Happy new year to all my readers and followers!
Today was a good day and also kind of a sad day.
I was happy to start off the new year by being alive and I am blessed in many ways.
However, today brought about a new development; today I sold my lathe.
I had a lot of sentimental attachment to my old Logan lathe, it was my first lathe and I have built countless projects with it, had my fingers smashed and cut countless times on it as well. I ran a lathe quite a bit several years ago back in high school, but this was my first lathe and I did a lot of learning and re-learning on it.
However, I sold it because I have a new lathe lined up, one that is quite a bit bigger and capable of doing production-style work. The Logan lathe I just sold was limited to a 24" distance between turning centers, and doing any barrel work on it was a real chore; chambering a barrel on a rifle was all but impossible, and I was pretty much limited to chambering pistol barrels. I could turn down rifle barrels and contour/taper barrels to a degree, but it was slow going as the lathe was a bit underpowered. In order to thread anything, I had to manually change the spur gears on the side of the machine and even before that I had to calculate what gears would give a certain feed rate.
The new lathe that I am picking up in a few weeks is almost twice the size in swing and center distance, and chambering a 36" barrel should be absolutely no problem. The motor is 4 times more powerful and gear changes are made by just moving a set of levers. This will be much closer to the lathes I used in high school and there is not near as high of a learning curve in using them as opposed to an old Logan from 1953. The good thing is, I learned a lot using my old lathe, and the person who bought my old lathe is buying it to teach his son how to use a lathe, so I am encouraged by that. I'm glad that someone bought it who will use it and make sure it stays functional for another 50 years.
I hope to have the new lathe within a couple weeks, as my classes start back within a couple weeks. I am taking 16 hours of classes this spring on top of working full time, so if I don't pick the new lathe up before classes start, it will be pretty hard to find time to pick it up. The new lathe is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which is a good six hour drive for me. I am not looking forward to this, as it means driving to Fort Worth, hooking a crane up to the lathe, loading it onto my trailer, and then immediately driving back to west Texas where I live. 12 hours of driving, with about 10 hours of that being a drive through very desolate (but pretty) Texas country. Living in a state where a 2 hour drive is considered "right down the way" is interesting. A quick jog to a buddies' ranch is a 3 hour drive, and is not considered abnormal out here in the boonies. In fact, if you need anything special or out-of-the-ordinary, you can pretty much prepare for a trip to DFW, San Antonio, Houston, or Austin. I guess I can't complain, I have some relatives that live in the Big Bend region, and if they need anything from Wal Mart, they have a ~ 1 hour one-way drive ahead of them and a ~1 hour drive back home.
Anyway, I am taking a small break from doing any real building( about a week or two) while I wait for the chance to go pick up my new lathe. I still have some updates to blog about and some other projects to show off, so blogging will still happen. What's gonna suck is trying to find time to build my projects in between going to school. I've done it before, and I guess I'll do it again. My hobbies keep me sane and keep me from losing my mind when I get really stressed out about my classes, so I have little choice but to keep building.
Here's to hoping 2011 is even better to us than 2010, and hopefully we will see an increase in the concern and beneficial deeds for our great Republic during that time.