South Bend Heavy 10

  1. Pete.

    Pete. Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    In a fit of madness I bought this scruffy-looking lathe which is undergoing a refurb and re-scrape. It's going to take (already taken) a huge number of hours to bring it up to scratch but I reckon it's worth it, especially given it's early history.
    So here it is, as found. It's a poor pic but there's no escaping the general neglected condition (outwardly, anyway). I arrange to pop round and collect it, the guy has it half-stripped when I get there so we finish the job and load it in my van.

    heavy 10 1.JPG

    When I got it home I went looking for the year of manufacture and luckily the South Bend lathe has a healthy following (most popular lathe in America), so it was easy to date it to 1943. Then there was this curious stamp on the bed with initials stamped next to it. Turned out to be the 'flaming bomb' motif of the US Army Ordnance Corps. So this machine was bought new by the US Army in the middle of WW2 and put to use making parts for armaments - it's gotta be worth saving!

    heavy 10 sn.jpg

    And there was this stamped plate on the bed. Basically it has what's called a 'war finish' which means that the machine was made to the same standard as any other except they didn't waste time on the cosmetic details. The castings have been given a rough grind-over to remove the lumps and flashings then it was machined and painted and pressed into use. There must have been enormous pressure on production in 1943.

    heavy10warboard.jpg

    This was a couple of weeks ago and now things have moved on a bit. First thing to do was check out the mechanical condition and I was very surprised to find almost no wear in the bed (though a few dings), little to no wear in the big lead screw and a very gungy but otherwise perfect condition gearbox. It even has the tiny brass plug that caps the oiler hole for the tumbler which is very rare to find!

    sb10gearbox.jpg

    Equally grungy is the headstock:

    sb10headstock.jpg

    However, under all that grime and surface rust is a little gem hidden. The spindle and bearings are perfect despite being 75 years old.

    sb10heastockspindle.jpg

    And here is why - South Bend's incredibly simple yet effecting spindle oiler. A spring loaded pressed wool felt wicks oil from a small reservoir up to the spindle. The excess oil runs through the grooves to the vee and down the drain hole back into the reservoir. A wick-fed perpetual lubrication system. Beautifully scraped and fitted up luckily it has thankfully never been allowed to run dry.

    sb10headstockbearing.jpg
     
  2. Pete.

    Pete. Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    So this weekend began the refurb. First the gearbox was stripped and cleaned. The gears are all perfect and thanks to the numerous oiling points and same great felt-wick system all of the shafts have survived with no wear at all. Once it was stripped down all the paint was stripped off.

    heavy10stripped2.jpg

    Gears are in nice nick.

    10Lgearbox gears.jpg
    Then came the big task of stripping the bed, legs, headstock base and the cast iron doors.

    heavy10stripped1.jpg

    And that's where I'm at so far. Next job is strip and clean the spindle assembly, and the headstock & tumble reverse. After that it'll be a full strip and rebuild/re-scrape of the saddle, apron and the slides. This lathe came with tapered gibs so a good scraping job will make it a wonderful machine to use.

    Look at the size of this spindle hole - 1 3/8", I don't know of any small lathe with that big a spindle bore.

    sb10spindlebore.jpg
     
    fizzy, Barlidge, Dcal and 20 others like this.
  3. Bill Edwards Member

    Messages:
    4,880
    Location:
    Scarborough, North Yorkshire
    That does look like a great spindle size for what appears to be a small machine.

    Looking forward to seeing the restoration continue.
     
  4. Pete.

    Pete. Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Cheers Bill.

    It should be a cracking machine when it's done. I'm a person who finds it hard to get motivated about doing something unless it's for a purpose so this is mostly another step in my scraping and rebuilding journey more than anything.

    It's the painting part that fills me with dread. If I could find someone local who would do that for reasonable money I would just hand over all the bits and say "paint".
     
    indy4x and eLuSiVeMiTe like this.
  5. eLuSiVeMiTe

    eLuSiVeMiTe Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    9,691
    Location:
    Bedfordshire England
    Quite enjoyed painting mine. Wasnt worried about a showroom finish so barely any filler used. Came out well regardless my castings were very well finished from factory thankfully.

