When I built my first rebate-saw plane, I had no intention of making and selling the hardware kits, but was merely trying to work out an easy to use locking and adjusting mechanism that was simple to make in my shop. After taking it to several shows and fielding multiple requests to sell the fence hardware, I made a few kits. They sold quickly, and more requests came in. Unprepared for the level of demand, I looked to farm out several parts to an outside shop. I spent many months of spare time tracking down promising leads which ultimately led nowhere.
To continue making these myself, I needed to upgrade my equipment. Til now, I’ve gotten by with a 9″ South Bend, which is great for many things; rapid production of hundreds of parts is not its strength. CNC was one option, but cost and shop limitations (short on space and incoming power) blocked that route. With the state of the art option closed, I looked back into our manufacturing history for other solutions, and quickly settled on a 1940’s era Hardinge turret lathe.
These lathes are perfectly suited for what I need out of them. They excel at moderate production runs of smallish parts, have a small footprint, and are easily adapted to single phase power with a VFD. They’re also relatively inexpensive (although tooling adds up very quickly) and pretty easy to learn.
Late last year, I found one on eBay, and made the trip to Ohio to pick it up. I spent five or six months rewiring it and buying tooling and accessories while reading everything I could find about the machine and running it.
Last week, it was finally ready to start making the first parts. This part will eventually become the cotter lock, the part that locks the fence on the arms (this is only the first of three steps in making it).
There is still a lot of work to do, and much learning ahead, but this is the first step in catching up with backorders for these kits. Watch here for further progress…