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 Hiya and thanks from Lancs

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keepittoasty

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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:41 am

I second the drool. Can't wait to see your build!

Cody's vids are great, thanks for sharing that one.
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T2H
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:52 am

Paul Lancs wrote:
Thanks a lot T2H

No, unfortunately I don't have a YT channel.  I have an account there (Google+ now is it not?) but not a channel for videos.  It's one of the things I haven't gotten onto or pursued.  

To be honest, cameras and film is one of the things I've never known much about, not even back in the pre-digital and pre-internet days, which I know was far more complicated, but not now either.  I can take pics with my phone and that's about it.  I should develop some skills there and learn about it, but ..... phew - I've learned loads of things and have loads going on.  Now I'm learning about Rocket Stoves and my head is full of this at the moment.   Very Happy

Maybe I will - soon(ish).
I asked because it looks like you have much to offer the world, there is no way that with that kind of workshop and tools you have at your disposal that you have not as well required the skill sets that you use them for.

Food for thought..........It starts out slow but if you have content that I know people would be interested in your videos will generate income, measly for sometime but when it takes off it can help fill the gaps.
I realize some do not need that kind of thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:57 am

Paul that lathe is magnificent!
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keepittoasty

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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:18 am

Aaaaaand I second the motion for you tube vids. I could learn a lot from you Paul and I think others could too!

no pressure hahaha
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Paul Lancs



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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:47 pm

Wow, thanks guys.

I know what you mean about the You Tube. I suppose I could easily get some help with it all. I know some tech geeks who would probably assist. It's just that I have loads of other stuff on the go.

It's not been easy keeping this place going over 28 years. I was only 24 when I acquired it and had a son just six weeks old at the time. The first few years nearly broke me - mentally more than financially. If you are aware of the decline of the UK and in particular the North West then you will understand there has been general factors that have also made it hard. Given that this area was one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution and has (or had) a strong engineering heritage, you would weep to see what's occurred in this part of the world.

So yes, I could always do with more income, without being greedy about it.

I'm pretty laid back now. I work alone. It's too complicated and regulatory to employ anyone and besides - who has the skills (or interest) anymore? Certainly not the young. At the same time, my son has never been interested in engineering - he probably remembers me at his age - he's now 27.5 and is a chef. However, I have a daughter aged 22 who has given me a grandson on Sept 1st last year. As you can imagine, I'm pinning a lot of hopes on him. And after all, what else is he going to do in 20 years time? What else will be left?

The workshop is 80 x 20 feet and all timber built, though I have steel-clad the roof and sides. It was built in 1924 and is still solid. You wouldn't get timbers like this these days in the UK. The previous owners were two old guys who between them worked 99 years in the place, beginning aged 14. In between they slotted in a World War, both conscripted. Those were the days. They were mainly tinsmiths and that was the dominant work they did - for all the mines and mills and other industry that have now long disappeared. This was cotton and coal country, back in the day.

They were both expert welders I can tell you, though they never had a MIG welder, let alone a TIG. It was all stick and oxy-acetylene. I was fiddling around on the edges of the motor trade when I learned they were considering retiring and jumped onto it like a shot. So I'm mainly self-taught, though I did go to night college for 3 years to learn about welding properly.

To a large degree I capitalised (unfortunately in a way) on the decline of industry in the UK. Throughout the 1980s and 90s there were endless large industrial premises and concerns closing their doors. The machinery auctions were numerous. If I had the money and the space I would now have machinery to rival the Industrial Revolution almost. So I bought the lathe in 1989, for a pittance really (£750) and have also since added a milling machine, surface grinder, MIG (new), TIG and various other stuff. The anvils are my acquisitions. I've still got loads of the sheet-metal kit that came with the business, but the place has changed in nature since I've been there - it has had to.

Holbrook lathes are considered the 'Rolls Royce' of British lathes. Dean, Smith and Grace are considered the best (and drool factor they are) but for those in the know.....as I later found out to my joy. When new a Holbrook apparently cost as much as a decent middle-class house in London, so beyond most small and medium businesses. Most of them were supplied to the government in some way - ordnance factories, Ministry of Defence, schools, colleges and universities, and atomic energy research facilities. As a result they were all excellently maintained. Of course there is no Holbrook Lathe Company anymore. Yet something else that's gone. Their site is probably now a housing estate, or a superstore .... or a slew of fast-food joints owned and operated by foreigners!

Comparable American lathes might be South Bend and LeBlond. Are they still going?

