A whole year has passed!                                  Jan 2018

Me on the New Hudson before the gearbox selectors turned to putty.

Hello again! Welcome to 2018.

(if that doesn't make sense, you need to visit http://vinvetmotorcycle.simplesite.com/

to see the first 12 months of this site, and catch up with progress to date).

Looking back, I surprised myself at the amount of waffle I managed to come up with in 12 months. Hopefully you didn't get too bored along the way!

3 months left to earn the £999,995 necessary to turn me into a millionaire, so precious little chance of that happening. Shame really, I could do with some serious amounts of funding to turn these piles of junk into rideable motorcycles.

Robbing a bank doesn't seem like a viable option these days, what with the boys in blue getting ever smarter (or is it me getting dumber?) They do look like boys though, fresh out of school! I guess I'll just have to join the oldest profession in the world, and start hanging around on street corners.

Workshop maintenance                                     Jan 2018

Feels odd typing 2018, suppose I'll get used to it.

Very little to report motorbike-wise over the Christmas break/into New Year (Happy New Year by the way). Timber entrance door and 2 windows of workshop were ready to fall out of their apertures, so I decided to replace them with upvc. Major exercise creating space for installers to work, and then re-establishing workshop layout after they had finished. Steel grilles removed/reinstalled, all windows now lockable, so feels that bit more secure. AND NO PAINTING!

In the process of shifting stuff round, I got to thinking I might sell a sidecar (I have a 1930s Superbe launch type sidecar to go on the KX, and a 1950s Watsonian sidecar that I had thought about putting on the Bullet-but decided against years back). Dragged the chassis and body out for a photo session in readiness.

Disconcerting - sold a Bantam, now considering selling a sidecar - where's it going to end?

Bit too early for me!                                               Jan 2018

1901 Royal Enfield

Not one of my bikes, but just came across this image and thought it was worth putting out there.

I've had a passion for Royal Enfields for over 40 years now, but even I would draw the line at trying one of these out (if there are any left in existence). High centre of gravity, twisted leather crossover belt, 1.5hp or similar. This really was a motorised bicycle.

Site order                                                              Jan 2018

Well, I did threaten to re-jig the site so that most recent content was at the top.

Top and bottom of it, I can't be ar*ed! I still think it is better to read something in the correct order - you wouldn't start a book from the back would you? (I'm showing my age now - I still read books!), so you'll just have to put up with scrolling through.

At least it's all good, solid, entertaining stuff that you won't find anywhere else. Hopefully, I'll be forgiven my idiosyncrasies (that doesn't look right, but spellcheck reckons it is!).

My lads think the problem is my age, and that's never going to get better.

Vintage Motorcycle Transporter Mar 2018

I've been chewing over what form of transport to go for now that my business lease car has gone back. The last 4 weeks have been difficult, still working, but sharing the wife's car. I'd make an appointment for a job, then find out she had something booked!

I'd decided I wanted to go a bit further afield with attending rallies/runs/events once retired, with the intention of taking one of the 1912 bikes for event participation. Riding to and from a veteran orientated event (pre 1915) is not something I particularly wish to do, especially if over 50 miles away. So, what to buy (not too big) that would fit a motorcycle inside?

Finally decided on a VW Caddy Maxi Life, after talking with a number of retired beardy types with old bikes. This is the long wheelbase Caddy van, but with 7 seats, side windows (and doors), and a tailgate instead of rear doors. Picked it up Friday, now need to start customising it to the allotted task. Although it has tinted glass, I'm going to install dark film to the side/rear windows (similar to a drug baron's motor), to thwart inquisitive eyes. With 5 seats removed, the internal loading bay length is approx 2.2m, so I might struggle fitting the Enfield KX in (although I did speak with someone that had managed to fit a Brough Superior in), but the little veterans will be no bother. It is wide enough to fit 2 bikes in, side by side, so the Mrs will be able to ride as well!

