Inside the Boleyn 2020

January 3rd 2020

Welcome back to the Boleyn Workshop and a Happy New Year to any regular readers and those who have dropped in randomly in search of some maroon or Post Office Red enlightenment. I am hoping to post more regularly this year and perhaps even to finish some of those projects that are lurking relentlessly in the steel cabinets of my increasingly delapidated workshop, the once mighty Boleyn.  And the new decade arrives with an absolute smasher in the form of a very well preserved Coronet International Woodworker owned by Paul from High Wycombe who is kindly sending in topless and other intimate colour photos like the one below.  These photos and accompanying text are now up on the site on this page funnily enough.  Coronet International Woodworker
 Jan 8th.

Blimey it seems that I've posted more already this year than in the entire last one.  The old black dog has had an almighty size ten in the gonads and is limping off around the corner out of sight.  Changes are afoot in the Boleyn.  The half of the workshop with the woodburner has had several incarnations.  From 2005 it has been in turn a general office and executive sports lounge for the 2010 World Cup from South Africa, centre of excellence for the training of AC and biscuit store, anger management centre and minor den of iniquity.  The time has come for it to return to a sports lounge for my bi-weekly crib games which are a keenly contested event fuelled by haddock and chips and pots of tea.  The odd lardy cake also makes a guest appearance.  As me and my mate are advancing into later middle age the need for greater comfort has arisen, warmth being a priority.  My proposed and seconded by myself plan involves the removal of all benches and worktops for retrofitting in the other half of the workshop in order to make room for two chairs and the old WSM sewing machine frame which I am going to convert into a mobile card table.  Steps have already been taken to install three metal cabinets for stereo containment and machine parts and tool storage which has worked really well.  The workbenches have been removed and are now taking up all the space in the other half.  I can't even get to the kettle.
As I am running short of space in my website I have deleted some pages to make room for the expansion of others.  To upgrade for more space would mean spending money and I do not want to sell advertising space here to raise  funds.  I have had enough of advertising.  It is everywhere. From football matches to online videos we are saturated with it these days and it puts me off reading anything that has it attached.

Jan 22nd

The winds that blew across the South of England recently had the cheek to lift up two of the Boleyns roof panels along with the fixing bolts.  Water then entered and ruined part of the ceiling.  Luckily my Nepalese mate Sunil was visiting last week so I sent him up a ladder and onto the roof to fix it.  It was a doddle for someone who is a licensed  Himalayan trekking guide for up to 2300 metres and what's more he didn't stop for dal bhat once.  We saved that until lunchtime.  The bolts were easily ratcheted down again to make the workshop watertight once more.   Refurbishment plans have been delayed though.  AC's brother RC came up for workshop Tuesday evening after the Christmas shutdown and I enlisted him to do a temporary repair on the ceiling in between cups of tea and talk of Warhammer.  Ninety minutes of it.
During my correspondence with Paul of Coronet International fame it transpired that he had a rare sales brochure for the machine.  He has very kindly sent two high resolution photos and twelve individual scans of it which are posted up on the International page.  Many thanks Paul for the great addition to the site.  Another thing Paul sent me was a link to a youtube video and what a treat it was.  It is an original Coronet Tool Co demonstration cine film in colour but with no sound.  It seems as though someone is playing it onto a screen and filming it with a mobile phone simultaneously and to be fair it works well.  The man performing the demo is the one from the official catalogue and he does an excellent job in showing off all the attachments.  What a treat to see the Major with it's shiny steel and bright paint not to mention the demonstrator's official Coronet Tool Co jacket/apron.  Follow the link below and feast your eyes.
Thanks again Paul.

Feb 10th

It’s not often that I get an email via the website that isn’t from a family member (yes thanks mum) but it does happen.  It’s even less often that said email comes from someone who is within visiting distance but it happened last week.  I got an email from Kevin Cook who resides in Okeford Fitzpaine which is a village less than ten miles from me as the cow flies.  He informed me that he had a majorette in his workshop.  Now for those of you about to alert the police to a kidnapped cheerleader being held hostage in a rural outbuilding you really should know that this is not that kind of majorette.  For this is a Majorette with a capital M.  The not so little sister of the Coronet Major that has not allowed herself to be gender stereotyped by the lathe designing patriarchy.  The only difference between the two siblings is the size of the bed bar and as we all know, size doesn’t count.  Kevin's machine is used regularly and is kept in good condition.  Pictures are posted here Coronet Majorette.  Thanks for the tea and opportunity to view your machine and record for Boleyn Workshop posterity.

