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Spear & Jackson oil free air compressor

A nice little compressor!


The chief technical officer's latest acquisition is the very neat looking Spear and Jackson oil free compressor. Scoff you may - but it was purchased for a tidy $150 (ish) with the following considerations in mind:

1) A small unit is never going to be big enough
Every online forum discussion about which is the right air compressor to buy leads inevitably to the conclusion that such and such a model is not big enough. Until you get into serious belt-drive models with enormous storage tanks you won't have enough air to run 500 air-tools simultaneously.

2) It is only required for small, intermittent jobs
The air gun will be used for cleaning saw dust off tools, and blasting crud out of the crevices in the back deck. Once in a while, a little bit of nailing and framing, perhaps the odd car tyre or lilo inflation. If these take a few seconds extra while it catches its breathe, its acceptable.

3) We really really wanted one
At this price point, we can satisfy our…

5 minute expanding clamp

This week I was looking for a simple solution to keep a garage roller door track aligned. The brackets which keep the track aligned are adjustable and held in place by the tension of a coach screw. Unfortunately some of these had come loose and whilst a quick tighten seemed to correct the problem, I want to stop it from recurring. I suspect that over-tightening would only make make the problem worse.

Parallel to the frame however is a brick wall, and really all I needed was something to maintain a bit of pressure on the frame. Distance between frame and wall is 70mm.

My solution - a very simple expansion clamp made using 5/16 threaded rod, 2 mudguard washers, 2 split washers and 2 nuts. The nuts are tightened in opposite directions to push the clamp outwards. Pressure is applied to the mudguard washers so the threaded rod is not digging into the pine blocks.

A very simple solution that can be built in 5 minutes. Easily adjusted and easily removed.

Ballistol for Rust Removal

One of the many claims made on the back of the ballistol can is its ability to dissolve rust. Here are before and after photos of a rusted spanner head sprayed with a generous coat of ballistol and left for about an hour. The ballistol was then dried off using a paper towel.

This product continues to give pleasing results and I think warrants use on many rusted tools where it may be tempting to apply a wire wheel (potentially disfiguring engraving you didn't realise was there in the first place).