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Thread: starting up with old trash

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    579

    starting up with old trash

    About 40 years ago, my dad pulled a small wood lathe out of the dumpster at work - he's a machinist, and i guess the wood lathe never got used in the shop. At any rate, he cleaned it up as any respectable machinist would, and it sat unused in his shop the entire time i was growing up.

    Now, it's in my shop awaiting new paint and some sort of base. It has bench legs, but i don't like it eating up my bench space.

    It's an old FE Reed lathe with a 9" swing and 30" between centers. They were known for their metal working equipment, but did make some wood lathes. The closest i can date it is the late 1800's. The babbit bearings are in fine shape, and there's an old Lunkenheimer drip oiler on the headstock. It's a flat belt drive with a 4 step pulley, and uses M2 morse tapers.

    This is my first lathe - i've never turned before and am looking forward to both getting this up and running and learning to use it. I plan on using it mostly to make furniture and toy parts - i think its size will work well for me, and it came with a set of 6 or 7 old Buck turning chisels - just the basics, but certainly serviceable. It also comes with a faceplate (1-1/8" x 12 tpi), a 3 jaw 4" self centering chuck, a dead center for the tailstock, and a Jacobs 5/8" chuck on a taper mount.

    Beyond that, what sort of advise can you give a turner-wanna-be? I'm looking for recommended reading, typical set-up configurations such as how high to mount the machine, dust collection efforts, recommended operating speed range (i think i have an idea, looking for input from those with step pulley speed control, especially if your machine is a babbit bearing setup), and any other words of wisdom you wish to pass on.
    I'm not looking for "junk the dinosaur and get a new Nova". I like old tools and plan to use this one. I've seen incredible work done on foot peddal lathes - i'm certain this one will do me fine.

    Help the newbie?
    Thanks in advance,

    Paul Hubbman
    Last edited by Paul Hubbman; 09-20-2007 at 03:30 PM. Reason: adding content

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,582
    Hi Paul, welcome to the wonderful world of turning!

    I have a Nova, but you will NOT hear me telling you to junk your old iron, I too like the old stuff!

    First thing I can think of is to get yourself a live center for the tail stock, the dead center becomes old fast!

    The next thing you should do is take some pics and post them here for us to look at, we LIKE pics!

    One of the best books I've found to start out with was this one......

    <- Linky Pic

    It really helped me with my turning, answered a lot of basic questions.

    The next thing I can see you will need is a way to keep your tools sharp, a bench grinder and a jig of some sort is the most common, but you can also get good results with other things like a disk or belt sander.

    Make sure you wear at the very least good safety glasses, and really a full face shield is good insurance too.

    I'm sure others will be along to add more.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,697
    You have a great find there. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
    You will need a spur drive for the headstock, some way to sharpen your tools and lotsa wood. You asked about height, what is comfortable for you is best. That will vary with the individual. I'm short (5'7") but have raised my lathe more than 4" from what a lot of people consider standard. My center is now 48". Many consider 44" or less as 'standard'. But it saves stooping to work. Younger backs may not notice that as a problem, mine does. You will/can get a lot of advice here. Yahoo has a turning only discussion group. But, I believe that some internet searches will find basic tutorials for you and there are probably books at your local library. I suggest you look for a turning club in your local area. Great resource if you do have one. BTW, pictures are mandatory here. We want to see that lathe.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DSM, IA
    Posts
    5,706
    Welcome to the family Paul! I second the book Stu suggested. My dad bought that for me when I first started and it has helped alot. I also applaud you for using the "old iron" I use a lathe my grandpa made.

    Another good idea is finding a turning group in your area that can help you with many things including "how tos" and "not to dos" Good luck, you will find loads of good info here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
    Posts
    5,897
    Welcome Paul! Sounds like a great find! How are you going to power this lathe? I ask because I have had the opportunity for about a year to purchase a belt drive metal lathe. As a kid I remember going to the Amish and seeing buggies being built and the equipment running off of a main shaft down to the drill presses, lathes and stuff.
    I can't tell you to junk it, heck I bought a Craftsman lathe that I have worked hard to like. It is VS, bought new last year, in the shop(they are working on it) for the second time, but when it is running, it runs good!!!
    You are ahead of me with having a self centering chuck.
    My best advice, go to a Woodcraft store and sign up for the pen making class. I know, its a $100.00! That hundred dollar investment of a class helped me make round wood out of square wood. Honestly, the man was a great teacher and he is responsible for making my lathe an honest tool in my shop. Without that class, I would by now be hanging stain rags on the lathe!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    579
    Thanks for the book information - it'll be sitting on my night stand shortly.
    I also agree about the live and spur centers. I've started looking at them as well.
    As far as my power source, i've got the makings for a jack shaft. I've got another stepped flat belt pulley - it's not a perfect match to the one on the lathe, but it'll do until i turn my first piece - a matching flat belt step pulley. I read about someone else who did this by laminating several layers of dense hardwood and turning it down to size. I may rough cut the circles out of mdf or mdo, laminate to thickness, and turn it down with a carbide cutter. A few coats of poly, and i should have a nice, stable step pulley. Or is that a hair brained idea?
    I have a 3/4 hp TEFC capacitor start motor that i'll use until a fully enclosed Repulsion / Induction motor falls my way. I've got one, but it's only 1/3 hp. I'm also bird-dogging for an old set of cast iron lathe legs. Not necessary, but oh-so-cool.
    I'll try to remember to get some pics this weekend. The shop's a bit of a mess right now. It's sustained a bunch of major home projects since last January (opening up a bearing wall, new hardwood floors, electrical work, plumbing work, boiler / radiator work, plaster work, stripping & painting old trim, & constructing new built-in casework for the dining room). But then again, that's what it's there for.
    Thanks again for all your interest and helpful information.
    Have a great weekend.
    Paul Hubbman

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,582
    Paul, I've seen a lot of turned wooden pulleys on various tools, we are not talking warp speeds here, so they should be fine.

    I dunno about MDF, I guess if you seal it up real well, but if it ever gets wet, well it is like a sponge, so that would be B-A-D news!

    Keep us posted, and I look forward to them pics!

    PS a messy, but busy workshop is not hard to look at, a super spiffy clean one, were nothing gets done almost brings a tear to my eye, what a waste!!

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ozarks
    Posts
    4,992
    messy shop........oh-no!......
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    613
    Hi Paul, very wellcome, you will like it, just like me as a new member too.
    Started with turnings??
    Well I tell you what I did 6 years ago, when I started with my turnings, and I can tell you I never saw a woodlathe before, also the same for turning tools.
    I went than to the library in my living place to find books about woodturning, and read these books, so I got the clue how it's works.
    The next thing I did was buying the tools I need, and started with spindle turnen, making rounds, coves and V-cuts, etcetera.
    If you ask me, try to start this way, after a while you get the confidence that you are on the right track.
    Have fun.!!! It's a wonderful hobby

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