Peerless watchmakers lathe questions...

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by part-timer, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. For the new NAWCC home page
    Click this image at the upper left corner of this page.
  1. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    I came across this Peerless watchmaker's lathe some time ago and I'm only now getting around to fixing it up. I've had my Rivett watchmaker's lathes apart many many times, so there's no problem there. But a couple of things about this Peerless are baffling me.
    To begin with, while I admit I don't have the headstock apart yet, I don't see an obvious way to keep it oiled. Normally I would expect to see holes with/without a cap on top of the rear and front bearings. I see nothing of the sort here.
    Lastly, can I assume this lathe takes normal WW-style 8mm collets?
    What do you folks say? Here are the photos I took of the headstock, partially disassembled.

    IMG_4261.JPG IMG_4262.JPG IMG_4263.JPG IMG_4264.JPG IMG_4265.JPG IMG_4266.JPG IMG_4267.JPG IMG_4268.JPG
     
  2. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 13, 2007
    340
    29
    28
    If you spring those knurled caps at each end of the spindle and remove them, you'll probably find small oil holes under them. I do this by sticking a small screwdriver in the slot and twisting at the same time as I pull the cap off. Admittedly this is an inconvenient system, but it's what I have to do on one of my lathes.
    Johnny
     
    Kevin W. likes this.
  3. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Thank you for your response. That does sound inconvenient! Hopefully I'll be able to get further along with my disassembly process today.

    Another problem is I'm having trouble removing the main pulley from the main spindle body. There is the usual access hole in one of the "valleys" of the pulley, and I am assuming there is a tiny allen-head screw holding the pulley onto the spindle's body. Trouble is, I can't seem to find the right sized allen wrench to loosen the pulley! Does anyone here with a Peerless lathe know offhand what size allen wrench I need for the pulley?
     
  4. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    1,110
    154
    63
    Telecom Engineer
    Williamson County, Texas
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Here's a synopsis that I wrote in 2011 of overhauling a Peerless lathe. I figured I'd copy it over here instead of linking in order to make it easier for future searchers. To answer your question about the spindle pulley screw, both of my Peerless headstocks have slotted screws. If yours has an Allen screw I can't be much help. Another point - I've started using fully-synthetic sewing machine oil on my lathes. Using dinosaur juice will work, since you should refresh the oil frequently, but today's synthetics really do outperform dino-squeezin's. The oil that came in the Zoom bottle from the sewing store is synthetic.

    *** Old post starts here. ***
    This turned out to be a long post. I hope you find it worthwhile.

    I overhauled my Peerless lathe for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and it was very straightforward following the instructions in Archie Perkins' book (expensive, but worth it). Start by taking off the chuck and pulling out the drawbar.

    Under the dust cap on the outer housing (where the drawbar goes in) there should be another nut with a slot in it (the split nut). That slot is where you insert the tip of a screwdriver and spread the nut a bit so you can unscrew it by turning the pulley. It seemed to me like that would be danged near the last thing you'd want to do, but it works.

    Once the nut is off, completely remove the screw holding the pulley on. You want to remove it completely so you can see the screw's divot in the spindle on reassembly. Use a mallet (plastic or wood or rawhide, or protect the threaded end of the spindle with a block of wood) and tap the spindle loose. Hang on to the pulley, and pull the spindle out of the housing and pulley. Catch the sleeve bearing when it comes out of the outer housing, or remove it. The bearings pressed into the housing will stay where they are.

    There should also be dust caps on the inside of the housing bearings, on either side of the pulley when it's installed. I didn't see them at first, and had to re-clean the headstock to get the inner surfaces clean. The areas under those caps were pretty filthy.

    That's all you need to take apart for a basic overhaul. Look at the bearing surfaces on the spindle, sleeve bearing, and housing bearings. There are two bearing surfaces on each bearing. The outer one is the 45-degree taper; it controls endshake. The three-degree taper behind it controls sideshake. If they're severely chewed up, I'd strongly recommend Perkins' book for how to repair them. Mine has hard housing bearings. The outer taper on the chuck bearing showed a bit of pitting at the bottom, but the surfaces all lapped nicely and the pits don't interfere.

    I also removed the mechanism that locks the headstock to the bed. That way I didn't have to worry about moisture staying behind when I cleaned the headstock. It comes apart with some fiddling.

    I cleaned mine up by soaking everything in hot Simple Green, scrubbing it all down with a toothbrush, rinsing well, swishing in denatured alcohol, and drying with a hair dryer.

    I use sewing machine oil on this kind of thing. A 4-oz bottle of Zoom oil was a whole $4.

    Reassembly is essentially a reverse of the above. Put the dust caps back on the pulley ends of the housing bearings. Remember to put the belt in place before inserting the spindle, so you don't have to take the @#$% thing apart again. (Voice of experience? Moi?) Put a thin film of oil on all bearing surfaces before reassembly. Slide the spindle into the inner housing bearing, through the pulley and outer housing bearing. Use a flashlight to look into the set-screw hole in the pulley, and line it up over the divot in the spindle. Reinstall the pulley screw and tighten.

    Note that the sleeve bearing has a keyway that has to line up with the key on the spindle. Slide the sleeve bearing back on the spindle (after oiling). Stand the chuck end of the spindle on a block of wood, and use another piece of wood to get past the threads and gently tap the sleeve bearing onto the spindle. Snug it up until there's a bit of resistance when you turn the pulley by hand. Thread the split nut on and hand-tighten it. Tap the threaded end of the spindle gently with a mallet, and check endshake and freedom. The pulley should turn freely, and there should be no noticeable endshake. You may have to loosen the split nut a smidgen to get the correct balance.

    Load up the oil holes with oil and hand-spin the spindle to distribute. Run the lathe at its slowest speed, and add another couple of drops while it's running. Wipe off any excess oil, and replace the dust covers.

