“Chattie”, the Singer Le Mans is due be displayed at Brightwells at the beginning of next month so today’s post features a photo of a pair of her kingpin bushes being line reamed.
It also features a rather Scottish reference in the title which I have borrowed from Alasdair Gray, and being keen to meet the deadline for the project I shall not tempt fate by making any other Scottish references.
(Angels and ministers of grace defend us).
Expanding reamers are very simple in principle but they do require a certain amount of experience and sympathetic handling in order to produce a good job. I started to learn about these during school holidays – usually in the winter because Mr. Thetford senior (who sadly is no longer with us) used to save jobs like this for the seasonal coal – heated fire in a side room of his old workshop. Something which has been all but forgotten is the old tradesman’s bit of folklore which maintains that you should only ever use a brush to clean an expanding reamer….. never blow on it or you risk blunting the blades. Quite untrue of course and with no factual basis, but the legend lives on in as much that I too can not use one of these without thinking of the unlikely story.
Mechanics – or technicians as they are now called – don’t get to use expanding reamers on modern cars but even “back in the day” they were a less common workshop tool. The biggest danger with their use apart from the propensity of the inexperienced user to remove too much metal, is that they can be allowed to “chatter” and produce a ridged surface finish. I often think of the story of the garage proprietor who purchased a set of these comparatively expensive tools and , much to the chagrin of his workforce, forbade any one else to use them. Allegedly he declared on first using them that they were so fine that “only an idiot could make a mistake with them”…. I leave the rather predictable outcome of the story to my readers’ imaginations.
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