Reunited with long lost heirloom shaping machine!

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I will not buy anymore tools...
6 Nov 2009
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sunny somerset!
Hi guys

grab a cuppa and a hanky this is a long one and a tear jerker!

So my Grandfather was an excellent engineer and a bit of a hero to me! at the age of 16 he apprenticed into the RAF as an armourer. a year later when the war came about he was shipped to Burma. 6 weeks on a large ship with a week in cape town, they had no idea where they where going, no trip advisor or internet back then so he could of been on mars! He stayed there for 4 years without returning once and arrived home 4 months after VJ day, this always bothered him as no one made a fuss about his return!

he worked for a long time at esso developing lubricants and later on at royal ordinance factory Bridgewater, so he knew his onions!

he had a nicely stocked machine shop myford super 7, milling machine, drill press and other metal working stuff! he always wanted a shaping machine, in 1974 his wife gave him a book on shaping machines for Christmas, which I still have! This prompted him to build his own one it only took him 20 years to finish it!!

In my family we all seem to suffer from half a job syndrome! So for something that complex that was actually finished to a high and usable standard is bloody impressive!

Sadly 3 years ago at the grand age of 92 he kicked the bucket, as I had lived and cared for him for his last 3 years I'm qualified to conform that he was a cantankerous old goat!

So very quickly his estate was dealt with including the sale of the contents of his workshop, in came an auctioneer from a large firm near honiton who promised riches, so off all the stuff went, my family ignoring my offers of £150 for said shaping machine, as they had been told it was worth £400 on a bad day :roll: :roll:

I think they walked away with £700, the myford would have sold for more..... and the shaping machine sold for £75.

3 years of pain and anguish go by thinking it would probably have ended up in some old boys shed and then the scrap heap awaits, but I was browsing ebay looking at old machinery, and I came across it, my first thought was it couldn't be! but the rather lack lustre paint job confirmed it!

8 hours to go and only 20 miles down the road in Wellington! a quick email to the seller giving him the facts and he said I could come then and take it away for £120 he was very pleased that it had made its way back to me!

it was bloody heavy and my neighbour managed to cut himself pretty badly on his cheek from the sharp ram. but its finally back in the workshop where it was made all the years ago! and i will cherish it!!!!

its a pretty small unit but very useful for key ways etc. the little mechanisms for indexing the bed left and right kept me and my brother amused for hours!

its got the correct hinging cutter holder to save the tooling wearing on the return cut.

its got a moveable switch so it turns off when it finishes its pass

sorry for the long story guys

A very nice story, and a happy ending at the ideal time of the day, when it's nice to remember the nicer things in life,
Thanks for sharing,
Regards Rodders
What were the odds of finding it again?! Brilliant story, glad it's back in safe hands =D>
Really good story with a happing ending.

I had a similar thing a couple years ago. My brother in Australia sent me a photo of a motorcycle his friend had just finished restoring.

He said, I think you had a red Triumph like this back in the sixties.

I said yes, same colour red (amaranth).
Same model, 500cc Triumph
Same number plate too.... It wasn't like my bike, it was my bike. I had tried to find it, but it was no longer on the DVLA database.

was a bit emotional as i did about 90,000 miles on that bike going to/fro various military bases back to Cornwall at the weekends.

its a small world.
Great story, right happy ending.
I'm dead impressed at the idea of making something like that!
Nice one - sometimes the Gods smile.

Very much under-rated machines, shapers. Surprisingly versatile, cheap to tool, and pretty well guaranteed to machine flat - something you can't always count on with a miller. Once you get used to it, you'll love it - and not just for the family connection.
Great story, even better ending, thanks for posting.

Dead impressed with the workmanship of "the cantankerous old goat" too! Useful tool too, despite the plethora of milling machines available today.

Have a =D> all round.


Wonderful. So good it's back in good hands. There was a commercial one of those for sale a few miles from here about 5 years ago, and the one your cantankerous old goat produced is at least its equal. Well done, the old boy.
That s a heartwarming story that you have got your granddads machine back

But sorry to hear that your family didnt give /let you have any machines you wanted to keep/use rather than you having to bid for them...then going to auction and the auctioneer getting less than your bid

I live in hope that one of my daughters gets a b/f hubby who is even slightly interested in metal/woodwork otherwise i can imagine all my tools/machines going in a skip when i KTB

Love it. Can almost see the tears in your eyes and smile on your face.
Great story!
Thanks for all the nice replies fellas will try and make a video of it running as it has a fantastic motion!

Just to clarify, the old goat comment was tounge in cheek. Whilst he was difficult at times i still loved him. He always amazed me as there was a 70 year age difference
But he was very open minded!

flh801978":1v8wj70p said:
BTW can you make me a rack?
If your serious send me a pm as i have a bridgeport milling machine so could probably do it on that?

adidat":2x0chcyu said:
Just to clarify, the old goat comment was tounge in cheek. Whilst he was difficult at times i still loved him. He always amazed me as there was a 70 year age difference
Sounds very much like my Grandfather - father had to work away from home a lot when I was young, so Grandfather was real substitute. Awkward old bu***r, but taught me an awful lot about improvising with limited tools. When he was mid 70s, he retired from the farm "as he hadn't got much longer", but still managed to put himself in hospital with injudicious use of an axe in his 90th year!
Very nice looking shaper, if it wasn't for the noise I could watch one of these working for hours!

adidat wrote:

Just to clarify, the old goat comment was tounge in cheek. Whilst he was difficult at times i still loved him. He always amazed me as there was a 70 year age difference.

I hope I didn't cause any offence by picking up on your own description of your Grandad adidat. If so I apologise without reservation, that was NOT my intention.

The reason I used that description was that it really resonated with me. My FiL was very similar, and one could certainly apply that description to him, especially in the last few years before he died. But while that did certainly apply - in spades! - he was also a really good craftsman and I was really cut up when he died.

Miss him still, after 10+ years, but at least (with full permission from the whole family) I still have some of his tools, some of which are used daily.

Another nice thing about old tools.

Lovely story, sniff (wrings out hankie) .

Why is it that a few quid's inheritance always brings out the worst in people.
My mum's family (8 siblings) were good friends until my granny passed away and then there they were squabbling over peanuts.

I hope you rub their noses in the fact you got it in the end.