Tools

Sharpen up your blades

When honing a cutting edge on a steel blade, you are progressively over three or four stages reducing the size of the scratches on the two faces which meet up to make the sharp point.
The much-vaunted “mirror” edge simply refers to the stage where we cannot easily see the scratches with the naked eye and hence it looks smooth and shiny. This process, therefore, requires several sharpening stones with finer and finer surfaces (325 grit, then 1200 grit, then 6000 grit).

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A dead accurate optical punch

An optical punch consists of a brass body with two holes through it, one for use, the other for storage, because there are two rods. One rod is the punch, the other a vertical magnifying glass made of a plastic rod. You look down the viewing rod at a dot marked on its base. You then move the whole apparatus around until you can see the point where you want to put a punch mark. Holding the brass body, you remove the plastic rod and drop the steel punch back into the same hole, then hit it. Result: a perfect, vertically punched mark, precisely on the spot.

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Pleasant Point Railway photo gallery

We visited and wrote about the impressive Pleasant Point Railway & Historical Society in South Canterbury, in The Shed September/October 2020 Issue 92.
Sadly, we just couldn’t squeeze in all the great photos we shot for the article into the magazine. As you will now see, these unpublished photographs are just too good to leave sitting on our hard drive so we felt we just had to share them with readers.
Enjoy.

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Spotless shine

Polishing metal isn’t a task for which you want to be ill-equipped, especially when you’re chasing that perfect shiny finish! That is why Autosol has been the most trusted name since forever. The new Autosol 3in1 for Stainless Steel is specially developed to clean, protect, and leave a shiny streak-free finish on stainless steel surfaces — with anti-fingerprint effect.

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Make a simple vacuum former

A vacuum former is a very handy piece of equipment to have around the home workshop.
It works quite simply: heated plastic is sucked rapidly and strongly over a pattern or formed shape. As soon as the plastic has set again, it retains the shape.

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Hold your grip

GripWorks’ very popular line of ‘Hunt Wilde’ injection-moulded FPVC grips come in a variety of styles, with local distributor Hi-Q Components stocking plain straight, ribbed nubbed, contoured bump, straight ribbed, tapered flanged, flanged rib-finned, and honeycomb options.

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Making a ring roller

The solution was to use the offcuts and a cheap bottle jack to make a set of rollers that can bend the material into wide arcs. Since I had to buy the $39 jack, the budget was well and truly blown. But this ring roller will be useful for future projects.

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Simple hydroponics nutrient solution

Hydroponics is all about growing without soil. In many ways, this simplifies the lot of the gardener, but it gives them added responsibility for providing plants with the right level of nutrients.
As water with nutrients tastes, feels, and looks much the same as plain water, a testing instrument called an “EC meter” or “CF meter” is used.

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The Shed July/August 2020 Issue 91, on sale now

The July/August 2020 issue of The Shed, No. 91, has got something in it for every sheddie.
Even though there is something of a nautical theme to this issue, our cover story is on building a very powerful, vertical, hydraulic log splitter. Bill Stevenson from Christchurch walks us through the construction of his trailer-mounted log-splitting machine that was started prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, worked on during, and completed immediately after. A great effort.

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Make useful trammels

A trammel is a really useful item to have when you need to mark a curve onto sheet metal, plywood, MDF, plasterboard, or even a paved surface when painting lines for a netball court.
Sure, you can use a pencil and a piece of string but there can be a variation due to the angle that the pencil is held and differing tensions on the string. A trammel will easily produce an accurate arc.

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Pipe bender that curves flats

But a pipe bender has no other use and that is too bad because it is a large expensive tool.
I wondered if the heavy 12-ton bottle jack could be used for some other purpose. Once I had inspected it, it seemed reasonable to modify the bender so that it could be used to bend flats as well as pipe.

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Video of McLean weaving of Oamaru

In The Shed Issue 90 we featured this small family business working from a shed in their back garden.
Using a 100-year-old Hattersley Domestic Weaving System, the McLean’s make stunning fabrics using traditional techniques and thread.
Incidentally, this Hattersley loom became popular after WWI when they were embraced by returning soldiers who preferred to work from home rather than a crowded and often fraught mill environment.

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The Shed May/June 2020, Issue 90, is on sale now

Issue 90 of The Shed has a treat for lovers of fast off-road action. We visit the shed of Cowper Trucks who make world-beating 800hp 4×4 off-road race vehicles. Built strong, tough, and powerful from a shed outside Whanganui, this is automotive engineering at its best.

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