Kidís Shops, then and now? - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    “ Like Dad, they will just hire a Handyman for a day. Done!”

    How true but think of what they will miss, I can never get out of my mind helping my father replace a toilet seat. These were the days before plastic bolts, maybe even before brass. Because I was the one who at 10 or 11 years old had to crawl on the floor behind and under the toilet and cut the bolts off with my Dremel tool. That was because I was small enough to fit.

    Priceless as they might say.

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  3. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    “ Like Dad, they will just hire a Handyman for a day. Done!”

    How true but think of what they will miss, I can never get out of my mind helping my father replace a toilet seat. These were the days before plastic bolts, maybe even before brass. Because I was the one who at 10 or 11 years old had to crawl on the floor behind and under the toilet and cut the bolts off with my Dremel tool. That was because I was small enough to fit.

    Priceless as they might say.
    I don't disagree with you and also had helped my Dad when I was growing up. Those that I describe are totally clueless and happy as a clam.

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    Yes, but we all know clams get eaten.

    So should we feel guilty when I guy with a screwdriver comes over to the clueless folks big house to fix something and overcharges them?

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  6. #44
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    "Lots of kids growing up won't have a shop to learn in because their father growing up didn't have one either."

    Ah, actually have another take on that situation. Not that there wasn't (isn't, actually) a workbench in the house I
    grew up in. It's still there.

    Now don't get me wrong here. Just had dinner with my 90 year old dad, who is still living in the same house. He's
    an amazingly active biologist to still publishes a terrific number of papers, still goes on field trips.

    But I actually owe most of my egineering ability to him. Because he was a terrible home repair person. All of
    my electrical wiring skills, all my plumbing skills, all of my mechanic skills, I owe to him because I over-compensated
    for his example when I was growing up.

    Ah the stories I can tell. Vaporized screwdrivers. Water spraying out from under the kitchen sink.

    So don't fret. Even kids wtih no workshop at all, can still grow up with 'the knack.'

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  8. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    Yes, but we all know clams get eaten.

    So should we feel guilty when I guy with a screwdriver comes over to the clueless folks big house to fix something and overcharges them?
    Not at all. Why? When the Zombie Apocalypse hits or the giant solar flair destroys all technology, the ones with the screwdrivers and wrenches will survive. Won't be much need for Play-station gaming experts or C-sharpe programmers.

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  10. #46
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    We joke about the "knack" all the time

    Dilbert: The Knack
    YouTube

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  12. #47
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    I have to agree with Jim's take - and dkmc as well.

    It is a joke in our family. I'm the engineer who grew up tearing everything apart from an early age, messed with cars (both as a teen ager and now), built the house we live in, etc.). My wife is by trade an English teacher - but I have always joked that if I did not 'have the knack' she would have shot me - she grew up with 7 older brothers who could between them do pretty much anything. She fully expected that I would be capable to build her a house, for instance. A couple of her brothers had - what's the big deal?

    We have two grown kids. Not for lack of trying - they both spent time in the shop with me. They were forced to perform one service on the family car or truck, plus change a tire before they were allowed to take their driver's test, etc. But both ended up history majors, one working in finance/writing and the other in fund raising for non profits. They have gifts I sure don't. So the teaching ability can be there, along with the place/material but the stars still might not align. I never forced them - took the horse to water but they had to drink.

    My son's saving grace looks like it will be his son - my grandson - who is 10. Family joke is the engineer gene skipped a generation. So far he reminds me of my youth it scares me at times. Even his younger sister appears to have more interest and ability than either parent or aunts/uncles. I have been told my mission is train them up and when I'm gone they will be handed the key to the shop and told 'it's your problem'.