    Lool forward to seeing the rebuild mate.
     
  6. RichardM Member

    What a wonderful piece of history, hope it all goes as well as it has so far.
     
  7. Welderpaul

    Welderpaul Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,778
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Great - nice that you know the history of the machine - interesting thread, thanks!
     
  8. Bill Edwards Member

    Messages:
    4,880
    Location:
    Scarborough, North Yorkshire
    Painting isn't my thing either. But it's down to patience more than anything, it's very boring and tedious but not difficult.
     
  9. Pete.

    Pete. Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Got the headstock stripped and serviced. I've re-assembled it to keep all the bits in the right place and prevent dings or dirt getting in anything important, it'll get stripped down once again for painting and to re-install the felt oilers (of which there are many).

    sb10headstock1.jpg

    Also ordered some paint - Ferguson dark grey enamel.
     
    Dieselkid 63, fizzy, Wallace and 13 others like this.
  10. Pete.

    Pete. Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    I have bought some enamel paint. Ferguson Dark grey though it looks a bit lighter in the pics here than it really is. It's a nice colour for a machine and it covers well and gives a fairly decent brush finish but the 'war finish' status of the lathe is very apparent through the paint. I'm torn between painting it 'as is' with deference to the original war finish and running over it with a thin skim of filler to make a much better job of the paintwork.

    sb10coverpaint1.jpg

    sb10coverpaint2.jpg
     
    optima21, slim_boy_fat and Seadog like this.
  11. steveo3002 Member

    Messages:
    5,082
    cambridge uk
    id leave it as is...its honest enough
     
    Hopefuldave, fizzy, mrsbruce and 5 others like this.
  12. Ian James Member

    Messages:
    828
    Location:
    South west scotland
    @pete I have just seen this thread it looks a brilliant find and looks to be coming along well could you bring the paint finish up by sanding back and then repainting enamel paint is usually quite good at filling
     
    steveo3002 likes this.
  13. Windy Miller Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,730
    Kent, UK
    Looks fine like that Pete!
     
    zx9, MattF and eLuSiVeMiTe like this.
  14. eLuSiVeMiTe

    eLuSiVeMiTe Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    9,691
    Location:
    Bedfordshire England
    Another vote for as is.
    By the time its covered in swarf and oil...

    Paints to protect the metal in my mind.
     
  15. scottmk1

    scottmk1 Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    1,111
    Location:
    Scotland
    Nice project there Pete. As others have said paint it as it is rather than using filler is my opinion. I bet it will be a good work horse when finished.
     
    MattF and Windy Miller like this.
  16. Richard.

    Richard. Member

    Messages:
    18,207
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Don’t fill it Pete. It will look too perfect which will deteriorate away from what it is. Those imperfections under the paint are character. It’s a 75 year old lathe not a 2 year old merc so that’s what it’s got to represent imo.
     
    fizzy, Welderpaul and MattF like this.
  17. dannyp Member

    paint it as it is, it'll do another 75 years that way and be faithfull to what it really is, fill it and its hideing its caricter and history also ay ding in the paint and oil will get into the filler and after 5 years it'll look worse than when you got it
     
  18. Bill Edwards Member

    Messages:
    4,880
    Location:
    Scarborough, North Yorkshire
    I'm another who wouldn't be using filler.
     
  19. Pete.

    Pete. Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    I've done a long stint of mostly 7-day weeks so this has been on the back burner but I've found some time to do a little work on this. I couldn't leave it with the huge gouge marks and (in some places) very rough casting so I've filled the worst bits and painted the base and legs with grey enamel.

    Heavy10paint1.jpg
    I don't have the belt tensioner handle so that will either have to be fabricated or end up being an emergency stop button - haven't decided yet. I also have to decide how I am going to repair this broken lug. I don't have the broken piece so at the moment I am favouring putting an annular cutter right through it and brazing in a flat steel lug, like a fat round washer.

    Heavy10 broken lug.jpg
     
  20. Carl Wilson Member

    Messages:
    1,447
    Location:
    Moray
    Great stuff. Thanks for posting. I love reading and seeing lathe restorations.
     
Advertisements