Retirement And Narcissism

October 13th, 2014 at 3:44pm

Although I’m nearly retired, I’m not quite there yet. I can’t afford to be fully retired yet. Not unless I’m prepared to give up food and beer; well, OK, beer and food. As of about ten years ago, I haven’t found it necessary to have any advertising other than a web site. However, Google seems to be getting meaner with the local traders’ sites and more generous with the National Register Of Hugely Marked-Up Botchers R Us ers. Staying in the search results gets tougher and tougher.

As you might have seen from previous posts, I’ve taken a greater interest in workshop projects of late. Whilst I can’t bring myself to have a Google+ page (Grrr, talk about Me Too and Wannabe), maybe I’ll satisfy Google’s requirement that I take its shilling before I get a good page rank, if I put some videos up on YouTube.

There are thousands of workshop channels; and hundreds of good ones. So I’m not going to contribute the fifieth video on a cross cut sled (usually the second thing that someone makes for their table saw). There are one or two things however, that are a little more out of the ordinary. So I’ll try putting a few of those up. Here we go.


Bluebeard, Pandora, What’s The Parable

August 28th, 2014 at 3:56pm

When taking up a new residence, whether as a buyer or a renter, make sure you’re given a key for every lock, including cupboards, outbuildings and sheds, meter cupboards, boiler cupboards, balcony doors, attic doors – you get the idea.

If you’re buying, see if you can get your solicitor to add this requirement as one of the Questions For Seller.

If you’re renting and the landlord mutters that they have never had a key for x, tell them you’ll have to get a locksmith to open x and to get a key for x; and that you’ll have to bill them for it.

Of course, there are times when renters in particular are competing for a desirable property and don’t feel like being too pushy.

If for whatever reason you do end up with locked cupboards, balcony doors etc., you do need to get them sorted out. It could be, for example, that your only exit in some emergency is via the balcony and a knotted sheet, except you can’t open the balcony door. Or imagine that one day water starts pouring out from under a locked cupboard or attic door. Are you going to expect the plumber to break the door down? (It’s this last example that prompted this post.)

advice, locksmithing , , ,


August 27th, 2014 at 3:54pm

To finance the recently-purchased table saw, I have sold my last (apart from the ones I made myself) safe lock pick. My days of struggling with safes are now pretty much over – semi-retirement.

I happened to wrapping up the pick case for dispatch in the workshop on top of the table saw. As everyone finds, the top of a table saw is just too convenient a flat surface and gets used for assembly work. Anyway, I got to musing on the difference in size – enormous – versus the difference in value – none. The pick is beautifully machined; indeed, I was a bit sad to see it go, but it wasn’t being used. However, the pick comprises less than 500 g of stainless steel. The table saw, which costs the same as the pick – and mind you, the pick was bought second-hand, new it would cost less than the pick – dwarfs it and comprises 160 kg of steel and cast iron.

I suppose it’s production volume. And precision. And charging what the market will bear.

life, locksmithing ,

Table Saw

July 24th, 2014 at 9:21am

Having done a couple of projects on the home-made table saw, and having proved something or other to myself, I’ve now got myself a proper table saw (an Axminster AW10BSB2). It’s pretty impressive. And it was pretty darned heavy at 160kg. It’s going to have to move in and out in the workshop so the next project is lifting castors for it.

The Axminster driver was kind enough to come up one step from the street and up the garden path to the front door. About ten years ago I bought a metalworking lathe from an outfit in Surrey, and not only were a couple of parts from a completely different machine (which they never replaced despite several calls), their driver just dumped the lathe on the street pavement.

Of course, the tablesaw arrived in the fortnight when the kids were both away, so quite a bit of ingenuity with dollies, levers, fulcrums and axle stands was required so that lone, not-going-to-see-sixty-again little old me could get it from the front door to the workshop at the back; and then right side up, it being delivered resting on its top to permit assembly of the lower legs and panels.

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[Shakes Head Wearily]

June 29th, 2014 at 8:26am

“Can you come to 18 Verylong Road?”

“Which end is that? Is that the District end or the OtherDistrict end?”

“It’s between them.”

“I’ve reached Endofroad roundabout and there’s no sign of number 18.”

“Actually, it’s 18 Blockofflats Building.”

“I see. Whereabout’s in Verylong Road is Blockofflats Building?”

“It’s on Shorter Road.”

[Sigh] “I see. And that road is …?”

