Inside the Boleyn 2014 

 January 2014

Happy New Year to both new and existing customers, casual readers and internet stalkers.  A big welcome to the Boleyn Workshop apprentice.  Handpicked from a group that included only one person he has been thrown straight in to the deep end by making a start on the WT 700 series project.  An ex-member of the Inter Village Firm (IVF), a gang of football fans who terrorised absolutely nobody but the teapot at Wimborne Town FC between 2006 and 2012, he is here to learn carpentry and improve his restoration skills.  He loves Pukka Pies and Bovril.

I was emailed by Mark in Toronto who made kind comments about the site and sent me a link to an advert for a Coronet Consort in his local paper.  Thanks Mark, a great contribution to the site.

Incidentally $500 in Canada equals £281.03.   Now where's my passport?

6/01/14  This week saw my first Coronet Minor manual sale in the Republic of Ireland.


I have received another order for a Coronet Minor manual from South Africa.  My apprentice has nearly finished his tool box, it was glued and screwed together last night and will be finished off next week.  A good little project for an early introduction into carpentry.  The WT700 series restoration continues with the table, base and pillar next up for attack.  The bearings have been freed up and cleaned and are ready to be repacked with grease.  The machine head has gone off for blasting and I can't wait to get it back to repaint. 

Spare a thought for Readers Machines participant Ashley from Lincs whose home and workshop were flooded out by the December tidal surges.  Having put literally hours and hours in to high quality Coronet machine restorations they are now recovering from salt water attack and he faces starting from scratch once  again.  Also affected was his large store of wood from fallen stock for turning and other projects that he had chainsawed up in situ and brought home himself.     Follow the link below to Ashleys work:

Ashley, all the best from the Boleyn Workshop and hope that most if not all of the workshop and wood store is at least salvageable.

Back in the Boleyn on a chilly Monday night and my apprentice is spraying some of the Walker Turner components with their first coat of primer.   His previous experience amounts to spraying some graffiti on his mums water tank in their garden under his brothers tuition so he has had an introduction of sorts.  It is good to see some paint going on at last and and helping to transform the scrap-looking metal into machine components again at long last.  There will be photos up when I find my damn camera..grrrrr.

Stop Press:  Boleyn Workshop apprentice in hospital dash.  In an illegal game of Takedown Bulldog (that's British Bulldog to the over 40s) on school premises my apprentice broke his wrist in two places.  What followed was 4-5 hours waiting in two separate A+Es and an overnight stay after an operation to pin the damage.   So on the Monday night instead of carpentry we headed off to find some industrial grey paint for the WT700 pillar drill.  We didn't find any.  Halfords claim to have 50,000 different shades of colour if you have the paint code.  But no industrial grey.  B+Q only had the sort of spray paint that Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen might consider for an indoor plastic flowerpot.  Might being the operative word.  What has happened to B+Q?  It's been gentrified that's what.  Nowadays some staff even know what they're talking about.   We returned home empty handed.  Over a pot of tea we decided that ebay was the best bet so out with the laptop and bish bosh, two cans of dark grey paint winging its way from Slough for the price of one can of plastic flowerpot spray.  Still no camera so still no new pictures.

March 2014

Updated the WT700 restoration page with photos and text.

 My apprentice and I are cracking on with the WT700 restoration and hope to pick up the machine head this week in order to start spraying prep next week.  I had bid on an old Delta drill press on ebay but lost out as I could not log in from abroad and raise my bid.  Gutted.  So if you won it and are reading this, email me.

The machine head has indeed come back and is suitably back to bare metal thanks to my mate Mick.  It weighs over 7lbs.  You wouldn't want that thrown off the top of a building at you by some rioting crusties who have had their JSA stopped.  The base and pillar has proved to be covered in an oily substance resistant to Gunk and could probably have done with the same treatment.  But after a scrape and scrub we are going to spray on a coat or two of primer on Monday.  My apprentice has finished his first project, a wooden tool box and is now starting on the second, a wooden box for his chisels.  We also finished prepping the motor plate and table.  Next Monday will be devoted to spraying.

 April 2014

As you can see not much if any actual production has been done this year as it's been all about the machines and one in particular, the WT700 restoration.  This has been a real rescue.   It has gone from being rusted and seized up in an abandoned workshop to being a working pillar drill again.Got a camera off ebay for £30.00 so fingers crossed but don't hold your breath.  

A new acquisition arrives in the Boleyn.  Spotted on ebay, forgot to bid, tracked down to local auction where it was picked up for the same price as the camera. My good old Dad played no small part in this acquisition by using his auction account to bid and purchase on my behalf.   Thanks Pa.  It took three staff members to load it in to the car for me when we collected while at my end my son lifted it out on his own.  I did offer him the use of a sack truck though to transport it up to the workshop which he accepted out of politeness more than necessity.   I am extremely lucky in this sense that I have more than adequate muscle available to do my lifting for me.  Otherwise not much would make it into the workshop.  It was soon in the confines of the Boleyn where I gave it the briefest of inspections before plugging it into the mains.   It worked first time.  I have not had time to identify it yet but it's English.  At least the motor is.