    Congratulations, you've overhauled your headstock.

    For periodic oiling, wipe any surface dirt from the dust covers and surrounding areas, remove the dust covers, and put a few good drops of oil in the oil holes while running at the lowest speed. More oil is not bad - it'll flush the bearing surfaces, and that's a Very Good Thing. Wipe down any excess, and replace the dust covers.

    Whew! Hope this helps.

    Glen
     
    part-timer, Kevin W. and Dave T like this.
  5. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 8, 2011
    2,899
    92
    48
    retired
    NC
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Glen,
    I have the same model and most of the same questions. I've used it for several years, and have to admit I've never dismantled or serviced it.
    Thanks for the post!

    Part-timer,
    Here's a collet chart for reference.
    collet chart.jpg
     
    part-timer likes this.
  6. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

    Mar 29, 2011
    512
    37
    28
    Male
    Geochemist (Consultant)
    Paris
    Country Flag:
    Weren't (some) Peerless manufactured by Boley in Germany ? Anyway, if there is no oil-cup, there is the possibility that it is a ball-bearing headstock. So be cautious during dismantling. The oilers for these would be holes under the dust-rings, as noted above.
     
    part-timer likes this.
  7. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    glenhead, I am deeply indebted to you! That's EXACTLY what I needed. I'm going to copy-paste your text and print it out for my notebook. THANK YOU SO MUCH! THAT'S WONDERFUL.
     
  8. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Most excellent, sir. Thank you so very much for that! I appreciate it.
     
  9. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    wefalck, I managed to get the headstock apart cleanly with NO damage. It is definitely NOT a ball-bearing headstock - I have a Rivett 1R, so I am somewhat familiar with the difference! LOL!
     
  10. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Dave T, would you mind sharing where exactly did you find that chart? It's looking a bit fuzzy to me. I have a friend with tons of horological books, so perhaps your chart is from one of the books he has. Thank you in advance.
     
  11. topspy

    topspy Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 17, 2013
    628
    30
    28
    Male
    Video engineer
    Oregon
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I had a nearly identical Peerless lathe apart last week. No ball bearings, and the pulley grub screw was a flat head, not an allen.
     
    Kevin W. and part-timer like this.
  12. sharukh

    sharukh Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 10, 2011
    353
    14
    18
    Doctor
    Mumbai, India
    Country Flag:
    I think that table is from DeCarles' book on lathes. It should also be in Archie Perkin's book as also in the Ward Goodrich book.

    Sharukh
     
    part-timer likes this.
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    11,104
    1,496
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi part-timer,

    It's also available online here, along with a huge amount of information on all types of lathes and other machine tools.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    part-timer likes this.
  14. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    topspy, thank you for sharing your experience. My disassembly is coming along well. The lathe bed, headstock and tailstock all have different serial numbers, so it's apparently been cobbled together by someone before I acquired it. I'll be posting more pictures of it soon. Also, I just noticed last night that the headstock end of the bed is stamped "PEERLESS 2" (with the "2" centered underneath the word "PEERLESS"), which seems to be a late model Peerless, according to this...Marshall, Moseley and Peerless Watchmakers' Lathes . The tailstock on my Peerless does not have the top banjo nut. Instead, it appears identical to the one in the topmost photo here - Marshall, Moseley and Peerless Watchmakers' Lathes - page 2 . That leaves the headstock's production era unidentified so far. Hopefully it's from a Peerless 2 as well.

    The consensus around here seems to be the pulley grub screw is a flat-head, and NOT an allen. If I decide to take it completely out of the pulley (or just enough to expose the head), I'll be able to see what's going on with it... for now, I was able to back it off enough with a very small allen wrench to disengage it from the receiving dimple in the spindle. As best as I can tell looking down the hole the grub screw is in with magnification, the hole on the top of the screw appears to be SQUARE in shape instead of hex-shaped. So, it's possible it could be a simple slotted flat-head screw that has been deformed by repeated mangling with a screwdriver. I'm tempted to withdraw the screw all the way to the top of the pulley to get a close look at it, but I'm afraid I'd have a hard time returning it to the bottom where it belongs. I'd be more willing to mess with it if I had a spare ready to go. As it stands now, it will be a simple matter (hopefully) of driving the screw a short distance back into the spindle once I'm ready to finish re-assembly. I would welcome comments from any of you about this dilemma!

    Thank you for that - I'm fairly certain my friend has all or most of those books. I'll check with him later today.

    Thank you! That website is really amazing.
     
  15. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

    Mar 29, 2011
    512
    37
    28
    Male
    Geochemist (Consultant)
    Paris
    Country Flag:
    The collet-chart is from De Carlè's book 'The watchmakers and model engineers lathe'
     
    part-timer likes this.
  16. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Thanks to all of you fine folks, I've got the lathe cleaned up, shined up, oiled and adjusted. It runs beautifully. It turns out that although it's a PEERLESS 2, the bed, headstock and tailstock all have different serial numbers! So it appears to be a cobbled-together PEERLESS 2. Serial numbers are as follows:
    Bed - 3730
    Headstock - 5735
    Tailstock - 6180

    Here are some photos of the assembled, running PEERLES 2. Again, many thanks to all of you.
    IMG_4270.JPG IMG_4271.JPG IMG_4272.JPG IMG_4276.JPG

    IMG_4270.JPG
     
  17. part-timer

    part-timer Registered User

    Jun 27, 2017
    16
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    One last note: there are two parts that are missing from this Peerless lathe. By any chance, do any of you folks have a spare indexing pin for the headstock, and a spare tipover tool rest? My lathe has the shoe and locknut for the toolrest, but not the actual toolrest itself.
     

Share This Page