I can't believe I found this lathe!!!!!!
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  1. #1
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    Default I can't believe I found this lathe!!!!!!

    Hi. When I was 5 years old we had to relocate from my grandparents basement when my father got a job at the pepsi plant in London Ontario Canada. I can still remember his "office". A smallish maintenance room shared by his co workers desk and every tool needed to keep the plant running. Stunk of grease and sweat and was filthy. I thought it was the most amazing place on the planet. Of particular interest to a young me was a well worn lathe that occupied the bench beside his desk. I wasnt allowed to touch it, but would often turn the handles when I thought no one was looking. Good memories. Anyways, my father worked their until I was 20 ish. We slowly grew apart as his health failed and he turned to drink as a way of coping. I understand now, but sure as hell didnt at the time. Long story short, he worked their about 15 yrs lost his job and died from drink shortly after. Life went to hell but we adapted and moved on. I know.... boo hoo. LOL As I aged I learned to focus more on the good memories than the bad, and OFTEN would think of that grubby office and how important he looked at his desk.
    Long ago now. But this is where it gets cool!
    About two weeks ago I get a message from my sister asking if I had a metal lathe. Blah blah blah. My brother in law was doing some work for a gentleman who used to work with my dad and had his old work lathe for sale. Freaking amazing!! I couldn't believe it. I dont type very well so I'll cut this short, but the lathe is now MINE! It is a total piece of crap but I am NEVER getting rid of it... EVER. lol This has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me but now that I'm simmered down a bit I have to make a decision on what to do with her. Restore or repair mechanically? I dont have huge funds at my disposal but I do want her running precisely again, but every time a chip falls out of her I cant help but wonder if my dad made it. See my problem?
    What would you do??
    South Bend Workshop 9" from maybe mid 30's. Manual change gears and no power feed on the cross slide. Spindle bearings get lubed from the top so she's old. Ugly and beat up.... just like me.

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    Put all the chips you can scrape loose in a jar, then clean it up and repair as necessary.

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    That was my thought too! Everything that comes out of it gets scraped up and put in a jar, clean the machine up and put it back to work, your dad would be proud.

    And although we've seen a million of them, pics.

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    You could no doubt find a better lathe but the connection to your dad is priceless.

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    Too misty to type much after reading my dribble. But thank you all. Ill write more later. Nice to be among people who get it.

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    I like your attitude. It makes all the difference when dealing with relationships like that.

    As far as the lathe goes, If I had a sentimental machine like that I'd consider do you want to preserve it entirely as a memory, or (as I like) continue the next chapter of the memory? Keeping the old chips is a no brainier, but don't be afraid to clean it and maintain it. I wouldn't restore it unless that was something your dad dreamed of.

    I've got plenty of sentimental machines, but not quite as cool of a story as yours. A few lathes I can't let go of because I still remember looking at them as a kid and deciding "that" is what I'll do when I grow up. I'm also helping my dad restore his 1953 Ford F-100 that he's the second owner of. When we're done it'll look better than it did new, but there is a balance to keep. Like keeping the worn out shifter knob that had the shift pattern carved into it with a pocket knife. When I restore something, I don't want it to look like it was never used, I want it too look like it was cared for exceedingly well and still has it's history.

    IMO, family heirlooms aren't really yours so much as they remain the belongings of those you are remembering. You're more or less a steward of them, so with that stewardship you can either just hold onto them, or do with them what you imagine they wanted to but never could.

    Careful though, sentimentality is a dangerous thing. I'm also restoring a 54' Chevy Sedan that was my first project car growing up and now has all kinds of dreams sunk into it. I'll probably end up spending three times as much on it as it could ever be worth on the market, but it's worth it to me. I've never sat down with my wife and did the math on it though. Probably best to keep that figure in the ethereal....

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    Good morning. I keep typing wordy posts but they all sound goofy, so I backspace out of them. Haha I think getting her working well and collecting the chips is making the most sense. Dad would have made a few new parts and called her done. I'll do a better inspection and figure out what I need. Bearings stick big time after she sits for a few seconds, cross slide has MAJOR slop in the lead screw, big chunks missing in the compound, lantern holder is rough, lead screw bearing supports have lots of play, missing gears, etc, etc. If I wasn't related to this old girl I would have walked away. LOL I'll try to figure out posting some pictures as I go. Thank you very much everyone. I really appreciate the input.
    If I choose to make a leadscrew nut for the compound and possibly the scew what materials should I use? Not sure if I have the skills or correct tools but I'd like to try. I need the cheapest option right now. Thank you again.

