People often ask me ... How did I start?
Well I've always been good with my hands, (brain pretty good too).... I seem to have a gift for understanding mechanical and technical stuff, and have been repairing, making and inventing things for as long as I can remember. It's one of the few things in life that really gives me a buzz, and I suppose it all started when I designed and made my own catapults, rubberband firing guns and archery gear, at around age five.
I've dabbled in furniture making, woodturning, plumbing, electrics and electronics. I can do it all, and then some. All self taught, but therein lay a problem .... at work anyway, but this has eventually allowed me to do what I do now.
I've been a Research Chemist all my professional life, but latterly I had
a career diversion toward mechanical and process engineering in a food
Still working as a research boffin, at this stage I was a professional inventor working on fish processing machinery. A job I absolutely loved, so much so, I used to drive to work at rather unhealthy speeds (and got a speeding ticket to prove it), but then the Health and Safety executive got the better of me ........
I was thoroughly upset with this new legislation. I had a degree but no trade apprenticeship,
so the introduction of the “Health and Safety at Work” rules
effectively prevented me using ANY workshop equipment.
I'd been used to doing sheet metal stuff using power guillotine, and all the usual equipment, .. benders, welders, drilling, milling etc, and of course the engineers lathe. Now, thanks to these new rules I had to sit back and give instructions to fitters to do the hands on work for me! They tried hard to please me, but with inventing, which has to be a spontaneous and creative process, it's a recipe for disaster and really quite unworkable. Latterly there was a joke going round the Company that it took £100 and three weeks to drill a hole in a piece of metal. This was no joke ....
I couldn't simply pick up a power drill, and 30 seconds later the job was done. Oh no.
Detailed technical drawings had to be made, passed to me for checking, sent to the
Section manager for approval, sent to the Workshop manager for assessment and costing, back to the
Section manager to approve and raise funding, then passed to a fitter to do the job.
To give them their due, the quality of the hole would be absolutely superb, precisely positioned and perfectly executed, but I would have long forgotten where I was in the invention process, and creativity was absolutely quashed.
In the end, I missed my lathe so much, I bought one for home use, and did a lot of Company work in my own time, it was really the only way I could do it.
Now that I'm retired, got some time on my hands and a fairly well equipped engineers shop, I try to combine two of my favourite things ... airguns and engineering.
I have to say I owe a huge amount of gratitude to the Airgun
BBS forum - What a wonderful site!
Without this, the first few jobs that I took on for members, which has now grown to a steady trickle, would never have happened.
I've met many exceptional people on the forum, and have to make some special
First and foremost the main accolade has to go to the inimitable Dan Bowman (mortal foe of rattus rattus), (Geordie on the BBS).
A man who, I suspect, bit off somewhat more than he bargained for, when he offered, free gratis, to build this website for me. He has graciously, and onerously, completed this task, and has been so generous and supportive with his energy, expertise and time, in putting this website together.
Malc Tulloch, (one of the few "real" engineers I know), who gives me technical support in many forms, and at times moral support as well.
Special mention is also deserved for Norman Clements and his wonderful staff (Anchor girl Claire, and Shona)
at Countrywear Ballater.
(More info on gallery>links page)
His superb shop provides all manner of quality shooting, fishing and outdoor equipment. Little wonder he has attracted Royal patronage and Royal Warrants for excellence of service. Norman has been a very special friend of great assistance to me, and I shall never forget his kindness.
Quality people !
Thanks guys and gals.