[4]

Men's Sheds?

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

ACHiPo

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
603
Likes
498
#1
Came across this article and thought it might interest folks here. Basically men live longer these days, and get bored, so some have started "Men's Sheds"--kinda like Scouts for old farts. I belong to a hobby machinist group, which could qualify I suppose, but we all have our own shops. I guess this and other forums like it are kinda like "virtual men's sheds?" Have others here heard of these things?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nati...?utm_term=.563719fd118d&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1
 

savarin

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
1,830
Likes
2,756
#3
we have a lot of them in Oz but its very rare to find one with metal working tools, mainly woodworking projects.
The down side for me is all the ones I've looked at only open from 8 till 12.
My first coffee is around 10:30 and I dont get going till midday so they all close by the time I'm awake sufficiently to get involved.
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#4
On several of the forums I'm on and I think on here too I've heard the Australian members mention "Men's Sheds" but that the first actual article I've ever seen on it.

I have seen first hand how retired guys can fade quickly without some kind of purpose. I will never run into that because no place I ever worked had a real retirement program so I'm lucky to have a home biz that's my working retirement.

My dad was doing great until it just got too dangerous for him to do mobile home roofs by himself, which he loved to do. He started watching a lot of tv and has really gone down hill. My grandfather didn't last long after retiring. I worry about my friend down the street and try to pop in on him when I see him out in his garage. But that seems less and less. He's in a local seniors cycling club that does two rides a week and seems more of a social club than exercise. This area has a lot of guys like me doing small manufacturing out of their garage or shop. I never seem to bump into them but only hear of them like from a guy who was selling machining tooling on CL. It would fun to network with others like that and see other guys shops if we could somehow get around the idea somebody might rip off our stuff or ideas :)
 

ACHiPo

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
603
Likes
498
#5
On several of the forums I'm on and I think on here too I've heard the Australian members mention "Men's Sheds" but that the first actual article I've ever seen on it.

I have seen first hand how retired guys can fade quickly without some kind of purpose. I will never run into that because no place I ever worked had a real retirement program so I'm lucky to have a home biz that's my working retirement.

My dad was doing great until it just got too dangerous for him to do mobile home roofs by himself, which he loved to do. He started watching a lot of tv and has really gone down hill. My grandfather didn't last long after retiring. I worry about my friend down the street and try to pop in on him when I see him out in his garage. But that seems less and less. He's in a local seniors cycling club that does two rides a week and seems more of a social club than exercise. This area has a lot of guys like me doing small manufacturing out of their garage or shop. I never seem to bump into them but only hear of them like from a guy who was selling machining tooling on CL. It would fun to network with others like that and see other guys shops if we could somehow get around the idea somebody might rip off our stuff or ideas :)
C-Bag,
I like your signature line--I've heard it a little differently, "A simple mind can make simple things complicated. A complex mind can make complex things simple.", or as Mark Twain said, "In two days I can give you two pages. If you want two paragraphs it will take two weeks" or something to that effect.

Anyway the thought of senior "maker spaces" seems to make a good idea. I've heard of other shops (there's one in Oakland, but more targeted at artists than craftspeople), but it seems a lot of them go under with costs, liability insurance, etc.

Evan
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#6
Hi Evan. I read that once many years ago and I've tried to look it up to credit it properly but can't find it. My clouded brain thinks it was the structural engineer for Jim Hall's Chaparral. But you know how brain clouds are.

There is a maker space here too but cost and overhead always dooms these things.and its really is too bad. But I take solace there are virtual places like this and the incredible people on YouTube that are archiving their knowledge and expertise. It doesn't necessarily fill the social gap. For me, I'm lucky I have a circle of bluegrass musicians that fill that gap. Most of those folks I've known for over 40yrs. That's in stark contrast to every place I ever worked as those acquaintances never carried on after I left. What's funny is as much as I've hung out playing music with these folks I don't really know that much about them, because we are too busy singin' and pickin' :)
 

Drafty

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Messages
10
Likes
4
#7
Hi all
I have recently joined a Mens Shed in Bundanoon which caters for a variety of mens interest groups.The groups range from the ever popular woodworkers with all types of dedicated machinery. My interest is the metal working group that has a decent size lathe, a shaping machine and a vertical mill along with grinders, laser cutter, gas and electric welders.
 

