We finally get things moving and get a Draper swivel head variable speed lathes. Were all the rage years ago. It immediately had a problem with it’s capacitor. Happens to be the only thing that goes wrong with this motor. It’s fairly bullet proof. So I ask Draper if they can send a spare capacitor. I get a snooty reply telling me that a replacement was being sent and the other lathe was my responsibility until it was collected at their convenience. Now I don’t know about you all, but that type of letter just sticks in my throat. They then arranged three different collection dates, no collection ever took place. So I put a capacitor on it and used both of them. About ten weeks later I get a driver with a collection note for the lathe. He says what must he do? I just wrote “Please collect when convenient to ourselves?” I did offer to pack the lathe, however the driver could not wait.
About a year later I got a letter from Draper telling me that they were writing off the lathe and if I could dispose of it at there expense. Well both those lathes have gone to several good homes. I give away lathes on condition that the same lathe gets given on when they upgrade. I’ve been given many lathes and chisels that have been passed on. I wonder if Draper realises what their generosity spawned. This may be just the latent Robin Hood in me. LoL My luck and someone from Draper will reed this and ask for there lathe back. I think this is where on television they plead the 5th amendment?
Funding became a major problem, the bits me made from selling abrasives and finishes just did not cover the running costs. So Jamie Speirs woodturning supplies was born. This got us into the black and we could afford to get the lessons back on track. Closed the woodturning supplies business sooooooo fast. NEVER NEVER run a Hobby Based Business from home. That is NEVER.
I’ve had folk at my door after midnight and at 6:10am on a Sunday morning. I said to him, “this is a bit early” he replied “Well if you don’t serve me now”, “I wont be back”. And he never was. Another time I was lying on the floor in spasm, two guys came round to by some chisels with their Christmas money. It was not convenient at that time to serve them. Go figure. They said no problem, they would come back tomorrow. Well they did, with new chisels (bought elsewhere) asking me to show them how to use them.
Did I show them?
Yes of course I did, you can’t spoil a kids Christmas even if their combined age was 150+.
So we finally got enough money together to build an exclusive woodturning shop. It had five different lathes. Which was good as it let folk try the various options available. Plus one lathe for myself with an overhead mirror. That is a great item for letting folk see what you are doing without crowding round you. I bought the biggest band saw I could buy with a 220v motor and it was 16amp 12” depth and 14” wide. In hindsight I should have went 10”depth 22” width. A few bench grinders with various jigs again for folk to try the options. The bench grinders were Not for student use and like the band saw had a “Not For Use by Students” sign on it.
I do teach sharpening, but only on the students own chisels. I also have a Radial Arm Drill Press, that was a wonderful buy, you can drill a true hole in a 24” turning blank. I still have to figure out a better table for it as the ones I’ve seen so far have been for static rather than radial arm drill presses.
So when it comes to the actual teaching, this is where Gordon really shines when the student needs help. Although the turning shop is 300ft2 having an ambulant RHM makes things that much easier and combined with the mirror saves folk wandering around with chisels in their hands. I don’t know why, but it takes ages to get adults into the idea of putting the tool down before coming across the shop. An interesting point is that Gordon at this stage had done very little turning, yet could explain all the processes. He is dyslexic and has this incredible memory, and is a musician. So when I told him that you can hear bad turning, he focussed on this rather than the visual. I also watch the shavings. I think that one the student has the basics, it is best to let them have some freedom of turning by themselves. Listening helps us do this fairly well. Not always foolproof though. Again all this depends on each individual.
We had one really nice young man who we had agreed to teach. He had a mild learning disability and we could see no reason why he could not learn. Oh Boy! What a learning curve that was. He could not keep his attention on anything. Everything was a distraction. He would just look away chisel always pointing in the direction of where he was looking, Gordon had to duck several times. We finally put up dust sheets and worked one to one. The six weeks passed and thankfully he did not request more turning. When we interview now, we watch for distractions.
We were asked if we could start a woodturning shop in Aberdeen by T-P, they are a group who in Aberdeen run several w/shops for folk with mental health problems. This is a four hour journey, so it was not practical to travel there on a regular basis.
So we decided to teach the existing staff how to turn. These are occupational therapists and already have a fair few crafts under their belts. It was also a great chance for Gordon to do some practical teaching (the time gaps are way off I wander as usual). Gordon had now been turning on a regular basis and was building up his confidence. Gordon has some physical disabilities and has had constructive operations on his legs since he was 5. He started with the usual Safety Instructions, then onto the machine manual and then to the lathe. Part of the drill, we would say that the lathe was a safe machine and using the roughing gouge as an example. Once the student has roughed a blank the “white knuckle” tends to dissipate. No sooner had his words been spoken than this young woman had the roughing gouge jammed between the tool rest and the blank. We just looked at each other and laughed. To this day we have not figured out how she did it.
So after several trips to Aberdeen they finally got a turning shop up and running. Just a point, they also set up a picture framing shop.
While on the subject, when I put up the wee wheelchair man on my stationary it was my intention to have an accessible place for wheelchair users. It turns out that the wee symbol covers all disabilities. I think by far the most common disability is learning disabled. I don’t know if many of you have worked within this community, I know Rivergirl has and that she also enjoyed it. One thing I found interesting was how close knit the wee community is. There is a sports club on a Wednesday morning at the Ayr Citadel. Gordon and I go whenever we get the chance. When we started teaching turning, we were invited in to this wee clique with open arms. I’ve been told that this is not usual and can take years. So much so, that since my Jolly Rogue left after 10 years, there was a lot of sympathy given to us on one breathe and have you any spaces in the next. Needless to say we have found someone to fill this gap. We interviewed him last Tuesday. He came with his Dad, who is a very active 72yrd old. The new Jolly Rogue is only 22. He is also a big lump of a lad, 6’ 2” with a great smile. Once the decision had been made the phone calls stopped. I spoke to one of the support workers that told me that everyone was happy with our choice . Also thought it had been kept within the community.
He will only start in the New Year as we should hopefully have purchased the Museum w/shop by then and the holidays will be over.
I wander as usual.
I’ve written a bit about the medical fiasco. I’m thinking twice about posting it. I think it may appear negative. I’ve had a couple of PM’s on it and I thought it will show that the path is not always rosy.
I worked at the hospital as a Chef (I trained in catering after my first RTA), I had the accident in the hospital. The roof had sprung a leak onto the concrete steps. I was holding a tray with empty cups. So when I slipped I gripped the tray and landed on my back dead centre of the previous injury site. I also cracked 4 vertebrae in my neck.
The physiotherapist had photocopied the accident report book the day of the accident. When the lawyers showed it in court my accident was not in the book. When we produced the copy, they said yes the book had got damaged and they did their best to copy all of the accidents of the previous one and must have not seen mine due to the damage. There were also questions concerning my treatment and visits to both the hospital and my GP.
When an industrial accident is investigated, you sign a waver to allow both legal teams access to your medical records. What I’ve since discovered is that there was no way of knowing how many pages were sent.
Plus lots of other irregularities. I did win the case, after seven years. without the changes it could have been done with in six months. Most of the monies went to the lawyers and care expenses.
Main thing it was over. I have a life, slightly different from before but I’m very content.
Jamie in a lovely sunny Scotland
-- 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