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Kearns 'S' Type Horizontal Boring Machine

Jim Christie

Titanium
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Location
L'Orignal, Ontario Canada
I noticed this video about a Kitchen and Walker Horizontal Facing Borer that appears to me to be somewhat larger than Peter's.
I had not heard of Kitchen and Walker before but have seen a Kitchen and Wade radial drill .
I'm not sure if there is any connection.
I think I've seen some of his other videos linked on this forum before so perhaps he is a member here.
I've looked at several of them and found them interesting .
There is a company website too
I look forward to seeing some more about Peter's machine when he gets it ready to run.
Jim
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Yeah I watched that vid last night. Interesting machine, slightly bigger than my Kearns OA HBM and considerably more modern looking. Mine has only one motor and a ton of gearing to make everything move. I haven't run it in over a year because I rarely need its capacity and everything is a lot heavier and harder to move than the baby S type.

The 16" of quill travel is nice though.

PDW
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
I got a Kearns borer for scrap about 8ton size........the guy said he was saving the quartering table ....machine wasnt in bad nick either........I could have sold it with the table ,but no he was keeping it for a project.....then last year he brings in a heap of other stuff ,and the table .....seems his wife kicked him out,and he had to sell the shed on account of she owned it ....very clever tax minimization scheme.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Why buy that when you can buy a machine that will do everything that machine will do plus having a travelling spindle for drilling, tapping, milling etc ?
I thought I’d seen every British made Hor bore but I’ve never seen or heard of a Hor bore made by “ Kitchen & Walker “ although I’ve worked on their radial arm drills. Their drills were very good but that borer looks like the old saying - “ a camel is a horse designed by a committee “.
I need to watch it again and make notes about what I don’t like. Just for starters the spindle brake needs sorting out. If that got hold of you you’d have no chance of stopping it quickly.
I like the guy, he’s obviously a trier, but he needs to find an experienced operator to show him the ropes. The speed he was running at was way too fast.
Both “ Kearns “ and “ Richards “ made facing slide only machines but they were miles better than that and you usually only saw them at places that made big valves, as the guy said.

Regards Tyrone.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Whats killed borers here is the million or so guys who have "bought a job" with onsite line boring......these guys have minimal knowledge and less experience,but they will attack anything. with near toy standard machines.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Why buy that when you can buy a machine that will do everything that machine will do plus having a travelling spindle for drilling, tapping, milling etc ?

Because you can't really.

Sure there are borers about the place, I have 2 of them. But they aren't *common* and it can be a long wait before the machine you ideally want comes along.

I thought he was running that tool way too fast as well but as I have NFI what I'm doing it's good to see that you think the same.

PDW
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
He’ll have a lot of work to do to get that machine to do what he wants it to do. It’s really designed to be a special purpose machine with a specific range of products in mind. The lack of a power cross traverse tells us that. The “ Kearns “ and “ Richards “ facing slide only machines were more or less the standard machine minus the travelling spindle. Much as I like machinery you can’t afford to fall in love with stuff. The SIP jig borer he bought is truly a work of art, one should be in a museum. But it’s a jig borer, made specifically for that purpose. If you’re not making jigs it’s just a big, slow drill.

Back in the days when we had a government that was actually bothered about industry there was an organisation called the EITB ( Engineering Industry Training Board ) for bringing through young engineers. They did several modules - Fitting, Turning, Milling etc. They produced large manuals for the kids with procedures they had to prove they had followed. A full time inspector came around to check that they’d done the jobs And then counter signed the book. This was for a four year apprenticeship so the skills got more complicated as time went by. These “ Log Books “ as they were called were brilliant. They did one on “ horizontal boring “ that covered every aspect of the job. They were fully illustrated. Nothing was left out regarding set ups, tooling, speeds and feeds etc. I managed to beg for one but I can’t find it now.

Of course the EITB was financed partly by a levy on the employers and partly by the national government. When the Tories came to power the employers lobbied to have it shut down because they didn’t want to pay the levy, so it was.
Now they’re bitching that they can’t get home grown skilled men to do the job. How short sighted can you be ? Customers I used to work for were constantly advertising for Hor bore and Plano-miller operators, the big stuff. CNC operators they could get, no problem, guys who could put components in a vice. But men who could set up jobs weighing 5 or 10 tons straight down onto the table and not turn them into a pile of scrap, they’d all retired. The only blokes they could get were immigrants from Eastern Europe. Even they are drying up now.

That guy needs to see if he can find one Of those manuals. It’s hard enough doing the job, being self taught just makes it harder. I was never an operator myself. I just worked on building, installation, repair etc. Some of the Hor bore guys I came into contact with in the course of my work were brilliant at the job, they could make those machines sing. Everything I know about set ups I learnt from them. I can tell if a guy is self taught at the game just looking at his set ups.

Like the guy in the film. I’d have had the table turned at 90 degrees, slot irons in the tee slots to push the vee blocks up against and pusher irons screwed up to the vee blocks. Maybe an end stop if you aren’t boring all the way through. At least the job won’t move that way. Once a job starts to move on a machine like that it’s press the red button and get out of the way. Especially if your spindle brake doesn’t work !

I didn’t like the way he had a straight clamp over the top. If he was boring that component for real the job would have come out ever so slightly egg shaped.

Regards Tyrone.
 
