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Re: Sign-o-the-times

Subject: Re: Sign-o-the-times
From: Chuck Rothfuss <>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 20:21:27 -0500
Nick, List,

   I'm glad I'm not the only one that's seeing this.  I've had similar
thoughts quite frequently.  

  Junior, the youngest machinist in either of the machine shops around here
is my age (40), and probably won't keep the shop open by himself when the
other two older gents in the shop retire. 

  My favorite body man, another Nick, the only guy I know who still works
exclusively with lead, and the only guy I've ever seen add more lead to a
previous lead repair without getting a drop on the floor, is over 70 and has
never had an assistant worth a damn.

  Then today on one of my other lists there is a discussion about
customizing cars.  I immediately think sectioning, nosing, decking,
frenching, channeling and chopping.  All of which Nick makes look like
beautiful artwork.  No... this is the modern perception of customizing:

  "Customizing to include things from interior customs, to paint, to ground
effects,          to shift knobs, steering wheels, dome lights, sound
systems, cold air                      induction, custom turbo plumbing,
lifting, lowering, etc..."  
  There's definitely a trend here.  It extends to parts men who don't have a
clue how to use a book, cashiers who can't make change, and mechanics who
are parts changers instead of troubleshooters.

  Best of luck finding a decent heat treating facility for your sway bars.
Not exactly the kinda thing you can do on the back yard barbecue.  If
nothing else you may be able to ship them off somewhere.  That's the kinda
stuff I expect, living in a town that doesn't even have a post office, but
it's shameful for your area.

Chuck Rothfuss
Pole Cat Hollow, NC

At 06:07 PM 3/10/2000 EST, you wrote:
>Fellow Metal Freaks-
>In this disposable world it is becoming more difficult to find any real 
>artisans any more. For that matter, it's becoming difficult to find 
>competency any more. The latest lament is over a heat treating shop about 150 
>miles from my house. The two guys who ran the shop actually knew what they 
>were doing and would not only take the time to ascertain my needs and how to 
>fulfill them, but took the time to show me any and all aspects of their job. 
>(Only time I have ever seen, let alone used a Comparator.)
>So I loaded up my newly bent sway bars and tooled down to San Francisco only 
>to find a sign on the shop that said "Retired...out of business." I know I 
>could have called first, but it never dawned on me that they would be gone. I 
>knew that they were both in their 60's and they had noted that they could not 
>get anyone interested in working with them so that the shop could continue, 
>but this is a harsh reality.
>The machinists that I use (2 brothers) actually run a "machine" shop, not 
>some local automotive shop with a press in the back room, and they too have 
>said the same thing. When they retire the shop will close!
>It is a sad commentary that this great pool of talent and experience is 
>disappearing from the land. I can only guess that this is occurring on a 
>Nationwide, if not Worldwide, basis and is a sad commentary on our society.
>So, does anyone in the SF Bay Area know of a decent heat treating facility?
>OK, I'm off the soapbox now...
>        Nick of Nor Cal 

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