Alan Evans

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About Alan Evans

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    http://www.alanrobertevans.co.uk

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    Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK

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  1. As someone who has worked with his hands all his life I am certainly not denigrating my fellow craftsmen. I am sorry my post has evidently come over that way. This is a thread about relative hourly rates and job costing. I was trying to make a comparison between the investment in equipment and premises of a sole trader blacksmith and that of a sole trader who worked on site...ie had no premises overhead. Electricians and plumbers were mentioned because of Kozzy's post earlier...the same comparison applies between any tradesman that can work from a tool bag and one that requires a premises and heavy equipment. The qualifications, training and experience I took as being equivalent across the range of occupations. I think Steve misread my post. I realise that some industries are more regulated and qualified to higher levels than others, There is a lot of work going on over here to bring blacksmithing, especially restoration work, into a more coded and regulated occupation. Welding is the most advanced along that route. Farriery over here is not far behind. But the Art and Craft college courses, the traditional apprenticeships and the journeyman route for the Artist Blacksmith are not without some redeeming features. They have got us this far. My post was intended as a series of questions which I hoped others could answer because of my ignorance, which Rockstar did admirably. So I repeat it was meant to prompt an informative response not an affronted one...sorry it misfired. Alan
  2. Thomas Powers

    And get back to coffee first! Glad to hear it, well done! Alan
  3. It would be interesting to hear from any (jobbing/domestic) plumbers or electricians on here with a foot in both camps so to speak. I have always marvelled at how much per hour they can charge for their time. Given the minimal investment in premises and equipment those trades have...and the narrow area of knowledge required relative to that of a jobbing metalworker / blacksmith, who as often as not are equipped and capable of basic plumbing and electrical work. Maybe it is just their skill and experience which means although there is not much scope for creativity, the efficiency of their problem solving and labour means they can get a lot more done in that hour than a general handyman? So they are charging much the same as the handyman for the total job cost, but they just get it done quicker? Maybe they just charge a lot because they can. Playing to our strengths, having invested in machinery and premises, we either have to be economic through batch production or along the Art route where the singularity of the work has a premium. 25 years ago Tom Joyce and I agreed that 1500 was the minimum cost for a project we could take on economically. Dollars for him and pounds for me. Alan ps thinking about it a bit more I suppose the specialism of the trade is an equivalent to the efficiency of batch production economics...A jobbing welder with a truck and a single machine, even if charging only the same rate as me who has 5 welding machines and a building to house them, will certainly be more profitable.
  4. What Did You do in the Shop Today?

    Could you use those in a shaper? The ones on the old machine I knew, I remember as being much heavier top to bottom (or in shaper terms front to back). I hated the machine...but Angus my fellow student loved it. I was always waiting for it to go bang...to be fair it never did. Alan
  5. What Did You do in the Shop Today?

    I think only the long one is a boring bar. The others are just standard left, facing, parting/grooving, thread cutting(?) and right. With the paint I presume that they are tipped with either HSS or carbide depending on their generation. Alan
  6. You misunderstand me...I was referring to the years indivisible by two. Alan
  7. Help identifying some steel

    I thought it sounded like something to do with a distopian film by one of the old Monty Python team. Alan
  8. One of the advantages of that tuning fork idea is that you could build in a clamp for an end stop...I usually put a mark on the floor to align the bolt cutter and have an Immoveable object the appropriate distance away to feed the bar to.....or just chalk mark the lengths onto the bar. However I have to say that I have used the bolt croppers fairly infrequently over the last 40 odd years so maybe I will just carry on using them on an ad hoc basis! Alan
  9. Help identifying some steel

    What a clever man you are! That is a very interesting concept I will log away for the future. I make up phosphoric acid pickling tanks with sheets of polythene laid onto 4x2 timbers....or whatever suits the project... I make clear polythene sheet envelopes sealed up with duct tape to contain the media so I can recycle it when shot blasting objects too big for the cabinet. I use a glass jar to contain brass, citric acid and detergent to isolate the dirty / cleaning solution from the transmission solution in the Ultrasonic Cleaner tank...maybe I will try that in a polythene bag, it will probably transfer the sound waves better as well. Thank you Ian. Alan
  10. That looks an interesting idea. The two reasons I use it at floor level however are; that resting it on the ground means most of your body weight is above it, which means less effort required; that the floor acts as a continuous trestle and supports however long the standing bar or cut off piece may be. These two points are especially handy when working solo. Both ends of the bar always jump when you go through, and invariably the longest end falls off the bench. It also means you did not have to lift it onto the bench or trestle in the first place! I have made it into a proto guillotine by clamping one handle in the vice in the past. It works well if you have an assistant holding the bar. I have only referred in jest to myself or my assistants when supporting one end of a bar as "an intelligent trestle"...I am very PC really. Alan
  11. My pair of those I usually use with the jaw and one handle resting on the ground, especially if I am feeding a long bar though it for multiple cuts. Alan
  12. Raw Linseed Oil

    I use flake graphite for both burnished paint finishes and punching/drifting lubricant. Rocol sold it as Foliac 4B. My last sackful came from a graphite dealer, David Hart Feckenham, Worcestershire. There must be one or two suppliers in most countries. Same sack has lasted 20 years! I used to mix it with my homemade Renaissance wax (Microcrystalline and Polythene waxes in White Spirit) because that is what I had around. The wax just acts as a carrier to hold the graphite onto the punch or drift so the ratio is largely immaterial...basically as much graphite as you can get in. In an open pot the white spirit evaporates so you need to thin it down occasionally. The last few years I have been mixing the graphite with Molyslip brand MWL which stays gloopy almost indefinitely. Not nearly as pleasant a smell as the wax when it burns off however. Alan
  13. It followed me home

    I agree, we don't want to stirrup any trouble. Alan
  14. It followed me home

    Mustang on to my sanity here. And before any of you ask, I don't believe in Sanity Clause. I know it is not much use to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted it. ...but... When I said I could not find a source of supply of horse hide I did not mean I didn't know where they came from...trouble is all the ones I knew of already had an occupant. In order to rein in your irreverent (and irrelevant) horsey talk and curb your enthusiasm I will relate a serious horsey experience which should stall the proceedings a bit. (...ooh got four in that line!) One of my major public appearances was as a pall bearer for one of the most famous horse riders ever. Pat Smythe was an Olympic show jumper in the fifties and sixties. She was our local hero, she happened to give a home to an orphaned young man who became a blacksmith who in turn gave me a holiday job at age 16. Coincidently we are taking him out to lunch on his 75 birthday next week. So I trust you will all wish him a happy birthday. He is the only current holder of a gold medal from Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. How about that? Off to hit the hay now... Alan
  15. Forged Post Hole digging bar

    Thinking about it you probably would not need the hard steel tip for an ice breaker...but I dare say no one would have two such things, one soft specifically for ice when the hard ground one would do both jobs! Bit like that song from Fiddlers Roof...one staircase for going up, one for going down, and one of them going nowhere just for show! Alan