Inside the Boleyn (2016) 

March 2016

A belated Happy New Year to all you Boleyn Workshop regulars and casual visitors. Yes, I know it's March already but it's not been an easy start to the year as often seems to be the case.  It's seemed like a long, dark and wet winter in my head at least and I'm not the only one judging by some of my correspondence. Keep your chin up lads!  But Spring is here and I have sprung accordingly.   And clearly in the sheds and workshops of the UK others are emerging with a desire to at least start a project involving that rusting heap of maroon or Post Office red metal parts that are causing a trip hazard to anyone who dares enter these sacred sites.  I have already sent out approximately one dozen Coronet manuals from Scotland to Kent and had enquiries ranging from changing the wheel bearings on a Coronet Imp to just what the hell do I think I'm doing.   The Brook Gryphon 1hp motor pdf is also proving popular probably because it is free but also because it is invaluable.  I found the original leaflet in a box of bits that came with a Coronet Major from Witchampton.  The original owner had carefully salted away every scrap of paperwork that came with his new machine and thanks to him we are able to view some vital information that was usually discarded with the empty box.  Finally I am very pleased to announce that the Boleyn Workshop is now twinned with the Zakwood Workshop in Embu, Kenya.

So what's been going on in the workshop?  Monday or Tuesday night sessions have been continuing when possible and the works do was held belatedly in January.  We duly blasted out some quality dub and stuffed our faces before engaging in a game of air pistol darts which was narrowly won by myself with AC coming a close second.  The next week we had an actual job to do.  ACs mum had a table she had made herself that needed some work doing.  It was a traditionally made and well constructed table made from reclaimed wood.  In the centre were some inlaid wooden block tiles that needed replacing with some pine planking.  Fortunately I had the perfect solution with some standard 4" x 3/4" t+g boards that were left over from my brothers kitchen about five years ago.  They had been stored just in case they came useful one day, sound familiar?  This is why you should never throw anything away.  We set to work and chiselled out the tiles which came up easily.  AC prepared the surface before marking out and cutting the planks to fit.  We only had to cut a 2" strip to fit before gluing and clamping the boards in place.   Having used quick setting glue we were able to sand down and polish the new table top within the hour and deliver it back to the satisfied customer.

The next project.   After some discussion AC expressed a wish to make a table for the his garden.   Fortunately we have acquired a large amount of iroko and teak from the kindly donated workshop last year.  We decided on a 2' x 2' frame with turned legs and a round table top.  So far AC has cut the frame to shape and marked out for the mortise and tenon joints.

Sales.  Earlier on this year I did sell a Major headstock and thicknesser but they proved to be incompatible with the model owned by the client which was a late 1950s.  However they were returned amicably although thanks to Parcelforce 48 they were returned twice.  The next sale was a lot more straightforward.  The Walker Turner 8" table saw was a rescue from ebay in 2010.  It had failed to sell and I missed bidding on it due to PC problems.  I contacted the seller who agreed to hold on to it until I could collect.   After a quick cleanup it was stored until such time I either restored it or sold it on.   In February I was contacted by Julian from Kent who was keen to buy it for his workshop.  When I checked reluctantly with Parcelforce 48 they quoted over £135 so it looked like the deal would be off.  However an internet search discovered who ask you to enter your needs and then couriers contact you with quotes.  All though the initial quotes were as high as PF48 after a patient wait one came through at under half price and after checking with Julian I accepted it.  I was impressed with the courier (Alzvans) who turned up on time, had great communications and delivered as agreed.  I look forward to hearing about the restoration and adding details to the site.

Next up for sale is a Coronet Major.  Right now we are correcting a few minor faults before advertising it.  It has been cleaned up, oiled and greased and is nearly ready for work.  

More to follow and let's look forward to another year in the Boleyn Workshop with the Olympic Workshop waiting alongside for organization.   And with the Hammers flying high at 5th in the league it's looking good.


