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geojoe
03-12-2012, 10:26 AM
Hello everyone,

I am a hand tool woodworker in my mid 50s and have recently picked up several machinist items. First I picked up a Unimat db200 lathe with an assortment of chucks/attachments. Then I ended up with a couple of tool boxes of tools that contained gauges, micrometers, rules, dividers, adjustable parallels, 123 blocks, v blocks, bits, needle files, etc.

I also have an anvil, post vise, forge, etc. because I took a blacksmithing class several years ago and planned to really get into that. But that has not happened yet.

My central question is, can a guy my age with primarily woodworking experience make practical use of this machining equipment? Certainly some of the rules and gauges will serve a woodworker well. Since most of it is vintage equipment, might I be better off selling it and instead buy better woodworking tools (and kitchen appliances for my wife)?

One of my interests is model making but I have never really done that either. I think my interests are too varied and spread me too thin.

Thanks for any advice,
Joe

mikem
03-12-2012, 10:48 AM
Welcome to the BBS.

I'd say go for it. Most of the people here have many interests and some are older than you!

Having more varied interests keeps things from getting boring. Don't sell anything--Buy more.

bborr01
03-12-2012, 10:53 AM
Hi Joe,

Welcome to the forum. I think lots of people in your age group take up machining and do quite well at it. But be careful, it can be quite addicting.

You also might want to consider putting your location in your profile, even if just the state that you live in. Several of the members here, including myself, have met others from this forum and found it quite helpful in terms of experience and knowledge.

I would stick with the machines and skip the kitchen stuff, as long as you use some balance doing it.

Brian

Bob Ford
03-12-2012, 11:03 AM
Metal compared to wood has no grain, so you can cut in any direction. Generally metal takes less storage area. Get some aluminum 6061 make things. Try 12L14 steel. Then 1018 it is harder to put a nice finish on 1018. Grow your mind, never close it as you will not have as much fun. Welcome to the zoo? Nice varied bunch of people here.

Bob

geojoe
03-12-2012, 11:03 AM
Thanks for the suggestion Brian.

I added my location and would be happy to connect with others with similar interests.

Joe

Arthur.Marks
03-12-2012, 11:09 AM
Welcome. From what you list of equipment, everything other than, perhaps, the Unimat could be immensely useful in a woodworking environment. Some of the gages or micrometers may be specialized and worth selling. Standard, flat faced micrometers, though, I would encourage you to keep. Others with, for example, spherical reference ends or meant for threads would be worth selling. There are many varieties of micrometers! :). The Unimat... You could use for making custom dowels or a number of other wood items. It could be used for toolmaking... BUT I would tend to to believe there are more appropriate machines and the Unimat could bring money worthwhile to put toward that. If the real basis of the question is, "would I like cutting metal?". ...well, that's a more difficult one to answer. Given this forum's focus, though, you're not likely to be dissuaded!:D

DICKEYBIRD
03-12-2012, 11:19 AM
Careful, the force is strong Joe!:eek:

I started 8 yrs. ago next month with one little lathe and was 56 at the time. Almost overnight it seems I'm now 64 and have this garage full of machines and metal and tools and am totally addicted. My former hobby is now nothing but a faint memory.

It don't get much better'n this!:D

ps: Hang on to it all. I guarantee it'll be useful somewhere down the road and many times more expensive to replace.

Mcgyver
03-12-2012, 11:44 AM
Welcome,


Since most of it is vintage equipment,

what vintage?

Unless its really old/special older machinist gear doesn't carry much value the way antique woodworking equipment goes....machinist stuff derives its value from utility. Old mics sell for $10, new for $40, that sort of thing. The hobby segment of machining compared to wood is small so there just aren't the number of enthusiast to turn into collectors.

Now on your unimat....check ebay completed sales....if its well decked out you could buy a few appliance.....but that would be dull and vacuous :). You can have a lot of fun with a unimat, but imo to be proficient you have to be a better machinist than with larger equipment, it's more difficult to learn on because its so light and small.

geojoe
03-12-2012, 11:56 AM
Thanks for the responses everyone. With this encouragement I am going to ask more questions. Hopefully they won't sound too silly.

What might be some good beginner metal projects? Maybe some tools for woodworking or metal working? Other?

If the Unimat is not well-suited, what should I be seeking for machinery? I do not wish to get a large, heavy machine. (ex. I usually choose to use my 89 lb. anvil vs. my 280 lb. one).

Since I like using hand tools, are there hand tool metal workers other than blacksmiths? What types of items might they produce? What tools might they use?

Thanks again,
Joe

geojoe
03-12-2012, 12:04 PM
what vintage?

I am not really sure but I suspect 1950s? There are some Starrett boxed items along with a catalog and machinist handbook that appear to be from those years. I think a couple surface gauges and dial indicators might be older but am not sure.