The Royal Ordnance Factory in Eccles that closed in 1989 (end of the Cold War) sold off, in my estimation, probably about £100 million of machinery ..... and it all went for probably less than £10 million and I can tell you that 75% of it probably went abroad. A friend who came along with me, an excellent engineer and a bit older than me, was almost in tears. There were lathes there which had chucks bigger than my lathe. Seriously. Jaw-dropping stuff. In fact there were lathes there that had nuts holding them to the floor that were half the size of my lathe. I've never seen nuts that large since. There were lathes too long to get in my workshop, by a distance. And that was just the lathes. Thousands of pieces of kit were disposed of, never to return. It's criminal really. At least I, and a few other Englishmen salvaged a small portion of it.

I've learned all the lathe-work myself but of course am far from an expert. There were chaps (mainly now deceased) who worked at the ROF and similar places who I've been told could make lathes like mine almost talk. They were supreme craftsmen. They're all gone and they aren't coming back and few have replaced them.

I'm sorry. It's like a story of woe. I love my workshop and enjoy doing what I do, so it's not all bad.

Thanks again, ever so much.
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:54 pm

Here's a view down the shop.

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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:56 pm

Arno Vertical Milling Machine (Italian).  It's pictured in the location from where I got it from.  I only got this machine in 2011. It runs like a Swiss watch.

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caotropheus
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:20 pm

Lancs, the short description you made about the industrial decline of your area is too well known to me and to the western world. I grew up in Portugal with my father working to a ship yard created in the 60's and now it is gone and transformed into real estate. I was there in 1981 learning to arc weld for a period of 2 month during Summer School holidays. I visited then a super-tanker in the dry dock, 380 m long 80 m width!

You're teasing us on purpose with pictures of your machines and facilities, right?! Cool


Last edited by caotropheus on Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paul Lancs



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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:25 pm

Lol Cao - you did ask. You said you wanted to see everything. Very Happy

Yes, I thought you might know of the decline. Who doesn't, of our era and type? I won't harp on about it and get political (though I could). We're the last remnants in a way, of a world fast disappearing. It's up to us!
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:45 pm

Yes we did ask, Stop it Paul, just kidding!
Man you are really fortunate!
Good for you, its a beautiful shop with all the right toys.
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keepittoasty

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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:10 pm

wow.
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:43 pm

It is sad Paul, my father was an engineer who worked on a lathe he ended up being the foreman of the factory with 25 turners and engineers working under him, the place he worked at dwindled away under the thatcher era until it and all its machinery had gone. They build houses on the site. very little remains in the UK of the machinery and skills that built the country. Its left little back street workshops to carry on the tradition, the bigger factorys had to scale down and import to compete with cheap foreign labour costs.
The last smallish shop locally closed down 3 years ago and I went to see if there was anything I could use but the small stuff had gone leaving just the massive lathes, the bed on one was 12 foot long really impressive, they couldnt sell it and it went for scrap.

I know a few Blacksmiths who still potter on making things but hour for hour they would be better off working for a supermarket, I guess its got to be in your blood the desire to make things and be creative.

My son is 22 and not interested in learning the things i know, my daughter is the creative one but I cant see her wielding a hammer.


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keepittoasty

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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:50 am

Its a bummer for sure Pp. I am walking the line with my kids and always wondering if Im going in the right direction. Im passionate about the future generations, I'm on our school board and live the single dad life, the kid life :) I feel a ' this next generation aint right' rant coming on, feel free to ignore, or chime in.


My oldest daughter, 17, splits most of our wood, works in the garden, has no cell phone. She makes music and art nearly everyday. she happily hangs out with her 7 yo sister and 9 year old brother. SHe can only use the internet with me present. There are no franchises here, heck, no traffic lights, no televisions. Through her school, she is doing an internship with a local alt energy guy. SHe has worked on a gassifier, made bio diesel and is working on a rocketstove! Im sure some folks have a tv here, but in five years, I have never seen one. I only got internet this year as my oldest needs it for school assignments now.

Dont get me wrong, next year she will finish HS and go to college. SHe will be out of my hands and will prolly go nuts, no longer having the 'watchful eye' crazy dad' around. But at least she wont be wired for screens, she will be wired for the world around her... true human and personal exchanges and a craving to create.

Honestly, I love it here, but would prefer a slightly more urban environment as I am single hahahaha and Im not working in my professional field. But I will happily stay here in the mountains and give up my life for another decade in order to raise these three humans unplugged.

