August 3rd, 2015

Just a post so people don’t think I am dead! I’ve been busy with other things. The problem is I have too many projects so I have been working on other things. Mainly building my own version of the Turing-Welchman-Keen Bombe.

But car stuff proceeds slowly. I need to start rebuilding the Chummy wheels. And since Joss is all set up for aluminium work at the moment (making Ian’s special body) I need to make a buck to match my bonnet shape so we can start working on that. Still need to make a seat and a fuel tank and so on and so forth.

I do keep meaning to get back onto the car but I want to get the Bombe machine done first!

Finally finished tidying….

July 19th, 2015

Well, mostly. I still have boxes of random screws and bolts and so on to sort out but I do have my shelves in and everything off the floor now. I bought some decent shelving (1.2m wide and about 2m tall) off TradeMe and assembled that. I bought extra shelves and will use wood of the top of them (I had enough wood to do one so far). That got all the bits and pieces off the floor and tidied away nicely.

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As recommended by Joss the shelves come half way along one side wall leaving a decent amount of space against one wall for sheets of plywood, aluminium, steel, etc. I took out all the light galvanised shelves I had and will see if the local VAR can use them in our spares shed.

I have also added some garage bling. Luckily a friend’s neighbour died (well, not for his widow I guess) and she was cleaning out his ‘junk’ so I got a bunch of locomotive pictures in frames, some railway jigsaw puzzles and some DVDs and books (and a couple of VHS tapes). The pictures look good on the walls and I appreciate the other stuff being something of a railway geek.

I also had a lucky win on TradeMe for this nice dash light. It was described as a blackout light. It has a rotating cover over the bulb. It’s a bit chunky for an Austin 7. Will have to think of something else to use it in. Hmmm, I wonder what?

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I also got all my wheels back from the blasters. Three rims are in good condition and just need the spokes checking. Several had bad rims but one I can repair with some brazing. One rim has narrow spokes and  good rim and hum. I can use that to replace the really bad rim and make a new wheel with thick spokes. That will give me a good set of five for the Chummy. I also bought a set of new inner tubes for them all to go with the new tyres. I can paint four of the rims and at least get the car on the road again then worry about rebuilding the spare later. Of course it’s the middle of winter here so good painting days are hard to find! I did start the poor Chummy today since it’s been so long. I’d like to say she fired right up but there was quite a period of groaning and other odd noises before she fired. Once running for a few minutes though everything seemed good.

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With the big garage clean I’ve been shuffling things back and forth to the small garage. That is also looking nice and tidy now too. The MG and the lawnmower live in there.

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So now I can finally get to the cars in the big garage I need to start thinking about finishing them. I am still distracted by other things though. Mainly finishing off my Bombe!

Bonnet hinge finished.

June 28th, 2015

I finally got around to finishing the bonnet hinge. I made the mounting block that holds it to the car from a srtip of the same metal the hinge pieces are made from. I just bent it around the hinge pin then made a block from steel that it was attached to. I filed the top of the steel block to make a groove for the hinge pin.

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The sheet metal was soft soldered to the steel. I used an 8mm bolt (same diameter as the brass rod) with some tin foil wrapped around it so the solder wouldn’t stick to it. A stainless steel bolt would have worked too but I couldn’t find one! Lots of flux and lots of heat and then I applied the solder from the top of the join.  The solder pulls itself into the joint through capillary action. I could tell when it had done so the by small drops of solder around the rod. When cool I pulled the bolts out and ran an 8mm drill though it to remove any remaining solder.

I drilled and tapped the bottom of the blot for a 1/4 BSF stud. That holds the hinge to the rail attached to the car. You can simply remove the single nut holding it on and remove the bonnet in one piece.

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Joss is getting set up for some aluminium work in a few weeks so we will make the bonnet then too. I do need to get some smaller diameter brass rod though for the side hinge pins.

I also did more garage tidy up and put things up on my new shelves I made last weekend. There is a shelf running along the back wall now where I can put things up out of the way. A lot of it is stuff that is of no use but too cool to throw out.

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I also cleared the corner where I will be putting up some proper shelving. The cheap $20 galvanised things are pretty useless really. I’ll get some decent shelves to the ceiling and then I will have a lot of space to store things.


The other interesting thing was an old chap who lives down the road popped in. People are always stopping to talk to me about the cars and what I am doing. I have chatted to him before. This time he bought me presents! First is a Lucas ignition and light switch. It’s never been used! He said he has had it in a drawer for over 40 years so was pleased to find someone who could use it. It’s exactly the same as the old one in the special so I can use this instead of the worn out one. The other thing was an interesting little spark tester. It’s called a Brolt Spark Gauge. It’s about the size of a lip stick and has a brass cam on one end and some kind of bulb in the middle. I haven’t tried it yet. I will have to test it on the Chummy at some point.

