A Brand New [Fifty Some Year Old) Rockwell Delata 12" (36" bed) Lathe
What a nice couple days. Though I live in the toolies and, generally, find any good craigslist deals far distant, I looked at the list the other day and saw a Rockwell Delta 46-450 wood lathe for one hundred bucks and only a couple miles away.
Though I haven’t found a listing of how much yet, the beast weighs a lot. I’m guessing around four hundred pounds, with the base. As such, general turning operations using out of round wood, at low speeds, shouldn’t produce much vibration. Certainly not as much as my little Jet produces for things relative to its size.
I’d just touched a lathe for the first time a couple months ago, when I bought a little Jet off craigslist [in town about an hour from me]. Now that all my files have nice handles [as well as those of some friends and a neighbor], it’s safe to say the turning bug is alive and well in me. As such, when I saw the heavy iron beast, I had to look at it.
I didn’t attempt a negotiation on the price. The parts were worth far more than that. Especially since it’s the “new version” and the [120/240 VAC] motor ran and everything was there.
I broke the thing down to its stand, bed and head stock, and base so I was able to load and offload the thing myself (it steered at least as easy as a crappy car with a hand truck on the other end].
It had a lot of superficial rust, but, broken down, it’s proving easy to deal with.
I cleaned the shafts for the Reeve drive and that’s working fine. The speed control handle would turn, but wouldn’t lock. Cleaned of rust, it works fine and actually locks easy (and now I know how to adjust it).
A drive center was locked in place on the head stock and the indexing pen was rubbing and wouldn’t back off. A lot of penetrating oil and some taps with plastic hammers and soft drift punches and everything is free and moving again. A little light sanding, with oil, then a buff with McGuire’s Mag polish and things are starting to shine, as well as work smooth.
The upper bearings seem to be doing okay, but I’m tempted to drop the forty for new ones, just because. The lower ones might be talking, so those are going to be a “gotta do it” thing and might as well be done before I toss the bed and head back on.
I’ll probably go with a link belt, so I don’t have to disassemble the head and half of the U.S. to get the old one off and a new one on. I believe it’s going to take a 3/8, but the old one will tell.
I was elated to discover the tapers and threaded chucks for my little Jet can all be used on the 12"/36" Rockwell Delta.
The paint shows signs of age and neglect. Said to heck with it and am going to do like another guy did and go with a lighter color. Picked up a can of white primer and cream white oil. It’ll give the HVLP something to do.
Once it’s up and going, I’ll see if I’m happy with the speeds. Somewhere, an on-line manual or other, it’s indicated adjusting the Reeves drive cable will allow me to drop the speed lower than 340 RPM. We’ll see.