Refurbishment of the Boleyn Sports lounge is coming on well.  With the help of RC the repainting is 90% finished, some rewiring was undertaken without burning the place down and the ceiling patched up until it can be replaced later in the year.  It should be complete for the home leg of the Winter crib league next week.

Feb 14th

Coronets are red
Post '76 are blue
I love my machine
and so do you

Feb 19th

There's a new MILF in town..

The official opening of the Boleyn Sports Lounge has been postponed due to the request for a winter break.  Speaking of which it has been nice not to have my Saturday afternoons ruined for a couple of weeks.  However as the Hammers travel to Man City tonight I'm wondering if we will be playing each other in the Championship (real football) league next season.
March 10th

Two more MILFS added to the MILFS page after a Nile cruise and one of them is really dirty.  We came back to find the country has gone mad in our absence.  Apparently there is no toilet roll or hand sanistiser in the supermarkets.  Did no one ever wash their hands after going to the toilet before this coronavirus malarkey?  I'm wondering if Swarfega works as I have several large tubs of that. 

Tomorrow evening sees the opening of the Boleyn Sports Lounge and am hoping for a home win and the return of the coveted trophy.  And later this week sees the start on the rest of the workshop and a belated return to some machine restoration.  But don't hold me to it as just when I thought I had all the tools I needed my younger brother rocks up with the tools I inherited from my elder brother two years ago.  As they are largely steel erectors and metalworking tools they will almost certainly be off to Workaid and TFSR.

March 11th

Despite it being the opening night of the Boleyn Sports Lounge I can report that last nights game ended up with me being on the wrong side of a right hammering.  I felt like my workshop ceiling, whitewashed.  I will be seeking revenge at the away fixture in Marnhull in a fortnights time.

I am so despondent about my football team that whenever I see the words Covid 19 I expect to see West Ham nil after it.

It's the time of year when people are venturing out to the sheds and workshops again unless they never left them that is.  Enquiries for the manual pdf have been coming in as well as new Coronet owners introducing themselves which is always nice.  I really must pull my finger out and find another local printer to do the paper copies.

I can report that Swarfega is no replacement for toilet paper.  I feel like I may have.. oh never mind.


I am appealing or at least I like to think so.  No really I am appealing for readers and Coronet owners to send in pictures of their machine or machines to be included in Readers Machines 2020.  Any machine, any condition, any colour.  Major, Majorette, Minor, Minorette, International, Consort, Elf, Imp, Sovereign, Capitol or any combination.  What could be better than showing off your Coronet on the Boleyn Workshop website?  Your children and grandchildren will be amazed.  Your missus or mister might even feign brief interest before returning to a riveting episode of some Aussie soap.  Who am I kidding of course they won’t but they will be the ones missing out.

The latest pics to arrive came from Becky who bought a Coronet Minor with a good selection of attachments.  I must point out that these are only 'for the record' photos and not official restoration ones.  Please follow the link below. 
Thanks Becky, good luck with the project and looking forward to seeing your machine as it progresses.

And as if by magic some Coronet photos appear..this time from Geoff Newman in Falmouth.  Thanks Geoff for your contribution and I look forward to receiving some more as things progress.  Link: Yet More Readers Machines

March 20th

Anyone with a workshop or shed will have long recognised the value of self distancing or self isolation.  In fact it can become a way of life but it’s all about choice and when it is enforced upon you then it is annoying.  No more Tuesday evening workshop sessions for RC and even the biweekly cribbage league has been postponed indefinitely.  And I don’t currently hold the trophy which is going to reside in Marnhull until play can be resumed not that I’m bitter of course.  Not much anyway.  But on the positive side there is nothing to stop me hitting into that pile of Post Office red machinery ahem ahem.  Nothing apart from about three yards deep of assorted boxes of tools and furniture that sits between me and the workbench which if I remember correctly has yet to be secured to the end wall.  But I am committed or at least I ought to be.  Check back here for progress.

