Tuesday 21 April 2020

Lockdown - Tales from the Recycling Bin - Ich Dien

In these times of lockdown I have no "Tales from the Road" or much from the garage either. So I looked at some pieces I wrote but did not post on this blog.

In September 2018 I took a run to Angus. In Friockheim I found a gunshop bearing the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. It is fairly common, in this country, to see such royal warrants displayed by suppliers to the Royals.   

The badge had the motto "Ich Dien" which I assumed meant something in the Welsh language but it turns out to be German, "I serve". So why is a royal badge in German?

Note that the Prince of Wales is the title held by the hier to the British (previously English) throne. 

The story goes like this. The Battle of Crécy was fought in northern France in 1346. An English army defeated the French and their allies. Amongst the allies was King John the Blind of Bohemia. When it became apparent that the battle was lost the king's aides suggested that he retreated to safely. John is said to have replied that the King of Bohemia would not run away and asked to be led to the heart of the battle for a glorious (but pointless) death. 

UK 2 pence coin

After the battle Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the Black Prince is said to have found John's body and been impressed by the ostrich feathers on his helmet so took them as his badge and John's motto as his own. An important factor in the English victory at Crécy were Welsh archers and they are said to have liked the motto because "Ich Dien" sound the same as "Eich Dyn" meaning "Your Man" in Welsh.

Of course most of the above is in doubt. Historians think that the symbol and motto came from a royal marriage to the aristocracy of the Low Countries or Luxembourg - but that isn't such a good story. 

John's tomb in the crypt of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg City

John's lands. Luxembourg, Bohemia (mostly in the Czech Republic), a bit of Poland and Northern Italy.

The Regent Bar in Govanhill displays the badge. It's a "Rangers pub" - ie decorated in the style of, and frequented by fans of, the football club.   

Ok, history lesson over.

Monday 13 April 2020


The UK has completed its third week of lockdown because of the Covid-19 epidemic. This has been hard on me. After a long, damp winter the weather has improved and I was looking forward to getting out on the bikes but….  

Well, I'm still on the road (legitimately, I think) I make a weekly shopping trip to Lidl and I go to visit my elderly father to do cooking, shopping etc. This is only a short journey so I'm using the CBF250 rather than my bigger bikes. 
The CBF on the back roads

The SV & FJ have been cleaned and polished to within an inch of their lives

We are luck to have a large garden (by suburban British standards) and we have been spending time here when it's sunny.

A drink and a fire

I'm growing flowers. I got a lots of packets of seeds from my father. They come free with his gardening magazine.

Something's growing.

Saturday 4 April 2020

Fixing (two) Mini Drills

Here I'm trying to keep busy during the lockdown.

I've got a couple of mini drills. These are very useful for grinding small items especially where access is tricky. The problem is that both are broken.

Firstly a Minicraft. This is a corded tool that has operates at 12v through a transformer. I'm sure that my brother gave this to me as a Christmas present many years ago. I've used it on lots of projects. 

The drill uses a keyless check that consists of a ring to hold the spindle while the chuck is turned to tighten on the drill bit etc. This isn't a great design. It's not possible to get enough force using your fingers to tighten this sufficiently. I usually have to use two pairs of pliers.

The chuck has fallen apart with the ring detaching itself.   

When sourcing a replacement the first thing to do is establish the thread holding the chuck. I measured the diameter at 8mm. The thread pitch was more tricky. I don't have a set of thread gauges so I took a macro photograph with the thread against a ruler. The pitch looks like 0.75mm.   

The standard ISO metric thread in 8mm comes in 0.75mm pitch so this seems ok.    

The new chuck

An issue is that there is no way to tighten the chuck. This chuck lacks the ring the original had. Some drills have a spindle lock to allow tightening but the Minicraft doesn't. It might seem rough but I filed two flats in the spindle to allow it to be held with a 7mm scanner.  

And it all works fine!
The next drill is a cordless one from Lidl under the Parkside name. It uses a collet rather than a chuck. The nut is aluminium and the thread has stripped. A chuck might be more useful so I looked for one of these.    

According to a YouTube video the Parkside tool uses the same thread as Dremel ie 9/32" x 40 ME (Model Engineer) I measured the thread pitch it does seem to be 40 tpi (thread per inch) 
"A commercial use of this standard does not exist" - you think?

Will it fit? Will it work? - I'll know then the chuck wings its way to me from China.