The Pioneer Run 2018 Mar 2018

I'd love to say that I've been to the Pioneer Run, but that is a notch that still has to be carved on the bedpost (maybe next year as a spectator). Last Sunday (18th) was the date for this year, but as a lot of you will know, unusually in the UK we are suffering from a few snowy spells, popularly christened "Beasts from the East", as an easterly wind from the cold land mass of Europe crossing the North Sea inevitably means snow for us.

Saturday/Sunday was afflicted with a double whammy of snow and subzero temperatures, yet the Pioneer Run still went ahead (although many refused to ride their bikes in the circumstances). A couple of videos have appeared:



The practice of spreading salt laden grit on the roads in this country will ensure a corrosive paste was thrown up over some priceless machinery - the batch of early trikes would have been far better left in the van IMHO.

4 wheeled Enfield Mar 2018

Fancy doing a 1000 mile trial on this?

I know this site is about motorcycles, but I found this, and couldn't resist. There is a high percentage of Royal Enfield content on here, so when I found this quadricycle had been sold by Bonham's back in November 2017, I was very interested. I've nicked a couple of their photos, but I'm also including the link back to the sale (follow the link to find out how much it sold for). I won't be parting with that amount for an Enfield, plus I don't have enough space left in my workshop......did consider an extension at one point, but it was only a pipedream.


The description is a bit ambiguous, referring to it as a 1901 model, yet also describing 1st owner as Edward Boyd Hargreaves in 1904.....I can't identify the differences that would have existed in specification, so we'll just have to appreciate it for what it is, a very rare survivor!

I have a photo somewhere of Messr's Iliffe and Grew on the quad entered in the 1900 1000 mile trial. If you will excuse me yet further, I will root it out and upload it sometime.

Quad way back in 1902 Mar 2018

How the well-heeled lived back then!

Turns out I was mistaken (partly) about the accompanying photo. A note on the back confirms the date as 1902, the location as Twyning Fleet (near Tewkesbury), and the occupants as N. Grew and H. Duret (not sure about last name due to poor/faint script - best guess).

Beamish Great War Steam Fair Apr 2018

Apologies to Paul, but hell, it's the bike that is important!

Just back from a weekend visiting Beamish Museum, County Durham: http://www.beamish.org.uk/

Went up for 2 days of their 4 day special event, where pre 1920 vehicles (invite only) circulate the site road at a speed of 12 miles an hour or less (some a LOT less). Bicycles, motorcycles, forecars, motor cars, omnibuses, charabancs, trams, lorries and steam traction engines were all in evidence.

Saturday was too wet and dangerous for the motorbikes (a lot of oil, mud, slippery tramlines and stone setts, and grease in various areas), but Sunday was a good, dry day and everything was out. I went particularly to look at the Museum's 1915 3hp Enfield (which unfortunately disgraced itself by deciding to open a petrol leak from one of the tank mounting bolt points). A montage of photos to give the general feel follow (apologies to Paul for decapitating him). A bit more bike info on the 1912 prototype page.

I'm no good with buses, but I know the top one is a Riley forecar.

Various vehicles outside the Masonic Lodge, and a brave gent on an Ordinary bicycle (penny farthing to you and me)

Doncaster Model Engineering Show May 2018

2" scale model of 1890s Hildebrand & Wolfmuller

In itself, not motorcycle related, but one of the exhibits was!

I pop along to the northern model engineering show every few years, as there are a few machine tool stockists in attendance, so I often pick supplies up for my lathe or milling machine. Formerly in Harrogate, the last 2 03 have been at Doncaster Racecourse, usually the 2nd weekend of May.

I've always been interested in the REALLY early motorcycles, and the ideas/routes/concepts that were tried before everything became established practise. I honed in on the 2" scale model of a Hildebrand & Wolfmuller from the mid 1890s constructed by Herbert Strumm. Unfortunately Herbert wasn't at the stand to talk with, but I understand that he only had photos and other gleaned information from an actual example in a German museum (they were made in Munich).

