Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Banjo painting

After all of the fun of Boxing Day I had to remove the Banjo and paint that as it was looking rather forlorn in its current state. Again the angle grinder was used, and I got a coat of undercoat on it on the 26th, another on the 27th, and this morning I painted the first topcoat.

This evening I spent some time over in the workshop drilling and tapping bolt holes for the inverter, which I've decided to mount on the rear of the main column. There were also many holes in the column from earlier fittings, so I decided to fill all of these before I start any painting. Again I'm probably being a bit too precious about this but I do want it to look nice.

I want to cover the inverter and have some sheet steel (stainless I believe) in the workshop that I can use for this. That will ensure the shavings don't clog up the works. I also had a thought about making a tray for between the lathe feet, which would catch most of the shavings and make hoovering these up much easier. I'll have a ponder about this over the next few days.

The last job this evening was another coat for the Banjo. I'll be able to put this back on again soon.

That's looking a lot better. Now all I need to do is paint the main column of the lathe, so I'm going to need some more primer as I've nearly used the existing tin up.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Assembly and first turning!

What a day!

Over the last few days I finished painting the legs, and as we'd done our Christmas duty with the In-Laws yesterday I was free to play today, so it was all steam ahead in the workshop as I'd decided today was the day I'd put the lathe together.

First on the agenda was stripping the main body of the lathe. My angle grinder warmed my hands whilst I removed all the paint...

I'd had to cover up well whilst doing this too...

All of the hard graft was worth it though, as the lathe went together easily and I got all of the electrics up and running first time. I must say that the detailed instructions from Newton Tesla were thorough and very easy to follow. I was very excited when I turned on the power for the first time, and set the speed to minimum - then hit the Fwd switch and I was away.

I'd also (through luck, not judgement) managed to wire the motor the right way the first time (so that when I hit Fwd it actually rotated forward), so after a bit of playing I thought it was high time to turn something.

The image below shows the lathe as it currently is - no paint on the main column as it's still too cold to paint, but at least we're above freezing now and a thaw is forecast so I may be able to cover this up soon. You might also notice in the image that I don't have the original tool rest - that was missing so I bought a Robert Sorby set from Stiles and Bates which did the trick nicely. I did have to cut down the stem as it was too long, and once again the angle grinder came into its own.

Wow, that was fun!. I received some bowl blanks and Banksia nuts for Christmas from the In-Laws (thanks!) so decided to wade straight in and made three mushrooms. I have to say I'm really pleased with them...

I haven't anything to finish these with at the moment so must purchase something soon before they get handled. Anyhow the wife likes them and I had a really great time turning them too.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

More leg painting

I put another coat of primer on the rear of the legs (the tin’s looking decidedly low, I may need to buy some more to do the main body of the lathe). I then flipped the legs over and painted the first topcoat onto them too. If you are interested the shower problem from a week ago turned out to be a loose pipe, which I could luckily replace without having to damage the whole house. What a relief!

If I’d not been able to replace it in situ by going down through the waste exit in the shower tray then lord knows how I would have got to it, but it would have been expensive. Thankfully it was all done in a couple of hours, and despite having some remedial work to do in the cellar at least I stand a chance of getting my lathe up and running this year!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Finishing some parts

We’d had snow overnight so naturally I had to go out and play in it, so didn’t get to the lathe until later on in the evening. I repainted all the items from last night, and also put a coat of primer on the inside of the legs. I actually have some parts finished (well, once they are dry)!

The tailstock, handwheel, main bed, electrics cover and top alloy cover are all complete so can go back over to my workshop soon. And using Hammerite was a good idea – it’s much more forgiving than regular paint when it comes to covering over minor imperfections in the surface.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Paint purchase and first topcoat

Another hectic work week but it’s the end and also my Birthday, so I took the day off and spent most of it lounging around but decided to pop out for the topcoat later on in the day. I took my son (who is now off for Christmas) and we had a fairly long debate about the colour choice (his was dark Blue Hammerite, mine dark Green). I eventually decided my choice would suffice, so bought a decent sized tin and also a small tin of bright red that I’m going to pick the tailstock handwheel out with.

