22 February 2010

Reigniting A Love Of Hand Tools

chain nose pliers ca. 1980

If I were to share an interesting fact about myself it would be that I was once a cardholding member of the "Sheet Metal Workers" union!

At 22, I was living at home, working P/T and going to school P/T when my father changed jobs. We moved to another part of the state at the same time the country was in a major recession and I wasn't able to find work. The earliest unemployment records in the U.S. only date back to the early 1984 when 2.1 million young people (26% of 16-24 yr olds) were economically inactive. I can attest that it was a DIRE situation in the late 70's as well!

By registering at the State Employment/Unemployment Office I qualified for a government subsidized work/training program, called CETA, and began a lucrative 6-year career in the field of electronics. The position required that I pass a 2-week/80-hour Government Certification course in soldering and, after several weeks, I found that I was enjoying myself! My company did alot of government contract work and at the time we supplied electronic sub-assemblies to be used in missle radar and life support systems... no cold solder joints allowed!

After about a year I was laid off and registered with a "technical" Temp Agency. I wore many hats over the next several years in addition to soldering. I did wire harness assembly, benchwork, point-to-point wiring, ran a bench press, punch press, coil winding machine, learned flash welding and my ultimate fave:
soldering under a microscope (in the field of microelectronics). There you have it!

It has been a thrill to return to my trusty old chain nose pliers ~ and maybe try my hand at soldering again :D

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