I adore the full size machines, but I'm afraid I don't have the dedication or patience to make something like this! Maybe when my riding days are over - although knowing my luck, my eyesight will have gone by that time!

Spring Beaulieu May 2018

I've done it 2 years now, but really, it's not worth it. I went down this time with hope that it would be better than last year, but came away disappointed. No finds at all, the only thing that saved the weekend was picking up a 1929 New Hudson gearbox from Trowbridge, that I'd won a few weeks earlier on fleabay.

Workshop alterations June 2018

Not much bike activity in the last few weeks, even though I supposedly have all the time in the world now I'm retired! Some of the mundane things have been taking priority, like getting the vegetable plot planted up.

Last month, the good old Myford ML7 disappeared to a new owner, so I'm now on with resurrecting the Harrison L5 lathe. I've had it at least 20 years, but it's never been powered up in that time. It came into the garage in 2 pieces on a trailer, and was lowered down to the workshop (2 storey building) using the girder runner, and block and tackle.When I built the garage/workshop 26 years back, I left a 9 x 4 ft hole in the 1st floor (structural) so that bikes and machinery could be transferred up or down as required. Good for security as well, you can't get a bike out of the ground floor up to the road (1st floor level) unless it comes up through the hole!

Back to the lathe, it has previously been lubricated with grease where it should have had oil, so all the clumps of grease need removing and everything lubing with oil (I also found out it had been used as a wood lathe when I started stripping it - sawdust everywhere - mixed in with clumps of grease - nice). Needs a full strip down to sort it. Also trying to decide how to drive it (was originally 3 phase, but I've only got single phase - converter or vfd?). Not quite as sexy as a vintage motorbike, but maybe a photo when I get it up and running.

Banbury 2018 June 2018

A few photos to follow, as you may have worked out from previous content, I'm a sucker for the unusual, less common makes of bike. Nortons and Triumphs may be very nice, but they've never floated my boat, and they are everywhere!

Found a few choice parts, valve spring mentioned elsewhere, a 3 vane cam block for the 2 speed gear - with good cams (one of mine has had a cam ground down for some reason).

Clockwise from top left: Rex Acme, Matchless, Omega, OK Supreme

A book written in 1931, about the early years of the motor bicycle industry (words chosen carefully), written by Eric Walford under the banner of the British Cycle & Motor Cycle Manufacturers and Traders Union. As a Member of the Institute of Automobile Engineers, and a Patent Agent involved with automotive patent applications (as well as an early motorcyclist), he was well placed to record the early history. Ranging from Edward Butler's motor tricycle of 1884 (predating Gottlieb Daimler by 1 year), up to 1903/4, I found the content of the book fascinating.


Clockwise from top left: James, Rex, NUT, Campion

Also found some new clutch parts for the Bullet, so may be able to resolve my slightly slipping 4 plate clutch after many years.

Autumn Netley Marsh/Beaulieu autojumbles Aug/Sept 2018

Cracking do at these 2 events this time! The photo shows all the contraband I came back north with - however the New Hudson racing pattern wheels were an "off ebay" deal from a month earlier - cost me an arm and both legs!

Quite a good haul this time

Parts picked up will fit the 1930 New Hudson, 1922 yet to be identified bike, 1912 Enfield prototype, 1937 Enfield KX, 1929 NH. A couple of items were "speculate to accumulate" objects, such as the main shaft out of a large Enfield twin that is similar to the 1912 bikes, but much heavier construction, and the rocking pedal gearchange, again 2 speed gear related, but for a 225cc 2 stroke. A set of lathe chuck jaws picked up on the way home turned out not to fit. Looks like I'll have to buy a new chuck after all - ouch.

