When we say it’s a family business we really mean it.

I really considered the title to this post more than usual.  What do we call it?  Making a knob?  Machinery is safe for children?  Flouting labor laws and loving it?  Well anyway, you can see what I came up with.

Today is a snow day.  While one child has childcare for the day, my 5 year old’s daycare and school are closed.  With no alternate plan, he gets to come to work.  He has been here before, several times, but none too recently.  Today, he is fascinated by the machinery, and as I type this he is following Steve H., our shop foreman, all around the shop.  With this, Julian got a chance to assemble a Sheraton knob.

Step 1, we start with a knob front and a knob back.

2.  The knob back is placed in the die, the knob front is placed on top.  Then, the kick press (yes, there is no motor-the kick press relies on leg strength) is used to “crimp” the two pieces together.  We simply place both hands on the table and kick.

3.  You can see that the knob is already dark brass, but at this stage the color is rather gray and chalky.  Once assembled, the knob goes to Elizer in color for brushing.  Elizer brushes each and every knob in our antique brass and dark antique finishes with mineral oil.  The amount of pressure he puts on determines whether it comes out brown or black.

4.  Once we get the knob to a nice matt brown finish it, we tumble it.  We use a number of different rotary and vibratory tumblers.  Depending on the specific part they are filled with either ground up corn cob or steel shot.

This particular tumbler is a Rosemont Industries tumbler and the media, corn cob in this case, is heated to facilitate drying.  Ground corn cob is media of choice.  It acts as a sponge that absorbs all the oils used in production and finishing.  It is inexpensive, safe, and biodregadable.  Because all our cob ever touches is metal parts and mineral oil (which is food safe), we can simply throw it away when we are done.

Finally, everthing is done and we are waiting for the parts to come out and ready to ship.

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10 thoughts on “When we say it’s a family business we really mean it.

  1. Eric Saperstein says:

    The transfer of knowledge to the next generation clearly trumps any labor law on the books! Feed his curiosity – if our generation plans to retire early we need to groom replacements now!

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  2. Douglas P. Dimes says:

    The most valuable thing to teach a child is how to work hard. Almost all other deficiencies can be overcome if a person is a good consistent producer. My theory is that small children are as smart as they ever will be. They just lack experience. Keep that little brain churning and he will be fine

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  3. Peggy Henderson says:

    This is way cool; the father/son aspect, the interaction with several adults engaged in a task together, the demonstation of teamwork and teaching the younger generation valuable skills. Way to go!

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  4. Gt Gram Barb Horton says:

    Love this. I remember well when Julian’s grandma (my daughter Barb, who is Orion’s mom) and her sister used to put D-5 and D-5-S together for their Dad, Jim – my sweet husband. Go Julian!

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  5. Orion Henderson says:

    Well, he finally got to bring his knob to show and tell today. I printed this post and asked him to give to the teacher. I am either going to get a nice note from our teacher or I am getting arrested. We’ll see.

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