No, I didn't check that. Will that cause a problem, if the reel top and bottom aren't aligned after I finish loading the film?
Did I buckle the film during loading?
I know that I had to fight with one reel to get the film loaded, so I switched reels. The film loaded fine. Then back to the first reel, and loaded it with a new film, and went fine.
But both films showed buckles.
Not likely I'll chance using either reel again, but would be nice to know what happened.
One trick I find comes in handy is if the film doesn't want to load, take the paper backing off and load 'backwards'. Whatever you do, always make sure you have a 'fall-back' way of storing that unrolled film (eg another film tank or light proof container) that you can bung it in while you take a breather and exonerate any frustration a troublesome roll might give you, so you don't force it and add cresent moons to all your pictures! Murphy's Law says if you've thought of a backup plane, it you won't need it!
I have no-name SS reels that I could not load even after 20 minutes of trying. Problem solved by switching to Hewes.
Yes, Hewes are made in England.
The problems I had were getting the film started on the reel. The cheapo reels like to buckle film instead of starting properly.
I have been using Paterson plastic reels for nearly forty years. And like any piece of equipment used over a period like that you get to know its downsides as well as upsides. Starting again with something like stainless steel just means you start learning all over again, waiting for the fault, the slip, the cock up, because one day it will happen.
So what are the downsides of Paterson reels? Well, they need to be rinsed after using photoflo, or the balls and get gummed up. The upsides? They bounce.
I have never used anything other than Patterson reels in over 40 years of film developing, and have never had a problem, I don't go in for cleaning with old tooth brushes Etc or take the reels apart and wash them as I have so often read about here and other places, all I do is take a sharp pencil and run the point around the film spiral in the reels, it puts Graphite on the reels, and the fillm slides in without problems, I have yet to have a film buckled or damaged since I started using this method 39 years ago after being given this tip by another old photographer,I will also use my thumbs to help guide the film into the reel, and should it ever stick then a sharp tap on the work bench will clear it 99.9% of the time. The only time I ever had problems loading a film and damaging it was when a friend gave me a Hewes stainless Steel tank with reels for 120 and 35mm, and every film, no matter how much I tried, was buckled and damaged, the SS tank still sits on my shelf gathering dust and my collection of Patterson tanks are in daily use.
I also have never had any problems with Paterson reels. If you're pitching your reels, pitch them my way. And soon I will have some SS reels for sale ...
The wide flange plastic reels are easier for 120. However, the Paterson will work, just more finicky. As others have said, be sure they're clean, dry. When you load the film, grab the end that and pull it at least 1/2 way around the reel. Just be careful not to pull it out of the track. If the film jams 1/2 way through loading some times pulling the sides apart while winding can free up the film. Fuji film can be more of a problem as I think the film base must be thinner and the balls don't grab it as well.
I used to have alot of problems with buckling when using Patterson reels, especially with 120 film until I started clipping a tiny bit of the front corners off the film (at about 45 degrees) before loading. The film no longer seems to snag and so it doesn't buckle when you twist the reels to load it forward. Also, for 120, I found that the Samigon reels (which fit as perfect replacements for the Patterson ones) are much easier to load correctly as there are tabs at the film entry that help in the initial alignment.