Turning Archive 2004

Need help with Antique Lathe

Joe Williams
>Just posted this on the main message board, then realized that I should have posted it here, so here it is (again). Sorry.

I just bought a very old wood lathe (1935 to 1940??). It's all cast iron and very heavy. Base is about 60" long, and will turn up to about 36". It has "E.J. McDonough, Milwaukee, Wi" cast into the base.

The headstock main shaft has some lateral play that I'm not sure if it's acceptable. I can move it back and forth enough to "click", but I can't see the movement. There's also quite a bit of end play, but I think I can probably eliminate this by adding some thrust washers.

The questions I have are:

1. Should I be concerned with the lateral play, and if so, what should I do about it? I've considered replacing the bronze bearings, if it's even possible to find them anywhere (the tail end bearing is solid, while the turning end bearing is split). Or, might it be possible to find newer bearings that might fit the same space? I've considered having a machinist weld the mainshaft bearing surface and return it, but I think there are other problems resulting from this. I haven't found a machinist yet that will take any interest in this.

2. The threads appear to be 1 3/8" by 8tpi. I'd like to get to 1" by 8tpi. I haven't seen a 1 3/8" adapter anywhere. Anyone know of one available? I've considered having a machinist turn the threads down to 1" and rethread to 8tpi. Any other suggestions?

3. Finally, it appears to have a #2 morse taper, but the taper is rough. Should I try to smooth this out (may take a file under power), or is this something best left to a machinist?

There's some pictures here:

1. Headstock - http://home.earthlink.net/~ljwilliams/lathe/head.jpg
2. Solid Tail End Bearing - http://home.earthlink.net/~ljwilliams/lathe/solidb.jpg
3. Split Turning End Bearing - http://home.earthlink.net/~ljwilliams/lathe/splitb.jpg
4. Threads - http://home.earthlink.net/~ljwilliams/lathe/threads.jpg

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