Machine shop


Well-Known Member
The concept of "class," and especially class distinction rubs me the wrong way, but extending some minimum level of general respect and consideration with those you're sharing air with is another thing. You just don't see much of it any more.

We divide ourselves up into different classes, it's not like it's 1200 AD or 1920's India. You don't see wealthy elites rubbing elbows with 5th generation welfare mutts, do you? Neither one would feel comfortable. It's not a cultural thing, it happens across the spectrum of all kinds of people.

As far as being or having class, as in Cary Grant class, thats a whole 'nuther ball of wax. Any hope of "class" coming back kind of died with Madonna and Miley Cyrus or whoever the biggest super start tramps were before them. The days of "class" gave way to the days of "bling" and not much else.


Well-Known Member
It's interesting to read some of my old late 19th century trade books/journals. These have been reprinted under public domain rules,or some such.

The treatises on sheet metal work of the 1880's was what I used as foundational for that craft in our shop. All good stuff,very reasonably priced.

As a builder who's been in the biz for 40+ years..... my dad was a builder... his dad,so on. I am slackjaw at what these books represent in,how much a student and subsequent tradesman...journeyman were "expected" to know. The math is college level by todays std. And wrapped in a style of writing that..... doubt even college grads of today can comprehend. These were written for guys that could barely read.... no "formal" education. But still,getting knee deep in equations.

So pathological fallacies aside,wearing suits by the "working class" ain't about a division of social status. It shows refinement for the craft. Similar to dressing up to go to church.Dressing for dinner,etc. Showing some *** **** respect for your work.


Well-Known Member
Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Page, whatever. Things started their downward tumble when the "flappers" came on I suppose. Sex sells as they say. I rather liked the "Gibson Girl" era myself, left something to the imagination!

I have a lot of the old Audels books and similar stuff from that era. It seems complex and college level to us now, but a high school diploma back then was equal to at least a 4 yr degree now, if not a Masters.

As far as refinement and status within a craft, I agree. But "class" (self respect and respect for others) transcends social status. It shows in things besides dress, as in how you present yourself, how you speak, etc. I ran into a guy in wearing a "blankety blank" Harley shirt and GDing and Effing in public. Had to steer the kids in another direction, although my first instinct was to just take an axe handle to him. No class, he's a hero to some because he's going to GD this and that in public. Shows a decided lack of maturity and respect IMO.


Well-Known Member
Bret it isn't "status within a craft".... that is what modern folks don't understand.

It's "earned". Your Harley boy would be lost here..... he'd only earn his stripes by hardwork and,hate to say it but,survival. So it is on the shop floor. Foul language? There ain't enough bandwidth on this forum for the creative use of expletives on the biz end of things when money,lives,reps,and moving fwd is on our plate.

Like any professional, knowing when to turn that **** off,shut up.... and listen is just part of the biz.As always,just sayin,BW


Well-Known Member
Depending on the scale we had a lot of classless ruffians for role models . Lawmen that walked the ragged edge and pretty regularly fell off the wrong side .
The difference was that even in the midst ladies were still ladies even the whores , and they had better be treated as such . The worst criminals of the eras were seen as gentlemen in public . Thinking Al Capone here ......

I've taken several "we'll guess your education level" test things . Ive never thought of myself as well educated , but they often think I have at least a master's . I have no trig or calculus skills , just enough history to step on my tongue . The story is right but I seem to get the wrong actors in the play , and time lines seem to blurr . I can however , if you'll give me a minute plot a 3d line and give dimensions with a pencil and a tape measure and only 3 dimensions . My reading is great my writing ......improving , languages ........ S O C K S , that's what it is , that's about all you get too . Many years after school I learned that my self confidence was intimidating . I had no idea that basic cleanliness , standing up straight , and speaking clearly was so intimidating , it was just what bandies did .
We wore leather coats for metal shop and well fitted aprons in wood shop .
I guess maybe it's just a loss of respect . A couple of years ago I saw an actual cowboy drop a door on a lady with 1 in tow , one on her hip , and one in the oven . When you see that you know it's over .
Craftsmanship has suffered the same fate I'm afraid . We just put in the numbers and get out parts . The manual finish control and the men that know the machine and it's .001 slop and still build .0002 parts are fading fast .
Every car off the line is capable of a horse an inch and most of them run on fuel that would make a 41' VW Thing/Beetle light armour doohickey cringe and they would run white gas , diesel and corn oil .
I don't know where that was going , but there's a point someplace .


Well-Known Member
RB,reckon I'm the most comfortable in a mustang welding jacket sitting at my Tig station..... at best,am a journeyman weldor.

Having said that..... Whitney Houston FTW,haha. Madonna can,suck it....


Well-Known Member
While I realize we've diverted from the OP, I started composing this a couple of days ago and got distracted by a clogged kitchen sink drain and a few other fun (sarc) things.

Actually Smokey I think the piece in the lathe is held in a four jaw chuck and supported by a steady rest. I believe its a perspective thing.
Looked at it again. You're absolutely right Keith. The angle and the steady-rest did throw me off.

Had quite a rain storm here accompanied by about 3 hours of 40 to 50 MPH winds.
My little dime store snake wouldn't touch the clog which was about 10 feet down the kitchen sink clean-out. Had to go rent a bigger rig at Home Depot. With the two 20+ mile round trips, cost almost $75.00, but still a lot cheaper than paying a plumber.

I hate plumbing!


Resident Half Fast Machinist
Lower right front - that's a metal planer. Note the short cross slots in the table. A planer can generate a lot of thrust, you can't just depend on friction from clamping to hold things in place, must have actual metal-to-metal contact. I used to run a much larger version, the table had 1-1/2" holes in it along with the regular T-slots. Used jacks made from 1-1/2" standard wall thickness pipes with a forked end welded into one end of them. The other end got a screw with a forked end and a nut stuck into it. Put the forked end of the jack against a peg in the table and put the forked end of the screw against the part. We had many jobs where we used four to six thrust jacks on one end with two or four on the other end to keep part snug.

One machine was so powerful that when the operator left the cross rail lowered down and the part was fed into it by accident it bent six pipe jacks into pretzels, shot them across the shop, and sheared off two 1-1/2" pegs at table level. And this was at 20 ft/min, a virtual crawl.

A few more from Shorpy to ponder:

Nov. 17, 1953. "F&R Machine Works, 44-14 Astoria Blvd., Long Island City, N.Y. General view from balcony. C.M. Johnson, client. Large-format acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisnerghfv
F&R Machine Works.jpg


Well-Known Member
Another find:
August 1942. "Women in industry. Sharp eyes and agile fingers make these young women ideal machine operators. They're conditioning and reshaping milling cutters in a huge Midwest machine tool company. Republic Drill and Tool, Chicago." Photo by Ann Rosener, Office of War Information.
Shapping Cutters.jpg
And the shop rag around her neck is scary stuff too. She's got some sore fingers. the first photo the young guy has a shop coat on. I have a 1920's book about hobby crafting and wood working to soldering everyone wears a tie.
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