|When i was a kid, about 8 or so I found a copy of the classic "How to Run a Lathe" book. I read it, I dreamed it (it still has an honored place on my bookshelf), I wanted a lathe. A real lathe. In those days there was a huge machinery district around Grand and Canal Streets, where you could buy any machine tool you could think of and there were blocks and blocks of machine shops on the ground floors and big lathes and milling machines were always running. The district is all gone now, replaced first by artists and now by bankers. |
The courts of New York are around there and when my father was called to jury duty and had to go downtown I made him promise he would get me a lathe.
He didn't. He got me a timer. A wind-up timer. It was one of the big disappointments of my youth. Later, when I graduated high school, my father did buy me a small Unimat Lathe. I used that lathe for years on all sorts of small projects, but it's very small, and the round ways aren't very stable. Still, at TFWW it got dusted off, oiled and proved pretty useful in prototyping some of the smaller things we needed, and we made a lot of shop jigs on it.
Last week I crossed something off my bucket list. A beautiful 1951 LaBlond Regal Lathe arrived. 14" swing x 30" between centers, power cross feed, and very little wear. We also got a milling machine at the same time. Now these tools are mostly for prototyping and not for production but we needed a big lathe badly.
As of now the lathe is all leveled, the machine is mostly cleaned, the electrician comes Wednesday.
I am thrilled - even if I'm not the one who will be using the lathe most of the time.
Oh - one more thing. The lathe came out of a stamping company somewhere in the Northeast. Probably upstate, or New Jersey or PA. who knows if that was the original owner. Probably not. But we do know from a plate on the base (see photo) that originally the lathe was purchased from a store in downtown New York City. So, after wandering around for 50 years our boy has come home!!!
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