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Nice idea Tmac!
I am sure I have put all of this down before but I got into clock repair through hurting my back and no longer being able to work. I couldnt do anything too physical and I also couldnt sit for long periods, I also would only be able to move around ok for 3 or 4 days per week so that ruled out getting a normal job. While I was off sick my sister-in-law suggested clock repair. I liked the idea so started to read, buy some basic tools and cheap clocks. After about six months of messing at it I decided to take it a little more seriously and bought Bobs course. I didnt use the forum much at first, I felt very self conscious and hated the idea of people laughing at my dumb questions but as time went on and I started running into problems I began to ask. I had used the NAWCC forum a couple of times but it can be a little unfriendly, not always but if you asked certain questions there can be some very strong opinions voiced and that put me off. There is a very steep learning curve in horology, you cant learn everything in 5 minutes and unless you are rich you cant buy all the tools in one go. I took it steady and picked up bits from e-bay, from supply stores and from auctions. I still dont have everything I want but it is slowly coming together. You can only learn by doing the work, no amount of money spent on tools will make you a better horologist, work on the clocks and watches and you will learn faster than by any other method and also which tools you will use every day and which tools sit on the bench and gather dust.
I started my business last December and am just beginning to pick up a reasonable amount of work. I love the freedom of being my own boss and instead of waking up in the morning thinking, damn, I have to go to work today, I now cant wait to get to my workshop. I work 6 days per week (when my back allows it),because i love it, not because I have to. One thing I did find very difficult at the start was finding someone to teach me, give me a little hands on experience, these old guys just dont seem to want to give any of their secrets away. Purely by accident I bought a lathe on e-bay from a guy who had done his apprenticeship with the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. The guy is an absolute genius, we have become good friends and I have learnt a great deal from him. I dont want to be like those old guys, I will happily help anyone I can. There can be times when you work on stuff and it goes wrong, you may even feel out of your depth and wonder if you are doing the right thing, just keep at it, it is no different to any other trade, you will at times learn from mistakes.
Thanks Paul. That’s an interesting story. I figured everyone had told their story at one time or another, but I thought putting it all in one place give us all a different take on things.
A couple of questions:
1) The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers – isn’t that an English organization?
2) So what was your previous career path before you were injured?