Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Inflamed of Bognor Regis.

I'm prep-ing for a visit to the eye clinic tomorrow.
Not that there's much for me to prepare.

I hear the letter-box flap snap.
On investigation I find a letter marked "Private & Confidential - Addressee Only"

That'll be me then.

It reads:

The scan of your brain has shown some inflammation.  There are no lumps or bumps, but the Radiologist has suggested an appointment with the Neurologists to discuss this further.

Yours sincerely

Dictated by but left unsigned to avoid further delay

Consultant Ophthalmologist.

How many linguistic tank-traps can you count in that short missive?

If anybody wants me I'll be on the beach playing my ukulele to the raging sea.

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Glass and Glazing.

KINDS OF GLASS:  Glass is obtainable in various thicknesses and textures.  The more frequently used thicknesses vary from 18 0z. per square foot to 32 oz., 24 0z. being generally used for domestic windows.  Polished plate glass ranges from 1/8 in. to 2 in. thick; weights available are: 18, 24, 26, and 32 oz.  Sheet glass is not ground nor polished and shows a certain amount of distortion when looked through, though the modern drawn method of production is very good.  Plate glass is polished and ground on both faces, providing a clear, true surface without distortion.

Fancy glasses, mostly of the cast-plate type, are obtainable and about 3/16 in. in thickness.  Among the varieties are, Hammered plate, Muranese, Cathedral, Hartley's Rolled plate, Muffled sheet, and Cast wired plate, the last being suitable for fanlights or lay lights where a breaking window can be dangerous in falling.  This glass is composed of two sheets of glass with a metal wire mesh between and the whole fused together forming a plate about 1 in. in thickness.
GLAZING.  When glazing a sash or window remove all old putties with a hacking-knife, and clean the rebates of all projections that may interfere with making an even bed.  Paint in the rebates to provide a key for the putty.  The glass should be measured and cut accurately with about 1/16 in. clearance only.  Work the putty in the hands until it is soft, and taking a small ball in the hand, thumb in a thin bed around the rebate (A, Fig. 1).  Place the glass, and carefully press down to a fair seating in the putty (B).  Drive in a few sprigs to secure the glass and then thumb in the retaining fillet of putty and finish off with the knife to an even face (C).  The main point in glazing is to seat the glass on an even bed without forcing or distorting, even when wood glazing beads are used it is desirable to bed the glass in putty.

In some classes of work such as car work and ship joinery, a rubber or velvet fillet is used in place of putty.  By this method a certain amount of creep is allowed without injury to the glass.  In furniture glazing, glasses are often bevelled at the edges.  In this case care must be taken to regulate the glass in the rebates so that the mitres intersect with the frame, particularly in the case of silvered mirrors.

MIRRORS.  The surface of the glass beneath the rebate, also the rebate, should be blacked with spirit black to prevent reflections.  When dealing with silvered mirrors care must be taken not to damage the backing, as once damaged the silvering is impaired, and the only remedy is resilvering.  Old mirrors can be cleaned off and resilvered when they are as good as new again.

Mirrors are fixed in position by small wedge-shaped wood fillets fitted in the rebate space between glass.  These wedges are glued to the frame.  Lay the frame on the bench face downwards and see that it is free of winding - a heavy frame may easily drop out of truth by its own weight.  Place the mirror in the rebate, making sure that it has the same margin all round (a mirror should be about 3/16 in. short all round).  Glue in the wedge pieces so that the sloping surfaces catch the edge of the mirror.  They can be fixed every 6 in. or so, and should not be disturbed until the glue has set.  Fig. 2 shows the process.  It is a good plan also to bevel the top of the wedge so that a pin can be knocked in.  It will then hold even in a damp atmosphere.  For bevelled mirrors it is advisable to work to the right size and add on the rebate overlap rather than work to the rebate.  Note that internal mitres are always more expensive than external ones.

LEADED LIGHTS.  If a single pane is broken the old glass should be removed with pincers, and a cut made at each corner on one side as at A, Fig. 3.  The lead can then be bent outwards as at B, a thin wooden tool shaped like C being used.  The new glass is cut an easy fit because it is almost impossible to turn the lead back to the bottom of the groove.  Put a small bed of sealing compound such as Seelastik in the lead, press in the glass, and turn back the lead.  Preferably the corners should be re-soldered but it is not always essential.  If it is done, scrape the lead clean and use tallow as a flux.

My 'Track of the Week': G.I. Gurdjieff's Music-No 11 performed by Gurdjieff Folk Instruments Ensemble.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Rivets.

These are used chiefly in metal work or joining comparatively thin sheets of metal together.  Another use is in boat building when the wood planks are held together with copper rivets, though in this case the end of the rivet is spread over a washer or rove, as it is called.  Leather is also riveted, though here the rivet is usually bifurcated, and the twin ends bent over a washer (see, E Fig. 1).
KINDS OF RIVETS.  Various metals are used: copper, aluminium, iron, tinned, etc.  They are known by the diameter of the shank, length, metal, and type of head.  Fig. 1 shows the chief kinds.  A is the round or snap head, and is the most commonly used type, having high strength.  The pan head, B, is also strong.  For thin metal plates the tinman's rivet, C, is generally used.  Its head covers a wide area yet has little projection.  The countersunk type, D, is used when there can be no projection, but should be avoided when possible as it is not so strong, being liable to pull through.  Clearly it cannot be used for thin sheets in which there is not enough depth for the countersinking.

In choosing rivets the usual plan is to have the diameter about double that of the metal plates being joined.  Thus 1/16 in. plate would have 1/8 in. rivets.  The length should be calculated so that when the rivet has been knocked right through there is a projection equal to about 1 1/4 times the diameter.

It is essential that the plates are in close contact when riveting, and the best way of ensuring this is to use a hollow set.  It is shown in Fig. 2, and it is usually made in combination form with a hole into which the end of the rivet can pass with space to spare at the end, and a hollow depression which is the reverse of the head required.  The plates being put together and the rivet in position, the work is placed on an anvil or heavy iron head and the hollow set placed right over the rivet.  Striking this smartly causes the plates to be forced together and down hard on to the rivet head.  The projecting end is then beaten over with the hammer and the hollow depression of the set placed over it.  When this is struck with the hammer the end is formed to the round or snap head shape.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Joy of Things: Autumn Colours.

Autumn Colour

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Screws (Metal) and Nuts.

These are used chiefly for joining metal together, though they have a fairly wide use in woodwork also.  In metal work the metal can be tapped to hold the thread of the screw, in which case the hole in the metal beneath the head is of clearance size as shown in Fig. 1, A.  Alternatively both holes can be of clearance size as at B, Fig. 1, in which case it is necessary to fit a nut over the screw.  A washer is generally used under the nut, and sometimes beneath the screw head as well.  In most cases the simple ring, Type C, Fig. 1, is satisfactory, but the spring form, D is useful in that it helps by friction to prevent any tendency for the nut to loosen.
SIZES.  Although there are several kinds of threads for screws, the chief kinds are the Whitworth and the B.A., the latter being the fine thread of the two.  Whitworth screws are known in fractional sizes of an inch, and the usual sizes are: 1/8, 5/32, 3/16, 7/32, 1/4, 9/32, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2 in.  Many ironmongers do not stock the thirty-second sizes.  Lengths vary from 3/8 in. up to 3 in.  B.A. screws are known by numbers, 0-10.  As a rough guide they may be compared with fractional inch sizes from 1/4 in. to 1/16 in.  The two are not interchangeable as the pitch of the thread is different.  Lengths are generally reckoned in inches - 1/4 in. to 1 1/2 in.

VARIETIES.  Apart from the thread, screws are made in various metals, the chief (for general use as distinct from engineering) being mild steel and brass.  There are also many kinds of heads, the chief being shown in Fig. 2.  Sizes are known by the over-all diameter of the thread, and the length.  The dotted lines show where the length is reckoned from.  Thus when ordering screws ask for "one dozen 3/16 in. countersunk iron, 1 1/2 in. metal screws, Whitworth."

In addition to the above metal screws are carriage bolts used mostly for joining wood parts together or metal to wood (see Fig. 3).  There is a square shank beneath the head which prevents it from turning round when the nut is tightened.  When this fits in metal a square clearance hole is needed; in wood the hole is generally bored a clearance fit for the round part of the shank.  A blow from the hammer then makes it bite its way into the wood - at any rate in softwoods.  In hardwoods it may be necessary to ease the holes with a chisel.  Heads are generally of the mushroom type (A), countersunk (B), cheese (C), and cone (D).  When used for wood a washer should always be placed beneath the nut as otherwise it will bite into the wood.

