A Special Bandsaw

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

My special bandsaw - Thos BeecroftMy bandsaw is like no other. I was so lucky to get it and appreciate it every time I use it. It is thanks to Huw that I have it. He spotted it when it had been dismantled from its old job and saw the potential and restored it for me. Everyone who uses a bandsaw is admiring or even slightly envious when they see it. This bandsaw is the machine I would find hardest to replace if anything went wrong with it.


So what is so special about the bandsaw?

Label on bandsawWhat makes it so usable to me is the size of the table and the throat. The throat of this bandsaw is 4′ which is much wider than normal. It makes it easy to saw a sheet of plywood or similar. But most importantly for me having such a big table means that as long as I have the strength to heave a lump of wood onto the table I have a chance of sawing it into a managable blank to put on the lathe! It does have its disadvantages. The blade is 19’8″ long amd there are 4 separate guards to take off when changing the blade as well as a couple of other fiddly pieces to remove. However it is all worth it. In theory the depth of cut is about 15″ which is very deep but Huw suggested I didn’t attempt this depth since the saw wasn’t originally designed for wood.

The History of the Bandsaw.

The bandsaw started its life as a material cutting bandsaw in a local garment factory. The factory closed when M. & S. decided to use a factory abroad leaving 300 people out of work (a lot in a rural area like this). The social cost of cheaper clothes is high!

Perhaps bandsaw is the wrong word as originally there was a knife edge rather than a saw blade. This photo showsGrinders for sharpening knife edge o bandsaw the grinder attachment which could be brought up to the knife as it was running to sharpen it. This table is only about a quarter of the original table which I have, though sadly I never saw it all set up. Because it was a knife edge it didn’t have the bearings behind and on either side of the blade just below the table and at the bottom of the blade guard which stop the blade wandering too far. Huw made these for me and also bought and set up a new motor and switch for the bandsaw.

So not only do I have a wonderful bandsaw to use but I have a bandsaw which has so much history attached to it. See more of  Thos Beecroft machines here.

My Big Lathe

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

E. G. Wilson metal spinning lathe now adapted as a wood turning latheThis is my favourite lathe and was in fact the first lathe that I bought though I didn’t use it straight away. I can turn up to 24″ diameter on this lathe.

I love the history associated with this lathe. It started life as a metal spinning lathe – something I’d never even heard of when I first had the lathe. It was in a poor state and I had to derust then paint it. There was no tool rest and when I was asking Huw to make one for me I really didn’t know what I needed. This tool rest can be moved at a couple of different points wich is very useful. The middle section being something that Huw had (in case it came in handy at some point, I should think!) and adapted for this.

Roni Roberts turning a column on the EG Wilson lathe

it is obviously winter – I’m wearing plenty of layers!

This is a solid and heavy cast iron lathe. However, it is also firmly bolted to the concrete floor for turning Burr and otherwise out of balance big bowls. In many ways it is not as practical as could be. There is no hole in the head stock so I can’t put a centre in it. When I’m turning between centres I use the chuck shown with a centre bit in it. It is also rather short between centres for table legs (especially including the chuck and thread adapter). I am also thinking of getting rid of the front part of the bed. I had originally been reluctant to do this as it took some of the history away from it but now I feel the practicalities are more important. I would also like to make it variable speed. At the moment the lowest speed is 300rpm then it goes up to 850rpm which is such a big leap for a large out of balance bowl. So hopefully over the next few months there will be changes to this old E. G. Wilson.

Viceroy Short-bed Lathe

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Viceroy short bed latheThis Viceroy short bed lathe is a wonderful lathe. I can turn up to 16″ over the bed and if I wanted and needed I could also turn larger pieces on the outside. However since I have another, larger lathe I’ve never set this up for outboard turning.

This lathe has been converted to variable speed running from zero to about 1400 rpm. This is great as the belts for the different speeds are harder to change on this lathe than my little Scheppach. So I have an inverter mounted on the wall and a three phase motor. There was a three phase originally on the lathe but unfortunately not the right one for the job. Strange to my simple, unelectrical mind that three phase was needed when it runs off single phase!

The lathe was in the ceramics department of a college and they decided they didn’t need it and were just getting rid of it. A friend of mine who worked in the department wondered if the lathe would be of any use to me and carefully protected it against the weather and offered it to me which I was delighted about. I, with the help of my friend who had rescued it, had to get it into the back of the van I was using the day I visited. Needless to say it was very difficult but I was determined to succeed, especially as I had a suitable vehicle and was far from home making picking it up another day extremely difficult.

tailstock for ViceroyThere was no tail stock with the lathe. Huw contacted Viceroy and an elderly gentleman sent the plans for the tail stock for Huw to use to make one. I contacted Viceroy a few months later to send him a bowl turned on the lathe but was told he’d retired and no-one seemed to have an address for him. I was very sorry I hadn’t managed to thank him properly for his kindness. Just goes to show how important it is to reply promptly especially to thank someone! The wheel on the back Huw rescued from an ancient combination machine, the only part of which I bought was the planer-thicknesser which will plane 24″.