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What have I done- A Wadkin LQ is moving into the shop.


Active member
Ok guys you can be honest- was this another one of those ideals which sounded great but might not fill out as so useful in the shop.
I guess I have been wanting a better boring machine over a larger work area, clamping and two axis table plus needing a bigger milling envelope.
More the smallish radial than the upright drill press('s) I have been using.
All the milling aspects of the LQ just seemed like extras.

But the Wadkins has a big footprint and while a robust spindle its four speed belted 6k max.
All in all sort of a antique though has a mt4 spindle and the gear along the lines of collets to put all sorts of tooling on.
The builder wasn't shy about power and its fitted with a robust 3500 2hp 3phase motor.
I guess I could put a drive on and old DRO on table if I wanted bells and whistles..

Odd machine really- somewhere back in the evolution of table router approaches though I am calling it more a pattern makers mill.
The beast is on site and gets lifted into shop today and I'll attend to the spindle lube etc and give it a whirl.

I am headed towards a smallish router - maybe a 5'x5' but this is a stopgap and who knows- might be a nice addition.
I am often frustrated by the work I can't get on the mill and this one will handle all the wood, plastics and non ferrous work.
This one came kitted with the factory fit ancillary indexing table and a cabinet full of tooling.
(and the guy threw in a morticing attachment for my Mini-Max planer/joiner with a set of bits..)

Anyone run one of these?
This one came out of a pattern makers shop and is in good condition for a 1949 built machine.
(the table isn't full of holes- those are pin locations for the indexing table and threaded holes for the hold downs for clamping work)
This machine is missing its iron fence which bolts to back of table- I will make up a timber one..

What say ye- an obsolete machine for a reason or...?



There is not much information on these currently in use but some enthusiasts (Canadians...):

Wadkin LQ restoration -

Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement Forum

Wadkin LQ Overhead Boring and Recessing Machine. - YouTube

Wadkin LQ - YouTube

Et al...


New member
I am not sure what parts you typically need, but this looks like a usable machine to me. I'd say the only concern might be the Morse taper, but that may be fine.

I think if you can fit it in the shop it will be a good machine for you. I didn't catch what you will be replacing?

M. Moore

Active member
Very nice!
Just used as a drill press it will pay for itself in its versatility.
I sure hope that cabinet full of tooling included the porthole cutter!
A really interesting design and I had not seen that model before now and I have a few Wadkin catalogs.
The manual pdf didn't really show how the table works but I am sure you will figure it out.

Good luck,



Active member
Well any reticence I had had is completely gone.
I spend a few days setting everything to rights with the Wadkin and it is now making chips.

I serves exactly as I had hoped- it is taking that work which was too large for the vertical mill and saving me lots of time building jigs to get simple cuts done.

Here is a 1-1/2"x24" double planked round for a steering pedestal base getting milled and detailed.
In the last photo I am setting up for the inlet of a raised bronze wear strip which will set just inside the edge.
I used one of the French bits to radius - the mill comes with some surprisingly large cutters of this type.
I will mount a DRO and bet this new machine will get lots of use in my shop.

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M. Moore

Active member
So appropriate that a woodworkers shop has no window trim or baseboards.....

BTW, nice milling machine! Glad to see you are putting it to work.


Active member
lol- yep.

This shop has been like a New England farmhouse- bits added over the years.
I just got in a decent push with filling in the flooring, drywall on the truss etc.
AND... finally pulled the PP on line and ran the conduit out to the five machines who had been patiently waiting for juice.

I am walking down the line getting the new machines sorted one by one.
The Wadkin now just needs DRO and work on table clamps/tooling etc plus a lift for the heavy rotary tables.
The feeler drill press needs a new chuck but is good to go.
The big belt sander needs a new disconnect switch and some attention to the key on the oscillator motor.
The carbide grinder needs wired back to straight three phase as I had had a VFD on it.

The big job now it to wire up the outside dust collector and trunk in tubing to all and sundry- I have been for years been making do with a single bag unit out to the joiner/planer for chips.
I am looking forward to getting the rest of the gear online.
The big belt sander especially as it will fill the shop with dust if I run it at all.

Sometimes it seems I squeeze contracts into my working on the shop schedule not the opposite...

Oh- baseboards.
Not gonna happen....


New member
The machine looks awesome, and nice project on it. I've only ever seen another of those in a well-known fine furniture & yacht furniture builder -- he had a version of that Wadkin with ~ 2' x 4' travel on the table. Very impressive!

M. Moore

Active member
I recently upgraded, (5 years ago) my dust collector piping to the Nordfab quick connect. I highly recommend.
I was faced with upgrading the collector to a larger unit but chose to replace all the mish-mash of spiral pipe and plastic pipe and duct tape. After replacing all the piping I did not need a larger collector as there was a huge improvement in suction from a reduction in leak and friction losses. My 5 hp murphy is not going anywhere now, no more clogged planer piping.
It is pricey but well worth it and a change in machinery placement is so easy.


Active member
Mr. Moore-

Thank you for that.
I may post questions as I get the ducting project going.

So I am wrapping up this first foray into the Wadkins capabilities.
The round is ready to pull off the mill and get cleaned up:

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The bronze will be set further down with about 3/16" being left proud of surface.

Re- dust collection.
It appears this new mill is more the chip producer than dust so I think it will be a simple matter to get a collector at the spindle.


Active member
Ideally ,you need a big-ish blower and a cyclone set up outside the building......bear in mind that aerated wood dust is explosive too,......one thing you will know is a mix of wood and aluminium dust spontaneously combusts with moisture......Most wood dust is very irritating,and some dust is quite toxic on the skin.


