Watchmaker lathe - slide rest maintenance

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by rstl99, Aug 13, 2019 at 1:05 PM.

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  1. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Oct 31, 2015
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    I finally acquired a slide rest for my Star Geneva-style swiss lathe (the slide rest is also made by Star, coincidentally).
    Everything seems to work well on it.
    One corner of the single t-slot has broken off, but hopefully it won't affect using the rest.
    There seems to be some play in the swivels, about 1/4 turn before it actually moves the slide.
    The lathe kit this rest came with has obviously seen a good deal of use.
    I am thinking it might be a good idea to take the steady rest apart, clean, oil, adjust.
    Any tips on how to carry out the disassembly?
    I have Archie Perkins' book on the Watchmaker's Lathe but he's not very explicit in how you take one of these tools apart.
    I'll eventually need to get or make some cutters for it, a single one came with it. Any tips in that regard will be appreciated as well.
    Thanks a lot.
    --Robert

    IMG_0211.JPG IMG_0212.JPG IMG_0214.JPG IMG_0215.JPG
     
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    What you show is a cross-slide, not a rest.

    It's essential to strip it down and clean it as thoroughly as you can before trying to adjust it. You should be able to wind the slides right off the end of the lead screws. Once the slides are disconnected you can see the nuts which ride on the lead screws, the dovetails and the gib strips which grip them. The backlash should be adjustable to some extent with the brass knurled nuts threaded onto the brass pipes behind the setting scales.

    The threaded part with the slot looks as though it has the thin upper nut missing; this is used to adjust the height of the cutter in the bottle-shaped holder.

    Tool steel or carbide will do very well for cutters.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  3. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Graham,

    I also thought these tools were called "cross-slides" but in Perkins's and DeCarle's books on watchmaker's lathes they are referred to as "slide rest" so that's why I called it that on this thread. So unless there's something that escapes me (maybe it's a N-A vs European nomenclature thing), I suppose maybe I'll refer to it as a "cross-slide-rest"... ;)

    Thank you much for the tips on disassembly, that will get me going.

    Yes, it took the longest time for me to figure out how to lock the tool holder into the groove. I ended up adding a flat washer underneath and it works. But if you say a part is missing, that's probably correct, and I'll have to find one at some point. I purchased a complete old lathe kit in a wood box, but there likely might have been a few bits mislaid along the way. The box also contained a nice watchmaker faceplate, complete with the long centering rod with pointed end. So I'm happy about that too, it was another tool I was missing in my lathe tool box.

    Best regards,
    --Robert
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    I think you may be right, it wouldn't be the first time after all!

    The tool-holder on my Wolf-Jahn cross-slide doesn't have that threaded adjuster fitting, just a tapered washer arrangement; your arrangement is much easier to set the tool height exactly.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  5. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    This is the first cross-slide-holder I've owned so I didn't realize its tool holder was configured differently than others. Maybe Star came up with their own design, or copied the one by Lorch or whatever. It seems that all these watchmaking lathes (the Geneva type anyway) look pretty similar (headstock, tailstock, graver rest, accessories, etc.), but I suppose each company's engineers made their own individual design differences. Here's a closeup of mine if that interests anybody, showing the washed I added at the bottom to allow to secure the holder onto the slide.
    --Robert

    IMG_0211.JPG IMG_0212.JPG IMG_0213.jpg IMG_0215.jpg IMG_0216.JPG
     
  6. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Robert,

    Your lantern tool holder looks pretty much complete. You could add a pressure bar with a dimple in it to go in between the screw and the tool.

    Have you gotten the cross slide apart? From my experience with my Lorch slides I can say that you may not be able to just slide the longer slide off using the lead screw. On my slides the top Kide can be screwed off but for the lower you need to first remove the lead screw by undoing the brass nuts at the handle and then screwing it out. You can then unscrew the leadscrew nut which retaining screw should be accessible from the top or the bottom of the slide. After getting that out of the way the slide can be slid off.

    Best of luck!
    Karl
     
  7. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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  8. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Karl and thanks for the insights and suggestions based on your experience with Lorch slides. I'm sure this Star brand one is very similar, there can only be so many ways to design and build one of these devices!
    I'll spend some time taking it apart shortly. Family issues to look after first...
    Cheers
    --Robert
     
  9. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Jerry,
    I'm still at the rudimentary stage of watchmaker lathe skills, and have been spending some time making and getting familiar with using hand gravers. Perkins' book certainly makes a case for the usefulness of a (cross) slide-rest for various tasks. Whether I ever achieve proficiency using it for these tasks remains to be seen, but now I have one to experiment and learn with, and it helps complete my lathe kit (along with the faceplate assembly I obtained in the same transaction).
    So I'll be looking up (in Perkins and elsewhere) useful things to use the slide-rest for, and trying my hand at it. This is a hobby for me, to in part satisfy a need in me to own and work with quality tools.
    Cheers,
    --Robert
     

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