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W: Monica Karaba Huibers P: Kata Schaeffer John Milner has the ideal commute. The distance from the door of his house to his office/factory is about ten yards. At first it looks like any unassuming garage or shed around town with no outward indication of the magic going on inside. Would I find a “reel” story here? A sign on the door of the shop states in humorous terms that unless you are there giving away beer, don’t bother knocking. Inside, it is like Santa’s secret workshop, elves included; although these elves are much taller and their names are Amanda, Dave, and Zak. John’s employees, skilled machinists and metalsmiths, are busy operating an array of sophisticated metal-working machinery. After watching them for a bit, I can see the focus and precision that goes into crafting each one of the shining, spinning masterpieces, representative of the line of John Milner’s coveted centerpin fishing reels. In the corner sits an ancient, well-used turret lathe made in Coventry, England in 1953. It looks like something you might find on a big ship or an old Hollywood movie set. In the center of the shop is its modern-day counterpart, a computerized engine lathe that when opened reveals an intricate operation with dripping coolant water and flying metal shavings where the raw metal is cut and shaped. Throughout the shop, there are numerous trays and cabinets filled with all sorts of interesting tools and components such as wheels and bearings. John opens one of the drawers and shows us antique wooden fishing reels.

Profile for Kootenay Media

Go Cranbrook - Issue #5  

Summer 2017

Go Cranbrook - Issue #5  

Summer 2017

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