Drafty

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Messages
10
Likes
4
#8
Hi all
I never got to finish my previous post (must have pressed some key that said send??)
The other groups catered for are photographers, science, radio hams, electronics and hopefully a new group of which there is interest
for me and that is amateur astronomy. So when the work capacity of my Sieg C1 lathe at home exceeds it,s measly 35mm O.D. the Sheds
machine fits the bill!
Ivan
 

hman

Active User
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,666
Likes
1,277
#9
My greatest concern when offered early retirement from HP (12+ years ago) was that I'd turn into a couch potato. Fortunately, I've been so durn busy since retirement that I wonder how I ever had time to go to work! I can definitely relate to the value of staying busy, especially with something you really enjoy :)
 

Downunder Bob

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
903
Likes
353
#10
we have a lot of them in Oz but its very rare to find one with metal working tools, mainly woodworking projects.
The down side for me is all the ones I've looked at only open from 8 till 12.
My first coffee is around 10:30 and I dont get going till midday so they all close by the time I'm awake sufficiently to get involved.
G'day Charles, yes I have the same problem here, Nothing gets done until after 10.30 am. First coffee a around 8.30 then a few in house chores, second coffee at around 10.30 then maybe I'll get interested. This time of teh year it's mostly cutting firewood. Brr, today was max 11c even though it was bright and sunny still plurry cold
 

Aaron_W

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
298
Likes
332
#11
This seems like a good step forward as it seem like hobbies are often discouraged these days.

I've always had more hobbies than time but I know many who don't really do anything outside of work except drink beer and watch TV.
Some fear retirement, not for financial reasons but because they will get bored. I know a few who retired comfortably and then promptly went out and got another job because they didn't know what to do with their time.
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#12
I agree it would be nice but my impression of how things are in CA is we are on our own. We are like used machinery that just needs to go away. If you have a senior center it's not about making people useful like in the article. Sorry, I don't play card games or dance so there's nothing I'd be interested in. Meanwhile the state owns all kinds of property and gets rid of equipment for penny's on the dollar and even if you could get hold of somebody the shear amount of red tape reminds me of that thread about stuff that would be left out to rot rather put it to use.
 

hman

Active User
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,666
Likes
1,277
#13
Unfortunately, the forum doesn't have a provision for "dislike" - NOT for you, but for the situation(s) you describe. Best wishes!
 

Downunder Bob

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
903
Likes
353
#14
I agree it would be nice but my impression of how things are in CA is we are on our own. We are like used machinery that just needs to go away. If you have a senior center it's not about making people useful like in the article. Sorry, I don't play card games or dance so there's nothing I'd be interested in. Meanwhile the state owns all kinds of property and gets rid of equipment for penny's on the dollar and even if you could get hold of somebody the shear amount of red tape reminds me of that thread about stuff that would be left out to rot rather put it to use.
Men's sheds have been very successful here in downunder. Usually started by a small group, often only one or two to begin with, but they grow. Have a look at posts 7 & 8 for ideas, ask the author how they were set up. It doesn't have to be playing cards or dancing. Metal work, woodwork, photography etc. etc., are all viable options, its about the talents and interests of those who start and run them. Many of the sheds here in Australia, get sponsorship from local businesses, in some cases tools will be donated by local hardware shops. many of the sheds, apart from learning, helping each other, make toys that are donated to local charities for children.
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#15
I know I'm always sounding like mr bummer, but it's hard to describe how things have changed here from when I was younger. Used to be you could take night classes at the high school woodshop for $35 for a semester. I can't remember how many nights a week but after you passed the safety course you do ANYTHING in there. It was huge. Then they started jettisoning the shops, wood, metal and auto. So all that went away. It's really hard to find shop space and rents are at a premium requiring insurance, sprinkler and alarm systems. Everybody is so worried about liability.

We used to have a pizza parlor that on first Wed. nights of the month all us pickers would go in their back room and jam for 3-4hrs. Everybody bought food and that back room would be packed with pickers and listeners. We turned their slowest night into one of their most profitable night. Never any fights, never too much noise as it was all acoustic, no drums or amps. They started giving us a bad time so we tried for years to find another place and couldn't talk anybody into it. The only ones were the senior center and they wanted us to supply them with a country band so they could line dance! But when we said we don't play that kind of music it fell through. So the jam that brought people from Bakersfiled and as far north as Fresno faded away.
 

