Hammerite & shavings

Freshly painted metalwork, planed wood and various workshop junk.

As you can see, I've been very busy in my shed of late.  Braving the cold, the drizzle and the incredible drafts that howl through the gaps in my jerry-self-built workshop. 

Graph showing where I'm up to in my telegraph pole restoration.,This week I have been mostly brushing, filing, sand-papering and painting.  Not to mention some arms-wood planing.  But first, the photo above gives you, dear reader, a tantalising preview of two other restoration projects that I have in-hand…

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Telegraph Pole of the Month – Dec 2010

Telegraph Pole of the Month December 2010

You normally only ever see poles like this alongside heritage railway lines.  But this is one of a few such poles that run from the village of Clawddnewydd along the B5105 down towards Ruthin in Denbighshire, North Wales.  And even more amazing, this one is still in use.  The second lower left insulator has a telephone wire attached.  I went and photographed most of these recently and I don’t expect they’ll be left up much longer – replaced by an anonymous pole with a non-descript plastic junction box like all the others.

Arms Wood

Wood tar on Keruing arms wood off an old telegraph pole.

 

 

Firstly, more serendipity.  The problem of the missing 3 ceramic terminators has been solved.  I have been walking the same route along the lanes at home for a near geological timescale.  Yet last Friday evening at dusk, and completely unseen in all the previous 16,409 times that I have passed it, I spotted an ancient “arms wood” with 3 GPO insulators in immaculate condition.  At some time in the distant past this had been removed from the pole nearby and the farmer had used it to block a hole under his sheep fence.  Whistling nonchalantly, I clambered up the bank and quickly relieved it of the ceramics.  Some people would be astonished that something as mundane as this could make my day.

The very next evening I went back and recovered the wood too – making good the hole in the fence with an old plank of my own. Another piece of telegraph pole history to restore.

Meanwhile…

Ever diligent, Society Honorary Technical Advisor Keith S**** H.T.A. T.P.A.S. quickly wrote to me with some advice when he read my last post on the subject of my pole restoration : 

Cannot recomend rapid drying of arms wood which could lead to deep cracking of timber known as ‘shaking’ in the trade .Store outside under cover until comparative weights of samples indicate desired moisture content.

Wet weight minus dry weight times 100 gives percentage moisture content:

 [  mc = (w1 – w2) x 100  ]

Or you could just leave them till they look ok.

Keith S.Hon.tech.advisor

Alas, this counsel came a little too late – after just an hour in my warm office the black wood tar seen at left, oozed from the wood I had just rescued and stuck to anything that touched it.  The smell has only just cleared days later.  Anyway, that formula all sounds a bit much like school algebra, so the “leave them till they look ok” bit will more suit my modus operandii.

 

Strip Down

A little light to medium spannering, some sawing and a modicum of mild to serious swear words and the “arms wood” of my telegraph pole restoration project lay in its constituent parts upon my workbench.

My telegraph pole arms wood in its constituent components.

According to the society Honorary Technical Advisor, Keith S*****, the wood for the arms is an African hardwood called Keruing. 

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GPO Insulator(s)

GPO Insulator off a telegraph poleIf you’ve got any of these things floating around your garden, shed, garden shed or that drawer in your kitchen where you keep all the junk and which never opens properly – then I’d be very interested to hear from you.  They are GPO standard ceramic terminators and they’re slowly disappearing from the wild.

My restoration project has stalled slightly because I have two of these insulators in a very poor condition.  They have clearly  broken in the past and some long-forgotten GPO engineer has glued them back together – araldite probably or perhaps a half-chewed Werther’s Original.  

Badly cracked GPO insulator off a telegraph pole

 

Anyway, I can’t get them off the retaining bolts and so am seeking replacements. There are some spare ones sitting on a disused pole not half a mile from my house.  But alas they’re just out of my reach.

Spare insulators atop an old poleI’d be happy to pay postage and packaging and in return would promise to turn to face your general direction and think nice things about you.*

Please email me martin@telegraphpoleappreciationsociety.org if you can help out.

 

* * * STOP PRESS * * *

I now require 3 insulators.  My wife broke one after I had left them in the sink to soak along with the breakfast dishes.  I have to wonder if she’s as 100% committed to this as I am – she wasn’t even sobbing uncontrollably when she told me!

* 10 mins max.

Telegraph Pole of the Month – Feb 2011

Telegraph Pole of the Month - Feb 2011

This rather seductive looking pole has been hiding in a field less than a mile from my house. A telephoto lens was required to get this picture.  But anyone who fails to see the intrinsic feminine beauty of this power distribution pole – needn’t apply to our society for membership.  She’s called Audrey by the way.