In the evening I painted the first topcoat on the tailstock, lathe bed, electrics cover and lid. Looks nice! I also painted the tailstock handwheel with red and it looks excellent.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Disaster, Faceplate turns up, Electrics

Not a good morning. When I got up and went down to my office in the cellar my son had already had his shower, and the wife was just about to jump in to hers. However, the contents of the shower wasn’t making its normal route through the wastepipe but instead had dumped itself into my office. Bah. I can see the day I get to use the lathe getting ever further away.

There was some excitement this morning as the faceplate I ordered has arrived and I’m home for the first day this week too so I’m able to try it. I unpacked it and was immediately dismayed to see that the thread was way too large to fit my lathe, and guessed it must be for a Graduate. Bah.

I emailed the chap and he was surprised it didn’t fit, but there was no quibbling about a refund however I’ll ponder that for a while as getting hold of Jubilee parts is likely to be much more difficult than Graduate spares, and so I may well hold on to this and have a threaded adaptor made up.

In the afternoon I left the soaking cellar and went off to Newton Tesla in Warrington to pickup my rewound motor and electrics package. The motor looked as good as new (well nearly!) and I really want to hook it up and get it working ASAP, but with the cellar problem I'm unlikely to get much free time until that's sorted. I also purchased a switch package that they've made for the Graduate which also fits the Jubilee. It has forward, reverse & stop switches, and also a potentiometer which changes the speed of the lathe. And that little lot all fits in the space where the original switch was. Sweet.

The cold weather isn’t helping either as it’s way too cold in the workshop to paint the lathe at the moment, and I don’t fancy lugging it home to paint it in the cellar as it’s a bit too heavy to cart around.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Painting and more stripping

First thing in the morning I gave the parts from last night another coat of primer, and wiped down the bed with white spirit ready to paint it. I also needed to sand down the filler on the alloy casting so went over to the workshop to do this whilst the white spirit evaporated.

I came back looking like a Smurf! I sanded down the filler until it was smooth and then gave all of the top another light sand. In addition I decided to tackle the legs of the lathe whilst I was dirty so gave them a good going over with the angle grinder & wire brush, and then I attacked the tailstock. I’d not looked at how to take this apart before but it was really easy – a grub screw unscrewed to remove the handle, and another machine screw held the rest together. I soon had it in pieces and sanded off all the paint on the main casting and also on the handwheel. The primer was really thick on the casting – more like a load of clay than a few coats of paint.

When I got back home I had masses of blue paint all over my face where the eye protectors hadn’t covered me up. I painted the alloy cover and also the main bed, and will leave the tailstock to warm up before I do anything with it.
I won’t get much done this week as I’m away with work.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Cleaning up the stripped items

Shine a light it’s been cold this week. I was away for a few days so didn’t get to doing anything until today. I popped over to the workshop and retrieved the pieces I’d stripped earlier in the week, and brought them back to the comfort and warmth of the house to tinker with them in the cellar. I washed the parts in soapy water and removed the remainder of the paint with a small wire brush. Everything’s looking much better for being stripped, although the top alloy casting is still rather rough as it’s obviously been abused somewhat over the years with tools and other clobber probably resting on it. I’m in two minds with this casting – should I leave it as is and just paint it again, or should I use some filler and sand it down to a nice smooth finish. Half of me says just paint it up, the other says that as this is the ‘crown’ of the lathe it really should be paid some attention.

I know – maybe I’m being way too precious about what amounts to a lump of cast iron, alloy and a few other bits. But I like to look after my tools and so feel I should put in the effort. I’m not going to spray paint anything as I don’t have the kit (hmm, maybe an excuse to buy some new tools!), so the paint finish won’t be spectacular anyway.

I’ll ponder this for a while longer – no sense rushing things and I have plenty of other bits to sort out.