March 27th

Day 5 of lockdown.  Now for those of you who think I keep making this stuff up see the pic below for that pile of red machinery.  Then see the picture below that for the arse end of my workshop which is hidden behind three yards of assorted valuable possesssions.
Now what about that bench?  Seek and ye shall find.
Yes the new workbench arrangement is still there and yes again, it still isn't secured to the wall but at least I can see it.  What needs to happen next is that all the machinery from the cabinet needs to move onto that bench so I can see what I have exactly.  Then I need to empty all the Post Office red bits from the five trays on top of the cabinet on to the bench and then add all the red bits in the three storage bins from above the window and finally drag out the crate from under the workbench on the left and only then can I actually think about putting a machine together.  I need to do an inventory but I'm not convinced I'm an inventory type of person.  I think I need to set myself a challenge.  The challenge is to get one complete Minorette up together by the end of lockdown.

March 31st

The first part of the challenge is complete (see below) but I may have underestimated the amount of machines I actually have.  Four official dual spindled motors and one that was attached to a sorry looking Home Cabinetmaker that had previously been a barn find before becoming a cabinet find.  Not shown in the picture is a planer from a Mark III Major which stands out from the other parts because it is blue.  Apart from that there is a very large heap of machine parts in front of me.  I'm not feeling well.  It would seem that I have the dreaded coronet virus.  Symptoms are an all-consuming love of vintage machinery, a form of colour blindness where everything is seen in maroon or Post Office Red and a reluctance to let go of anything that might come in useful one day.  The prognosis is hopeful if the patient can be convinced that he really only needs one machine as just how many can you operate on your own at once anyway.  Mind you I'm not a medical man.
The plan is to create a universal woodworker, a dream machine for keeping in the Boleyn Workshop that has everything I would need for a small to medium size project.  And to sell or trade the rest.
The basic machine would consist of:
table saw, planer/thicknesser and have woodturning capability.
Accessories: wobble saw, moulding block, morticing attachment and chisel chuck, speed reduction wheel, sanding plate.  This is not as such an exhaustive list and will no doubt change as I go on.  First thing I note is missing is a morticing attachment so must get to work on locating one of those.

April 28th

Apologies to everyone who has sent in photos recently. I have not been able to upload them yet due to some low-level IT incompetence and human error which is entirely mine. But many thanks to Paul Windle, Joseph Francalanza from Malta, Boleyn regular Edmund from Blackpool, Kevan Davison from Northumberland, Darren Kennedy and Rob McSweeeney for taking the time to send in pictures.  I am devoting this wet day to rectifying the situation or at least staring at my laptop and crying in frustration.  You think I'm joking.

Result!  Edmund's pictures are online in Yet More Readers Machines.  One down, four to go.

April 29th

More success shortly before I smashed my laptop over my own head and lobbed it out the window.   Kevan Davison from Northumberland sent in pictures of his Coronet Minor, Imp, Major and Capitol planer the first of which are now live in Yet More Readers Machines.  The rest to follow.

May 1st

The dream machine is up together in a dry build.  I basically wanted a Minorette with a better turning facility so commandeered the bed bar from an old Home Cabinetmaker that needed too much work to be a viable project.  This gave an approximate 18 inches between centres far better than the maximum 11 inches afforded to the original Minorette with the swept back tailstock.  Not shown is the speed reduction wheel, wobble saw or moulding block.  One attachment to look out for is the mortising attachment.  Never one about when you want one.