“It’s between Verylong Road and the High Street.”

[Shakes head wearily]

entertainment, life

French Cleats Work Really Well

May 22nd, 2014 at 11:25am

Apparently when the French want to hang a cupboard on the wall, they take a length of 2″ x 1″ (sorry, 50mm x 25 mm) and slice it longways down the middle almost into two 1″ x 1″ lengths but sliced at a 45Ā° angle instead of perpendicular. Then one piece is screwed to the wall and the other to the cupboard such that the bevels (chamfers? mitres? never quite know which is which) lock in to each other. Actually, you do it twice: at the top of the cupboard and at the bottom.

Well, you can do the same for tool storage. You screw a few cleat rails to the wall. Then, for each tool or set of tools you make a hanger on a short cleat. For half-a-dozen pliers for example, you make something like a little 6″ towel rail on a cleat and hang your pliers on that. Easier watched than explained, so have a look on YouTube (or Vimeo if, like me, you’re starting to get a bit pissed off with Google’s descent into evil). I like Steve Ramsey’s version.

The move of my workshop from shed to conservatory/cellar is now complete having done all the French cleat tool hangers. The cool thing is that not only is it a neat way to accessibly store tools, but with rails in both the up and the down workshops, I can bring tools up and down as needed.

life ,

Ah, Sunday Morning

May 12th, 2014 at 7:07am

Sunday mornings are good for locksmiths. They’re not so good for some customers though. Apart from hangovers, they have to contend with lost keys, lost keys and broken doors (being drunk removes clear thinking but not strength), wrong keys forced into locks and then snapped off, etc.

Or they’ve called out a “locksmith” at three in the morning but have been sent a call centre botcher who has destroyed their lock and not even put in a replacement.

I know it’s not easy at three o’clock on a Saturday night/Sunday morning but if you can find a proper, local locksmith then they’ll be cheaper than a destroyed lock, and cheaper than a carpenter and door frame the next day.

life, locksmithing , ,

Nearly There – In The Cellar That Is

April 27th, 2014 at 8:30am

The move of the workshop from the shed in the back garden to the conservatory (clean work) and the cellar (dirty work) is just about complete. Having dismantled the Dexion and MDF bench, and transferring it to the cellar, the only thing left out there is the pegboard and I’m not quite sure where that’s going to go. The pegboard is useful because a lot of security products are packed to be hung and shelves and bins don’t work anywhere near as well.

All the new shelving in the cellar is up and there’s a nicer piece of vinyl flooring now.

I might just add a ‘French cleat’ tool hanging system. Peg board isn’t so good for tools.


More Old Codger Grumpiness

April 26th, 2014 at 8:31am

Another crochety, old git post I’m afraid. Still, being officially grumpy is one of the very few perks of getting old.

I went to a job the other day and rang the bell. When the door was answered I was told that it was preferred that tradesmen didn’t use the front door. Eh? Rather than tugging my forelock and going to the side door, however, I scratched my head and got back in the van and drove off – genteelly of course.

In the past I have been asked if I wouldn’t mind taking off my boots. With nice floors, that’s entirely understandable. (Of course there have also been floors where my medical insurance wouldn’t have been adequate for taking my boots off.) But what is going on in the mind of someone who wants a certain perceivedĀ  – type? – class? – of person to use a different door than that used by some other? It really got to me. For the next couple of hours it was as though depite there being a 16-valve engine pulling my van rather than a dray horse, I’d accidentally entered an E. M. Forster novel.



April 23rd, 2014 at 10:06am

I wonder how this credit account business started. It’s a pernicious thing. You do a job for a company, and the bigger the company, the longer they take to pay you. I suppose that’s how they got big. And I guess that’s why rich folk are mean.

Anyway, as a one-man band and as a semi-retired tradesman who can’t be arsed to chase invoices, I don’t offer credit. Most people understand when I note that I will require payment on completion. Some people – company people usually – are perlexed; and some have the cheek to get cross:

‘And how will you be intending to pay?’

‘Well, won’t you invoice us?’

‘I will be very happy to give you a detailed and dated receipt, but I will need paying on completion of the job.’

‘So you can’t invoice us?’

‘I can invoice you, but will you be paying me on the day?’

‘No. Of course not. We’ll pay in 30 to 45 days depending on the month end.’

‘So you want me to lend you a couple of hundred quid for a month. I think you’re confusing a locksmith with a bank.’


life, politics ,