Saturday, October 19, 2013

U Tube and other Links

Links to some of our U-Tube presentations:

{Building the SS Politician}
{Building the barque Caithness-Shire} 
{Building the passenger liner Kenya} 
{Some of my scratchbuilt models} 

Merchant Ships in Miniature
Here is the link: {LINK}
You will only be able to view it if you are registered on facebook.    At present, we have 123 members!  (29th July, 2017)

RMS St Helena

 DOWNLOADS (The printed books are now sold out)
RMS St. Helena, South Atlantic Mailship (£4.99)
My experiences aboard the passenger liners St. Helena (I) and St. Helena (II) between the years 1979 to 1992. (154 pages, fully illustrated in colour and black & white.
RMS St. Helena in the Falkland Islands, 1982/83 (£4.99)
My experiences in the Falklands, 1982/83. 142 pages, fully illustrated in colour and black & white.

Vintage Radio Construction Etc

 Sunday, 27th August 2017

Semi Automatic "Bug" Morse Key
Feeling like a change from ship models, a few days ago, I decided to try and build a semi-automatic bug key.      This type of  morse key was first developed in the United States.    Conventional morse keys move up and down, and both dots and dashes have to be made manually.     When I first went into passenger liners as a junior radio officer in 1965, I found it very hard going sending large numbers of messages, often containing hundreds of words.     My wrist was quickly in danger of seizing up, so I obtained a cheap Japanese bug key in Cape Town.     The bug key works horizontally, and the side of the palm can be rested on the desk.   Pushing the paddle to the right with the thumb, produces a string of dots by vibrating a piece of weighted steel spring with electrical contacts fitted.     Pushing it to the left with the forefinger, the dashes have to be made individually.    I found this a great help, and was soon able to send for considerable  lengths of time without getting tired.    In the next twelve years, I got through two Japanese bug keys, the first being accidentally dropped by the third radio officer when it was only a few weeks old.   That broke the paddle arm off, and I had to effect a temporary repair until I could replace it again in Cape Town.    Despite being quite cheap, I had no complaints about the Japanese keys, they were really good.   But I had heard that the American Vibroplex keys were the best of the best.    Eventually, I was able to purchase on in Houston, Texas, for about £50.     I used that one regularly from 1977 until leaving the sea in late 1992, and still have it today.   The key illustrated is purely my own design based on trial and error, and it took almost a week to get it working correctly.    I have compared it with my Vibroplex, and although I am a bit "rusty" at morse after 25 years, can still produce perfectly readable code, and cannot tell any difference in handling between mine and the Vibroplex,
I incorporated small ball races for the top and bottom bearings that gave a very smooth action.    The spring steel is a piece of a junior hacksaw blade with the teeth ground off.     The vertical pillars are all old rifle shells cut off to the correct length, and bolted to the acrylic base via holes drilled through ends.   The dent caused by the firing pins was a great guide for the drill.    The open tops were fitted with home-made caps made from brass, with a fancy brass bolt in the top for purely aesthetic reasons.     Solving the spring problem was beyond me, as I could nor find any springs small enough, or of the correct strength.    I got round this by using powerful neodymium magnets instead of springs, and they work really smoothly.    The tension can be easily adjusted by moving the magnets further apart, or closer together.     Neither could I get the dot contacts correct, so I used a small magnetic reed switch.   It is actuated by a magnet fixed the vibrating arm.    The speed of the dots can be adjusted by moving the brass weight along the vibrating arm.    The closer it is moved to the front of the key, the faster the dots.     Most of the construction is in brass.    The base and paddle are acrylic sheet and the finger knob is a small "button knob" normaly used for glass cabinets.   Four imnages of the key are shown below.    I am now thinking about fitting a self-containedvalve oscillator and small loudspeaker to it.   I think there is just about enough room to accommodate all the components, speaker and batteries.

Friday, 27th January, 2017
By clicking the links, you are not committed to purchase, but can read the synopsis of the download.    Should you then wish to go ahead and purchase, a Paypal button is provided.    The service is automatic, and the download link is sent as soon as the payment is received.

