A first kit-build: 3500 Gallon Churchward Tender - 4mm Scale.

Discussion in 'Workbenches, including workshop techniques.' started by jonte, 28 May 2020.

  1. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Good morning fellow Westerners, and welcome to my new thread in which I hope to chronicle the highs, lows and pit-falls-a-plenty of the novice facing the uphill challenge of building their first metal kit.

    That said, I’m not as anxious at the prospect as I thought I would be.

    As the existence of this wonderful forum will bear testament to, I feel I shall be far from alone in my task with the wealth of knowledge and generosity-of-spirit to hand, and so in this vein -or indeed any other - you’re most welcome to pop in whenever you feel like, either to lend a hand or just to catch up with the latest cock-up.

    A note of caution:

    Now all things being equal and on current form, fellow Westerners, there should be even less likelihood of a Bullingdon Boy reaching the ever dizzy heights of a senior ministerial position than of me completing this kit-build. However, as many of us have come to realise: they ain’t. Thankfully. In my case, anyway. Which rather gives me a(n) (outside) fighting chance.

    To that end therefore, and in an effort to reduce the odds, I’ve really pushed the boat out on this occasion by identifying and purchasing essential tools required for successful completion of the task, with helpful advice from my fellow Westerners (a final order is currently en route from Squires’ as I write) and - for once - bothering to read and assimilate Iain Rice’s book on the subject, that’s lain gathering dust in my possession for donkey’s, for when this day eventually dawned.

    As you can also see from the photo attached, I also took the liberty of purchasing the GWR volume as recommended by the original kit designer/manufacturer, Martin Finney, a boon to the buffoon that doesn’t really know one end of the cart from t’other.


    Whilst I wait for my impending order to arrive, I intend to get in some practise with a few bits of old brass sheet, and familiarise myself with some of Iain’s techniques. I’m especially a little concerned about the forming of the tender flare, so a suitable jig will be constructed from odds n ends before I subject aforementioned offcuts to distortion. Once I feel I’m getting the hang of it, I’ll carry out a final trial run on the sacrificial etch you see in the photo.

    Oh, I think I should mention at this point that it’s the earlier flush sided tank I’ll be plumping for, as the scenario I have in mind will be ‘loosely’ set in the late ‘20s’.....’ish.....or thereabouts, which is why I’ve chosen to practice on the later riveted etch that you see in the photo.

    I shall also be starting with the construction of the body in contrast to the instructions which starts logically with the chassis. This is because the lead time for supply of my chosen wheelset is for several months hence, so won’t be with me until mid-July(?) at the earliest. My fault completely as I should have ordered them when I first thought about the build.

    So there we are. A start - well a thread at least - has been made and I plan to be back in the not too distant to apprise anyone who’s remotely interested in how my experiments fared or failed.

    Nevertheless, for reasons outlined, I feel buoyed in my task, although how long that will last is anyone’s guess, and I suppose of it all gets too much I can always reacquaint myself with Fourier and that excellent (Netflix?) series of his, or perhaps try my hand at solving an inhomogeneous ODE or two - something, anything, that might prove relatively easier than brass kit building.

    So, as she did for Messrs Boris, George-y and ‘Call-me-Dave’, here’s hoping that Lady Luck is still able to raise a smile or two for me.

  2. GrahameH

    GrahameH Western Thunderer

    You'll be fine, having a trial practice with some scrap will pay dividends Jonte and may highlight any misgivings prior to tackling the real thing.

    Slowly does it eh !

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  3. John57sharp

    John57sharp Western Thunderer

    Watching with interest and encouragement.


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  4. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thanks, chaps.

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  5. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Thank you all for your registered interest and kind words of encouragement. T’is indeed deeply appreciated.

    So this evening, as it went a little cooler, I set about forming a tender flare on a scrap piece of brass as intended.
    Funnily enough, Iain describes and presents a jig specifically intended for GWR tender flares in his aforementioned book that looked easy enough to replicate: a couple of wood screws and washers to fit, a length of rod and a base of Weyroc(?) to mount them on. The idea was to sandwich the rod twixt tender side and screw fastened washers, then insert a steel rule beneath the tender side and raise.

