Well. OK, this has been something on my mind for many years. let's call it a passion... maybe an addiction or maybe just a life in motion. I am, as my username suggests, a blind mower restorer. I specialise in restoration of vintage equipment as well as modern machines and refurbishments.
It all started when I had some sight at a young age and started getting interested in machinery, how it was designed, it's processes, specifications, what made each engine, system or part unique. From there, I started tinkering around with old engines. When I'd lost my sight a number of years ago, it became more of a detailed hobby. then after some time bringing machines to life, it became an addiction.
I do every part of a restoration by feel and sound, also scent when checking if a flame is right when brazing or cutting or if fuel or oil is off, etc. The whole tactile process lets me get more involved with each engine and chassis. whether the engine needs a little care or a full overhaul, it's an exciting and interesting challenge.
These days, I'm designing my own machines which are to either my own specs or to a buyer's needs and not factory templates. I'm sick to death of B&Q like products. OK there's a business in it, but there's nothing exciting or unique about it. So, after visiting the mower museum and feeling each machine, taking some tactile ideas into mind, I'm working on designs that improve cutting performance, design, ergonomics and yes... longevity... a word I love. The thought of a mower lasting a customer a few years makes me sick to the stomach. Even when I go with my father to the tip to shift waste, the sound of someone throwing a mower away hurts. So much so that I go, check the machine out and if it's worth working on, I take it. that way it's not in land fill or the "scrap" pile.
You might think I'm insane but building my own mowers or customizing existing machines gives me the chance to test ergonomics, esthetics and functional environments to see what could be done.
take as an example a "BOG STANDARD" suffolk punch from the 70's upwards. What would you do to improve it? there's a fair bit that can be done to be honest that would change it's performance, ergonomics and beauty. After all, you don't just buy a mower for cutting the grass... do you? OK... most of the time... you do... But... Don't you sometimes feel that your mower tells other people about you when you're there pacing your lawn and enjoying yourself? OK I'm about to shoot myself in the foot here but if you can't enjoy mowing your lawn, you're a lost soul missing out on something worthwhile and pleasurable.
Whenever I do get the chance to take on anything that no one wants, I either do a full refurbish to make a decent bit of cash to fund my projects, tooling and stock needs, or I do a bit of charity mower work. namely the refurbishment of mowers to give to people who can't afford a machine. I make no money in that respect, I just use what I have for parts when available, service or build a machine that suits the recipient and that cheers me up.
I come up with all sorts of design ideas which merge the old with the new and it drives me mad. like my mind draws tactile pictures to my hands and I eventually click with the idea that could set a machine apart from the rest. whether it's changing the way the handle configuration works, chassis changes, etc.
anyway, enough from me.
Edward Lewis Redfern