Wheelchair Woodworking #7: Helping Hands part three Taking

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Blog entry by Jamie Speirs posted 11-28-2010 11:57 PM 4414 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Helping Hands part two Part 7 of Wheelchair Woodworking series Part 8: My Right Hand Man Gordon »

The taking
I think this is one of the hardest parts. Is it that we don’t like taking? Maybe it is a matter of pride, accepting help even when it might not be needed by ourselves. I needed to realise that others also have a need to give and if they cant allow them give, we are being selfish.

I continually use bearings, might be a dust thing or perhaps I’m just a bit to rough on my wheelchairs. I normally just buy new bearings on line. It is quick and easy. So when I needed some bearings for my chair I gave the task out. I don’t know why but one set of bearings had no numbers on them. This was the set that I offered up to my “Jolly Rouge”(JR). Where can I get bearings? There are no numbers on them what can I do.

This was like lighting a fire under him. He took the old bearings and went to his old job. He still gets called in for specialised jobs marine and other. Seems that these days the knowledge to fix is being lost and sadly it seems that his talents are being forgotten, cheaper to import a new motor from the Far East. So he took the bearings in to be identified. The following week he arrived with a dozen sets of bearings. There are eight bearings on a wheelchair. He was so exited by it all. His old employer (who was originally his apprentice, he had worked for his Grandfather) even gave the bearings for Free. I think again someone wanting to give to someone that is always giving. So all my chairs had new shiny bearings. It is amazing how much easier a wheelchair is to move with a new set of bearings. He has told me some wonderful stories. He still visits a woman in her 90’s that first shown him how to wind a motor. He tell of how she wounf fan motors doing the winding in her hands, no jigs or automation. He said also that she sat talking to other women doing the same thing. They don’t did not even look what they were doing, shame another lost skill.

I recently broke my finger, along with this came a few punctures (coincidence). This really floored me and I was at a loss how to get the punctures repaired. Redlittleredweldingrod even offered to come to Scotland to help. I don’t know why I was sitting being a misery, but I was. Then on Wednesday when the “JR” arrived, I gave him the task. Wow, it was amazing he got straight into it. He spent all day in the shop. Shirley has been on study leave this week and had to drag him away from the wheels to have some lunch. Oh by the way he now comes as before but stays until 5pm unless there is a church meeting. So at the end of the day I’ve got five fully working wheelchairs and a spare set primed and ready to go.

During this same period we had a wall blow down and the shop roof suffered damage due to a we storm here in Scotland. The brick wall had landed on Shirley’s car. It was about ten put long and fell over in one piece. Now there was nothing I could do about it, but did I think that? NO. I was trying to figure ways in which I could remove the wall from her car using, jacks, pulleys, wedges. You know what I mean, I think all us LJ’s think we can tackle anything.

I finally picked up the phone and asked two of my old JR’s to help. One of them started coming her when he was 11 and is now married with two kids. So the next I knew they were both here drinking tea. I asked if they thought they could move the wall and was going to share my ideas. To late, they had moved it in one piece before coming in. I think they knew me well enough to get the job done before I got in the way as is usual for me in these situations. Great guy’s The other of these two has only use of one hand. So I guess it was a win win situation. Still it was hard to pick up the phone.

Then there is the shop roof. Silly as it may sound. I’m trying to figure out how to get onto the roof to get it fixed. Yes Red littleredweldingrod, sent me a PM with thoughts on that one. LoL I was very lucky, rain only got into two places, but it is the dampness that was my worry. Since then I’ve got the dehumidifiers running. All my wood is dry, I cant afford to get a high moisture content into it.
I need not have worried the young 76yr old got my trainee Jon and himself onto the roof and did the repairs. No mean feat when you consider that he has had a hip replacement. Which caused much fun in the shop. He was told that he needed a hip replacement. So in true LJ fashion we eBayed replacements hip joints. Yes, they sell them on eBay

This is one listed at the moment for those of you that want to go one step further. Poor chap we did rag him a fair bit on the new hip. He got his hip operation quite quickly. This stopped him driving for a while. He also enjoyed his children and grandchildren running after him. Well I guess you can only milk the attention so long and the extra attention soon faded. He had not been for three months and as his house was not wheelchair friendly, a visit to him was out of the question. Turns out that he was getting lonely and bored. He was for some reason under the impression that he would not be able to come back. So I phoned him with a problem about one of the machines. Well he must have broken the speed limit. He got here fast, electrical tool bag in hand and got to work on the faulty machine. It was good to have him back and it also felt good to have asked for HELP.