I want my kids to be able to use technology, but to find balance with the real world. I have posted in the lounge about starting a youtube channel w my son. Real world, hes crafting and origami'ing and the balance is making vids and putting them out there on the web. They need to realized the world has experiences that are more than 12" in front of their faces. Too often I see kids and people who have wired thier nuerology around screentime. I feel the important things are missing.

People can be creative in real or virtual realms. Today my kids painted outside on the porch. Some kids are very creative with what they are given in life. Sadly most are given screens.

Why in the world would a kid be interested in something that takes planning, hard work, perseverance and effort in todays world? Everything is blasted into the mind in quick bursts, extreme visual and sound bursts, to the extremity of obnoxiousness.

We have exchanged creating for information shuffling and intense adrenal stimulation.

Every car repair or household fix Ive done, I grab the kids and make them , if I have to , help :)

Ill be damned if my kids aren't fabbing something by high school!

This forum is great because old school folks like you Pp and everyone else here are keeping it alive. Some of us are quite interested and happy to learn and share here.

All our media and technology have pushed us away culturally, from these skills and have nearly killed it off. The irony is that this technology is helping us revive it and preserve it.

Even more Ironic is that I grew up in the 80's, MTV, fast food, pac man and the boom of media was my life. now Im into welding vids and combustion science, I grow alot of food and have a deep appreciation of nature. There is hope for all of us :)
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:32 am

Great stuff Toasty

What, living in the mountains and mostly off-grid and with your kids? I'm partly envious.

I know it must be hard (or seem so?) in some ways but your tribe will probably have the last laugh (when others are crying). I could slot right into that lifestyle if I had to, or even if I could. It would be like being reborn into boyhood.

And America too. Gosh, I can't imagine anything quite like that.
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:35 am

@ Ppotty

Yes I know the exact scene you are talking about. And the back-street works and blacksmiths. We might now be better off in a supermarket. You're so right. But imagine the mind-numbing existence. You would end up with no soul. We are fortunate enough to know this.
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:52 pm

Toasty sounds like you have a good balance where you live, and more urban aint all its cracked up to be. I d be happy a hundred miles from a town in a house id build from fallen trees and power generated from a river where i could wet a line for supper. Always been a dream of mine that.
Your daughter will be in for a culture shock when she hits the hysterical youth of todays urban sprawls.

Paul.I couldnt and would't work in a supermarket, hate the places with a passion id rather raid the bins for stuff they throw out if I ever got that desperate. I make an ok living only myself to support now and im pretty low maintenance, I probably spend more on things to make things if you know what I mean.

Got this mad urge to forge a Viking style axe in damascus at the moment I have a few Falconers knives and spikes to make and finishing off some bits and pieces in the workshop then i can have a go at it without interruptions.

Just made up and used some very lightweight refractory, the main ingredient is Perlite and it looks very good so far, I cast a small piece and put it into the Gas forge for 15 mins at full heat which is around 1700c. on taking it out it was cool to the touch in a minute and showed no sign of wear or damage, so now I will cast a usable riser section in 4 inch and try it out. This stuff will be very insulative and lightweight which can only be a good thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:30 pm

Very interesting.

I'm supposedly on with a Gladius (or Spatha even) at the moment, from a leaf spring but it's slow going. I get distracted onto other stuff too much. I'm well advanced into a Celtic-style spearhead atm, also from spring steel, which has now had all it's hot work (I think). It now needs much belt-grinding/polishing. There will still be some hammer marks I can't remove. Maybe it will go back in the fire yet.

I've not done loads of smithing over the long years. Only this last two years. It's all been fabrication, modern 'wrought' ironwork, a lot of vehicle welding and classic car work back at the beginning (hardly any more). But no forge fire till two years ago. Then I just built one in a day and bought some coal. Then I've tooled up a lot more for smithing. It's the new rock n roll yes, and I can perceive there are quite a growing number of people taking it up it seems. It is maybe all the types like us who are being pressed out of more traditional work and/or getting more disillusioned with how things are going and how they work.

I know exactly what you mean about spending more on toys and playing about. What else is there to do in life? Watch TV? I don't even own one, lol. I live at work for the majority of the time and I have to maintain that place. At home I tick-over and keep my head down on low maintenance. There's only me too now.
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PostSubject: Re: Hiya and thanks from Lancs   Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:40 pm

I have to say, honestly, this is a great place to live, it aint easy, but it is a gift to be here. We don't have any supermarkets.

Paul, it would be great to see your smithing set up in action(hint,hint).

Pp, casting again? sweeeeet! Can't wait to see it.

I just got a bunch of perlite. I was thinking of playing around before ordering refractory mix, I have a big ol sac of cement.
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