My Grandfathers Woodworking cont... #1: My Grandfathers Woodworking

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Blog entry by DougH posted 01-16-2011 01:02 PM 1801 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This is a lathe that may grandfather built back in the 30s. My uncle had it since my grandfather passed away in the early 70s. I was able to get it when they auctioned my uncle’s belongings to keep him in assisted living.

It is fairly simple but very functional. I spent most of the day going through everything and it is in amazing shape. The lathe is basically angle iron and pipefittings with brass bushings. Each fitting has an oiler on top. You turn a little brass fitting until a hole opens up for injecting the oil then close it back to keep out trash. The lathe is driven with leather belts from the motor to a set of wooden pulleys across to another set that turns the chuck. Each set has a grinding wheel for sharpening tools, one is coarse and the other is fine. There are also multiple attachments that attach where the grinding wheels are. The chuck (also home made) is not self-centering. It takes a little work to get it setup.

I have it set up temporarily until I can get my son the welder to make more permanent brackets to mount the motor. I will try to add video of it running with in the next week and some pictures of a table and lamp that were turned on this very lathe before I was born.

Here are a few more pictures.

You can see how the pulley system works.

His turning tools, some are home made.


More to come later

-- Doug, South Carolina

9 comments so far

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2996 days

#1 posted 01-16-2011 02:40 PM

I like seeing that kind of old stuff. Thanks for sharing, My grandfather used to make things like this as well. I used to watch him melt down a car battery post and fill the bushings with lead, then put an oil hole in it to keep them from squeaking. Those pipe fitting bushings remind me of that.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View helluvawreck's profile


31092 posts in 2866 days

#2 posted 01-16-2011 02:54 PM

Doug, that’s a beautiful shop built lathe and I can only imagine how much you appreciate rescuing it from the auction. I also hope that you were able to save some of his other tools. Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3095 days

#3 posted 01-16-2011 03:01 PM

You’re a lucky man to have salvaged these family treasures

-- John from Hampstead

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3934 days

#4 posted 01-16-2011 04:12 PM

Doug, Welcome aboard. That is an awesome piece of family history so glad you were abe to acquire it. Look forward to seeing your updates and past and future projects. I too hope you were able to salvage some of his other tools. My grandfather has given me several tools and keeps telling me there are more to come. They will truly be treasured and used well.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#5 posted 01-16-2011 04:29 PM

Welcome to LJ Doug. Your Grandfather was a clever man. I would guess his turnings were very well done too, judging from his set of tools. If you have access to any of his turnings it would sure be nice to see some photos of them.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3612 days

#6 posted 01-16-2011 04:41 PM

I learned woodworking at my grandfather’s and father’s knees. My grandfather was a farmer and this kind of tool was very much his style. In a lot of cases, you either made it or you did without. My father, an engineer, continued this tradition. I’ve done a lot of it myself, with a spindle sander (non-oscillating, of course) made from a massive right angle motor mount scavenged from an HVAC junk pile, a disk sander made from an ancient “table” saw that was too small to ever cut wood on and a grinder made from a casting rescued from the tree lawn on garbage day.

Lotsa memories here – thanks for posting this.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View DougH's profile


40 posts in 2689 days

#7 posted 01-16-2011 06:09 PM

Thanks guys, I took a video today of it running and I did a little turning with a gouge just to see it in action. I will post this later with some of his work and a little more about him. He really has some history and was friends with a very famous carver who happed to like trains.

-- Doug, South Carolina

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3108 days

#8 posted 01-16-2011 07:29 PM

Welcome to LJs Doug. Thanks for sharing your family history. Quite a collection of heirlooms and glad it found the right hands. I look forward to your future sharings.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2880 days

#9 posted 01-17-2011 02:38 AM

That is cool. Way before OSHA – they’d have a holy cow over it. I like stuff that necessity causes.


-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

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