On Tuesday 25th May I accompanied Cilla to Nortech Ladies Night on Drypool Way.
I didn't really know what to expect.
There were various trade stalls with impressive looking tools on show!
We were welcomed immediately by the friendly faces of Nortech MD, Tony Cosgrove, Beryl
his wife and their daughter Angela.
The shop counter had been transformed with a white tablecloth upon which glasses of sparkling
white wine and nibbles were attractively arranged.
Groups of women were milling around and the buzz of voices was intermittently
drowned out by the loud buzz of power tools.
So on with the investigation into this masculine world.
The industry leaders obviously thought it was a good idea.
The event was supported by several representatives from both British and International manufacturers.
I watched with interest as a lady used an FT1100 laminate trimmer/router.
The router was fitted with a V-grooving bit to do lettering on a sheet of wood.
I had a go myself, ably assisted by Gareth Davies from Freud Tooling.
Gareth comes from Featherstone, West Yorkshire and has been working for the Leeds based company
for 5 years.
He told me that in his job, one day is never the same as the next.
He loves selling good quality tools at competitive prices.
There's a sales pitch, if ever I heard one!
Routing my initials was initially quite difficult.
The secret is to keep the machine moving steadily and let the drill bit do all the work.
With practice, I think I would get better.
Cilla had a go at routing her initials as well and when asked, she said; It was all over too quickly!
Sound familiar, girls?
Next, I had a go cutting some bits of 2 by 4 on a band saw.
After carefully lining up the cut by eye, the menacing looking saw roared into life.
I need not have worried at all.
The blade went through the wood like a knife through butter. Easy!
After a talk to a guy about brushes of all things, I ventured outside.
I wondered over to the Paslode stand
where a demonstration of the Paslode Impulse IM350 was taking place.
I was greeted by Chris Sexton, originally from South Africa, now living in Derby and Matt Thompson from York.
I was raring to go and desperate to get my hands on their power tool!
Chris showed me the IM350 and I just had to have a go.
This is simply a gas pressured nail gun, used for decking and fencing.
You've probably seen Tommy from the BBC's Ground Force team using one.
They are really simple to use:
Step 1 - Push the barrel down onto the wood until it won't go down any further.
Step 2 - Pull the trigger
It's that easy! And you can't fire it unless you push the barrel down to release the gas, so it's
totally safe to use.
Matt then handed another orange tool to Chris.
After a quick demonstration I had in my hands a Spit Pulser 700 which is used for fixing
back boxes and cables to steel or concrete.
Once again, I felt very safe using it and a great sense of satisfaction as I nailed that back box to a breeze block.
This stuff is fun, believe me. God knows what a back box is, though.
Chris and Matt both work for ITW Construction; and American company who supply customers
with tools for both commercial and domestic applications.
Moving on, I met Clifford and Alan Gascoigne, also from Derby who work for the
British Company Jack Sealey.
Clifford showed me a Mig Welder which is used to weld pieces of soft steel together.
I donned an overall and a welder's mask, making sure not to muss up the hair and did my first ever weld!
This really is difficult.
You have to move the welder which is about the size of half a cucumber at a slow but constant speed.
After 3 attempts, my weld looked like spit on a string! Not a good look for a weld.
There was also a hand held plasma cutter at the work station, I was determined to try anything I could.
So I cut my name into a small piece of soft steel.
This was also quite difficult because you have to keep the cutter moving and not lift it off
the steel until the cut is complete.
By now it was coming on cold so I went back inside and met up with Cilla who
had been having a very interesting conversation with Duncan Amos - a real, live,
honest to goodness furniture and cabinet maker who was demonstrating a Triton Router Table.
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