Active member
..Most wood dust is very irritating,and some dust is quite toxic on the skin.

I have the great fortune as boat carpentry guy to be allergic to both mahogany and teak.
I used to do some trim jobs in a particular restaurant which were all mahogany interiors.
Wow- half a day of cutting and the tears would be running down my face..
These days some teaks will raise a poison ivy like rash all over my arms if its hot and I am milling lots of boards.
Rosewoods- forget it- like to kill me..

All that said for the last twenty years I have had this shop stood up I have been a dusty mess.
The last little bit I have been wearing a N95 but it is high time I get the machines on line to a decent system.

I have a old outside commercial bag room type stack sitting there which I am wondering if it is worth hooking up.
I also have a mid size cyclone that I may use.
Its a work in progress...

I am slammed for the next couple of weeks- after that I am going to get this collection system on line.

richard newman

Active member
That's a very cool machine, I'm sure you will find all sorts of uses for it. I saw an Ekstrom Carlson version long ago. Like a Bridgeport for wood, or maybe the the Bridgeport came afterwards. My understanding is that the Bp's were originally made for and/or by patternmakers. With a DRO it should become a really precise machine.

Interesting to see the French head. I've seen mention of them, but never seen anyone actually use one. Seems the easiest way to make a pattern knife, no need to calculate a projection, almost a direct correspondence. Possible downside would be the zero or slightly negative rake. Do you find it cuts easily? I'd imagine cutteres wouldn't last as long as lockedge or corrugated knives, but for single use like yours that's irrelevant. Probably not OSHA approved either.

Also, gotta say in my experience Wadkin machines are really well designed and built. A vestige of when the Brits ruled the world.


Active member
Hello Richard.

I agree on the quality of the Wadkin build- I tore this machine right down with all the tables off and the knee removed to clean everything up as well as a teardown and relube of the spindle.
I took Labor Day weekend and was able to have it all sorted starting Friday by Monday afternoon and was pleased throughout in the sensible quality of the design particulars and machine work employed in its creation.

I have just used one of the smaller French head set on this so far but I am interested in the capabilities.
The machine reverses so these cutters have that advantage of reverse when the work calls for it.
I will have to investigate further so see how it works in practice but my sense is the craft was well developed and these were productive machines with those cutters.

I was very happy with the performance of the machine- that round was a bit of hard Sapele and I had no difficulty with it and I didn't suffer over a perfect edge on tooling- I used as found so only improvement from a good start eh.

I did pine for a DRO- I am so used to one on the mill that just doing the few bores and the one rabbit I griped about setting depth of cut.

This is the first piece finished.
Not a remarkably complex or involved sort of project but done with an ease I wouldn't have found on the bench with my normal fixturing dodges to get it done.

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And the cutters to complete:

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This is one of those times we are called upon as artisans to create something of a memorial for those who have passed from us.
This is a base for an old bronze helm which is being set out to memorialize some well known businessmen who I had become acquainted with and then friends of over our long association.
They were all avid sailors and I worked with the families and others to help setup the project and do my part.

Setting the pedestal (minus wheel and capping parts) to the base- a heavy bronze casting- I am thinking pre war commercial- small coastal or tug perhaps...

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stephen thomas

Active member
I keep going back and forth whether to envy you the machine, or your space! :)

Richard probably remembers, the few times i visited Wendell Castle, he would spend time at the pattern mill trying to interest me in making an offer especially after installing the robot/router. I never could afford the room. Or probably the machine, either.

(Other than rosette cutters) i made my first french head for a router when making replica curved church pews with fancy ends. I also made mine to include a spigot for various ball bearing pilots and sleeved ball bearings. Besides obviating the need to project a profile, they cut any direction with or against the grain with nil tearout if kept honed sharp.

Later, i made some straight projection heads for one of the shapers. A true french head insert spindle could be made for the Griggio "eventually". The straight heads scare me a little - there is no force trying to push the knife back in the pocket to counteract centrifugal (centripetal?) forrce as with a conventional head with hook. However, I find them especially useful for curves as mentioned, but also for the times it's necessary to use the cutter to form a precise angle. The precise angle cutter can be made fast and easy on the surface grinder with no curve or compensation as is necessary for a straight angle cutter in a head with rake.

Nice machine and you always post interesting jobs.
Beautiful work, hope to see more!



Active member
Thank you Stepen-
I will post some photos of these cutters and maybe you can help with them
I am calling them French due to just an assumption that that is what they are called.
The holders are unique or not?- I don't have the experience to tell.

I will get some photos today.


Active member
Well this is turning out to be a first class machine and very useful in my shop.
The next project to get done on the Wadkin is this double stack of 1/2" 6061-T6 plate.
I have gotten the DRO all installed and lacking anything like a CNC router the Wadkin can now take work too large for the Deckel.

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After drilling to 15/16" I stepped up the bores to 1.35" with the cutter shown and then finished with a boring head to get a press fit for these bushing placements.
The Wadkin was rigid enough to do all of the work only lacking in not having a sufficiently slow speed for the drilling.
I managed but it was a chore and I suppose I might change out the pulleys to get a different lower end.

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Talk is cheap- been too rushed to get any photos of tooling Stephen....
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stephen thomas

Active member
That's ok.
I have made no progress on the Hardinge, either, and that's been longer.
What is redeeming for both of us (I hope) is that we are relentless in pursuing projects, perhaps not in the straight sequence path once (foggily?) envisioned. But constant progress in some direction on a circuitous route, at least.

That's nice work with the router!