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    I have my dad's old 9A from about 1950. The story that goes with it is - in about that year, my dad opened up a machine shop in Albuquerque, NM. He had a little bit of money and bought several good quality machining tools, all new. Anyway, he was WAY too trusting, and way to naive so had no insurance. One weekend, thieves came in and stole everything except the little 9A. He used it some after that, but never professionally. Years later, he bought an acre and called it "the yard". He started buying and selling cars and parts out of that yard, and did so until his passing. One of the things he kept at the yard was a 40' semi trailer that he used for storage. The 9A languished in that trailer unused for many years, and was there when he passed. I asked him many times to teach me how to use it, but he never would let me even try to get power to it. After his passing, when it was time attend to his estate, I called dibs and bee-lined to that trailer to claim the 9A. It is now languishing in my garage in California. I have taught myself how to perform basic operations with it, and I can make simple things to the shape and size I want, but still no expert. I keep it covered most of the time, but I do go out and uncover it every couple of months to clean it up, and occasionally I will need a spacer or somesuch, and make one. Unlike my dad, I have shown my son how it works, and even tried to get him more interested in it, but he has other interests. I don't know what will happen to it when my number is up. But it's mine now, and it is probably the one thing that will still be mine when I go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mydadslathe View Post
    Good morning. I keep typing wordy posts but they all sound goofy, so I backspace out of them. Haha I think getting her working well and collecting the chips is making the most sense. Dad would have made a few new parts and called her done. I'll do a better inspection and figure out what I need. Bearings stick big time after she sits for a few seconds, cross slide has MAJOR slop in the lead screw, big chunks missing in the compound, lantern holder is rough, lead screw bearing supports have lots of play, missing gears, etc, etc. If I wasn't related to this old girl I would have walked away. LOL I'll try to figure out posting some pictures as I go. Thank you very much everyone. I really appreciate the input.
    If I choose to make a leadscrew nut for the compound and possibly the scew what materials should I use? Not sure if I have the skills or correct tools but I'd like to try. I need the cheapest option right now. Thank you again.
    I go by the mantra of "buy what you can, make what you can't" most of the time. Not sure about parts availability for your specific era of lathe, but 9" SB's are very common and if it was me I'd buy new/good-used screws and nuts. They can be made from scratch but do require some skill and they are one of the pieces in the lathe that give it it's accuracy. Even worn "professionally made" screws and nuts will often be more accurate than unworn but poorly made pieces. If you can't get parts, you can often find all-thread acme-rod and generic nuts that could be machined to fit your machine.

    Acme screws are made so that the softer bronze nut will wear quicker than the screw. Check into getting new nuts first and you might be surprised with the results. Your half nuts can be rebuilt. Guys will braze up the worn threads and re-cut them. There used to be a guy on Ebay doing them and I had a set done for my Logan 200 for less than $200 shipped.

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    without seeing the nut I can't tell you if this will work. I did this on a small mill I own.
    I bought a hunk-o-acme screw and a bronze nut to match. I took the original nut and drilled it out as big as I was comfortable with, then turned down the bought nut to fit and sweat soldered it in to the drilled out nut with plain old 50/50 solder.
    This is the X feed on a horizontal mill and I am not shy about cutting feeds with it,it moves around on the floor some. Nut has held up fine.
    If you need to remove the crossfeed nut to repair it, you can lock the crossfeed pretty well by tightening up the gibs - don't get carried away and bust a gib, it doesnt take much to lock it up. Then use the top slide for feed.

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    I'll bet the cross feed has all that slop due to a five year old boy turning the handle endlessly every time his dad wasn't looking. Did you oil before turning.
    Sorry I couldn't help it.
    Enjoy your lathe. Now you can play all you want.

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    Well I finally got around to checking the wear on the ways. Her serial number is missing and makes me wonder if she was reground at some time. I removed the compound and mounted a mag base there so it wouldn't rock, then indicated off the tailstocks flat way. Maybe thats right or maybe thats wrong... The top of the v-ways look like the pacific ocean on a windy day so I really didn't have much choice... I think. Anyways, I showed a fairly gradual dip of about 4 1/2 thousands where I'd expect it. I used my best Fisher Price sub $10 indicator so keep that in mind. I did it about 2 million times and it was consistent. I really don't think thats awful for the enviroment she lived in, but I'm not an experienced machinist either.
    Already finding some repairs that scream dad. A homemade tailstock retaining piece that looks like it was chewed off of something else and my favorite... bolts heavily brazed to the jaw adjustments on the ancient 4 jaw. At one point in my life it seemed everything we owned was brazed back together. Even our Impalas door handle. The original rotted completely off so dad made a temporary replacement from round bar, brazed it together and bolted it firmly to the outer door skin. Some fella bought it later for stockcar racing and claimed it may help protect him if he crashed. It was that heavy duty. LOL Hope you're all enjoying your weekends.
    Last edited by mydadslathe; 09-07-2019 at 05:31 PM. Reason: wrote nuts but meant bolts

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    4.5 thou is nothing...get your mechanicals sorted and you'll be fine.