Lathe rebuilt and working - at last! Oct 2018

Well, it feels like it has taken forever, but the old Harrison L5 (a year older than me) is finally back in one piece, wired up to a new 240v 3 phase motor and digital inverter. The lathe has been in my workshop gathering dust and slowly rusting for over 20 years, but no more! After a thorough strip down, clean up and adjustment in various places, fitting a few 'trick parts' and eventually finding a loose wire connecting the remote 'pod' to the inverter, it finally runs as I had hoped (that loose wire caused me some real headaches).

The original speeds were 31-720 rpm, through an 8 speed geared head, but now the sky is the limit. I changed the motor pulley to give a higher top speed, and also worked out what it would give me at 90Hz, and also slowest speed at 20Hz (the UK runs on 50Hz as standard), so now I have 8 speeds x 3 (at 20, 50 and 90Hz), and anything inbetween. I can now get as low as 14 rpm and as high as 1514 rpm. The wonders of modern technology.

 I have to admit the lathe is a bit of a mongrel - it is an ex-college machine, and was updated to metric graduations, cross slide and top slide feedscrews, whilst retaining the imperial leadscrew probably in the '70s, but I feel more comfortable working in imperial measurements (can't beat a 'few thou'). However this does mean it can cut metric and imperial threads.

I wonder if I ought to go the whole hog and fit a digital readout system?

Something to deliberate on, but whilst I'm doing that, I'll have to put it to work to clear the backlog of jobs that has built up since my Myford moved on to a new home.

I had thought about buying a new Asian/Chinese lathe, but I'm glad I persevered with the L5, it's built like the proverbial brick outhouse, and should last years, with excellent accuracy.

Merry Christmas 2018

Unfortunately, December has been full of domestic mundanity as I've been trying to maintain a little harmony/damage limitation by agreeing to decorate the hall, stairs and landing. Now regretting succumbing to this suggestion from SWMBO (if this acronym doesn't mean anything, google it) - should have started on something smaller, like the WC to gain some brownie points. A total of 15 doors to paint/stain, including 2 pairs of louvre doors (which godforsaken idiot invented those?) - they take forever to paint. Haven't found a spray gun for non drip gloss yet. At current rate of progress could be still at it in March!

The scaffolding needed for wall and ceiling papering is going to be interesting......


Hoping to find a Christmas card image that I used a few years back for the usual message, but in case it doesn't turn up, Best Wishes to all, and a Very Merry Christmas.


Bit late Jan 2019

Well couldn't find the old hand made Christmas card, will have to search again, but with 11 months in hand, that can wait a bit!

Decided to run this site for 2 years, as I've not managed to put as much 'stuff' on here this last 12 months, as I did in the first year. Hopefully will manage to make some progress with other bikes also, so I can reintroduce some of the other pages that were in the 2017 site.

Is the world populated by Scrotes? Feb 2019

WARNING: I'm going to get mildly offensive and have a short rant, so if you are of a delicate nature look away now. I would hate to be responsible for causing mental anguish.


This morning I opened my email account to find this:



I`m Chris from USA, Just want to let you know that I have Royal Enfield 1912 prototype parts. Get back to me on my email if you are interested

Best regards


In case you are ever on the receiving end of an attempted scam from 'Chris', his email address is cj707425@gmail.com


Now 'Chris' might be a very nice man, or even a very, very nice man - but I suspect not!

My response (I don't normally respond to these emails, but this morning it tweaked a nerve) was as follows:


Don't be silly, take the trouble to look up the meaning of PROTOTYPE. The fact that it is a prototype means no one has parts! Try scamming some one else.


We all know where this would have led, if I had been taken in by this amazing solution to all my problems.........

It's good that these knobheads have so little intelect as to make their emails immediately identifiable as a scamming attempt, but they do wind me up! What sort of mentality do these scrotes possess? I have spent my entire life from the age of 16 WORKING for various organisations, some good, some not so good, in order to support my own little world including my hobbies, wife and 2 offspring (not necessarily in that order). What little money I have available is rightfully mine, accumulated through effort, manpower, employment etc. What sort of twisted mentality allows these scrotes to think they also have a right to my little pot of cash? I'm not a charity (and neither are they deserving causes).