Handrail bolts (Fig. 4) are used for joining a handrail to a newel post.  They are also useful for a large mitre such as in a wood curb.  Recesses are chopped down from the surface to receive the bolts and clearance holes bored in at right angles in the mitre.  These holes must run beyond the nut holes.  The square nut is dropped into its recess and the bolt screwed into it.  The round nut is passed into it recess and the bolt entered into its hole.  The round nut is turned by pressing a screwdriver into the recesses around its edge.  There should be a washer between it and the wood.  Final tightening is by means of a special punch (D) which is rather like a bent screwdriver.  This is placed in the slots on the nut and tapped with the hammer.  As a rule a couple of dowels are also bored into the mitre to prevent the joint from twisting.

NUTS.  The kinds in general use are: hexagon (A), square (B), wing (C), and dome (D) (see Fig. 5).  The last should always have a comfortable clearance between the end of the screw and the bottom of the hole in the nut.

When bolts are used for joining wood together the holes should always be of clearance size so that the bolts can be passed straight in without turning.  A washer is used between the nut and the wood.

STUDDING.  Sometimes it is necessary to join heavy timbers with long bolts, and it may not be possible to obtain the last named as a standard fitting.  The best plan is to use what is known as studding which is simply a rod of metal threaded for the whole of its length.  The usual standard sizes are available - 1/4 in., 3/16 in., 3/8 in., 1/2 in., and the length is generally 12 in.  It is necessary to use a nut at each end, and washers are required.  Make sure that the nuts have the same thread as the studding.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Screws.

Wood screws are known by length, type of head, gauge, and metal of which they are made.

SIZES.  Fig. 1 shows where the length is taken from, and gives the three different kinds of heads.  The gauge is the diameter of the shank, and is known by numbers.  The gauge number applies regardless of the screw length.  Thus a 1 in. No. 8 screw is of the same diameter and has the same size head as a 3 in. No. 8 screw.  Metals are chiefly iron, brass, and blacked (iron).  Order screws in this way: "three dozen 1.5 in. nines, countersunk, iron."  The illustrations show the screws in full size enabling the gauge to be seen.
Handyman007 - Version 2
The following are generally useful sizes, but can be varied to suit the job: 0.5 in. 4s; 0.75 in. 8s; 1.5 in. 9s; 2 in. 9s; 3 in. 12s.  Countersunk screws are used when the head has to be recessed flush into the wood.  Round heads are chiefly for fixing metal fittings.  Raised heads are a neater variety of countersunk screws and are mostly used with screw cups.

Two sizes of holes are needed for screws: the thread hole into which the screw bites, which should be of about the same size as the centre rod portion around which the thread winds; and the clearance hole in the wood immediately under the screw head.  This should be slightly larger than the shank of the screw.  When driving brass screws into hardwood it is advisable to put in iron ones first.  They are then withdrawn and replaced by brass.  Otherwise the screw may break off.

When screws are required for fixing a metal fitting it is advisable to take the latter to the shop so that the screws can be actually tried in the holes.  Iron screws are used for most work as they are the strongest.  Brass are useful for brass cabinet fittings, and for use in outdoor oak.  Iron used in the latter causes discolouration in the wood, and corrosion in the metal.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Nails.

The range of nails made for various purposes is very wide.  Those shown here are the most generally handy for household use.  Nails are mostly sold by weight.
A. TACK.  General upholstery.  Available from 0.25 in. to 1.25 in.  Useful sizes 0.5 in. and 0.75 in.  Improved tacks are similar but have larger heads.

B. PANEL PIN.  Furniture-making, toys and fine work generally.  Made from 0.125 in. to 2 in.
C. LINO SPRIGS.  For fixing lino, window glasses, picture backs, etc.  Made from 0.5 in to 0.75 in.

D.  CLOUT NAIL.  Fixing webbing, roofing felt, etc.  Made from 0.75 in. to 3 in.  Most useful sizes 0.75 in. to 1 in.

E.  CUT BRAD.  Flooring and general carpentry.  Not liable to split the grain.  Available sizes 0.5 in. to 3 in.  Useful sizes 1.5 in to 2 in.

F.  STAPLE.  For holding down wire, upholstery springs, etc.  Made from 0.5 in to 4 in.  Most useful sizes 0.5 in. to 1.5 in.

G.  BOOTMAKER'S RIVET.  Boot repairing.  Made in various sizes.  Useful size is 0.5 in.

H.  OVAL WIRE NAIL.  Joinery.  Not so liable to split wood as french nail, and the head is smaller, but not so strong.  Available sizes 0.5 in. to 6 in.  Useful sizes 1 in. to 2 in.

I.  CUT CLASP NAIL.  Carpentry.  Grips very strongly.  Made from 0.75 in. to 8 in.  Useful sizes are 2 in. to 4 in.

J.  FRENCH OR WIRE NAIL.  Generally carpentry where large head do not matter.  Available sizes 0.5 in. to 6 in.  Most useful are 1 in. to 3 in.

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Household Kit of Tools.

The following kit is what we suggest every householder should have.  It will enable him to deal with most emergencies that arise, and to carry out various repair and decorating jobs.  Tools for special operations can be added as the need arises, and many applications can be made at home.  Exact sizes need not be followed as these are given mainly as a guide.  Tools for gardening are not included as these are specialized items outside the scope of the ordinary household kit.

  • HAMMER.  Warrington or London pattern.
  • PINCERS.  Medium size, about 6 in.
  • PLIERS.  Side cutting, about 5 in.
  • PUNCH.  Hollow point, medium.
  • CHISEL.  0.75 in. firmer.
  • SCREWDRIVER.  About 8 in. blade for large screws.  Also small size for small screws.
  • SAW.  Cross-cut, about 20 in. and 6-8 points per inch.
  • BACK SAW.  About 10 in.
  • HACK SAW.  Adjustable type, or the small junior wire patten.
  • PLANE.  Metal adjustable smoothing type, say 2 in. cutter; or wood Jack plane.
  • BRACE.  Ratchet, 8 in. sweep.
  • BITS.  0.125 in. twist; 0.75 in. centre; spoon or shell, medium.
  • BRADAWL.  Medium.
  • OILSTONE. Medium, 8 in. by 2 in. (Indian, Carborundum, or Unirumdum).
  • FILE.  Half-round, 8-10 in. 
  • SPANNER.  Adjustable, medium size.
  • RULE.  2 ft. or 3 ft. folding.
  • AXE.  Medium weight.
  • SQUARE.  6 in. or 12 in.
  • SOLDERING IRON.  Medium size, preferably electric.
  • GLUE POT.  About 0.5 pint.
  • TROWEL.  Bricklayer's 9 or 10 in.
  • SPIRIT LEVEL.  About 8 in.
  • BRUSHES.  Distemper, 6 in.; 2 in. flat brush; fitch, small.

The following are useful extras to be obtained as needed:

  • SASH CRAMPS.  About 2 ft.
  • STRIPPING KNIFE or SCRAPER.  About 2.5 in.
  • BLOW LAMP.  Paraffin or petrol.
  • GLASS CUTTER.  Small wheel type.
  • SHAPER.  Useful for trimming chipboard and and materials of an abrasive nature.  One of its advantages is its freedom from clogging.

The following appliances are most useful and can be made by the reader:
  • STRAIGHT-EDGE.  About 3 ft.

Handyman006 - Version 2

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Water Stains.

Before applying a water stain the wood should be wiped over with warm water and allowed to dry out. This will raise the grain which can be rubbed smooth again with glass-paper.  Then when the stain is applied the grain will not rise - or only to a limited extent.  It is helpful to add a little alum to a water stain as this reduces any liability to raise the grain.  Oil stains have the advantage of being free from this tendency to roughness.

If when applying a stain with a brush the surface shows brush marks and uneven spreading, you can correct it by going over the surface with a rag damped with the stain.  End grain always absorbs stain more readily than the rest, and the stain used in these parts should therefore be thinner.  Otherwise they will show darker.

Before using a stain it is a help to smear the fingers lightly with vaseline, rubbing it into the nails well.  It will be much easier to clean the hands after staining is finished.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


I have noticed something.
How certain events are connected.

When this device looks like this:
The Clock
This device makes a shrill repetitive noise:
The Phone
When I pick the detachable piece off the stand the shrill repetitive noise stops and it speaks to me with a very faint voice, so faint in fact I have to hold the detachable piece to my ear to hear it.
The voice says "put the kettle on, make tea".
I obey the command:
The Preparation of Tea
Then Linda arrives:
A Linda Appears
This has been happening for weeks now.

Two Steps Back.

Things in the eye-sight dept. have been improving slowly, until this morning.
There's been a distinct deterioration in the vision in my left eye and the pain has returned.
The most disappointing aspect of this development being that it gives the medicos some justification for forcing their steroids into me.



