Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: I Fell Down

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  • Lilith __,

    David, how wonderful to hear from you! You've been much missed around these parts. I'm sorry about your Grandfather, and, holy crap, what your Dad's been through.

    As an early subscriber to Bob's channel, I have long been impressed not only with Bob's obvious smarts and his clear explanations, but of the amazing parents who have enabled him to shine. I wish technical and practical problem-solving skills were taught in ordinary primary school.

    I had to get Jen to explain the bagless-vacuum-cleaner because although I have a passing acquaintance with Uni-level physics, I had NO IDEA how it worked. But Bob knew. Bob knew so well he didn't think to explain it!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lilith __,

    As an early subscriber to Bob’s channel,

    I'd watch it more if it didn't make me feel so parentally inadequate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Jane Pearson,

    It is just so lovely to hear from you, David in Dunsandel. It seems to me that with everything that has been happening for you and your family, writing blog posts would quietly disappear off the bottom of the list and wait in the shadows. But still nice to know you're out there on the plains and for you, and Russell, to know that this PA community creates bonds among strangers that somehow makes us feel like friends.

    Since Feb 2010 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Good to hear you are ready to entertain again. At least that's how I read you. It seemed likely to me that the way you dealt with the multiple crises that shattered Christchurch was going to delay the grief, and that it would hit you later. Because you dealt with it by getting extremely busy. Which was more than appropriate at the time. You formed a rock that saved those around you from bearing a far harder brunt of the tidal wave of misery that the region suffered. It's admirable to the point of being inspirational, although it might also not seem that way to you, because at some level it is also a coping mechanism. I don't think you should feel the slightest guilt at that grief catching you up the moment you got a rest, or creeping up on you in a worn out state, and absolutely no guilt that family shocks and tragedies would rob us of your levity. You have to grieve your losses, and the survivor guilt that others had it worse is also natural.

    I see a ray of sunshine peeping through here, though. It seems to me that grieving privately is your style and inflicting it on others was hard to enthuse about. That you're back and joking tells me of progress being made there that I was really quite worried about when you last wrote. You needed the break, and I look forward to your thoughts as they bubble up again.

    Arohanui, David.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Conrad Heine,

    Well, I've enjoyed your irregular musings, especially those from Scotland, but great to have you back more fully. Must be quite a thing, creating in the same space with a completely different view out the window.
    I hope I'll catch you in Dunsandel in November/December... and I'll even shift a few more paving stones, should you choose to accept.

    London/New Zealand • Since Mar 2008 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Bless you for being a subscriber to Bob's YouTube channel, Lilith, he's always so delighted whenever that (very infrequently) occurs! Bob and I had a lot of off-camera discussion about cyclones and did a few rough experiments. Maybe we should go back and do a more in-depth explanation; cyclones are such a staple of mech. eng. that perhaps I hadn't appreciated that there might be interest in some nitty-gritty information on them.

    Crikey Russell you of all people shouldn't ever feel inadequate about parenting. Ever. I've often reminded myself of your calmness under fire when I've been dealing with Bob & Polly in their more (ahem) challenging moments. (I think you saw one of those moments with Bob when we visited the diary-allergy-sufferer-hating Dunsandel Store at one point).

    Thank you Jane for your kind words. I think what you say about a community here is very true. (Take a bow Russell Brown).

    Your message has certainly given me a lot to think about Ben. I am an admirer of your analysis (recently honed even further by all those uber customers) and I shall certainly be contemplating upon your observations.

    I have definitely found myself grieving for Christchurch. I try to avoid visiting the central city because I do find it so upsetting that it's all gone. Our former neighbourhood is now all fenced off with many of my favourite trees inexplicably felled (I'd love to know what they found so objectionable about our big maple tree and gorgeously-scented wintersweet). I don't think I've ever paid a visit to Christchurch (even after all these years) and not felt sad & depressed by what has gone -- but especially by the lost opportunity to rebuild something amazing (what they're getting in Christchurch is essentially a city built for the challenges of the 1960s). It's an absolute tragedy.

    Conrad it's great to hear from you! And so glad that the tonne or two of paving stones that you cleaned hasn't deterred you from another visit. We'd love to see you! (I shall be sure to get in more paving stones in time for your arrival).

