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Nichols Hand Miller

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Alan, The mill i have had a motor when i got it but it wasn't the original. It had been rigged with a motor that i have yet to identify because it is in storage some ware els and i thought that i probably wouldn't use it anyway.

The motor had about a three inch pulley on it and the spindle had a pulley about 1' in diameter none of which was original and left me with only one speed if i were to use it.

That is why i would like to go to the counter shaft type set up with step pulleys and a motor of known quality.

Also the " spindles " are not the overarm type so there is no overarm support for the arbor if you want to see the type of mill that i have just look in the Nichols Manuel that you have downloaded and it will be the Duplex Double Decker.

I think that the Double Decker can be changed over to an overarm machine the collum looks identical and it has the recess cut out for the rack that goes behind the head.

Did you ever notice that the bare collum looks like Gumby

Anyway here is what i need the rack that goes behind the head with the mounting screws, the head with overarm and the hangy down thing that supports the arbor, step pulleys, motor not original but something that would work on the counter shaft setup, electrical not sure what all i need yet but i will need it, Then a lot of small stuff like the table stops and things. I really need to take a serious inventory.

One thing about the double decker is the motor mounts on a flat surface instead of the curved one that the regular mills have and it has slotted bolt holes on top and bottom to mount two motors over and under.

Thats one reason that i don't really need the original overarm motor it shouldn't fit a flat mount could be wrong though.

It would have to be me that gets the oddball mill but its all in fun anyway.

Thank you.


Although Josh offered me the motor and gearbox he got on ebay, it seems that would be preferable for your mill. I do remember you saying you had the duplex mill, now that you mention it again.

I'm looking at the pic, but I don't fully understand what the point of having 2 spindles is, and 2 motors, that is what you have, right?

The other option is to ship the free mill out to you, if it looks like it's intact. But shipping would be a chunk. I guess is all depends on if you have a use for the duplex setup or not. I'm not clear what it is for exactly...

I guess you would still need pulleys even if you were to get the motor/gearbox that Josh has, but that seems like a better way to go, IMO. What do you think?

Alan (if I squint it does kinda look like Gumby, mine is even green ;) )
Hi Alan, Yesterday was one of those days that everything seemed to be out of wack just didn't feel like typing anything and spent most of my time worrying and thinking about things that need to be done that i cant do right now.

Anyway enough of that. Im not sure just how my mill is going to end up it could have four heads that could be used in combinations of two.

If i were to get an overarm head for this mill that would make three Nichols heads and i have a Tree Vertical head to fit to it.

Im not sure how those double heads were used ether but i think that they might come in handy Perhaps for horizontal boring or something Or they might be used to build a completely different machine.

As far as what kind of motor set up i will use im not sure it all depends on the free mill and if it will part out or if it is to good for that Ether way i will have a drive system maybe two.

Im keeping my eye peeled for step pulleys especially at the scrap yard. Of coarse i shouldn't look so hard because that is when you cant find what your looking for.

It would be easy to paint a gumby face on the collum and who knows the women may love it :cool:


Things will turn around for 'ya, just hang in there...they always do... ;)

I'd really like to know what the heck they use those duplex mills for, with the spindles on top of each other, there must be something specific that it would be used for, but I just can't see what that is. Anyone who knows, please speak up!

Josh, I checked my motor and the wires have aluminum tags on them. I'm almost certain this motor has never been rewound, and all the wires are black, same color. That sounds like the windings on the motor you got, I think.

For the record, Josh needs pulleys and doesn't have any. I swear we need to make a master parts list of what everyone is looking for, each of us are looking for different parts, and some the same.

Hi Alan,

It is becoming more likely that my motor has not been rewound. I've never seen a factory motor with tagged leads, but perhaps that is just how Master did it. As our little group continues to grow that's one of the things I'll be looking at, if only to satisfy my curiosity.

Yes, I need pulleys. More specifically, I need the 5-step pulleys. The early 2-step (4 groove) pulleys will not fit (they'll fit the motor but not the spindle).

Hi -

I got some information from Balder, Reliance, et. al. The only repair parts that are still available
are the oil seals for the output shaft. For the ID's that I had available the parts are:

For ID 113129 the Co shaft seal is PN 60212822A
For ID 143963 the Co shaft seal is PN 60212822A
For ID 245130 the Co Shaft seal is PN 60212823A

[Greg, your motor was made in 1942]

They also sent me a drawing that I put in the metalworking drop box. The files are master_gear_motor.[txt|pdf].I did ask about bearings and didn't get a reply on that topic. I was hoping they would have the OEM part number, or thedimensions.

Later this week I'll try actually buying an oil seal for my leaking motor.


This is good info, the IDs for the seals. I commented that the diagram didn't include them, so ignore that comment in the email I sent out.

