View Full Version : Objects of obsession

13th Nov 2014, 19:38
On one of the recent screeds, someone made a comment about gun-fondlers.

I proceeded to my gunroom and selected a particularly choice .275 Rigby as a test item.

It's definitely something worthy of fondling, especially when it's undressed from the stock, and a little attention is paid to the action with ballistol.

I then looked at a few other items in the same neck of the woods, and found a Swedish Abu Garcia reel from my late grandfather's collection, and proceeded to take it apart and fondle a few of the bronze gears that needed a bit of attention. After restoring it to a condition better than most of my current collection of Shimano high-end tackle,

I then went on to a 1960's vintage Vandegraff generator that I'd been meaning to fix for my kids since I got it from a local museum that couldn't be bothered to keep it up. I made a new bronze bearing and carrier for the upper brush. I cleaned the belt and rewired the motor.

It now has a truly terrifying arc capacity.

I spent a least an hour with each of these examples of fine craftsmanship, and realized, after 50 years of dealing with mechanisms of all sorts, that it has nothing to do with purpose (read: ability to kill someone), and everything to do with method and execution when it comes to exacting pleasure from a mechanical device.

wings folded
13th Nov 2014, 19:56
For me, it is vintage Leica cameras and altimeters (possibly include VSIs and ASIs)

I fall over backwards in admiration at the simplicity yet sophistication of the mechanisms.

I do shoot, but only with my Leicas.

Just a personal choice. Not lecturing to anybody. And I have altimeters calibrated in inches of Hg as well as those calibrated in whatever it is (hectothingies or millithingies).

(where does mercury come from? Well H.G.Wells of course)

13th Nov 2014, 20:23
For me, it is vintage Leica cameras

I still have a Cannon AE-1 35mm camera and it still takes great photos, better than my wife's semi-expensive digital camera.

Problem is getting the film and then getting the photos developed without spending, what I think, is too much money.

I have no idea how old it is, at least over 30 years old.

Also, getting the photos or slides into a digital format. But that is most likely due to my computer ignorance. :(

13th Nov 2014, 20:24
421dog I'm most envious of your Abu reel, is it a fixed spool or a multiplier? When I was back in school I saved for ages to buy an ABU 10'10'' Legerlite rod in 1976, from memory about £35. The modern stuff is nowhere near as robust and I know of professional fisherman trashing their modern multipliers over a winter season fishing for bass.

wings folded
13th Nov 2014, 20:32
It dates from the mid seventies to the mid eighties, con-pilot.

An excellent camera, but way too modern for my tastes. My favourite (amend spelling to suit your taste) Leica in my collection is a Leica II from 1935.

I wish I could have afforded a Leica I when I was a wee sprog. I could have had one for about three pounds sterling, but I did not have three pounds sterling then. :{

tony draper
13th Nov 2014, 21:10
Most chaps seem to be born with the collecting gene,in my schooldays even the school bully would collect summat stamps ciggy cards furrin coins train numbers but they all collected,seems to have died out over the last fifty years.
The Women folk still have this gene to a lesser extent but it doesn't manifest itself until slightly later in life and always seems to be for shoes.

13th Nov 2014, 21:16
It dates from the mid seventies to the mid eighties, con-pilot.

Thank you.

I bought mine when they first came out, so being 30 years old is close. I have three different lenses for it, original that came with the camera, long range (a big sucker) and a portrait.

After standing on the edge of the runway at Edwards AFB for the first mated takeoff of the shuttle Enterprise and the 747 without a camera, I always had a camera in the cockpit with me ever since.

Well up to when I retired.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
13th Nov 2014, 21:21
Con, I've got an AE-1 as well. Its leather case is scratched from hundreds of hours tucked down the side of the seat in the Chipmunk (nowhere else to stow it in that aeroplane) but the camera itself is pristine. I used to love using it - I grew to know its features so well I didn't need to think about how to get the best from it (no tedious menus back then - it was all done instantly by twirling a knob or pressing a button).

I haven't used it in years for the reasons you state. And I miss it; so much more intuitive than my modern Canon G12.

