I just bought a lathe... some questions

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by Phil G4SPZ, Dec 11, 2019.

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  1. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    I have just bought, very cheaply from a local retired horologist, a modified 8mm Telco watchmaker’s lathe with an incomplete set of accessories. Some research has revealed that this model is a British-made version of the popular G. Boley ‘bevelled-bed’ watchmaker’s lathe, and probably dates from prior to 1920. A previous owner has fitted a lead screw and modified slide to drive the tool rest.

    Essentially, I bought the lathe to speed up the burnishing of pivots, which I currently do by hand but it’s a time-consuming chore. Ultimately I’d like to progress to more advanced tasks like re-pivoting.

    The pictures show what I’ve got. Now here come the questions!

    The centre is missing from the tailstock. The collet set is incomplete, with mainly the larger sizes missing. Any suggestions for sources? The collets are numbered, for example I have numbers 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24 and 26, plus four concave cone collets numbered 1, 3, 4 and 5. What do the numbers stand for, and are they related to size?

    There are two tubular handles which I think might be tool holders, is this correct?

    Finally, can anyone recommend a good book that would help me get the most out of this lathe?

    Many thanks for any advice,

    Phil

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  2. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Sorry, I think I can answer one of my own questions... after experimenting with some pivot wire, the numbers on the collets refer to the diameter in mm/10, e.g. collet number 6 accepts 0.6mm wire, number 18 accepts 1.8mm wire and so on.

    Phil
     
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  3. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Phil,

    There's some information on your lathe here. One thing to check is that this lathe was made in both 6.5 mm and 8 mm versions, that is the diameter of the collets, so a vernier on the parallel section of the collets will establish this. It's important, because 6.5 mm collets are not at all common, whereas the world is full of the 8 mm size. Collet sizes, as you've discovered, are usually expressed in tenths of a mm, so 24 is 2.4 mm.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Phil,

    There are a couple of good books on these lathes; 'The Modern Watchmakers Lathe and How to Use it' by Archie B. Perkins and 'The Watchmaker and his Lathe' by H. Jendritski. I think the latter is probably rather cheaper.

    The two items in your last picture look like drilling quills. Tailstock runners should be easy enough to come by, if they're a standard size.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  5. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Oh, dash it! The man told me it was an 8mm lathe, but my dial gauge tells me that the collets are the rare 6.5mm size. That’s probably going to limit my options. It also explains why he only wanted £100 for it...

    Never mind. I have been playing with it tonight and it seems like it will still be useful for lots of tasks, such as cutting off pinion wire to make lantern pinion trundles.

    Thanks for your help, Graham.

    Phil
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Phil,

    That's a shame, but 6.5 mm collets do come up occasionally on eBay, (other auction sites are available . . .). A plus is that if some are offered for sale, there are very few people out there who have one of these lathes, so you won't have much competition!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Every cloud has a silver lining...!
     
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  8. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Another useful book is Carlè's book on 'Watchmakers' and Model Engineers' Lathes'. It should be easy to get second-hand in the UK.

    I got some 6.5 mm collets that were sold to me as 6 mm ones. Have to check the make, as also Wolf, Jahn & Co. made 6.5 mm lathes and the thread is not the same as on the Boleys.
     
  9. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    I couldn’t find a copy of Jendritzki’s recommended book, but I spotted that one by Donald deCarle and as I enjoy his writing, I’ve ordered a copy.

    I may be interested in some or all of your 6.5mm collets, if they’ll fit my lathe. I’ll take some detailed measurements later, try to identify the thread size and come back to you. Many thanks,

    Phil
     
  10. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Send me a PM, as one is not supposed to do any 'deals' here ... it will be a few days before I have the time to check what I have.
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Phil,

    Jeffrey Formby has copies.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  12. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Thanks Graham. That’s odd, my search didn’t find it, although I do know of that supplier and have previously bought from them.

    Wefalck, of course, I’ll send you a PM.

    Thanks for all the advice,

    Phil
     
  13. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    PM sent.
     
  14. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Thanks for that, Graham. I have discovered that the drilling quills are a snug fit and slide inside the tubular piece which passes through the tailstock and holds the Jacot drum or the lantern runner. I am having to learn another new subset of horological terminology! So I guess that there would have originally been a set of drilling quills with various sizes of drill bit fitted into them. I only have two quills, one of which is empty and the other contains what looks like the remains of some sort of twist drill about 2mm in diameter.

    This acquisition is posing a bit of a detective story, but more is coming to light and I like the fact that the lathe could be nearly 100 years old and is still eminently usable.

    Phil
     
  15. sharukh

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    There's a set of 6.5 mm collets on sale on the big auction site. The rules forbid linking to an auction but I'm sure you can find them with a quick search.