Last edited:

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
I didn’t like the way he had a straight clamp over the top. If he was boring that component for real the job would have come out ever so slightly egg shaped.

Yeah as I said I've NFI what I'm doing, basically self-taught though I did get some lessons on the S type when I was doing machining courses at night for the fun of it. Over nearly 10 years I worked my way through almost the entire apprentice lessons plus a bunch of other stuff. Still only a hack though.

Anyway WRT egg shaped holes I generally bandsaw a chunk of hardwood to the profile and clamp down on that. Better friction and no point load to encourage distortion. Not sure if this is the best way but it works for me.

With you on not falling in love with the tools. I trade up when the opportunity permits, one metal planer went out the door recently, as did a surface grinder and a shaper. The Monarch CY lathe is next on the list as soon as I have the DS&G tooled up.

PDW
 

Peter S

Diamond
Joined
May 6, 2002
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Greetings Kearns Followers,

It's one month since this thread started, saying I had bought a Type S. Well, where is it you may ask.

The Kearns has sat in the sellers shed while I recovered from covid, then while the seller had to isolate, then a few other things - but finally, today we moved it to my place.

The seller owned it for about 10 years and used it from his home workshop to machine jet units for race boats. These were cast aluminium housings which required facing and boring operations. A spare-time job, 14 housings machined over 10 years.

Here is a photo showing the machine outside my shed today. I reckon it will look better after a good clean :o.

The boring stay was removed for the move, along with the way covers.

Missing parts? A couple of the table clamps, a facing bar holder, drill socket, coolant pump.

I forgot to chock the counterweight :(. Come to think of it, I'm not sure how you get to it. No mention of it in the "Operating and Maintenance Handbook" (PDF copy found on the internet, £10).

Kearns S Type arrives 26-07-22 01a.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Greetings Kearns Followers,

It's one month since this thread started, saying I had bought a Type S. Well, where is it you may ask.

The Kearns has sat in the sellers shed while I recovered from covid, then while the seller had to isolate, then a few other things - but finally, today we moved it to my place.

The seller owned it for about 10 years and used it from his home workshop to machine jet units for race boats. These were cast aluminium housings which required facing and boring operations. A spare-time job, 14 housings machined over 10 years.

Here is a photo showing the machine outside my shed today. I reckon it will look better after a good clean :o.

The boring stay was removed for the move, along with the way covers.

Missing parts? A couple of the table clamps, a facing bar holder, drill socket, coolant pump.

I forgot to chock the counterweight :(. Come to think of it, I'm not sure how you get to it. No mention of it in the "Operating and Maintenance Handbook" (PDF copy found on the internet, £10).

View attachment 369872
You got the table centring device that’s the main thing. You can make the clamps on that machine.

Regards Tyrone
 

Asquith

Diamond
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Location
Somerset, UK
Curtis Sparkes 1.jpg

I’ve taken the liberty of copying this photo is from Famous for a Century by Curtis Sparkes, 2008. He worked for Kearns for 50 years, and became the managing Director.

The photo shows six S-type Kearns machines on a Leyland truck. The buildings in the background were painted in an effort to camouflage them. Whether that was before or after they were bombed, and whether it was of any use, I don’t know. Mr Sparkes tells us that some workers were killed and the works damaged by bombing, although an adjacent field bore the main brunt. That field separated Kearns from George Richards & Co. When the Govt authorities realised that these two firms were the main UK makers of medium-sized horizontal boring/facing machines, they immediately demanded that manufacture be spread further afield.

Note the shrouded headlight on the Leyland. Under wartime blackout regulations, vehicles were only allowed to use a single headlight, shrouded, in the hours of darkness (presumably they could have many lights on in daytime as they wanted!). The blackout restrictions led to a huge increase in accidents.

Going back to the machines, the S stands for Sparkes. Curtis Sparkes proposed the type in the 1930s, when he was probably in his late 20s. The proposal was opposed by every member of the Kearns board except Sir Lionel Kearns.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
View attachment 369951

I’ve taken the liberty of copying this photo is from Famous for a Century by Curtis Sparkes, 2008. He worked for Kearns for 50 years, and became the managing Director.

The photo shows six S-type Kearns machines on a Leyland truck. The buildings in the background were painted in an effort to camouflage them. Whether that was before or after they were bombed, and whether it was of any use, I don’t know. Mr Sparkes tells us that some workers were killed and the works damaged by bombing, although an adjacent field bore the main brunt. That field separated Kearns from George Richards & Co. When the Govt authorities realised that these two firms were the main UK makers of medium-sized horizontal boring/facing machines, they immediately demanded that manufacture be spread further afield.

Note the shrouded headlight on the Leyland. Under wartime blackout regulations, vehicles were only allowed to use a single headlight, shrouded, in the hours of darkness (presumably they could have many lights on in daytime as they wanted!). The blackout restrictions led to a huge increase in accidents.

Going back to the machines, the S stands for Sparkes. Curtis Sparkes proposed the type in the 1930s, when he was probably in his late 20s. The proposal was opposed by every member of the Kearns board except Sir Lionel Kearns.
I didn’t know any of those facts Asquith. I always assumed that the “ S” type was a 1950’s development. That photo was taken outside the “ Kearns “ factory. I‘d love to read that book. One day I’ll pick one up from the internet.
I never ask to borrow things I wouldn’t lend out myself.

Regards Tyrone.
 








 
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