A Sennca Falls Lathe questions

I am new to this site. I found it while searching for information on
my lathe. A number of years ago I became the third generation owner of
a Sennca Falls 10" Star (?) lathe. The lathe was build somewhere
around 1900.
I have used it mostly for woodworking and occasionally turning down a
shaft to size. Recently, I became interested in doing more with metal
working and started reading old lathe books, such as the Amateur's
Lathe by L.H Sparey, to learn how to operate the lathe.
My lathe does not have a compound tool rest. How important is this
rest in lathe work? Can one be fitted on to it lathe? Does anyone
know where I might find a compound rest for the Sennca Falls lathe?
How complicated would it be to do light milling on the machine? I
apologize for all the questions. I have no one I can turn to for
answers.
I know that I could purchase a more modern lathe. However, I sometimes
have an almost spiritual attachment to that lathe. I know I will be
the last of my family to use it. It sometimes seems as if my father
and grandfather are watching over my shoulders while I use the old
lathe.
Thanks,
John
Reply to
jmiguez
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I have a 10" Atlas of about the same vintage. I have an irrational emotional attachment for this machine. Getting it mounted and zeroed in can be a problem. Seriously, the compound rest is essential for any kind of precision metal turning, although hand turners did some impressive work freehand in metal. Watch and clock makers still do it . . . in miniature. I would haunt scrapyards and other such places. Take the dimensions of the ways on you lathe and look for a compound that could be adapted. The other approach is to make your own design and fabricate it. This of course will require you to have access to a lathe and milling machine, along with the skills to make the parts. Good luck. Bugs
Reply to
Bugs
A good place to look would be the practical machinst board. See:
and in particular look at the antique sections, there is currently a thread running there about seneca falls lathes, and one guy even owns one like yours, without a compound rest.
You could do milling on a machine like that with something like a palmgren attachment. Very light milling.
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
jmiguez
Weren't they patternmaker's lathes? I've only seen one, and I thought that's what it was.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
He's missing the *compound* slide. Not the cross slide.
That's like mine, it must have been a budget operation.
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
Yeah, I realize that. I have seen one patternmaker's lathe that was clearly identified as such, and it was a kind of flimsy engine lathe -- with a compound. But the Seneca lathe I saw, in a used-machinery warehouse around 30 years ago, was also pretty flimsy. The owner said it was a patternmaker's lathe but I don't know if he knew for sure.
The name stuck with me because I spent some summers at Lake Senaca in New York as a kid.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Ed, This is no flimsy lathe. And, if it is I would hate to try and move a stout lathe. The bed alone must weight 300 lbs. I had to dissemble it and drag the five foot bed with the help of a piece of old outdoor carpet to my pickup. I then lifted one end into the struck and finely the other and slid it into the truck. It liked to kill me to get every thing into the truck and out again. I am 6'0" 220 lbs and, at least up into a few years ago, I could still bench press my body weight.
Bugs, the scrap yard is an idea. I also check eBay every so often. I live in South Louisiana and we have a lot of machine shops here because of the energy industry. The problem is since this lathe is so old; no one uses any thing like it anymore.
Jim, I will follow your URL. I may also check into getting a new cross-slide made with "T" slots that will accept a compound slide and a milling attachment. The cross slide "Vs" are a straight forward 2 =BD." The treading on the screw looks strange. However, I am sure a competent machinist could make a nut to match the screw thread.
Now if I can only get it done for say...under $100. LOL
Reply to
jmiguez
Ed, This is no flimsy lathe. And, if it is I would hate to try and move a stout lathe. The bed alone must weight 300 lbs. =========
That must be a different model then. The one I saw had a long bed and it was a pretty skinny casting.
The other patternmaker's lathe I know of had a similar base casting.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
If I could and knew how, I could post a couple of pics. However, looking at the pictures Jim Rozen has posted of his lathe. They look to be twins.
John
Reply to
jmiguez
Ha ha. If your machine is close to mine, you might be suprised at those lead screw threads.
Mine are double square. That's a real oddball.
There are two starts on the threads, 180 degrees apart.
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
First -- *don't* post them to the newsgroup. While it is technically possible, it is a "no-no" for discussion newsgroups (any newsgroups without "binaries" in the newsgroup name).
If you don't have your own web space with your account, or don't know how to use it, then visit the following URL:
formatting link
and read up on the "dropbox". You submit the photos by e-mail (assuming that you either have a digital camera, or a regular camera and a scanner to convert the prints into digital images). Be sure to include a ".txt" file describing what the image(s) is(are), and whatever else you may wish to say about them.
O.K.
Good Luck, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
Thanks DoN
If anyone is interested, here are the links for the pictures of my lathe. If you want a more detailed picture, let me know.
And, thanks again for all your imput.
John
formatting link
Reply to
jmiguez
You're welcome.
Hmm ... I would like to see a more detailed close-up of the apron. Don't e-mail it to me, because I'm blocking anything over 30k to keep the spam out, but another upload to the dropbox would be nice.
Looking at it, I *think* that the four-pointed star wheel is a friction clutch to power feed. And I think that the power feed is only longitudinal, as I don't see a control to switch it to the cross-feed.
The thing to the right of the star wheel might control the half-nuts -- though I would expect a longer lever pointing to the right for that function.
Looking at the cross-slide and toolpost, it looks as though there is not sufficient clearance for a compound on this lathe. Any attempt to add one of sufficient rigidity would lift the toolpost too high to reach center.
Perhaps others can infer more from the photos.
Thanks & Good Luck, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
OK, here's one:
I'm not sure which of these has already been posted, but for the record:
and
The four-pointed knob is of course the feed clutch as you suspected, DoN. The half nuts lever protrudes out of the far right side of the apron - there is actually a square slot on the side to allow this.
