I don't have any of those connections anymore. In my youth the whole neighborhood would come together to coach, fix or salvage anything for any of us, and we'd convoy en masse anywhere if need be. We were a hilarious band of knuckleheads often making things worse before we made them better. As we've aged all those characters have grown up and now own nothing but late model vehicles and I've lost touch with most of them. Forty-plus years on I can now do just about anything in the mechanical and metalworking trades (except lace a wheel) right here at the house. I'm blessed to be self reliant but I do miss the camaraderie.
Man, you're lucky. Coffee beans for welding? I'd gladly take that job. I knew I wasn't ever gonna get that lucky when a guy walked into my shop, noticed the welding table, and said, "Oh, you weld?" Because I knew that this guy only drinks coffee made with those free packets he gets from motel rooms when he travels for work.
Many years past, I used to run with a bunch of guys who constantly traded work with each other. We'd all gather at someone's garage or side yard and have at whatever needed done. That doesn't seem to be the case so much anymore, but I think it's because a lot of that bunch got rich and just hires their work done nowadays. I stayed poor, so I'm forced to do so much more of my own stuff.
But I do have a really good pal who lives close to me and with whom I sometimes swap skills and/or just grunt labor. He may the only person on earth that I will lend tools to and figure I'll get them back - often in better shape than when he borrowed them. I try to do the same for him, and he seems to trust me (even told me where the key to his shop are hidden in case he's not around when I need something). I'll share my coffee with THAT guy anytime! 😎