My workshops

An early start

My first workshop was a delapidated shed next to my parent's house. ' Rag, tag and bobtail ' ancient tools belonging to my father comprised the equipment. With these I built many models, Mainly due to the period in which I was working WW2, I built waterline models of the great Battleships of the era, ' Hood ', ' Warspite ', 'Nelson 'and ' Rodney '. among many more. Imagine my dismay as I heard on the wireless, our main source of news, pre-television, that these grand ships were being sunk, one after the other !

Model aircraft followed....most crashed on first rubber powered flight. At 16 with some money in my pocket I started with model railways, making track from Peco chairs which were placed individually prior to rail insertion, thousands of them. Articles at the time in 'Railway Modeller' showed my locomotives, then constructed from curtain rail and cocoa tin. This interest survived 3 years of Army service continued an all embracing model hobby ' mania '...............still enjoyed 65 years on.

Finding space

Before and after army service and throughout my early married life various other locations were found, garages, spare rooms and even on one occasion a worktop in the lavatory. Things progressed and a decent tool kit was assembled then 32 years ago I built a house extension with a bespoke workshop. This was described in the 'Model Engineer' titled ' A quart into a pint pot ' Which it was !

The room is just 3.5 metres square with two windows and , such luxury, centrally heated !

It was necessary to make the most of every bit of space yet allowing room to work.

The page below is from Model Engineer, the then Editor Ted Jolliffewas impressed by the use of such a small space that he visited the workshop and took the photographs

Above............The ' Pint pot '

Being tight for space means that everything has to be removable or in store yet readily accessible. The best contribution to ease of work was the construction of a solid, yet mobile, central bench, that could be moved adjacent to the current, dirty or clean bench or to a particular machine to provide continuity of surface area. This also proved useful in moving heavy models about the shop.

It is essential however to remember that castor mounted benches, tool boxes or stands can become unstable if the rotation of the of the castors reduces their floor contact below the desired 3 to 1 height to base+load ratio.

The ' Pint pot ' sufficed for 30 years or so until t I moved into the relatively spacious garage, pictured here with most of the equipment installed. Most of the cabinets from the pint pot have been installed and ther is now space for most of my models


'Up and over door' provides adequate ventilation ! Unfortunately in winter it must be sealed to prevent rust attack on tools and equipment. The floor is concrete painted light grey to assist in spotting those small items which get dropped...a disadvantage of concrete is that one cannot hear small items as they land, and also, as it is so smooth, small parts depart into the most difficult to reach places !


I maintain ' Clean ' and ' Dirty ' benches ( For use as the descriptions imply !) The vices are on baseboards which can either be exchanged from one bench to the other or removed to provide a clear working space. This is achieved by using ' Screwfix ' bench stops which provide a strong clamping force.


Benches and lighting are from skips ( given permission ) and shopfitters scrap, as is all the Dexion angle used for framing. It seems that every new shop demands a refit, the waste materials can be a goldmine for the economic minded, environmentally aware ! The bench shown left front is on heavy duty castors and can be moved to extend othe benches or move heavy models. The false ceiling suspended from the rafters provides storage space.



Purchased with lots of fixtures and fittings for 350', my Myford lathe has been a good friend for 35 years, with never a breakdown...................Such a good investment !

The joy of a lathe is that with it, one can make up all manner of additional fittings and fixtures from scrap metal, ( Or even on occasions from specially purchased materials ! ) Some of my additions can be seen by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.


Tools and things to hand, Lost a tool?..time to tidy up !

Talking of tools..........I have added a new page to this site describing a number of tools and fixtures that I have built over the years mainly from scrap materials, using the basic equipment illustrated above.

O.K, some took quite a lot of time but proved to be worth the effort with endless uses over the years for litle or no outlay of cash !

To visit that page Click Here workshoptoolsetc.htm

Updated 26th October 2009

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