“Odeur de moisi, moisissure…

“Ohdoor day mwassee, mwasseeshoor…” means “smell of mustiness, mould”.

We took a flight from Manchester to Nantes (Nongt) last Thursday, hired a C Class Merc and drove to a cottage near Saint-Mathurin (Song-Matooran) in the Vendee (Vongday). We were looking forward to an idyllic week in the French countryside (French countryside).

By the Six Lines of Crewe, were we disappointed.

The cottage stank of damp, mould, mustiness, stoor, foost, drains. It was filthy. It had ancient appliances in the kitchen. The cupboard doors in the kitchen wouldn’t close ‘cos they were damp and damaged. There was just an old vinyl settee in the kitchen to sit on. No lamps; just harsh bright ceiling spots. The shower drained at the rate of a litre per week. There was un escargot (snail) in a bedroom. The table was filthy.

Unbelievably, we stayed the night. As Christians, we were conscious of keeping our eye simple. Not being fussy, snobby, elitist (hence making do with a C Class), try not to judge, give it a chance, clean a bit and see how it goes.

We lasted until Saturday. Two nights of waking up with throats and nasals clogged, coupled with crawly skin and a general feeling of stomach churning disgust finally broke our resolve. We left and checked in to the Mercure Cote Ouest (Coat West – West Coast) near Les Sables D’Olonne (The Sands of Olonne). 

Not without a standup with Madame, though. She couldn’t smell anything, was insulted and couldn’t see what was wrong with 80s decor and furniture that had recently been cleaned in 1984. Apparently, we were very bad people. Also, she went off on one in French at me  even though I kept saying “je ne comprends pas”. Maybe it’s just as well I couldn’t understand her. So she couldn’t smell and wore dark glasses indoors. Maybe only having 60% of your senses makes the place look ok.

The English rental company – Cottages for You – were very good about it. They didn’t insist that we traipse around France looking at other places. They agreed to compensation. We left Madame with some Euros for the gas, electricity and water that we’d used. We’re not thieves.

The internet was good enough for me to finish the most recent post, though. Small mercies.

Madame claimed she’d had over 40 years of British guests and we were the first to complain. Really? Come on Great Britain! We’ve got to get over this stiff upper lip nonsense and complain more often! Especially in Europe; they’re taking the piss now.

Ho hum.

Where were we… Oh yes; ballsing up saw cuts. After a few more angle cuts and some chisel clean up, I could put two pieces together like this…

This is the glue up…


I repeated this operation and ended up with two components which fitted together like this..

 

…and could move like this…


After lining up the centre lines and clamping, I could use the Hand Cranked Pillar drill to make holes for a pivot bolt…


With the bolt installed I could chamfer the edges…

There was a good reason for that step. As you can see from the picture above, the parts don’t line up quite precisely. This is due to the wood not being perfect to start with and tiny inaccuracies cutting the swivel joint get magnified at the ends. So the top and bottom need truing after assembly. I intended to do this with my No 8, but both parts side by side are wider than its blade. The chamfer brings the juxtaposed surfaces within that width. Also gives a nice feel to the edges. I planed all four surfaces.

Marking the surfaces…


…shows progress…
 

A swivel was screwed on…


Temporarliy secured with one screw to a trestle…


In the closed position…

…and hanging from a coach screw in the ceiling of the workshop…


With a drum on it…

This is going to make drum assembly, skinning and tuning a breeze…

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Cymbal Tree

Maybe I obsess about time. Why is that? As long as I can remember, I’ve always hated it  – and got angry – when someone else wastes my time. At one time it made me very irritable. I remember getting irate at the kids because they didn’t come out of school quickly enough. Ire rising like a volcano because someone in front was driving 5 mph less than the speed limit and I wanted to be bang on the speed limit. Annoyed with myself, because I allowed myself to get sucked into emails, rather than “get things done”.

But I’ve put a lot of mental effort over the past few years to combat this. And “combat” is the right word. This is a form of depression. It has to be fought. And it has to be fought every minute of every day. The main thing, though, is to identify the major triggers – and remove them.

This feeling of being “weighed down” or “loaded up” is an illusion. It’s all in the mind; not actually happening. Recognising that it’s all my own doing is a major victory in the battle. Assigning a silly name to it – Big Bad TED – helps keep other people out of harm’s way. Going part time is like buying time, and is another major victory.

Ho hum. Worse things happen at sea. Or in Nepal. Or in any inner city.

See what I did there?

Hardware

The 80s Sonor hardware was excellent. Robust and strong. Adjustable and flexible. With various devices, one could mount everything with just a couple of stands. This picture… 

…shows two stands, but with several items mounted. In the foreground is a Sonor stand. Mounted in the two main positions is two tom arms. Behind in the auxiliary position is an extension unit with two cymbal booms. In the background is a generic stand – not as robust as the Sonor stand, but in good condition – and mounted in that is three cymbal booms. I used to call these “branches” a “cymbal tree”. Using these, one could place a cymbal in just the right place. They were excellent bits of kit.

Extension unit

This unit… 

…was the key to creating the branches of the Cymbal Tree. As you can see, the stalk and the tom arms are made of the same components, a strong, sprung ratchet mechanism… 

  

The stalk is gripped in the clamp section by spring loaded levers; great for adjusting in tight spaces… 

Push in to change the lever position for ease of access. The trouble was, one of the levers didn’t grip, so there’s a problem there. I had to take it apart using the vice and a screwdriver… 

    

Quite a bit of swarf there. Comparing it to its pal… 

…begins to point to the problem. Comparing the inside of each lever… 

  

…shows worn away teeth. There’s not much I can do about that; I’ll just have to do adjusting with a screwdriver.

Taking the clamp block apart revealed another problem. The front plate was difficult to remove from the studs. On inspection… 

 

…one of the studs was bent. Here you can see the difficulty of getting the front plate over both studs evenly; look at the hole on the right…


 The solution was to clamp it in the vise… 

 

…with the thread protected, and bend it straight(er)… 

  

Now things line up… 

The stand

Like all these peices, the base and its tubes felt rough and wouldn’t slide smoothly. I used GUNK on the base first… 

I polished the tubes with progressively finer grits of lubricated silicone carbide paper. All the joints were oiled before assembly… 

The toms arms and extension blocks had their surfaces cleaned and polished. All moving parts were greased or oiled before assembly. The base, tom arms and extension block… 

  

Everything slides easily and turns freely now.