Monday, 30 May 2011

Useful little tools...

Following up the suggestion of "Liquid Reamer" that was made by Buckjumper to help keep my old and neglected airbrush clean, I wandered along to chat with Derek Russan at Eileen's Emporium whilst I was at Railex this weekend.

Derek does stock Liquid Reamer :-)

But he'd just sold out :-(

It must be the power of suggestion from the web ;-)

However what he did have (and I think have recently come into stock, as I don't recall seeing them before) are a set of tiny brushes, that are perfect for cleaning out paint bowls and nozzles on an airbrush:

At only £3.50 for the set, they seemed like an absolute steal.  But that would be a bit rude, so I bought a set instead.  If I get some more modelling done on this Bank Holiday, they may well be getting a good usage later this week.


Saturday, 21 May 2011


Hmmm... You think that you've got your airbrush clean, and then...

After the last bout of use (see previous post on painting the Pug) I thought that I'd cleaned my airbrush out fairly well. However the action of the trigger was still a little "sticky" so I thought that it merited a little more attention if I was going to get decent results next time that I wanted to use it.

So an old jam jar that is surplus from my wife's stockpile (she funds her sidecar racing by selling homemade jam - just don't ask...) and drop all the bits in it. Fill up with cellulose thinners and give a good shake.

The thinners is now a dirty dark yellow colour, and the parts clearly still aren't entirely clean. I'll give them a good going over with cotton buds in a while.

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But it's surprised me how much paint has built up inside and still hadn't come out through "normal" cleaning. I think that I'll be doing this more frequently in future...


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Off on the right foot

It's been awhile since I looked at the Ulpha Light Railway.  I tucked it away safely in the back of my garage (at the opposite end to the birdfood, so hopefully our resident woodland creatures don't mistake the scenery for a snack...) and have left it there until I feel that I can get the whole thing out and erect it for a couple of days.

However I have started work on the restoration of the infrastructure.  When I first brought it home, and did a test erection in the garage, I had no end of trouble getting it levelled out.  After a life of twenty years, even though each trestle leg was fitted with screw-adjustable feet, I found that they were dirty, corroded, jammed, or a combination of the three.  Something needed to be done to make them workable again.

My first thought was just to replace them, so I had a quick look on the web.  There are a number of suppliers out there, ranging from Screwfix to model railway specialists.  But generally the price per leg was £3-4 for each foot, and I needed 16 of them.  I didn't really want to pay around fifty quid if I could avoid it.

So on a sunny evening, I sat down and unscrewed them from the bottom of the trestles.  That in itself took some time, as the screws had also suffered from time.  Having got the feet off, I used spanners and a bit of brute force to separate them into separate components.  The locking nuts were discarded, as I'd already got replacement stainless steel ones from Screwfix - strongly recommended for this sort of stuff.

To clean all the dirt and clag off them, I popped all of the feet, and the mounts, in my ultrasonic bath with plain water and gave them a few cycles.  Then they went into a cooling oven (after dinner...) to dry them out thoroughly.  After that, the restoration could begin.

For working on motorbikes, I have a set of taps and dies:

So I ran the feet through the dies to clean up the threads and get rid of residual gunge and corrosion.  Now they are all back together, with new nuts, and a touch of grease on them, and I hope that they'll give many more years of service.

Next, onto the trestles themselves...