Doug Hood Mining

Profile: Ash Oldham – Fabrication Engineer and Auto Enthusiast

April 4, 2019

Ash Oldham retired this year and through this website we wanted to acknowledge his work in the industry and as a valued member of the Doug Hood Mining crew.

Ash was responsible for the steel fabrication associated with building and rebuilding mining plant and equipment. His skill and innovative approach were also utilised to solve the unexpected, difficult and “need it now” jobs that pop-up from time to time. All work was completed with the craftsman’s pride and precision.

Typical work included taking a 100tonne dump-truck deck, removing the worn sheet steel and wear plates through arc air cutting, and repairing or replacing cracked or worn structural members and reskinning with 16mm Bisalloy steel plate and other proprietary wear packages. Other work included the rebuilding of rock buckets for mining excavators, building handrails for mining equipment, rebuilding dozer blades and machining of parts including pins and bushes.

Arc-air gouging

Handrails for D11R

Rock bucket for EX1900

Blade for D11R

Deck for 777D dumptruck

Ash commenced his trade in 1970 working for Andersons in Christchurch along with contract welding for J Mercer & Sons, after which he worked for MOT Marine Department in Westport, renamed Buller Port Services. In 2006 Ash joined Doug Hood Mining Ltd to run the welding bay at Stockton Mine for the repair and rebuilding of mining plant and equipment for several years, then moved to Buller Industrial, then Holcim NZ for just over 14 months as Maintenance Manager for the kilns at the Cape Foulwind cement works before returning to Doug Hood Mining in 2009 based at our Westport facility.

When not welding 16mm steel plate, Ash, as a bonafide auto enthusiast and long-time member of the hot rod club Buller Rodders Inc., can be found at home turning old and rusty cars into old and shiny ones. He has rehabilitated many vintage and classic cars (think T-buckets and Angle-boxes etc) and assisted with the rebuild and repair of stock and street machines for associates over the years. His current long term project is his 1928 A-Model Ford.

Being a community spirited person Ash gives his free and sage advice on the running of the community often through the editor of the local paper – an engineer’s perspective is important in this day and age. Like farmers, engineers are well versed in what works and what should work but for a bit of elbow grease or a bigger hammer.

Back at work the company also utilised Ash’s experience as a health and safety representative, emergency warden and first aider for additional support for the crew. His is a wise head with a sharp mind and a keen sense of both the logical and the ridiculous. Ash was one of the crew that in 2017 was recognised by the company for achieving 3000 days lost time injury free.

So we wish Ash well and goodbye as he turns his mind to how he’ll keep a 350cui engine in his Model-A and other such important matters.

Links to other web posts featuring Ash’s handiwork:

Doug Hood workshop crew recognised for 3,000 days LTI free

Komatsu PC1250SP-7 ready for the next big job

100 tonne dumptruck rejoins the fleet

Bulldozer refurbished at DHML Westport Workshop


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