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mike6024

McPherson College Restoration Technology

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2 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

 

Urban myth! .....Restoration ain't brain surgery and ninety percent of quality work is attention to detail and a customer willing to pay for it.

 

 

I couldn't disagree with you more.   My data is based on observation.   All the restorers I know are over 60 and retiring.   All of them complain about finding skilled help.

 

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7 minutes ago, alsancle said:

All the restorers I know are over 60 and retiring.   All of them complain about finding skilled help.

 

You make my point.

The fact that they are over sixty years of age has nothing to do with their skill level and in fact they may have been at their best when 30 years of age.

The industry would be far better served by McPherson turning out a cadre of students skilled enough to enter the trade with an understanding of the business aspects and the drive to open their own shops, thus providing further avenues to success for others.

Expecting McPherson to turn out mindless upholstery/sheet metal/trim drones to feed existing shops is short sighted at best.............Bob

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Knowing HOW to restore cars is different from being actually ABLE to restore cars. Maybe the cars you work on require little skill to restore.  I always say that with the work we do 5o% requires no skill, 25 % requires some skill and 25% requires a LOT of skill. All depends on the expected results I guess

 

13 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

 

You make my point.

The fact that they are over sixty years of age has nothing to do with their skill level and in fact they may have been at their best when 30 years of age.

The industry would be far better served by McPherson turning out a cadre of students skilled enough to enter the trade with an understanding of the business aspects and the drive to open their own shops, thus providing further avenues to success for others.

Expecting McPherson to turn out mindless upholstery/sheet metal/trim drones to feed existing shops is short sighted at best.............Bob

 

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I hate to be stereotypical.

But I have never met a good body guy that had the wherewithal to run a successful business.

I do know a couple of mediocre body guys that were smart enough to put their tools away and run the show. 

 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

Knowing HOW to restore cars is different from being actually ABLE to restore cars. Maybe the cars you work on require little skill to restore.  I always say that with the work we do 5o% requires no skill, 25 % requires some skill and 25% requires a LOT of skill. All depends on the expected results I guess

 

 

 

I of course bow to your obvious experience in the real world. That said, I think you make the point that meerly being highly skilled in one aspect of the trade is not necessarily the key to success in the trade and that a person who had adequate skills and a well rounded understanding of the business would have the best chance of furthering the future of the "trade". That is the point of the discussion, isn't it?.............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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Another comment about trade schools.

I do believe they have a place in education.

However,  I have hired guys that graduated the small engine classes but were not mechanics.

On the other hand I have hired guys with no education to speak of that had the knack.

I had a boat dealership.

I started up a few small businesses in my past, a couple that I walked away from and a couple that I sold at profit before I settled into the boat thing.

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We have had, I would guess, maybe 50 employees over the years. We usually have 2 or 3 mechanics, usually 2 body men, a metal worker a wood worker and an upholsterer. I can honestly say in all these years we have employed maybe 6 people who I would call "restorers". That is, guys who could perform all the various operations necessary to restore a car. So I agree that well rounded individuals 

 with wide ranging skills are what is needed in this industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I taught the fourth year of a four year apprenticeship program, as well as specific skill and operation classes in HVAC and power plant operation. I worked in the field and taught two evenings a week to employed adults, as well as topical as needed courses through my business. I started in 1984 and still present courses as needed. At the end of it all my most frequent comment is "The advanced course is your last chance to learn the basics."

In the final year I had many students whom could not do passing work. I would get on the table and jump up and down asking to teach the earlier years. Always the same reply; " We can get first and second year instructors a dime a dozen. People with your experience are hard to find for the advanced courses." I told them, with a solid understanding of the basics, they could let any Bozo teach the fourth year. It did me no good to fail a person. They would just repeat the fourth year when they didn't know the first or second year material.

 

I can see a similar situation in automotive training adhering to principles of education that combine skill goals in a progression of levels.

I do capital equipment and operational audits as a business. My first employee was a retired mechanical Engineer with 40 years of experience. The first job he accompanied the lead mechanic of a building and me on a walk through of his building. We got in my truck to leave, he looked t me, and said "that was the most humbling experience I've had in my life". Ten years ago and he is still ready on select jobs.

 

Many educational experiences focus on familiarization more than skill building. Car restoration and building operation are quite similar in the multi-faceted skills required. Like the body man who has the car that doesn't run well or the mechanic who can't paint. It is hard to span those skill sets. For me a good paint job is directly proportional to the number of times I am willing to do a job over. Think of that van you see emblazoned "Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Roofing, and Gutters". It is a lot of skills. I have followed the McPherson restoration work since it started and think highly of the school. The graduating student has proven their ability to take on a big job (four years worth_ and complete it, is familiar at a passing level with the trade, and ready to learn our way of doing things as well as capable of knowledgeable input. If I was in the business I would probably look to a second year student offer support and a job.

 

Pragmatism, my first instructor job was with a High School BOCES that contracted a job development program. In the loft over the classroom were large refrigeration trainers that had been broken and abandoned. My class got them down, blew off the dust, and got them all working again. A few months later, at a mall job fair, the school displayed the trainers we fixed as part of their comprehensive High School program.