I have to admit that I have been in a state of shock where West Ham are concerned.  What a season.  We are winning games, coming from behind several times (stop it!) to win or draw.  We've got  Payet, Dimitri Payet, (Not any more we don't.  Horrible little Judas.  Pete Site Admin) I don't think you quite understand.  Poor refereeing decisions are throwing up accusations of a conspiracy by FIFA to keep West Ham out of the Champions League as the so-called "big 4's" superiority is being challenged.  Everyone is behind Leicester City to win the League.   This feeling of a good football season is confusing to OSPs (Old School Pessimists) like myself.  We don't know how to cope with it but it's good, it's alright.  And meanwhile I'm sat in my workshop hoping we will win the quarter-final replay tomorrow night to set up a tough semi-final against Everton.  Fortune's always hiding but maybe this is our year... (No it wasn't)

Me and AC have been getting a Coronet Major ready for sale only for one of the castor wheels on the stand to collapse on us.    There is simply too much weight above for us to replace it in situ so we are going to have to strip the machine down and remove all of them.  To be honest the castors have always been a problem.  Although they make the machine plus bench very manouverable any small piece of debris on the floor becomes a liability and it has gone over before.  Luckily on that occasion it fell away from me and into the below counter doors before coming to rest at an angle of 45 degrees impaling an oil can on the mortise lever in the process.  The speed it happened was worrying and the force of impact even more so.   I have seen some good examples from readers and contributors and if anyone would like to share their own idea or solution then please send it in.  

Construction of ACs garden table has been postponed while we or he rather, under my instruction is building a new wood store.  Note that I say 'wood store' and not 'would store' as unlike before I would hopefully be able to get into this one.  We designed it to be 8' x 4' in size using the old roofing sheets from the Boleyn when they are replaced in May as cladding.  For now it is a simple wooden frame with a tarpaulin to keep the rain off.  STOP PRESS: The missus has informed me that I have to knock this new structure down...and build a bigger one.  What?  No, honestly she has.  Well who am I to disobey she who must be not disobeyed.  I'm still pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.  And I have a reliable witness in the shape of AC.

April 23rd.  Old School know it makes sense.  That's all I'm going to say about last weeks Cup replay except that there shouldn't have been one in the first place.  

After some email correspondence from Davey of Cornwall, an original Coronet advert from May 1967 landed on my doormat this morning.  And after fighting with my new laptop for about an hour I managed to scan it but not upload it. This new electrical item has a range of extras available in the scanning function which allow me to vastly improve the appearance of Coronet related old newspaper items though Davey's offering was pretty clean in the first place unlike some of my originals.  In time I will upload it when I get my head around this technology.

On the subject of some technology that I can handle, we stripped the Major back down again in order to remove the castors from the stand on Monday night.  Like a well-oiled machine we removed the saw table, itself a well-oiled machine before taking off the planer and the mortising attachments.  It was now feasible for us to lift the remaining maroon and steel onto the floor before laying the stand over and removing the castors.  It didn't take us more than two mugs of tea to rebuild the machine in order to have some 'for sale' photos taken.  There was even time for a game of air pistol darts which AC duly won.  As he rightly said, the student had become the master.

I am celebrating a minor technological triumph.  In one area of my life I am firmly in the 21st century.  For the first time in the history of the Boleyn Workshop I am now able to scan, clean and resize magazine cuttings of Coronet interest.  Previously it was subbed out which was expensive.   The new additions have been uploaded to the Coronet literature section and include an item sent in by Davey, from Cornwall.  Many thanks. Now I have the job of finding all my old cuttings and replacing the old scans with new improved ones.  Monday nights workshop session was devoted to ACs table and tea drinking.  We worked on the tenons for the rails of the table frame.   Having marked them out the Coronet Imp was fired up to do the cutting work.   And promptly snapped a blade.   However time was not wasted as AC was given a demonstration in fitting and setting up a new blade on a vintage machine.   Fair play to him he looked interested for as long as he could.   With the new blade fitted the Imp made short work of the teak tenons giving a clean and sharp finish.  Next we shall be turning to the WT700 bench drill for the mortise work.  In the following game of air pistol darts 'round the clock' I was thrashed 20-10 by the in-form AC.  Not the only in-form AC at a Boleyn location.

I was contacted by Sam, a canoe builder whose workshop consists of Coronet machinery.  He correctly assumed that readers would want to see pictures of his Coronet Capitol and become very envious.  I certainly did.  Also in his possession are a Coronet Imp and a Coronet Minor used as a saw table only.   The latter are up in More Readers Machines while the Capitol has its own page devoted to it.  Would be great to see some more of these classic machines as a comparison.  Thanks for the pics Sam, a great addition to the site.