 There will be plenty of time for more inspection once the WT700 is finished.

July 30th

Has it really been two weeks already?  Nothing has happened in the Boleyn whatsoever unless the bees have been at it in the roof.   Soon I'm off to Cosham to collect a Minorette I was offered at a reasonable price for the workshop.  It looks like an interesting little unit and I can't wait to get some pics up on the site if my server will allow me.  It has sat unused in a garage for some years (like my server it seems) and some surface rust is apparent but it shouldn't take too long to have up and running.  I'm looking forward to having it as a permanent fixture in the Boleyn if I can find my way to Cosham.  I'm beginning to think that the Minorette range is the ideal unit for my workshop due to its size and weight.    Now that I have the hollow tailstock I will be able to do some small pieces of between centres turning.   I have been in contact with a chap from the West Midlands who bought his first Coronet Minor machine recently and has done a superb restoration job on it.  A back to bare metal and respray job which now looks like it has just left the Derby showrooms with a beaming Charles Parker carrying the heavy end.   Marks enthusiasm for the Coronet brand has exceeded mine and has already contributed greatly to the cause by scanning and enhancing every piece of Coronet literature we have between us and putting it onto a cd rom.  (These make great drinks mats if you're ever caught short.)  He has also recorded every step of his restoration and in due course it will feature on this site.  If it wasn't for my computer illiteracy (or my web server/host whatever the damn thing is) it would be up there now.   Have had nothing but problems now with all but the simplest things on this site.  AC had his wrist surgery then buggered off on holiday, can't say I blame him.

August 1st 2014

Eureka!  For some unknown reason I was able to post up some photos on the More Readers Machines page this afternoon. Yesterday evening it wouldn't have it.   I was contacted by Gary who owns a Coronet Major and some other machinery with which he makes craft items.   He sent some photos and a link to some of his work which is well worth a look.

I have been struggling to collate an impressive restoration of a Coronet Minor by Mark Burns.   He has done a back to metal nut and bolt job and catalogued every step.  However we have tentative plans to join forces and improve the website somewhat so it may happen that way.  It is certainly well worth a look. Part of the reason that I haven't got around to it appears below.  Approximately 2 1/4 Minorettes.

That Minorette tailstock I picked up is also having a resto job done on it.   You can see it below coated in Homebases finest paintstripper which was several quid cheaper than my favourite Nitromoors.   Oh for a blasting cabinet...

I have relented and decided to post a picture of the tail stock in the paraffin bath after several requests.   You sick people, you know who you are.  

Wow ain't she gorgeous?  Relaxing there in her birthday suit with nothing to hide her modesty.  Pass the wipe her down of course.

 Probably time to put the kettle on.  In fact it's time to get out the Boleyn Press for the annual apple pressing though that does involve use of both kettle and teapot.

Now he's workshop fit again AC accompanied me on a tool pickup for Workaid and TFSR which took up the first hour of our weekly session.  I took my daughters car as she wasn't here to protest.  TDA?   Nah I'm on the insurance.  However the travelling time wasn't wasted as we discussed our football attendance and listened to the Bob Marley Legend album of mine that my daughter had left in her car.  To both of ours amazement I found the address first time of looking.  And it was a decent pickup too.   On our return AC gave the sweptback tailstock a coat of red oxide and ate biscuits.


We kick October off with a Black Armband day in the Boleyn.    And why?  Because my nans sofa has left.   Off the record I think that the internet fame gleaned from the Boleyn Workshop went to its head and it left for its own reality tv show. Ok here's the truth.  My daughter chucked it out of her bedroom and as I had built a workbench for AC in its old space in the workshop it had to go.   It had stood up to the airborne might of Hitlers Luftwaffe, later Margaret Thatcher and even Avram Grant.  It endured the short reign of Benni Mcarthy and retrospectively my Great Aunts large arse but it was finally undone by the whim of a 14 year old girl.  What could I do but put it on ebay where it attracted a respectable bid of £1.20 (no, the decimal point is not in the wrong place) and was duly collected.   Sometimes I feel I could have done more to keep it as after all it had a drop down sidearm which converted it into an alleged bed settee.   On which I used to lay my four year old curly haired head and drift off to sleep shivering uncontrollably. Probably at the thought of my Great Aunts large arse or more likely the Autumn gales that were lashing Hest Bank in the 1970s.  So it was probably time for it to go.  If Coronet had made sofas this would have been one.  Next week we hope to be back on track and cracking on with some restoration but it's all too easy to be distracted.