    Dale

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    My dad was not too mechanical, but he was a HAM, so I did get some exposure to technology that way. Turning wrenches started as a way to avoid having to mow the yard, my brothers did their best to kill the mowers to avoid that job, and dad was tired of paying the repair shop. Being that I knew what brothers were doing, one day I said I think I can fix these, so dad gave me an old ammo can full of random tools and I taught myself to fix engines. As a poor broke college kid, when my car broke the choice was obvious, either fix it, or walk. Ended up with a (worthless) degree in aviation management, but no one was hiring, so to make ends meet I started turning wrenches on european import cars.

    Shop had a young kid as a "runner", but he did not show one day so I hauled a head to the machine shop, asked the guy if I could watch and was very fascinated with the work and the machines. Asked shop owner a few times over next few months if he needed help, but with no experience in machining he said no. Found the local college had night classes for basic lathe/mill machining so took those figuring it might be enough to get me started.

    Boss at the auto shop asked me to do something I felt was unethical one day and I refused, he gave me the choice of do it or quit, I backed my truck in loaded my tools and said thank you. Stopped into machine shop a few times inquiring about employment, but with no automotive machining experience he said no. Out of desperation I walked in one day and said "I will work for you for free for 30 days, if you do not like my work you can ask me to leave at anytime, if you like my work, after 30 days, lets talk about a wage". He raised his eyebrows, looked at me kind of funny, and handed me an application and said give me some references, 2 days later he called and said be here 8am sharp monday morning.

    The deal we cut is that I would get minimum wage, but would not get stuck doing just one thing, as I learned different processes I would get moved to a new one. Of course he started me off in the teardown area, after 1 week the boss asked the regular teardown guy how I did, I'll never forget his comment "she rubbed my dick in the dirt", so I got to move into the real shop.

    Spent a few years there, learned to run every machine, owe that shop owner a debt of gratitude for giving me a chance, but decided to strike off on my own.

    To be continued.

  14. #49
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    Back to childhood again for a moment, I have always been an avid reader, somewhere along the line I discovered the Graingers and Burdens Surplus Center catalogs, I use to read those cover to cover, every description, I read it, and dog-earred the pages on the cool parts. Then I started drawing up blueprints on things I wanted to build, perpetual energy machines, hovercrafts, airplanes, lasers and ray guns, if I dreamt it, I'd draw it. Pretty sure my parents were mortified at all this, in their mind I was going to be a doctor or lawyer, or at least married to one lol. I guess highschool distracted me from this madness as I quit dreaming up stuff.

    So when I struck off on my own to do a machine shop I decided the larger cities had too much competition, so I moved to the little town of San Marcos, kind of a laid back hippy town at the time, it fit me well. First year with the shop was tough, one day 5 customers would walk in all with rush jobs, if I was lucky I could make 2 happy, then no work for a week or two. One night I was at a friends house helping out with the race car, he left to get parts, his dad went to get food and I was watching TV when the phone started ringing. You know the situation, do you answer it or not? 3rd ring I decided to answer, some guy asked for a name that did not live there, sorry wrong number and I started to hangup when he says "Wait wait, what are you doing tomorrow?", turns out he was in Georgia and calling numbers out of his old college alumni book, what he needed was someone to go to a military auction the next day, said he would overnight me a check, $200 for 4 hours work whether I get it or not, not bad money in 1989.

    So I get to auction next morning, its a pallet of NOS radial engine cylinders, he says bid to $700, got them for $400. Next morning UPS truck rolls in with my check, 15 minutes later he calls and says he needs me to go back to auction site and make sure they get loaded on a truck that he has already arranged, another $200 for my time. Oh yeah, that first morning inspecting stuff on the military auction, I knew what many of the parts were, all that info from the Graingers and Surplus Center catalogs came flooding back. Next 6 months was pretty good, 2 sometimes 3 partial days working for the guy in Georgia, and started buying a few things on my own to flip, still have one of my very first purchase, a bag full of little snap-on wrenches, 300 or so all individually packed of same little wrench, had them sold to S-O at $5 each before I even bid:-).