Oh Dear!

A fallen over telegraph pole near Betws Gwerfil Goch > There are a lot of high winds around our part of rural altitudinous Wales.   And the very latest one proved too much for this particular  telegraph pole.  Alas,  this pole forms part of the long chain between my house and the coal-fired exchange down at Maerdy.  So although the wire never actually broke, all my telephone calls and internet dalliances now take a slight detour as they leave our house – a deviation of about 15ft vertically.

And this has had some odd effects : 

* I mis-dialled the doctors surgery only yesterday morning – getting through to the coal yard in Corwen instead.  And they closed down 8 years ago.

* This morning I had an email off someone I hadn’t heard off in years, nay ever.

* On Wednesday, I answered the phone as ex-newsreader Moira Stewart.

I spent an hour on the phone to BT – again, owing to the detour was in fact 1 hour and 3 minutes – to report the issue.  Reading between the lines of that conversation though I got the distinct impression that they didn’t, in fact, “share my concern” quite as much as they said they did.

So… The pole remain there at its jaunty angle of 68 degrees to the perpendicular and will probably remain so until the day the BT van man eventually passes this lonely way again on his (her) way to mangle mine or someone else’s connection. Just don’t be surprised where your emails might end up in the meantime!

My Restoration Project

Restoration project whilst it was still on a pole

The world’s first ever telegraph pole restoration project.

You may recognise this telegraph pole. Yes, it’s the one that lives across the road from our fields. And the very one which forms part of our iconic logo.  And it’s also one that I’ve admired for many years… Until recently.

I’m always alerted to a BT techie in the area by the sudden loss of what passes for broadband around here.  (If we all concentrate very hard and think pure thoughts, we can get speeds of up to 200Kbps) …

 

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Telegraph Pole of the Month – Jan 2011

A busy telegraph pole somewhere in Tokyo.

Our Japan correspondent (Hâf) immediately spotted the aesthetics in this tangled urban skyscape and snapped January’s pole of the month somewhere in a downtown Tokyo.  It’s also particularly pleasing owing to the blue sky.  I’ve heard of blue skies, but coming from Wales, don’t remember ever having seen one.

 

There’s everything going on up on that pole.

March 23rd 2009

posted in: History | 0

This was the day our late founder, Sir Benjamin Spoon BEM re-incarnated to attend a prestigious football event in the Blue Square Conference of Great British Footy. This game between Wrexham and Kidderminster Harriers was a must-win contest for both sides.

As it happened, those bounders from the West Midlands went home with all 3 vital points due to a 94th minute flapping of handbags in the Wrexham defence. Much jeerification followed.

After the game, Sir Benjamin hung around the bar answering questions from bar staff regarding how much ice to put in his whiskey. He also took the opportunity to mingle with curious onlookers, getting meithered by a couple of kids as well as generally being stared at in a mouth-agape sort of fashion. Then, as quickly as he arrived, he disassembled himself back to his Denbighshire graveyard where he’s spent the last 150 years.

Sir Benjamin enjoying a cigar on the touchline prior to the gameEnjoying another, or possibly the same cigar alongside the last person who ever knew where the bloody net was at Wrexham, Gary Bennett.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Left) Sir Benjamin enjoys a cigar on the touchline prior to the excitement of the game. Seen here with his gentleman assistant, Huw Thayer.

(Above) Enjoying another, or possibly the same cigar alongside the last person who ever knew where the bloody net was at Wrexham, Gary Bennett.

Also seen alongside is someone with a severe skin disorder and hideously deformed head.

 

Sir Benjamin, his servant and the players prior to the match

Wrexham captain, Ashley Westwood, listens intently to tactical advice imparted by Sir Benjamin.
Had they heeded said advice, the result would have been a resounding thrashing for the opponents.

 Sir Benjy with the after-match champers.  What what!

 

Definitely not the same cigar, surely. Sir Benjamin cracks the first of many bottles of champagne. A defeat is only a victory backwards after all.

 

 

 Sir Benjamin with man of the match, Andrew Crofts, and man-servant Huw Thayer.Sir Benjamin offers to clean man of the match, Andrew Crofts’ shirt of all the felt-pen scrawling.
Or rather, his manservant, Huw Thayer, will clean it. And in his own time too.

Associate members of the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society

Associate members of the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society gather to applaud the decision to wash said shirt.
You can become a member of this august organisation by clicking here.

 

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