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[Antique] Least favorite part of rebuild/restoration

tfleming

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#1
I am in the process of rebuilding (vs. restoring) a 1901 Lodge and Shipley 18" x 72" lathe (on-going thread on antique and vintage machinery section). My rebuild is an almost complete tear down and steam clean of the whole lathe.

With all that said, Holy dogcrap Batman, what did we step in: lead-screw was a NIGHTMARE to clean up and remove rust. So far, the most tedious and time consuming step in the rebuild. After removing 116 years of dirt, hardened grease, swarf, and God know what else, the lead screw is actually in pretty good condition. Hours of tedious, meticulous effort with a mechanic's pic, wire brush, and tons of elbow grease.

What is your biggest "PITA" when rebuilding a machine?
 

jhuston

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#2
Stripping paint. I've built up a pretty respectable shop from used machinery ( 35 stationary machines , the newest from 1961, the oldest from about 1890 or so), all of which was completely dismantled/repaired/restored. Some machines were in wonderful shape, and some were absolutely terrible but hands down, the most obnoxious part for me is always the paint removal. I actually enjoy every other aspect of restoration work.
-James Huston
 

Silverbullet

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#4
You really do a complete restore not like some who slop paint everywhere and it can be seen ten miles away . They advertise its totally restored and painted. You my friend earn the right to say it. I'd rather have a clean machine then a sloppy painted ones . Good work shows thru when it's done right. I see some machine dealers who wash dry and slop paint and I cringe at the thought of the poor sucker who buys from them. Be happy with all you do it shows in the end.
 

tfleming

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#5
Silverbullet, I could not agree more (about the fly-by-night machine sales places), and thank you for the comment! I am going through each component, and correcting things that need attention. I was able to purchase a "parts" machine that I have been picking and choosing the best condition parts for the rebuild. Apron is now complete, with little backlash in the gear train. All clutches work as designed and intended. Lead screw and half-nuts are ready to go. cross slide is completely gone through. Compound is also completely gone through. Only thing left is the headstock and screw gears. While she won't be as "tight" as a newer one, she will be plenty good for what I will use her for. Additionally, I am actually enthralled with the fact that the old girl was "birthed" in 1901. will be cool to run her in the shop.

I guess I was whining about the time I put into the leadscrew.........OMG, but she is clean and ready to go now.....
 
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jhuston

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#6
I think it comes down to what part of the experience you want to enjoy; I know a lot of people that will buy an older machine, do what is necessary mechanically and put it right back to work. These people often need the machine to make money, but some guys don't mind faded paint or a bit of rust if it isn't harming anything. For my part, I can't stand using a machine that isn't clean and as close to its original state as I can make it; I'm too much of a mechanic to overlook that sort of thing. Besides, I enjoy the process leading up to having a working machine, and I'm a lot more comfortable using a machine I've personally had completely apart. That way, I know what the limitations are and what the machine really is capable of,and I know that nothing has been cobbled together and is on the verge of self destructing. I get every bit as much satisfaction restoring a machine as using it, so I'm a little out of the norm, I suppose.
As for your Large and Shapely, it's been my experience an older machine that's been restored will work harder for you, because it knows you care. That is going to be one fine old lady when it's finished.
Also, leadscrews are miserable to clean up, even when they aren't 116 years old!
-James Huston
 

Chuck K

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#7
I like fixing old machines. I won't say rebuilding because I don't address bed and saddle wear. I don't like repainting them but I do if the machine has rust, peeling paint, or has been painted in clown colors. If it's just faded it gives it character, IMHO. There have been times when I've had a machine all apart with everything degreased and thought, this would be a perfect time to paint it. But I like them better with the factory coating and a nice sheen of oil. I use a small angle grinder with a knotted wire brush to clean lead screws. Cuts down on the elbow grease and cleans them up like new. I just got done with my least favorite job....cleaning inside the motor pedestal on my Hendey. I promise you it hasn't been clean since 1942.
 

kdecelles

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#8
@jhuston - I agree completely. Although it is a lot of work, the satisfaction of running a clean and mechanically sound 100 years old piece of machinery is totally worth it


