Unexpected visitor update.


A short rest to let my dinner go down.

A short rest to let my dinner go down.

Just recently the BTO sent us information on the Barn owl that we had to visit. For starters he is a she,  Jac felt   he was a she at time.She was very gently with us except when she court my hand with her claw. It was only a light touch but cut my finger quit badly. The man from Weirfield Hospital said  you need to be very  carefull of their feet. That is why falconer ware gloves.

She is a young bird at three years plus.  We do not know if she has been re-released back into the wild one day we may come out of the workshop,  to find her sitting on the fence looking down at us.

While on the subject of  wild life, this year so far has been quite good for spotting rare birds, I say rare because I’m not a bird watcher looking to spot fowl. On several occasions whilst walking the fat controller (our border trolley) we have seen a white heron in the small stream between the houses.  A first ever for me and the area. To add to that on two occasion in the same place we have seen a kingfisher’s sudden flash of blue as it disappears up the stream into the distance.

Unexpected Visitor


 

The owl was very hungrey.so we gave it some chicken cat food. The brown stain on her front is the grave from the food.. She is sitting on my shoulder for this feast.

The owl was very hungrey.so we gave it some chicken cat food. The brown stain on her front is the grave from the food.. She is sitting on my shoulder for this feast.

It had been a wet damp day and with it getting dark at about four I had decided to shut the workshop early as we were up to date with work and had no bookings for people to drop or collect.

 
It came as a shock to find an owl sitting on the fence looking at me as I came out of the door. He/she just sat there, then opened his wings and took off heading towards me I ducked and as I did he landed on my back Wow! I moved back to upright slowly and as I did he walked up my back until he was on my shoulder.
 
Jac was standing beside me when this happened she could not believe what she had just witnessed not only that but the owl allowed her to stroke him, while she was doing this she managed to get the number of the ring he was wearing and the web address, to cut a long story short we ended up at www.ring.ac which tracks ringed birds across the country. We emailed them and waited for an answer.
 
 But what now? I moved my hand up to stroke the owl and as I did, it gently pecked at my hand so we decided to find it something to eat. It had started to rain so I moved back in to the workshop with the owl still on my shoulder and waited for Jac to come back with some food.
 
Once he got the hang of it he tucked into a bit of  real chicken pieces cat food. When he had decided he had had enough he flew off my shoulder on to a ladder that was standing at the back of the workshop, he looked quite happy so we put a bowl of water down locked the workshop and waited for some info.
 
The following day some info started to come in. It turns out he travelled from Thetford, Suffolk. Quite a way! He was spotted a couple of weeks earlier by another local in the area.
At around about midday Weirfeild wildlife Hospital  in Lincoln  ( www.weirfield.co.uk ) came to pick the owl up. We were informed he had been let back into the wild from captivity but had not gone back to complete wildness.
It was a great experience and a shame to see him go. You never know he may return when they let him loose again.
 
 

Bags of Trouble.


Badly broken nose cone  Plastic welding can rebuild this nose cone where glue cannot

Badly broken Plastic

A distressed looking man is walking towards the doors of the workshop, in his hands are two plastic shopping bags. We unpacked the bags and laid out the contents piece by piece on to the work bench. I started placing the jigsaw of a faring together, the shape it  formed was that of a Honda CBR 600F side panel. On closer inspection it became more complicated, there were a number of pieces missing, some of these major.

I looked at him, he said “I was told it could not be done” I replied ” The only limiting factor is price”  A smile crossed his face the first bit of good news in his quest to put his pride and joy back on the road. ” This is why we say bring it in let us see it in the flesh.” It was not a lost cause. After fixing the price, he left with a happier look, to return in a couple of weeks.

We had our work cut out, first thing to do was to fix all the bits together so the main part of the faring was in one piece, then we could start fabricating the missing parts, these would be cut from sheet plastic of the same material, if it is not the same type it will not weld together.

We are not like other repairers in that, we do not use two pack  fillers to replace parts that are missing in thermoplastic products which a lot of faring’s are made from. Other repairers will do this were they can get away with it or say it cannot be done. If you have a vintage farings on your bike would you not want the best repair possible for this rare item? I know I would!