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • kiwicmc,

    Can I just say I for one really enjoyed the building post...

    http://publicaddress.net/southerly/how-i-became-a-grumpy-old-builder-in-microcosm/

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since May 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to kiwicmc,

    Can I just say I for one really enjoyed the building post…

    Gosh, well I'm certainly delighted that someone liked it -- thank you! My son keeps suggested that I should move into video format for my building/engineering work, which I can see would be a much more effective means of communicating (for these subjects). But I'm not sure how comfortable/watchable I'd be in moving pictures. And also I'd hate to turn Public Address into TV3. I'm still mulling over this as a possibility, though...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    The youtube stuff is strangely engaging, something about a small boy with clear diction who obviously understands what he's doing. Possibly also a bit of jealousy that he has a better workshop and better teacher than I ever did as a child.

    I'm slightly involved with a local maker-space which is basically a big warehouse full of tools and stuff, with people to show you how it all works. The $50/day usage charge seems high until you start pricing even the basic gear. I was paying $250/year just for tank rental for one small tank of gas for my welder. Not having that gets me five days of almost all the tools I want. It beats buying the cheapest, crappiest tool from Bunnings and hoping it lasts through the whole job (or more usually, hoping that when it fails it doesn't injure me).

    Makerspace is struggling a little to come to terms with the fact that there are some people who are not safe around tools, full stop. They don't want to do life bans, but I think they're going to have to. Not for hostile people, but for thoughtless people. The sort of person who will come over to watch, and put their cup of coffee down on the tablesaw you're using.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Moz,

    The youtube stuff is strangely engaging, something about a small boy with clear diction who obviously understands what he’s doing.

    Thanks, Moz, hopefully Bob’s enthusiasm comes across, if nothing else!

    I was paying $250/year just for tank rental for one small tank of gas for my welder.

    I feel your pain, Moz! My super-useful oxy-acetylene kit had to be farewelled a decade or so ago because the cylinder rental just became ridiculous. A reasonable stick welder is now far less money than a year’s rental on cylinders, but of course the oxy-acetylene kit was indispensable for cutting and heating/bending. Bob and I saw someone who’d built a little portable charcoal forge out of a large SS oven-dish and had done some amazing work with it, so we’ll probably build something along those lines to replace that particular functionality of the oxy-acetylene kit. Plasma-cutters are also very cheap now, and since we already have a compressor I guess one of those will replace the cutting function of the oxy-acetylene kit as funds allow.

    It beats buying the cheapest, crappiest tool from Bunnings and hoping it lasts through the whole job

    Have you tried the AEG tools from Bunnings? I had an appalling Makitapocalypse incident (four tools in a fortnight), and was talked into replacing them with AEG on the basis of the six-year warranty. I’ve given them hell nearly every day for three years and they still work brilliantly on original batteries. They’re sort of lower-middle-range trade quality but very reasonably priced.

    The $50/day usage charge seems high until you start pricing even the basic gear.

    That sounds very reasonable for things like access to a lathe, milling machine, surface grinder, etc. For a table-saw, band-saw, drill-press, etc. I have been amazed at the quality vs. price of some of the tools coming from China. Have you checked out Machinery House? I bought Bob & Polly’s scrollsaw from there and it’s honestly much better than my granddad’s old 60s scrollsaw at an absolute fraction of the purchase price. Mind you, you’ve got to have somewhere to put everything, of course…

    Makerspace is struggling a little to come to terms with the fact that there are some people who are not safe around tools, full stop. Not for hostile people, but for thoughtless people.

    Yes, I’ve come across those people even in proper tool rooms. From annoying stuff such as leaving a bandsaw table at 89deg instead of 90deg, to a wonderful incident where someone left a chuck key in the back of a lathe-chuck. High excitement ensued (though no-one hurt).