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tfleming

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#10
I like fixing old machines. I won't say rebuilding because I don't address bed and saddle wear. I don't like repainting them but I do if the machine has rust, peeling paint, or has been painted in clown colors. If it's just faded it gives it character, IMHO. There have been times when I've had a machine all apart with everything degreased and thought, this would be a perfect time to paint it. But I like them better with the factory coating and a nice sheen of oil. I use a small angle grinder with a knotted wire brush to clean lead screws. Cuts down on the elbow grease and cleans them up like new. I just got done with my least favorite job....cleaning inside the motor pedestal on my Hendey. I promise you it hasn't been clean since 1942.
Chuck, thanks for the suggestion. I have been using a 4" knotted wheel on paint and rust removal, however, when I started using it on the lead screw, it was not getting down into the root of the thread, AND it seemed to be "cutting" the leading edges of the thread faces. Needless to say, I stopped using it. Went to the old fashioned, loosen everything up with the mechanic's pic, and then used a stainless steel tooth brush. Laborious, yes. Effective, absolutely. Would I do it again? Hopefully NOT! 6' of Acme threads was a loooooooooooong way! LOL.
 

randyjaco

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#11
Stripping paint. I've built up a pretty respectable shop from used machinery ( 35 stationary machines , the newest from 1961, the oldest from about 1890 or so), all of which was completely dismantled/repaired/restored. Some machines were in wonderful shape, and some were absolutely terrible but hands down, the most obnoxious part for me is always the paint removal.

You might try using a needle scaler. Harbor Freight makes a pretty good one cheap. It does an amazing job particularly in those hard to get at concave areas. Much easier than sanding or wire brushing. Very little damage to metal surfaces.

Randy
 

richl

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#12
I am not a fan of moving big heavy stuff. My mill: the knee, the table, the head. The 13x40 Asian lathe had some heavy stuff but they were far more manageable.
I have not done a full rebuild, just cleaning, adjusting, replacing and fixing broken stuff.
 

benmychree

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#13
I was told by a machinery dealer who I greatly respected, Mel Heinz of Berkley Ca. that one should try to keep all the filler on castings that is well adhered, and build up to the original finish with filler before painting; taking all the filler out with a needle gun just makes more work. I have used glazing putty for this in the past, but it is really too soft for the job, one should use a catalyzed (bondo) filler for the best job.
 

Chuck K

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I was told by a machinery dealer who I greatly respected, Mel Heinz of Berkley Ca. that one should try to keep all the filler on castings that is well adhered, and build up to the original finish with filler before painting; taking all the filler out with a needle gun just makes more work. I have used glazing putty for this in the past, but it is really too soft for the job, one should use a catalyzed (bondo) filler for the best job.
My hat's off to the guy who has the patience to use body filler on their machine. It makes them look like a show piece. I don't have the ambition.
 

jhuston

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#15
I have a needle scaler I picked up second hand ( I'm an anti- Harbor Freight extremist) that does wonders for chipping off paint; the thicker the paint, the better it works. I've also used an electrolysis setup to clean parts, which often causes paint failure in addition to removing rust, and an ultrasonic cleaner for smaller parts. I avoid chemical stripping if at all possible.
-James Huston


 

jhuston

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#17
The filler found on older machines comes in two flavors- either crumbling off at the slightest touch or absolutely welded in place and indivisible from the casting. Only problem is, you usually run into both on the same machine.
I'll confess that I'm prone to buying the machine I want and figuring out the issues later, rather than waiting to find a machine in good shape; it drives my wife nuts, but it generally works out fine in the end. I've often wound up with a machine because it was historically important ( I collect Porter Cable machines) or I felt sorry for it, only to find it become indispensable in my shop.
-James Huston
 

markba633csi

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#18
Finding damage, unexpected and serious, is what I dread. Especially on vintage parts that are near-impossible to replace.
Compared to that, I don't mind stripping/painting so much.
Mark S.
 

jhuston

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#19
Fair point , Mark. I have had a few machines that have sprung surprises on me ( my lathe is not one, thankfully), but I can't think of any really bad discoveries ( though I'm sure I'm just blocking the memories!)
 

Laytonnz

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#20
Probably finding broken parts then trying to remake them just to find i need more tooling and to fix the machine I need to make parts with!