When you use the same material to repair a breakage it should act in the same way that it did before it was broken. If you introduce another part whether it’s filler or fiberglass it will change the way the panel acts and can cause the repair to fail in the future.

When the man returned he did not believe that it was the same panel until I showed him the back with it’s fine lines of weld. He was very pleased with the result.

Skin Deep.


This has a short life spanAre you getting what you paid for?

IT seems that you are not. We had a gent in the Monday before the start of TT week. He had his Ducatti re-sprayed ready for the trip. Some cracks had appeared in the plastic that the sprayer said had been plastic welded.
mud-gaurd-beforeThe spray job was great but there was a problem with the so called plastic welding.  It was a bit of filler and fiber glass smeared across the back for support hence it had re-cracked, no surprise there!
Just recently another customer was almost suckered by a spray shop saying they could plastic weld. When they started talking about reinforcing the back to stop it cracking further, he decided not to go back because he lost trust in them. He felt they did not know what they were doing.
Plastic welding has been around for a long time. It is recognised by insurance companies as a proper repair meeting their very high standards. It is also part of the NVQ, SNVQ, National diploma, Higher National diploma and Foundation degree for motor vehicle engineering  and yet some repair shops still bodge repairs; there is no call for it; this is part of the reason we do not spray, you can see we have given you the ‘real deal’!
honda_vfr_seat_tabsWe have seen over the years repairs using super glue, rivets with metal support, soldering iron and super glue, filler and fiberglass and wire ties. All valid temporary repairs by the DIYer but have no place in the professional workshop.
If you are paying large amount of money for a repair you should expect the best, it’s not always a good idea to go to a one stop shop; once the paint is on you do not know what you have paid for. It may be a great finish but will it be let down by the foundation crumbling.
 

Oh rings?


                                                                                                                                          

book-oring

                                           From time to time I work on an heritage car. These are vehicles that are more than twenty five years old. .

Over the years I have done a number of repairs to the cars plastics but in this case was asked to look for the cause of an oil leak that was covering the bell housing of the gearbox. The leak was not enough to show a loss on the dip stick but caked the area in a black horrible mess. The leak was tracked down to the distributor. After all these years the O ring had gone hard letting some oil pass.

ditributer-oring

I thought that was easy, just go down the road and buy a new one! NO! NO! No! How wrong could I be. One little old O ring turned into an epic detective case to find someone to supply it. I ended up buying a box of a hundred, making this one ring more valuable than its weight in gold!. So if anybody is looking for one O ring in a metric size I’ll sell you one. I know! but I have got get back some of the cost!.

orings

That is the problem with working on motors from the recent past, they are not old enough for people to start doing batch runs of parts to keep them going. Second hand parts in this type of case are not up to the job
.

Odd One!


The little filter housing off an air compressor

The little filter housing off an air compressor

The year has hardly started and we have had our first odd ball repair. These are repairs that we just do not expect to see. It also happens to be the second smallest item we have had to deal with. The smallest was a hair/beard trimmer. Anyway whats this mystery part? Do you think I’ve built up the suspense enough? It is the filter housing from a small clark air compressor some how the threaded end had broken away from the main body. It was a quick job to do, made from a good gauge of material.

Loud and broken.


asoft plastic repair

A soft plastic repair.

It is funny how things come about, a friend of a friend is a disc  jockey and runs a mobile disco. He had been at a gig when a couple of lads who were slightly worse for wear managed to trip over his speaker stand, bringing it down with an almighty crash.

The following day he checked the speaker cabinet over, from the outside it did not look to bad with just a cracked corner, on further inspection he found  half a dozen screw mounting points broken off and the bracket that held the tweeter in place had broken into four. He was not impressed to put it mildly! Being a resourceful man he glued all the bits back into place. Job done! or so he thought. The hard work was undone when he screwed the cabinet together, braking the repairs.

After a long chat he gave us the speaker box to repair, but still was not sure if it would be strong enough.  The big problem for us was making all the joints completely clean of glue. Any contamination would degrade the effectiveness of the welding and could cause failer. Another consideration was the build up of  heat; we would be working deep inside the enclosure and being one of the softer plastics it would not take much to make it melt.