Also good to know the vintage of Greg's motor, because mine is very close in production. I was thinking it could be from the 40s, my favorite era of machines. Why you might ask? Well, the end of the war brought some great technology out of America. America had been working up to a point that they were really hungry to win, and I think the machines that are produced towards the end of the war were really good ones. Case in point is my Yates-American G89 table saw, and J-31 Jointer, both manufactured in 1944, very close to the end of the war. Even after the war, great machines were still being produced into the 50s, but at some point in the 50s, companies tried to get thrifty and start producing more out of sheet metal rather than the heavy cast iron previously used on industrial machines even during the war.

If you think about how scarce metal was during the war, it was mostly companies that produced or had contracts with the government that could obtain it, and this would almost tell me that since Nichols was running production at this time, they had some type of contract with the government.

That also speaks to the quality of the Nichols miller, because the government was only buying the best quality machines they could, at that time.

Interesting to note that the Nichols was pretty much the same machine, even in the 60s, so the design never changed and/or got thrifty, at least it appears.

Good work on getting the info from Reliance. That will help others, and I'll try to get some pics since my motor is apart, but probably won't be until next weekend.

Josh, I contemplated milling a pulley, as Chas G. Allen mentioned that the new ones are aluminum. Even so, it would require a BIG chunk of aluminum for the 5 step pulley, and SIMs sells it for $2.50/lb in my neck of the woods, so it certainly would cost a chunk of change to buy the material.

Hello to you Nichols Nuts-

This thread begins to rival the infamous "Dowsing" thread from the old General Forumn for sheer post count.

I have two Nichols mills in storage. One is probably worth rehabilitation, one is probably not. Therefore, I have a parts machine available for cannibalization. It HAS a good gearmotor, with the five step pulley set. It is MISSING the overarm and arbor support, levers, knee gib, electrical equipment, and paint.

I will divvy up and ship parts if there is sufficient interest, but I don't want to sell any parts unless I can sell most of the parts. :D

Scott, I have no doubt that you will be able to find a home for most of your parts. Would you prefer we post or wish lists here or PM you?

Thanks for the opportunity!

Alan, I've also penciled out what it would take to make pulleys. I can't turn a large enough diameter on my lathe to match OEM dimensions...but I can get by with smaller pulleys by using a VFD. The big objection is the cost of a solid chunk of metal. It has been suggested to me that it would be cheaper to build a step pulley out of stacked plates, and it would, but the engineer in me objects to that because of dynamic balancing issues. That may not be a problem if carefully built, especially at the slow speeds we're dealing with. It sounds like my best "plan B" if and when I tire of looking for a proper set...:>


I wish I had a motor...I wish I had a motor...I wish I had a motor...hey, did I say I wish I had a motor? :D

I know that Josh needs the pulleys. James needs pulleys also I think, but his setup is different and I don't think he can use the 5 steps.

I could use one of the 5 step pulleys also, but Josh doesn't have any and mine I do have a set, just that one is chipped.

Josh, I agree on the pulleys, I have also pondered over it, and they're pretty large...maybe you can get Scott's set if he parts it out.


FWIW, if you do part out your machine, my suggestion is to strip all the small parts off of it, whatever is there and get rid of the base to scrap. I found out that we get about $0.03/lb for scrap in Cali, so the base is probably about 800-900 lb. without the motor and table (if it has one). That'll net you about $25 possibly...(sigh)

IMO, the axis nuts, any of the handle shafts, and the gib for the saddle if you have it, are about the only parts worth saving, along with the electronics if you find a guy like me that likes the originals (I bought Greg's though). The x-axis gear and shaft would probably be good for someone.

Most everyone has a decent base, it's the other parts that seem to break.

If you have the plug outlets I might be interested in that also, but I haven't decided if I will put my light back on even, the starter and drum switch work as they're supposed to in my testing.

I think the almost new motor and gearbox that Josh has would be best for James, he's in need of a motor also, but his is that odd duplex mill and even if he had the original gear motor, he's need to fab something to hold it. Seems he'd be better with Josh's motor, IMO. My $0.02 not that anyone asked for it.

As to this thread, yeah, I keep myself inside here so I don't ask something dumb...some of the "pros" seem to get huffy if someone like me tries to ask a question that they think is unworthy. :D

BTW, you mentioned your parts mill is missing the paint, if I could get all the paint off mine I would be glad to give it to you! :rolleyes: Mine is not as bad as some of the navy machines I own, boy didn't those govie types love paint... ;)

Hi all, Looks like theres a parts bonanza going on hear. This may be the beginning of a Nichols Renascence.

If this thread keeps growing Don may have to start a new site maybe something like { Nichols, Sheldon, Jefferson small mills }

Im thinking about starting a new thread { What do you make on your Nichols horizontal mill } But im not sure if it should go on this site It may need to be in General new What do you think.