    So I'm waiting for the UPS man one morning when there is a knock at the door, odd, I did not hear the van. I answer the door and am greeted by 2 federal agents, it seems the guy in georgia, and several other people that worked for him, are all in custody, I was last on the list. So for the next 4 hours I answer questions and go over every BOL for everything I had purchased, guess they decided I was not involved in anything wrong so they finally left.

    In cleaning up the office and putting things away I find a stack of papers that they had left behind, it was the customer list from the guy in georgia, company names, contact names, phone #, what type of aircraft parts they buy etc. I ran to the local Kinko's and shot a copy in case they came back for that, they never did.

    to be continued

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    The guy in Georgia and his partner got 5 years at club fed, the other unwitting actors got 3-6 month terms, all were barred from ever setting foot on a military installation again. I was doing ok with the industrial parts, but getting nowhere with the customer list. I could look at a part, explain how it worked from a mechanical standpoint, yet could not tell a fuel control from an obsolete apu from that of an F-15, so the companies on that list were telling me to quit wasting their time, call us when you find something we want.

    One day at the auction a new guy shows up, we end up bidding against each other a few times, after the sale I go chat him up a bit. Joe (rip) had just gotten out of the navy, working supply, zero mechanical background, but he could tell what the parts went too, and was a heck of a salesman, it was a match made in heaven. Joe and I partnered up and took the surplus world by storm, aircraft parts, industrial parts, machinery, lab equipment, you name it. Somewhere in there the machine shop was closed to outside work, yet it stayed in use making replacement parts for so many of the things we purchased that just needed minor repair. It was a crazy time, every night I had a new stack of manuals to read, many times it was things I had no idea even existed. Probably one of the coolest things we ever ended up with was the hydrogen proton NMR fuel testing units that had been ordered for the SR-71 about a month before they were grounded, flipped 2 to the industrial food lubricants division of a major oil company, donated 3rd unit to my high school because if it had not been for that level of math and sciences exposure, and their willingness to tolerate my bad behavior, I doubt I would have ended up where I did.

    About 2000 Joe and I split the partnership, I fired all the employees, sold off the fleet of trucks and trailers, sold off a few warehouses of inventory, then decided I did not want to do machining and started selling off machines. Got down to the last little lathe and had a change of heart, so for last few years I've been buying machines, doing my best to keep it to smaller stuff. Moved it all into the basement of my historic (needs a shit pot of work) mansion last year, not sure how long before I have it up and running, or what I'm going to do with it.

    Still dabbling in surplus, keeping it to small stuff that easily fits in flat rate boxes, I don't have to do it, but it gives me a sense of purpose knowing I'm just a tooth in the gear train that keeps the world working.

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  17. #51
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    "somewhere along the line I discovered the Graingers and Burdens Surplus Center catalogs, I use to read those cover to cover, every description, I read it, and dog-earred the pages on the cool parts."

    McMaster Carr. Those catalogs like that are what Jean Shepard used to call "spicy reading." Very tantalizing. When I was a kid it was Allied Radio and
    Lafeyette Radio. Wish books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    "somewhere along the line I discovered the Graingers and Burdens Surplus Center catalogs, I use to read those cover to cover, every description, I read it, and dog-earred the pages on the cool parts."

    McMaster Carr. Those catalogs like that are what Jean Shepard used to call "spicy reading." Very tantalizing. When I was a kid it was Allied Radio and
    Lafeyette Radio. Wish books.
    Did not find Crackmaster Carr till I opened my own shop. Dad had a Graingers account, when he passed I had it transferred to my name, but left it with fictitious business name that he had chosen.

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    I started working at my old manís sawmill when I was 9. I started going to machining school at 15, and had an associates before I had a HS diploma. I got my first lathe at 9, second at 12-3. I learned a LOT of bad habits, and some ingenuity.

    Fast forward, I have 3 daughters ages 6 to 11, and foster kids of random age. Aside from their unpaid chores, like doing the dishes, laundry, and housework daily, they get paid to help in the shop. It starts with floor sweeping and tool organizing (think 6 year old), and progresses to cleaning machines and maintenance.

