Monday, January 22, 2018

Sheldon 11-inch lathe progress - Part IV

So, is it "IV" or "IIII" to depict the number 4 in Roman numerals? Watch dials usually have "IIII" (if they are sporting a Roman numeral dial) while pretty much everywhere else it is "IV". Moving right along to the real subject of this blog entry, I was able to purchase a steady rest for my 78-year-old Sheldon lathe. Here is a photo from the seller:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rebuild of a Bendix Two Speed Automatic Hub on an early 60's Schwinn Bicycle

I've sort of inherited a couple of Schwinn bicycles. They were my parents' bikes when I was a kid. Somehow the bikes just kept following either my parents or me around during moves and whatnot. Both bikes have a two speed "automatic" Bendix hub. They've sat in one garage or another taking up space, but never got used in the last 30 or so years. Below is a photo of Dad's bike. I'm not sure if Dad had planned on painting the entire bike blue or if he was satisfied with the color scheme once he'd finished painting the fenders. The red paint is original.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Yet Another Singer 66 - Why, oh why do I keep buying these things?

Yep, another Singer 66. *sigh*
Straight stitch, no reverse, no real redeeming qualities. Ok, maybe that last sentiment was uncalled for. After all, it does look kinda nice even with the layers of grime, dirt, and crusty varnish. I guess it's called "patina" these days. And ooh-ooh, "barn find"! Yes, I can call it a barn find, right?! And it's old - from 1912.

So, an honest-to-goodness 106-year-old anty-que, with the "early" 6-spoke hand wheel, high-mount "treadle" bobbin winder, rear-mount foot.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sewing Machine Stitch Length - an unscientific evaluation

A friend was wondering about which domestic sewing machine might have the longest stitch length. So I thought, hmm, I have a "few" sewing machines that I could test out to find an answer. And let me say right off the hop, I have no formal sewing machine training, so any opinions I might have are strictly from my own observations.

That being said, I was a bit surprised at one of the test subjects I used for this evaluation. But you'll have to read on to find out. Here are the results. DUHNNN.. DUH-DUH-DUH.. DUHN-DUHN-DUHN-DUHNNNN! And the winner is......

SewMor Class 15 clone (1950s, straight stitch, cast iron):

Sheldon 11-inch lathe progress - Part III

Ok, I've realized that Super Glue has its place, but not where I used it on the lathe. My last post showed the tailstock screw insert that was just kind of floating in the spindle. I glued it in but the first time I tried extracting a chuck from the tailstock spindle, the threaded insert pulled free of the spindle. Soooooo, the option I chose was to repair what someone had previously done. There was a hole in the right end of the spindle that had been threaded at an angle to hold the insert in place but the both the insert and the 1/4-20 threads were damaged. I was able to drill the hole slightly larger and make new 5/16-18 threads, then insert a set screw. Here's the result:

That should hold things in place quite nicely. And me being a hobbyist, I'm sure it will last a long time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sheldon 11-inch lathe progress - Part II

I've been able to check two things off my to-do list for the Sheldon lathe. The first item was the tailstock threads that felt sub par. They were very rough to the feel and the threaded screw felt bent.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Sheldon 11-inch lathe progress - Part I

Here are the specs on my new/old lathe:
11 inch swing
44 inch bed length, 24 inches between centers
Mounted on a cast iron pedestal base with chip tray
Power carriage and cross slide
2-1/4 x 8 TPI spindle thread
MT5 spindle taper

Serial number KBU1764
  K - early 11 inch lathe
  B - ball bearing headstock (apparently very rare, most were either plain bearing or roller bearing)
  U - under drive motor system
  1764 - sequential serial number, dates to late '40 or early '41 (the company started in 1935)

The "under drive" motor system has a transmission of sorts with two levers that poke out the front of the pedestal door. Each lever has two positions, which gives the lathe 4 speeds in direct drive plus 4 more in back gear drive, giving spindle speeds of 45 RPM to 1200 RPM. Most lathes of this vintage required the operator to move belts between pulleys to get different spindle speeds, so this was quite an improvement at the time, and still is even today. The below photo shows the two levers poking out from the lower left door for selecting gears.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Look what followed me home - a Sheldon 11-inch lathe from 1941...

