@mrsbruce would probably be the best to ask. For me as per Seadog it would be saddle soap.
Here's what I got. On the inside they look like new (apart from the cobwebs) but the outside is a festering pile of mess.
Air line gently applied 'in the manner of a reasonable man'
Grinding dust gets everywhere and tend to stick to everything then turn into a black sludge.
As above I would try a good blast with a medium pressure airline while brushing with a stiffish brush.
Airline, and brush off worst of crud. Try saddle soap, and don’t let the leather get too wet (wet leather baaad), and use a good leather conditioner. Neatsfoot oil can soften leather too much, so if you use it, use it sparingly., it can also be a but ‘sticky’. A conditioner like ‘Aussie Conditioner’ is good, because it doesn’t leave an oily finish which would hang onto grit and metal.
The leather edges which have ‘mushroomed’ can be slightly dampened and burnished. Alternative, use pva glue, or mod podge to seal the edges off.
Does 'Dubbin' have an application here. Much used in my Army Cadet days for field boots (NOT parade boots!) I still keep a tin for my walking boots.
Still use it on my tool belts too.
Thanks for the advice, the bellows are actually in very good condition - no perished bits anywhere. There was about half an inch of stitching came loose which I've replaced and cleaned them using a cut-down 1" paint brush and compressed air. Just waiting for my wife to come back with some leather cleaning stuff that her sister had left over from when she had her horse.
In the meantime I cleaned up the three handwheels. Two of the handles were long gone and the third seized onto it's stem. I didn't want to mess around making new ones so I bought three M10 rotating handles for a tenner from Axminster. All I had to do was run a M10 tap down the 3/8"BSW thread and they are ready to paint then fit the handles.
After I got the bellows cleaned to a reasonable standard I could see that they were not leather at all, but some kind of coated fabric, nylon or canvas. You could see the weave pattern under the coating so I dumped them in a bucket of soapy water and gave them a good scrub then put them under the infra-red heater to dry out. I also clamped them up tight in the vice between two sheets of metal and ran a blow torch over them carefully to get rid of the fluffy edges. Clamping them up protected the sticking from the heat.
Back on to scraping this afternoon. I thought I'd tackle the top of the knee. I have an iron plate that would cover both ways so I cleaned the top up and blued it to see what I had.
As you can see it was worn similar to the table, except a lot less - less than 2 thou at the worst spot. The blue ends and the solid blue line are more or less original height. The blue line is the part that the cross-table does not run on, so it makes a ridge. I had to scrape that down with the rest so that I could get the whole face flat.
After a good bit of scraping I got it to this stage. A couple of thin patches but good coverage overall. I'll do some more work on it after I've done the vertical ways in case the face needs adjusting for perpendicularity.
Knee vertical ways. In surprisingly good condition with some of the original machining marks showing. The stain marks you see at the bottom are where it's worn. Wherever you see theses sort of marks, it's wear. In this case it's probably caused because the grinder will spend most of it's life near the top, the lower part of the ways get a light coat of rust (or dirt/grinding dust) when the table is moved down low the debris get jammed in the gap at the bottom and starts lapping the faces away.
Here's a close-up. The original machine marks are always nice to see because it means the geometry will be good. Note that wherever there are stains, the marks are gone because the face is more worn.
Typical, one of my plates is nearly a perfect fit, but not quite. I'm not butchering a plate that's been around since before WW2 though so I'll use the straight edge.
Straight edge I got from Tiggy-Dorset fit nice.
After a quick go-over to clean it up the way looks like this. A very good place to start so should take very little work to bring in. A big sunken patch in the middle and at the bottom but they aren't very deep, a few tenths in the middle and less than a thou at the bottom.
TBC after Christmas
Are there no zig-zag oil ways along those slides Pete ? There are on the likes of the Jones and Shipman grinders.
There is on the x-axis ways, which see the most use by a long way. They have an odd method of getting the oil to the ways though, it looks like you travel the table to the very end then use an oil can to fill the trough on the raised bit. Then the oil dribbles down a hole in the middle, oiling the ways and eventually soaks the oiling felts which are in the oval pockets shown. One side is fixed, the other is in the adjustable gib sitting on the table just behind.
Looking great Pete, nice to see some scraping going on
Remind me, on the top of the knee how are you going to check that the ways are "square" - the plate will make them flat to each other but one side could be lower than the other. Is that what you are referring to as perpendicularity?
Trying to rememeber from the course how we did this
I use a box square and indicator. Put the square against one face and run a surface gauge along the other indicating off the square. If the dial doesn't move the faces are square to each other.
But I think you're on about scraping some tilt into the ways? The wear is so little on it now there's scant chance of that. Just scrape all the high spots evenly down until it blues up all over. If it were a mill I'd scrape heavier near the column to compensate for droop.
Finished scraping the knee z-axis ways today. Not done the angled way as I need to scrape the column ways first to scrape these to.
Dug out the Y-axis gib. Absolutely filthy and gummed up with a mix of iron dust and old oil or grease.
After it's cleaned you get a good look at what happens when oiling is neglected. The metal on the face has galled and torn out of the face.
Close-up of the damage
It looked at least 20 thou deep so I didn't fancy scraping that. I put it in my milling machine setting the angle by putting one vice inside the other and using a dial gauge to set the face flat.
After milling the gib face scraping it was easy enough.
I really like your attention to detail with this.
Once your done it’s going to be better than new
Some more progress. Friday was spent scraping the rest of the knee ways. The Y axis angled ways were pretty good but took a lot of scraping even so.
Also cleaned up the table and found more galling from neglect of the oiling.
I also drilled a giant hacksaw blade so I could mount it in a regular hacksaw for cutting relief grooves. Works well. Still yet to scrape this bit I have to mull over what to do about that damage and also figure a plan of attack as these two ways are worn funny.
Today I tackled the cross-table ways that the main table runs on. These were a challenge because 1. they were humped in the middle 2. the bloody oiling groove made scraping awkwards and 3. the ways stopped against a small step which made it near impossible to scrape without leaving a raised fillet for the straight edge to ride up on. After struggling for an hour I finally got the big hacksaw out and cut a groove right along the back.
Difficult to scrape but I am getting there. At least the bearing is pretty good if it does have some blank spots. Scraping over that oiling groove is frustrating.
I'll finish the front way once I've done the rear way. Here it is just started after about 4 scrapes. You can see that it too is humped in the middle. Lot of work getting this flat. I'll use the table that's already scraped to print both sides together once this one is down flat, that will eliminate any twist in the ways so the table sits down flat on both.
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