AFTER 50 years in the sheet metal industry, Alstonville's Bob West has decided it's time to put away his tools for good.
He has been running his own business, Alstonville Sheet Metal, since 1980, but recently auctioned off all his gear and equipment.
"It was time," the 66-year-old said.
"When I started I only had one job and that was for Norco. That took me 10 days. After that I said to myself, 'what's next?'.
"But the work started creeping in.
"Before long I was starting at 5am and finishing at 5pm.
"I worked 70 hours a week for a long time."
In the 50 years he was worked in the sheet metal industry, Mr West has seen a lot of changes.
But he has left his mark all over the Ballina Shire.
"I made the moulds for most of the larger, slim-line tanks that you see around here. I did the stainless steel switchboards at pump stations. Those urn-shaped concrete pots you see around the place, I did the moulds for those," he said.
"And I also did work at the Lennox, Alstonville and Wardell sewerage treatment plants.
"I really like the trade and I like most of my customers. I put through two apprentices and employed local people here.
"And, like most small businesses, I couldn't have done it without my other half, Roslyn. She has done all of the bookwork and the tax work."
Mr West has more than earned his retirement and says he is now looking forward to getting the boat out, going camping and doing some fishing.