Damn Bryan, that is almost scary.
I am a relative newcomer to diving and to vintage diving in particular as compared to many on this board. I got certified in 1992 when a couple of other coworkers got certified and encouraged me to join them. I dove a little in the first few years but in 1999 my diving kicked into high. I had joined a local dive club and got on a trip to Bonaire, it has been down hill ever since. I dove a lot after 99, hitting the quarry at every opportunity and to Florida and the Caribbean whenever I could. I took a lot of training between 99 and 2005 , completing my PADI dive master 2006. Since then, I am an active dive master with one of top 100 PADI shops in the southeast. I have the opportunity to dive with a lot of new students every year and all of them get a little lesson in vintage gear. I am lucky in that respect, the 2 major dive shops in the area and their instructors support my vintage gear habit. I usually do 1 or 2 “try vintage gear”’ days sponsored by the LDS’s each year.
In early 2007 my addiction took another downturn, a local dive buddy offered me “an old double hose regulator”. I liked old toys and figured what the heck, I remember those for the old SeaHunt show, little did I know how much money that old double hose reg was going to cost me. I bought it and took it out for a test dive…no octo, not SPG, no LP inflator, this damn thing has got to be dangerous but I with a buddy in tow I gave it a dive in a local quarry. Not too bad and I didn’t die but it did not perform very well and I set it aside, taking it out on occasion but never really liking it. By the way, that regulator later became my first Phoenix and is now my go to regulator. It’s old and beat up but the regs I dive most often. Then 2 happenstances combined to really push me over the edge, someone gave me a couple of old junk single hose regs and while diving at the quarry one day, I crossed paths with an old guy diving a loudly squealing double hose. The old single hose regs got me interested in what makes the mysterious and highly complex, you will die if you don’t know what you are doing dive regulators work so I took one apart…..where is the black magic ?? This thing is simple. I cleaned it up, replaced some orings and returned the old Dacor to service. I started buying old regs off eBay (another huge costly mistake
) and bringing them back to life, I had always loved to tinker…or piddle as my grandmother called it, seems it runs in the family, dad and granddad both have/had work shops of some kind. About the same time I met the old guy mentioned above……Henry, aka hallen41 of this board and his Mistral. We hit it off immediately and with a new buddy who liked the old regs, my interest in diving the DH returned. Armed with my new found knowledge that dive regs really were not magic I started looking for any info I could on double hose regs, maybe what mine needed as a tune up- turned out both us needed help, the nuances of DH diving never occurred to me. In my search for DH info I found Vintage Double hose and the wealth of knowledge I was looking for, parts for my DH reg and best of all a like minded group of individuals who enjoyed restoring the old regs. I set out to learn as much as I could about the regs. I had found the parts, information and technical assistance was available but there were still some things missing that I needed, some metal parts and tools. Another of those long hidden and suppressed desires reared it ugly (and expensive) head and this time I could “justify” it. I had always wanted to learn how to use a lathe and do metal work. I found an old lathe locally but then I needed a place to set it up, the storage shed got converted into a regulator work shop. 2 lathes, a combination machine (lathe/mill/drill press), a band saw, a drill press, a couple of grinders and a whole lot of tooling later I am have a respectable workshop going and with it I can now make pretty much any metal or plastic part I need. As many of you know, I make a line of vintage regulator service tools that have not been available in over 50 years which Bryan has allowed me to list in his store and there are more to come…With my shop set up and my tools helping soften the cost of tooling other opportunities have opened up. Recently I have been working with several board members to produce a few restoration parts to restore otherwise junk regs back to service and the most fun for me, prototyping parts for until now unknown regulator hybrids… they are not true vintage but still double hose.
It’s been fun the last few years, getting to understand the old regs and tinker….or maybe I should say piddle… with the old regs but best of all has been, getting to meet and dive with many of the members of this board. To all who read this, I strongly encourage you to come to one of the vintage events and put faces with the names, it’s well worth the travel….I had the pleasure of diving with 4 other board members a couple of weeks ago in Cozumel, double hoses were everywhere.
This is what a DA and a few old trash regs has lead to.
The work bench, with the original DA turned Phoenix that started it all.
The machine shop side of the shop. A Smithy multi machine in the forground and 2 60's vintage Craftsman/Atlas 6 inch lathes.