I may be 'old skool', or maybe I have a reasonable amount of moral fibre, but I wouldn't/couldn't stoop to this kind of activity.


When I rule the world, there will be much cleansing of the human phsyche! 😉

Next outing Mar 2019

I recently joined the Sunbeam Motorcycle Club, as they are starting to get a few events 'up north' (well, at least as north as Yorkshire). Going through the latest magazine, I started thinking about the possibility of popping down to the Pioneer Run, a round trip of about 600 miles.

The arrangements are made, and I'll now spend Saturday night kipping in the car, in readiness for the early set off of the first bikes from Epsom. A nice bacon buttie whilst wandering round before the set off should be just the ticket. Maybe one day I'll take one of the early Enfields down and make my own way down to Brighton. Before it came into my custodianship, the model 160 used to be a fairly regular attendee, but it's last attendance was in 2010.

It appears that the route is to be changed this year, due to increasing traffic problems/congestion. In excess of 300 pre 1915 motorbikes sounds like a cracking recipe. Hopefully a few photos and report when I get back.

Pioneer Run - part 2 Mar 2019

Well, it happened! I made it to Epsom, then down to Brighton, dropped in with friends in Farnham, and then back to God's country before my pass out expired. A few things didn't go exactly to plan, it was only just above freezing on Saturday night, my bacon buttie was eaten without bread (someone forgot to pack it), and I had to get out of the van at the coldest part of the night (5.00 am) for a pee! Sleep sadly was severely lacking and by 10.00pm Sunday, I was falling asleep whilst trying to converse with friends - don't seem to have the staying power that I used to have.

By 7.00am Sunday, vehicles were starting to arrive, and what fantastic machinery was being unloaded! I've always thought the Banbury Run gets a good turn out of early stuff, but this was something else - where else would you see 5 Leon Bollee tricycles/forecars made in 1896/7, or marques as obscure (nowadays) as Phoenix Trimo, Rexette, Phelon (forerunner of Panther), Romaine etc (all built before 1905).

I took a few photos (to follow after sorting), but unfortunately the sun was out early, very bright, and at a low angle - most shots ended up too light, so apologies for the quality. Once down at Brighton I only had the phone camera, but didn't take any more until I came across http://www.vinandvet.eu/ with a stand on Madeira Drive. An early bike with no paint or badges on the tank looked familiar - it turned out to be one of only two 1904 Royal Enfields known to survive. Had a good chat with Phil about it, but even though it isn't for sale yet, he gave me an idea of likely price, and it's outside my price range, but as its so rare I took a snap.

As I've mentioned previously, I like unusual, rare, even bizarre machines, so most of the following shots fall into that category.

Clockwise from top left - 1907 Vindec Special (check out those front forks), 1913 FN, 1904 Phoenix Trimo, 1913 Wilkinson

Clockwise from top left - 1913 Flying Merkel and 1913 Indian, 1913 Excelsior, 1908 Moto-Reve and 1904 JH Smith

1904 Royal Enfield with original Minerva engine - not quite unique - but very close!

The collection is about to increase July 2019

Well, it seems that I'm no longer to be safe in my 'man cave' under the garage!

My wife has been getting increasingly fed up of being left on the sidelines when I tootle off on these old vehicle runs, so we've been looking around for a suitable bike for her. Vertically challenged, she needs something pre 1931, light, low, with reasonable brakes, hand change gearbox and hand clutch, no great turn of speed, that she can call her own.

And she has settled on a particular model (which I won't disclose yet), so we've been looking out for something for a few months. An advert/post was seen on facebook of all places (which I am very new to, so communication was a bit awkward until we got to verbal conversations via phones). A deal has been done, without even having the chance to kick the tyres - the bike is about 300 miles away.

