9.24.2012

everything old

Yesterday, I was able to make time to visit the workshop of one of the local hobby machinists. He has been obtaining and rebuilding old machine tools for some time now and has done a really great job of it. His shop is possibly the best I've seen in terms of layout and utility. Nothing fancy, but the tools are well lit and there is enough equipment to tackle just about anything you can think of without having the tools jammed on top of one another.

One of the most gratifying things about this workshop is that none of the tools are new. They are objects that some people would have simply sent to the scrap pile - not because they weren't good enough to do a job, but merely because they were old. The owner has taken the time to restore, repair & rebuild a number of vintage pieces (one dating from the 20's) into useful machines that perform real work.

The thoughtful effort and planning that has to go into even one such project is not insignificant. Most people are simply not willing to undertake a task of this magnitude just for their hobby. A great number of people no longer possess the practical knowledge or manual skills to undertake it even if they had the time. Ways of learning the skills to do so are disappearing (people & institutions) and there seems to be little perceived value in the skilled trades. Too much hard work and, after all, why make or build when you can simply buy?

The satisfaction obtained through the offspring of the combined forces of hand and mind cannot be overestimated. The owner is duly proud of his results, and his work is certainly inspiring to myself and others. I look forward to visiting him again.

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