    My dad used to be in charge of safety at Fletchers many years ago, and he is a fan of starting people young. He reckons the scariest thing he’s ever seen was a class of fine art students let loose in a carpentry workshop (this from a man who was recently resuscitated back from a flatline)…

    Edit: Not to knock the fine artists, of course. I saw a nice sculpture by fine arts graduate Lynda Earle and thought she was a pretty darned good welder…

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM,

    Really enjoyed reading the post, David. And loved the previous building one as well. I look forward to a new video from Bob (or Polly!) showing up at youtube. Always entertaining and informative - really an inspiration.

    Regarding machineryhouse, I've had some good and some bad. They are cheap, though! I can't recommend the 6" planer at all - maybe the larger units are better. It goes fine once the blades and fence are set, but setting them is an awful process (no springs under the blades to resist pushing down to align, and the fence 'clamping' system is abysmal and can't be relied on to stay square if you move it across the bed). Still, for around $600...

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to JonathanM,

    Thanks, Johnathan M! But, oh dear, that surface planer doesn’t reflect well on Machinery House at all – no springs under the knives is quite a few cost-cutting steps too far (and I bloody hate it when fences move); I may have to rescind my previous kind words.

    On the subject of surface planers, my grandfather’s last technical advice to me was regarding a buzzer (as he called a surface planer). I had stupidly pinged a hard-to-see brad in a piece of recycled timber, and put a nick in the knives. My grandfather pointed out that you can de-align the knives, i.e. put one knife slightly (more than half the width of the nick) leftward and the other knife rightward by the same amount, so that the nicks are no longer lined up, and hence each knife cancels out the effect of the nick from the other. Worked amazingly well! Just passing the knowledge on…

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Attachment

    This photo from yesterday shows what happens to people who don’t go to school, Bob!

    This man is almost fifty years old and he’s mucking around with this steel ball for no particular reason.

    And take note, the mans overalls are cotton which is a safe material where when working with fire hazards such as welding tools. Wool is even better.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to steven crawford,

    This photo from yesterday shows what happens to people who don’t go to school, Bob!

    Wow, Bob & Polly very impressed and now both vowing they won't go to school any more so they can build huge steel things like you! (I'm bloody impressed too!)

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Attachment

    Bob and Polly might well be candidates for "how to make almost anything" here is a photo of some of what I learned doing that. I cut the circuit boards out on the mini mill using open source software from MIT. (an absolute must for people who don't go to school).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to steven crawford,

    Many thanks for that information, Steven! I hadn't been aware of that at all, and it could actually be a really good course for Bob in the fullness of time. Stupid question: but it wasn't entirely clear to me whether students actually attend in person -- or is it online?

    And wow, those circuit boards are totally impressive, Steven. I so hate etching with acid -- and my experience with sending one-offs to PCB makers (a few years ago now, admittedly, I haven't tried OshPark) was not great in terms of cost and waiting time. That looks like a bloody wonderful alternative.

    Some (probably annoying) questions:
    1. What mini-mill are you using?
    2. Do you have problems with flatness of the blank boards?
    3. Do you use up a lot of cutters (I imagine sharpening them could be tricky) on the copper?

    Thanks for posting such interesting (to me, at any rate) information!

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brislen,

    Lovely to have you back David. Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, I've discovered.

    Write a little each day and you'll be amazed where you get to. I have written almost one hundred thousand tweets and all I've got to show for it is a chip on my shoulder. You will do better I'm sure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Have you tried the AEG tools from Bunnings?

    Are you a mind reader? I have their sliding compound mitre saw in the shed, and have been eyeing off a couple of other mains tools. I bought a Panasonic 14.4V LiIon battery drill a few (maybe ten?) years ago to replace the 12V NiMH one that replaced the 12V NiCd one... I like that brand. Masters in Australia is the stockist, and also a big donation from Woolworths to tool users everywhere (they're trying to compete with Bunnings and should have bought a yacht instead).

    He reckons the scariest thing he’s ever seen was a class of fine art students let loose in a carpentry workshop

    I've seen similar things. One girlfriend was a College of Fine Arts student (she was a rural student on a scholarship, CoFA is a finishing school for young ladies of the eastern suburbs, darling). She got the run of all their workshops just for knowing which end of a gas torch to light. I only semi-kid, she knew enough to be scared witless by some of the other students and used to go in when it was quiet.

