Penlowry

Chronicling the development of my 5-gauge 4mm scale model railway with a few off-topic insights thrown in for free

Tools of the trade

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In a recent bout of activity I actually did something last night snatching five minutes to get something done! (I was waiting for someone to return a phone call – one of the benefits of sometimes working from home) 

I’ll reveal the wanderings of my mind in the next post but I thought I’d just mention the tools I was using. 


Top is a pair of miniature shears which is incredibly useful for snipping plastic before cleaning up with another implement. 

Second is the trusty scalpel and third is a file which came in a set of nail clippers I recently bought. Despite being metal, the file is designed for making nails shapely so gives a good finish on plastic. 

Key for the scalpel of course is to make sure you have a sharp blade. The blade that’s in there was a sharp one because I’d just used it to cut a splinter out of my finger which I sustained while dismantling one of the two sheds our house came with. 

I am a great believer in being able to fix yourself as well as fix things. I speculated after this incident whether the NHS would be quite so cash strapped if everyone took their time to fix as much of themselves as possible. However this is not a political blog so we’ll move swiftly on. 

Other great multifunctional tools of course include superglue which was after all invented to glue people back together in wartime. 

As a child I read Scouting for Boys, which was probably either the 1944 or 57 edition. It was the Patriarch’s from when he was in scouts and he used to tell the story of finding a wasps’ nest and being told by the scout leader to dispose of it himself, which he and his section duly did – by boiling a kettle on the camp stove and then pouring the contents into the nest- the first wasps to be killed block the nest entrance allowing you to fill it with boiling water at your leisure. 


I was always fascinated by the medical section. “What to do if…” I remember almost wanting to stick a fish hook into my finger to see if I could achieve the operation required. Don’t read the next paragraph if you’re squeamish. 

Basically you push it all the way through until you see it appear under the skin on the other side of your finger, then using a scalpel you cut a hole to let it out, finishing by pouring iodine into the wound and bandaging up. (Scouting for boys never mentioned the inevitable blue language following the application of iodine – presumably because the British stiff upper lip should prevent any utterance throughout the whole procedure). 

I did say almost. I didn’t do that experiment although I have stuck my fingers together with superglue on numerous occasions- sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally. A Loctite salesman showed me the trick and it’s always a good party game, which has also prevented me having to go to A&E with a wagon stuck to my fingers, but I’ll leave you to work out how to achieve separation. 

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Author: Chris H

Now in my fourth decade, I am a rolling stock engineer and have worked in many different locations including a 7 year spell in Sydney, Australia, where I arrived with a suitcase and left with a wife and a son. I am now based back in my home county of Yorkshire where I juggle full time work, being a Dad, and trying to fit in railway modelling and visits to volunteer on the Ffestiniog Railway. In addition to my heavily railway themed life, I am interested in rugby, cricket, reading crime novels, falconry, and medieval re-enactments.

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