Sunday, March 30, 2008
Another for the workshop series. I took a break from my writing today and visited a fellow craftsman in his basement shop. Bill Sherret is an amateur machinist, who makes model steam engines in his spare time. The photo above is of Bill in his shop. It is equipped for working with either wood or metal. At left you see one of his working steam engines at rest and again in action. Just because you do fine work in metal doesn't preclude fine work in wood as well. Also shown at left is a corner cabinet Bill made from cherry for his wife Elizabeth.
Bill tells me that there is a declining interest in machine work as a hobby in America, but that it is still going strong in the UK. Being in Bill's shop reminded me of my first visit to a machine shop when I was in 2nd grade. My father took me to see the shop where a friend of his made surgical instruments from stainless steel. I remember the sharp shavings on the floor underneath the lathes and milling machines. But you can nearly forget that kind of productivity now in America. If there is any machining going on, it would not be where a child might see it, get to touch shavings and develop an ongoing curiosity about making things.