Metal Shapers

by Kay Fisher

Three Short Stories

Some time ago on the internet three gentlemen posted the following interesting stories and kindly gave me permission to publish them.

The first story is from Robert Bastow who wrote:

“The first time I switched on my (new/old) Boxford shaper (after calling my wife downstairs to proudly display its newly restored shine), the ram came smoothly forward, ran smoothly back - and punched a 6” by 4” hole in my newly applied wallboard! To her credit, my wife never said a word! The woman is a Paragon!”

The reply to this post was from Chuck Harris who said:

“Reminds me of the time I planed my unattached vice right off my shaper's table! I sure am glad I was standing along side it, and not in front. It seemed to float down to the floor in a slow downward arc, falling, falling, and falling…Thunk! Thunk! Thunk!”

Later comes this story from Rich Williams:

“I was a first year apprentice in a tool room that made die casting dies. I had a rather large block of tool steel in the shaper and was squaring it up and taking the bark off in preparation for rough grinding. This was a pretty big shaper: a 36" stroke Cincinnati. The print indicated a rather large chamfer on the back end of the block. I thought I would be smart and put the chamfer on in the shaper, so I rotated the down feed slide to 45 degrees and hand fed the tool down at that angle to make the cut.

What I didn't realize was that I neglected to lock the length of stroke adjustment, and the stroke that began at 8" was steadily, if imperceptibly, increasing. This continued until the ram retracted back into the main casting of the machine. The tilted down-feed head, being out of its usual position, didn't clear the body casting. Bam!

The bolts that held the head busted off and the whole down-feed slide, tool and all (minus a piece of cast iron) came off and tumbled into the aisle and came to a stop at the feet of our senior master diemaker; an old German fellow who was not amused. He peered at me over his glasses and said in his best brogue:

‘Dot vas shtupid. Vat are you doink?’

I think that management saw the depth of my contrition in the shade of red displayed by my face, and let me repair the machine on the clock. I was grateful for that!”

Thanks Robert, Chuck and Rich for those “Rich” shaper stories. Robert Bastow passed away shortly after publishing that story. His post to the usegroup “rec.crafts.metalworking” are under the name TeeNut.

Keep sending me email with questions and interesting shaper stories.

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