The Handyman's Pocket Book: Silver Soldering.

When work is liable to be subjected to considerable heat or has to withstand greater strain than soft solder will resist, it is necessary to silver solder, or hard solder it is alternatively called.  The process is entirely different from soft soldering and calls for great heat.  The silver solder itself is obtained in thin sheets, and is cut up into strips with snips as required.  The flux used is borax.  It is in powder form and is mixed with water.  The heat can be from a blow lamp, gas blow pipe, of for very small work, a bunsen burner.  Larger work may need some form of forge or oven in which coke can be arranged so as to prevent loss of heat as far as possible.

Cleanliness is important, and this involves rubbing the joining surfaces with glass-paper or emery.  In the case of old and dirty work it may be necessary to file or scrape the surface.  If there is any form of mechanical joint such as one part fitting inside another they should fit as tightly as possible because the molten solder will flow into the smallest aperture.

FLUX.  Borax can be obtained in lump form if preferred, and is reduced to a paste by rubbing on a piece of slate, using water.  Alternatively, powdered borax can be used, this requiring only to be mixed with water.  The only other requirement is a piece of thick wire or pricker.  It is handy for picking up more borax, and it can often be used to encourage the solder to flow.

Having cleaned the joining surfaces thoroughly smear over them a layer of flux made by mixing the borax powder with water.  The purpose of the flux is to prevent the metal surfaces form oxidizing, as this would prevent the solder from adhering.  It also assists the solder to run.  If one part fits within another it is an advantage to coat the inner one with the borax paste before inserting it into the other.  It is advisable to hold the parts together in some way because when the work is heated the borax begins to bubble and may easily displace them.  Generally the simplest way is to fasten iron wire around them.  When they are together go over the joint with more borax.

Quite small work can be dealt with just as it is, being held in a vice (so long as the heated part is well away from the jaws) or laid on a piece of asbestos or old fire brick.  If you are using a bunsen burner you can often hold the work over the flame, but generally it is more convenient to have the work stationary and apply the heat to it.

Some workers put the silver solder in position before the work is heated, and in some cases it is more convenient.  An example is when a small rod is being silver soldered in a hole in a larger rod.  A narrow strip of silver solder can be bent to form a ring and put around the rod in the form of a collar as in Fig. 1.  It cannot drop down and it is in just the position where it is wanted.  This is not always practicable, however;  the bubbling up of the borax as it becomes hot may easily shift it out of position.
Handyman004 - Version 2
THE OVEN.  Large work cannot be dealt with in the open owing to the loss of heat.  It needs to be packed round, and the best way is to make a sort of oven, using an old fire bucket or some other tin, or a few fire bricks piled to a convenient shape.  The work is placed in it and packed round with coke as shown in Fig. 2.  The whole idea is to prevent heat from escaping.  Remember that unless the required degree of heat is reached the solder will not flow.

Assuming that you are using a blow lamp, light this and get it thoroughly hot before using.  For a start apply the flame to the main body of the job so as to make this really hot first.  Otherwise the heat will be conducted away from the joint and it will be impossible to make the solder run.

MAKING THE SOLDER RUN.  For a start the borax will begin to bubble and look very messy, and gradually the metal will reach a dull red heat.  This is not sufficient; a quite bright red is necessary.  The borax itself will have a glass-like, smooth appearance.  As soon as the metal is glowing bring the flame right on to the joint.  It will soon become a bright red and the silver solder can be picked up with tweezers and applied to the joint.  It will rapidly crumple around the work but will not run until the heat is reached.  You will see it do this.  It will assume a bright appearance and will run freely.  Often it can be assisted by drawing the pricker over it.  Once it runs freely it will flow into the tightest joint and adhere strongly.

Sometimes more borax may be needed, and this can be applied by dipping the pricker in water then in borax and so on to the job.  It should be noted that, although enough heat is essential, the over-heating of brass should be avoided because the melting-point of brass is not much above that of silver solder, and it may run or crumple, especially if it happens to be thin.

CLEANING.  When the solder has run around the whole joint take away the flame and leave the work until it has lost all redness.  It can then be lowered into a bath of pickle made of one part of sulphuric acid to ten or twelve parts of water.  Pour the acid drop by drop into the water.  Never reverse the procedure as otherwise the acid may spit and splash and so cause a burn.  This bath in pickle will help remove the hard borax and dirt.  Wash well afterwards.  It is not advisable to put the work into the pickle before redness has cooled out because otherwise the metal may be distorted and the joint may crack with the quick contraction.

BRAZING.  This process is practically the same as that of silver soldering, except that brazing spelter is used instead of silver solder.  This spelter is obtainable in the form of granules - rather like moist brown sugar.  and is cheaper than silver solder.  It takes more heat than silver solder, however, and for this reason it is used generally for steel rather than brass.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Joy of Things: Bognor Regis Charity Shops.

I don't offen visit the 'national' charity shops nowadays.
Having worked for one of the larger national charities I had plenty of time to become disillusioned with the way they did business.
This shouldn't be seen in any way as cutting my nose off to spite my face or residual bitterness toward an uncaring employer.
Quite honestly since the major charities began "competing with the highstreet brands" and "profile awareness development" they've become very bland and throw out most of the interesting items that get donated to them.
That's why I spend so much time checking their bins.

The interesting charity shops are the locally based enterprises.
The sure fire test of an interesting charity is the way the shop smells.
The closer to unwashed armpit odor they get the more interesting stock they seem to have.

Here are my top four Bognor Regis Charity Shops:
Cat & Rabbit Rescue Charity Shop
Cat & Rabbit Rescue
RFR Charity Shop
RFR Charity
4Sight Charity Shop
Alexander Theater Charity Shop
Alexander Theater Charity Shop
To be fair, the only one that really smells of armpits is the RFR, but its by far the most interesting of the bunch.

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Soldering - Soft.

This handy means of joining metals together can be used for work which is not subjected to more than moderate heat.  Since soft solder melts at somewhere in the region of 350 deg. F. it is clear that the temperature of the work must not subsequently approach this heat.  For articles which contain water soft solder is safe as a rule for general purposes, because the boiling-point of water is 212 deg. F. and water in an open vessel does not rise above this temperature.  Obviously the vessel must never be allowed to become dry.  Not all metals can be soft soldered, but the majority can be tackled.  Brass, copper, german silver, gold, silver, bronze, tool steel, and wrought iron are all safe.  Cast iron, however, does not make a strong joint, and aluminium cannot be soldered by ordinary methods.

SOLDER AND FLUX.  Solder known as "tinman's" is generally used, and is obtained in strips.  There is also cored solder which is more like thick wire in appearance, and contains its own flux, generally resin.  Various fluxes can be used, and, apart from any question of personal preference, some are more suitable for a certain job than others.  The simplest way is to obtain one of the proprietary fluxes such as Baker's Fluid or Fluxite.  The former is very effective but has a corrosive action on iron and steel.  Objects on which it is used are liable to become rusty, and steel tools in the workshop are affected if in the vicinity.  In this respect Fluxite is entirely safe.  In fact, for electrical work it is preferred as otherwise corrosive action is often set up some time after soldering and may go right through wiring.
SOLDERING IRON.  The term "soldering - iron" is a misnomer since the bit with which the soldering is done is always copper.  It can be of the simple type to be heated in a fire or over a gas ring, A, Fig. 1, or it can be electric (B).  Apart from its convenience the latter is cleaner in use.  Do not choose too small an iron because it will lose its heat quickly.  A 1.5 lb. head is a good average.

TINNING THE BIT.  When first obtained the bit will need tinning.  If of the simple kind a gas ring or bunsen burner is better for heating as it is cleaner than a fire.  You can generally tell the heat by holding the iron a couple of inches from the cheek.  It should give a comfortable warmth.  With a file or sheet of glass-paper, on a flat board rub all four sides of the tip of the bit until perfectly clean, and at once dip into the flux.  Then, holding the bit over a piece of tin plate over which some flux has been smeared (an old cocoa tin lid will do), hold the end of the stick of solder against it.  The solder will melt and will run down and a film of it will adhere to the bit as in Fig. 2.  Rub the bit back and forth in the solder, and dip it occasionally into the flux.  The tin lid should be kept as it is used later in soldering.

This tinning need never come away - in fact it will only do so it the bit is overheated.  If this occurs it should be tinned afresh.  The bit should never be allowed to become red hot.  In subsequent use always wipe the point of the bit on a piece of coarse rag before dipping into the flux.  The piece of tinplate should be kept because fresh solder can be melted on to it and be picked up on the iron as required.

