Sunday, January 14, 2007

101 uses for a cocktail stick and other short stories...

Hi all,
Sorry for the delay in posting...I did warn you about the shed!!!

Well, the shed is up, glazed, felted and locked. This has cleared a load of room in the garage (more space for the layout!). I forgot to take an image of the shed completed before it got dark, so you'll have to see the standard sales image (you get the idea, it's a shed!).

So, what's with the odd title?? Well, we did manage to do some soldering this weekend... Below is the evidence, a WHR saloon. This kit is from allen doherty (worsley works) and is one of his 'scratch-aid' kits. i.e. sides, ends, floor, bogies and a few other bits, but no roof, door handles, wheels, bearings, couplings, interior detail etc. However, you get what you pay for and they are the only kits available for these coaches, so it's either these or scratchbuilding, which is a dark art practised by strange people with far too much time on their hands!

However, I do have one major gripe with these kits....the instructions...they are very brief (one page a4), include no diagrams and in many cases are completely impossible to understand. But, I suppose I should be grateful that nice Mr Gray has sent me the drawings of the coaches and that this coach even has instructions, other worsley kits I have in stock, don't have any instructions at all!

Anyway, back to those cocktail sticks. I discovered this weekend that the perfect tool for holding a nut that you wish to solder to a piece of brass is in fact a cocktail stick. This will hold the nut where you want it, is wooden so you don't get burnt fingers and stops solder from going down into the thread. cool! Claire and I walked down to the co-op today to get some cocktail sticks, oh and some other shopping and stuff, but that's immaterial, we got the cocktail sticks!!

I also learned a few other interesting things this weekend. But before I impart this knowledge, I must say that the usual stuff you read in books absolutely applies ... cleanliness, enough flux, enough heat from a clean and tinned iron and 'confidence' apply.... Without these soldering is 100 times harder than if done correctly. Certainly, if you lack confidence, the shacking hand can make certian joints much harder than necessary(!)

So, some other tips...

- always start in the middle of a joint - a quick tack of solder to hold the two pieces together is always good, but start in the middle to allow for expansion by heat and also because it's not as far to drag the solder along the joint.

- use some cork (from tracklaying) to hold pieces, it doesn't get hot!

- collect many and various shapes and bits to hold pieces together, I have used blu-tack, offcuts of wood in varying sizes, masking tape, clips etc and of course cocktail sticks! (you might be getting the idea I'm impressed by the cocktail sticks thing eh???)

Anyway, one WHR coach is nearly done, a few others have also been removed from the fret, cleaned up and started - the production line is well and truly up and running. Bring it on!


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