I don't really need another lathe. Or another project. But that doesn't stop me from perusing the local Craigslist for a good deal. This lathe popped up on CL last week and it was just what I was looking for. And it was advertised at a very good price (yes, I'm cheap, er, thrifty). The seller didn't know anything about lathes so he couldn't tell me much about it, other than it is a Sheldon lathe and is old. It did not have a power cord so the seller also didn't know if it actually ran (part of the reason it was cheap), but he'd been told by the previous owner that it did run. We've all heard that before. Here it sits in all its glory (seller's photo):

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Singer 306K - Freeing up zig zag and needle position L-C-R levers, and eliminating clacking sound

I picked up this Singer 306K a little over 4 years ago. The thing actually showed up in a *free* ad! It was, however, in much need of some pretty serious attention and was missing some minor bits (one of two locking thumb screws on zig zag assembly and the stitch length stop, from what I recall). Oh, and the bobbin case lever was snapped off. Not sure how that could happen.

Be that as it may, I was still up for the challenge. Here the condition, before doing anything to it:

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Downsizing...... a LOT.

I remember reading Ed Lamoureux's "Sometimes You Gotta Let Go!" blog a number of years ago, when I was but a novice sewing machine buff.

In his blog in 2010, he reposted "The Phases of Sewing Machine Collecting" that he mentioned he'd written around 2000, when he was at Phase 3. It was accurate in many respects and humorous, although I didn't have the wild dream of retiring in luxury after selling my collection to a museum. I was probably nearing the end of Phase 3 when I came across Ed's list, since friends knew of my affliction. Between them and the local thrift stores, I was amassing a great empire in a hurry.

Alas, times change. I have achieved Phase 7, and have started to "dispose of [my] space-hogging old sewing machines". In other words, craigslist was my friend.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Garage Sale Score - Wright N-370 3/4" Ratchet

Most garage sale days come up empty, or at the very best, some small trinket is found. But last weekend my dear wife and I each scored majorly. At one particular "guy-stuff" sale the seller had a bunch of old wooden military boxes full of tractor parts and hydraulic fittings. I didn't need any of those but then one other box caught my eye. It contained an assortment of tap handles and a couple pipe threading handles. I didn't really need any of these items but they looked cool. The seller had remarked in passing that he'd make me a deal on any of the wooden boxes, $5 to $7 each, so when I ran across the box of tap handles, I just kind of figured they weren't in the same league as the tractor parts and I figured he would hit it out of the park with a $ figure for the box I was craving. I was very pleasantly surprised when he said, "How about 10 bucks?" SOLD.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Singer 319W - un-sticking the hook shaft and hook timing.

I was fiddling with my fairly new-to-me green 319W and it seemed to be running fine, but then all of a sudden it tightened up to the point that the motor would no longer operate the machine. I wondered if a piece of thread had bunged up the works but on inspection I didn't find anything. I ascertained that the lower main shaft (Singer terminology: "rotating hook driving shaft") was somehow the culprit, and from there I narrowed it down to the shaft going into the hook gearbox on the left end. At least, I hoped that was the problem because it was a major endeavor to pull the gearbox.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Elna Supermatic Beige/Brown

I dragged out this machine from the far reaches of a basement corner and dusted it off a couple days ago. Don't know why, I guess it just looked dejected. When I bought it, the front needle plate and two itty bitty bobbin holder screws were missing. I also have an Elna Transforma that is the straight-stitch version of these Supermatics, so I thought it might be better to get the nicer Supermatic going by cannibalizing the parts I needed from the Transforma.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Homecraft "Hex Key" chuck disassembly

The "hex key" chuck on my "new" Homecraft 11-110 drill press is pretty simple, in terms of how many separate parts and ease of disassembly. Simply unscrew the outer sleeve and the parts seen below just drop free. The only remaining pieces to the chuck are the main body and the cam in the main body used for final tightening. A very simple chuck. Oh, and notice how nicely the drill press table turned out after cleaning it. I scraped off the heavy rust, then took 320 grit sandpaper and WD-40 to it. See the previous blog entry for a "before" view of the table.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Delta/Rockwell Homecraft Drill Press from the '40s

I needed... OK, "needed" may be a little strong. I desired to have a drill press for the garage because, well, you know, everyone needs (oops, there I go again) a drill press in their garage. This one popped up on the local Craigslist, and was advertised as made by Montgomery Ward. I took a look at the photos and tried to determine what model of Montgomery Ward it was. No joy. I then did a search using one of the casting numbers on the main body of the drill press (HDP125) and got many hits regarding Homecraft/Delta drill presses. Hmm. Is that what this one was?