I hope this has shown a wee slice of life here in Coylton Scotland? I also hope that I managed to describe what I mean by Give & Take. The bit about listening I was unsure about putting it in, so if it appeared brash? I do apologise.

I’m going to put in a bit about My Right Hand Man RHM Gordon. It will weave its way back to this piece though.

I’ve had PM’s asking to list my tuition schedule with the projects list. So I thought I would put it as a separate Blog or should it be kept in this Blog?

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

8 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2886 days

#1 posted 11-28-2010 11:58 PM

That should be Taking. :)

thanks for reading.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4190 days

#2 posted 11-29-2010 12:12 AM

How can someone “do for others” if we never let them.

You tell a beautiful story, filled with wisdom! Thankyou
(and I prefer that you start a new one .. I sometimes miss “additions”. )

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Benighted's profile


57 posts in 2891 days

#3 posted 11-29-2010 12:18 AM

Great read as usual Jamie.

I do agree, and it is so weird, why is it so hard to take some help, giving it is so easy. And as you say, the taking is often a “gift” to the giver, and we let someone give and feel good and happy that they are able to do something for someone.

Thanks for the inspirational reading in this blog series, really makes one think about how to behave to be a great influence in others lives.


-- Jani, a Neanderthal woodworker in Sweden.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2810 days

#4 posted 11-29-2010 12:56 AM

Jaimie, I’d wondered how the roof’d be done, then you add the rest of the work that
was also on the list for serious need, and showing how your rougues pitched in, makes me wonder
what’s in the Scots water, or tea, or maybe it’s you ? You’re showing how people can help each other in so many ways, from teaching as you do,
to returns for the care you’ve shown. (I still think you need a book?)
As for the crew that took care of the wall …they saw what had to be done, then did did everyone else. p.s.. spring’ll be there, and here before we know it !!
Now I’ve got something else grey to deal with besides the weather.., the Grey Cup.. Canada’s National Football Championship Game..
Oh, and it’s not Beckham type match, these guys NEED a helmet.. ;-)

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3136 days

#5 posted 11-29-2010 01:51 AM

Jamie, Thank you for taking my “suspense” issues into consideration. lol My paternal grand father always told us, “Never deprive another person of the joy of giving.” He had less than a 3rd grade education, but he was a very wise man. And a very good man.
I enjoyed your story about Gordon. I would love to have the pleasure of meeting him one day as well as yourself.

And speaking of wheelchair bearings, there has to be a better way than these casters on the front of these things. lol I buy mine 50 for $60 + sh and they still last only a couple of weeks. I could rant on those things for at least a week.

Keep the stories coming. We love to hear about your Jolly Rogues. And thanks for giving back to Gordon by letting him help you. That was worth a million to his self esteem.

All our redneck best to all in Scotland. Latter Cousin.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2810 days

#6 posted 11-29-2010 02:09 PM

This is a hijack ! Somebody’s got to make a bearing set or a full replacement for those bearings that’ll
last. Even a full wheel repacement, if they can make roller carts for machine shops that’ll carry several hundred pounds and last for years, what’s up with the wheelchair bearings.. Are the builders using trycycle parts ? Surely one of the L\J’s has an answer to that ?

(oh, and the Grey Cup.. CFL-Grey-Cup)

There’s been some cheering and horn honking in Montreal—and disappointment in Regina.

For the second year in a row, the Montreal Alouettes have defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders to win the Grey Cup.

The score in Edmonton—21-18.

The Alouettes are the first back-to-back Grey Cup champions since Toronto did the trick in 1996 and ‘97. (2)


-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View helluvawreck's profile


31427 posts in 2896 days

#7 posted 12-02-2010 07:03 PM

Jamie, you sure are a good story teller. I just went back and reread 5 and 6 and this one and I want to go back and read the first ones because I didn’t see ‘em until number 5 I don’t think. Yeah you sure have a lot of give and take but there sure seems to me to be an awful lot more giving on your part. You seem to have a nack about you for knowing what somebody might need or maybe how to handle a person the right way depending on their circumstances. You seem to have an awful lot of things in your mind that are just not easily taught to people and that’s just one of the things that makes you such an interesting person so my hat is off to ya.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View mafe's profile


11732 posts in 3118 days

#8 posted 12-03-2010 12:36 PM

Hi Jamie,
You are one of a kind, a rare sort, hell of a guy, a giver, but most of all you are wise.
I love these storys, and they way you make us be in the moment there.
Hips on E’bay! It’s just wonderful.
You are one of those persons I’m not only happy, but also proud to know.
I cant stop to think: ‘do you write the storys now with one hand?’.
Best thoughts, my wise friend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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