    As the piece of brass I was using was of toughened, or at least tougher than the brass the of the kit, I decided to anneal it on the ring of the gas cooker prior to fabricating. A good idea as it turned out.

    As I didn’t have any Weyroc handy, and with all the museums around these parts on lockdown, I replaced it with a block of wood into which I screwed the screws and washers, the use of a 5mili drill providing the former. Now came the part Iain forgot to me toon: investing in an extra pair of hands, as I found that tightening the screws forced the ‘rod’ to roll forward as the tension was increased......Perhaps the use of bigger washers would do the trick, however, the only large washers I had would have required screws that were too long for the thickness of the base, the overhang of the washers obstructing the arc-ed path of the rising brass piece. So into the bin went that idea.

    Now, I’m not very good at ad-lib-ing at the best of times, a situation that wasn’t about to change with the next idea I drummed up myself, which involved replacing the screws and washers with the smallest cramp to hand to apply the pressure required. Lo and behold, the same problem again (torque?): as I tightened the grip, the drill rolled forward. Remembering that Iain had employed the use of some double-sided sticky tape to hold the former in place in another recommended method, I managed to find a roll in one of my drawers. With a piece securing the brass piece to the deck and another between the brass and drill bit, I tried again. I also employed and old bell case that had been lurking in my tool box since I can remember, to act as a ‘stop’ behind the piece. The problem now was that the ‘stop’ was stopping the cramp getting a grip on the drill bit. In the absence of a smaller cramp, that idea went west too.

    So enter plan ‘C’ which simply consisted of me applying pressure to the rod with a carpenter’s pencil (what am I doing with one of those?) while holding the improvised back stop in place with a spare finger or two of the same hand (while I took a photo with the other hand - or at least tried). With friend sticky tape doing his job beneath, I was able to slide a rusty old Stanley blade beneath the piece and raise.


    With the tiniest gauge I’ve ever seen for the purpose removed from the fret with my new pair of Siskars ( thank you, Heather), I reckoned the flare was there or thereabouts. If it had been in 7mm scale that is.


    Never mind, it was going dark and the main aim of the exercise to produce a ‘bend’ of sorts had been achieved. So I’ll mark that down as a positive.

    It looks like the suggested 8” radius of the flare is probably half of that but I’ve plenty of brass left and tomorrow’s another day.

    Good night fellow Westerners and thanks for looking.


    Attached Files:

  6. Lyndhurstman

    Lyndhurstman Western Thunderer

    Hello @jonte

    Excellent formative fun! The rendering of fullsome (I think Johnny Cash sang there) from flat - particularly in the round (or possibly quadratic as it is here) - is One Of Those Hurdles that bring reward in act the leaping. The things learned in these slight moments will last a lifetime, stored away until next required. Truly, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Kudos for attempting a flare. These are a well-known bane. I’ve used the same method with a drill, but had drill and sheet clamped up in a small bench vice (that’s a bench vice that’s small, not a vice on a small bench..). I nip the sheet/drill binary slightly; this allows me to tap and nudge the sheet into position and alignment. And nip again when All Is As It Should Be. Then gentle thumb pressure to form to suit. The vice is also a useful third hand...

    Anyway, great stuff. Wonderful blow-by-blow accounting. Knowledge ably transferred.


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  7. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Agreed - brass will need annealing and it work hardens really quickly so you may will need to repeat the process a few times. It's another reason I much prefer working in nickel-silver as it doesn't work harden in the same way.

