SEAMS News Archives

Keeping Busy in 2020

by Richard Amos

I’m sure everyone has their own story to tell about life under lockdown. Mine starts with finding a care home for Dad who struggled with the isolation and sudden loss of interaction with his friends. Not a good time for care homes but on balance, we felt that he was better off under their watchful eye than at home with a constant stream of face shielded helpers. The house went on the market just as the estate agents were able to start showing people around… It seems that now is a very good time to sell as there are a lot of buyers just waiting to move…

On the engine front I had given the go ahead for builders to extend my workshop. It was becoming dangerous climbing over engines such was the shortage of space. Then came COVID 19 and lockdown in March…. Fortunately, my little project jumped the queue as the council had put the 6 hold on a big job they had scheduled. They started in March laying the foundation in that horrible wet spell we had early on. They were able to work through lockdown as and when they were able to get the materials which were in short supply. Timber, roof tiles and steel were the main
holdup but eventually these arrived and the building was finished off by the end of May. Now the fun bit collecting my lathe from Dads workshop, moving the engines around and setting out the storage, shelving, lights etc. until all was satisfactory. In recent months I have been working on engines as I am sure most of you have. A 1920’s Bradford with Hills flick mag bought in 1979, had been locked down under the bench for over 20 years.

It needed a new bronze little end and white metal big end bearing. These are shell bearings in two halves which involved a little ingenuity to pour. Typically, the flick magneto spring bushes had worn ruts into the pins so both were replaced. Luckily, it still provided a healthy spark 100 years on ….what product today could achieve that… The rest of the engine was checked and cleaned and it ran again in August. Using up my stock of cast wheels, three other engines had new steel trolleys made so the arc welder has been buzzing on overload. One of these, a 1918 Amanco 2 1/4hp, was bought for £60 in 1978 as my second open crank engine. It had remains of original silver paint on the flywheel faces, ignitor picker, con-rod and greasers but the body had been over painted a lighter red in its working life. Whilst a runner, I had always wondered what was under the ‘new’ paint. Taking the plunge, it was carefully stripped (preserving the silver paint) to reveal a reasonable amount of original dark red paint underneath. It now looks nice on it’s new transport and looks ‘bang on trend’. It is of great sentimental value as one of my earliest acquisitions which came home in the back of my transport of the day, a 1964 mini van (I wish I still had that..). 2020 may have been a ‘lockdown year’ but not a waste of time as a lot of projects have been given an impetus that during a normal year would be hard to find time to undertake. Let’s hope that next year the rally scene can return. 2021 is the 30th year of the SEAMS club, we need to do something
special at which the engines we have all been working on can make their debut… it could be very interesting.