Gosh, summer really does seem to have finally arrived, and what an odd start to a summer, as all the trees are still in their spring pale greens. The beeches have been especially wonderful as the leaves have developed glowing pale greens, and equally uplifting have been the copper beeches with that early soft pale acid-pickled colour changing to their glorious deep copper maturity day by day. The hedge banks in this part of the world are thick with ferns, and tens of thousands of bluebells and red campion.

The Common above the house is carpeted with bluebells which shimmer with a luminous intensity in the sun. Later the bracken will outgrow them but this is not bad, as being woodland plants, the bluebells will continue to thrive in their micro environment of cool and shade.


For a variety of reasons, not much work has been done on my loco, although I have managed to complete the links and shackles. These seemed to be a lot of work for such small parts and involved quite a bit of creative thinking in order to get the shackles through the holes in the drag beam hooks, attach the eyes and then close them over the spigots on the nuts. I was able to draw on my forge skills to do all the necessary bending and finish up with neatly formed shackle loops.

I did eventually make a list of “all” the parts left to be made. It didn’t seem too long with about 18 items, and nothing on it seemed too difficult or time consuming. However, as with the links and shackles, there it much more work and time needed than at first appeared to be the case.

Another factor it that some items, like the lamp brackets, should have been done much earlier so that they were attached to the running boards and smokebox wing plates BEFORE these were attached to the frames followed by side tanks, cab and bunker.     They will have to wait to be riveted on until the loco is dismantled for painting.  This is irritating as I wanted the whole project to be complete in its bare metal state first. Inevitably the list wasn’t complete so I have been adding the forgotten items as they come to mind making completion seem ever more distant.

I’m sure that all of you out there are much more organised than I am, and only put things together once instead of the half dozen times it takes me to get things sorted. I have to admit I am constantly frustrated by the shortcomings of Martin Evans’ drawings and instructions. In the current debate about the accuracy of drawings, I have only one question to ask those who say it doesn’t matter if  they are inaccurate or deficient, would you fly in an aeroplane built from the drawings of LBSC or Martin Evans ?  Airbus and Rolls Royce for me thank you very much.


My attention has been drawn recently to angle measurement and the setting-up of work in the milling machine vice at a prescribed angle. This led me to the vernier protractor and the fact that there are two types. I’ve never encountered these before, and pictures of them in catalogues give little clue as to how they can be used, although how the type with the circular-scale-functions works is more easy to guess at than the type with only an arc of scale. I therefore delved into all my ancient engineering tomes, and in Engineering Workshop Practice (1906) Vol. 1 pp 68 & 69 I found the answers for the circular scale type complete with a illustration of  various components incorporating difficult-to-measure angles and how the protractor can be used to measure them.

An internet search yielded a similar illustration for the other type, that with only an arc of scale, and it seemed that the only difference is that the circular scale type can measure obtuse angles. Am I right, in which case I will need one of each?

Are you a catalogue addict?

I love browsing through catalogues - the paper ones, that is. I mark items that catch my attention and then spend time agonising over whether I need them or not. Those are the current ones that are full of cutting tools and all manner of attachments for my machines. These days they are so beautifully illustrated and make the goods look even better than real life!

My other pleasure comes from old catalogues. I have a copy of The Metal Agencies Co. Ltd. Bristol, No. 66.(no date) This firm had nearly 500,000 sq. ft. of office, showroom, workshop, stockroom and warehouse space in various parts of Bristol. The 32 pages of index at the front are followed by 3 pages of photo portraits of the departmental managers and reps, and I bet they knew every last detail of every item under their control.

Then comes 1590 pages of goods, starting with fireplaces, 97 pages, and finishing with Cymac Tradesman’s Carrier Cycles Low Gravity Model, Granville’s transport on Open All Hours , price £7 7s 6d.

Buck and Hickman’s catalogue of 1953 is equally engrossing, 1287 pp. A 6 BA carbon steel tap will cost you 1s 1d (5.22p) and a HSS one 4s 6d.  (22.7p) ! They sell “only goods of thoroughly reliable quality” : China was still waking up then.

Another catalogue I have is that for the Engineering and Marine Exhibition 1949 held at Olympia. This consists of company listings and their products, together with advertising. The range is as great as it would be at an equivalent exhibition today,  the names and products being both familiar and different including firms selling asbestos products (!), but no electronics, and some familiar names from the past, such as John Fowler & Co (Leeds), steam locomotives; Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, battery electric-hydraulic forklift trucks;  Dexion, still going strong today, and The Engineer magazine. Established in 1856, it is still with us but now only online, and many fascinating features it still carries. By the time you read this, things have moved on, but try and find the film clip of the first ever landing on a US carrier of an unmanned stealth bomber, third arrestor wire on it’s first attempt, spot on!

July 5th

We have weathered the heat and the subsequent deluges, including one tropical storm that dumped 20mm of rain in 10 minutes with added hailstones. Quite a sight!

There has been a spurt of work on Boxhill and I have managed to complete the  side and bunker tanks balance pipes, dummy safety valves, dummy condenser pipes, lamp brackets and the cover plate in front of the smokebox in an unusually short time. Also, the dummy blower and ejector valves and their rods, which appear as handrails that run along the tops of the side tanks. Getting these details correct has involved a lot of close scrutiny of photos of Terriers in various books, and confusion arises as
many of them have changed over time with modifications and rebuilds, and since original works drawings no longer exist, building an unaltered Stroudley original is not possible.

This has reduced The List to about eight items left to do, although more still crop up to be done, and the plumbing remains as the last big job. In the meantime, I have found an answer to a problem that has been around for several months now.

Have you ever sheared off a 8 BA thread in a die just when the
threaded length exactly fills the length of thread in the die, thereby leaving nothing to get hold of to unscrew the offending bit?  I tried all manner of improbable methods to extract the trapped bit, all to no avail, as there is always a tiny burr that stops the rotation, even if you expand the die to loosen the pressure.

Well, in one of ‘those moments’, I thought why not cut into the offending little blighter with a piercing saw almost right through along it’s length, close the gap and see if that makes it loose enough to unscrew? Well it did, and out it came!

Care must be taken not to allow saw and die to come into contact, and just to be perverse the offending bit will rotate as you start sawing, so close the die up in the vice to act as a clamp, slide the saw blade down through the die slot, use the end of a bar of steel or brass to keep the blade central, and away from the die, and proceed with much care. Plenty of light is essential, and a lens will help those of fading vision. Close up the gap with a scriber point and unscrew with a suitably fine screwdriver. The satisfaction on rescuing an expensive tool from the scrap bin is boundless.

By the time Styx 16 is written, Boxhill should be complete and ready to dismantle for painting, so all being well it will be ready for it’s first steam test at the start of the 2014 season. Some 44 years in the making, it’s first movements under steam should be quite a red letter day!




By Journeyman