One of the first jobs I was ever shown by Peter when I started here was making replacement copper brake pipes. It is a bit of an art form, especially when some of the old ones come off in multiple pieces. Among my many learning mistakes was forgetting to put the unions on before making the flanged ends on the pipes…
I think my first pipe took 20 metres of copper before I got it right(ish). I always tried to copy the peculiar shape of the pipe we were replacing, and added to our tool collection with various pipe benders…but generally the pipe went on, following the right path, and secured in the correct clips, and of course safe from outside interference, but rarely looking anything like the original.
Fast forward to this afternoon. KR (our young apprentice) had successfully removed a brake pipe from a Mini JCW for replacement, and had kept it in one piece.
I wanted to test him, so rather than admitting how difficult the job was, and suggesting he give it a try, I showed him the tools, told him what was required, and left him to it. I gave no indication that I expected him to struggle. I then left to grab a bite to eat before coming back to complete another job later in the evening with The Dutch. KR was long gone, but there on the floor, cabled tied together after each bend was a perfect replica of the original copper brake pipe.
Impressed doesn’t do it justice. Proud? Certainly! Blown away? Damn yes! Our apprentice and Officer in charge of Parts, will gain a new job title in the morning…
Brake Pipe Master!