    Personally for tender flares I much prefer to work from the outside of the curve. I use several hardwood formers to push the metal to shape but at the end of the day to get the sharp curve I think it really needs a good hard hit with a hammer!! I have a couple I use - a rawhide mallet for the general forming and then a pin hammer to smooth out the radius and remove the dents. Although it does need a high polish to remove any toolmarks.
    Mr Grumpy

    This is how I used the rawhide mallet to form the roof for a 2mmFS railmotor.
    2mm - Adrian's 2mm workbench.
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  8. AdeMoore

    AdeMoore Western Thunderer

    Oh this is gonna be good, full of detail and pics. Just up my street might give me the encouragement I need to get my brass scratch build out again.
    Watching with interest Jonte.
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  9. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hiya Jan and thanks for your valued advice and kind words of encouragement as always and in your own hallmark style. It’s like receiving a personal ‘pen’ from the Bard himself.

    Iain also mentions applying thumb pressure in one of the alternative methods he provides in his book, which just goes to show that great minds think alike. However, I followed your account on first reading ;)

    I think this may be similar to what you mentioned:


    It’s from Eileen’s at a very reasonable price (3” jaws). However, I was a little disappointed to discover that the jaws aren’t smooth. The only photo supplied suggested smooth jaws but these are serrated? No great shakes: I’ll make sure I don’t over tighten anything trapped within its clutches to ensure that there’s no marking takes place. Perhaps I was a little optimistic in thinking that I was going to get smooth jaws for the price, most I’ve seen being the more expensive jewellers’ types.

    You’ll probably also notice some aluminium angle- I bought those a while back for when I eventually came to bending longer sections such as engine footplates (again, another tip from Iain’s book) however, I thought I’d treat myself so these arrived from Metalsmith’s a couple of weeks ago:


    I’ll need to go back to the gym before I raise these in anger. Probably a case of overkill here, but should I succeed, they’ll do nicely for building the engine to accompany it at a later date.

    So there you go, Jan: All the gear and no idea (pinched that line from Twelfth Night;)).

    Hope I can maintain your interest.

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  10. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Adrian and thank you for the top tips. It’s also good to know that I did the right thing by annealing the metal.

    I found the cooker a little restrictive in terms of fanning the metal in and out of the flame. Fine for offcuts such as this while experimenting, but a distinct handicap when handling the longer sections supplied in the kit.

    To that end, I shall be employing this (which I think you’ve seen before):


    Was pleased to read that you also use steel rod for forming the tighter curves, as I’ve ordered a couple lengths of the stuff from Squires which funnily enough arrived at lunchtime (only ordered day before yesterday so that’s great service, especially when current circs are factored in - usual caveat here), so again on the right path - my pin hammer is almost identical to the one in the link :).

    I see from your own thread exactly what you mean about forming the curve, so thank you.

    It really is reassuring to have this wealth of experience to hand - goes to show that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    Many thanks.

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  11. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Nothing to see here, Ade, move along ;)

    Pleased to see that you’re enjoying this skewed thread - well my contributions anyway - but I must warn you that there’s probably a more appropriate adjective to describe it :(

    If this inspires you to bring out the scratchbuild, then it’s all been worthwhile.

    Scratchbuilding? Respect.

    If you do decide to bring it out into the light of day, be sure to start a thread :thumbs:

    Thanks for dropping in.

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  12. AdeMoore

    AdeMoore Western Thunderer

    Jonte no expert a beginner as you claim to be! just a whim I followed up from a MRJ article 20 odd years ago.
    Thread link in my sig. WTW Jane No. 5.
    Looks like your going about it proper so to speak.
    jonte likes this.
  13. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    What’s that saying, fellow Westerners, about Mad Dogs and railway modellers?

    It really is too hot for all this, but there’s no time like the present, so enuff of the cliches and back to the task of trying to form a flare for the tender that might just pass muster.

    This wonderful weather saw me start the day wielding my new scriber to ‘scribe’ a line on yet another piece of scrap brass which you might just be able to make out in the attached photo:


    The idea here, was to extend a line from the adjacent sacrificial etch at a point between the lower set of the groups of four rivets and the continuous line of rivets below it, as - as far as I can tell anyway from contemporary photos and those of preserved vehicles- this is the point where the flare begins, terminating in the bead at the top edge, it being perpendicular to the tender sides or thereabouts.

