Chronicles Of Wasted Time….

… is the title of Malcolm Muggeridge’s autobiography. I wish I’d thought of that and kept it in reserve for this entry.

Farm pond

The week started well enough; bright and without a breath of wind. The surf is usually up on the farm pond so it was unusual to get such a clear reflection on the water – handy things, phone cameras.

S/S down pipe

On Monday morning I dropped off a 6ft length of mild steel pipe at the tube benders, the old Morris down-pipe and a request to copy it. ‘No snags’, said the Works Manager, ‘pick it up on Friday’. I went back on Friday and was presented with the pipe now sporting 6 ugly creases on the radius. What?! The chap from the factory floor explained that he didn’t have the right size mandrel but was told to do it anyway and that the Works Manager was off today (they always are). It was not impossible for him to register my disappointment (he was as embarrassed as I was incredulous) and he indicated to me to follow him around the corner where he pulled from the skip exactly what I wanted but in polished stainless steel. ‘There you go chap; we’ll put your bit in the skip in its place and call it a day’. That’s what I call service.

Exhaust flanges

All I’ve got to do is take a swire out of the flanges and TIG them in place and I’ll have one of the few exhausts you can shave in!

Oil change

Buoyed by this splendid result, I went home, serviced my everyday car and whilst I had Learned Counsel’s oil-sucker-outer-thingummy, I emptied the Morris engine. The oil has always had that golden, as-new look on the dip-stick – that’s because the sludge has sunk to the bottom of the sump. I wrestled the filter from its housing and I’m now considering running-up with flushing oil before the proper stuff goes in. I suppose there is a slight risk of dislodging hard-core deposits which might block oil ways but that’s always a risk with anything and it’s not as though I’m going from a straight oil to a multigrade.

An interesting experiment

The Great Collector is not so named for nothing. He’s produced this machine from the back of one of his stores and it looks like I may be able to use it to form the front mudguards for the Austin and, if successful, use it to form the wings for the Special. I haven’t a clue what it was originally intended for but it looks about right for a gentle radius on the warp (so to speak) whilst leaving enough on the weft to bend over for wiring the edges. If it works I may not need to collect the wheeling machine (this little chap was heavy enough).


The real frustration of the week was having to collect the seats from the upholsterer. It seems he’d decided (after having stripped the remaining complete seat) that everything about them was wrong and they were never going to work (they seemed to work perfectly adequately before they were stripped). After hearing about his many decades in the business, this news came as both a surprise and a disappointment and it soon became obvious that he either didn’t want the job or was plainly out of his depth. To confirm my suspicions that 3-piece suites were probably more his forté, back in my workshop I reassembled the seats and guess what, they work fine.

We live (and pay) and learn.


13 comments on “Chronicles Of Wasted Time….

  1. Nigel. I feel your pain. Ordered a custom tachometer cable and 90 degree cable attachment. I sent pictures of the back of the tachometer and the engine accessory output fitting. 3 weeks later, parts arrive with the ends exactly opposite of what we needed, so back it went! Keep up the great work! John G.

  2. When you’re finished with the engine, pop it over to me for my next Special! Don’t forget; low, slow and throttle back in the turns….!

  3. Hello Nigel
    Just found your excellent website whilst looking how to build an ash body for an AJS-Jensen – 1932 I am rebuilding ;

    Have you started making the mudguards? as I need to modify mine and been looking for a set of the metal forming rollers you illustrate.

    Peter Hubbard

    • Hello Peter,
      You’ve done some lovely work on the AJS; I’m not sure you can learn anything from me apart from what not to do! I haven’t started the mudguards yet – the rolling machine needs a complete sorting out before I start. If I can measure it, I’ll let you know what the profile is; it looks more elliptical than circular.

      • Hi Nigel

        What “not to do” is often more valuable than ideas. My ash is coming from a tree I cut down 3 years ago and air dried, just waiting for it to be cut into required sizes. Will await your info on mudguard machine. I live close to Long Stratton – 10 miles south of Norwich so can do a “Rent a Tool” if you are up receiving money for its use?

  4. bsaa7500 says:

    Nigel, I have started my blog and here is the address: It’s only one post so far – got to start somewhere.

    • Thanks Andy. I’ve had a quick peek – interesting stuff, though I think the steering wheel’s got to go! I expect others will follow this link so keep the blog going. Good luck.

      • bsaa7500 says:

        I have to move the body back(pictures on the blog at a later date) and found the steering column is too short so some major modification(cut and shut) will happen 😉

  5. I’ll add my pinch of bitter salt to say that, in my opinion, (often proved wrong!) the rolling gizmo will make you only very good gutters for the house’s roof… Sorry!

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