Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile richard kell : toolmaker Previous Previous Next Next
my Dads lathe ..... - richardkell
my Dads lathe .....
... was the best £48 (more probably Guineas) he ever spent, circa 1953 and the motor and accessories cost as much again, the Myford ML7.

He was as far as I can see tea-total and so could save from his wage, this purchase of his has been with me all my life (born 1958) and means a lot to me. Its had a lot of use and is tip-top .... nowadays used as it should be and not my earlier years of abuse from milling cutters and goodness knows what other model engineer 'practice'. Myfords made too good a lathe, amateur workers saw no limit to the work it could handle. Most turned components I make involve my Dads lathe say on second op ie honing guide bobbins, stainlesss guide rods, m4 studding etc.

I've a couple of mods myself including a slightly larger drive pulley on the motor to up the revs slightly.

As a second op lathe it is very good indeed, very much what we would term a 'brass finishers' lathe, certainly as the way I use it with hand tools on metal, a long extinct trade that strangely I have evolved into.  Jim Hardy in around 1981/2 said when in Development regarding the stainless series of Zane Grey Big Game reels I was working on that   "What we need is a brass finisher"  ie the trade that his ancestors in turn of the century Alnwick would look to when starting to make reels from scratch; Dingley brought up from Birmingham was indeed such a worker.  I must insist that Dingley reels fall below that of Hardys, looking at his general run of work, the internal workings (not the 'specials' sometimes put forward as Dingley) ... it can be 'rough'.

I have done some very clever work on my Dads lathe, ie mods and rigs to do the unusual, for instance copy turning scale model boat stanchions using a device I have never seen elsewhere based on a sliding headstock Swiss auto and tiny form tools circa 1988, some twit knocking on my door presenting me a problem I couldn't resist to find a working solution. I am now hardened to such silly enquiries, ie left me out of pocket from the enquiry of basically a conman.  Plus lots from 'Model Engineer' 1950's and 60's articles, oval turning, other forms of copy turning, a capstan attachment (not such a workable idea only good for wood and plastic) also spherical turning, indexing/division, slotting and keyways, a filing machine attachment, auto clutch for single point screwcutting to a shoulder and various tricks for repetition work.

The Myford Super Seven is a much slicker faster-revved machine, a more premium article with a very good sensitive tailstock feed, but the mandrel speed on my Dads machine does all I want (I've no choice) and the clutch is the nearest thing you could find to the perfect speed take-up characteristic of old fashioned line shafting with fast and loose pulleys. For the clutch itself a letter of 1953 acknowledging my Dads order of the clutch unit I found when sorting out the Myford leaflets and brochures a couple of days ago. He would be driving I assume up near Edinburgh, sometime he worked for Croans (as well as Adams at some other time) .... and I do know when they married they first lived in Portobello. And like all newly married probably happier then than anywhere since, no matter how simple and modest their situation at the time. So the Edinburgh connection looms large, co-incidentally twenty five years later I bought my Edward Hines treadle lathe and lots of accessories (ie 'ornamental turning') from Dr Wood at Cluny Gardens, Edinburgh; aged eighteen and in at the deep end. And of course not knowing the lathe itself descended from the 14th Marquis of Culquoy and his grandson Jamie Maxton Graham which a few years later would reveal itself.  A small world indeed and with connections that could not be premeditated !!

Note the date on the above.

I much prefer the styling of these 1940's and 50's machines, what I call real machine tools, something that draws you into the subject. When early in the 1970's firms went 'modern' styled more like childrens building blocks (ie witness a Ward 2 capstan from that time) ...  and looked hideous, looked also as if finish and apparent visible quality went downhill or as an excuse for and of course the worst of all is modern day CNC listings ...  where in endless pages of endless CNC all we are shown are boxes of steel enclosure! How can any young lad be now drawn into this subject nowadays? Someone rang me from the RSGB asking in a survey what it was that so few younger people were interested in short wave and amateur radio these days (Radio Society of Great Britain) and to my mind a first step would be to get back to a more interesting front cover of their monthly magazine. More important than I think than they had realised.

I would just like to say I cannot stand re-painted machine tools, I would be dearly interested to add a Ward 2 capstan lathe to my workshop (near unobtainable these days, all scrapped years ago) BUT the only ones I can afford are so abused/ broken and hideously re-painted that I would stay well clear of. So many that are offered at a realistic price are untouchable, re-paints that try to cover what? The paintwork tells a story, what are they ashamed of ?

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a comment