Machines 2, Marc 0 (or, When Rodmakers Suffer for Their Art)


July 26, 2011

To truly make it they say you must suffer for your art, though in the case of most rodmakers I know whatever indignities we’ve incurred have typically been of the financial rather than physical variety. There are occasional exceptions to this but on the whole most of us manage to ply our craft more or less intact and until recently that list included me.

Last year, early visitors to this site may have stumbled across a somewhat ornery post lamenting the fact that I couldn’t go to a rodmakers gathering after having dropped a piece of machinery on my foot. It wasn’t the worst injury in the world but it sure wasn’t pleasant either and I had resolved to try and be a bit more careful around the shop. At my age, I should know better than to take stupid risks and I had been pretty good about it until last week.

It all began with a decision to upgrade my current tool shop milling machine, a serviceable piece of hardware that was nonetheless due for a replacement (and the latest chapter in the Great Machine Shop Arms Race, as Junior has taken to calling it). Anyway, I had hauled my new purchase – a Hardinge TM-UM – to the shop on a trailer and was unloading it with a little help when it slid off the bed more quickly then anticipated and crashed into the knee of yours truly. I was whisked off to the hospital (nearby thankfully) and after poking around the doctor informed me that I would need surgery to repair a torn ligament in the patella. It hurt like hell of course, and to make a long story short, that surgery happened a few days ago.

Re-enactment: No Rodmakers or Machines were harmed in the taking of this photograph

It’s been pretty painful as you can imagine, but the doctor says that things look pretty good as far as the prognosis goes. The downside is that my planned trip to the Restigouche this month is not going to happen and it’s going to be a lot of work  (and some luck) just to be able to get ready for my annual October salmon trip too. It also means that I’m going to be a little bit behind on a few things so if you have emailed or called the shop in the last few days, it may take me a some time to get back to you.

What you don’t want to find yourself wearing anywhere near Salmon season

In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has sent along good wishes for a speedy recovery, and you can rest assured that I’ll be doing my darnedest to get back on my feet and up to speed as soon as possible. Truth be told, things could have been a lot worse, so in some small ways I consider myself fairly lucky. And if any lesson can be salvaged from this escapade it’s perhaps that this can serve as a cautionary tale to others to be careful in your workshop, more careful even than you think you need to be!

-Marc



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