One of the secrets of successful soldering is in cleaning the surface of the metal thoroughly.  If it is new metal this can generally be done with glass-paper.  A really dirty surface, however, may need the use of a file or a scraping tool.
Handyman003 - Version 2
MENDING A KETTLE.  As an example, suppose a tin kettle has developed a hole.  Scrape away all dirt for an area of about 2 in. all round the hole and finish off with glass-paper or emery paper in Fig. 3.  Cut a piece of tinplate about an inch in diameter - tinman's snips are generally used.  It it becomes bent in the process beat it flat afterwards on a flat block of wood.  Both the area around the hole and the tinplate patch have now to be tinned.  Smear both with a film of flux, and heat the iron.  Dip the latter into the flux and pick up some solder with it from the tin in which the bit was originally tinned.  (The advantage of keeping this tin is now realised.)  Rub the bit back and forth on the cleaned area of the kettle until a thin film of solder is deposited on it.  It may be necessary to pick up fresh solder - in the event of a large area having to be covered the stick of solder can be held against the bit so that it runs down.  Treat the tinplate patch in the same way.

Place the patch in position, and hold the iron above it in the middle.  The heat will pass through and melt the solder beneath, and, as the liquefied solder always tends to run towards the source of heat, it will run towards the middle.  Finally run the iron around the edge of the patch, using fresh solder, and holding a metal rod in the middle of the patch to hold it down.

The same general procedure is followed in most jobs.  The surfaces are cleaned thoroughly, smeared with flux, tinned, and the iron applied.  One useful point to keep in mind is that solder, when molten, obeys the same laws as other liquids.  It tends to run downhill.  When, therefore, you have an awkward corner to deal with you can often help by tilting the work so that the solder tends to flow where it is wanted.  Apart from this it runs in the direction of the source of heat.

You must have sufficient heat, and the metal to which the solder is applied must be as hot as the molten solder.  It is useless merely to drop molten solder on to the metal.  This is why the iron must be held on the work long enough for the heat to be transferred.  It also explains why a small iron used on a large bulk of metal is useless.  The heat is lost.
SWEATING.  Another method of soft soldering is that known as sweating.  No iron is needed, and it is useful for some classes of work.  No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to which each should be used for.  In some cases either could be used equally well.  The joining parts are cleaned as before and smeared with flux.  Each is then tinned by heating the metal in the flame of a bunsen burner or blow lamp.  As soon as it is hot a stick of solder is dipped into the flux and applied to the metal which should then run over the surface.  Once again remember the two points about the flow going downhill or towards the source of heat.  Thus, suppose a brass collar is being sweated on to a shouldered rod as at A, Fig. 4.  After tinning, the parts should be assembled and the heat applied to the thick part so that the solder tends to run in that direction where it is wanted.  When the parts are a tight fit it may easily happen that they will not go together after sweating.  There is no difficulty if the metal is heated, however, as the solder will at once flow.  Do not make unnecessarily hot as it may just burn the solder.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Up The Wukulele.

Ah, all hail the third Sunday of the month and the dawn of the Wukulele jam at the Worthing Rowing Club.
Do you see what they did there?
Genius, pure genius.

The day begins with my return from the beach having performed various important personal rituals:
Morning Ritual
Linda also has several arcane rituals that need to be dealt with, but I can never understand what on earth she's up to:
Breakfast I can understand:
And so to Worthing.
What with hospital visits and so forth I seem to be spending quite a bit of time in Worthing recently.

I like the Wukulele jam.
The company is good and I get to play my uke for around 2 hours solid while Linda applies herself to some retail therapy.

Later Linda joins the company and does some filming:
Big up for Harriet who runs the jam.
I'll also take this opportunity to promote the various ukulele orientated products produced by Ivy Arch on her Etsy shop Ivy Arch

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Adhesives.

WOOD - WOOD.  For indoor woodwork Scotch glue, casein glue (though this will stain certain hardwoods - use oxalic acid to get rid of stains), synthetic resin, Polyvinyl.

For woodwork used in a humid atmosphere use synthetic resin.  Outdoor woodwork use thick paint

WOOD - METAL.  Really strong cement difficult without hot pressing.  Bostic C is often used for metal facing to plywood.  Reasonable adhesion also obtained with gold size.  Coat both metal and wood, and leave to set.  Give second coat, bring surfaces together, and cramp.  For metal inlay to wood add plaster of paris to Scotch glue, or add a tablespoonful of venice turpentine to Scotch glue.

WOOD - RUBBER.  Contact adhesive.  Motor tyre solution.  Apply to both and allow to become tacky before pressing.  Bostic C  is also a good adhesive.

WOOD - PLASTICS.  Joining surface of both wood and plastic should be coarse sanded.  Use either a contact adhesive, giving two coats with drying interval to the wood or use synthetic resin glue.  Makers of plastic sheeting also have their own adhesives.

LEATHER AND BAIZE - WOOD.  Use paper hanger's paste mixed to double strength.  Too much water may cause penetration, especially in baize.

GLASS - WOOD.  For direct adhesion use Bostic C or Durofix.  For bedding glass into wood or metal frame use Bostic C glazing compound.  For fixing small metal items to glass Seccotine is strong, providing the atmosphere is free from dampness.

GLASS-PAPER - METAL OR WOOD.  Useful for sanding discs.  Seccotine or one of the synthetic resins.  Special proprietary adhesives also available.

TILES - WOOD.  As in tiled tray.  Plaster of paris.  Add to water little at a time.  Keep stirring, and, as right consistency approaches, work quickly, flooding in and pressing down tiles immediately.  Cement and sand can be used but is heavy.

TORTOISESHELL - WOOD.  Synthetic resin or best Scotch glue freshly made.

IVORY OR BONE - METAL.  As in fixing knife blades to handles.  Melt together 1 lb. black resin and 0.25 lb. beeswax and add 4 oz. powdered brick dust.  Use hot and allow to cool.

AQUARIUM CEMENT.  Mix equal parts of moist white lead and dry red lead.  Add Japan gold size to form stiff paste.  Glass is bedded in it.  Also can be used as a glue for outdoor woodwork.

Another cement is 1 lb. ordinary putty to which 0.25 lb. red lead is added and thoroughly mixed.  Gold size is added to bring to working consistency, but mixture should be stiff.

PUTTY.  Mix whiting with linseed oil and knead well.  It can be coloured by adding powder colours such as burnt umber or Venetian red.  Preferably mix the colour with the whiting before the oil is added.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Woman! Stop Blubbering, Consult "The Man-Who-Sees"

Mr. Glyn Webster draws my attention to a giant amongst men:

There, That Fixed That.

Urururur, 'ow's about that then boys and gals?

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Gates - Care Of.

A wood gate needs periodic attention.  Shrinkage allows the joints to open, and any braces that may be fitted fail in their job of keeping the whole rigid.  Thus the framework sags and the fittings get out of register.  Any loose joints should be pulled up tight.  First rub in some thick lead paint, and it the wedges are loose remove them and refis.  See that the cross-brace is close fitting in its joints, and strengthen any weak joints with flat metal plates let in flush and screwed on.  The joints must be pulled up tight first.  When painting, pay particular attention to end grain because it is here that decay generally starts.  It is because of this that joints must be tight since the cutting of joints always exposes a certain amount of end grain.  Sometimes a new part can be spliced on.  Clean the wood back well to beyond the decayed area (see B, Fig. 2) and screw on a new piece, painting the joint.  The mortice will have to be cut into the new piece so avoid putting screws where they will be in the way.
PRESERVATION.  Posts that are set in earth often get out of upright and should be set in concrete after truing up.  It this cannot be done excavate the earth around the post and well ram hard rubble or large stones into the cavity, but in any case treat the lower ends of the posts with anti-rot preparation before doing so.  A time-honoured method of treating posts to be buried is to char the end over a fire and dip into tar.  Creosote is often used, but merely to coat the end is of little value.  The better plan is to immerse the end of the post in a tank of creosote and heat up to about 180 deg. F.  It is maintained at this heat for about an hour and then allowed to cool, the timber remaining in the tank.  It is in the cooling period that the absorption chiefly takes place.  Proprietary preparations such as Cuprinol are also widely used to preserve the timber.

If a closing spring is fitted adjust it so that the gate closes without undue force, and fit a small rubber buffer at the centre of the shutting post; this will make the operation of the gate practically silent.  See that the hinges are in good order, re-adjust the catches and lubricate all fittings.  Any decayed portions should be cut out and new wood spliced on, the joints being well painted and screwed.

The best method of bracing a post is given in Fig. 3, A.  For a narrow gate the main bottom shoe board is sometimes taken across from post to post as in Fig. 3, C.  In any case treat the buried portion with anti-rot compound.