That and the endless degreasing, since I built my parts washer the task has been less painful, nothing worse then hours on the floor with a bucket and a brush, the washer was free too, scounged fuel pump old wash basin, old battery charger and a 60L drum and a little plywood.

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RandyM

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#21
My least favorite part is parting with my money for the machine, parts, and supplies. The rest of the process is all pleasure. ;)
 

silence dogood

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#22
I found that the least favorite part of doing the project is getting the gumption. Once I finally get the gumption, then it turns out that it's not so bad, even fun.
 

jhuston

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#23
I have the opposite problem. I want to start on the next thing right away, and I have to force myself to stay on task.
-James Huston
 

Chuck K

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#24
I guess as I think about it....it's all gravy. I enjoy all of my machines just because I put so much time and effort to get them to the point they are now. There's a special kind of satisfaction that goes along with using the old machines that others would have scrapped.
 

jhuston

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I guess as I think about it....it's all gravy. I enjoy all of my machines just because I put so much time and effort to get them to the point they are now. There's a special kind of satisfaction that goes along with using the old machines that others would have scrapped.

Nothing like a little machine salvation!
 

tq60

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#26
The filler found on older machines comes in two flavors- either crumbling off at the slightest touch or absolutely welded in place and indivisible from the casting. Only problem is, you usually run into both on the same machine.
I'll confess that I'm prone to buying the machine I want and figuring out the issues later, rather than waiting to find a machine in good shape; it drives my wife nuts, but it generally works out fine in the end. I've often wound up with a machine because it was historically important ( I collect Porter Cable machines) or I felt sorry for it, only to find it become indispensable in my shop.
-James Huston
Collect porter cable machine?

We have a 7. Inch shaper to tinker with.

Looking for cabinet door in cast iron if they were that.

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jhuston

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#27
TQ60, I wish I could help, but Porter Cable shapers are very uncommon (I've been looking for one for years , myself. I'd give my eyeteeth to park one next to my lathe). The design was sold to Logan, so there may be some compatibility. Got any photos?
As far as I know, the side door was cast iron.
-James Huston
 

C-Bag

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#28
I don't have time for restoration(wish I did) but do have time for repair. I hate like has been said the nasty surprises and have been lucky to weasel my way out of them(so far). It is a crap shoot and I feel like I'm committed once started as I can't seem to sell anything and couldn't look someone in the eye and not tell them it's problems and that's why I'm turning it. So I don't bother.

In writing this it dawned on me my machine tools are like my old cars when I was young and frugal. I always had a use in mind, was limited in what I wanted to spend in up front ,total cost and repair time and was more interested in it working good and being reliable. What I keep running into is the silliness of the previous owners. The guys who think a slopped on coat of paint is a restoration and over adjusting and then messing up things. I feel like some kind of forensic detective as I ponder "what WERE they thinking when they did this?" I do feel like I know the machine better and I would take a ugly good working machine over a poorly working showpiece.
 

jhuston

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#29
I've seen my fair share of hack job over the years as a power tool repairman, C-Bag, and I couldn't agree with you more. What kills me is when you find a problem, usually caused by lack of lubrication/basic maintenance, that some former owner cobbled together, and the correct fix turns out to be simpler than the " repair" they came up with.
-James Huston
 

C-Bag

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#30
I guess you are right James. Like if the nutbar would have known what they were doing they wouldn't have over tightened the gib on the cutter head on the 7b and galled/bent the gib. Maybe some oil would have helped, who knows. Who knows why they decided it was a good idea to put an extra mangled shim on one side of the ram? And on and on. Folks rant about Chinese machine tools and how they knockoffs and are kits, but I've not had any easier time fixing my antique 7b than ironing out all the sloppy problems with my 9x20 or RF30. All suffer from marginal design decisions, marginal workmanship and less than expert "repairs". I get it comes with the territory when I am buying for a fraction of original cost so it goes into what I call a windage factor. But it's still not my favorite. I have yet to invest in a supposedly good machine partly because space, partly because of cost and the idea what I'm doing as a hobby guy doesn't warrant it. But also because I'm afraid I'd get one of these dream machines and STILL have to fix it :)
 
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