Downunder Bob

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
903
Likes
353
#16
C-Bag you say "It takes an engineer to make it complicated and genius to make it simple." I heard that different. "It takes an engineer to make it work, a salesman to create a market and an accountant to destroy the whole thing".
 

Downunder Bob

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
903
Likes
353
#17
I know I'm always sounding like mr bummer, but it's hard to describe how things have changed here from when I was younger. Used to be you could take night classes at the high school woodshop for $35 for a semester. I can't remember how many nights a week but after you passed the safety course you do ANYTHING in there. It was huge. Then they started jettisoning the shops, wood, metal and auto. So all that went away. It's really hard to find shop space and rents are at a premium requiring insurance, sprinkler and alarm systems. Everybody is so worried about liability.

We used to have a pizza parlor that on first Wed. nights of the month all us pickers would go in their back room and jam for 3-4hrs. Everybody bought food and that back room would be packed with pickers and listeners. We turned their slowest night into one of their most profitable night. Never any fights, never too much noise as it was all acoustic, no drums or amps. They started giving us a bad time so we tried for years to find another place and couldn't talk anybody into it. The only ones were the senior center and they wanted us to supply them with a country band so they could line dance! But when we said we don't play that kind of music it fell through. So the jam that brought people from Bakersfiled and as far north as Fresno faded away.
Yes we had pretty much the same here, but the self startup men's sheds have made a huge difference, also the volunteer historical groups restoring old steam trains, paddle wheel boats on the rivers, old stem driven sawmills, an pumping stations We have hundreds of these dotted across the country.
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#18
C-Bag you say "It takes an engineer to make it complicated and genius to make it simple." I heard that different. "It takes an engineer to make it work, a salesman to create a market and an accountant to destroy the whole thing".
It would seem everybody has heard their version of this and it seems the version depends on where you are in the "chain". Yours seems to be what they would say in the engineering dept, mine is from the mechanic's POV. Everybody is just trying to do their jobs but not until my last wage slave tour did I have access to the engineers and ask them directly what had plagued my mind as I tried to repair some nightmare. "What WERE you thinking(or smoking)?". That's when I was exposed to their world where they were given a task to design something without knowing the overall function just like another of my favorite analgy's of being like mushrooms. Kept in the dark and fed dung. I think it's weird the most chaotic force in the whole mess is not represented, management.
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#19
Yes we had pretty much the same here, but the self startup men's sheds have made a huge difference, also the volunteer historical groups restoring old steam trains, paddle wheel boats on the rivers, old stem driven sawmills, an pumping stations We have hundreds of these dotted across the country.
My impression from all this is while men's sheds are a great idea that our particular passion is not represented even where the sheds exists.

I would be interested to hear how ACHiPo's local loose association works. How did you find each other, and do you have get together's? This discussion has made me reach out to a local guy on the list and another that I met while buying a tool from him off CL. I guess I'm not looking for something formal but somebody local to network with when I need help or ideas. I don't want to step on anybody's privacy but too bad there's not some way through this site to see who else is local to me.
 

Downunder Bob

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
903
Likes
353
#20
Yes many versions, In my version the accountant represents management.

Many years ago during my apprenticeship, the founder of the firm brought his son into the business, The young man, only a coupe of years older than I was, had just completed an engineering degree, and was given a position in the drawing office. It didn't take long before he started sending drawings out to the toolroom, where I worked, These drawings were of weird and wonderful Ideas that he had. One day I was given a drawing for a part. after studying it for a while deciding how to go about making it, I realised that it couldn't actually be made. It had a spindle within a spindle, but the slot in the side was not big enough to allow the inner spindle to be installed. I rang the drawing room and spoke to him asking could the slot be made bigger. He slammed the phone down and came storming out to the toolroom demanding that I be sacked because I couldn't read a drawing. Soon the foreman and the shop manager became involved, they supported me and said that it couldn't work. He was furious stormed out shouting that we would all be sacked. He didn't show his face in the toolroom for quite some time.
 