In the evening I took the alloy casting back over to my workshop and used an angle grinder and wire brush to remove the remaining spots of paint and this also flattened the majority of the larger marks on it – so much so that I’ll only fill the three holes at the front that are no longer required and leave it at that. These holes were where the pop-rivets had been. I’d purchased some filler and a small tin of Hammerite primer and set to with both when I got back to the house.

The switch is also looking way better with all of the paint removed...

I’d also brought back the bed of the lathe but decided it was way too cold to paint it at present, so would leave it overnight in the cellar to warm up a bit. My workshop is a bit like a fridge, and I could feel the condensation forming on the bed when I brought it into the warmth of the house.

Friday, 3 December 2010

An outboard face plate

I found what appeared to be some Jubilee parts online a week or so ago, and I emailed the chap from Quillstar to ask if these were indeed large left hand faceplates for a Jubilee. Today I received an email that he had two, so I sent off a cheque for £40 for one (including P&P). I’ll be really happy to have this – my lathe will then be pretty much complete, and I’ll be able to do outboard as well as inboard turning.

Additionally a chap at work emailed to say he was selling loads of firewood. Not that interesting as such, but all the species were hardwoods, and he was seasoning the wood himself. I wondered – would he have some I could use for turning? Sure enough he was more than happy to oblige, and said he would make a pile for me of anything unusual including burrs. Sweet. Again I have no idea when I’ll be able to pickup this wood (this time it’s in Evesham), but the price of the wood was very reasonable and I can get a cubic metre or so when I go down, so the trip should be worthwhile.

I also hunted out a couple of local wood dealers and found one very close to home – it’s amazing what you find when you go looking! I’ll have to wonder in and buy some bits as it shouldn’t (hopefully!) be too many weeks before I can start turning something. I’m going to use green wood to learn with, as it’ll be cheap, easy to cut, and so I won’t mind messing it up.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Peeling away the Peel-Away

I dashed over to the workshop before work and removed the peel-away from the parts I’d covered the night before. Almost all of the paint had come away (yay!) and there were only a few small areas that would need some manual attention. I didn’t have any more time to do anything on the lathe so just uncovered and scraped off as much gunk as I could and left it at that.

Later in the day I received an email from Newton Tesla to say that my motor had been re-wired and in the process they had also found a boatload of sawdust inside the motor casing so had cleaned that out too. The cost for this was £60 which I don’t think is unreasonable – and certainly cheaper than a new motor, plus I don’t have the bother of finding one that fits, or finding a new pulley. I’m away with work for a few days so can’t pick the motor up this week, but I have plenty to do before I wish to reassemble the lathe so that’s not a problem.

In the evening I spoke to my Uncle and discussed the lathe with him, and he happened to mention that my cousins hubby and him had recently cut down a Yew, and whilst some may have been chopped and burnt for firewood (gasp!) there may well be some more left over. Needless to say I asked him to put any he had aside for me. It may be some time before I can pick it up, as I’m in Manchester and it’s in Cornwall, but that won’t matter.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Dismantling and initial cleanup

Today I took a bunch of photos in order to record the changes as I make them to the lathe. I then started removal of all electrical parts of the lathe as these are being removed.

There was a large emergency stop button which looked to have been attached to the floor at some time which I thought would be useful to reuse so I carefully took this apart and removed all the existing wires.

I then removed the base plate on the lathe that holds the no-volt release switch, and given that this would no longer be used I dismantled the switch and removed all other wires from the lathe. There appeared to be no cable clips holding any of the wires inside the lathe which I was a little surprised about – and when I refit the electrics I’ve made a mental note to add some clips in just in case.

There was an angle-poise lamp screwed to the rear of the lathe, together with a 240v to 12/20v step down transformer. As I wished to return the lathe as much as possible to its original condition I removed this and the transformer. A few screws later these were off.

I then set about the alloy lid of the lathe. This had been modified to add a bracket that was pop-riveted to the lid, and which was then attached to the main body of the lathe with a large allen-headed bolt. The purpose of this was to tie down the lid, and I pondered over keeping this for a short while but decided it had to go. I drilled out the pop rivets and (of course) managed to break a drill bit in the process. The bracket soon gave way, and I then unscrewed the lid as I had plans for this.