Back in the workshop on a cold Monday night and me and AC decide to fire up the woodburner.   Ten minutes later we are stood outside in the cold waiting for the smoke to clear out the inside.  I sent AC up a stepladder to inspect the cowling in case a bird had nested there over the summer but it seemed clear and without obstruction.  Once the smoke had cleared we went back inside and I seemed to remember using those old polish ridden rags along with the kindling to start the fire.  Oops, I thought they might have ignited better.  However nothing delays us for long so as soon as we had finished the compulsory tea and biscuits, put some music on and discussed our destination for football attendance this season, the restoration started.   The replacement motor for the WT700 had been sitting on the bench all summer in its bare metal finish so that was given a coat of red oxide primer and the sweptback Minorette tailstock got its first coat of primer/undercoat.  The barrel of this had been away at a local contacts having the internal thread being re-threaded as at some point in its past it had been well, how can I say this politely, um...completely rogered?   I had asked him to re-thread both ends internally which he duly did and informed me that the thread size was a BSF 1/2".   So now you know and thanks Alan.  We had a discussion about the heap of Minorette parts and decided that we should make a start on it and try to put one machine together as soon as possible.  While AC put a box of bits to the wire wheel for cleaning I picked up the piece of Minorette that I had bought primarily for the sweptback tailstock.   If I had been near a football ground I may well have been arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.  What remained of this machine was a short bed bar, extra short bar, three feet, one saddle and a headstock complete with spindle, two speed pulley and belt.   Attached to the spindle was a 6" sanding disc.  You can see it at the front of the heap in the photo.  The feet were removed easily.   The sanding disc was not.   It was on so tight that I feared it may have to have been beaten off however I am nothing if not practical.   But as it was not attached to a bench it was impossible to keep the headstock still while turning the disc.  I tried the official method of placing a tommy bar in the spindle and jamming it against the headstock to prevent it moving and then took firmly hold of the sanding disc and turned it to loosen it.   Even though I was turning it the right way (anti-clockwise) all that happened was that the tommy bar bent itself into a boomerang shape.   Now the instruction manuals for these Coronet machines are excellent, clearly illustrated with the accompanying text even more clearly written.   But what they are lacking is any mention of a bit of good old fashioned BFI or Brute Force and Ignorance.   It became clear that the spindle was going to have to be removed with the disc still attached so I ignored the official version of events and beat it out with a hammer having first loosened everything in sight to cut a long story short.  And yeah I did put a nut on the thread end first.  Suffice to say it worked without any damage.   Next I took the sanding disc and clamped it tight in a bench vice and gripped the spindle with a set of Stilsons.   A slight turn anti-clockwise and the spindle turned enabling me to easily finish removing it by hand and it went into ACs  cleaning box along with the bronze bearing, two locking rings and pulley wheel.  The ball bearing needs looking at but seems ok.  Only about another 1/2 ton of machinery to go.  ACs next carpentry project is a jewellery box to be given as a present.  He made a start by forming the sides and cutting the lid and the base which was glued into place.  Meanwhile on Tuesday night we went to football.

Saturday afternoon in the workshop with R5L and three points for the Hammers.  Shut up Lou Reed, this is a perfect day.   Apart from my rookie error with the paint stripper.  Cringes.  I had slapped it on some parts including the headstock and in what my family describe as a morphine moment, I covered the badge.   Oh no.  Oh yes.   But that's what happens when West Ham win and I go into shock.  I hung my head in shame and tried to recall the advice on badge restoration from and hoped that I will be able to sort it out.


Blimey is it half way through November already?  Not a lot as happened in the Boleyn Workshop this month as instead of caring for old machinery we have been caring for my old Dad who is recovering from surgery.  He has set up camp in the spare bedroom and is refusing to return home until his girlfriend comes to visit in December.  Well, something like that.   He's really not any trouble and if he had been a lathe, he would have been a Coronet.  He's that good.  Though thankfully he is in better nick than some of the machines that turn up in the Boleyn.   At least I haven't had to attack him with WD40 and a wire brush, not yet anyway.

However in the Boleyn we have become somewhat distracted with my Grandads old air pistol.  It was given to him for his 14th birthday in coincidentally 1914.   So that gives you some idea of how old this pistol is.  It's a Webley Junior .177 and is great for firing the flighted darts into the Boleyns dartboard and in our first competitive game I narrowly beat AC by a small margin.  Next week's result will be posted here.

In an attempt to make some of my regulars feel better I have allowed unprecedented access to my workshop via the gallery below.  In fact after seeing it on the internet I spent a morning clearing it up after which AC was shocked to see the workbench surface for the first time.  So enjoy the gallery and feel slightly better about your own workshop.

 Progress is being made on Monday evenings in particular and ACs jewellery box is coming on well.   I found some brass effect butterfly hinges in Wilkinsons ("Wilkos" to the uninitiated) of all places and he is using them for the lid.  After a great deal of sanding down by AC it was adjudged to be ready for priming and painting.   He has decided on a white eggshell finish with a padded material interior of a reddish sort of colour.   Another idea is to fix a mirror to the underneath of the lid.  Meanwhile I have cracked on and sprayed the sweptback tailstock in the classic Post Office red. 

  ACs jewellery box is finished and due to be presented to his girlfriend for Christmas.   Have a look at the gallery below to see the project completed.


If I don't add here before the 25th then may I wish readers a very Maroon Christmas and a Post Office Red New Year.

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