    Sharukh
     
  16. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Thank you Sharukh. Someone else pointed those out to me and I’m watching them out of interest, although I already have collets in that size range.

    However, I’m not 100% sure that they will fit my Telco lathe anyway. Despite the Telco being a close copy of the Boley lathe, the collets’ threads are slightly different. It appears that I need either Telco/TCM or Wolf Jahn 6.5mm collets having a 40TPI thread.

    I currently have collets up to 2.6mm, but for anything bigger I am having to use the box chuck. Some larger collets and some tailstock runners are due to be purchased shortly.

    Phil
     
  17. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Here are a few pictures of what I’ve done to the lathe to get it working.

    First, I replaced the leaky 2.5uF motor run capacitor with a modern equivalent, lubricated the motor bearings and it now runs nicely. I cut and fitted a 3mm drive belt, tightened the headstock bearing to get rid of the end float, gave everything a good clean and oil, and now it all runs beautifully.

    Last night I tackled the tool rest problem. A previous owner had modified the slide and converted it to a screw-driven slide, for what purpose I’m not sure, but the T rest was sitting way above the centre. As the original slide had been lost, I felt the easiest thing was to make a new, lower, T rest. Rather than work in steel, I had some 7mm brass bar and a scrap brass hinge, from which I cut the new rest. The angle was chosen to put the rest in line with the centre, and it all works perfectly. Obviously, brass isn’t the ideal material for lathe parts, but it’s quite thick and solid, and it works.

    The first thing I made on the lathe, just visible in the last photo, is a 1mm pivot burnishing runner which fits into the 6.6mm tailstock. I’ve yet to finish that, but I plan to make a set in popular pivot sizes.

    Happy New Year!

    Phil

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  18. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Phil,

    That's a good piece of ingenuity; although brass may not be ideal for a tool rest, it does have one advantage in that the graver is less likely to skid about on the softer metal.

    It's surprising how good these old lathes can be if they're properly cleaned and setup again.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  19. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Thanks, Graham. It’s almost 50 years since I used a lathe in anger, and that was a full-sized engineering lathe when I was a student. I’m slowly getting to grips with sharpening and using gravers. So far I’ve managed facing off, parallel turning, finding a centre and centre drilling. It’s all good fun!

    Phil
     
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  20. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    I’ve made a couple of safety runners to support the pivot being burnished, plus a crude carrier to enable arbors to be rotated between centres. This works well, although with the well-known limitation of having to hold the burnisher in place before starting and stopping the lathe to prevent the pivot jumping out of the runner.

    Tonight I fashioned a simple spring-loaded retainer from a paper clip. This is a tight-ish fit in the groove around the safety runner, and can be swivelled to press gently down on the arbor to keep it in place before starting the lathe. It is simple, versatile, costs nothing and works better than I could have hoped.

    The challenge, of course, will be to make a proper engineering job of all this that will work as well as the lash-up does!

    Phil

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  21. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    After posting the above, I started to feel a bit embarrassed by the crude nature of the carrier.

    Amongst some items I purchased recently was a proper carrier pulley, so I made up a better arbor to support it, turned from 7mm dia brass rod down to 5.6mm so it can be gripped in my largest collet. It has a tapered section which grips the pulley and, after many failed attempts, a conical depression in the centre to support the pivot of the arbor being rotated.

    I’m less embarrassed by this version!

    79CAA025-3DB9-452B-9A8F-3139462D0EEF.jpeg 74B857BD-79BA-4745-B457-DA1DF8101FAA.jpeg 016F5208-09C3-40B3-A085-E42919DCCA69.jpeg

    Phil
     
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  22. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
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    A few points:

    The Jendritzki book is very good but out of print and expensive. The German reprint is very nice and has enough photos that you can use it without knowing much German. It is especially suited for Boley style lathes.

    Der Uhrmacher an der Drehbank

    It may be unimportant but you can use 6mm collets in a 6.5mm lathe.

    Lastly Boley and Lorch made Jacot attachments which make burnishing clock pivots very easy. There go on the universal runner which goes on you tailstock. These have a lot of adjustment so you do not need a perfectly centered tailstock/
     
  23. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Thanks, Jon. I do have a Jacot drum but it is only sized for watch pivots, hence making my own runners as I mostly do clocks. But good to know.

    I met another 6.5mm Telco owner at a clock fair on Sunday and he has given me a lot of useful information too.

    Phil
     
  24. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Not sure about Boley tailstock runners, but Lorch, Schmidt & Co. and Wolf, Jahn & Co. ones have 7 mm diameter, while Phil's lathe needs 6.6 mm.

    If your tailstock is not in line with the headstock, then the grooves in the Jacot-tool are also not in line with the axis of the headstock. It is designed so that grooves are aligned with the tailstock axis.

