Archive for February, 2012

Union Island – testing kite and eating

Outside getting burnt at midday testing the parafoil and kite aerial photography equipment on Big Sands beach, north shore of island. Then wandering around Clifton (conch shell corrals for live conch holding, finding sea turtle bones), and in the evening giving 3 folk a ride to Chatham Bay (west end of island where their boat is moored, their blog here) and being treated to lobster, mahi-mahi (dorado), plantains, salad.

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Another Union Island first for me – tamarind tree

We drove the road east from Clifton, through Ashton until the road ends abruptly after a steep hill. Back tracking a way we headed up a newly cut road in the hillside and had a look around. We found a tamarind tree, with pods full of the super sour seeds and pulp.

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Arrived Union Island

Caught the fast ferry from St. Vincent to Union Island yesterday, arrived here about 6 pm. Spent some time today looking around the island a bit, checking out the cottage friend Stephen rented, and having lunch (conch stew and rice). A day of firsts for me – first time touching the water of the Caribbean, first time seeing a coconut palm, picking fallen coconuts (most were dry, one still a bit green and had water inside), first time eating conch. I am quickly turning from the whitest guy on the island to the pinkest.

Panorama of Clifton area this morning between rain showers.

My first coconut, cottage behind is where we will move to tomorrow.

First wading in the Caribbean – was a strong rip right here

Pink house on the hill where I am staying right now, taken from restaurant in Clifton.

Nice chicken grill set up

There a re a few impressive yachts around, but this one is especially interesting.


Cobblestone Inn, St. Vincent

After a quarter of the rum had gone, I got all “Hitchensy” and stood on the roof top patio in the warm humid air feeling world weary and bottle-wise.

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Clouds and stuff

I’ve finally arrived in St. Vincent, all in one piece but for one bit of luggage lost by LIAT on last leg from Barbados to St. V (the bicycle, yes, I was humping a fekkin bike with me). Plane was a Dash 8, almost a bookend to the Air Canada Jazz Dash 8 I took from Victoria to Vancouver the day before, but this one had more legroom and a teeny bit shabbier. Not as much concern about cockpit door security too.

On Airbus 319 from Montreal to Barbados I got punchy and bored (understandable after the hell that was the red eye from Vancouver to Montreal). Suddenly I saw clouds. I mean “saw” them. Look, by that time my neck was sore from all the head-snaps of micro sleeps and I probably had moved on to an alternate realm of common sense, but crikey didn’t the clouds around Bermuda and on south look text book?

Now hold on, before I even got as far as Bermuda I had grabbed the GoPro to shoot what I thought was the last part of N. America I’d see on the trip. The flight line goes straight down past Boston and out to run over Bermuda and on to Barbados. I can’t be arsed to id this part of New England, but will post the riveting vid.

And then the clouds just south of Bermuda…it got even better as we closed in on Barbados, but even in my fevered state I knew that lots of cloud pics would, in the morning, seem silly

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AAA – around another airport – PET Montreal

Waiting for connecting flight, I’m wishing I could get out into the snow. Airbus A320 (or is it an A319?) here.


Starrett back plunger dial test indicator set

A – tool post holder
B – spindle
C – spindle
D – clamp
E – hole attachment (see-saw device to translate movement from one end to the other where the dial indicator can read
F – snug
G – buttons for end of dial indicator plunger
H – back plunger dial indicator
I – internal threaded knurled nut, for extending indicator plunger? No, I think it is an incomplete “shock absorbing anvil”

Update: “Oldfussbudget” lived up to his name by commenting how it would be nice to see the tool in action. So here are a series of pics with the dial indicator mounted on my lathe in 3 set ups.

First up is the tool post holder (A) in my old lantern style tool post. Spindle B is screwed into one of the threaded holes in the bar, the snug (F) attached, and the dial indicator held by same snug. A button has been screwed into the plunger of the dial indicator and is resting on the work piece. The bezel of the dial indicator moves to allow zeroing of the gauge. This set up can be used to check the runout of the work piece, especially useful when trying to center round stock in a 4 jaw chuck (3 jaw chuck shown in pic).

Now the see-saw, hole attachment (E) has been added to the set up and you can see how it can be used to check the run out in an internal surface.

Another view of same.

Better shot, showing button on plunger

And using the clamp (D) a spindle (C) to hold the gubbins onto an old style lathe tool holder mounted in the old style tool post.

And to answer Oldfussbudget’s other request, the only serial number found was on the dial indicator itself. The box had nothing. Oh, and you can still buy this dial indicator.


Stage prop – “The Master’s Laser Screwdriver”

I was asked to make a copy of  “The Master’s Laser Screwdriver” for a Dr. Who parody. Here it is, a pretty crude and liberal interpretation. BTW, the lights do come on when the front section extends (spring loaded).

And a very, very amateurish vid showing the spring action.