May 28th

Since the dry build of the Coronet machine was completed most spare time has been dedicated to refurbishing the exterior of the Boleyn Workshop which hasn't been touched since it was built.  Unless you count the boarding up of a window broken when I swivelled a Majorette headstock through ninety degrees and put the motor  straight through the glass.  Most of the t+g cladding was in adequate condition though a small amount directly below a leaking gutter had rotted out and had to be replaced as did the old pine front door which was already third hand when I got it.   Fortunately an old mate of mine with access to these things 'acquired' a solid oak door for me from a pub outhouse where he was working.  It had been shortened by just over 5" at some time in it's previous incarnation as a pub door so needed a section fabricated and added to it to fill the height of the hole left by it's predecessor.   I looked through the wood store and found several oak planks which I laminated before cutting to size on my Tyzack cabinet saw and running it through my Scheppach planer/thicknesser (in my other workshop) to get the correct depth.  If I could have got to any Coronet machinery in the Boleyn Workshop I would have used it, honest.  Although the entrance had to be widened and new door linings fitted, once the door was reversed and hung to open outwards it was a great addition with the glazed top half letting in extra and welcome light.  Once the cladding was replaced my attention turned to the window frame.  It needed one pane of glass and some loose putty replacing but apart from that it just needed sanding down and undercoating along with the cladding.  It was then time for the paint job that I have been promising the workshop for approx ten years, the classic West Ham 70s away shirt.  Well you just can't rush these things.  I had bought some sky blue paint already last year and as luck would have it a tin of claret had been waiting for this moment for some time.  After a little thought (it was always going to happen) I painted the door claret with a white no6 on it in tribute to the late, great Bobby Moore.  The finished job is further down the page.

September 24th

So what's been going on?  Did I miss anything?  Wow what an unprecedented year.  First of all many thanks to you people who messaged me to see if I was indeed ok during the long period of lockdown and not posting anything on the Boleyn Workshop site.  All is well and I cannot really explain why I have not posted anything despite being busier than usual in the workshop if not generally.  I think like most of the general population I was affected deeper than I realized by the surreal situation we found ourselves in and I just didn't feel like logging on and posting.  Had trouble sleeping too and the dreams... safe to say it's a good job no one could record what was going through my brain in my sleep and use it against me in a court of law. I would have left in either a straitjacket or a Black Maria if indeed I left at all.  Anyway that's by the by now.  So what has been going on?  Enquiries have been varied as ever and requests for manuals have been directed towards Derek Pyatt who I have spoken to several times over the course of the past few months.   I have received quite a few photos after my appeal but my laptop decided to hide them from me after downloading so I have been unable to post them so far.  It is being looked at this weekend so hopefully after that I will be able to find them.  I got some particularly interesting ones from Paul Windle who was using his Coronet Major to produce individual chess pieces.  It's great to see a machine in action doing what it was designed for.
The Coronet Imp circle cutting attachment is an accessory I get a lot of enquiries about.  I use mine infrequently but when I do I appreciate it.  I have sent out measurements and photos several times in my own inimitable style but I think what it really needs is someone to do the CAD thing on it and produce a proper drawing with measurements one could make sense of and knock one up from.  Which could then be sent out as an email attachment rather than rather than half a dozen photos and some measurements that may or may not arrive.
I was sent a regular treasure trove of Coronet brochures etc this week by Roger Greenhalgh from Carmarthenshire.  They were sent out in the first instance in 1983 and include the Mk3 Major CMB500, the Consort 403, the Elf, the Imp bandsaw and the Capitol and Sovereign planers.  Also there are a 1983 price list and some parts and accessories lists.  All in all approx twelve items including a blank order form and an acknowledgement from the chairman and MD at the time Mr Frank Crisp who was always there at crunch time.  Most of this paperwork is the glossy colour type that would look great on the site if my scanner hadn't packed up but I will get it done.  A great contribution from Roger who was going to bin them until he researched online and found the Boleyn Workshop website from where he offered them to me.  So please don't throw away any Coronet paperwork no matter how insignificant, stick it in an envelope and email me for my postal address.  Now back in July Dave Wood sent me a scan of a Coronet advert that he found in vol 96 no 2387 of Model Engineer magazine dated Thursday February 6th 1947.  I'm going to post it below as it somehow appeared in the depths of my laptop and am striking before it disappears again.  I'm sure you'll agree it is an excellent example and what a great insight into the earliest year of Coronet manufacturing.  The question is, would you splash out an extra 27 bob for a 36" long bed edition? I think we all know the answer to that.  Thanks a lot Dave, really appreciated.
Excuses Corner: Excuse no 363.  In June 2017 I acquired a Coronet Capitol planer on a free transfer from Tim in Devon.  Honestly guv it was my best intention to restore said machine to it's rightful glory but it just hasn't happened the spirit it was passed on to me I am passing it on to Niall in Southampton again on a free transfer.  Kind of like a maroon Neil Ruddock.  Sometimes we are merely custodians of these machines and that's the best excuse I can come up with.  Not bad if I say so myself.