    Of course, you can stick a 6 mm collet into a 6.5 mm lathe, but you also need a matching draw-tube. However, while the maine guidance comes from the cone of the spindle vs. the cone on the collet, once you apply cutting forces, this has the tendency to deflect the collet sideways, pulling it out a bit, when there is no guidance from its rear end and the well-centred draw-tube. So I wouldn't really use a 6 mm collet in a 6.5 mm lathe ...
     
  25. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Hi Eberhard and thanks for the information.

    I still haven’t found any info on that “HAWSS” collet (pictured below). The name doesn’t appear to be that of a lathe maker; perhaps they were a company making after-market collets for several types of lathe?

    Anyway, I wasted my money on it as it does not hold the work true. I’ll try it with a centre in the tailstock, but it is fairly beaten-up so I will probably have to write it off to experience!

    DFB23DF1-5456-4354-AC3E-F65E701E94F7.jpeg

    Phil
     
  26. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Phil,

    Jeff Formby has 'The Watchmaker and his Lathe' by H. Jendritzki, (a reprint in English), for £32. That collet looks as though it's been buried in a garden for a while!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  27. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    That happens.

    It appears that some lathe manufacturers outsourced the collet production to specialised companies. These companies then also sold spare collets to the specified standards, but with their own name engraved onto them. Ortlieb in Germany is one such case. They seem to have worked for all major lathe brands and still seem to do to some extend
     
  28. Dr. Jon

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    I had no problem setting 6mm collets in my 6,5 Boley using the 6.5mm draw bar. Boley made two Jacot drums and the much more common one is for clock pivots, at least its grooves are too large for watches.

    It is used in a method called "eccentric turning". The universal runner assembly offsets the tools so the cane be rotated about the offset shaft to set up properly.

    These tools are expensive and do show up on ebay.

    Runners are an issue but I have found that 3D printer shafts are available in sizes to fit old tailstocks. They are very hard steel. I have obtained a few and drilled them to accomodate 1/8 shaft drills.
     
  29. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    #29 Phil G4SPZ, Jan 21, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    I have some eccentric runners, also one with a cone-shaped end containing several tiny female centres that are all offset from the centre line. I assume the offset is created using the twin safety pulley arrangement. It’s a bit advanced for me at this stage...!

    That collet was buried in the depths of a dusty box rather than a garden, Graham, and was so dirty I didn’t see how bad it was till I got home and cleaned it up.

    What I did play with last night was the same runner which has its other end designed for “filing a centre”, as De Carle’s book calls it. I practiced using a file and a graver. Ended up with a reasonable-looking male cone on the end of a piece of 5mm brass rod. I’ve found that the larger sizes of collet are not always automatically self-centring, so I tried the idea (again from De Carle) of crossing the belt, running the lathe in reverse, gently holding the work to run true, then grasping the pull rod handle to tighten the collet fully. Such a simple idea and it worked perfectly!

    I am gaining a much greater understanding of the capabilities and limitations of this antique lathe, and really appreciate everyone’s interest and advice. Thank you all.

    Phil
     
  30. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Another method of trueing stock in a chuck or collet is to slightly clamp it and then to run a toothpick or similar tangentially against, with the T-rest as fulcrum. Then tighten and check again.

    The problem is usually not so much with the collet, but with the stock. Take for instance a piece of ground stock (carbide is the best for this) of the nominal diametre into the collet and check.
     
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  31. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Hi Eberhard. Well, I am using “your” number 52 collet with 5.0mm stock, so I can’t complain if it runs a bit out of true. I think you advised me that might happen. I found that when I turned some 7mm stock down to exactly 5.6mm in the box chuck, the number 56 collet gripped it well and it ran perfectly true.

    Still looking for Telco or Wolf-Jahn 6.5mm collets in sizes 30, 40 and 50...
     
  32. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    I now believe the name stamped on that collet reads “Rawco”, which is another brand name to appear on British copies of the Boley bevelled-bed lathe.
     
  33. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Graham, is this the same content as “The watchmakers lathe and how to use it” (which I think was the previous title of the this book...?)?
     
  34. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    ‘Jendritzki’ has 86 pages and costs £32. De Carle runs to well over 200 pages and only cost me £12... I’d like to read Jendritzki, but I am not sure whether the content would justify the expense. If anyone has a view on this I’d appreciate it.

    What I now realise I should spend my money on are some good binocular magnifiers, as I’m having great difficulty ‘catching centres’ and I think I need to be able to see the graver tip more clearly as it contacts the workpiece. Three times out of four I keep creating that annoying pip in the centre!

    Phil
     
  35. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Karl,

    No, I believe you're thinking of the Archie Perkins book. I have both, and for my money, the Jendritzki book covers the subject quite adequately. The Perkins is very focussed on the WW lathe and every possible accessory is covered in great detail, including some that we're most unlikely ever to see, let alone use.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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