Should have it back home in a couple of weeks, so look out for a new page.

Jees, just realised I'm not 18 anymore Nov 2019

And not even 30 any more.....!

Over last couple of weeks I've been insulating the roof of my double garage, prior to following on with the walls and up and over doors, and then the walls of the workshop underneath (but let's walk before we run).

My garage/workshop building is a little unusual, being 2 storey, but dissimilar construction. Unknown to us when we moved here, we inherited an underground water tank, that used to supply the village in the days of yore. I decided to replace the existing concrete sectional single garage, as it was sat on a base that had 'broken it's back' resulting in a drunken shape to the garage.

Whilst digging out the foundations for the new double garage support walls (we live on a hillside, so rather than a solid plinth, a hollow structure would allow some storage under the garage). Long story short, I discovered an underground water tank that you can fit a single decker bus in, and loads of water pipework and 3ft tall valves right where I wanted my new structure (so I smashed them out and weighed it all in for scrap).

After many shenanegins, I finished up with a full double garage sized masonry constructed lower storey which became the workshop, with an upper storey sectional concrete building placed on top that became the double garage. That was 29 years ago. I think I've had a car in the garage no more than 3 nights since.

I decided this year that the building would be much more habitable with a bit of insulation and warmth in the depths of winter. So with the wallet considerably lighter, I have been fitting 8ft x 4ft sheets of rigid foam to the wriggly cement fibre (non asbestos) roof. 1st problem is the amount of floor mounted stuff to move about, 2nd problem is the amount of stuff stored in the pitched roof trusses that also needs moving.

Next problem is lack of space to slide up 8ft x 4ft sheets, so all have to be cut into varying number of smaller pieces. Foam seals at eves have been perforated, to ensure a through draught above the insulation, to prevent condensation build up. Sourced a very effective gun type adhesive, and the work progresses. But my shoulders are complaining about all the work at high level. My mind doesn't really accept it, but the body has to accept I'm not as young as I used to be!!!

I've made it on to facebook! Dec 2019

Kicking and screaming, I'm moving in to the 21st century. After joining a few vintage bike groups on Facebook, I realised there was a gaping hole in respect of early Royal Enfield subject matter. So I've plugged it. I've made it a private group, so if you want to visit, you need to apply to join.

Search under Royal Enfield pre 1940 or follow the link:


Happy New Year Jan 2020

Christmas has come and gone, as has the New Year, and I'm another year older - a little depressing, but much better than the alternative!

Been fairly quiet on the bike front, a little machining activity on the model 160, and starting to look at the ladies model, but no huge inroads. Decided we needed a break from home life, and saw a bike show advertised, run by the North West section of the VMCC over at St Helens in deepest, darkest Lancashire. Checked my passport and innoculations were up to date, and headed off this morning.

Grand little show, about 30 bikes inside a marquee, with probably a similar number outside, although not all the external bikes were classic/vintage. I'm afraid 50s-80s bikes don't appeal to me these days (yes I still own and ride the '57 Bullet, but it's no longer my overbearing passion), and on first trawl early stuff was a bit thin on the ground, but I did spot an early Model P Triumph with the asbestos bootlace front brake. I did have the 'makings' of one 30 years back, but it was moved on.....

We had a chat with the organisers, and berated them (only joking) for lack of early stuff, and threatened that we would take the model 160 and the ladies model next year. On leaving the marquee we noticed a 2 letter, 4 digit number plate on a bike, so wandered over, only to find a beautiful Coventry Eagle Flying 8 (a bike to die for, as nice, if not nicer than a Brough, but much rarer.

Isn't that a gorgeous looking bike?

