Welcome to www.oilyhands.co.uk

Also known as www.diggers-dumpers-plant.co.uk and www.flamingskoda.com

Towable digger, excavator and backhoe website. Features Fleming Micron, Powerfab, Mantis, Benford, Roughneck, Gopher, Smalley, Tow-hoe, Standard Muscleman, Termite, Mitchell Cotts, Mini Gigant, Baromix, Euromach, Bronco, JPB, Digger 50, homemade and other small diggers. Links to current manufacturers such as Groupe-FCM and suppliers of plans for the Ground Hawg Homebuilt Backhoe and CDP Excavator. Includes other plant and mechanical information, Digger Bucket Page, Plant Photo Gallery, Dumper Restoration Project and useful links for Digger Spares and Repairs. Extra information and pictures to add to the site always appreciated. Also includes a section dedicated to preserving information about Johnson Machinery Limited.

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Site Overview

This site started out as a bit of fun, a sort of hobby really to share some information about my digger and other projects with anyone who is interested. The first domain name was www.oilyhands.co.uk which was a tribute to my parent's dislike of the large number of oily fingerprints I used to create in their house. As things moved on I got www.diggers-dumpers-plant.co.uk as it is a bit more search engine friendly.  Lets face it domain names are ten a penny these days!

Since it was first published in 2004, I have received a huge number of emails, pictures and queries from people all over the world and have added lots of extra stuff to the site. It now has four main themes: firstly a large body of information about towable diggers, secondly pages about my own personal mechanical and restoration projects thirdly the Plant Photo Gallery which speaks for itself and fourthly the new Johnson Machinery section. In spring 2008, I completely re-built the original HTML version of the site using CSS and this has improved the presentation and will make it easier for me to keep the site updated.

The towable digger section started out with information about my Fleming Micron digger restoration but thanks to the numerous pictures and bits of information from fellow towable digger owners that part of the site is growing all the time. This has enabled me to re-organise the site with dedicated pages for Powerfab, Fleming, Roughneck, Gopher, Smalley, Toe Hoe, Mantis and other makes. There is also a Spares and Repairs section with lots of useful information to help keep your machinery running.

My latest restoration project is the Johnson Dumper and I am currently working on that.

I am a life long fan of all things mechanical. As a kid I was intrigued by such things as my dad's Allen Scythe (manufactured by John Allen & Sons of Oxford, England) and a strange chainsaw he had with a Clinton 4 stroke stationary engine linked to the saw by a giant speedo type cable. Later on I messed about with lots of temperamental lawnmowers, Seagull outboards and a home made motor go cart with a Suffolk Colt engine. I progressed onto a second hand Clio Altrac Rotax-powered garden tractor which I persuaded my dad to buy.  I bought my first arc welder aged 14 (it still works) and spent many many hours building stuff in the garage. I've never had any formal training just picked it up along the way.

Clio Altrac garden tractor

Here's the Clio Altrac tractor complete with gang mowers. This would make short work of any lawn mowing job. The 2-stroke Rotax engine was rather noisy.

Datsun 120Y

A typical early scene in my workshop. This old Datsun only cost me £60 but proved to be very reliable. I let the local fire brigade try out their cutting equipment on it in the end!

Once I got my first van (a Bedford HA), I was hooked on car repairs and for about 15 years spent much of my spare time repairing them. In 1990 I worked briefly for a small plant hire firm and that's when my interest in plant really started. I now have a mainly paperwork job and spend less time "on the tools" so restoring old machines is a welcome relief and keeps my hand in doing some mechanical work and welding now and again.  The digger and dumper will be handy around our place - well that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I am always pleased to hear from visitors to the site and please keep extra pictures and info coming, particularly anything which helps fellow site users keep their machines running. Just use the "Contact the Webmaster" link if you want to contact me. Alternatively, why not join the plant discussion group so you can discuss your plant machines and upload pictures of them?

Cheers for now - Jim