This is another of my objects of obsession:

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/IMG_3008r_zpsedc8ebd8.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/IMG_3008r_zpsedc8ebd8.jpg.html)

wings folded
13th Nov 2014, 21:29

If you find me camera-less, it is because I have been mugged. :E

13th Nov 2014, 21:41
This requires constant attention, needs proper English spanners and wadpol


13th Nov 2014, 21:41
Yes, a Leica was my dream once, too, never achieved, but I do have a couple of 120 roll film size Super Ikontas circa 1938 ( can't get the film y'know) and a Speed Graphic 4x5 Press camera - the sort all the photographers mobbing 1940's film stars are seen wielding, with the large chromium tube supporting the flash head attached, and "somewhere" in my garage I have a Sanderson brass and mahogany 1/2 plate Field Camera, bellows, ground glass focussing screen, tripod, black cloth over the head variety, half a dozen lenses of various focal lengths, and a roller blind shutter tensioned by a bit of cord bearing a little woollen bobble on the end, for easier pulling, then released by squeezing a rubber bulb on the end of a tube attached to the shutter release mechanism. Complete with 1/2 plate glass plate holders.

For all my aviation career I used, and still have, the dividers that my Grandmother bought for my father as a 14 yr. old engineering apprentice in 1920. They were part of a 'draughtsman' set of drawing tools, compasses, extensions, little tubes of pencil leads to put on the end of the drawing bits etc. all contained in a black leather case with indentations the shape of each bit, and lined with beige suede. I still have the lot, tho' never used anything but the dividers for chart plotting work whilst navigating. Still do when the iPad fails. ( tho' a pencil marked off with 10 mile lengths is usually good enough these days ! )

Once walking through the back streets of Delhi, came across some brass prismatic bearing compasses, floating Mother of Pearl disc, parts of the lid extending to form a 'sight'. Engraved W.D. 1914 ( with the W.D. Broad Arrow ) they were used as bearing compasses for Infantry during the British Raj era. painted black to prevent the sun glinting off them and betraying the gunners position, a generation of Indians had painstakingly rubbed all the paint off them and polished them to a glistening brass appearance. Paid five pounds and took it home, where I was beseeched by my friends to get them one too, so went back next trip to Delhi to oblige. Sorry, Sahib, said the shopkeeper, a Lufthansa Captain came last week and bought the whole lot !!

om 15 - I was born in Huddersfield, too ! AVH rego.

ShaggySheepDriver Canon G12. When my Canon A95 died last year I was in Singapore, and decided to go shopping for the G12, of which I had some knowledge. No way, ancient history, why not buy the now G17 I was told by every trader. No, I said, 'cos the G12 had revived a previously abandoned articulated focussing screen, plus a look-through optical viewfinder, but have since gone back to fixed screens again. I trudged around the city to no avail, and was dejectedly walking back to the hotel when a shopkkeeper leaped out and accosted me, as they do, and insisted that I peruse his collection of mega-expensive cameras. No, I told him, I'm only looking for a Canon G12 and they no longer exist. Yes, he said, I have one !

Turned out he still had a demo. model on his shelf, new but fondled by many hands of course, and he was delighted to get rid of it, no demand now, he said, everyone wants the latest model, so I bargained him down to a very attractive price, and am delighted with it, tho' I'm only about 1/2 way through the 212 page User Manual that I downloaded a few months ago !

I consider the articulated screen and the optical finder essential, proved this year when I reluctantly took only my wife's shirt pocket sized Kodak Easyshare point-and-shoot camera to Europe. Not the same, most compositions were a guess, screen angled at the wrong angle for viewing, and reflecting bright sunlight. Grrrr! Should have listened to myself !

13th Nov 2014, 21:46
This just needs the wadpol


13th Nov 2014, 21:46
I have a few...

S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum 8 3/8" barrel.
Not too many moving parts, but beautiful blue steel.

Curta mechanical calculator.
Thousands of moving gears and parts. Truly a piece of never to be repeated, craftsmanship.

Leica M6
Again thousands of moving parts, combined with some electronics. The shine, the polish, the mechanical exactness is exhilarating.

13th Nov 2014, 22:08
is it a fixed spool or a multiplier?

Sorry, I had to resort to wikipedia to figure out what you were asking.

This side, we call them Spinning and Baitcasting reels respectively.

This is an Abu 2650 baitcaster (with a decoupler which stops the handle from spinning while casting, but doesnt decouple the gear train or the levelwind)

Had some green specks on the gears, but after a hydrocarbon bath, a little bronze wool, and judicious application of some lithium grease, it just flows.

I'm itching, with the first snowfall here in Mi, to break out the 90 hp river skiff and go for a steelie or two,
(and I have a 10' flyblank steelhead rod which I'm gonna re-guide and seat for a baitcaster_.

I dunno if gramps (his friends called him Hap) ever caught a steelhead, but I'm fairly certain he'd have been up for it.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
13th Nov 2014, 22:19
ExSp33db1rd, yes a camera without a viewfinder is not a lot of good, and the swivel screen on the G12 is great.

What I miss most is the AE-1's ability to do narrow depth of field, to blur a foreground or background to highlight a subject. These digital cameras just won't do that (probably because of the small physical size of the sensor compared to 35mm film).

13th Nov 2014, 22:21
Tools. Not all tools, but well designed and made woodworking tools that will not just do the job, but do an excellent job if well tuned and maintained. I suspect that the gene is hereditary, as I'm still using my father's and grandfather's tools.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
13th Nov 2014, 22:26
OM15, I used to have real one of those:

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/DSC03711res.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/DSC03711res.jpg.html)

PPRuNe Towers
13th Nov 2014, 22:46
About that Speed Graphic ExSp33db1rd,

My favourite large format photographer, David Burnett, took on the 2012 London Olympics with that wonderful camera. I hope you enjoy the 'look!'

David Burnett's Speed Graphic Photos of the London 2012 Olympics (http://petapixel.com/2013/02/08/david-burnetts-speed-graphic-photos-of-the-london-2012-olympics/)


13th Nov 2014, 23:06
Rack up another Canon AE-1. It still takes excellent shots, but again for the reasons listed above I no longer use it.

John Hill
13th Nov 2014, 23:08
I do have one gun type thing in my cupboard..

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3674/12111411135_577c7d83f9.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/jsf9zn)big boys photosniper (https://flic.kr/p/jsf9zn) by MrJohnHill (https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

13th Nov 2014, 23:26
I still have my Nikkormat fTN, bought 1970 because I couldn't afford a proper Nikon F.
The shutter went wonky a couple of years ago. I paid a fair chunk of cash to an old-style repairman to fix it, even though, like Con, using a film camera is not practical any more.

Good stuff needs to work. Even if you don't use it.

14th Nov 2014, 00:04
About that Speed Graphic ExSp33db1rd,

Nice, thanks.

Large Format still takes a bit of beating, I started with 12"x10" glass plates, but I guess that would be a bit passe these days !

14th Nov 2014, 00:36
And on the other end of the scale, I have about dozen Minox cameras.

14th Nov 2014, 01:16
If it ticks, moves on four wheels or goes bang I'll try to fix it.

My favorite example of classic craftsmanship is a single-pendulum clock I bought in Norfolk around 1969. After fixing the case and glass I turned my attention to the movement expecting the worst. The movement was actually in quite good condition but the greatest surprise was at the end of the legs of the anchor escapement. The maker had provided detachable claws on the escapement that were already shaped to be reversed when the original faces became worn. Amazing craftsmanship, you make a clock that will last 100 years then you build in simply reversible parts that allow it to run for another 100.

The clock is ticking away in the background right now in the entrance way to our home. Only 45 years since I rebuilt it but is certainly good for the next 60 years.


14th Nov 2014, 02:11
Yeah, I've got a couple of clocks that age, haven't checked the reverse escapemant tho'. Planned obsolescence certainly wasn't part of the vocabulary in those days, more a pride in making things that would last.

Like a hand-tooled, leather topped, knee-hole desk that I'm using right now. I did make an enquiry as to its worth recently - we call that "Brown furniture, no one wants it these days " I was told. More's the pity.

Loose rivets
14th Nov 2014, 02:57
Yeah, I was told that. I stuck to my guns and tried again and again on e-thingie. Finally a bloke flew in from HK. He knew what my mother's chairs were and if they had to go, I'm glad it was someone who would cherish them.

A 7' 6" heavy oak sideboard finally went into a well known local building. I said I'd never sell it and if things got bat I'd put a roof on in and move in.

A rather nice coffer failed to sell, but a smaller one that I'd described as "The wood around the lock has been replaced by someone with one brain cell and an huge saw." (Not kidding, that's what I put.) sold to a specialist in pre 1700 carving and made my buy now price.

14th Nov 2014, 08:15
Another candidate for the 'nice old, but useless camera collection'.

A couple of Pentax MX's with associated lens', motor drive, multipliers, extension tubes, et al.

But for real fondling appreciation, I prefer a nice watch.

This one, a half hunter, was my great grand dads.


John Hill
14th Nov 2014, 08:33
Ian, I have two of these 500mm f2 lenses....

They would go well with an MX!

There is an example pic from it here http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/579/whitecatan8.jpg

SMT Member
14th Nov 2014, 09:02
Watches. Automatic watches. My salary will only support an IWC fetish, but every fiber in my body yearns for a Lange & Söhne. There's 'just' the small matter of finding EUR 30.000 (I'm obviously not looking at the expensive L&S offerings, you understand) to settle ...

14th Nov 2014, 09:04

Mine is a Makinon 500mm F8, it was a opportunist buy. I was travelling with BA from the Miami to Johannesburg via Heathrow, with a night-stop in London.

Makinon had just gone bust and Jessops were selling off their stock. I got up to their Swiss Cottage branch and bought the lens, some extension tubes and a 3 x multiplier. It was probably my last serious spend on 'analogue' camera kit.

Such kit was always expensive in SA. I was lucky in that my work caused me to travel to the USA and Europe quite a lot.

14th Nov 2014, 09:42
Re "brown" furniture. I've got a house full of it which cost me next to nothing in the years after I first married. I've seen it rocket in value, and fall back down again, but frankly I don't care. Thanks to good craftsmanship and solid wood it will see me out, and my kids who have already got notional stickers with their names on on various pieces!

14th Nov 2014, 10:21
It's guitars and related stringed instruments with me. Always cleaning, restringing, experimenting with pickups, pre-amps or gold-plated brass bridge pins. I now buy custom sets of hand-wound strings for the acoustic instruments. Electric pride of place still goes to the 1974 hand-built twin-neck. Of the acoustics, it'd be the 1994 Rob Armstrong, again hand-built.

14th Nov 2014, 10:34
Shaggy Sheep Driver, I have owned four Hinkley Triumphs, good build quality, reliable and don't leak, but as you say, not like the real thing.

However for unreliability, oil leaks, poor brakes and high maintenance requirements I prefer BSA.

I bet you wished you had kept your Bonnie, very sought after and rising values, some very pristine examples around, you have whetted my appetite...

Another Triumph I wish I had kept


Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Nov 2014, 12:19
The Bonnie I had was a late Meriden machine, a 1979 T140D special. The one to really have is a late T120, probably 1969 was the best year. Mine even had mag wheels, disc brakes (not very effective!), and electronic ignition (as origal equipment). But it was a lot cheaper than a T120!

It did leak oil, and was sometimes a bugga to start (kick start of course - not good for aging knees!). It sounded nice, went well, handled superbly (I even rode it round the TT circuit), and in the 3 years I had it it never broke down. But I always thought it might! I sold it for pretty much what I paid for it, but the values of the T140s isn't rising as the T120s are.

I replaced it with the Moto Guzzi Griso in my other post here. That is awsome - 1,200cc V twin with Termignoni exhaust; sounds like a Spitfire (howls and roars when you open up, crackles and pops on the over-run!). And it's electric start!

14th Nov 2014, 13:11
Not in the same league as some of you chaps but, on the camera front, a Wrayflex with 35mm, 50mm, and 135mm lenses (all Wray of course) a shelf full of Kodak Retinas from the pre-war I up to the 1960s IIc, IIC, IIIc and IIIC, and several boxes of Ensigns and other makes, mostly pre-war, some back to 1905 or so and my first SLR a 1950 Kine Exakta with a shutter that sounds like a bomb going off when you release it.

I also have a No 3A Folding Pocket Kodak marketed by the Canadian Kodak Company of Toronto picked up at a local auction for about £6 a few years ago. Nothing special about the camera except that the owner wrote his name and address inside the leather case: Corpl G W Jenkins, R.N.W.M Police, Beaver Crossing, Alberta and the date 1914. How it got from there to Northwest England I shall probably never know.

My favourite firearm is my 1964 Winchester Model 52D 0.22LR target rifle which I used for prone shooting from 1968 up to 1999 when it finally became too heavy for me and which I now use for benchrest shooting fitted with a 8-32 x 44 Nikko-Sterling scope. Used with care (and good ammo) it will take the spot out of the centre of the target every time. When I bought it a gunsmith told me that the barrel was good for at least 100,000 rounds - I reckon I've put about 60,000 through it so far so it should see me out (and hopefully provide a few years entertainment for my son as well).


14th Nov 2014, 13:19
Objects of my obsession. (Other than boobs.)





14th Nov 2014, 15:21
SSD, this may interest you, if your lottery number comes up

Triumph T140 Bonneville 1979 (http://www.gbmotorcycles.com/page58.html)

or, if it comes up twice, this one,

Triumph T120 Bonneville 1960 (http://www.gbmotorcycles.com/page82.html)

out of my price range, but still able to get a reasonable running AJS or similar unfashonable old single for a couple of grand if you want something to devote waking hours to.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Nov 2014, 15:48
That T140 is the model before mine, T140E (E for Emissions) with the rear caliper under the disk. Mine was the T140D (D for Daytona) by when they'd put the caliper above the disc where it was better protected from spray etc. And mine was cheaper than that!

Here's a view of mine (nearer of the two) parked at a Cheshire pub. The bike behind it is my mate's Trident, which I rode for a bit that day. Didn't handle as well as the Bonnie.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/2TrumpetsatWhippingStocks1-1.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/2TrumpetsatWhippingStocks1-1.jpg.html)

Here's a closer view.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/DSC02161res.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/DSC02161res.jpg.html)

This is what I'd consider the ultimate Bonnie, a 1969 T120, US spec, immaculate. About ten grands worth! :eek:


Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Nov 2014, 16:20
Someone mentioned mechanical calculators. I've got these two mechanical devices, an adding and a calculator, both in working condition.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/addingmachine.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/addingmachine.jpg.html)

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/BurroughsABC-1.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/BurroughsABC-1.jpg.html)

14th Nov 2014, 16:55
SSD nice bike, looks in perfect condition, the guzzi is a beautiful bike I have admired them as well. You mention the kick start, I used to have a Yamaha XT500, still have the welts on my right calve from kick backs! much prefer a button to do the work.

14th Nov 2014, 17:14
One of my favourite possessions is an antique 'technical drawing' set in a case, lined with black velvet with indentations to take the various implements. Most are made from solid brass and the quality of the milled miniscule brass wheels to adjust the thickness of any line made when the calipers are dipped in ink have to be seen to be believed. It is a shame I have never really used them but I certainly appreciate the engineering skill that went into making them. :)

14th Nov 2014, 17:23
I like old British 'bikes of most types.

However, this one has it's ancestry in the one that put them all to shame in the early 1970s and precipitated the end of the rather outdated, traditional way of thinking:

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/shytorque/IMG_0718.jpg (http://s7.photobucket.com/user/shytorque/media/IMG_0718.jpg.html)

14th Nov 2014, 18:08
The Honda bikes were the revolution in the 1970s, reliable and of reasonable quality, the British motorcycle industry was really reflecting the general malaise of the UK at the time, poor investment, poor management and suicidal trade unions, the last knockings that struggled on at Meriden really couldn't compete.
The Triumph marque that emerged under John Bloor in the early nineties was a match for the Jap imports, I had an early Trident 900 and the build quality was absolutely first class, over the years the Triumphs have become top of the range British bikes, I must admit the quality has been reduced slightly to achieve costs, but completely reliable and well engineered.
Another old British name is now back with us, Norton at Donington Hall are manufacturing exciting and beautiful bikes, the Commando is back in production, this from their web site,
Norton exports to Japan (http://www.nortonmotorcycles.com/news/2014/07/04/norton-exports-to-japan/)
July 04 2014
Norton are pleased to announce further shipments of Commando 961 motorcycles into Japan. Following the recent re-location of the factory to Donington Hall, production volumes at Norton are increasing and export volumes are growing strongly. The Japanese shipment follows on from first exports to California last month, this saw the first new Norton bikes there for some 40 years. Australia is the next new territory for Norton, with exports anticipated to commence in coming short months following a successful homologation process for the territory.

I have owned Jap bikes in the past, economical, easy to fix, good commuter bikes, but now enjoy the challenge of the old British bikes with their leaky ways, and the modern engineered British bikes with their safe reliable and good quality value.

14th Nov 2014, 20:48
I have a couple of sextants, neither of any historical import, but I am fascinated by them in the same way I was by my first e6b which died the death of a thousand too sharp pencil leads in an effort for better accuracy. I'm always on the lookout for the next hedge against satellite implosion.

tony draper
14th Nov 2014, 22:15
To complete my collection of Mr Sam Colts products I need a Paterson a Walker and one of the Dragoons,if any of you Merican chaps have any lying about the place doing nowt.

14th Nov 2014, 22:35
One of my favourite possessions is an antique 'technical drawing' set in a case, lined with black velvet with indentations to take the various implements. Most are made from solid brass and the quality of the milled miniscule brass wheels to adjust the thickness of any line made when the calipers are dipped in ink have to be seen to be believed. It is a shame I have never really used them but I certainly appreciate the engineering skill that went into making them. :)

This? I forgot I have one…


15th Nov 2014, 00:29
.....by my first e6b

Still have my E6B, circa. 1956, and later picked up a "Dalton Computer", black box with roller blind to move the wind vector, and the slide rule bit on the back. A superior version had the slide rule on a hinged lid, on the top, so that the whole could be strapped to the leg like a mini-clipboard. One of my early navigation instructors used that sort - on a Boeing Stratocruiser !

15th Nov 2014, 05:50
Still have several sets of drafting instruments, Beaufort1 & Dushan, but it's a long time since I've used them. Wild would have been top of the tree.

Those instruments were joy to use, drafting on linen. Sadly, they were overtaken by the Rotring type pens and plastic drafting film. It's probably impossible to buy any of them now.

Solid Rust Twotter
15th Nov 2014, 06:14
... I need a Paterson a Walker and one of the Dragoons...

The real thing or replicas, Mr D? Replicas are pretty reasonable but the real thing costs an arm and a leg. Replicas may be a good bet if you intend shooting. I'd be too afraid I'd damage the real thing if it was a hundred years old or more. Even back then they occasionally blew up and modern powders tend to be of better quality than the stuff they used back in the day.

One lusts for a cased sextant with the reduction tables bound in leather. Saw a really nice WW2 U-boat sextant in a case with the boat's details on the lid, but very pricey and no reduction tables with it.

15th Nov 2014, 06:27
Still got a couple of 35mm cameras, a Pentax MX that I bought in Hong Kong in 1976 and Nikon FG-20 with a 36-72mm zoom 1:3.5 lens. Often tempted to do a bit of B&W again.

Couple of rifles too, a 1908 Carl Gustave 6.5 in beautiful condition and an unissued 1955 No.4 Mk2 UK Fazakerley .303, in near mint condition, taken out of the delivery box five years ago, prepared for 'service', as it were and only shot 215 rounds since.