Building a 3-Valve TRF Receiver (£2.99)

Building a One Valve Radio Receiver (EF91 Valve) (£1.99)

How to Build a One Valve Radio Receiver (EF91 or 1T4 versions) (£1.99)

Photo Gallery - General

Photographs that I have taken just for the fun of it.
Fossil crinoids, complete with heads, found in River Ribble about 60 years ago
Vintage radio valves - 1930s


Assorted gear wheels

Ducklings on the River Ribble 25th July, 2017

Old Bridge River Ribble - Completed 1759

Visting squirrel enjoying a walnut
Wray Castle - Lake Windermere

Sunday, February 03, 2013

RMS St. Helena etc

RMS St. Helena Plans & photographs download: 
It contains profile, general arrangement deck plans and a lines plan for the hull.   Click this link, and scroll down a bit  to view synopsis {LINK}
Then, if you wish to purchase a download, a Paypal button for £2.99 is provided!  
Thank you to all that have purchased this download so far - it was a pleasure to write, as it covers my favourite ship, in which I spent 11 years!
Contents of Download (Click image to enlarge)
 Saturday, 2nd September, 2017

Issue 2 of  The Shelterdeck (New Series), is now available.    Please click the image below, and scroll down to read the synopsis.    Then, if you wish to purchase a download, a Paypal button is provided for £1.49.      In the new series, the pages follow on consecutively from the start of issue 1, which was 16 pages in length.     This latest issue is pages 17 to 32, and includes an index for both 1 and 2.   When issue three comes out, it will commence at page 33, and also have an updated index.     I did discontinue this download series recently, owing to a general lack of interest in the merchant navy, either in ship models, or historical articles.      Several readers expressed their dismay at this, and after a while, I realised that I actually enjoyed compiling them, so I started this second, "improved" series.      The improvements are the removal of  the repeated preambles from each separate issue, and the change to consecutive page numbers, and the addition of an on-going index page that supersedes earlier indexes that may be discarded without upsetting the page numbering.       It now has a regular readership of about twelve people, spread over the world.    I am not going to say that I am producing it for future generations, because it is unlikely they will be interested in anything such as the history or the construction of model merchant ships, whose sole purpose was peaceful trading across the oceans of the world.    I am writing it for my own satisfaction, and the pleasure of my small band of readers who do seem to be steadily increasing.       Each issue contains at least one plan of a merchant ship, and various ship model shipbuilding  notes, as well as historical articles.    For about ten years, between 1999 and 2009, I ran a monthly column in The Telegraph, the monthly paper of Numast, the merchant navy and airline officers union.   At that time, I was building between twelve and fourteen miniature scratchbuilt ship models per year, and also writing regularly for the Model Shipwright journal.     By 2009, I was no longer producing enough models in a year to maintain the monthly column in the Telegraph, so I resigned from it.      Model Shipwright changed from a quarterly  journal to an annual one in 2010, producing very high quality hardback books in the form of  Shipwright 2010, 2011,2012, and 2013.   But after Shipwright 2013 came out, they called it a day and ceased the publication.      Having got into the habit of regular writing, I finally realised that I may as well carry on - whether anyone was interested or not!    These downloads were not suitable for the first generation of e-readers as they were too small, but they are fine for the much larger tablets and, of course, computers.      They are not stuck in the device that you download them into, but may be transferred from PC to tablet, at will.    Alternatively, they may be printed to form an A4 sized book.     At £1.49, about the price of a cup of coffee, and usually about 16 pages in length, I believe that I am giving good value.    Each issue takes me about 7 hours to prepare!     In these publications, I tend to keep clear of the well-worn subjects of Cutty Sark, Bounty, Victory, Titanic, Nelson's Navy, warships, ferries, and small harbour craft!    Here is the link for Issue 2.   Click image to enlarge:
The Shelterdeck, Issue 2 content

All the model ships on this website were hand-built by myself, using any materials that came to hand.        They are NOT kits!     This type of model shipbuilding has virtually died out now, with most modellers preferring kits.       The models are built to small scales, usually 32 feet to 1 inch (1:384), or slightly largers scale for smaller ships.       Modellers will often state "I could never do that," and there the matter rests!     They are not, however, all that difficult when special modelling techniques are used.    For some time now, I have been putting these techniques into various downloads for prices that range from £1.49 for the shorter ones of 15 or so pages, up to £8 for the comprehensive ones that contain over 150 pages with hundreds of illustrations, and several "free" downloads thrown in, to allow you to decide if you like the style, or not.       The synopsis of these downloads may be viewed by clicking on the links supplied.   Then, if you wish to purchase any particular download, a Paypal button is available in the synopsis.    The system is fully automatic, and you will receive a download link the moment that payment is made.     The downside for most modellers is the fact that over 99% of my models are of merchant ships.     I find them rather more interesting and colourful than warships, but the techniques may be used for whatever type of vessel you may wish to build.      The download summary is given further down this website.   
Here are the Free downloads: 
{LINK} (Issue 1 of The Shelterdeck).

{LINK}  (A Deck Scoring Device). 
 sagamore @  
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