Winegrower

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2014
Messages
35
Likes
15
#21
I tool a tour through the local railroad museum and saw an old LeBlond 16” lathe looking a bit underutilized...I started volunteering a day a week there, met some really cool old guys with extremely diverse backgrounds, and among us, somebody always comes up with a great suggestion for solving this week’s project. It’s been fun, I get to work on some larger equipment and heavier steel/iron parts than at home, and Tuesday after work is beer time.
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#22
Yes many versions, In my version the accountant represents management.

Many years ago during my apprenticeship, the founder of the firm brought his son into the business, The young man, only a coupe of years older than I was, had just completed an engineering degree, and was given a position in the drawing office. It didn't take long before he started sending drawings out to the toolroom, where I worked, These drawings were of weird and wonderful Ideas that he had. One day I was given a drawing for a part. after studying it for a while deciding how to go about making it, I realised that it couldn't actually be made. It had a spindle within a spindle, but the slot in the side was not big enough to allow the inner spindle to be installed. I rang the drawing room and spoke to him asking could the slot be made bigger. He slammed the phone down and came storming out to the toolroom demanding that I be sacked because I couldn't read a drawing. Soon the foreman and the shop manager became involved, they supported me and said that it couldn't work. He was furious stormed out shouting that we would all be sacked. He didn't show his face in the toolroom for quite some time.
One of the many idiotic things management did to engineering was make them work only in 2D. When I would bring up things like what you had, they would bring up the drawing and we'd both stare in disbelief. No wonder. Talk about a mess. I was lucky I got to work with a young Hmong engineer and an old Philippino engineer. Both extremely competent ,respectful and without the huge ego the other guys had. We did some great work together and we always shot for simple and if I came up with something more than once they'd say, well why didn't you tell me that before I went through all of this? Together we solved stuff that in the case of one machine had plagued the company for 15yrs. Those two guys made me understand more about the obstacles put in engineers way than I could ever have imagined.
 

Aaron_W

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
298
Likes
332
#23
Yes we had pretty much the same here, but the self startup men's sheds have made a huge difference, also the volunteer historical groups restoring old steam trains, paddle wheel boats on the rivers, old stem driven sawmills, an pumping stations We have hundreds of these dotted across the country.
There are a lot of volunteer groups in the US. The problem is most advertising is just word of mouth, so it is easy to miss people who don't even know to look. Most of the national forests and parks have interesting volunteer opportunities, and there are lots of historical societies. Zoos, museums etc often have volunteer docent programs as well.
 

ACHiPo

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
603
Likes
498
#24
My impression from all this is while men's sheds are a great idea that our particular passion is not represented even where the sheds exists.

I would be interested to hear how ACHiPo's local loose association works. How did you find each other, and do you have get together's? This discussion has made me reach out to a local guy on the list and another that I met while buying a tool from him off CL. I guess I'm not looking for something formal but somebody local to network with when I need help or ideas. I don't want to step on anybody's privacy but too bad there's not some way through this site to see who else is local to me.
I learned about it from one of the members here. He invited me to a "meeting" in his shop, and I took a risk and made the 2 hour drive. I'm very glad I did, as I met a bunch of great guys that helpful, knowledgeable, and fun to hang out with. I've since been to a few more meetings, a couple of which were a lot closer so easier to get a "hall pass" from my better half.

Here's the shop in Oakland that looks to be equivalent to accessing HS shops. Not cheap, but a decent set of equipment for metal working.
https://thecrucible.org/
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
338
Likes
257
#25
I learned about it from one of the members here. He invited me to a "meeting" in his shop, and I took a risk and made the 2 hour drive. I'm very glad I did, as I met a bunch of great guys that helpful, knowledgeable, and fun to hang out with. I've since been to a few more meetings, a couple of which were a lot closer so easier to get a "hall pass" from my better half.

Here's the shop in Oakland that looks to be equivalent to accessing HS shops. Not cheap, but a decent set of equipment for metal working.
https://thecrucible.org/
What you guys have is what I'd like to find locally. More a loose assoc. of folks with their own shops. There is something comparable down SoCal with https://urbanworkshop.net/

Watch the vid, they really have an amazing setup. If I didn't have any equipment or place to work and lived close I'd want to be part of that.
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top