A cheap yet effective way of preventing a post from leaning is that at B.  Two cross-bars are nailed on as shown, the bottom one at the outside, and the top one (a few inches from the surface) at the inside.  Treat to prevent rot, set in rubble, and tamp well.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

This Machine...

The Joy Of Things: Decorating Blake's Road Sign.

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Wallpapering Over Match-Boarding

It is necessary when papering over match-boarding to use canvas or scrim because if the paper is hung directly on the boarding, the movement of the latter, due to atmospheric changes, is sufficient to split the paper.

The scrim may either be affixed to a framework, which is secured to the match-boarding, or it can be stuck with an adhesive.  The former process is to be preferred as the latter is messy and rather cumbersome where large areas have to be treated.  Where new scrim is to be used, a size made from about 1 lb. concentrated glue size to half a gallon of water is prepared and placed in a pail.  The scrim is steeped in this and wrung out fairly dry.  As an adhesive, a dextrine or rye flour paste, or alternatively, a paperhanger's prepared paste with the addition of half a pound of concentrated glue size, can be used and applied fairly liberally to the boarding.  The wrung-out scrim is rolled and applied, being stroked into place with a blunt broad knife or a pad of cloth soaked in size.  On drying the size contracts leaving the scrim taut.

Paper hanging follows normal practice on this foundation.  The essential is that the scrim should be firmly fixed and reasonably taut.

Another plan is to apply a lining paper horizontally first, lapping the joints an inch or so.

The Irrepressible Paul Martin!

He's irrepressible!
He can not be repressed!

Demystification And Other Unintended Side Effects.

So, the intention of blogging about my current condition was partly to have a record of the events as they unfolded and, as these events unfolded, attempt to demystify the processes involved.

That seems to have blown up in my face somewhat.

My reaction to the MRI scan has bothered me more than I care to admit and I've spent a good deal of time analysing and re-analysing the circumstances, to the point where I almost wanted the hospital to phone to tell me the scan was inconclusive, or blurred, and I would be required to undergo the procedure again.
I'd like to point out I'm quite happy I haven't received that phone call and won't be disappointed if it never comes.

How to make sense of this?

I'm focusing on the relaxation technique I used, a combination of relaxing muscle groups, deep breathing and visualisation.
I was introduced to this technique some years ago and was amazed at the initial results.
The session was a guided one by a therapist who was trying to show me how to 'do-it-myself''.
I'd driven to the session crashing every gear in the box, stressed out, angry, and not looking forward to the waste-of-time-psychobabble-nonsense I was going to have to sit still for.
I left the session and drove along a busy dual-carriageway at around 20 mph waving and smiling at all the infuriated motorists blowing their horns at the the idiot blocking their clear passage home (me).
Try as I might I've never been able to reproduce the effect of what was actually a light hypnosis*, effects that lasted, to my recall, for about 3 days.

Ah yes, despite my using words like 'bothered' etc. the overall effect has been a positive one in that, for around 48 hours, once I got over the initial confusion I've had what can best be described as 'peace of mind".
How much would you pay for that if it could be bottled?

But yet it doesn't follow.
The session I described was in a comfortable, quiet, 'safe' environment with a person, even if I didn't  fully trust, I didn't actually distrust.
The scan context was quite a stressful environment, loud, clinical, disorientating and alone.
Although I did eventually manage to 'visualise' a pleasant situation it took some bloody doing I can tell you.

The nurses' comment on withdrawing me from the scanner to give me an injection was a little puzzling.
"You're doing really well".
Difficult to convey the inflection in typing, guess it's one of those 'you-had-to-be-there' situations.

Here's another 'odd' thing.
During the short period I was removed from the scanner, injected, then replaced in the scanner, my left arm and hand (the side not being injected) seemed to develop a life of its own.
My fingers were stiff yet kept twisting uncontrollably almost like having cramp but without the pain while my arm 'waved' about in the air.
Non of that seemed to phase the nurse in the slightest, almost like she'd seen it before.

I'm still in the process of trying to rationalise this whole episode.
Most of everything I've read suggests there are no side-effects from MRI scans yet my experience doesn't seem to confirm that.

There's something else.
That was two days ago and two days ago may as well be a thousand years ago.

Oh, look, a kitten:

*see Mr. Websters comments on Through A Scanner (Darkly).

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Floors.

Lifting : Staining : Waxing : Varnishing

LIFTING FLOOR BOARDS.  It is sometimes necessary to life a floor board in order to put down electric wiring or gas piping.  The method depends upon whether the boarding is tongued, and whether both ends are visible.  Take first the case of square edged boarding in which both ends can be seen.  Punch in the nails at one end, also those in the next two joists.  Avoid heavy blows as these may crack the plaster in the ceiling beneath.  Now force a thin instrument such as a stout chisel into the joint at the end of the board, and lever the latter up.  Place a piece of wood beneath the raised end as in Fig. 1 to prevent it from dropping back, and lift the board a little at a time.  It is often a help to force the piece of wood backwards.  In some cases it may be necessary to punch in more nails, but generally the leverage in enough to enable it to be pulled up.
HandyMan006 - Version 3
Perhaps only one end of the board is visible, the board passing beneath a partition, or whatever it may be.  It is then necessary to raise the one end as before and cut off the board.  Once again pass a block of wood beneath, rather thicker than before, and cut off the board at the centre of one of the joists, as in Fig. 2.  Then there is a solid bearing for both ends of the board when it is replaced on the joist beneath.

When, possibly owing to wear, it is necessary to put down a new piece of boarding locally, cut the board at an angle immediately at one edge of the joist.  It will be realized that it would be awkward to cut right over the joist, but to make a cut midway between joists would be a mistake because there would be two unsupported ends.  Bore a hole at an angle and use the keyhole saw as shown in Fig. 3, A.  When the new board is put in, the canted end will bed down on that beneath, though it is also necessary to screw a supporting batten to the joist as at B, Fig. 3 to provide a firm seating.  Incidentally, this method is adopted when a board has to be raised, neither end of which is visible.
HandyMan006 - Version 4
When several boards have to be replaced some means of cramping them is desirable.  One simple way is to screw a block to the joist and knock a wedge between it and the edge of the board as in Fig. 4.  Near the wall it may be necessary to put a protective block at the edge and use a spare length of wood as a lever between it and the wall.

TONGUED BOARDS.  Before a tonged board can be raised it is necessary to cut away the tongue at one edge.  Bore a hole to enable a keyhole saw to be started and work this along.  Cutting is easy until the joists are reached, and here it is necessary to hold the saw over at an angle.  A special flooring saw with curved end is made, and this is handy for the awkward parts.  Having cut through the tongue, punch in the nails and prise up the board at the free edge as at A, Fig. 5.  When just a section of a board is being cut, the ends should be sawn through at an angle in the way already described, and blocks screwed to the joists beneath to give support.  If the same piece of board is being replaced there will necessarily be no tongue at one edge.  When a new piece of board is available, however, the lower side of the groove can be planed away, this allowing the board to be lowered into place as at B, Fig. 5.  The advantage of this is that the overlapping portion prevents dirt from getting through, and helps to stop draughts.
Boards which have shrunk and show openings at the joints should have slightly tapered slips of wood glued in as in Fig. 6.  They should be a reasonable fit, but there is no need for them to be really tight.  It is an advantage to let them stand proud of the surface so that they can be levelled with the plane after the glue has set.  Glue at one side only.

STAINING A FLOOR.  The common softwood floor is always a problem.  There are four chief methods of treating it:
  1. Stain and wax polish
  2. Stain and varnish
  3. Varnish stain
  4. Paint

Apart from personal preference the choice depends on whether the floor is new or old, and on its condition.

First the floor must be prepared.  Even a new one should be glass-papered because foot marks are inevitable, and there will probably be splashes of distemper or paint.  An old one should be scrubbed with soap powder and hot water, wiped with clear water, and allowed to dry.  If it is greasy it may be necessary to use soda in the water, but if this is done it must be well washed with clear water afterwards, as traces of soda left on the surface may attack the finish subsequently given.

Punch in all nails and make good any defects with slips of new wood for the larger places, and plastic wood for small holes, etc.  If it is uneven the plane must be used, but this will probably necessitate going over the whole surface as otherwise the result will look patchy.

A cheap stain can be made from Vandyke crystals, obtainable from a colourman's store and many oil shops.  It gives a rather cold brown shade.  For a warmer colour use mahogany crystals, or a mixture of the two.  Dissolve the crystals in warm water, and strain through muslin.  The quantity depends upon the depth of colour required.  Immediately before use a little ammonia (ask for "point eight-eighty") and apply at once with a brush.  Deal with one board at a time, working right along its length.  This avoids join marks.  Take care when using the ammonia as it can be dangerous.  Avoid standing over the container when it is opened because of the fumes.