    Also, some muppet in the Sydney Uni Architecture Faculty managed to snap the blade on their cold saw despite supposedly being under the direct supervision of a tech. Tech was livid, it was one of those "turn away for two seconds" things, student went from "work in vice, not aligned or tight" to "I'll just start the saw and drop the blade". Blade was only $500 or so, persuading the tech to allow that student back into the workshop apparently took lawyers.

    Still, I do like a nice play in the workshop. Next project will be a sleepout made from coolstore panels, which we will hopefully get free in October when a friend does some demo work. I like the material, but it's rarely used in residential architecure for some reason (magic term is SIPS). I am thinking of bevelling the edges rather than using aluminium channel for all the joints, so I'm not making thermal bridges everywhere. But that means cutting 100mm thick polystyrene at 45 degrees... if they made 400mm circular saws that would work, or if I had a tablesaw that could handle 6m x 1100mm panels... but instead I shall be making one cut from each side and trying very hard to line them up :)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thank you for the Bob Channel - what a viewing treat. Why am I not surprised that school doesn't suit him? And I love Polly's narrative as she builds the stile.

    David, your earthquake reports were very important for me, and I'm sure for many others, as they were so immediate and vivid and scary. So it is good to see the toddler under the floorboards and the baby in her cot having a nice life in the country now.

    And apt that children of the earthquake have such practical building skills.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3142 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to David Haywood,

    First up there’s nothing stupid or annoying about any of your questions. I’d be annoyed if nobody bothered to ask. The awnser to the first question helps anwser the others.

    You will need to visit Christchurch. Trust me, it’s going to be good for you. You need to find this place it’s a small scale fablab and they need you:-)



    I have a Roland mdx 20 which is standard fablab kit. The Christchurch fablab should have one. I deal keep the boards level by laminating two together with double sided tape. The back of the bottom on works as a sacrificial several times. It’s taken me a while to figor out the cutters ( end mills ) I found a supplier in Austin who sells good quality carbid cutters for about $6 each. I need to buy a few at a time to make the postage worth while.

    I am happy to expand on some of this over the next few days.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4015 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    I love the Bob builds a workbench episode. "screws are a bit over the top"... you don't say :) I feel better about my welded angle iron bench now, it only weighs twice (ish) what I do. That bench has to be three times his weight.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Haywood,

    And also I’d hate to turn Public Address into TV3. I’m still mulling over this as a possibility, though…

    Just give it a go – embed a YouTube video in a post.

    If it works out we could look for a sponsor for you ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to David Haywood,

    My dad used to be in charge of safety at Fletchers many years ago, and he is a fan of starting people young. He reckons the scariest thing he’s ever seen was a class of fine art students let loose in a carpentry workshop (this from a man who was recently resuscitated back from a flatline)…

    My Dad was an (elec) engineer and also a self-taught perfectionist builder/plumber/cabinetmaker. One of my many regrets about losing him when I was just a toddler is I never got to learn any of his myriad of practical skills from him.

    When I was in Design School I got the chance to do welding and fine-metalwork and woodwork and such. It was great, but fairly brief, and I wish I’d had a firm base of workshop-familiarity to build on.
    We did get to scoff at the advertising/graphics students on their occasional forays into the workshops, though. I vividly remember one muscular but uninformed man trying to “beat out” a sheet of copper with brute force, without annealing along the way. Lots of noise, sore muscles, broken metal.

    Kids should have to learn this stuff, though. Not just the watered-down version of manual training (does that still exist?), but proper principles and procedures. You and your clever sprogs can educate the nation, David! No pressure.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And also I’d hate to turn Public Address into TV3. ...
    Just give it a go – embed a YouTube video in a post.
    If it works out we could look for a sponsor for you

    TV Free...
    ...with input from Dr H & Progeny and Steven C,
    it could be called 'Weld on, well done'
    - come on punks 'maker my day'!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Paul Brislen,

    Wet-ware wolves?

    ... and all I’ve got to show for it is a chip on my shoulder

    ... I knew once they got on people's wrists that they'd migrate towards the brain - "Take me to your leader" - there is no outrunning the Singularity!
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7704 posts Report Reply

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