Mcgyver
03-12-2012, 12:10 PM
If the Unimat is not well-suited, what should I be seeking for machinery? I do not wish to get a large, heavy machine. (ex. I usually choose to use my 89 lb. anvil vs. my 280 lb. one).



depends what you want to do - the Unimat is well suited to somethings, small work etc....and you can have a lot of fun and learn on it. The challenge comes from along with learning how to machine, you have to always compensate for it being so small and light. I got one when i was twelve and had nothing else until in my 30's so its not like its useless or that you can't start there....but just be aware its the 9 lb anvil, or less .

You only don't wish to get a large heavy machine because you are new and don't know what its like...its a temporary condition :D

dian
03-12-2012, 01:50 PM
well, i have a big machine (kid of) but i still work on my 3-in-1 most of the time. its easyier.

Black_Moons
03-12-2012, 02:34 PM
Hello everyone,


I also have an anvil, post vise, forge, etc. because I took a blacksmithing class several years ago and planned to really get into that. But that has not happened yet.

My central question is, can a guy my age with primarily woodworking experience make practical use of this machining equipment? Certainly some of the rules and gauges will serve a woodworker well. Since most of it is vintage equipment, might I be better off selling it and instead buy better woodworking tools (and kitchen appliances for my wife)?

One of my interests is model making but I have never really done that either. I think my interests are too varied and spread me too thin.

Thanks for any advice,
Joe

the anvil and forge will still come in handy.
Metal is fun to work with. Better then wood IMO. Not easyer but you know what you built is stronger as hell and going to last a very long time.

Don't sell them and buy kitchen appliances for your wife, they will just sit in the corner of some cabinate and collect dust, unused :P

Nothing wrong with varied intrests. Just have at it.

And yes, as Mcgyver said, you will quickly wish for a bigger machine.. Unlike wood working where a 100lb table saw will cut through anything like butter, it seriously takes a thousand pounds of iron to quickly, efficently and accurately remove large volumes of steel, And even that will flex around like a wet noodle when taking moderate cuts and is considered just a medium sized hobby machine. (Akin to your 89lb anvil)

Duffy
03-12-2012, 03:21 PM
Welcome to the forum. I did not know that there were any members over 50:eek: . Hell, based on some of the flame wars, I thought that our average age was about 10!:rolleyes:
I too, began as a woodworker, and the two hobbies are ENTIRELY compata
ble. For example, with a Unimat, you can make wonderfully precise cribbage pegs, or lace bobbins, or even pens and pencils.:D
Metal mashers are strange folk. We blather on about wood being "too directional" and "it moves too much," andd THEN we proceed to bore a hole in a thick disc of steel and SHRINK it onto another piece of steel-go figure!;)

Black Forest
03-12-2012, 03:26 PM
Welcome to the foray! First of all don't sell any tools. Repeat, Don't sell any tools.

This is not a hobby. This metal working thing is a disease. Incurable for most.

Get all your HoneyDo's done now as in shortly you won't have any time available.

Soon you will be wanting to buy some old German Iron!!!!!!!

Metal working is much better than wood working. If you cut something too short just weld a piece on. Can't do that with wood. If you put a hole in the wrong place just weld it shut and do it over.

lynnl
03-12-2012, 03:41 PM
What might be some good beginner metal projects? Maybe some tools for woodworking or metal working? Other?


Thanks again,
Joe

Recently I read an article about making a marking guage, similar to one sold by Lee Valley Tools (google Veritas Marking Guage).

Can't remember if that was in Home Shop Machinist or one of my two woodworking subscriptions: WoodSmith or ShopNotes.

Seems I regularly see good machining candidates for useful woodworking tools.

garagemark
03-12-2012, 04:16 PM
Black Forest speaks the truth. Metal working IS a disease.

I'm kind of like you. I have a very nice wood shop (just finished a whole kitchen full of custom sized cabinets for the War Wagon). And I am in my 50's and only started making chips at age 50.

I have incorporated turnings into a few wood projects. If you lathe turn lamps or build jewelry boxes, turning metal trim pieces goes very well with, say, walnut. Aluminum is easy to work with and will not try your patience near as much as 316 stainless to start.

I say design and build some pieces using both materials, and then see where it leads. But again, beware. In my case there is just something about metal working that I don't get from wood.

Disclaimer in case she reads this: As long as the War Wagon is alive and changing her house around I'll be making as much, if not more sawdust than metal chips. And that's OK... I guess. :rolleyes:

Welcome to the disease.
Mark

geojoe
03-12-2012, 04:26 PM
Hi Duffy,

I see you are from Gatineau, Quebec. My wife is from Quebec--near Trois Rivieres.

We occasionally get to the Ottawa/Gatineau area but usually go over to her home area.

We always enjoy our visits to Quebec.

Joe

geojoe
03-12-2012, 04:29 PM
Thank you for these ideas.

I hope I can eventually find someone to actually show me some techniques. I think if I get a shove in the right direction, I might actually take to metal more than wood.

I felt that way about blacksmithing but living in the city with limited space has made that a bit difficult.

Thanks again,
Joe