    Then into the flame went the brass for the first of two visits, as for some reason, the metal wasn’t as malleable as the last.

    Now, having taken account of the helpful advice that’s been kindly rendered since my first go at this, I realised @Lyndhurstman was right and this time decided to start from the upper part of the piece to form the flare. From this, however, I deviated - much to my mistake - from his sage-like wisdom and employed the same method as before, using my improvised ‘stop’, another scrap of brass to ensure all was level and reams more of sticky tape. Most essentially, a former of what seemed a more suitable diameter (1.5mm) was used this time as a trial:


    The stop was placed on the scribed line, secured by tape at both ends, and trusty blade used to commence the raising. You will probably notice the lip of metal extending beyond the line towards the edge, which I thought would help to ensure that the edge (bead on the model) would terminate at the required ninety degrees, as in the previous attempt, it was left at whatever angle it came out of the ‘press’ at. The problem (isn’t there always at least one) here was two fold: it was difficult to exert pressure on the narrow slip of metal protruding, and probably as a consequence, the stop began to move from the scribed line, despite the bond of double-sided sticky tape securing it.

    Out of the window went this idea once and for all, but still I knew I was more along the right lines than the last attempt.

    So, back into the flame went the metal which gave me time to think - oh, and trim the hedge too as my wife had appeared with the shears ....................I can take a subtle hint you know.

    Frankly, there wasn’t much to contemplate as Jan had already kindly provided the solution, so time to Christen the baby-vice. Now, I was a little wary at this point as I recall Jan mentioning it was a little fiddly lining everything up - if it was fiddly for he, it was going to be a trial for yours truly....

    The idea is to line up the former and piece and then clamp. With Iain’s methods still to the fore, I decided to employ more of the sticky stuff that might just give me a head start, which it would have done and eventually did, it’s just that the first attempt was foiled by jaws that didn’t fully align, and with far too much play for such fine tolerances required. Now I know why those jewellers’ jobbies are probably worth their weight - see what I did th........

    For those of you who’ve kindly taken an interest, you may remember those aluminium angles I referred to in my earlier post which Iain used as jaw extensions for bending footplates and such that where too long for the modelling vice - bought some time ago, I decided to fork out anyway for purpose made bending bars, so thought that the angles would be rendered redundant. Well, I never realised how handy they'd become - not so soon anyway. Not only do they compensate for skew-wiff jaws, but also a smooth, level surface in which to ensure that at least one of the variables is fixed and true before introducing the second. I hope that makes sense, Westerners, but perhaps the photos will make it clearer.


    Here, the former is secured to more sticky tape after inverting the bar and pressing the former against it via the flat table top to ensure it’s leve You might just be able to make out the abandoned first piece of tape - you’d think that I could get this bit right first time..........

    The next step was to place this extension in the vice and then the second before tightening the jaws to ensure that they were level with each other, thus providing a flat surface from which to work. It was nice to be able to do this without having to hold the former in place too. Now for the brass piece. The jaws were slackened but not too far and the piece slid in. Unfortunately, this part is a case of trial n error, but it wasn’t too difficult as it turned out to perform. Saying that, as this was a trial piece, as much about finding the right radius of flare and securing the right technique as getting it ‘dead’ right, I plumped for lining up the scribed line with the top of the former by eye, a more accurate method can remain in abeyance for now. As per recommendation, the piece was brought to the former via the top using a suitable implement to ‘form’. In Jan’s case, his digitey things, in my case a steel rule as the brass still wasn’t playing ball today, but fingers and thumbs are probably a better choice with the right material.


    Here, I’ve just started to mould the metal.

    I’ll post at this point as I think I may have used up my quota of photos for this post.

    Almost finished, don’t worry Westerners :rolleyes:
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  14. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Continuing with the steel rule to form the bend as in the previous post, here are a couple more photos at different stages in the forming:


    And the final results:

    C1AA6DA2-5CBB-489C-809E-F28D154981E7.jpeg 295E6447-79EA-4533-B7D4-102CAFD8613F.jpeg

    A little more to scale and at the desired ninety degrees to the sides at the top.