Another stain is made from Vandyke brown or some other similar colour ground in oil, and thinned with turps.  Alternatively use about 0.24 lb. asphaltum dissolved in a pint of turps with a tablespoonful of gold size added as a binder.  If either of these is used allow a couple of days to dry out and rub ove with a coarse rag to get rid of surface grease.  If it is intended to use wax afterwards it is essential that it is first sealed with a coat of french polish applied with a brush.  This acts as a sealer.  If omitted the wax polish will lift the stain in patches.  This applies when any oil stain is used.  There are also many proprietary stains, water and oil, that can be used.

WAX POLISH.  Make this from beeswax dissolved in turps, and add a little rosin to harden it.  Shred into the turps and leave until it has been absorbed.  You can speed up the process by placing the vessel in a pan of hot water (do no use a naked flame).  The mixture when cold should be of the consistency of butter in summer time.  The stain having been sealed, apply the wax freely with a brush of the boot-brush type  and allow to stand over-night.  Polish with another similar brush and finish off with a clean duster.  Note that no polish can be built up until all traces of the turps have evaporated.  The polish improves with renewed applications, but a brilliant shine is never achieved.  The polish is in the nature of an attractive egg-shell gloss.

VARNISH.  Before any varnish is applied to a softwood floor a coat of glue size should be given.  Otherwise it will sink rapidly - so much so that in case of spirit varnish (which dries quickly) it will be impossible to get a clean result.  Make sure that the entire surface is covered, and allow at least 24 hours for it to dry out.

Oil varnish is more durable than spirit, but it takes a long time to harden.  This has two disadvantages.  It means that the room is out of use for a long time, and there is the danger of dust settling.  it may need 48 hours or more to dry, though there are some special oil-floor varnishes which are quick-drying.  Spirit varnish dries quickly and is better in both these respects, but is rather more difficult to apply.  However, you soon get the knack of it.  The rule is to work along one board at a time so that the join marks occur at the edges of the boards where they are not seen.  Apply the varnish in fair body and brush it out evenly straightway.  Do not worry it because the moment tackiness sets in the brush marks fail to flow.  Assuming a coat of size to have been given it should not be necessary to give a second coat.

VARNISH STAIN.  When a floor is badly marked neither clear varnish nor wax polish is likely to be of much use because the marks will show through.  For instance, it may be that the floor has bad splashes of paint on it, or possibly the border only has been stained at some time, and the whole is now required to be exposed.  In this case varnish stain is useful.  This does the work in one operation, and, being opaque, it covers up all unsightly marks beneath.  It dries quickly, being quite hard after an hour, and needs a deft touch.  The application is similar to that outlined for spirit varnishing.  The finish is quite suitable for boarders, but is liable to wear if subject to much treading.

PAINTING.  The appearance is similar to that of other painted surfaces.  The floor, if an old one, should be scrubbed thoroughly with soap powder and water and allowed to dry out.  All nail holes, etc., should be filled in, and any knots treated with a coat of knotting.  Begin painting with a coat of priming, and for a floor liable to much wear follow with an undercoat,  then a final gloss coat.  A cheaper but less durable finish is obtained by omitting the undercoat, giving just the priming followed by the gloss coat.  Special floor paints are available and should be used.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Handyman's Pocket Book; Correcting Door In Winding.

This is generally due to a warped stile and can be difficult to cure, but the following is usually effective.  Lay the door on  the bench, hollow side of the stile uppermost.  If it is warped in a general curve divide the length up into four equal parts and at these points cut halfway into the thickness of the stile.  If the ends are now clamped to a straight-edge placed on the underside, it should show if the door is taken out of winding.  If this shows promising, wedges made and fitted as shown in Fig. 1 will tension the stile permanently in position.  Well glue the wedges and clean off.  Put this at the hanging side, using three hinges.  It the door is still a little in winding adjust the door stops to suit.
HandyMan006 - Version 2

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Draught Excluders.

Much can be done by shifting the stops as in Faults In Room Doors, but if the door has shrunk considerably in its width one of the copper strip excluders can be used.  At the floor either one of the proprietary excluders can be fitted, or a ramp can be used as in Fig. 1.  Note the slight rebate which helps to exclude draught.  Oak or another hard-wearing wood should be used.

Handyman's Pocket Book: Cleaning Piano Keys.

When these have become discoloured they can generally be cleaned by rubbing with whiting and methylated spirits.  To avoid whiting being worked between the key the last named should be removed.  If only an odd key or two has to be dealt with a piece of card can be placed temporarily between them.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Through A Scanner (Darkly).

It may surprise people to know that, despite appearances, I have quite a rational approach to life and tend not to be phased by very much nowadays.
Even after an initial slight 'wobble' at the start of this whole Optic Neuritis episode I find I'm back on a fairly even keel.
I've no fear of passing through what ever door awaits me even though the path to that door might prove difficult to travel.

My impending MRI scan presented no particular difficulty,  after all I'd had one before.
Except it turns out I hadn't actually had an MRI scan, what I had was a CT scan which, to my vague memory was quite a short affair.
Still, so what?
I'm a big bloke and I know the difference between a real threat and a perceived threat.

Mystic Rog collected me from home and we drove to Chichester discussing the Beatles musical legacy and how they seem to have become woven into the cultural mythology of our muddy little island and...

I'll cut to the chase.

I followed the yellow dots on the floor to the MRI Dept and, after just getting myself comfortable in the waiting area, was summoned.
I was greeted by a pretty, smiley nurse and asked lots of questions about pace-makers and implants.
Having established there was nothing that would cause a problem in a highly magnetic environment, and after agreeing to let Mystic Rog have my ukulele collection in the event of any mishap, I was brought face to gaping maw with the scanner:

I gave my iPod to Mystic Rog and the doors closed behind me.

At this point I still had it in my stride.
I laid on the laying on bit and a set of headphones was placed on my head.
The sound came through tubes as conventional headphones are a no-no because of the magnets.

I was given a 'panic button' to hold.
More like a 'panic squeezy rubber bulb to be precise but, hey, why on earth did they think I need some kind of panic button?

A cage was fitted in place over my head which had a mirror that showed my hands and the room beyond.
Would I like the radio (local station, Spirit F.M.) or would I prefer light classical?
"Light classical please".

'Are you O.K.?' 
'Yes, I'm O.K.'
I am slid into the tube.


I am slid back out of the tube.

My belt buckle is metal and was threatening to tear the front out of my trousers as it was tugged at by the magnetic field in the machine.

Belt removed, I'm fed back in.

To be honest, even after convincing myself that my experience as a caver would negate any feelings of claustrophobia I might feel, I didn't like being in the tube one little bit.

I couldn't understand it.

I was in a perfectly safe environment,  I had a panic button, I was laid down, it wasn't dark.
So, I was obviously being irrational and made myself get a grip of the situation.
I closed my eyes, focused my mind, and began deep breathing to combat any panic that may start to rise and also to block out Spirit F.M. because they hadn't changed over to the light classical music I'd requested.

There were several very loud noises that sounded like warning alarms then a sustained period of a continuous VERY LOUD NOISE.
This was repeated several times.

I took myself deeper into relaxation.

I had no sense of time passing but I began to want this experience to end.
The radio was staticy, indistinct and all but drowned out by the sound of the scanner.

I took myself deeper into relaxation.

The noise began to pulse, louder and louder.
For some reason my jaw began to spasm and a voice in my head started shouting.

An even louder voice shouted:


I took myself deeper into relaxation.

I avoided going into the sunny garden where that child sits waiting under a tree and found myself walking along the top of Great Wernside on a bright sunny day with a brisk good-to-be-alive breeze blowing through my hair.
I unpacked my picnic and had a drink of tea from my flask.
I sat and looked down over Scar House and Angram reservoi...

I slid out of the tube.

"You're doing really well."
"I just need to give you an injection"
"Nobody said anything about an injection!"(I said that in my head as I didn't want the nurse to think I was scared.)

Yes, yes, I have a bit of a problem with injections.

I am given an injection of dye and am told that only two more scans are needed and it should take around about another six minutes.

I slide back into the tube, I start relaxing, the noises begin again.

Then it's over.

I need help to stand up because my back is seised solid.
I feel very weird.
No, I feel VERY weird.

I am led out of the room and am relived to see Mystic Rog.
I asked how long I'd been in the scanner.
"Oh, about 45 minutes"


I was convinced it had only been about 10-15 minutes.

I don't understand this.
I don't understand this.
I don't understand this.
I don't understand this.

