Society of Model & Experimental Engineers offers engineering courses to bike restorers

When Stuart Budd began restoring a decrepit 1937 Royal Enfield Model S that had been discovered behind a Thai restaurant in Kent, he knew that he needed to develop some engineering skills.

He described the bike as “a lethal but just about running basket case” that needed a radical overhaul to bring it to the condition required.

Stuart’s 1937 Royal Enfield Model S is pictured stripped down at the start of the restoration.

At school, Stuart had wanted to make things in the well-equipped workshop, but no one there had the skills to teach machine use. His army career in The Royal Signals gave him many skills, but unfortunately engineering wasn’t one of them.

Attempts to find an evening engineering class were also unsuccessful, but a chance encounter at the London Model Engineering Exhibition enabled him to learn new skills on training courses run by The Society of Model & Experimental Engineers.

With restoration almost complete, the Enfield stands in front of Stuart’s now well-used Warco lathe.

Thanks to that organisation, he has now restored his bike to almost-roadworthy condition, and has tried it out around his Gloucestershire garden already.

Purists might criticise some features, but overall Stuart has kept the period look of a 1930s motorcycle, and says that the restoration was a great learning experience. He has also built a Pembleton car kit based on a Citroen 2CV chassis, and is now developing other model engineering skills by making a small oscillating steam engine at a SMEE class.

Before joining the classes, Stuart had never used a lathe, but with new skills developed by practising at home, he has used his Warco lathe to turn ferrules, machine a front brake adjuster and turn all the engine-mounting spacers to the correct length. He has also turned a sleeve to support the outer primary chain.

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