Hendey Lathe in fire
My fathers 14x6 Tie bar Hendy lathe was in storage in his friends pole barn in NY state. I just found out that the barn burned to the ground. I havent been to see it yet, 400 miles each way, but the barn owner says that he is going to get a dozer in and scrap all the metal as he had no insurance. Is it worth trying to save this lathe? It was working when my father stored it due to moving in with my sister. I was planning on bringing it to my shop that is still under construction as this was the lathe I learned on 40 years ago. Has anyone had any experiance with lathes that were in fires?
It could still be good. I have no direct experience, but I have heard a number of stories that machines have survived. It depends on how hot the lathe got.
My first mill was one that was half out and half in (disassembled partially) a building that burned. The column and knee and attached parts were fine, the saddle and table were toasty. Got hot enough to affect surface finish of cast iron on the parts that were in the fire.
A way to do this if you bother to drive that far is to borrow a carbide way scraper and take it when you go look. Do some scraping on the worst looking machined surfaces - no brightness means its is more trouble than its worth.
Plain old rust comes off looking like this, which I am always posting. I.E., easily obtainable brightness.
Is there any other old equipment there? Anything you can see if there is babbit melted in? How did anything aluminum hold up, is it still there or did all the aluminum burn up?
You know that Mark Twain quote about how you regret the things you didn't do more than you regret the things you did?? I suspect that if you let this lathe get scrapped without even going there to look at it, you might feel the same way in a few months or a few years.
In addition, even if it is no good anymore for turning metal it might possibly still be turned into a wood lathe of some sort or other.
Another thought is if there is a member here that is closer than you who could go and look at it for you.
I saw pictures this morning, The corner of the barn that the lathe is in apears to be untouched by fire. A group of us might be able to go up this weekend and check it out.
in steels,above 400 C (750F) will effect the crystal structure. I am not a heat treat guy though, so i would defer to what John said. GL hope the irons ok
Thanks for the info. It still had the leather belts rolled up in the chip tray and was covered with a canvas tarp the last time I saw it, that should give some indication of the heat it endured.
By all means, get the serial number. Check the front of the bed to be SURE it is a "14x6". If it is un-savable, it may have some salvable parts. ( I'd like to get my hands on a replacement bull gear for a 12x tiebar Henedey if the S/N was close. )
Bring a can of LPS-3 and spray her down well.
We have two of those Hendy 14x6 lathes in our student shop at school, pretty good machines... too bad ours are worn out.
Parts, always looking for parts............
I say, just go, equipped, and with full intention of bringing it back, dead or alive.
When you get there, look it over really close. IMO, if it's not melted into a pool of slag, load it up and bring it back, and THEN assess the condition.
I say this, because once you've gone there, you've already invested the distance, so bringing it back isn't much more of an investment of effort...
And if it turns out to be beyond repair, sort out any pieces that could be used to bring any others back to life. If something's going to scrap, you should be the one to make the final determination.
It is definatly a 14x6. I have a picture somewhere of me standing on a milk crate learning to cut threads. I want it back more for sentimental reasons. The history I know of it is that it was originaly at Singer Sewing Machine in Elizabethport, NJ. My dad worked on it there in the 1950's as a Toolmaker. When they upgraded the equipment, he bought it for $25. It has been in our possesion since the early 1960's. It is still setup to use a lineshaft.
I have seen a few things that were extracted from house fires.
Water and heat are a good combination if you want to warp parts
Ashes and water are a great way to rust stuff, especialy if its degreased in a fire.
Heat draws the temper from parts.
Rapid cooling can crack parts.
If you want to save it, you need to move fast.
If you leave it there uncovered just the wind wipping up the ashes on an oil free surface will rust away in no time at all.
If you get there and decide she is still worth working on, get it out, take it to a car wash and let her blow dry on the way home.
Then spray her down with someting to keep it from rusting further.
Assume it will be rusted tight, and ugly when you get there.
Assume all electrical parts have had the insulation baddly dammaged and need replacement.
Assume a total strip and rebuild will be required to make her go again.
Assume springs will be "dead" and ball bearings will be shot.
Assume grease and oil will be seared to the surfaces of all bearings.
If the trip is still worth making based on those assumptions, consider this:
Moving a lathe witout riggers and heavy equipment is a chalenge.
Moving one out of a dammaged building may be down right dangerous.
How much of a hazzard is the structure to you or those helping you?
One trip to the ER will set you back more than the machine is worth, especialy if it has any fire dammage.
Be ready to deal with a dammaged structure when you extract the lathe and minimize the risk.
Take the standard rigging gear, and throw in a chain saw, axe, shovel and other tools for clearing debris.
A few extra chains, ropes and other stuff to stabilize or pull down the dammaged structure are also in order.
Also take a full change of clothing, and stuff to clean up with. Good chance you will be black with soot when the project is over.
Make sure your tetnus shot is up to date. There will be lots of pointy things in under that powery ash.
What a coincidence!!! The Hendey lathe described in this thread......
Hendy in need of a home in northern N.J.
......also was orginally owned by Singer Sewing Machine in Elizabethport NJ! I hope Reggie_Obie chimes in on this, because the last time I tried to tell the story of the lathe now in the [temporarily closed] New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, I got some of the details wrong. I can't recall if it was a 14" or a 12".
Be sure to see the picture in one of the posts in the thread at the above URL.
It sounds to me that the lathe is a sort of family heirloom, so I second the idea of "bring it home safe and decide on its fate later". This lathe can be carried in a U-haul heavy-duty opentop trailer.
I have a couple of different trailers available just need to decide which one to use. Anyone know the weight of a 14x6? The lathe was on skids so it can be moved with pipe rollers.
I once purchased a Index (Bridgeport type) milling machine from a shop that was completely consumed by fire. No damage to cast iron parts, other than badly stained. Motor was completely toast. Put new spindle bearings in it. Converted it to CNC with a Centroid control. Sent the X and Y screws and nuts to a company that installed their own special screws (not ball screws) and cast Moglice nuts around the screws. Not completely free from backlash (.006 in X axis), but Centroid control cancels it out. Used the existing end bell of the motor to adapt a 110 volt motor to the head. Have a gear box adapted to the knee, which still has the acme thread screw. The weight of the knee takes care of the backlash. Completed this conversion in the mid eightys. Memory only holds programs of 20,000 characters, so I have to break up longer programs. Mastercam allows me to do this. It is one of the most often used machines that I have.
I think it would take a pretty hot fire to totally destroy a machine tool built of cast iron. A mass of cast iron has a lot of heat dissipating properties. If you do not rescue this lathe, you will be sorry. A lot of old abandoned machine tools in worse shape than this are resurrect every day.
1815 with regular equipment, no taper. This would have included over head counter shaft for the cone heads.
Originally Posted by MilGunsmith
I agree with ahall , go prepared for everything that might be a problem. The situation is not as bad as he made it sound however. A line shaft machine has no electrical parts to worry about. It probably doesn't have antifriction bearings. Every piece almost will be cast iron so there is very little heat treatment if any, to worry about. he is correct that you need to be quick tyo stop deterioration. Get her cleaned, dried, and some kind of hydrocarbon coating on every surface. This will buy some time and save a lot of work.
This is one of those don't ask me how I know things.
Originally Posted by ahall
When you are in a fire damaged area things are not always as they seem, pieces of floor missing covered with debris, beams burned thru ready to fall, etc.
Be extra alert.