Sunday, June 30, 2013

Industrial arts AKA "Shop Class"

This is my 1952 Sheldon metal lathe. It has an 11 inch swing, and a 42 inch bed. The saddle is a little worn, but she still makes parts for the crazy things I build in my garage! Things like spacers and the Moon aluminum valve cover hold down caps that I made for my clone of Ed Roth's "Outlaw", and an assortment of shafts, bearings and seats etc for my old Ford tractor's mower attachment. I even made a steel wheel for the mower out of large diameter pipe, plate steel, and solid stock. Now, if you don't know what some of the terms I used were, you can blame the school system. Its not the teachers fault its the schools. Now I am no machinist by any means, but I get by, and I get it done, with the knowledge that I have. I have an old high school "SHOP CLASS" text book sitting on my work bench, that I refer to now and then. Its from the 60's, a time when "SHOP CLASS" was still important to this country. From what I have gathered, and from my time in high school, it seems like the industrial arts are all but dead. It costs the schools too much money for the insurance of the shop class, (but they seem to have tons of cash for sports, like all those kids will be in the NFL, yeah right). So, now our country has no machinists, metal fab guys, printers, auto body workers, mechanics, or aviation airframe builders. I can keep going but you get the point. These are the "ARTS" that made this country great! These are the arts that helped win world war 2, Korea, etc etc. This country had a "CAN DO" attitude! Now we ship it off to china to have it made by some unskilled craftsmen, and we are told to choke on it, and deal with it. Well, I say "SCREW THAT SHIT" I am going off on a rant even though know most, if not all of you reading this feel the same way. When I bought my really used and well worn lathe I was like " How did I ever live without one?" There are lots of kids and young adults that want to get involved, but don't have a cool shop to hang out at after school. I used to visit a guy named Billy Bosco, who ran the "Super Rod Shop" on Long Island. He built 32 Fords and T-buckets all from scratch. All the welding, machine work and mechanical drawings, were done by him and him alone. A real talent. What I am looking for, and the reason for the rant is, I'd like to offer my DVD's to any shop class teacher or school library that will have them. I will make them available at cost so that a whole class of kids can afford them. I would hope my DVD's would inspire some one to pick up a fiberglass roller, or stand at a milling machine and "BUILD SOMETHING, BUILD SOMETHING FREAKING COOL", and learn a good solid trade they can be proud of. So, if you are reading this, and are a teacher, or know one, volunteer at a school or work in the library, get in touch with me, so we can make something happen. Even if one kid gets turned on, and further their career, they might become one of the greats! The next "Lill John Buttera" or "Dick Allen". Let's get America back in the garage and building something!