I won’t be keeping the switch as it’ll be replaced with a fancy new one from Newton Tesla, so I decided that I’d try to sell this plus any other surplus parts as I recondition the lathe. Mine was covered with some rather nasty blue paint (which some dimwit had decided to liberally paint many parts of the lathe with, but also left a good half of it in its original grey. This paint had to go.

From some work I did on our house a few years back I still have some ‘Peel-Away’ which is fantastic at removing paint. I liberally covered the switch cover (after removing the innards), the NVR housing cover and also the alloy lid with Peel Away, and then covered this with the covering paper which is used to aid the stripping process, and also assists in removing the stuff once it’s worked its magic. See http://www.peelaway.co.uk/ for details – I have the Peel Away 1 product, which I now see on the website is not appropriate for aluminium. Oops. I hope my alloy lid is OK, I’ll have to dash over there in the morning as it’s a bit late now.

Lastly for today I got busy with the angle grinder and some wire brushes I have. First off I tackled the main bed of the lathe, and removed all of the paint from this that I could get at. Half of the bed was grey (the back), the other half was blue. Now it’s just bare metal – it’s way too cold at the moment for me to paint it in the workshop as I’ll swear it’s colder in there than outside. I may have to bring the bed and leg unit home and paint it in the warmth of our cellar – however there’s no way I’ll move the main body of the lathe any further than I need to, so I may have to wait for some warmer weather until I tackle that.

After tea and some jobs at home I went back to work on the lathe and cleaned up most of the leg unit. It’s really dirty work this, I came home plastered in dust from my grinding exploits.

I also found out my lathe is 13 years older than me, built in 1953 (from the resources on this page). That makes it 57 years old this year, and it needs a bit of TLC!

Now it's all stripped back the main body of the lathe looks much better...

I now have a *lot* of stripping and painting to do!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Motor Drop-Off

Today I dropped the motor off at Newton Tesla and had a chat to the proprietor about how the motor could be reconfigured. He mentioned that older motors didn’t have the regular 3 phase Delta and Star configurations exposed externally, but internally they most probably do. So, I dropped off the motor for him to look at and will pick it up again as soon as it’s been rewired.

I also borrowed a switch blank from Newton Tesla to check if it would fit the switch on my lathe (as it was made for the Graduate) and luckily it fitted a treat. I’ll return the blank when I go to pickup the motor as I’ll be purchasing a three phase inverter and switchgear at the same time.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Motor Removal

This evening I removed the motor from the machine as I’d found a company in Warrington who could rewire the motor to 240v three phase from 400v three phase. They also sell inverters and various other bits, and I plan to purchase an inverter so I can run the lathe from my 240v single phase supply.

For anyone who doesn't know, an inverter can convert single phase domestic 240v to three phase 240v, so rather than buying a new motor you can instead buy an inverter. That said, inverters tend to be more expensive than new motors, but one of the benefits is that with an inverter you're also able to run the motor at any speed you wish, which for a lathe is a real plus.

Tomorrow I'm dropping off the motor in Warrington to have it converted.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

My first lathe

I've been working with wood on and off for well over thirty years, and have collected tools since I was a nipper. My 10th Birthday was amazing - I received a wonderful plane, soon followed that Christmas by a Black & Decker electric drill. My passion for tools hasn't subsided and I was lucky enough to buy a small workshop recently so now I have a space to tinker in.

After a fair bit of work (which is ongoing) it was time for a large tool purchase, and the first of these had to be a lathe. I've been lusting after one for years, I nearly bought one 4 years back but other events put paid to that, however now the time was right and so I bought a Union Jubilee lathe from eBay.

This blog goes through my preparation of the lathe and then (hopefully!) will show some finished articles.

The lathe was fairly complete when I picked it up today (21st November 2010) but as you can see from the above image there's a lamp attached to the rear plus a stonking great transformer & switch, and a large Stop button connected to the motor too. I'm planning to remove all of this stuff and return the lathe to something like original condition.