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Thread: My Old Iron from the 1880s

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
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    383

    My Old Iron from the 1880s

    A few years ago I bought this pattern maker's lathe from a professional woodturner. I do a lot of bowl turning on it, and it can handle anything that can fit on it.

    Here's what I know. It's a lathe fmade by the Rollstone Machine Co. in Fitchburg, MA. Rollstone Machine Works History at OWWM It couldn't have been made later than 1890. It has a 24" swing, and can turn up to 6.5 feet between center. (I might be able to do 7 feet if I hang the headstock off the end.) I don't know how much it weighs, but everything can be removed/unbolted for easy transport. It's headstock has a 2 in. shaft, with plain bearings. The outboard side holds the thrust bearing/bolt, and the inboard side does not have a standard, or centered, taper. The tailstock has a MT #3, and can be slid offcenter to make tapered spindles. The oilers in the headstock are very archaic, just some holes to drip oil in manually....and frequently. They could easily be replaced by modern oilers.

    Condition: Fine condition, especially considering it's age. Dents and dings are expected, and the ways have slight wear from the decades of tailstock movement. I bought it from a professional turner who used it daily. He had the inboard end of the shaft machined to 1 1/2" 8 TPI so standard accessories can be used. The person he bought it from abused it, breaking out some of the webbing in the bed casting because he thought it would make the perfect holder for his sheet goods.

    He should take a long walk off a short pier.

    Other than that it is in amazing condition. I would assume it's been in operation for at least 90% of the years since it was made. I consider myself very lucky to own this machine, and even luckier because of how little it cost me! Not to mention the fact that it truly is an historical machine, and I have only seen one othe Rollstone lathe, and it's posted at OWWM. Here are the pics.

    Hutch
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rollstone Lathe 1.JPG   Rollstone Lathe 2.JPG   Bronze Bearing W.JPG   Headstock W.JPG   Inboard Yoke W.JPG  

    Outboard Yoke W.JPG   Shaft W.JPG   Tailstock W.JPG  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DSM, IA
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    5,719
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Hutchinson View Post
    Other than that it is in amazing condition. I would assume it's been in operation for at least 90% of the years since it was made. I consider myself very lucky to own this machine, and even luckier because of how little it cost me! Not to mention the fact that it truly is an historical machine, and I have only seen one othe Rollstone lathe, and it's posted at OWWM. Here are the pics.

    Hutch
    Hutch, I saw your pic with the lathe over at SMC's "woodturners and their lathes", but seeing more of the lathe and hearing more about it's history makes the statement in red above even more true! Not saying anything about your luck...just that I envy your lathe, a bunch!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,833
    Beyond interesting. Amazing. It looks well used and, IMHO, used tools are loved tools. Those wood pulleys are neat. Thanks for posting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Des Moines, IA
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    854
    WOW, that is a neat piece of equipment. I am with Frank, I really like the wooden pulleys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Zushi, Japan
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    739
    Matt,

    A very nice piece of machinery. I would also be proud to have such a piece. BTW nice pile of dust on the floor too; is that a lawn mower under it?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    383

    Swimming in shavings

    LOL, yes, that's a lawn mower under it. It came with the house, and it's not the one I use. As far as the chips go, I think I could fill up dumpster after dumpster. Last year I took 2 1/2 truck loads to the dump. I am talking about 10 cubic yards! Here is what I have accumulated over the winter.

    Hutch

    P.S. The dump I am referring to is for green stuff only. Such as trees, brush, leaves, grass clippings, etc.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chip Pile.JPG  
    Last edited by Matt Hutchinson; 04-22-2008 at 07:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
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    4,268
    Where have I seen that before......

    Welcome to the forum Hutch.

    Jeff
    aka Kudzu over at owwm.

    PS Why is it not "Hutch Green?"
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 04-22-2008 at 05:03 PM.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    OK, i'm a bit jealous.
    I've been looking at the 1880's lathe sitting on my bench (smaller than yours) waiting for its rehab while i finish up the 1940's Atlas table saw i'm rebuilding for a friend. I'm not so jealous of your lathe, but more of the pile of wood chips sitting under it. It'll be a while before mine can boast fire hazard status.
    About the oilers - mine's got a Lunkenheimer oiler on it, which is consistent with its age. You might think about that as an option. They're regularly available on ebay and look exceedingly cool (brass and glass).
    Have fun with the "new" toy.
    paulh

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Charleston
    Posts
    917
    Very cool lathe. Thanks for sharing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    30,020
    That's a sweet oldtimer, for sure. Great to see it's still being used and loved.

    And Paul, thanks for the new word. Lunkenheimer...just rolls off the tongue so easily. Perfect word to use while driving in heavy traffic with kids in the car, when "normal" driving language is inappropriate.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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