 

I am for the training, but don't expect a great profit maker to walk in your door. There is more to learn.

 

One more caution: That fabled 60+ year old, he knows all the limitations of what can be done. The young skilled person may just succeed where the old guy won't try.

 

Bernie

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2 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

 

You make my point.

 

 

Without sounding too disrespectful,  do you mind me asking how many real restoration shops you have been in lately?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, JACK M said:

I hate to be stereotypical.

But I have never met a good body guy that had the wherewithal to run a successful business.

I do know a couple of mediocre body guys that were smart enough to put their tools away and run the show. 

 

 

I don't know a lot of body guys, but yes, the really talented ones always seem to do their best work at someone else's shop. My favorite body guy tried his own shop and it was chaos all the time and everything was a scramble. Eventually it failed badly enough that he said he was going to move to Mexico and just live as a drifter on the beach. Now he's working at another friend's restoration shop and turning out quality work once again and he's probably happier.

 

Not everyone needs to be their own businessman and it's OK to work for someone else if you enjoy the work and are paying your bills. I often long for the old days when someone else would tell me what to do and I'd just do that thing until it was done, then get assigned another task. At the end of the day I'd go home and have my own free time and not have to think about it until the next morning. Being the boss sometimes isn't the glamorous position it appears to be. I'm the first one in each morning and the last one to leave each night and the last one to get paid every week and the only thing I think about at night is how much work there still is to do and how it's all my fault if it goes wrong. That's supposed to be an improvement?!?

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, alsancle said:

 

Without sounding too disrespectful,  do you mind me asking how many real restoration shops you have been in lately?

 

With out being at all disrespectful: I don't run a trade school or own a restoration shop but I do know one doesn't have to be a chicken to judge an egg.

The thrust of the conversation is; Is the industry better served by McPherson turning out well rounded students able to enter the field well grounded in both the basics and business aspects or would the industry be better served long term by turning out narrowly focused specialists?

I submit the former.

Now if you want the question to be : Would any individual shop be better off able to hire a recent graduate who was a very proficient specialist at an entry level wage?

Ask any shop owner...Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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31 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

 

With out being at all disrespectful: I don't run a trade school or own a restoration shop but I do know one doesn't have to be a chicken to judge an egg.

The thrust of the conversation is; Is the industry better served by McPherson turning out well rounded students able to enter the field well grounded in both the basics and business aspects or would the industry be better served long term by turning out narrowly focused specialists?

I submit the former....Bob

 

Have you ever  spent any real time in a restoration shop?    And I don't mean a body shop that has a disassembled Ford Falcon in the back room.  I mean real shop doing full body off restorations.    If you really believe that teaching marketing and Excel is what the industry needs then I know you haven't.

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Posted (edited)

If by real you mean a shop that caters to a miniscule and elitist segment of the hobby. No, i have not. Do I believe that a loss of those shops and their hand wringing over lack of talent would seriously impact the hobby as enjoyed by the vast majority of us? No, I do not....bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, alsancle said:

 

Without sounding too disrespectful,  do you mind me asking how many real restoration shops you have been in lately?

 

it has been, maybe 6 or 8 years since I stopped in a restoration shop or even a collector car dealer. I stopped in one near me, on RT 104 in Spencerport, New York and ran into one of those wannabe TV personality types. It just turned me off from wanting to have a repeat of that experience.

 

I probably saved quite a bit of money, but I used to stop anywhere that looked like old car activities.

 

The last REAL shop I stopped in was Keysor Automobile Works in Bouckville, NY. If I get down that way again I'd stop. But I will just avoid the others. Harwood's looks like a good spot. Just none of that random stuff.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

Have you ever  spent any real time in a restoration shop? 

If by real you mean a shop that caters to a miniscule and elitist segment of the hobby. No, i have not. Do I believe that a loss of those shops and their hand wringing over lack of talent would seriously impact the hobby as enjoyed by the vast majority of us? No, I do not

Now, if by real you mean a shop that removes bodies and strips them of every nut and bolt, strips frames to the bare members, disassembles and refurbishes instruments, does custom one off engine turned instrument panels, custom makes wiring harnesses, rebuilds motors, pumps, switches  and controls, rebuilds convertible top frames down to making the special rivits, is comfortable with TIG, MIG, stick and gas, lead, braze or body filler, polishing brass, SS, plastic or even glass,  converts hard top 1/4 panels into convert panels, rebuilds transmissions and engines, installs ( but not sews) complete interiors,  does all body work including panel welding, has a machine shop including lathe, Bridgeport mill, drill presses, DoAll saws, surface grinder, metal shaper, english wheel for body patch panels, and completes the cars to and including the final painting and does all the above in house.

Now, if by real you mean a shop that has had it's cars awarded AACA grand national status and been awarded at multiple concours events including Meadow Brook, Radnor Hunt (multiple awards), Keene Land, Ault Park ( multiple awards), had one of it's cars given the program's full page color treatment as an example of class at the Inn at St Johns. etc etc.

Then yes, if that's what you mean, I have spent a few hours in a real restoration shop. Many many thousands of hours in fact. And no, there is no old Falcon in the back room. But if there was it would be welcome.................Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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