Earl Barkhouse, Farewell to a Master Craftsman: Spotlight on The Retiring Machinist at Hercules MMS
In this series, we want to take some time to get to know the incredibly talented and devoted machinists that bring years of expertise to Hercules MMS. In today’s blog, let’s learn a bit about Earl Barkhouse!
Since 1975, Hercules MMS (formerly Fundy Grinding) has been providing customers with quality machining and millwright services. Over time, the company has grown exponentially from providing these services locally to working across Canada and around the globe.
How long have you been in the machining/millwright industry?
I started my job as a machinist in the fall of 1973 at Burrell’s Machine Shop in Kentville.
Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Scott’s Bay Road, Kings County NS.
How did you get started in the industry or what made you decide to get into this industry?
I had an older brother who was working as a machinist at the Dockyard in Halifax. Some of the projects he made and brought home were pretty interesting so I thought I would like to do the same.
Tell us about your educational background:
When I was in grade 9 I applied to go to vocational school and was accepted to be an electrician at first but then switched to become a machinist and took a 2 year machinist course.
What’s your favourite part about working in this industry?
My favourite part is when something is broken and you get to work to the best of your ability and knowledge to fix it so it can work again!
I went on the road a couple of times to work and while being away from home for long periods of time isn’t for me, I really valued the experience of working outside the shop!
Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules?
My long career started with working at Burrell’s Machine Shop in Kentville, then I went to Acadia Gas Engines in Bridgewater. After that, I moved back to Truro and went to work at Oxford Foundry for six and a half years. Then, my brother and I applied to the Dockyard and I worked there for just under 7 years. While working at the Dockyard I got a call from Richard Yorke asking me if I wanted to come work at Fundy Grinding and I did – I was there for 9 and a half years.
At that time I had a brother who owned a machine shop and he passed away in an accident and my younger brother took over his shop. He needed some help so I left Fundy Grinding to help my family. This job meant being away from home 4-5 days a week, and after a while I wanted to be closer to home so I started a new job at Colchester Machining and was there nearly a year. After that, I worked at Hawbolts Machine Shop in Trenton and while working there I got another call asking if I wanted to return to Fundy Grinding. I was glad to come back, and have worked here ever since watching Fundy Grinding turn into Hercules MMS. I’m now 67 years old and plan to retire soon.
What made you decide to join Hercules?
Hercules bought out Fundy Grinding, and I was part of that package!
Do you have any advice for a young person wanting to get into the industry?
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and never say no to advice, courses or training of any kind you get offered along your way. Take pride in your work!
Is there anything about your life experience you’d like to share?
I am the twelfth youngest of 16 and grew up on a small farm. We had a few cattle, a couple of pigs, and grew most of our vegetables. My father was a very hard worker, he did carpentry during the day time and then would come home to do most of the farming at night and on Saturdays – We never worked on Sundays!
Now you can catch me working at the Masstown Market every other weekend! I love chatting with new people!
Experience the Hercules difference with at Hercules MMS
From boring a small hole in a boom truck to complete maintenance shutdowns, we have the ability to bring our shop to yours. We can assist with all maintenance requirements. Our commitment to quality workmanship is supported by our ISO certification, ensuring we meet customer expectations every time, whether the job is completed in our machine shop or on-site.
Check out a complete list of Hercules MMS machine shop, on-site machining and millwright services by clicking here.