Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wood Lathe

Finally got this baby turning wood. It's cool. Craig's list led me to this fifty year old Craftsman for only $50. Had to borrow a pickup truck to get him home. He spend a few weeks on the garage floor but the coming of winter added incentive to get the project moving, so I could get the car into the garage and out of the snow.
Step 2 was to build the bench you see under it. I am too old to grovel around on the floor working on stuff and I didn't want to tie up my only workbench for however long the restore might take.
Step 3 was to scrounge up a motor and buy a pulley for it. The motor was free but the damn pulley was $25 over the 'net. Also was able to locate a set of chisels, a set of brass punches to take it apart with, and the missing tool rest on the 'net.
Step 4 came after first power up. It ran but was making a really dreadful noise. The "I am a bad bearing" kind of noise. I pulled the bearings out of the headstock and ordered new ones from good old Accurate Bearing Co. The nice lady at Accurate apologized for only having Chinese made bearings. I said they would do and she put them right in the mail. USPS got them to me inside of two business days.
Yesterday it all came together. New bearings purred like kittens, chisels dug right in and presto, I have something round. Next to get some better looking wood than old two by fours and turn something decorative.
Just to add to the feeling of honest self satisfaction, the mail man dropped off the woodworking magazine with a cover story "Four Mini Lathes for your shop". These groovy little machines cost $600-$800 each (new) and don't have a half the capacity of my $50 antique.

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