Tag Archives: Steam Boat Association

Sawing Straight (not)

Having clamped a pair of mould-half panels together, I figured I could just cut them out with a jig saw….

The "Offending" Saw - as always it's the bad workman who blames his tools!

The "Offending" Saw - as always it's the bad workman who blames his tools!

So off I set, slowly and carefully sawing along the line – 2 inches in I  encounter the first problem – there is so much dust I can’t see the line… At this point I engage “smug-mode” and pick up the shop airline, and with the spare hand blow the dust clear as I saw…

… I reach the end and discover (horror) that the b*&^&^y saw has cut at an angle to the vertical – and (double horror) this mis-cut has resulted in the lower panel being significantly undersize (we are talking about a ~5mm undercut!) grrrrrr….

I check the saw and the blade is square to the foot, so I am mystified…

A number of posts to the Selway Fisher Builders Yahoo group follow… (this really is a great group of people) and a deal of suggestions emerge within a few hours. These range from observations that cutting 1.5inches of chipboard in one go is too ambitious, thru to real Zen-like encouragement to chill more, take up a pipe and cut them with a Japanese hand saw – excellent!

So, I take some of my scrap chipboard (I just made a nice new bit of this) and draw curved lines and practice my sawing (by hand and other approaches) – including sawing it an inch oversize and improving my planing and surforming technique.

In the end two key factors emerge 1 – you cannot saw two at a time (you were right Graham) and 2 – I was going too slow! By setting the variable speed JigSaw to “flat out” and keeping my feed rate slow the desired results emerge….

The first three moulds - halves bolted together, showing the marking out

The first three mould-halves bolted together, showing the marking out (Nos 1,12 and 16)

I leave the workshop with three assembled and very “boat shaped” moulds – life is good again!

 

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Where it all began

Being a youth in the ’70s I got swept up in the emergence of the industrial archeology “movement”. Building on basic motorcycle/petrol-head beginnings I became significantly infused with serious doses of Steam and Engineering. This included working on Brindley’s Water Mill at Leek, helping the Northern Mill Engine Society dismantle a cotton mill in Shaw in Lancashire, and going sidecar racing.

Probably the key moment was meeting a retired engineer, who was helping with the sidecar project, and  whose house was full of 5-inch-gauge model Steam Locomotives, and I thought “wow that would be a good thing to do when I retire” and then realising that if I waited till then I would not have time to learn the craft – so I bought a Lathe…

About 25 years later (after 2 daughters (Becca and Kathy), a wife (Louise) and building a model of one of Nigel Gresley’s first designs (the O1 for the GNR) (see below) and a lot of swarf and scrap)  I ran into the Steam Boat association of the UK at an exhibition in Taunton in 2010. They had a steam boat on the stand… and a couple of blokes who made it sound interesting!

I felt the “obsessive gene” kick in…..

Here is the loco – showing that I can finish something, even if it takes over 25 years!

…and here’s a video of Dave driving…