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Thread: Flather Lathe

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    Default Flather Lathe

    I have a Flather lathe, I had dreams of restoring it but the lack of documentation available for it makes me reluctant. If anyone has interest in directing me on the relevant photos to take in order to properly identify it I would appreciate it. My ultimate goal would once identified and some sort of value placed on it sell it. Everything moves freely and is very good condition. I was told it has all the original tooling that would have come with it, 4 different Chuck's, face plate, tool holders etc. Thanks

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    Do not restore this lathe. Sell it as-is. The types of people that would buy an old Flather would prefer to get it in the original condition.

    allan

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    Take a couple of pictures of the entire lathe from several angles and then a closeup of the head stock, carriage and tail stock.

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    Best source for Flather information is Ken Cope's "American Lathe Builders 1810-1910" book. Now (or recently) out of print and consequently becoming a little pricey.

    This an Amazon link and excessive pricey but you may find it among independent sellers for less from places like www.abebooks.com or www.alibris.com.

    American Lathe Builders, 181�-191�: Kenneth L. Cope: 9781879335998: Amazon.com: Books

    Another source easily found is Flather & Co. - History | VintageMachinery.org

    Another online source is (so called) "Tony's Lathe site" who is a Brit who has taken upon himself to document examples of ALL nationality lathes. See http://www.lathes.co.uk/flather/

    The American Precision Museum has a late model Flather loaned (donated?) by Newall Flather grandson of Joseph Flather, the grandson being bankeresque wealthy and not mechanical in interest. But knowing the lathe's place in his family and value as history.

    I myself earlier in my interest contributed a quick "pocket history" of Joseph Flather which I have seen repeated in a couple of places on the Internet. I read this now and see it could be improved. Seen at History of Flather Lathe by Yankee Mechanic

    IIRC, the Flather Company Papers are at the UMass Lowell/Boote Mills Museum. http://library.uml.edu/clh/Flather.Html

    I myself seem to now be owned by a VERY early Flather lathe, possibly serial number 1. (This is how marked) 20 inch swing (largest diameter that can be turned over the bed) by 8 foot bed, an effective turning length of about 48" between centers. I found this on Craigslist, hedged over the purchase for two months (it wasn't going anywhere fast at $500 ask) and finally talked with the owner who was sensitive for preservation interest and negotiated quickly for $300. It may not be worth that much even since there was little in the way of tooling included - but for now its a "keepah."

    Anyway, good luck. And we all LOOOOVE pictures - of course. (Hint there...)

    Joe in NH

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    Quote Originally Posted by enginebill View Post
    Take a couple of pictures of the entire lathe from several angles and then a closeup of the head stock, carriage and tail stock.
    Will do. I should have on tommorow AM. Is there a limit to how many pictures I should include?

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    img_20171121_182335.jpgimg_20171121_182835.jpgimg_20171121_184420.jpgimg_20171121_184335.jpg

    I hope these are good. I can put up tarp to maybe make them come out clearer. Thanks

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    img_20171121_184113.jpgimg_20171121_184256.jpgimg_20171121_182502.jpgimg_20171121_184450.jpg

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    img_20171121_182433.jpgimg_20171121_184420.jpgimg_20171121_184324.jpg

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    I would guess that the lathe was built around 1915 and with tooling it is worth $500-$600.

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    Quote Originally Posted by enginebill View Post
    I would guess that the lathe was built around 1915 and with tooling it is worth $500-$600.
    Duplicate of my first Flather No. 715 which I sold to make room for the present stable-occupier. Weighs 1750 lbs with attached Drive-All overarm motor drive column & motor. Mine even had the same "Hill, Clarke & Co." plate attached to the leg. The serial number is located on the cross-slide dovetail at the rear bridge IIRC.

    My story of purchase, movement, and install of this lathe in my parent's cellar at Blaisdell 14 inch I have learned a few things since then.

    I think there is a patent date on the brass gear change plate of 1907 or so.

    It was sold to a hobbiest in Manchester, NH who moved it TO his basement through the basement window (more or less the reverse of what usually happens) and who later removed it to a new home in Nashua, NH area - where I lost track of it and him.

    Painted black (original color) when last seen by me.

    Bill is about right on on valuation.

    Joe in NH

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    The Norton quick change makes an appearance here in 1907.
    Flather sold new lathes via Hill & Clark.
    Your lathe no longer has four V-shears for ways nor the taper attachment so a bit newer.
    The ways are fine grained cast iron that has been "chilled" and will have a degree of wear resistance and hardness approaching white cast iron.
    Other than paint (optional) and the tailstock handwheel damage (bronze braze repair) you may find the lathe to be in rather good shape regardless of it's age. Pre-quick change lathes (change gear) had a brass plate with the year of manufacture. This lathe may have something similar or a patent date cast into the bed or another part.
    Here are some line drawings and a photo. In the group the follow rest is identified in the event there is an odd looking gizmo that came with the lathe.
    flather-1907.jpgflatherasm-.jpgflather-follow-rest-.jpgapron.jpgapron-2-2.jpg
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhruska View Post
    The Norton quick change makes an appearance here in 1907.John
    Flather's patent gearbox No.810,634, January 23, 1906.

    Rob

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    img_20171122_170721.jpgimg_20171122_170732.jpg

    Wow that's a bummer. A "furniture artist" wanted to give me $500 for the legs and said to scrap rest of it.

    I know a little about the history with Ford and how they were fairly rare. I don't think I can bear the thought of scraping something like this. Seems a shame to turn it into a Toyota.

    Thanks, Dave

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    The furniture artist should be shot for wanting to destroy a perfectly good machine.

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    I know, kinda like killing an elephant for it's tusk's and leaving the rest. He heard I had interest in old machines and told me he would buy any industrial era legs or bases from anything. I guess he buys a lot of machines himself to do the same. Apparently he sells the furniture for big money.

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    Thanks for this thread. I finally got motivated enough to get Flather No. 1 underway again.

    Today I discovered that the machine is painted grey - but was originally black.

    And I got the spindle bearings BOTH upper and lower segments out for cleaning today. The lowers particularly are difficult since there is no handy way to grab them for pulling out (they're a rust fit) and one has to cobble together an elaborate "puller" from whatever is handy to grab/tap-tap-tap/and pull.

    Not that hard actually once it was started.

    Joe in NH

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    Quote Originally Posted by enginebill View Post
    The furniture artist should be shot for wanting to destroy a perfectly good machine.
    Now that is a little harsh.
    I say we just cut off his legs.

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhruska View Post
    The Norton quick change makes an appearance here in 1907.
    Flather sold new lathes via Hill & Clark.
    Your lathe no longer has four V-shears for ways nor the taper attachment so a bit newer.
    The ways are fine grained cast iron that has been "chilled" and will have a degree of wear resistance and hardness approaching white cast iron.
    Other than paint (optional) and the tailstock handwheel damage (bronze braze repair) you may find the lathe to be in rather good shape regardless of it's age. Pre-quick change lathes (change gear) had a brass plate with the year of manufacture. This lathe may have something similar or a patent date cast into the bed or another part.
    Here are some line drawings and a photo. In the group the follow rest is identified in the event there is an odd looking gizmo that came with the lathe.
    flather-1907.jpgflatherasm-.jpgflather-follow-rest-.jpgapron.jpgapron-2-2.jpg
    John
    I couldn't find the piece you referred to

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Rynearson View Post
    I couldn't find the piece you referred to
    Hens teeth and follow rests are hard to find.
    The rest is for threading or turning long shafts.
    Looks like an original steady rest. better than the one
    I have on my 16".
    John

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    Where is this located?


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