Just as I'm taking a close look at the CE, another v twin bumbles in, and I had to take a double take as it turned out to be a 1938 Royal Enfield 1140cc model K! The CE was immediately forgotten, and dragging my tongue out of the nearest puddle, I wandered over to have a chat with Pete, who I'd met probably about 20 years back, when he had a different sidecar attached. I'll pop the photo on the KX page, just to be awkward 

Oh dear, I've done it again Jan 2020

Well, despite previously saying I had no more space for additional bikes, and despite having more projects than I can shake a stick at, I've gone and done it again! I heard about 2 Royal Enfield model 180 projects that were up for sale privately in the North West. After having a good look at what was, and wasn't there, and evaluating how easy/hard it would be to restore one or both of them, I decided to buy them.

So, maybe another page to the site in the fullness of time. But for the moment, the remaining sheet insulation for the garage walls has moved out on to the trailer under a tarp, and the 2 x 976cc side valve v twins are under the bench in the garage. The big question now is: do I carry on with the number of bikes/projects, or do I start to look at thinning down.......... I'll find a photo of what they should look like.

With thanks to Sheldon's EMU for the image, this is pretty much what each bike should look like. Had chance of a sidecar chassis, but that really would have been stretching it spacewise!

Decision made Apr 2020

There may be a lockdown on for this damn Coronavirus, but I've eventually decided to part with some kit.

The 2 Levis' I have, a 1934 model D 500 and a very incomplete 1938/9 350 are going to be disposed of. I did have a reasonable cache of model D parts, a mix of new and used, but they went very quickly.

I was going to have an autojumble stall at Stanford Hall VMCC Founders Day in July, but I suspect that is likely to be postponed.

Quiet times June 2020

Not much to report over last couple of months, sold(!) a load of Levis spares, bought a bigger milling machine, but now don't have a working mill on site! Vegetable garden is looking pretty good though........

How does that work, I hear you ask? Well, I had to move my Tom Senior out of the workshop to make way for the new (to me) mill, but the new one is 3 phase and I need a rotary phase converter to run the 2 speed motor and control gear - it's also a bit too tall to fit under my block and tackle - so I can't get it down into the workshop!!!

But I'm working on that, and hope to have it in place within a couple of weeks, and a RPC a week or two after that.

Almost there July 2020

Well the workshop and garage are in total turmoil still, due to the swopping over between milling machines, and more decisions to part with stuff!

Embarrassingly, I took delivery of the Epple mill at the beginning of June, the delivery guy had a 1 tonne crane on the back of his flatbed, so he popped it on to a set of skates and it was rolled to the back of the garage, then sat on a couple of timber bearers. The plan was then for me to lift it a couple of inches, trundle it along my gantry beam and then lower it down into the workshop.

Even with the motor taken off, and the head rotated by 90 degrees it was still too tall for my block and tackle. I eventually worked out that I could lift the head off using an engine hoist, lower the main body, and then lower the head down and re-attach it. That finally happened yesterday! Slight heart attack moment when something snagged that neither my wife nor I spotted, and the 1/2 tonne mill 'jumped' - only a couple of inches, but the heart rate quadrupled!

The phase convertor is on order, so hopefully that will be here in a coiuple of weeks, so I need to install a 20A radial supply ready for it in the next few days. Couple of pics to follow - the mill and its issues.

As delivered - lifting gantry in yellow to rear.

Head removed

Decapitated mill just before it's descent into the bowels of my workshop

Up and running Aug 2020

Finally, the mill is in place, levelled up, powered up, oil changed and fully functional. Bit of a wobbler when I worked my way through the  3 phase supply side wiring on the mill with a meter, so I called in an electrician friend who found the problem and put it right. Have made some chips since this photo.


Workshop still in chaos, but mill up and running!

The eagle eyed amongst you may be wondering why there is a 3 jaw chuck off my lathe attached to the end of the table.......the seller had broken the handle, I had no means of moving the table whilst I had no power, so tightened the chuck on to the end of the feed screw and turn the chuck/screw by using the chuck T handle. Hopefully the new handle will turn up soon. Impossible to position something accurately without a manual handle!

