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Workbench Progress…

Started by RoughboyModelworks, June 20, 2010, 07:11:32 PM

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Your workplace is as elegant as your modeling. And, of course, your Colnago. -- Russ



great to see you getting set up in your new shop- and with such virtuosity too. Looking forward to seeing progress on the Heywood van. Would be interested in the Unimat rebuild as I just inherited my Dads Unimat 3 (which I love as it is) but would be keen to find out if I can improve it further... if you get chance...



Looks great!
That Boley lathe is just exquisite!
Have to keep my eye out!
Looks like we have the same granite slab!
Now time to fill the bench with shavings and swarf!


Looks great Paul. Wow, a unimat, a jewelers lathe and a millingmachine. Still saving some money to get my first milling machine. But I am not jealous  ::)



Thanks guys... yes Marty the Boley is a real treasure, not least because of its heritage. I have a slew of collets for it and the back of the main driving spindle doubles as an indexing head. The lathe works great for free-hand turning, fine file work and polishing. The granite slab is very useful. Besides, I told my wife, she can use it as my headstone.  :P

Yes John I'm really going to use it for machine work and hopefully before long it will be cluttered with shavings and swarf as Marty suggests. A friend of mine says it's too nice for the shop and should be in the living room, but since the living room is half the size of the shop and up a winding staircase, it will stay right where it is. I've always found a comfortable, clean and convenient working environment is much more productive than one where you constantly have to move or shift stuff in order to get to what you need. Had to do too much of that in the past working in very tiny spaces... can be done but you waste a lot of time.

James, depending on the condition of your inherited Unimat you may or may not need to do much work to it. If it's been well maintained it may just need a thorough cleaning and some adjustments, perhaps on the cross-slide. They are fairly robust little machines and will last indefinitely if properly maintained. They're not as precise as a Cowells (the lathe of my dreams), but then they're also not anywhere near the price. I bought mine 31 years ago and it has seen regular and often heavy use. I made an adaptor for mine to use the jeweler's lathe collets which provide greater accuracy than the chucks for really tiny work. I've also used it to make small components for 1:1 motorcycles, so, set up properly, it does a half-decent job.


Gordon Ferguson


keep coming back to this thread just to admire your workmanship - if I was in your part of the world think I know where I would be going for any custom work

Mr Potato Head

I really love the jewelers pull out shelves that are curved to fit your body! I am going to have to incorporate that detail when I make my next ultimate bench! It's great that you inherited an heirloom, I got my dad's tools and his roll-a-way and I look forward to giving it to my son or grandson someday ( don't actually have any grandchildren right now, but in due time)
I like how you incorporated the metal and the wood, sort of like east meets west or 20th century meets 21st!
Great job
Gil Flores
In exile in Boise Idaho


No doubt you'll be spending more time in the workshop than the living room so you might as well enjoy the terrific work you did on the bench. And a wonderful set of tools you have. Many years of happy modeling to you there.


Have you ever taken the Boley's headstock apart? I'm designing and building a jeweller's lathe as a final project for my machine trades AAS. Most of it is self explanatory or easy enough to figure out with a bit of work, but I'm having trouble designing the headstock and spindle, as I don't have one handy to take apart and examine.

Bexley Andrajack


Thanks again guys. Gil, those pull out trays are a real bonus. They're curved to fit round your stomach while sitting at the bench and help to catch little bits that may fall off the bench while you're working. However, I did line mine with some non-skid shelfliner that's sold out here to keep things from falling off shelves during earthquakes (assuming that is the shelves don't all come crashing down anyway). Without the lining I found that small parts like screws tend to fly farther after bouncing off the tray... :P My grandfather evidently used the tray on the right as a filing platform as there is a deep groove worn into one of the front corners from filing. That's cool that you inherited your dad's tools... there's nothing quite as satisfying as using tools that have passed down through the family. I too like the combination of materials, the aluminum and the wood. If I had the option I would have preferred to use copper instead of the aluminum, but don't have access to any copper stock, at least not at anything approaching a reasonable cost. For this project I used all scrap and salvaged materials I had kicking around the shop. Only things I had to buy were the cap screws.

Chester I always spend more time in the shop than in the living room, find it's the only place I can really relax. Besides, way too much to do to waste time watching TV.

Bexley... building a jeweler's lathe sounds like an interesting project. I'd love to see some pics of your progress. I have never had the need to take the headstock apart. Even at its age, the headstock spindle still runs free and true with no slop, sign of a well-made machine. I just don't want to mess with it.

Thanks Gordon, that's a very nice compliment.



I figured you'd probably have never taken it apart, but it was worth a shot. I won't be starting on it fully until January- the last two classes I need aren't offered until then. I've just started tinkering with designs in SolidWorks to cut down on the workload a bit when the semester starts.

Bexley Andrajack

Philip Smith


Wow! That is tight! 



I had a metal shop teacher in high school that was the most respectable teacher, and maybe person, I could have ever met. In the 70's, shop was the dumping ground for the stoners and troublemakers. Old Mr. Dennis was the only one to get respect from them and teach them something useful. The South Bend 8" lathes in his shop were well used but immaculate, oiled and adjusted daily. Heaven help you if you horsed one too much. The next young knucklehead teacher ended up with broken lathes and piles of welded together tools in one year. Shameful.

Paul, you seem like a guy who should have taught shop. Folks now have no clue how things used to- and are still- made. Plus, you seem to understand the basics so you can work with wood, metal, motors, model materials and so on. How many of us are there left? What the heck does the new generation know?

Plus swarf is a cool word. 'Specially if it was coming off my own Bridgeport. An old one. With the handles worn shiny. And the ways free of play and oiled. And...

John Palecki


Quote from: JohnP on August 11, 2010, 07:31:53 PM
What the heck does the new generation know?

Not too much, resourcefulness and respect are becoming lost traits. They do know how to whine though until their parents give in and buy them whatever it is they want.

Thanks John... I don't know about being a shop teacher though, I don't have much patience for the younger spoiled generations. Closest I've come is doing a few convention clinics and lectures and being a founding staff member and artist-in-residence for the now defunct Genoa Furniture Design school which evolved out of the Wendell Castle School after Wendell merged it into the RIT School of American Craftsmen in 1989. The school was grossly mismanaged though, all the good people left or were fired, the idiots remained and it closed after only a couple of years.

I too remember having a good and influential machine shop teacher in high school as well. He was absolutely intolerant of any sloppy work, attitudes or lack of respect for his machines, tools and skills. He was also totally politically incorrect by any measure... the first day in class he held up an adjustable wrench, told us it was nothing more than a "farmer's micrometer," that it had no place in a machine shop, then threw it into the trash...  ;D the sort of person we could use more of it seems to me...

Bridgeports are wonderful. I haven't had access to one since the Genoa days. Have tried on a couple of occasions to purchase one, but never found one that was truly affordable at a time when I had both the necessary funds and the space to put it.  :-[ Sure would open up a lot of opportunities for the bike work...



On the other hand, you are good with 3D CAD and that might be a valuable asset for developing things for the other kind of bike, like your Colnago. There's still a pretty decent market for racing bicycle frames and components and some guys make a good living producing them. -- Russ