I have owned a Delta Midi Lathe for several years… I mean maybe decades. Turned lots of pens, table legs, peppermills, chair rungs, and such. We’ve had our fun times and we’ve had our little spats, of course. Not going to mention that piece of maple you threw at me in ‘99. I’ve had very little trouble from this lathe. I did have to replace the tail stock thrust handle but that was my fault. Heavy-handed that day.
Now, and only now this midi lathe has starting giving me trouble. Could it be the ‘new’ lathe on the block? I recently took in a wayward Delta 46-715 full size lathe. It had been abused by it’s former owner (speculation on my part, of course). Its drive mechanism was gone! I mean ripped out by the roots. Not even the speed handle was left without damage. This poor lathe was in pitiful shape. It didn’t show any outward signs of abuse. No rust. But once you got to know the lathe… well, the deep down damage could be seen. A treadmill motor and controller added to a few parts from Radio Shack was all it needed. Now there is a very large pile of mahogany chips on the floor around its legs. I can faintly see a little gitty-up in its step. How touching, right?
Well, enter Mr. Midi. I was using it to turn four finials over the weekend when I detected a little bumping. I didn’t give it much thought. I just chalked it up to my imagination. I went to change speeds and what to my eyes did I see but a loose thread in the headstock. What? Could this lathe be chewing on its drive belt? I pulled the thread thinking that it was loose. No, it was attached! The drive belt was toast. Cracked. About to break!!!
I had a little talk with the midi and assured it that it was not going to be the next eBay victim at the Sparks’ house. I planned on using it for all my small projects because that was what it did best. And I detected a little smile on its face and a tear in its eye when I told midi about the new belt I bought yesterday.
I hope happiness and harmony is coming back to the shop by the weekend when that new belt arrives.
Take care of your tools, guys. Both physically and spiritually. A little oil and a kind word goes a long way.
-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.