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Manbench Industries; Purveyors of general mayhem since 1994, a blog to follow the crazed, possibly deranged projects and emotive musings, of an undergraduate engineer, and an apprentice organ builder who have always felt they were born in the wrong age. Follow us as we, re-write history, learn lost skills, discover strange new worlds, break things, rant at things, mend things, make new things and generally find ways of passing the day instead of doing "proper work" !

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Building a Coal Mine Part I

Back from university and straight back out into the workshop! I decided to begin some of the scenic items for the garden railway as I have ran out of points to lay the track any further inside and have yet to come up with a firm plan for how to lay the track outside. By the way - on that topic, I am on the lookout for a left hand SM32 point - preferably Peco if anyone has one laying around?

The story behind the line is to be as if the Industrial Revolution really kicked off in Somerset rather than somewhere like Ironbridge and will have all sorts of old and interesting machinery laying around. The line however is based some time in the 1910's - 1920's and the machines are really on their last legs. I will develop a further back story at some stage!

Anyway, for the first section, I decided to start with building the coal mine. This is to use an early atmospheric winding engine to lift the coal from the depths of the mine, something like this...

After messing about for an hour trying to find the fence for my crappy band-saw, and then having various blade problems, I decided to call up my woodworking friend, popped up the road and had the wood cut in thirty seconds!

This allowed me to assemble the beam as shown below. Pretty simple in construction - a couple of bits of Beech with a few holes drilled in them in the relevant places, a couple of Meccano brackets, a chain rocker out of some MDF with a grove filed in for the chain to run in and finally a couple of bent bits of wire for the hook and beam bracing. 

In real life, the beam would have been made out of Oak and after a hundred years outside would have seen considerable weathering - I am trying to work out the best way to achieve this effect, I've heard Indian Ink is widely used for this...any suggestions?

The Engineer.


  1. Rustin's Wood Dye. Antique pine. It makes light coloured wood look well exposed to the sun. Whether it will look like it's been in the sun for 100 years I don't know but it has worked well for me.
    Good luck

    1. Many thanks - I shall look into it! I can sure see me using a lot of it with the buildings I have in mind...

      The Engineer.