    Itís amazing how good at something they can be when you actually teach them while they are sponges.

    It costs a decent amount of money because I donít want the machines running unless we are one on one, and I spend the whole time monitoring and talking to them. But, Iíll shut down any day of the week, and pay any amount to have that time with them.

    It brings a little dirty satisfaction to bring your 10 year old daughter to a college when students complain about how hard it is to sharpen a drill...

    The other side of that is work ethic. I was told starting out as a kid, that Iíd be paid what I was worth by my dad. There would be times where I was at the mill for 6-8 hours, and get paid zilch, because I played in the sawdust the whole time. I quickly learned from that and bought my first vehicle and a dirtbike in cash a year and a half before I was old enough to drive. My kids have been made aware up front that their first vehicle is on them. They donít know it yet, but every time they put ďxĒ amount of dollars in savings for a vehicle, I match that amount in a separate savings that they will be surprised with at that time, and it will be another lesson of hard work paying off.

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    Hereís little dude:

    Helping me out with some wiring right around the time of his fifth birthday.

    Hereís his crows nest, I can see him and he can see me:




    Little dude is REAL into PPE, so he knows if he wants to see a machine or watch it work, safety glasses are the minimum, typically he wears his hard hat as well.

    I donít plan on ever MAKING him do any more than than that.

    Heíd make a really rotten employee right now in any case. Little guy requires like a two-hour lunch/nap/private-time affair as it stands.




    Happy Fatherís Day all




    Jeremy

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    That's awful. I'd *never* allow my kid into a hazardous workplace. Or put her to work, doing stuff for me. For free.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mar_coil_3.jpg  

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    the kids that never had a bench with a vise and a few tools to play with as they were growing up lost out on so much . i was lucky my father was a gunsmith and had his shop at home so i was exposed to machines and hand tools . but at 8 years old there less then a block away was wells park with the boys club right next door to the park . in 4th gd i was aloud to go the the radio club 3 to 5 on wen.at the local high school did that tell 10 th. gd. by the end of 5th. gd. they wanted me out of the school system [as from kindergarten on i never played well with others i march to the beat of my own drum and being my father was in the navy and talked like he was so did i and still do [ can't count the times i went flying to the principals office by my ear for calling some kid a coc$ s%cker even in kindergarten ] my dad would whip me with the brass end of an ol 1903 sling he was wasting his time the ol man was 1/2 Greek and 1/4 Irish 1/4 Walsh and mom was all German my head is way thinker then his could ever be . so i went from 5 th. gd. to 7 th but in jr. high there was wood shop that was fun by high school there was welding , radio , drafting , automotive , graphic arts and of course wood shop i was signing up for 12 th gd. and one of the teachers was trying to bust my balls so i told him to fuc$ off that i was going to go to santana high school as they had a vol tech his reply let me get you the paper work and that was my best year of any time i went to school from k-12 after i graduated i was never going to school again well less then two years later a vet i worked with told me about city collage as he was going there on the gi bill that was 79 i spent the next 32 years going there took 4 years of automatic transmissions along with 32 years of machine shop and had a blast would more then likely still be going but they disbanded are class they called are group the hobby lobby . one thing i think about with today's kids is can they differentiate between fantasy and reality [ if they were in a shop class and got mad at johnny and stick a hammer in his head are they then going to say it was a game wheres the reset button i want a do over ] can they think linear [1,2,3,4,5 not this tv crap were that start at 1 go to 5 come back to 1 skip to 4 and so on ] yup the cream use to raise to the top you know merit now every ones a winner . one last bit my dad use to go to open house with my sis and her girls that was almost 30 years ago and dad would say the teachers all ask about you they never ask about the others my reply well ya they all think i would be dead or in jail by now well they were wrong they had there program and i have mine

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  25. #57
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    "somewhere along the line I discovered the Graingers and Burdens Surplus Center catalogs, I use to read those cover to cover, every description, I read it, and dog-earred the pages on the cool parts."

