Model Engine News: July 2002
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I truly regret having to add this, but after seeing my own words appearing uncredited in eBay auction descriptions, it's time to get petty. If you want to use any material, just ask. Non-profit usage will almost certainly be permitted and blessed, but if you plan to get rich on my work, I want a piece of the action!
This month we introduce a front page change: I'm going to try making the front page to this site interesting and useful to all visitors, not just first-time visitors, by doing a short editorial ramble. I'll also present news items in the general arena of model engines, engine building and closely related topics. Each editorial will link to the previous and I promise to include all the irreverence and spelling mistakes you've come to expect. In this way, I hope I can restore some of the community feeling we engine builders lost with the closing of SIC when Bob Washburn went into second (or perhaps third) retirement. Whichever retirement it was, it is well deserved. Bob and Frances have left us with a terrific legacy in the form of their magazine.
Woking Precision Under New Management
From Model Engineer of April/May 2002 comes the news that Woking Precision has changed hands and location. The new owner is Graham Varcoe in Lancashire. ME reports that Graham will continue to supply all the castings previously supplied and extend the range when he retires in a couple of years time. For those who don't know, Woking has been the casting source for some of Edgar T Westbury's designs, as well as the two most popular Lawrence Sparey compression ignition engines. In addition their catalog lists some steam engines, tool castings and other supplies. The new contact details, per ME, are:
Woking Precision Models
27 Petts Crescent
Lancashire OL15 8ED
Telephone +44 1706-377508, evenings between 1800 and 2200 GMT
Woking has a web site
. I'd said that I kinda hoped Graham would take the business into the 21st century with a web site and on-line ordering facilities and quicker 'n a flash, one of this site's friends emailed be with the link. Thanks Maurice! Also noted that Metals By Mail have opened a UK outlet. Wish they'd do the same here, downunder.
Model Engine World Returns
This is much older news. Model Engine World, previously published by Mr John Goodall, has changed hands and will now appear quarterly. The new editor is Mr Andrew Nahum who promises similar content as of old, with more information on full sized engines. MEW now has a web site for subscription information and sample pages. At this date, two issues of the new MEW have been delivered and I think the magazine is still finding its feet. Time will tell and if you don't like the contents, don't complain, write the content you think is missing and send it to Andrew!
Arm Chair Engineering
Some time back, Roger Schroder of Classic Model Engines and I collaborated on an article for SIC on building the ED Baby (see Engine Finder for pictures). Unfortunately, SIC ceased before our construction series appeared and Roger vowed he'd get it published if he had to flog it by hand from street corners! He was quickly rescued from this hasty pledge by Mr Tim Dannels of Engine Collectors' Journal where our series finally appeared. Incidentally, Roger has just completed a good wrap-up to the construction articles on the lessons he learned building his ED Baby and getting it to run. This will appear in ECJ soon. Anyway, back on topic: when writing the text, Bob Washburn told me to write in a "folksy" way as he suspected that most of his readership did their engine making in an arm chair.
Well I though about that and tried to follow his directions by writing the machining instructions as numbered steps that hopefully could be visualized by the readers who are not builders, as well as those who are. What I came to realize (and what Bob probably knew all along) is that any individual's enjoyment is where they find it. There's nothing at all second-class about being an arm-chair engineer. I shudder at the number of books in my library describing in great detail, projects that I'll never build—the Blackmore Bentley BR2 springs immediately to mind. Then there's the number of model airplane plans filed away that I'll never build either. Maybe. Than maybe someday I will! It really does not matter—I've gotten pleasure out of pouring over the plans and following the building instructions and anything more will be pure bonus.
And that is what I'm really trying to accomplish with these pages. I like building things. I like looking at pictures of things others have built too and from emails I get from visitors to these pages, there are a lot of potential builders out there who get their pleasure the same way. So what if you arn't an engine builder today? Someday you may be and if a tip picked up here helps, great. If not, I hope you have fun following my own misadventures as I turn perfectly good stock into scrap. Enjoy!