Two New Short Stories for Machinists

Guy Lautard
In the latter part of 2008 I brought out two machinist's short stories.  Both contain shop stuff I think you'll like.

One (which will probably reduce you to tears) has a plot of sorts, and a really great shop tip, plus other stuff.

The other story has quite a few shop ideas in it, and is illustrated with photos, drawings etc., but cannot fairly be said to have a plot. I don't feel too bad about putting forward such a story: Huckleberry Finn also has no plot, and Mark Twain said anyone attempting to find one in it would be shot. ;-)

The two stories are as follows:


A Speculator in Brass and Steel

a machinist's short story

Guy Lautard
Copyright © November 2008

This is a story (38 pages) about a basement machinist who runs afoul of a petty skunk in his day job. A girl he meets by chance, and for whom he does a small metalworking favor , encourages him to use the knowledge of clockmaking he has acquired from an old man whose lathe he bought, to make a limited run of very special skeleton clocks. 

Although this is a fiction story, some of the events in it reflect personal experiences which spurred me to endeavor to henceforth work only for myself. I have been fortunate to be able to do so for most of the past 35 years. 

Th is story contains a really great shop tip . (Actually, it is a group of tips, most of which revolve around a discovery one of my guys told me about.) I would hesitate to say that  it is life-changing, but  if you aspire to do good work with hand files, this tip will help you a LOT.  It is not a minor idea - i t will have a big impact on your results when using files.  There are some other shop ideas in the story as well, but I think you will feel this one tip alone is well worth the price of the whole story.  Plus there is the story itself, which many people in the workplace today will be able to relate to all too well.  And the way the story ends is rather satisfying.

This story has made strong men cry before you, so you would be well
advised to have
a box of Kleenex at hand before you get too far into it.

Included with this story are two recipes, one of them very nicely suited to the Christmas season.*


a machinist's short story

Guy Lautard
Copyright © November 2008

This is a short story (36 pages) 
about a basement machinist and sculptor who works mostly in sheet steel.  He meets a girl who wants to do sculptures of a somewhat different type, but who does not know how to translate what she sees in her mind onto paper, so as to get started. The story contains various shop ideas/projects, along with some interesting information on how to originate smooth, eye-pleasing curves, which can be turned into various things including 3-dimensional sculptures in wood, steel or other materials. You may find this info interesting, possibly instructive, maybe even useful and/or valuable.
There are a number of other technical ideas in this story.

One item is a graphical method of
dividing a circle quickly into any reasonable odd number of equal parts with dividers. This is something I originated for myself – I've never seen it in print anywhere. This method is not accurate enough for gear cutting, but it would be useful for dividing a circle into 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, or 15 equal parts for less critical purposes.  My method is faster and easier than doing it by trial and error, or with a protractor, and it will get you VERY close in one shot.
Included in this story you'll also find
- dimensioned drawings for a very good rolling stock rack for steel bars etc. 
- ideas for an unusual sheet steel vase ; it won't hold water, but it would make a cool and unusual umbrella stand.
- photos and a drawing for a very effective shop-made finger pull knob for the front panel on a Gerstner toolbox , along with
- photos of a couple of other things you might like ,
- some info on cutting sheet steel with a cold chisel, and  
- some info on how to do nice shaded pencil drawings .  You won't be able to pass yourself off as Michaelangelo after reading this information, but I think you'll be absolutely amazed at what you can do if you give the ideas in this part of the story a try.
This story also concludes with a couple of recipes you might like. One is for a very easy-to-make chicken casserole, and the other is for a simple way to make a pretty good chocolate cream pie.*

If you'd also like a more detailed write-up about the Finger Pull knob, along with fully dimensioned drawings for same, add US$4, and ask for the Finger Knob Plans also.

If you're ordering any of the above items, you might also want to order one or both of the following two other how-to items:

1. How to make and use leather buffing wheels up to about 1" diameter, for polishing various things.    $3

2. A 5-page write up on how to make really good fake ivory - good enough to fool even an expert
unless he was able to touch it or examine it with a good lens.                                                                         $3

Note: These stories not currently available as we find the best form for them.

* You might be a little surprised to find recipes included with my stories, but I've had to learn to cook for myself in the last 4 or 5 years, and while I can't say I'm great at it, I'm getting better at it. These recipes stem from those efforts.

In case you wonder if you might like these stories: One of my guys read each of these stories several times while I polished them up for final. (I thought he'd sic his spam blocker on me after two readings, but he didn't.)  Aside from  pesterin' me about how to use "eh?" properly in a sentence ;-) , his input has been very helpful.
Of these two stories, he says,

"I like the characters. I like how they interact in scenarios involving tools and machining.  And I like the fact that what's going on in the story deals with the kinds of things I like to read about.  And the illustrations embedded in the "Fair Curves" story really bring it to life - I like that very much!  Your guys will be glad to know you're writing again, that these two great new stories are available, and they'll want to add them to their collection.  And in these days of exorbitant shipping charges, supplying them by e-mail is a great idea: no printing, 
no CD, no postage, no delivery truck driving on the lawn - and........ INSTANT GRATIFICATION!  And I'll bet they'll learn something from these stories too – I certainly did.  Besides, nobody writes about clockmakers but Lautard; your guys should have known this was bound to happen eventually!  And, who but you would ever have written a story, complete with diagrams, about trigonometry of all things?  Who else but GBL could pull that off and make it readable, fun, and readily understandable?  Toss in a couple of unique dinner and dessert recipes with each story, and what's not to like?  Plus they'll learn how to be a better filer in the bargain – I'll bet the guys will beat a path to your door.  I think these stories would be a bargain at twice the price, and we didn't have to cut down half the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest for paper to print them on, or bags to ship 'em in.  Pretty good, eh?"


And finally, I would like to say a sincere "Thank You" to all my customers  - "my guys," as I often speak of you. Your support, your friendship, and your interest in my doings, have enriched my life beyond measure.