    McMaster Carr. Those catalogs like that are what Jean Shepard used to call "spicy reading." Very tantalizing. When I was a kid it was Allied Radio and
    Lafeyette Radio. Wish books."

    My best friend in high school Dad was a Mech E, a real old school hands on guy with a machine shop in the basement. In the attic we had a complete set of the Thomas Register, old enough that it still had stationary steam engines in it. We spent hours and hours looking at those books.

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    When I was a little guy my grandpa gave me a fisher price tool bench, the one with round, square and hex pegs, matching holes, a plastic hammer, pliers and screwdriver for my birthday. I have always been an early riser, so I got up the next morning, took ma bell's phone over to the kitchen table and took everything on it apart, the old rotary had a bad day, when the folks got up I had a pile of screws, jumper wires, misc bits and pieces in piles of similar looking things and went over to remove the door knob and dead bolt from the front door. I was just starting in on the toaster when they came out and took away my tools, ma spent an hour trying to explain to ma bell that there was no fixing their phone so they sent a guy out with a new one, he took the old one home in a sack saying he was going to attempt putting it back together. Pops had a wood shop in the garage, he made shelves, desks and such to trade for my kindergarden tuition, I got to help with everything except the radial arm saw. When I was about 8 the folks bought the Indian motorcycle shop in Monrovia ca, that was really cool as there was an old man named Paul that ran the little machine shop in the back with a little lathe, mill, drill press, grinders etc. The goose that laid the golden egg movie had just came out and Paul helped me with my first lathe project, a brass egg.

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    My dad never had a lot of tools, mostly woodworking stuff that we bought him for presents. In HS we'd use his stuff to make lots of ramps for skateboards and BMX. Then my mother convinced him to buy me a Shoptask 3:1, which I thought was the best thing ever when I was 16 and working in a welding shop that only had grinders and a drill press. I made so many BMX parts on that thing. He was an electrical engineer and though out HS we converted it to a 4 axis CNC and I made even more bike parts.

    I moved on to work at a tool and die shop while in school for my engineering degrees and 3 men at work took me under their wings: the toolmaker Bill, the cnc guy Ed, and the lead fabricator Vern. They each taught me an immeasurable amount about each of their trades and taught me as if I were an 3rd yr apprentice and not the engineering co-op. I worked there another couple years after graduating and when I left I could confidently and accurately use every machine in the shop and more importantly could make my own fixtures and tools.

    While I don't run machinery for a living anymore, I could If I needed to and that ability helps me immensely when working with the factory our product development group supports. The crappy 3 in 1 machine has been scrapped, controls removed, and I have much nicer equipment at home now (25yrs later) but that POS sparked an interest and skillset that set my direction in life.

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    I am more than willing to beat up on younger generations. However, to be intellectually honest I also have to give some props where they are deserved. There are some kids out there interested in building stuff. There are middle school programs where kids build and program robots for competition, there are middle school and high school programs where the kids build "super mileage" cars. Our local high school in a very small town has an EXCELLENT machine shop program. They have manual lathes and mills and they use solidworks to create models and CAM software to program and run parts on CNC mills and lathes. Its a very impressive program. We can all sit and lament the condition of the family...but lamenting does nothing to change the fact that many kids have no positive male influence in their lives to expose them to many of the activities that inspired most of us here. If you are passionate about these things then you need to consider volunteering at some of these programs at whatever level you are comfortable with. That might mean directly working with instructors and kids....donating materials, equipment, expertise.....down to just attending their open house type of activities and buying a raffle ticket.....hell, it might be just helping the neighbor kid put a new tire on his bicycle.
    After retirement I intend to volunteer a few hours every week at the machine shop program at our high school....in the mean time I keep my eyes peeled at my current employer for surplus steel, cutters etc that the program can use and then convince my employer that donating those items would be a great tax write off and they are doing something good for the future of manufacturing.
    Just my .02 cents

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