Vanagon – VW pop top insulation

Borrowed from good friend Simon, this genuine accessory is supposed to be installed outside the pop top but with the rain fly on, I thought I’d see if it was able to be installed inside. A little bit of a wrestling match, but it goes in and stands up by itself. Hey, notice I still haven’t installed an upper bunk.


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Vanagon – Go-Westy “Wasserstopper” rain fly

Note: clip fitment issue resolved, see this post

A Xmas gift installed. Over all pretty good but I don’t like the side clips that are supposed to hook on to the rain gutters. They have a too tight curve and don’t grip well. Also, the strap that goes in the front doors and hold the front of the fly down tight to the van is not that great of a method. I’ll try modifying both. However, as is, the clips do attach to the Shady Boy awning box. No way to get them to attach to the gutter with the awning box in the way. Link to Go Westy product page here.


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Vanagon – Small Car stainless header failure

Was installed new about a year ago, in a EJ25 powered syncro. I suppose disappointing would be one way to describe it.



Vanagon – picking up a high top

The start of Simon’s big adventure, a “Get-Away” hightop rescued from a decrepit ’82 Vanagon and taken to Simon’s place.




Novel fishing lure

Found amongst a large collection of fishing gear. The directions sure reflect the attitudes of the time it was made, guessing the ’70’s?

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Fife 8 metre

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Lagonda convertible

Need help, ’51 or ’52 or…?

Update: Identification made, 1952. Details of this particular car and history here.


Hey Brad, remember this?


Messerschmitt KR200 – snowmobile?


Vanagon – wiper shaft lubrication

Seems like a slim subject for a post, but perhaps some of you don’t know it can be done. The shafts that stick out of the front of the van, and to which the wiper arms are attached, have a plain bearing sleeve. I bet that over time any lubrication in the sleeve is lost and the shaft gets that little bit harder to move.

I have a spare wiper assembly in the barn, so here are some pics of the shaft and housing.

Front view, showing the splined area that the arm meshes with, the threaded end for the wiper arm securing nut, the threaded base that the big nut that holds the housing in place on the sheet metal (the housing is also held to the van by phillips headed screws that you can see at the front edge of dash board near windscreen). You might be able to make out a circlip just above the large threads.

Circlip removed, 2 washers, and a rubber grease seal.

Back, inside view of above, circlip and washers removed and the shaft pushed back. This exposed shaft is what need lubed.

Make sense? Ok, out to the van. First pry off the plastic cap at the base of the wiper arm. See the little slot on wiper arm base where you can insert a screwdriver to twist off the cap?

Cap off, 10 mm nut exposed. Often it is pretty rusty in here.

Remove nut and thin washer, wiggle wiper arm and remove from stud. The splines will look cruddy like this one, no worry, clean the splines out with a pin/needle. It’s these splines which bite into the softer metal of the wiper arm that prevents the wiper arm from slipping, not how tight the 10 mm nut is. So spend some time to clean the splines out.

Pry off the black plastic shroud. Careful, don’t scratch the paint.

That big nut is supposed to be somewhat tight, 69 in. lbs (8 Nm). You can see the golden coloured circlip, remove that (don’t lose it!).

In this pic the circlip and the 2 washers have been removed, and the 10 mm nut put back on the shaft (to give me something to hold on to). The shaft was pushed in and out a little and that made the grease seal pop out.

Bentley says to use molybdenum disulphide grease on the shaft, I used gear oil. If I had the shafts right apart then grease would make sense, but seems to me that oil is better in this situation.

And then it is just a matter of putting it all back together. The circlip might be the hardest part to re-install. The wiper arm nut is tightened to 5 Nm (43 in. lbs). Do not over-tighten, risk of strippage! I place the arm on the shaft and before tightening the nut, I move the arm into proper resting position Then tighten the nut and the assembly draws up without moving out of position. Oh, and another thing, I glob some waterproof grease onto that nut to reduce rusting.



Vanagon – front door check strap

A few months ago my driver’s side door was allowed to swing open hard (van parked on hill, happened on this trip) and the check strap snapped. Got around to fixing it today. I had a spare assembly from my ’82, straightforward swap.

After the door card is removed, you can see the check strap assembly inside the door. The ’86 has a plastic cover over the works, the old ’82 did not.

Cover removed, two phillips head screws holds the mechanism on.

Removed and the broken end on the other side. The remainder of the strap, the part attached to the door jamb and held on with a pin and circlip arrangement was removed when I snapped the strap.

The replacement unit, and the waterproof grease I’ve been using recently for this and that. The stuff really does seem to resist washout better than regular grease (ie on shift linkage)

Installation is simple, no gotchas, here is pin on body end of strap.

Addendum: In the comment Jon asked if the check strap could be adjusted to give more resistance. I can’t see how that could be done, perhaps Jon’s mechanism is broken? Here are more pics of the “resisting elements”, the hard faced rubber bits that pinch the steel strap.