Nick Watts (pictured left) is well known within our circles and he will be on hand to discuss the finer points of “In the field repairs” whilst at The Big Outdoors October 26-28 May 2017. Jame Trembath caught up with Nick and asked a few questions:
1. What do you do for your normal job and how did you get into it?
Day to day I work as a modern blacksmith, we make everything from gates and railings to structural steelwork. Blacksmiths were always ready to embrace new technology to make their lives easier, that hasn’t changed. We use some of the latest computer controlled cutting equipment and work in almost all materials.
2. How did the whole improvisation thing come about?
I spent several years competing in “Winch Challenge” competitions, pushing the limits of the vehicle and my co-driver to the edge. Occasionally beyond the limit in the most precarious positions imaginable. We have had to repair almost everything on the car at one point or other and you couldn’t hope to carry all the kit you need for a proper repair. Needs must!
3. You obviously love what you do and are very good at it, whats the best improvised solution that’s helped you out of a pickle in the past?
My favourite repair was a broken steering rod, splinted back together with the pin from a shackle and welded from the vehicle battery while perched on a rock in a (running) river bed.
4. What do you think will be the star attraction from your demonstration at The Big Outdoors in May?
I’m hoping for a good demonstration of battery welding, I hope that everybody will come away with something they hadn’t seen before.
5. If you could name key elements that people should consider when by the road fault finding/fixing what would they be?
Safety – Consider your surroundings, it’s no good fixing the tyre, drive shaft, fuel line or whatever if you get killed by traffic or trapped under the car!
Break the problem down into it’s elements, engine won’t run, what does it need to run? Fuel. Electric. Air. check each element separately, stick to one element until you’re sure it isn’t the problem then move on.
Sacrifice – If you need to cut your new winch rope to get to civilisation, do it! Ropes can be replaced in civilisation.
You can learn more from Nick at the event in May. See you there!