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Delegates from Exeter and across East Devon representing the Federation of Small Businesses recently spent an afternoon at Axminster Tools & Machinery. The aim of the visit was to encourage networking, promote working together and discuss employment issues.
When I started making sawdust years ago in the early 1970s, the current renaissance in top quality hand tools was a very distant pipe dream. It was necessary for me and many others to try to assemble a kit of tools based on equipment available at that time, which to be fair, especially when discussing planes, was pretty abysmal.
I remember at Shoreditch College, around 1976, helping out a fellow student whose Sheffield made, blue painted No.6 plane wasn’t cutting, no matter how much it was adjusted. Zero...zip, nowt!
I was puzzled as well, but fortunately I had a 600mm Maun straight edge in my toolbox (I still have it in the workshop today) which I proceeded to place across the sole of his plane. We were both astounded to see that far from being anywhere near straight, the sole of his plane had more in common with a banana.
Thankfully, those days have long gone. Whilst some English hand tool manufacturing (not all, it has to be said) disappeared to the Far East, a new resurgence in top quality planes began in the New World and has continued to grow to the current day.
Jorvik (York) Woodturners have been working alongside the Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick. This specialist centre is run by the charity Help for Heroes and forms part of the Defence Recovery Capability. The project was driven by Help for Heroes volunteer Chris Morgan who runs the recovery centre.
The club has been helping to set up a woodturning shed at Phoenix House. The new workshop will provide a setting where injured troops and veterans can work towards gaining woodworking skills and qualifications which may help them forge new careers. Part of the project involved renovating an old Axminster lathe, one of the machines destined to assist with the rehabilitation of those in the Armed Forces disabled in recent conflicts.
Earlier this year, the club approached Axminster for some spare parts for the lathe and it was then identified by AT&M as being an old M950 which the company had discontinued a few years earlier. Fortunately parts were still available and Axminster donated these to the club enabling them to continue renovating the lathe ready for use.
The Devon Delivers inward investment campaign aims to focus on the benefits of locating a business in Devon and highlight why it should be the natural choice for business relocation. At the end of last year Devon County Council launched its ambassador programme and is building a network of ambassador companies to promote the rationale for doing business in Devon and to showcase successful businesses already in the area.
Geri Panteva, Economic Development Officer coordinating Devon Delivers, explained the scheme further: “We are very happy that we already have so many thriving Devon businesses on board. It is a very flexible and bespoke arrangement and you only commit as much time as you can. The main idea is to build a network of successful businesses that can be showcased to companies looking to relocate or expand into Devon so that they can picture their business thriving in the area and also establish links with companies in the area if they choose to relocate.”
The South West Model & Hobby Show held at the Bath & West Showground is just around the corner. This show is the largest model and hobby show in the south of the UK and plays host to outdoor flying, indoor flying, radio control trucks, boats, tanks and cars. Visitors will also find static displays of model boats, cars and trains, plus railway layouts and model engineering displays. Indeed, absolutely everything for all model makers and hobby folk.
Anyone planning to visit this show should definitely pay a visit to our stand (R27) for a chat; we will be focusing on Skill Centre courses and the tools used on those courses. Three of our Skill Centre tutors will be on the stand, exhibiting their particular craft and full of enthusiasm to discuss their specialist subjects.
After yesterday’s marathon four-hour judging session, the judging panel for this year’s Express & Echo Business Awards have today announced their shortlist and Axminster Tools & Machinery has been selected in all three of the categories the company entered. The categories are Best Apprentice Employer, Excellence in Customer Service and Family Business of the Year. This is the first time that AT&M has entered these awards.
The competition is now in its fifth year and this year received 133 entries (across 14 different categories) from companies and entrepreneurs based in Exeter and the surrounding area.
AT&M will now have to wait until Friday 17 April when the winners of all 14 categories will be revealed at the Awards Dinner being held at the Sandy Park Conference Centre, Exeter.
Have you heard? Our Hobby and Trade Series machinery auction starts at 8pm on Sunday 15 March!
Click here to see the machines and place your bids!
There are over 20 lots with no reserve prices, 99p start bids and free delivery!* What could be better? There's something for everyone, whether you're a hobby or trade woodworker.
Axminster's nationally and internationally recognised woodturners, Colwin Way and Jason Breach, will be demonstrating at the Basingstoke store later this month on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March.
Both craftsmen, who tutor at the Axminster Skill Centre, will be demonstrating a mixture of tools and techniques designed to inspire turners, at all skill levels, looking to take their turning a step further. Whether you are new to the craft or with several years of experience, Colwin and Jason will be turning work of varying degrees of difficulty and re-creating some of their trademark turned pieces, which means there should be something for all to appreciate and aspire to.
There are now literally only a few days to go to the opening of Axminster's seventh store on Monday 9th March.
It's quite a hive of activity at North Shields. Skill Centre Manager Berni Callery and Merchandiser Rob LeBlanc few up from the south west to Newcastle a couple of days ago to oversee and help add the finishing touches to the store.
The team are also getting ready for the two launch days on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March which will celebrate the official opening of the store. A visit to the store on one, if not both, of these two days should not be missed. There will be a host of special offers plus 10% off anything in the store that is not already on offer. Plus, free goody bags will be given out to the first 200 customers on each day.
For those interested in woodturning, engineering, pyrography, sharpening or getting to grips with various workshop machines, Axminster staff from Sittingbourne, Basingstoke and Axminster will be demonstrating these skills and giving tips and advice. There may even be the opportunity for visitors to try out some of these disciplines themselves. And for anyone thinking about taking up a new hobby, this would be a good place to start.
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