Lastly before I wrap up for today I have been tracking back through my emails and realize that I have not replied to some.  I am going through them and replying.  I do apologize for this and as I already mentioned it has been an unprecedented year and do keep them coming.  It's your interest that helps keep mine going through through the testing times so thanks to all.  Keep it maroon. (PO red and post 76 blue)

October 1st

Events on this month's job sheet will include an overdue trip to the Workaid depot at Netley Marsh near Southampton.  It has been closed for for donations during lockdown but now I will be able to drop off the heap of tools that has accrued during the recent workshop sort out.  In this heap is also a fine 240v SIP chop saw donated by Majorette owner Kevin Cook during my visit to his workshop way back in February.  Also included are a lot of my late brother's metalworking, welding and steel erecting tools that came my way eventually and some of my own woodworking odds and ends.  All in all a good selection that will either became part of tool kits to go off to Kenya or be sold by Workaid to raise funds.
Posted  below is an item from the collection sent in by Roger Greenhalgh. 
Good old Frank, you could always rely on him when it came to the crunch.  Yep I'm going to get some mileage out of that one.  I think the rest of of the 1982/3 paperwork should have it's own page as it is such a fine snapshot of that era.

Finally I have located the pictures Paul Windle sent in from March showing himself making chessmen on his Coronet Major.  Please see the annotated pictures in the gallery below.  Note the "follower" in picture 4, a nifty little jig for repetitive turning.
Thanks for sending in the pictures Paul and sorry it's taken so long (6 months!) to get them up on the site.  It's good to see a delicate project being turned out on a Major and always interesting to get a little insight into another workshop.

The front of the Boleyn Workshop is now finished and looking great though I say so myself while looking through claret and blue tinted specs.

October 5th

In order to free up some space and stay within my sitebuilder limits I have had to cull a couple of pages using the least visited as the way to decide.  So it's goodbye to the Walker Turner tilt saw and WT scroll saw pages as they disappear off to the great recycle bin in the sky.  The scroll saw can still be seen in Julian Harrison's Workshop and who knows the tilt saw might one day too.  Maybe it's time to look for a new site host so if anyone knows of one that allows more than 2048MB for free and can be operated by a six year old then please let me know. (I chose Yola in the first instance as my then six year old daughter saw it featured on CBEEBIES in approx 2006 and then helped me set it up) And no I'm not kidding.

October 8th

For the past few years I've just had this nagging feeling that something has been missing from my life.  And not just a little something but something large, something major in fact.  It was hard to identify just what it was and I hadn't  quite been able to put my finger on it until today when I was able to put both my grubby hands on it.  I finally realized that what had I had been suffering from was a maroon coloured hole in my life and it was a major one.  The cure could only come from Derby, the Alfreton Road to be precise but for it to be dispensed I had to travel to Sunningdale in Berkshire.  Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Fay and Robin Gray I am now once again the proud owner of a Coronet Major.  The cure was immediately effective.  Yeah I know I said I would stick to the smaller Coronet range but once you've gone maroon you can't go back.  Or something like that.  It's a mid 1950s machine and you can see it below.  I feel better already.

October 12th

It's time to speak the truth.

It’s time I addressed an issue which pops up not infrequently in my Boleyn Workshop correspondence.  Just what exactly was Spock doing demonstrating Coronet Majors in the Alfreton Works showroom?  But is it actually him? I believe so.   It’s common knowledge that he and some crew of the USS Enterprise visited earth incognito during the running of the docudrama Star Trek which was first aired in 1966.  On several occasions the crew deliberately interfered with and changed events on Planet Earth.  What if the official remit for one of those missions was to infiltrate an English woodworking machinery manufacturer and improve their engineering with some alien technology?  It’s not completely unbelievable if you have seen the original series let alone the movie franchise (whales anyone?) or if you have seen a Coronet Universal Woodworker.  With assistance from my digital team (daughter) I have set two images of Spock if it is indeed him, side by side.  On the left he is demonstrating cutting a large plank using the Major saw table along with the combination table which remains out of sight.  And on the right he is relaxing and playing a game of three dimensional chess in his official First Officer uniform with the Star Fleet logo clearly emblazoned on the breast.  Tellingly there is no Coronet logo on the coverall he is sporting in the showroom and spookily both photos are in monochrome which is the perfect medium for disguising that interplanetary pallor.  For me the giveaways are not just the ears but the nose, eyebrows and the calm, Vulcan demeanour whether in work or at play.  It could be said that the ears on Showroom Spock are dissimilar to Sporting Spock but they would be, wouldn’t they if you were on an incognito mission to commit industrial improvement.  What clinches it for me is that let’s face it, to want to use Coronet machinery is well…logical.