The thing is that nobody here is making anything on their Nichols, so you might have one of the shortest threads on this fora! :D

It's funny, there some things that can be done on a horizontal mill that are done today on CNCs, such as woodworking hand planes. Take a gander at this:

The Nichols will do that type of dovetail work just fine, preferred in some ways.

Hang onto your stuff for the moment guys, I spoke with our contact for the mill up in NY. Its James's baby since he made the initial contact, but what I'd like to do is negiotate purchasing the NY mill from James and parting out mine. I can handle picking it up & will do the initial survey so James can make an informed decision.

If we do it that way, I'll make available all the mill parts on my machine, including the overarm support (which I'm not quite happy with yet). The motor drips a little while running when the reservoir is filled to the mark but once the oil drops down a little it runs clean. Pulleys are entirely intact.



Greg, your 30" table has me drooling....

I think it even more important now that those of us who need parts compile a list, and I think that best done in email.

Alan, That plane looks familiar i think there is an old thread on this forum that has something similar.

I like the rope knurl on the brass locking screw. If you go to Frank Fords link to his web site there is a posting on how to make a rope knurling tool real interesting with step by step photos.

Josh, Greg still has to get the mill and make an evaluation befor he decides weather to part his mill out but from what he told me it looks like a good possibility that he will. If so everything except what i want will be available.

All i need for now is the head, overarm, arbor support and the rack that goes behind the head with hardware. The rest can come later as more parts become available.

Your description of your motor makes me lean towards looking more into Scott's motor. Your motor is definitely going to need seals, and to take it apart would be a chance that something else wouldn't go wrong, IMO. It seems there's a chance that if your end bell is cracked up at the top, that would be a more difficult repair. Considering how many leaky and/or motors in need of repair, there might be closer opportunities.

Your motor is certainly better than what I have, but doesn't sound like a long term solution, and why I suspect you're leaning towards the other mill. The other thing we need to consider is that you're all the way on the opposite coast from me, and that makes it difficult to get any of those parts at a reasonable price. For me cost and amount to ship would be a determining factor.

Your spindle pulley might interest me.

Josh, we can take the parts list to email.

Frank does some nice work, and he demo'd how to make a lathe tool, so shape a round end for a handle, and heat treated it, all within about 15 minutes at the last SBMetal meeting. It was cool watching him do that. Yes, he had most things setup, but it was a nice wham-bam-thank-you-mam.

That plane is one made by Wayne Anderson, if you click on it you will be taken to his website.

Hi ALan,

Far as I'm concerned the motor is fine- the oil drips are infrequent and stop once the oil has gone a little below the full mark- not an issue for me. I've run the motor a good bit, its quiet, acts right and the gearbox washed clean with one WD-40 rinse. The dipstick and breather are both present and even the inboard motor bearing had good grease in it.

Shipping cost for the motor will be approx $100 as per experience shipping one to Josh. Given the previous discussion about the nuances of the seal, I'm going to leave the sleeping dogs alone rather than risk messing up a working motor. No problem if you want to keep looking- I'm sure spare working Nichols motors will be snapped up sooner or later...

But I think we could avoid cluttering up the place and take shipping & pricing negotiations offline. We also should avoid committing for stuff until the NY mill can be gone over closely. I don't mind selling off my machine piecemeal and scrapping the rest.


Yeah, I'm sure your motor is ok, and it's gotta be better than mine...but your description of it was like finding a new girlfriend that is slightly pregnant. :D

Seriously, the impression I got was, "Hey guys, hold on to your parts, because I am gonna take this other mill that James found and I have a motor, it just leaks a bit". To me it sounded like you wanted to off some of your current stuff to try and get some better stuff.

OTOH, Scott came in offering parts and was pretty up front about it, he has two machines and one is going to be used for parts, and the other he's gonna fix up. Sounds pretty familiar, most people seem to end up with 2 Nichols mills, one to fix and one for parts.

The first thing I think of is how you would even know that your motor is fine? You just barely got it working recently, AFAIK. These mills were made to run 24x7, yet I don't get the impression you have run yours in that capacity, and it already leaks. Seems like a red flag to me, especially since you seem more interested in buying the mill that James found. I'm not trying to question your intentions, but 2+2 doesn't add up... :rolleyes:

I'm starting to wonder about these mills. Nobody who has participated in this thread is really making anything with them, and most are trying to get them working. Spending $100 for shipping, and buying the motor for something on top of it, just to get something that might need to be rebuilt anyway, sounds like a loosing proposition to me.

This is why it's not as attractive to me to pay shipping across the country to get something that probably does in fact need work. Might be better to take my chances on another one out on the west coast. Hope I don't offend you, but please go re-read your message. It sounds like it has good pulleys, a leaky motor, and an overarm support that your not happy with. I figure you'll take your long table, since the mill in NY most likely doesn't have a long table on it.

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