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Oct / Nov 2015
Flying High PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sue Allison   

Flying High

Photographs: Juliet Nicholas

Going downhill fast isn’t normally desirable in the dairying world, but Harry Meijer manages to do it with a smile on his face.

Harry, who farms on the north bank of Canterbury’s Waimakariri River near Oxford, zips from his house to the cow shed below on a home-built flying fox.

When Harry and his wife, Clare, bought the 223ha farm 10 years ago, the flying fox was a high priority.

“I thought ‘We’ve got to get some reward that the tax department doesn’t get its mits on’ and having fun is part of that,” says Harry, who believes mixing work with pleasure is not just a good thing, but essential.

The zip-line is about 110m long, basically comprising a wire rope suspended between two telephone poles. The platter seat is fixed to a pole and attached to the wire using a twin pulley system on a little carriage. “It’s all off-the-shelf stuff and some good old Kiwi savvy,” says Harry.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

The Bronze Age PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger Lacey   

The Bronze Age

Photographs: Geoff Osborne

Nestled in a fold of land, high above Karekare Beach on Auckland’s West Coast, is a wooden house with a collection of small outbuildings. This remote location with the Tasman Sea as its backdrop is the home and studio of artist Dean Buchanan, jeweller Helga Strewe and their son Rudi Buchanan-Strewe. Dean and Helga are established and renowned artists in their own right, however our visit today is to talk to Rudi and watch him casting bronze.

Brought up in a family of artists, Rudi has tried to break the mould and, after work experience as a blacksmith, he completed a motorcycle apprenticeship at Classic Cycles in Upper Hutt. A move back to Auckland saw him working for Ken McIntosh on his Manx Nortons before deciding, about eight years ago, to give in to his genes and pursue his love of sculpture.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

My shed – The bike dude PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   

My shed – The bike dude

Photographs: Rob Tucker

Many people of the baby boomer generation will recall the freedom kids had in days gone by. You hopped on your bike and headed off to find your mates to explore and have fun. Building huts, playing cowboys and Indians, forming gangs, making bows and arrows, playing war games, catching tadpoles, climbing trees—the only rule was to be home in time for dinner.The world was there to enjoy and bruises and injuries were all part of the action.Gary Sarten’s fond memories of those days are something he wants to pass on to today’s kids and he believes an important part of those days was having your own bike.Now semi-retired, 63-year-old Gary lives in the house where he was raised in rural Taranaki and he spends a lot of time repairing bikes to give to kids so that they can have the freedom he enjoyed in his childhood.Gary is known locally as “The Bike Dude” and he’s been doing this for a while. There are second and third generations of kids out there riding bikes Gary has renewed.

His years of fixing and supplying bikes free to kids who had no wheels were recently recognised with his nomination in the Community Spirit category of the Pride of New Zealand Awards.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Leadlights – Totally transparent PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sarah Beresford   

Leadlights – Totally transparent

Photographs: Joanna Wickham

Chance is a fine thing. When Myke Bakker’s mother decided to do a lead light course when he was a high school student and brought the tools home, she unwittingly set on course a chain of events that would influence the direction of her son’s life.

“I was fascinated by the whole process and started mucking around,” says Myke. “I made my first leadlight when I was 17.”

Fourteen years later, Myke is still intrigued by the many possibilities of working with glass and he’s made a career out of it in the process. He is one of a small team who work at Sauvarins Glass Studio in Auckland’s Penrose specialising in all things glass…

Working with glass in all its forms involves a very precise skill set but there are some principles that are relatively easy to grasp and master. Sauvarins shares their passion for glass during the eight-week courses they run which teach the fundamentals of making a leadlight. The classes are limited to six people and concentrate on making one finished leadlight panel so that at the end of the course students have something to show for their work.

“The workshops incorporate all the elements students need to make a window,” says Myke. “The design of the panel includes square joins, mitres, curves meeting curves and circles in both directions so it provides a really good grounding.

“Some people who attend the classes have worked a bit with glass before but many have not been taught the correct techniques. Just knowing the right way to hold the cutter [like a pen] can make a huge difference.”

Myke takes us through the process of making a panel using the same template that is used in the workshops.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Bend It PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ian MacIntyre   

Bend It

How often do we need to bend sheet metal, but are put off because of the drama involved? We may turn to a couple of bits of angle iron fitted into the jaws of a bench vice and try to exert even pressure as we fold the metal. I’ve done this and felt less than satisfied with the results.

This design-and-make plan will enable you to make a small pan sheet metal folder that folds mild sheet metal from 18 to 26 gauge. With it, you’ll be able to fold “U” or “Z” sections or a lip on a sheet of metal. The way we’ve constructed the metal folder will also allow you to bend metal to more than 90 degrees—try that with two pieces of angle iron mounted in the vice.

To use this folder, you loosen the wing nuts at the top of the clamp bolts and insert the sheet metal between the top and bottom form bars from the front or the back. Tighten the nuts to hold the sheet metal. When the handle is raised, the anvil/pressure-bar assembly is brought up and forces the metal sheet upwards to a chosen angle of up to 130 degrees.

Throughout this article “pilot drilling” is referred to in every part of the hole-drilling procedure.  Pilot-hole drilling is using a small twist drill of 2.5 or 3 mm after using the centre punch at the point where drilling a hole is required. This is a very advisable technique for ensuring that holes are located in their correct position without drifting during the hole-drilling operation. It also ensures that holes line up correctly with other holes when required to do so. Skip the pilot-hole drilling procedure at your peril.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Stu’s Shed Spinning out PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stuart Lees   

Stu’s Shed  Spinning out

While we are rather spoilt these days for ready sources of energy, it was once a matter of harvesting what was available from the local environment. More often than not, what was available was a stream or river and so the workshop was built on a riverbank and the harvesting was achieved by a water wheel.

I’ve always been rather taken by the concept of water wheels (and other mechanical devices that harvest energy from nature) and have been intending to make a small one of my own, even if it was just to be an ornamental garden feature.

You may well ask, just how many ways can you actually make a water wheel? The more I thought about it and the more research I did, the more surprised I become about the breadth of the topic. I found a particularly interesting reference, quite the authority on water wheels. It is The Engineer’s and Mechanic’s Encyclopaedia: Comprehending Practical Illustrations of the Machinery and Processes Employed in Every Description of Manufacturer of the British Empire, by Luke Herbert, and the title is quite the mouthful. Interesting to find a book that has such a strong understanding of the science of water wheels. Of course, that it was written in 1836 might have something to do with it.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed