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About Huckster

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    Lightly Roasted

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  1. Damn - now you’ve got me me thinking about a matching steam knob!!!
  2. Another coat of Osmo oil-wax last night and that’s my upgraditis cured for a little while!! Much better balanced than the plastic one and hopefully longer lasting after all that effort. Makes the dear old Classic look quite classy I think...
  3. Could be any number of electrical faults but when my Classic starting blowing fuses I traced it back to the solenoid actuator using a multimeter. This was cracked and shorting to the body of the solenoid and therefore straight to earth...
  4. Looks pretty good all the same!
  5. Looks pretty good all the same!
  6. Hi, I was surprised how well the bolt held the middle piece of wood, I left very little play between the metal and the rebate, also where the bolt bites onto the wood I left the chain of drill holes unfinished so it compressed as the bolt was tightened. By default it will also be held by the adhesive - gorilla glue expands like mad as it cures! The shape of the portafilter stub does not help, it’s too short and wide for the length of the retaining bolt really. Time will tell how it copes with constant use but I deliberately left as much “meat” around the metal as possible. I did consider a longer bolt right through the length of the handle but a) I didn’t have one. b) I didn’t think I could drill the hole straight enough. c) I didn’t have a drill bit long enough. d) I thought it would spoil the finish. You can’t really see the joints between the layers of wood, the grain just changes direction. Again time will tell how it copes with use and expansion/contraction of the metal inside... If all else fails I will just split the wooden handle off and fit another nasty plastic one! Follow this post and I will update in a few weeks.
  7. Last night I spent a bit more time working on the handle with the electric sander, taking off the corners until I had 16 faces and then finally rounding it off. I then moved onto sanding by hand with finer and finer grit ultimately polishing it with some wet and dry paper - dry obviously! Being so hard it came up smooth as a babies bottom and I was tempted to leave it like that but would only have got stained during use so I gave it a coat of Osmo oil-wax satin finish. It looked a bit garish at first but has dried a bit more subtle overnight. I will give it a second coat tonight but have to say I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out:
  8. Thanks, I’m thinking of using the same oil-wax finish that I used on the table in the photos, it’s fairly matt and should bring out the grain nicely...
  9. I’ve had another go with the sander today, it’s slow and dusty work but quite rewarding, I sacrificed a couple of knuckles along the way though... Stage 3 - Roughed out the top and bottom faces of the handle. Stage 4 - Marked out and sanded the corners off to give an octagonal shape. Quite pleased with shape so far and it’s starting to feel more balanced in the hand already. I’d like to take off a bit more weight at the top of the handle but think I should leave as much as possible to maintain strength at the joint...
  10. Stage 2 - The Gorilla glue seems to have worked thankfully, I would have preferred to use West System epoxy but didn’t have any at hand. I roughed up the contact surfaces with the hand saw and damped them down well as Oak can be tricky to glue up. I trimmed the handle to length and cut off the corners with the hand saw - the wood is hard as iron and without a vice this was hard work, much swearing involved but all fingers intact! Stage 3 - Roughing out the shape was difficult, I tried an angle grinder but only have a metal cutting disk which didn’t really touch the oak and got very hot & smokey... I abandoned this and moved onto a vibrating sander with fairly coarse grit paper, this is a bit slow going but did the job in the end:
  11. I’ve always thought the plastic portafilter handle on the Gaggia Classic looked a bit cheap, so when the latest one broke I decided to make myself a wooden one as a lockdown project... Then I realised I didn’t have access to a workshop or any of the tools I required but never mind - I like a challenge! Stage one - I found some offcuts of oak in my 7 year old son’s tool kit. Using a rip saw, electric drill and chisel I cut out a rebate for the “tang” of the portafilter and cut a hole for the retaining bolt - all without the aid of a vice! I then cut out a few holes in the other pieces oak so they fit together snuggly and I have laminated them together with Gorilla glue, one spring cramp and some insulating tape. Let’s see how it looks in the morning!
  12. Mission accomplished! Cleaning inside the ground coffee hopper (?) was tricky as I couldn’t remove it from the machine due to the wiring for the auto stop switch. The wires are all soldered to the terminals in the switch and not accessible from inside the base. Relieved to find the burrs in pretty good condition (as far as I can tell) and the bearings nice and smooth so I didn’t delve any further inside.
  13. If anyone in the Brighton area is interested there is a 2004 ECM Giotto up for £200 on Facebook market place - I know it's not E-bay/Gumtree but thought this was the best place to mention it! It looks in good order and I have tried to buy it myself but I'm not local enough to pick it up given the lockdown; the seller agreed to let me arrange a courier but doesn't have a Paypal account (which has buyer protection) and I was not prepared to risk a bank transfer. Could be worth popping around with the cash if you are local... I can't post a link but if you search "ECM Giotto Home Espresso machine" and expand your search area you should find it:
  14. Thanks to all the roasters out there keeping us going in these difficult times... I think the parcel delivery services are starting to struggle now though; Royal Mail has been promising to deliver my parcel from Rave for 3 days now... I resorted to running some supermarket pre-ground cafetière coffee through the grinder this morning - not a great success!
  15. With a bit of enforced time on my hands I’m going to take the plunge and give my La San Marco 90A grinder a birthday and would welcome any advice please!
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