Nothing to do with Silver!

A few of the silversmiths I have worked with are extremely versatile possibly due to the many materials we encounter. The hand eye skills we possess seem to transcend many activities although I personally have to confess to being a lousy billiard/snooker player. This came as a great suprise to me as I thought I was pretty good at angles and details.

Once such multi skilled silversmith I worked with as an apprentice was Harry Birkitt. Not only an excellent silversmith he also made miniature steel armour and miniature working guns in his spare time. He would forge from steel all the tiny parts including the flintlock hammers. All the armour joints to move the visors lifted just like the full size ones.

Another such craftsman Lew Marlow is very good with ornamental plaster work. He replaced some of the intricate ceiling cornice in his town house in Kentish town.

Me, well I am quite versatile too, I re-made the run cornice in the master bedroom of our house in Dalston. The house (being corballed brickwork on to clay) was suffering from a little natural subsidence which had broken the cornice in many places. It would have been impossible to repair successfully.

The old ceiling and cornice basically had to come down and be replaced with new. An old plasterer I had met told me he could do the job. When I asked him to start the job he said he could not do it because of his neck. I did not fully understand. This was in the days before google so I set about making umpteen phone calls to plaster cornice makers in yellow pages. Non of whom could do the job. I then realised I had no option but to learn the technique and do it myself. I bought a book in Foyles which had 2 pages of how to make a run cornice. The straight lengths were all quite easy to do but the corners, internal and external were missing and had to be done free hand – not easy! Each corner took me a day! At the end of the job my neck had seized up completely because of being fixed in the same looking up position for so long. I then realised what the plasterer had meany about his neck.

The latest skill I need to learn is how to re-bristle a brush. Our Meile vacuum cleaner (Revolution 500) has an electrically driven carpet cleaning head containing a cylindrical brush within. Meile tell me they no longer supply this part. Image if the top motor manufacturer told you that they could not supply you with a new gear box for your 12 year old car.

There is nothing wrong with the brush other than that the bristles are worn down and no longer touch the carpet. All I need to do is find a source of new bristles, drill out the old ones and glue back the new longer  ones into the cylinder. Should be easy .

Anyone got the same problem? Contact john@jacampbell.co.uk

Just going outside to repair the lawnmower carburettor. What next?