I've always been practical and made wooden toys for my children. In 1997 I went to Covent Garden and saw the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. It isn't there now but the people are still around [they have a touring show at Herstmonceux Observatory Science Centre this month] and that inspired me to make mechanical models.
When I retired from the county council, I had a passion to sit and whittle in a shop window somewhere. But my dream fell apart when I realised how much that would cost. So I set up in the back of my garage with a scroll saw, a pillar drill and a sander. I have since built a lovely workshop in the garden with a panoramic view!
My most useful tool is my bandsaw. When I make cogs, I spray-mount the outline onto a piece of wood and cut all those little teeth out with the blade. It's brilliant but you have to keep your fingers out the way.
I've got a great stock of old bits of wood; it's all recycled, donated or off-cuts. I just have to buy a bit of 6mm dowel occasionally.
I very rarely draw plans before I start. I just sketch things out in my book. Sometimes I have a better idea when I’m making something and then change the design to get it working differently.
You can't really appreciate the models unless they're moving. I let adults and children operate them as long as they're careful. If anything gets broken it can always be mended. People love studying the models to see how they work. And that's what encourages me to carry on.
As told to Mark Bridge
21 Gundreda Road, Sat 29 to Mon 31, 2pm - 5pm.
First published in Viva Lewes magazine issue 107, August 2015.