January 2016

The Skills Gap…

Over the last few years, I have come to regret my poor skills level, in terms of ‘building stuff’. Following the degree in Environmental Management which I studied in Manchester, and a career basically in engineering, purchasing & production management – I was at the end fully skilled in not much at all when it came to actually doing something.  I am not and never have been one to sit on my hands. .. well Ok so I used to fish for bream in Ireland and not striking required quite a bit of sitting on my hands awaiting the right time to lift into the fish and set the hook…  The point is , I watched skilled and sometimes not so skilled people do the tasks which I had requested. I picked up a lot (plenty of ‘bad habits) along the way and only now am I revisiting some of what I watched years ago and ;trying it myself’.  Youtube, and blogs have been an absolute joy – so much information for the taking / using. Many of the machine skills (and I use the term broadly as they relate to me) I have gained from the various YouTube Channels – Doubleboost, Oxtools, Shadon HK, R&R In the shop) to name a few – my subscriptions list is double figured and each weekly update these guys post has useful skills and knowledge passed on. It sure beets watching TV with the drivel that passes for entertainment these days.  I am on the look out for a Nikon SLR with HD video so That I may in due course add to the pool of knowledge out there. Maybe a DIY Stove Top Fan You Tube channel who knows ?

As relates to the product development – this weeks skill set will be aluminium welding … or brazing / soldering call it what you will – and it goes under many names on Youtube – basically using an alloy stick & lots of heat form a propane torch to bond two aluminium surface together.  Having spent 4 days machining the parts, I really don’t want to cock it up – I have watched countless videos and ordered the required safety gear (visor / goggles), gloves, fire bricks, brazing sticks (not cheep!) and thats the plan this week. Do my best o assemble the 25 parts which make up the new cooler section. Then machine the base & build up the unit (motor, teg & blade set).

If I can work out how I will try and capture some video or stills and add them to a post later this week.

If I cock it up … probably not !

The Landrover is due its annual investment in new parts – timing belt replacement, service, reversing sensors etc etc ….. I love the car but hate the bills. The three day garage vacation it is getting should force me to get on in the shop !



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Trade Information – A good read .. if you like this sort of thing …

In 2014, I met up with a nice chap starting out publishing an online magazine for the fireplace & stove industry / trade.  I wanted to support him and placed an add for an issue and it interesting to see what it generated.  I also placed a small add in Country Living Magazine (an actual genuine paper printed pages etc !) alas with my mind occupied on matters closer to home I missed it all in 2015.


For those that like a read take a look through this Fireplace.co.uk

If you visit the website and look back through the archives there is lots of handy information on all things Fireplace – you may even come across my feature.

On the other hand if while at the dentist or GP’s and you find the December copy of Country Living 2014 – you will if you look really closely in the adds find my little add.  It surprises me that 12 months on I occasionally get a call from someone with a copy asking if I still do the fan things …. now just to ensure the these calls get he full deal, I have to leave the workshop and stand in the garden allowing the chickens to cluck around me providing the authentic country living rural business experience – whilst trying to decipher their requirements.  Which brings me nicely to this posts point:-

If you are unsure, don’t know or just interested – give me a call or drop me an email – details on the website www.stovetopfan.co.uk  – now if I am running a machine leave a message – chances are I will pick up half way through when I have been able to both stop the machine safely and find the phone handset ! … if you leave your number be sure to make it clear – it can take me an age trying the various combinations of digits.

That’s all folks.

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2016 – January … The lost year of 2015

First Off – Happy New Year – If you are reading this either you have very odd internet search interests or you have purchased a Stove Top Fan or are about to or have been given one …

To all those clients that have come before – thank you very much for your support of my little business, to all those clients looking for updates – sorry – please read below & accept that I promise to try and do better this year. To all the rest of you – I hope you enjoy the BLOG, I will try and make it a lot more stove relevant this year.


So what happened to 2015 ?

Well my business carried on while a major aspect of my private life went down the drain. In short almost a year to this day  my former partner of some 15 years turns up at the door and announces her intentions for the future as relates to her and our children – a week after her bombshell, I get a solicitors letter and confirmation that an application to the family court has been made by her.  I am unable to comment further as such matters are not in the childrens best interests and will be used in court against me – suffice to say that several £1,000’s later and after numerous court appearances the matter still remains unresolved and at present I still get to be full time dad every other week.

The net result of the above is a series of missed deadlines for development and a huge amount of worry not to mention the complete destruction of the financial buffer I had built up over the last 10 years. I am bitter about it, I continue to be frustrated about it and am fully aware that neither will do me or the situation any good.

Are there any plus points – well sure, my partner has been an absolute rock and despite the plans we had having to be paused she remains solid with me, our friends have been and continue to be very understanding and accepting things cannot be explained or discussed.  The entire mess has focused my attention ever more on my kids lives and how I can be as good a dad to them as I can making me relish every possible minute I share with them and making positive memories.

Hopefully come mid March the court matters will be concluded and the outcome proven to be in the children s’ best interests….. it remains scary prospect that someone unknown to me or the kids will decide the matter and no matter my view on it I have to go along with it – I would not wish the associated trauma on any parent.

I am now back at the drawing board working on the new product .. well new in so much as its not off the drawing board yet which is where it has been hanging around for 24 months !  The plan is to get a working prototype up and running by March – the clock is ticking and I keep breaking the pencil lead whilst the cat sits on the board hindering the parallel motions action !

2015 has had some super times – more valuable for break they gave from stress of time, my daughters 1st trout on a traditional wet fly from a highland loch, my lads first rainbow from our club water here in Derbyshire  Errwood Fly Fishing Club:- Seeing the kids after school for a few days before xmas and they traveled to France  – I made the effort this year complete with hat & white bearded outfit from the kids… .

GAIRLOCH SUMMER 2015 674 Nat Trout 10269372_1123084957716079_8830315904776309941_n

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