold of them they would be down the tip in less than ten minutes".

Monday, April 6, 2015

The benefits of blogging

I took the opportunity today to take Beth out for a sail at my local lake and wonder when I had last taken her out.  Turns out my last sail blog was 18th October 2014 and I was preparing the boat for a busy summer of sailing.  Oh well.  Today was very light breeze but beautiful and sunny and so very relaxing.

I will claim five hours at the helm but some of that was sleeping.  That brings my total to 153 hours and surprise, surprise past my self imposed 150 hour induction.

Now I feel qualified to sail the boat.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stove number three

It is "Pablofest" this weekend which means I have a full weekend in the workshop with no scheduled interruptions.  I could have done any number of useful jobs but I chose to practice my welding and use up some of my scrap.  If I don't use up my scrap some one may mistake it for rubbish and throw it out.  I have had a compressor tank I found on some ones hard rubbish pile some time in the 90's.  I had always meant to build a compressor but that didn't eventuate so I tried to sell it on ebay but no luck.

Rather than throw it out I decided to build another wood stove.  This one has a vertical fire box leading into a horizontal cook top.  The tank sits on a tripod so it is nice and stable and has an air intake and ash ash dump controlled by simple gate valves.  There is a removable hot plate which can be used to load fuel and a couple of small holes so you can watch the flames flicker.  I have a removable fire grate that sits in the base at 45 degrees to maintain a good air flow.

Seems to work well.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wally Mounster

There were a number of very nice small steam launches at Hobart but I had never seen or heard of a steam outboard motor.  This particular example was was for sale and was designed and built by Wally Mounster.  Wally was a local Tasmanian who seems to have been a bit of an engineering legend and deserves a mention in the Tinkerers Hall of Fame.  The other steam launches were also very nice but a bit more conventional.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rolling lift bridges of the world - 2

Imagine my surprise on arriving at Hobart to find a rolling lift bridge almost identical to the one in Auckland harbour.  In Auckland I had no idea how the bridge worked but this time I had a basic understanding so I made an effort to photograph the important details.

Side elevation showing the concrete counterbalance in the elevated position.

The drive shaft and pinion.

The rolling rack mechanism.

The photo of the steam crane is gratuitous.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Steam Yacht Preana

Riding in the luxurious saloon of the steam yacht Preana is not the boating experience I am used to.  For me it was almost claustrophobic but a fascinating opportunity to see a steam launch in action.  The boat was originally commissioned in 1896 by wealthy Tasmanian flour miller and parliamentarian William Gibson.  She is a 55 foot launch originally powered by a 60hp triple expansion engine but has been restored and fitted with a 40hp E compound engine from 1905.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Yukon of Copenhagen

My personal favorite of the Hobart festival was the Yukon of Copenhagen.

A Danish fishing ketch she was bought, as a wreck, for a case of beer and then rebuilt with Danish oak and Swedish pine.  As luck would have it she is now for sale so if I had a spare $490,000 I would consider buying her.  The Yukon web site shows her as 17 meters but the boat sales site says 24 meters so I guess she is between 17 and 24 meters.  I enjoyed hearing her story from the captain but I didn't think to ask how a Danish vessel got the name Yukon.

Hopefully I'll get another chance to get on board and ask.