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Speaking of the Chummy the wheels are all out for blasting. I am having them media blasted then just phosphate coated so I can  adjust and replace any bad spokes. I am getting 6 wheels blasted so there should be enough rims, centres and spokes to make up a good set of 5. If I need to respoke a wheel I will need to make up some kind of jig to make sure everything is centred I guess. Once the wheels are done I can paint them and refit the tyres. I also ordered new tubes to use in them.

I also finally finished fixing the front of the MG. I repaired and repainted the front valance. Looks much better now although it’s the cleanest bit on the car, the rest of it badly needs a wash and wax!


I had just posted this then had an idea. I could test out the Brolt Spark Gauge with my plasma lamp I made years ago. It generates a high voltage, about 15kV at about 16kHz, and can make bulbs and fluorescent tubes light up from quite a distance away. So I fired it up and yes, it makes the spark gauge light up too. It lights up orange so I guess inside there is just a little neon bulb. So it should work fine on the Chummy.


You could probably make such a gauge using an ordinary neon pigtail lap I think.


More tidying.

June 7th, 2015

I have been tidying more and also working on the bonnet hinge. I need to get that done as great maneuvers are taking place so that Joss has space in his shed to start doing some aluminium bodies for people and when all the aluminium work is happening we can also do the bonnet for my special.

With some thicker steel from Joss I made new bonnet hinge mounting pieces. I had made one mistake on my hinge and that was I forgot that everything has to be flush with the rubber in place so I made a few tweaks to get it all to line up. Need a bit of tiding up but it’s looking better now. I still need to make the blocks and tubes that hold the actual hinge to the stay then I can paint it all.

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I am still slowly sorting out the big garage so I have more room. My parents are remodelling their kitchen so I jumped in and got rescued what I could before it was thrown out. I even got the kitchen sink!

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The drawers were quite knackered. The backs of them was chip board which crumbled like Weetbix so I replaced all that with plywood. The plywood offcuts from the special’s floor as it happened. One side was open so I tidied that up, nailed on some strips of wood to stop stuff falling down the sides and stuck a thin piece of MDF over it. The MDF was the original template for the specials floor. There is a lot of recycled special in those drawers!


The top is the bit of plywood that was covering the hole in my model railway dining table but now I have the glass for that the ply could be reused. Since the red tool box is on castors that can be wheeled about anywhere.

I am still sorting out all the rubbish I have in the garage and making slow progress. One thing I did do today that Joss suggested was make a tyre/rim rack in the roof space. That gets them up out of the way. I need to take the Chummy rims off to be blasted soon so I can fit the new tyres and get that mobile again. It will be good once the old Chummy tubs are out of the way (hint! hint!) then things won’t look quite so full! They are up out of the way for now though.

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So more tidying to do. Need to get the block out of the special so I can go see the engineer to get my mods done. Need to get Chummy wheels rebuilt and need to finish my bonnet hinge. I don’t think I have progressed that far from last time!



May 25th, 2015

I’m not dead! Even though I have been very slack I had good reason. Am settled into my new job now (working from home). Have several pay packets behind me too. I was unable to do much for quite a long time due to an elbow issue which meant I couldn’t do anything physical with it. But that’s come right now so back into it.

I first needed to clean my garages again to get some working space. The little one had been taken over by spiders!


So I had a good clean up in there and have started moving my Austin parts back in as now I have space to rebuild the engine and gearbox. I have a spare 3 speed box to play with too for the Chummy that Bob kindly gave to me.

I had a good tidy up, vacuumed up all the spiders and saved this one Preying Mantis.

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I then started cleaning up the other garage. That’s the one I need more space in at the moment. I made shelves under my workbench to put tools and other things and will soon start clearing out all the old MG stuff I no longer need (old master cylinders beyond repair, worn brake linings, rusty water pumps and so on).

I have also taken the wheels off the Chummy and removed three of the five old tyres so I can have the rims media blasted, tweaked and then reassemble everything with the new tyres. Apparently others who got the Blockleys through Marcus say they are really good tyres and they are very pleased with them.

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Joss bought me some 18 gauge steel to make my bonnet hinge mounting brackets but it turned out to be 1mm instead. That might be thick enough although the one I already made is 1mm and seems a bit thin. 1.2 would be better. I also need to make the bonnet hinge mounting blocks. Then in a few weeks we will make the aluminium bonnet panels. Still to be made are a seat and a petrol tank. Once that’s done there is just the boot lid and the wings to be done.

I can’t drive at the moment (can’t wear my contacts for a few weeks until I get measured for new ones, my eyes need time to go back to blurry normal) but when I can I will go visit the engineer about the work I need doing to my crankcase. Then I can start assembling the engine finally. I should also find out about close ratio four speed gears to go into the gearbox.

There isn’t really that much more to be done really. Just need to crack on and do it!

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