October 17th

Meanwhile back to Earth and my ongoing terrestial quest for Coronet spares and attachments.  Two weeks ago I happened to win a 1966 planer/thicknesser in very good condition with an as new set of blades in it on an online auction site for the unlikely price of £8.50.  As it turned out I was the only bidder so I got it for the reserve price.  Today I drove down to Chard in Somerset to collect it with an old mate of mine for company somehow bypassing both Yandles and Axminster Tools.  Due to coronavirus I was unable to visit the workshop of the woodturner herself as it was attached to an old people's home which was a shame as she uses a Coronet Minor.  My own coronetvirus has been fairly rampant since bringing home the 1950s Major but sadly I have been unable to  transmit it to any of my family.  I had a long conversation with my old friend Derek Pyatt who identified a maroon object I had only seen once before in an email from a site visitor.  And no it wasn't my mum, the visitor that is.  Some time ago a chap called Rob had sent me a picture of a short extension bar that was attached to a smaller bed bar by an unusual maroon object.  I failed to recognise it but there was one in the Major picture above lurking behind the headstock and bed bar.  Derek identified this immediately as an early large bowl turning apparatus.  The large bar has a threaded stud which goes into the socket in the end of the bed bar headstock end.  The smaller bar, a section of original Minor bed bar has an early Minor/Home Cabinetmaker saddle (see advert above) attached to it (visible upside down in the picture) which then takes the banjo and tool rest.  It can be moved up and down via the slotted recess.  Derek tells me that originally there were only three holes which didn't allow much movement and eventually it was slotted out as in the picture.  It's interesting to find out about this little improvement, just one of many in the development of these fine old lathes and woodworking machines.  Derek was also able to supply me with an istruction manual for the Arcoy Dovetailer which can be seen in the far right of the picture.  There are pictures in Coronet brochures of this being used with the dovetail cutter in the end of the flexible drive shaft which gets attached to the inboard side of the spindle.  This shaft can be seen in the back of the photo too and is the only one I have ever come across myself.  In this galaxy anyway.  Next week I must make a bench to support the dry build of the old Major.

October 28th

Another old Major. 

Buoyed by the success of my recent trip to collect an old Major from Sunningdale in Berkshire I leapt at the chance to make another one this time to Torquay in Devon.  I recalled my journey to neighbouring Seaton in 2008 to assess an excitingly complete Coronet Minor on a factory stand complete with more paperwork than the average family saloon .   The Sunningdale Major had been a very complete early 1950s model that had a rectangular saw guide rail and took an 8” saw blade rather than the later ten incher favoured by discerning woodworkers and innuendo fans everywhere..  It’s overall condition was good if not more than half decent in fact.  This approximately sixty five year old model had less dinks and scrapes on the paintwork than many a later production.   On a closer and a more dribbling inspection the rear bed of the planer was found to still have the machining marks from the factory production line, not yet worn away by yard upon yard of planed timber.  But back to last week and the less than enthusiastic email that had enquired if I wanted to look at an old Major that needed shifting from a rundown hotel on the seafront.  The gist of it was would I come and cast an eye over this old Major with a view to removing it as soon as possible.  Apparently it had become more of a hindrance than a help in recent years and was now just simply getting in the way.  And besides the hotel had been sold and was scheduled for demolition in the not too far off distant future. Perhaps alarm bells should have begun ringing at this point and then again maybe they shouldn’t.  I certainly wasn't expecting to find this old Major below after a two hour trip down the A35.  Note to self:  in future identify what kind of old major you are actually going to look at before you leave.

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