Picture the scene. You are working in your workshop and there is a thump to indicate that you have knocked something off your overcrowded workbench and onto the floor. Look down and there is a bottle of cyanoacrylate glue lying there. So you pick it up and place it in a safe place, possibly behind a tin of dope. (Note for newer readers: Dope is a substance which incurable romantics still use to finish toy aeroplanes.)
Ten minutes later there is a thump which announces that you have knocked something else off the bench. Look down and - guess what - there lies the bottle of cyano again! Now the chances are that, despite the overcrowded nature of the bench, nothing else has found its way onto the floor all evening.
After a while one comes to the inescapable conclusion that cyano bottles have a remarkable affinity to floors and will not be denied by normal preventative measures. If you are, like me, in danger of becoming paranoid about the situation, it helps to reflect on just how many magazine hints have been published which are aimed at this very problem.
Unfortunately, the problem does not end there.
Cyano has the property to find its way into small crevices with great speed due to what is known as capillary attraction. This means that it is very runny and tends not to stay in one place. It is also reluctant to 'go off' when in a large volume and will not glue items together if too much is applied.
Yet those two pieces of balsa, which refuse to stick to each other because they are swimming in cyano, are both firmly stuck to your fingers!
When that bottle fell on the floor, you did not notice that drops of glue were splashed onto your shoes, did you? Never fear, you will notice those large blobs of solidified glue later!
Thank your lucky stars that it is inanimate!
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the way that many modellers join wing halves together. This usually involves some massive reinforcement and has even led to the sale of wing joining kits.
It is a well established fact that most good glued joints are stronger than the material being glued - we are talking about wood, remember. From this, it follows that simply butt gluing the two halfs of a wing together should be quite adequate for the job (in fact, no less a modeller than Sean Bannister does just that, with satisfactory results). For those of us with less confidence in our ability, a single layer of one inch wide nylon tape secured with balsa cement (remember that?) should be more than sufficient.
Where the wing is attached to the bottom of the fuselage, the maximum bending moment will not occur at the wing centre in any case, but at the fuselage side. Many of the generally used wing joint reinforcing methods end here and merely make matters worse.
The usually advised system of using glassfibre tape and resin to reinforce the joint can only be described as an overkill of ginormous proportions. Not only does this increase weight to no good effect, it usually ends at the worse possible place. Efforts to produce a smooth transition between the reinforcement and the wing surface usually weakens things even further.
I have this vision of archaeologists, a few thousand years hence, digging up the centre sections of model wings and wondering what on earth they are!
Your editor, Alec Gee, is a man of many talents and great intelligence, as I have reminded you all before. During a recent conversation he produced a quite remarkable theory concerning the nature of Argus Specialist Publications, and Wolsey House in particular, which initially made me think that his imagination matched his other qualities. Further reflection, however, has given me great cause for thought, since it all makes terrifying sense.
The basis of the idea is that Wolsey House is a mental hospital and all its employees are actually patients. Part of the therapy is to convince them that they are producing a magazine and have some real purpose in life. A small number of magazines are actually produced to help the illusion. Further credence is given by the Doctors and staff producing letters which are supposed to be from readers. Some of these are deliberately made very stupid so as to help the inmates overcome their inferiority complex.
What makes the whole idea so frighteningly real is that the bottom floor of Wolsey House is a health centre! A little further thought leads to the obvious conclusion that the magazine contributers, who are not full time employees, are outpatients. Most of them find it necessary to visit the offices at some time or other, which is obviously the opportunity for the staff to give them a check-up.
In the writers own case, I used to be fully employed by ASP but now work elsewhere. Obviously, I had improved to the point where only outpatient status was necessary. This also explains why the magazine offices are one of the few places where I feel really happy and why I would dearly love to return to working there.
Perhaps we should all feel sorry for Alec and others such as Ron Moulton who have actually escaped to work for other parts of the ASP empire but have since been forced to return for further treatment. By the same token, congratulations are due to those who have managed to sever all connections with the company.
Obviously, if the theory is true it will be necessary to edit this portion of this months column and you will have a rather truncated version. On the other hand, if you are reading this, it must all be just a mad theory.
Wait a minute, what am I talking about? If it is true, you will not be reading this anyway since the magazine will only go out to a few inmates (if you see what I mean). So they might as well publish it anyway.
Hmmm! Alec, I wish you hadn't told me.