Thursday, January 6, 2011

New big kid toy

Well, I meant to post something the other day, but I wound up not able to as I have been pretty busy in preparation for the new school year.
On top of that, I have had a bit of a empty spot in my garage where my old lathe used to be, and felt a bit down in the dumps over it.
I had intended to drive down in a few weeks to pick up my new lathe, but I just couldn't stand the wait any longer. I have several firearm projects sitting around, just waiting to be worked on, some (like the big .50) just begging to be finished. I could have done a bit of milling work on a couple of my projects, but I just didn't have it in me. Every time I went out in the garage and fired up the mill, my eyes would wander over to the empty spot wherein there was no lathe.
Of course, something had to be done (for the children!!!!).
So, I called the previous owner of the lathe and inquired if I might be able to pick it up the next day(this Wednesday). He had no problem getting paid and cleaning out his garage, so I got the go-ahead. A quick call to a family member to see if I could borrow a trailer and a cherry picker, and I hopped in the truck and hit the road.

a 300 mile round trip netted me a trailer and cherry picker, and after picking them up, I headed back home to get a few hours of sleep before heading off to the anthill that is the DFW area.
The next day I hopped in the truck and took off for a 12 hour round trip, with about an hour break in the middle to load the lathe and all the extra accessories in the truck and trailer. I can now say that I've hauled a loaded trailer through some nasty traffic on I35 and loop 820 in the Fort Worth area, and I never want to do that again. That sucks.
I drove back home with the original intent of unloading the lathe from the trailer and setting it up, then heading back to drop off the cherry picker and trailer. I was about an hour from home when I finally realized that this was simply not possible. I was beat. I pulled into my driveway about 2300, got the cherry picker set up for the next morning, and went inside to crash. I don't even remember climbing in bed, to be honest.
(To all the truck drivers out there, I don't know how you do it, but you have my respect.)

The next morning (Thursday), I got up about 0900 and drug myself out of bed. I have a daily coffee ritual/routine, and today was no different. The world does not begin rotating about its' axis until I can haz coffee. After a couple cups of coffee, I headed out to the garage to unload the new lathe. This was fun. It only weighs in at about 1500 pounds all told, and when setting one up by yourself, you find a whole new vocabulary of cuss words you never knew that you had. Finally, I got the lathe set up, and aside from wiring it in, it is all but ready to run. I cannot wait for my next weekend off of work, as I have three different muzzle brakes to build.

 It took a lot of shoving, pushing, and pulling, but I finally got it all bolted up.

It doesn't look too big in these pics, but I'm no small guy, either.
The lathe is about six feet long, a bit over four feet tall and a couple feet deep. In that last pic, the bottom pipe looking object is actually the spindle bore (great for running barrels through to make them easier to chamber) and the bore of that hole is 1.5", just for reference.
It's no production shop lathe, but I will never need (or be able to fit in my garage) anything larger.
With that said, it's back to work and hopefully some of my projects will get caught up now.


  1. As usual, I see you wore matching jeans for the occasion!

  2. Those jeans did not start out that color.
    In fact, I think those used to be blue.