Let me get this into perspective.
All that happened was I asked to lay in a tube while a machine made a loud noise.
Toward the end of that process I was given an injection.
Fucking magnets, how do they work?

La Yenka!

Of Hooting Yard/Boot Sale Sounds reader will be, however, newly alarmed for the earnest dance crazy of the Franciscan Poverty much like sweeping perhaps the blog-o-sphere.
Yes! La Yenka it really is!

The Joy of Things: Black & Decker 'Work-Mate'

Work Mate

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Roofs.

The chief trouble that occurs in a roof is that of leaking, and the treatment depends almost entirely upon the type of roof.

SLATE ROOF.  Leakage here is generally caused by a cracked slate, and the most satisfactory repair is a new slate.  The removal of the old one is the first job, and the slating ripper shown in Fig. 1 is used to withdraw the nails.  It is passed beneath the slate until one of the slots engages the nail. when a sharp tap or pull will either break the head right off, or pull it bodily out.  Some slates are nailed near the top, others at the centre; and it is generally possible to feel where they are.  The old slate being removed another of that same size is obtained.  To fix it a metal clip is needed.  It can be cut from a piece of zinc, copper, or some other non-corrosive metal, and fixed by a single nail driven between the joint of the slates beneath as shown in Fig. 2.  The new slate is pushed up and the clip bent over to hold it.
HandyMan004 - Version 2
When a considerable area is in a bad way and it is not practicable to re-slate it, a temporary cure can often be made by covering the whole roof with a somewhat weak mix of cement.  It should be worked well into the cracks and joints and allowed to set.  The work should be done on a dry day as otherwise pouring rain may wash away the cement before it hardens.  Another plan which is also of a temporary nature it to use roofing felt held down by battens.  Joints should run parallel with the ridge as far as possible, the top piece overlapping that below.  Holding-down battens run from eaves to ridge.  If joints must run vertically a very generous overlap - say 12 in. - should be allowed, and the top piece nailed closely.

TILES.  Flat roofing tiles hav a projecting piece on the underside at the top known as the nib, and its purpose is to hook over the tiling battens nailed to the rafters.  To replace a tile it is necessary to lift up the adjoining tiles and insert wedges beneath to hold them whilst the old tile is withdrawn (see Fig. 3.)  It is then replaced by a new one of the same size.  If the tile has been nailed it is more difficult to withdraw, though levering up the tile generally partly withdraws it.  A slating ripper (Fig. 1) can be used to pull out the nail afterwards.  Do not attempt to nail the new tile.  Corks are often used to hold tiles up.

If the leakage is general it may be caused by wind forcing water upwards, especially when the pitch is low.  A cure can sometimes be effected from within by using cement as shown in Fig. 4.  It is worked in with a trowel.  This cannot be done with a close-boarded roof.

Incidentally it is not advisable for an inexperienced man to attempt to work high up on a roof as a slip could be most dangerous.

In a lean-to roof a common cause of leaking is the falling away of the wall plate from the wall as in Fig.
5.  If the plate is at all loose nothing short of refixing to the wall likely to be of any use, and this may mean at least partial stripping of the covering.  It all depends upon what the covering is.  In any case there will probably be some accumulated dirt which has dropped in at the top, and this will have to be raked out.
As a rule the wall plate is held by screws entered into plugs in the wall.  Possibly these have corroded, or perhaps the plugs have worked loose.  The best way, of course, it to get the wall plate away to enable new plugs to be put in.  If this would involve much trouble and the wall plate is sound in itself, it may be possible to follow the idea in Fig. 6.  A hole is chopped in the wall plate, thus revealling the brickwork and enabling it to be plugged.  Generally, Rawlplugs are the best to use as only a small hole is needed.  A piece of wood larger than the hole is then made as at A, and a stout screw driven through it into the plug,  thus anchoring the plate.  It may be that the slope of the roof will not allow this to be done, and then the only plan is to remove the covering adjacent to the wall.  The idea may not be practicable at all in some circumstances, but on occasions it can save complete dismantling.

When firmly in position the covering can be replaced or renewed and a flashing of zinc or roofing felt added as at B, Fig. 5.  The mortar in the seam above is raked out and the flashing cemented in, a mix of 1 part cement and 2 parts sand being used.  Damp the seam with a brush and water before cementing.

Sometimes a cement fillet is run along between the wall and the roof, and, providing the wall plate is firm it should last reasonably well, but it is not so satisfactory as a proper flashing.

FELT COVERED ROOFS.  Apart from actual tears in the felt, the chief trouble is due to faulty fixing. Joints on sloping roofs should be horizontal as far as possible with at least a 3-in. overlap.  Corners should be turned right over and nailed on the underside.  In the case of a lean-to there must be a flashing into the wall.
HandyMan005 - Version 2
Patching a felt roof is a make-shift at best,  but it can be handy as a temporary repair.  If the tear is near the edge it may be possible to work the patch beneath the felt from the edge.  It may even be practicable to insert it through the tear.  In any case when it is in position the felt around the hole is raised and a generous amount of a bituminous roofing compound worked underneath.  The edges are then fairly closely tacked down as at A, Fig. 7.  If it is impossible to insert the patch beneath it will have to be close-nailed on top, again with a good layer of the bituminous compound between (see B, Fig. 7).

GLAZED ROOFS.  These are found mostly in greenhouses, scullery extensions, and so on.  One common cause of leaking is the perishing of the putty.  If the whole thing is in a bad way the only satisfactory plan it to remove the glass, scrape out the old putty, and re-set in new putty.  When this is done remember to paint the rebates first with priming paint.  Possibly the trouble in local only and then the putty can be raked out locally and a new fillet worked neatly along to cover both glass and wood.  If in the raking out the bare wood is disclosed, prime it with paint before puttying.

Sometimes the leak is due to a crack or some other fault having developed in the wood.  One of the bituminous compounds in most useful in dealing with such faults because it takes up to any subsequent movement.  Generally the difficulty is in locating the crack and then reaching it.  It may be necessary to take out one or two panes entirely.

Water has a trick of running down, and so giving a false idea of where the leak is.  The best plan is to go beneath the roof after a heavy shower and, mounting a ladder, try to trace it.  Dampness often causes staining in the wood, and this can be a clue.  Having found dampness always look higher up to see whether it has merely run down.

When you have located the source of the trouble make a chalk mark around it, and go to the outside.  You then have a guide as to where to look.  Once again look higher up because it is quite possible that water will run down the rebate and emerge at a point lower than where it entered.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

MRI Information Sheet.

Your doctor has asked us to carry out an MRI scan on you.
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
The MRI scanner is a sophisticated machine attached to a computer.
The pictures taken can be looked at individually or formed into  three-dimensional images.

Preparation - VERY IMPORTANT
The machine is an extremely powerful magnet which means we must follow certain safety guidelines.
Please let us know immediately if any of the following apply to you:
  1. You have a cardiac pacemaker.
  2. You have a heart valve.
  3. You have ever had surgery on your head.
  4. You have any metallic implants.
  5. If it is possible you have ever had metal fragments in your eyes e.g. from welding, metalwork etc.
  6. You may be pregnant or breast feeding.
Please remove all jewellery, including body piercings, before attending for your scan.
Wedding rings can be left on.

Important: If you are attending for an MRI scan and need to bring young children to the appointment with you, please make sure you are accompanied by another adult who can look after them.


You will be asked to lie on the scanner table, your position will vary depending on the area being scanned.
You will be made as comfortable as possible before we begin and once we are ready to start you will be moved into the scanner.

Each set of pictures will take around four minutes to acquire and during this time the scanner will make a knocking noise.
You must remain very still throughout the scan.
For most examinations we take between three and five sets of pictures, consequently scan times vary in length between 15 and 30 minutes, however some scans may take even longer.

For some scans you may need to be given an injection in the arm.
This is a contrast agent (dye) which helps to show up certain areas more clearly.

Before your scan you might be asked to undress and put on a gown.
The hospital does provide dressing gowns but you may bring your own if you wish.
As there are no x-rays used in this examination a friend or relative may be able to stay in the room with you during the scan.

The results will be sent to your referring clinician.

On Arrival

Please use Hospital entrance no. 2.
There is a pay on foot car park.
Disabled parking bays are available for the registered disabled near the main outpatients entrance.

Once inside turn left and proceed through the double doors, turn right down the corridor following the signs for MRI.

Wheelchairs are available just inside the entrance on the ground floor.
On reaching the department you will be asked to confirm your name and date of birth.
You will then be asked to sit in the waiting area.

This area is used for more than just MRI so please do not be concerned if there appears to be a lot of people waiting or they get called before you.
We endeavour to take you in on time, but sometimes delays can occur due to emergencies.
We will do our best to keep you informed.