FOOTNOTE: Handle now fitted and a few test runs have been made, but still have to pluck up courage to use the power traverse - it can travel seriously fast!

I must say I am a real convert to the Digital Read Out system (DRO), never had one before, but it makes it so easy to position something to within 1/2 of a 1/1000th of an inch, or 0.005 of a millimetre! And so easy to bounce between imperial and metric - always previously a headache.

One Levis less, one to go Dec 2020

I never created a page for the Levis bikes I had on this site (had one on the original site, but there was little movement/action), so this news is being dropped here.

The 1938-ish 350 Levis project has found a new home (although I suspect it will be temporary, as the buyer is a dealer). I like Levis products, but just had to admit I didn't have time to do everything, and the Levis' were a minor interest compared to the New Hudsons and Enfields. So here is a photo of the far from complete 350, the last you will see.

A few bits missing?

Going up Dec 2020

As part of the movements that took place in order to install all the insulation, I took the opportunity to shift the 2 Levis' from the lower floor up to the upper floor (this was just prior to parting with the 350).

Flying pig - no, flying Levis

Up she goes

My top level garage is only accessible from the main up and over doors externally, and my lower floor workshop is only accessible with a bike via the hole in the back of the garage floor. The same one that the milling machines have recently traversed. Here's a couple of quick photos of the type of operations I get up to with my old bikes - not quite the run of the mill, but it all makes life interesting!

Finally found the artwork for the Christmas cards I used to send out - in the spirit of global warming/climate change - I am re-cycling them!

Yee - hargh! May 2021

My last ride on a motorcycle of any kind was in October 2019 at the Scottish Early Motor Bicycle Run. TODAY I had my first ride on a bike since then. Sadly it was none of my bikes, but the 1996 Yamaha 250 Virago that my wife owns (and rides occasionally).

I've been working on it over the last 3 weeks, as it needed the petrol draining (wouldn't fire after about 21 months), a new foam air filter (the original crumbled into bits as I was inspecting it), a complete overhaul of the front disc brake, and a new battery. The disc was below the minimum thickness, the pads were contaminated with fork oil, from a previous fork oil seal leak, and the pistons were solid in the caliper. Pumping the foot pump right off it's gauge limit of 100psi into the hydraulic pipe connection released the larger piston, but the smaller one was stuck fast. I managed a little movement after immersing the caliper in boiling water, then tipping cold water into the hollow piston, but the final release was by 'walking' the piston out of it's bore by light taps with a brass drift from opposite sides - slow job.

I decided to send the caliper and pistons away for full refurb (not cheap, but came back with new pistons, seals and high temp paint job). New disc rotor, new pads, all torqued up, run out checked, and she was ready to run. MOT booked for 11am this morning, so pootled a long way round just to bed the new brake in. Passed with flying colours, so another pootle round before the rain arrived.

Strange to think this bike is now 25 years old, and gains the term 'Classic'.

But it was lovely to be out on a bike after s-o-o-o long!!! The 'grin factor' was quite high.

21st Century Gizmo June 2021

I'm a bit of a dinosaur, but now and again I decide to embrace 21st century technology. Eighteen months back I got a tablet and worked out how to connect it to the internet away from home via my mobile phone  - pure wizardry!

Yesterday I found a reason to pick up a device I've had a hankering for (but little use) for over 20 years since I first used one to look inside a cavity wall. Namely a boroscope (or midget camera on a lead). 20 years back they were bulky things and cost about 2k pounds, the modern equivalent fits in the palm of my hand and cost me 50 pounds!

It has 2 cameras (front and side), adjustable lighting level to each, 3 viewing formats, connects via wifi to my tablet and the software lets you view either camera individually or both together (split screen). You can record stills and movie footage of petrol tank innards, foreign bodies in the bottom of oil tanks, and a myriad of other uses. It will even go up the hole for the petrol tap in the bottom of the petrol tank - only about 9 - 10mm diameter.

Montage of photos later, when I've mastered it's use.