Saturday, October 28, 2023

From The Archives #3 - Westoid Announces Retirement

Originally published 2007-10-03

The world of Chemistry was reeling last night after the shock news that Stanford chemist Westoid is to retire from science. The former UC Berkeley and Warwick researcher made the sensational announcement on his own website, just hours after a meeting with Stanford directors at which he informed the top brass that his appearance a fortnight today would be his last for the Silicon Valley-based research facility.

In his statement Westoid cited his ongoing disillusionment with chemistry, a dissatisfaction that perhaps surprisingly began during his seven year spell at Warwick.  Westoid claimed he “struggled with personal motivation” towards the end of his Warwick career, but felt “revitalized” when he was headhunted by UC Berkeley, the world’s most outstanding chemistry department, in 2004.

However, after a highly successful first season at Cal, Westoid again “fell into the doldrums regarding the future of chemistry” during his second year in Berkeley, and “seriously considered retirement” before Stanford came calling in 2006.  In spite of a promising start in Silicon Valley, Westoid has again “lost enthusiasm, motivation, passion and desire”, this time permanently, and will hang up his lab coat for the final time in Menlo Park on October 19, 2007.  A press conference has been scheduled for the following week at which the former chemist will announce his future plans.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

From The Archives #2 - The Original Workbench

Originally published between 2008-02-21 and 2008-04-14

It's worth pointing out that in the original version of this series of posts the story was told entirely visually; to reduce the overall length a number of photos have been replaced with brief comments. At the time I had a circular saw, a spirt level, two very large C-clamps, a set of chisels, a cordless drill/screwdriver, some pipe clamps and not a lot else; by the end I had acquired an antique Craftsman table saw.

I'm building with a selection of 2"x 4", 4"x 4", and 4"x 6" doug fir 

Sam was on hand to provide encouragement..

started by attaching some 2x4 material to the garage wall. 

lumber was milled with the circular saw and...

...a hammer and chisel.

Then rinse...

...and repeat.

one of many vertical members.

started constructing the bench out from the wall

this is a number of weekends later...

...and several more.

added framing to support shelves.

plywood shelving added

constructed a tool well at the rear

added blocking and framed out the central recess

finished apart from the bench top
the bench top was made from 2" x 6" doug fir

secured with screws into the supporting structure

similar material added to the central recess

imperfections were filled and sanded

put on several coats of polyurethane

added oak trim at the perimeter

mounted my first sheet of peg board


Sam was impressed!

Saturday, October 14, 2023

From The Archives #1 - Stanford 3-27 Cal [men's football]

Originally published 2005-11-19

Cal trounced their bitter local rivals 27-3 to record their fourth consecutive victory over the rich kids. Marshawn Lynch ran for 123 yards and a touchdown, and first-time starter Steve Levy passed for 125 yards and another score in the 108th Big Game. Justin Forsett ran for a 21-yard score and running back Terrell Williams threw a TD pass for the Golden Bears (7-4, 4-4 Pac-10), who held the Cardinal without a touchdown for the second straight season. Cal's inspired defense sacked Stanford's two quarterbacks eight times in another one-sided edition of Northern California's biggest college rivalry. From 6-3 at half time the Golden Bears ran in a further 21 points unanswered and sent their fans home in ecstatic mood. Cal have now outscored Stanford 126-32 since 2002 their best since 1939.

Stanfurd's campus is has it's own gas station

From The Archives - A New Series

The Papa Sheep blog that you are reading started in September 2018. This came after a couple of years of internet inactivity, but before that there was the very detailed Mustang68 restoration blog, and before that, there was the much loved and sadly missed

The latter was launched from a dimly lit Coventry bedroom back in 1999 and croaked it's last in 2011, driven to the very edge of obscurity by a combination of modern social media and the arrival of Samuel Sheep. In fact this year celebrates being extinct for as long as it was a going concern.

In recognition of this "12 + 12" anniversary, the Papa Sheep is reproducing 12 articles from the original website under the series title "From The Archives" starting with part one

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Grinding On

Below is a photo of my bench grinder - it's a simple six inch diameter two disc set made by Delta - located between my Wilton vise and the spray booth. The bench grinder was actually a gift from a former relative, and it has served me very well since 2008. But I'm a bit lazy and prefer not to have to change the discs if I can help it. Or to put that another way, I really wanted a second bench grinder, so that I could have simultaneous access to a polishing wheel, a wire brush and a grinding wheel or two without faffing about.   

The six inch diameter wheels suit my needs pretty well, so I decided to just get another grinder the same size. Delta have made some modifications to the grinder in the last fifteen years, which we'll get to in a bit. Firstly though, I need to make space for it. There would have been plenty of space next to the existing grinder in the area where I built the paint booth. So, I just wound back the clock to 2020 and I was done: 

LOL.....not really. For one thing, I don't want to lose my paint booth. Incidentally, one of my mates, we'll call him Dave Pacific Gas, pointed out the other day that the "futuristic" inventions we were all promised as kids have mostly come true, except two things. That's right, we might have video phones, the internet and remote control weaponry, but we're still waiting for flying cars and time travel!

Fortunately, there was a solution on hand, and it started with removing the old grinder and the vise, and ripping the boards off the top:

I followed that by beefing up the left side support - this will be the approximately central support at the extended bench:

The is with the third "leg" constructed but not quite attached:

The aged redwood boards I ripped off were trimmed by a couple of inches, so they end at the center of the middle support, and I still had two of the older boards in the shop. I filled in the space with some scraps of modern redwood. I did think about sanding down the whole bench top and refinishing it with polyurethane... 

Instead, I went upstairs for a cup of Rosie, and managed to regain my composure. Then I went back downstairs and re-installed the original bench grinder in the same place, added the new one, and mounted the vise at the end.

So....what improvements/differences are there between the new grinder and the old one? The most obvious is the shape of the base - the older model has a hexagonal base and two mounting holes...

....while the new model has a rectangular shape and takes four bolts to secure it. The new model also has a small tray at the front which can be filled with water and then used to cool item(s) being worked on. A nice feature, but it would only be useful for small items.

The older model has dust guards which can be lifted out of the way for larger work pieces or when you need to get a good look at what you're doing...

...the dust guards are fixed with the newer version, which is annoying but probably safer...unless they get taken off completely. The model # and what not is also clearly visible on the new grinder. I had to unbolt the old one from the bench top to access this information. 

The older model had what Delta calls "quick release technology" for changing the wheels. Basically, the guard piece is held on with one thumbscrew, and the "nut" which holds the wheel can be flipped and removed by hand:

Delta no longer provides this feature, so the new one has the old fashioned setup: you have to remove three screws and break out the 3/4 inch wrench to change the wheels on this one. The thing is, I could never be bothered to change the wheels anyway, hence the need to buy a second grinder. In fact, isn't this where we started.....