Aladdins Cave for Sale

Sorry, bit long this, but bear with me on this one as I get around to explaining it.
Popped up the road yesterday to see a friend and have a chat about
this and that. Got talking about my little workshop and mentioned that I was looking for a new lathe. Friend then pipes up and says "why don't you go and see old Johnnie R., he's selling up and moving to America". Completely bemused I asked who Johnnie was, I'd never heard of the bloke? Friend then explains that Johnnie is an 82 year old Suffolk boy who lives in a ramshackle old farmhouse up a dirt track in the middle of nowhere, but only about a few miles away from where I live. Turns out that he learnt to be an engineer/machinist with the Army during the war, but when he was discharged he moved back home to Suffolk and became a farm labourer and contractor, digging ditches and cutting hedges, but never lost his love of machining.
Over the years he bought the odd machine or two as a hobby and started making a few parts for friends, in between the full time work with ditches and hedges. After a while more people kept coming to him for bits (still a hobby) so he bought another machine or two. Turns out that he made most of the parts for a local millionaire's gyrocopters and other light planes he was building, including full gearboxes, transmission shafts, rotors, and engine blocks. Fixed bike and car engines, tractors, lawn mowers, farm machinery, basically anything mechanical that was broken. Still as a hobby for pin money.
Friend got to know him when he needed a driveshaft for his quad bike, His had broken and a new one was large amounts of unavailable cash, so he was pointed in Johnnie's direction for a fix. In 3 days Johnnie made a new shaft complete with integral bevel gear, hardened it himself and ground it all back and charged him a tenner.
Anyway, his sons have now decided its time for him to sell up and use the money from the house and land sale to move them all to America.
Having heard all this yesterday afternoon, friend then arranged for us to go across to Johnnies place this afternoon. Arrived at the house which looks pretty much the same as it must have done 50 years ago, and was surprised he wasn't still using gas lamps. What a lovely old man Johnnie turns out to be. Very quiet, unassuming, humble, yet incredibly knowledgeable and obviously very skilled.
The workshop is an old tandem farm shed that is literally falling down, gaping holes in the gable ends and glass with broken panes. Inside a single fluorescent fitting sheds a small pool of light on Aladdins Cave.
There are machines everywhere. This place makes John Stevensons workshop look like there's enough space to park a double-decker bus in. Small machines are piled on top of larger machines. There must be several tonnes of barstock on the floor, and you can't actually stand anywhere without threading on this material, or using a chuck or a motor as a stepping stone to worm into the gap between machines.
All this stuff is for sale.
Johnnie doesn't really have much of an idea what it's worth, and from my short time with him today, I doubt he would ask for very much money for it at all. If no-one wants the stuff it's probably going to go for scrap value, and there must be about 30-40 tonnes or more of stuff in this place. I honestly don't believe I saw it all, as there is stuff hidden under other stuff, piled behind other stuff. Further down the page I've put a partial list of what I can remember seeing.
As you've probably gathered, access to get to machines is a problem as well, and you would need to hiab half a dozen machines out of the way to get to what you want. Much of the equipment is rusty, but everything is in working order.
If anyone is at all interested please get in touch with me, and I can put you in touch with friend to arrange to go and see this. I think there is about a 3-6 month window to get this cleared and sold before the scrap man cometh. Alternatively, can anyone recommend a machine dealer who might be prepared to buy the whole lot without ripping off Johnnie? He won't be expecting that much money for it, but he's such a nice old man I'd like to help him if I can.
List of the machines I can remember
Hardinge HLV x 2 Ward Capstan x 4 Harrison L5 Pultra 17/70 lathe Parkson Horizontal Mill Fellows Gear Shaper Kempsmith Horizontal Mill K & T Milwaukee 205 C-12 Horizontal Mill x 2 Bevel Gear Cutter J&S 540 Surface grinder Elliot Surface Grinder Other surface grinder x 2 Cylindrical Grinder x 2 Universal grinder x 2 Tool and cutter grinders x 2 K & W radial arm drill (large) Beaver Turret Mill Beaver Turret Mill with extended knee - extra Y travel Do-All Bandsaw 20" throat depth 3 other Bandsaws Corona Twin spindle pillar drill Small high Speed drill Die filers x 3 Jig borer Key Seater Slotter
About another dozen or more machines, small mills etc and even more stuff - I couldn't remember it all!
All mills with diving heads, some universal All grinders with mag chucks About 20 machine vices from 2" to 8" About 20-30 chucks 3 & 4 jaw, all sizes 100's of collets for Ward and Hardinge Extra motors all over the place 4 Fly presses, Denbigh/Norton various sizes Hundreds of bandsaw blades, and hundreds of assorted cutters, drills, and other tools.
And loads more stuff
Peter
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On Mon, 25 Feb 2008 20:16:19 +0000, Peter Neill

Just remembered there was a large 'Cardiff' lathe as well.
Peter
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On Mon, 25 Feb 2008 20:36:00 +0000, Peter Neill

Also remembered today that the horizontal mills have vertical heads as well, and there is also a shaper and a pantograph/die-sinker.
To those who have e-mailed enquiries so far, I should get back to you all by tomorrow.
Peter
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Peter, ... I've emailed you off list if you can check your inbox.
Ian
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My wife is so relieved that you're such a long way away from me.
Regards Kevin
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On Sat, 01 Mar 2008 17:33:59 +0000, Kevin

<VBG>
Peter
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Don't suppose these are his by any chance are they?
http://tinyurl.com/2nk9op
Cheers, Scruff.
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wrote:

Yup, thats some of his stuff. Soon as I mentioned that I knew people who might be intereted in these machines they sprung up en e-bay. the seller is his son. Thats only a fraction of what is there.
Peter
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wrote:

A bit cheeky this, but:-
What are the chances that you could get some reasonable quality photos of the labels on the head and the table feed gearbox and of the general paintwork of the Mk1 Beaver VBRP mill (item 300203221164)?
I'd send his lad a message via Ebay and drive down to do the job myself, but the car isn't going to be legal before the end of the sale (buggered ABS), so I couldn't get to see the mill before it went.
The reason for the request is that the labels on the one that I'm going to be doing up later on this year have been "cleaned" down to bare metal :-( So I'm going to have to make some from first principals. Peter Fairbrother has a Beaver, But I think that his is the Mk II version.
Tony Griffiths of www.lathes.co.uk has very little documentation on the Mk I VBRP mills (three very blurry pictures of line drawings out of the manual) and I'm hoping to be able to improve what he's got when I do the work on mine, but it looks like your Johnnie R's one is in much more original condition than mine:-
http://www.test-net.com/workshop/inside_shed_small/beaver-mill.jpg
http://www.test-net.com/workshop/inside_shed_large/beaver-mill.jpg
Pretty please, There's a few pints of beer in it when we eventually meet up :-)
Regards Mark Rand RTFM
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On Tue, 04 Mar 2008 22:56:42 +0000, Mark Rand

Not a problem Mark, I'll be over there tomorrow so I'll take the camera and snap away. Biggest problem is getting the space around the machine to take a pic.
Peter
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On Wed, 05 Mar 2008 07:26:23 +0000, Peter Neill

Best take a wide angle lens...a fisheye perhaps? Andrew might spare you one from one of his kippers <G>
Regards, Tony
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