The control that allows one to switch from longitudinal feed to crossfeed is a stud that protrudes out the front of the apron, on the lower right corner which is a sort of wing nut where the wings are turned as round spheres. (the reversing tumbler adjustment also sports one of these)
The adjustment rides up and down in a slot in the apron front, so one loosens the knob, and lifts or drops the wingnut handle, and then re-tightens it in the correct place. His lathe has those nuts with a very large diameter base so they pretty much hide the slot. Also in his photo showing the apron, I think it's in the "up" position. In my photo it's definitely "down" and the base of the nut is small, so it would be easy to see the slot, except the crossfeed handle is partly obscuring it.
I can only detect *one* sylistic difference between mine and his, and that is the handle for the tailstock ram clamp. Mine had seen some rough use, somebody engaged the back gears while running and stripped off a couple of teeth. THere is a serviceable repair in place. Also the lead screw support on the right side was at one time ripped off the machine, another serviceable repair is in place there. More about that monenarilly.
I bet those two machines came off the production line quite near to each other. He hasn't mentioned ths serial number, but mine is:
2537
Which is stamped between the V-ways on the bed, directly above the tailstock-end leadscrew bracket.
Back to the leadscrew bracket repair on this machine. It is apparent after using it briefly that the apron has NO lockout that prevents one from simultaneously engaging the longitudinal feed and the half nuts. All modern machines have this lockout, because if one does engage them both at the same time, it effectively locks the lead screw, because the two drive ratios are different.
In my lathes case, somebody did this, and the drive from the spindle gear ripped the right-hand side bracket right off the machine at that point. So anyone with a lathe like this should be fore-warned to avoid accidentally doing that while the machine is in actual use.
Oh, there's one more dropbox photo, forgot about this one, a bit blurry:
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
John, you may notice some differences between my lathe and yours.
1) the brass oil cups on my headstock are purely my own fabrication. That machine had the exact same short, brass tubes that stuck up from the bearing shells that yours does, when I got it.
2) the brass oil dauber in my tailstock is likewise a part I made up from whole cloth - it is not an original Seneca Falls part.
3) you probably cannot see it, but my machine had the T-slot for the tool machined off when I got it. I suspect that somebody might have crashed it badly and torn the top off the slide. Maybe they were in process of repairing it, and got sidetracked for a 'few' years. So I completed the repair by installing two plates to form the top of the T-slot, each one held down with three screws into the casting.
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
DoN, Jim is correct. I have just uploaded to the drop box two new pictures of the apron and carriage. You can see the lever which is use to change between the longitudinal and cross feed drives. It is currently in the lower position which is the longitudinal.
Jim - I don't know what the serial number of my lathe is. I have a vice mounted to a metal plate which is clamped to the "Vs" with two drilled bars below the "Vs",much like the carriage or tailstock on the far end. I will have to remove it to see the S/N. I will then tell you what it is.
My lathe originally came from the Montgomery Machinery Co. on Fulton Street, NY, NY. There is a brass plate riveted on the bed with their name. Also, the only place where I see anything about "Star" is on the leg castings. Each one has a 4' star cast into the middle of the legs, along with a date of Nov 5 95.
John
Reply to
jmiguez
Yep, it will be stamped right under where your vise is mounted.
Look carefully under the headstock, on the front surface of the bed. Mine was sold by Gavin machinery dealers in NY, the brass tag on the headstock says this is so.
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
It is # 1781. Jim, if you hadn't told me where to look, I never would have seen it. It was very light. I had to keep wetting metal with salvia and move the light around to tell if the third number was an 8 or a 3.
John
Reply to
jmiguez
O.K. Thanks.
Aha! I was wondering about this. I noticed the lever which runs the half-nuts and wondered whether that was it. And given that, it would make the stud some form of control for the power feeds.
Yep! And on his, I think that there is too much paint, so it is obscuring some of the functionality of the controls.
Note also that you still have the dabber for the white lead well to lubricate tailstock centers where they engage the center hole of the workpiece. His is missing. Perhaps that could now be used to store the key for the tailstock drill chuck.
Ouch!
[ ... ]
Hmm ... looking at where the power feed lever is located, I could see the possibility of a slot in a partial disc rotated by it, especially if the power feed lever could be placed in a central position which engages neither power feed. If so, then a projection on the half nuts themselves, or on the lever could allow it to move only if the power feed is in a neutral position. And -- if that projection is made of cast iron along with the half-nuts engagement lever, it might be fragile enough so a determined pull on the half nuts lever by an insufficiently trained operator might break that projection off, thus allowing simultaneous engagement of both feeds.
Perhaps he can check to see whether there *is* a lockout for the half-nuts when the power feeds is engaged on his. Yours may have been destroyed at the same time that the leadscrew bracket was damaged.
Have you taken the apron apart to study the parts? Look for a sign of a broken part of the cast iron. If the setup is as I suspect that it might be, it would also prevent the power feeds from being engaged when the half-nuts were enaged.
Let's see what I can do with ASCII graphics. As usual, view with a fixed pitch font like Courier:
_________________ / | / +-----+ _____ / | Oh, there's one more dropbox photo, forgot about this one,
Still useful.
Check out the possibility that something like what I drew could have been part of the original design. I find it difficult to imagine anything but a prototype being made without an interlock, even way back when -- though it certainly is possible.
Thanks, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
If there was none from the factory (and I will check mine to see if there ever was a trace of what you described) on mine, I doubt there is one on his, as his machine has a lower serial number than mine.
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen

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