Sometimes the tool is the project

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Chemeleon

Administrator
Matt
I'd been planning to order grizzly's new 22" lathe, but checked craigslist one last time before calling to order. And lo and behold, there was a 1960s Oliver No 20a Patternmakers lathe. I'd missed one a month or two ago for around $1200 and had been somewhat regretting it. Since there was no price posted, I offered $500, and was thrilled when he only countered $600, so all 1900 pounds of it followed me home :)

It's in better shape than I was expecting - motor runs fine, bearings seem ok, pb blaster freed up all the moving parts pretty easily; probably could use it as-is. Wanting to do a full restore on it though, so pulling everything apart currently so I can soak the metal bits in evaporust and have the cast iron sandblasted before repainting (I'm thinking dark red so far). Figure I might as well replace the bearings while I'm at it - they seem ok, but don't want to have to pull it back apart if that's not the case, so might as well do it now.

The only downside, is its likely going to cost me a lot of money in the future... The seller said he'll give me a call whenever he comes across more old iron like this :)

unloading4.jpg
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
Nice find, Matt. I hope you post WIP pics as you go through the restoration. What size is that motor? Single or 3 phase?
 

Chemeleon

Administrator
Matt
Yep, planning to post pics as I go :)

Its a 3PH 1200rpm Lima 2hp motor. I've got 3ph power here so that's fine (in fact, preferred). I'd been considering adding a vfd anyway for speed control, but since it also has a 4 speed transmission (1:1 to 1:4.15) coupled with the step pulleys, I suspect there's going to be enough speed ranges already, so I may just wire in a reverse switch for sanding.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
Wow. Never seen a wood lathe with a rack & pinion on the tailstock. I sometimes get more pleasure from refurbing old iron like that than doing projects. It's usually a bigger challenge anyways.
 

Chemeleon

Administrator
Matt
The picture is slightly misleading there - the tailstock slides freely like normal, it was just all pushed together who knows how many years in the past and left that way. The rack and pinion portion there is a compound carriage very similar to what a metal lathe has. The Seems like it'll be especially useful when I want to turn a 4' long rolling pin :)

Just finally got the headstock spindle pressed apart, bit tricky when you can't remove it from the casting first. On the other end there's that handwheel, which was apparently heat shrunk onto the shaft, so its never going anywhere. What I ended up doing, was running a couple pieces of allthread though holes in that handwheel plate, , then tightened a nut down to push between that plate and the big step pulley, with regular reapplications of pb blaster to keep things lubricated.

pulleyPress.jpg
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Treasurer
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
How does one load and move such big machinery. Just curious. Seems a great find if you can deal with those tricky parts. Of course I'd also need a lot more room to store something like that. You've got a much bigger workshop than I have at present. Still hoping to enlarge sometime.
 

Chemeleon

Administrator
Matt
Yep. Luckily there's not a whole lot of surfaces that'll need protected on this machine, but will make sure whoever I have sandblast it is very careful there. Still waiting to hear back on estimates for getting it blasted, may end up being expensive enough I go the scrape and sand route instead.

A shop crane makes a lot of impossible things doable, if not always simple.

This one actually went pretty easy moving it. Rented the open 6x12 uhaul (*without* the ramp gate, that just gets in the way usually), and backed it right up to the lathe on the headstock end. Set the shop crane up behind it with the legs under the trailer, lifted the lathe a hair higher than the trailer bed, and backed up until those legs were on the trailer. Then basically just started muscling it further onto the trailer using a lever, taking some of the weight off with the crane (but not all as I needed it to be able to move).

Getting it back off was pretty much the same thing in reverse. Lifted one end, alternated shoving with lever and shifting the crane until that end was on the ground, then grabbed the other end with the crane, lifted it up slightly, and drove out from under it.
 

Hmerkle

Board of Directors, Vice President
Hank
Corporate Member
Matt,
What is the swing and length on the lathe?

Is it really a converted metal lathe?
It looks to have a rack and tool post and cross slide.
 

Chemeleon

Administrator
Matt
Overall its about 8' long, but since the headstock and tailstock are so big, there's about 5' of space between them. Its currently 16" swing, thinking I'll make a riser block to bring it up somewhere in the 20-24" range though, just have to figure out how to best raise the cross slide as well.

Its a wood lathe, though I suppose you could do some light metal work with it. I assume having the whole cross slide setup is for the patternmaking aspect - more precise control over where exactly you're cutting, easier to get an even straight edge, etc. In addition to that, you can rotate both the headstock and tailstock a couple degrees to put a slight taper on things.
 

Hmerkle

Board of Directors, Vice President
Hank
Corporate Member
Overall its about 8' long, but since the headstock and tailstock are so big, there's about 5' of space between them. Its currently 16" swing, thinking I'll make a riser block to bring it up somewhere in the 20-24" range though, just have to figure out how to best raise the cross slide as well.

Its a wood lathe, though I suppose you could do some light metal work with it. I assume having the whole cross slide setup is for the patternmaking aspect - more precise control over where exactly you're cutting, easier to get an even straight edge, etc. In addition to that, you can rotate both the headstock and tailstock a couple degrees to put a slight taper on things.

RIGHT! I forgot it was a pattern makers lathe - that explains a lot!

I THINK the tool post turret sits on a diameter that you could have a ring turned precisely I.D and O.D to raise the tool post and drill and tap the set-screws or in your case maybe square-head screws to hold it in place???
 

Chemeleon

Administrator
Matt
Finished getting everything taken apart today (other than the motor itself). Overall seems to be in very good shape, no cracks or the like anywhere that I've found. One very minor piece missing from the worm gear that moves the carriage (about 1/4" from where the thread starts, no functional effect), a little rust pitting on the feet, and one small gouge on the corner of the tailstock end legs where they meet the beam, will be easily filled in and shaped with bondo.

I'll get pictures when I drag everything into the yard to degrease it, but from the weather forecast that may not be until Saturday. Need to pick up some pvc so I can soak leadscrews and the long rack in evaporust as well.
 

Chemeleon

Administrator
Matt
Got the bulk of the parts soaked with purple power and hosed off today, so its all pretty grease free now. Luckily that main beam is *just* light enough I can pick up one end at a time and walk it around, so was able to alternate ends, resting the other on some scrap wood so it didnt get scraped up as it spun in order to get it outside.

I've also got the rack sitting in a bunch of evaporust in a long hunk of pvc, so that should be nice and clean in a day or so. Next big step I guess will be finding someone to sandblast it for me. Don't suppose any of y'all can recommend someone in between Charleston and Columbia SC? I've emailed a few asking for cost guesstimates but no responses, so guess I'll have to hit the phone.

cleaning.jpg
 

Mark Gottesman

New User
Mark
I got a cabinet done by a local autobody repair shop for time and materials. It was a cabinet saw base. My only piece of advice is to make sure any surfaces you don't want blasted are well covered. Also, be prepared to shoot your primer coats in short order if at all possible.
 

striker

Stephen
Corporate Member
Does it need to be blasted? Looks like you could knock off the lose stuff and prime and paint.
 

CommGuy107

New User
Dan
Nice find! My wife would be quietly shaking her head and wondering, "why?"
I know, because finding, scoring, and restoring is a repeat event in my world. Written by a guy with two Shopsmiths in the shop...because they were a good deal.
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
I would strongly advise against sandblasting. Many of the older tool companies applied coal tar directly to the castings and then painted over it. The coal tar is what gave the casting it's smooth appearance. If you sandblast it would will probably either remove or damage the coal tar finish, which will reduce the lathes historic value and also detract from its appearance.


Scott
 
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