Well the milling machine upgrade is finally working, so I thought I’d post a few photos of it in action. It’s a Hardinge TM-UM that I thought would be great for doing reel seats so I bought it and have been monkeying around with it for the last few weeks trying to get it ready to go. It’s in good shape but as with all new machines (or new to me) it needed a lot of fiddling with in order to get it set up exactly as I wanted it.
Making reel seats is a fairly long process which I can’t really do justice to here, but below are a few shots where the milling machine is involved, just to give you a sense of why its important to have a good quality piece of machinery for this part of the job. Since this is the machine that helps take the raw wood cylinder and gives it the shape of a proper reel seat, it’s not the kind of thing you want to do shoddily with inferior equipment (especially if you’re using very high quality, and often quite expensive, wood).
Anyway, below are some pictures in various stages of the process.
As you can see the cut that the milling machine takes off is what creates the place where the reel foot rests. There is a lot more work though, to get it to where it’s ready to be mounted on a rod and looking a little more like one of these:
Of course sometimes there are other little additions that I’ll do, as with a seat I’m currently working on for a customer. With this seat I took the finished reel seat blank, switched parts on the milling machine, and cut several thin grooves in the seat.
The result is something that looks a little more like this – a seat with some beautiful nickel silver half-rails which I fit into the grooves. Not only do they look nice but they also keep the sliding band up off the finished varnish of the wood spacer. And then it’s ready to finally go on the rod!