Dad turning a 14' 4" dia "dowell"

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Forum topic by REO posted 11-15-2014 12:54 AM 945 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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883 posts in 1491 days

11-15-2014 12:54 AM

I found this in a box of stuff from yeas ago. This is a picture of my dad at the lathe. The bed was from a prewar “American” lathe. It would take 9 feet between centers but by setting it up similar to this we did turnings up to 16 feet in one piece. we would turn half and then flip the turning to do the other end. You can see one of the large bore bearings that would be used as a steady when needed. in this case a grinder with a saw blade was fastened to the cross feed and the cross feed set for diameter and locked down. The headstock was off an atlas lathe with timken bearings and fitted with a riser block. The original tail stock was used but for some operations it also was coupled with a riser block. This lathe with the risers turned staved blanks to a finished size of 2 feet in diameter. I retrofited an old power feed off a milling machine to the apron so on turnings like these you could set it and have a sandwich while the machine worked. We did thousands of large diameter pool table legs and mock antique posts out of white oak. The sheet of 1/2” thick plexi hanging from the ceiling would be let down to protect you from the large chips that would fly off. Speed range from about 25 rpm in low and back gears to about 2000 tops. We once did two matching columns right at 9’ X 24” in diameter that had to be glued up almost solid because of the range of diameters. These blanks weighed just under a ton when put on the lathe. Motor was only 1 1/2 hp 220. Dust evacuation was out the window you can see in the picture. The shop was on the ground floor of a 125 year old barn.

After posting I found that the picture was clipped for width. there is another lathe bed bolted to the end of the lathe with the tailstock on it to make it longer. if you right click on the photo and then pick view image you get the whole picture.

5 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


4930 posts in 3080 days

#1 posted 11-15-2014 03:16 AM

Cool … thanks for posting!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View stan3443's profile


283 posts in 1692 days

#2 posted 11-15-2014 03:38 AM

great history and pic

-- If your not supposed to have hair on your face......why does it grow their

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Rick M.

7668 posts in 1797 days

#3 posted 11-15-2014 06:08 AM

I like that pic. So you come from a family of turners, have dust in your blood (literally looking at that dust pile)


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1847 posts in 1551 days

#4 posted 11-15-2014 02:14 PM

Really nice Reo, not many turners doing that today!

-- Bill

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883 posts in 1491 days

#5 posted 11-15-2014 02:22 PM

LOL Rick your comment IS exactly literal! Four years ago I was diagnosed with Hairy cell leukemia. I was told by the doctor that it could have been caused by fine wood dust. I took Chemo and I am clear at this point. It is expected to give me another go in 10 to 15 years. It is a very treatable form of cancer. I still work with wood!

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