    However, the bend is too acute so I’ll try the ‘wider’ tube that you saw in an earlier photo next time.

    So not too bad as it turned out; still a few loose ends to tie up but on course for a successful outcome .

    Thanks Jan.


    PS.....my order arrived but with a note to say that the steel rods intended for this purpose are out of stock and will be with me ASAP. Disappointing but not an issue of any magnitude under the circumstances. Jonte.

    Attached Files:

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  15. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    There you go, Jonte. We never had any doubt.......

    But seriously, well done!

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  16. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Not quite there yet, Brian, but thank you anyway.

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  17. Lyndhurstman

    Lyndhurstman Western Thunderer

    Hello @jonte

    Well done. That’s a neat bend. You have a flare for this. Do you see what I .... :)

    I take your point about cheap and cheerful engineering kit being a double-edged sword. I didn’t recall at the time of writing my previous post, but I now recall having to hold the movable jaw up in alignment on my cheap vice as I manoeuvred the work and drill combination. It’s definitely a duel of dexterity. It pays to have a thesaurus handy, too :rant:

    I’ve since purchased a 3” Woden Titan vice from eBay: it has two parallel shafts that minimise wobble. And it has smooth jaws. I paid £14 inc post. A solid bit of kit, it most certainly is!

    Keep on keeping on


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  18. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    I knew you’d work out my gibberish, Jan ;)

    Glad to see that those worthier than I encounter such problems too.

    Many thanks for the heads-up on the vice - I was going to write ‘thanks for the ad-VICE about the vice’, but I can’t tell’um like you do :(

    Just off to place an order :thumbs:


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  19. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    I failed to mention this previously, Jonte, but I've had an inexpensive bench vice for many years. It was bought at a Model Engineers' exhibition and as far as I remember is unbranded. The jaws are nicely parallel and don't wobble which is a good start but it has the serated jaws which seems to be most common. However, a 3" piece of plain angle aluminium over each jaw will give the smooth jaws you require. Furthermore, if a tool or file slips when working on metal within the jaws it'll hit ally rather than steel, and the risk of blunting is much reduced.

    They also act as short bending bars.

    I suspect you already know all this.......:)


    Edit - Sent before I read your post above.
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  20. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Brian - your interest and assistance is ALWAYS welcome. Thank you.

    I recall you mentioning this when you kindly replied to my thread on this very topic some time ago, but now that I’ve some - although very brief - experience, I’m now able to relate to what you were telling me at the time.

    Extrapolating this brief dalliance if I may, and as a result of searching - currently in vain - for a Woden item as recommended by my good friend, @Lyndhurstman, which sounds the bees knees, I came to realise that a precision engineering vice such as this RDGTOOLS TOOLMAKERS PRECISION MACHINE VICE 86MM WIDE 50MM CAPACITY 3764811045076 | eBay might be the ‘available’ solution to what I’m looking for.

    Cookson’s have something similar but with ‘smaller’ jaws (they also have a very nice Burgeon-ey type vice that locks onto the desk for slightly cheaper, but these have been out of stock for some time). That said, I still reckon - says the newbie - that this is the solution to the problems experienced with the current cheaper model in terms of wooliness and dexterity required to combat, PLUS with wider jaws. Of course, it doesn’t come with the benefit of clamping to the desk like Jan’s or the present incumbent, but it can probably be weighted down to stop it moving, bearing in mind the relatively light forces to which it will be subjected.

    So I’m going to order one. I’ll let you know in due course if it was worth it (Brian and Jan).

    In the meantime, I’m going to experiment with those bending bars I ordered.

    As you can see from the photo, it’s long enough to accommodate the ‘full length’ tender sides which will needed to be folded as one, and it can accommodate the ‘former’ without fouling the threaded bars beneath:


    On the downside, they feel a little cumbersome to be inverting/turning etc. as I did per the procedure in my last post, but still better than nowt.

    Tender flares, hey :(


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