    Have fun with it and think fondly of dad while you use it....he will be watching.

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    One other note: On my old 13, the crossfeed screw was so worn it had sharp points in the middle rather than ACME flat tops. While yes, most bronze is softer than most steel, the bronze being softer allows it to get grit/cast iron dust and other abrasive particles embedded in it, it then acts like a lap on the screw.
    I used the above mention hunk-o-acme to repair the X feed screw after it was through holding the nut to be turned down.
    I cut the old worn screw off where the threads stopped near the dial, drilled and reamed into the remaining stub, hole a little smaller than the root diameter of the ACME screw, turned down one end of the hunk-o-acme to be a good fit into that hole, and if I remember correctly just used red loctite to secure it in.
    It held on for years till I retired it when I installed a taper attachment recently.

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    Finally put my glasses on. Smaller font than I expected. Excuses excuses...lol Serial 62221. 1934 or 35 I think.

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    Very cool story - thanks for sharing it with us.

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    Just wanted to say I'm very glad so many people enjoyed my story. Just shows you never know what tomorrow will bring. Soon as I get the funds I'm going to get her working nicely again. I will post back hopefully before the new year about any progress I make. Thanks all.

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    [QUOTE=M.B. Naegle;3409581]

    IMO, family heirlooms aren't really yours so much as they remain the belongings of those you are remembering. You're more or less a steward of them, so with that stewardship you can either just hold onto them, or do with them what you imagine they wanted to but never could.

    M.B: That's the best descriptor of "family heirloom" that I've seen. Thank you for that... We all have and cherish them, and when we use, or perhaps just simply LOOK at them, the memories/stories come flooding back every time.

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    "Fisher Price sub $10 indicator"

    When dad taught me the beginnings of a almost life long profession, I started out with my version of a "Fisher-Price" indicator. An old Starrett one that had a long metal hand on it that you pressed up against the work piece, kind like a old balance beam scale operated. I don't know which one of us kids wound up with it or if it is still around.

    I too, inherited my dad's 9" SBL "Workshop" model C lathe. We converted it to a Model A over the years. I reconditioned it back in 2002, rescraped all of the ways. Still cuts dead accurate as it did when it left the factory in 1949. I cut a lot of iron on that lathe and some things that probably should have been done on a larger lathe, which we didn't have at the time. Used it to rebuild a 18" lathe in my high school days! Amazingly, all of the original paperwork survived of when it was purchased, invoice, shipping papers, and even the easy payment plan still in tack. My grand dad paid something like $167 for it back then and paid about $15 month until it was paid off a year later.

    Good luck on your find there and there's many of us here to consult with if you have a need for help.

    Ken

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    We don't own 'family heirlooms'... they own us... they adopt us, use us, and once we're old and worn out, trade us in for younger generations.

    The SB9 you have, needs to be understood for what it is... it served a purpose, and all those oddities you see in it, are there for reasons your Dad knew, but probably didn't tell you. If you work with it long enough, the machine might enlighten you as to why, but you'll have to be wise enough to know how to listen.

    Realize that the SB9 was used in production... it was actually strong enough to do small production work, but many, many, many men LEARNED on the SB9 and it's competetors, and many of those men went on to be machinists, maintenance shop guys... fabricators, toolmakers, etc., and some became farmers, doctors, dentists, and lawyers.

    The SB9, and machines of it's size, appeared on workbenches in basements of homes, and they taught men to be men- to think with their hands, and work with their heads... to throw away the concept of 'run to the hardware store' or 'search for the right size bushing'. The small benchtop metal lathe was the machine that gave men the ability to look at an old washing machine, and see gearboxes, bearings, and shafts to make parts for whatever they were building between their ears.

    Now, it's your turn. I'd be fairly confident that your Dad's advice would be "read a little about it, put a piece of aluminum in it, and learn to make pieces round".

    Of course, this means learning how to grind metal to make a cutting tool... how to determine proper grinding angles, how to keep the metal (or carbide) cool... how to mount up a workpiece in a chuck, or between centers, or on a faceplate...how to oil the machine, clean it, how to make it work with accuracy, and especially, that it's not the lathe that makes a part accurate... it's the OPERATOR...

    It's time for the SB9 to teach YOU "How to Run A Lathe". BTW... get a copy of that book- it's a great start.

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