May 1st

Another WT900 series bench drill has been added to the relevant page courtesy of Mike.   This model is an early 1930s as opposed to my late 1930s machine.

Some old chap emailed me and asked if I could make the text on the Imp page larger and not blue as it was hard to read.  The answer is of course yes.  I'm working on it.

A catalogue was recently sent to me c/o The Berlin Workshop.  I don't know if they were trying to be funny or I mumbled to the answer machine.  Either's not funny.

Coming soon is an interview with Derek Pyatt of Pyatt woodworking who has kindly agreed to a feature on himself and his work.  I have submitted my first questions to him and will update the page as the answers return.   I hope readers will find it an interesting and informative subject as I do.  If you have a question of general interest that you would like to put to Derek then send it to me at 

September 1st

It's been a busy summer and I haven't been inclined to update the site.   The epidurals I depend on were over a year late in coming and it was only due to the intervention of a pitbull-esque NHS employed sister in law that they got done at all.  It was a long wait and inevitably not much happened in the workshop during the run up and recovery period.

We celebrated both the birth of a second grandchild and a daughters wedding.  The Boleyn Workshop was asked to construct some pieces for the theme of the wedding which myself and AC duly undertook.  The Derek Pyatt interview has been posted and some favourable comments have been received.

Two more machines arrived at the Boleyn for restoration.  One was a Coronet Minor rescued from ebay as a barn find which needed some identification by none other than "Mr Coronet" Derek Pyatt.  It turned out to be mostly 1950s Home Cabinetmaker with some interesting electrical connections to an old washing machine motor with a traditional three pin Bakelite plug. Pictures to follow..

The other was kindly donated by a chap called Tony Simon who contacted me looking for a good home for his old Minorette.  In the past he had used his machine for constructing bespoke cabinet speakers.   The Minorettes's tilting table provided a perfect 45 degree cut.  He showed me some photos of some of his work and they looked excellent.  What I enjoy about collecting machines is meeting some interesting people and this latest one was no exception.  Tony's not inconsiderable claim to fame is that during June 1967 he was a disc jockey for the pirate radio station Radio Caroline.  And here he is below..

December 2016

It's come to the end of another year and one in which I lost my way a little bit.  I lost interest in this website and the workshop in general.  I became totally uninspired and unmotivated.  Emails and machine photos remained in cyberspace waiting to be uploaded.  It was a struggle even to put a manual in the post.  Personal events had taken their toll on me and the crippling back pain was again ruling my life to the extent I rarely left the house let alone spent time in my excellent workshop.  The new roof fitted by my elder brother with the help of my mate McLen failed to move me whatsoever and yet I had craved a new one for so long.  The odd visit to collect a tool for loaning out merely compounded my misery as I gazed at the machinery waiting to be loved again.  My faithful old friend the Coronet Imp, huddled against the wall and regarded me reproachfully as would a family pet abandoned for the day by it's carefree owners.   Why have you abandoned me, it seemed to shout at me.  Several Minorettes slumped together on the workbench in the office unable to even raise a glance in my direction, betrayed by their former saviour.  The Metropolitan Vickers 1hp motor laid with it's guts ripped out as if savaged and left to die by a rabid animal.  It's armature and windings exposed to the ravages of an English workshop in Winter.  The bearing casings lay like drowned rats in the paraffin bath and I felt a deep shame. And worst of all, a brand new kettle still in it's box sat on top of a pile of Coronet parts now covering the canteen facilities.  When a man is tired of tea making then he is tired of life itself.   How had it come to this?   Things have to change and they will, experience tells me that.  Churchill's black dog is stalking me for sure and I don't have the strength to swing a size 11 Dr Marten at it. But I know it's a seasonal thing and for sure things will improve.  Let's see what the new year will bring and hopefully that will include the sight of that black dog's hairy arse disappearing over the hill.  You know what, I think I can see it starting to slink off already.  Oi!  Go on, piss off!  Yeah, you slack bag of shite, good riddance.  See you Inside the Boleyn 2017.

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