To make your appointment or if you are unable to keep your scan time, please contact the appointments desk.

In line with trust policy, no further appointment will be offered if you fail to attend a booked appointment.  
In this instance you will need to return to your referring doctor.

Try not to worry about your scan, but if you do have any questions or concerns please contact the MRI department.


The Radiologists, Radiographers and Nurses in the department are govened by strict rules of confidentiality.
This also applies to all the clerical and voluntary staff in the department.
This means that no one will discuss your details except as part of your examination and treatment.

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Boring Through Glass.

Glass is a difficult material to bore.  This method is necessarily slow and somewhat hazardous and should therefore be attempted only on glass which is of secondary importance.

The boring tool is made from a discarded 5-in. triangular saw file.  It has three equal sides and these curve towards the tip.  On a grinding wheel grind the tip of the file to the shape shown below.  Square the end until each edge measures about 0.3 in. (A), keeping the surface square to the file axis.  Grind each edge of this triangular tip to about 25 degrees, as at B, using the flat side of the wheel and holding the file level.  The scratches on each triangular face will thus be at right angles to the file axis.  This ensures that the three sloping corners on the tip, which do the actual grinding of the hole, are of the correct serrated nature.  Grind each corner off to about 1.25 in. from the end as at C.  Undercut slightly so that the tip has the biggest section of this 1.25 in. length.  Dip the file frequently into cold water so that it does not get hot.  This is most important.
The other end of the file fits into the chuck of an ordinary brace.  Make sure that the glass rests on a perfectly flat surface.  It take about 30 minutes to bore through 0.2 in. glass.  The lubricant used is turpentine, and a tin of this should be kept handy, the tip being immersed in it every few minutes.  The brace may be turned steadily either way with firm pressure until nearly through.  It is at this stage that the danger of breakage is greatest.

To minimize the danger have a sharpe centre punch handy and tap the middle of the hole with it.  If only a thin film of glass remains at this stage the tip of the centre punch will pierce it easily and the boring tool will soon remove the rest.  The thing to guard against is a sudden break through.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Joy of Things: Socks With Ducks On.

Duck Socks

The Handyman's Pocket Book: Sash Window Repairs

Replacing Sash Cords

REMOVING SASHES.  To dismantle a window for replacing cords, etc., first remove the long front retaining beads on the room side.  This is done with a thin chisel inserted in the quirk of the bead and gently prised outwards, starting from the centre and working out each way.  This will spring the bead, bow fashion, and will release the pressure on the mitres and allow the fixing brads to bend slightly so that the bead can be carefully withdrawn.  Note the position of each bead as taken out.

Lift out the front sash on one side and with a screwdriver prise out the clout nails securing the cord, taking care to hold the cord so that the weight does not pull it back over the pulley.  Tie a loose knot in the cord and let the cord run gently up to the pulley where it will be out of the way.  Treat the other side similarly and take the front sash away.

Now remove the parting beads which are fitted between back and front sashes.  They are housed in a groove.  These beads are best removed by gripping with pincers carefully and gently pulling, at the same time tapping the frame with the hammer when the beads will generally come away without damage.  The section in Fig. 1 shows the beads.
Remove the back sash similarly to the other, and leave the frame clear.  On any but the smallest sashes do not attempt this single handed unless you are experienced.  Also keep the room door closed, as the air current can easily overpower you.  Examine all cords and remove any that are not in first-class condition by untying the loose knot and lowering the weight into the weight run of the frame.

At the lower ends of the window frame, pockets are formed for access to the weights.  These pockets should be removed with a thin chisel carefully levered outwards.  They are not fixed other than by the formation of the joints, which is sufficient to hold them.  Note the position of each when removing.  Lift out the front weight and place aside.  A thin wood strip or parting piece will be noticed which can be gently pulled over to the front when the back weight can also be pulled out if necessary for cording.  Remove all bad cords from the weights, noting how the cord is knotted and tucked into the weight eye.

REPLACING THE CORD.  Sash cord is sold in knots, a knot sufficing for four to six average sash lines.  It is obtainable in various sizes and qualities.  The size is governed by the groove in the pulley wheel.  Use the largest dimension that will reeve nicely in the groove, and always use the best quality.  See that the pulleys are working freely and well lubricated.  Most broken cords are caused by badly maintained pulleys.  The weights are weighted to balance each sash.  When removing care should be taken not to mix them.

Whilst the sash frames are removed they should be overhauled.  All joints should be cramped up tight and re-wedged; also any tenon ends that stand proud of the stiles should be levelled down with a smoothing plane, as this assists the easy running of the sash.  Any joints that are weak should be reinforced with metal angle plates, let in flush and screwed on the face of the sash as in Fig. 2.  Before using new cord it should be stretched, otherwise allowance must be made when fitting to prevent the weights touching bottom when the window is operated.
HandyMan002 - Version 2
It will be noticed that the cord-ends on the sash are secured in a groove by two or more clout-headed nails, and are not fixed at the top of the sash.  This is to allow clearance for the cords to operate over the pulleys without hindrance when closing the sashes.  (See Fig. 3.)

THE MOUSE.  To enable the new cord to be fitted a "mouse" is necessary.  It can be made as in Fig. 4 from a piece of lead hammered around the end of a length of fine string.  It must be sufficiently small to pass through the pulley groove.  At a pinch a bent nail can be used, the string being tied around the head, but it is not so satisfactory because it will not pass through the opening so easily, and may drop away from the string.  The object of the mouse is to enable the cord to be pulled over the pulley and drawn out at the pocket at the bottom.

Starting with the top sash, tie the string of the mouse to the end of the cord, and pass the weight over the pulley, allowing it to drop by its own weight inside the box as at A, Fig. 5.  It can then be withdrawn at the pocket, though care must be taken not to get it twisted around the wood parting piece. Pull the string and with it the cord right out, as at B, Fig. 5.
WEIGHTS.  Reeve the cord through the eye of the weight and tie a knot, feeding the tail of the knot into the back eye of the weight, and at the same time easing the knot home flush into the weight pocket with the hammer (see Fig. 6).  Replace the weight, placing the top in the frame first and lowering.  Pull up the weight to its full extent and strain.  Cut off cord to a suitable length, tie a loose knot in the cord.  The weights should hang about 2 in. short of the bottom of the weight run.  Put a pencil mark on the main framework level withe bottom of the cord groove in the sash, and cut the cord 2 in. short of this.
HandyMan003 - Version 2
Having fixed the cords (see Fig. 3) the sashes can be replaced, help generally being necessary unless one is fairly adept in the job.  Place one side of the back sash in its running position, pull down the opposite side cord and secure to the sash with clout head nails, 1 in. being sufficient.  Lift out the sash, reverse the position and fit the other cord in the same manner.  Rub a little paraffin wax on the running edges and replace sash into its seating.  Push up to its full extent to test the length of cord, and, if all is correct, replace the parting beads in the same order as removed.

Treat the front sash in a similar manner, and replace the front retaining beads, removing any surplus paint that may have collected on the running edges.  Overhaul the sash fastener, removing any surplus paint or corrosion, oil and adjust to a secure fit without rattle in the sashes.  If care has been taken to remove any burrs on the pulley wheel flanges, and the bearings are nicely lubricated, the window should now give trouble-free service for a long period.  A waxed impregnated cord on the market appears to be promising and is worth a trial.

CASEMENT SASHES.  A common complaint with this class of sash is sagging.  This happens chiefly because there is little width of shoulder to the rails and often no cross-bars.  To repair it is necessary to remove the glass.  Make good the joints and cramp up.  When replacing the glass small wedges of wood must be fitted in the rebates to make the glass a close fit so that no movement can take place after the sash is puttied.  The glass should be a close fit to the rebates.

Where the sash has cross-bars it may be that joints have shrunk open.  These must be pulled up close and pegged or, if the joint is weak, secured with an angle plate screwed on the face of the sash.  When this has been done the sash will probably need refitting and adjusting on the hinges.  The cockspur fasteners may need attention.  Adjust these so that they pull up to a close joint on the frame, the striking plate being the best and easiest adjustment in this case.

All house fittings need periodic attention.  So many of the smaller troubles are caused by lack of a little oil on the working parts.  Hinges, door locks and bolts, catches and so on all work the better of lubrication, and last much longer.

ROT IN WINDOW FRAMES.  This trouble is mostly to be found in sills and chiefly at the hip joint of bay windows where shrinkage occurs.  If the joint is open fit wood slivers and secure with water-proof glue.  It is a well-constructed joint with tongue, fill the open joint with red-lead stopping.  In any case the damage is caused by the ingress of water, and the golden rule is to fill the joint as soon as it opens.