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View Full Version : I'm the proud owner of a Rivett 8" Precision



mars-red
07-28-2014, 09:32 PM
Look what followed me home this past weekend! I feel truly privileged to have this thing, this is one of a handful of lathes that I have absolutely revered over the years. She's going to clean up beautifully (some of the accessories are going to take some effort though).

I don't know if any of you guys have tried moving one of these before, but the bed itself is about twice as heavy as you'd think, looking at it. I read on an old forum post somewhere where someone claimed the bed by itself weighs 225 pounds... I believe it. When my back recovers, I'll get it up onto an old metal lathe bench and get some power to it. I've got a 1/2hp 3 phase motor and will be running it with a VFD.

Most of the important bits - don't know if I'm missing any change gears but a buddy of mine offered to let me borrow the correct gear cutters to make new ones if necessary.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Xw2OLEFi7nM/U9T6_AFMXGI/AAAAAAAACNE/5W5Sv988OvI/s720/bed1.jpg

Some of the extras, including 4NS collets (in varying states of neglect, from nearly new to nearly unusable), nice little independent 4 jaw chuck, faceplate, etc.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-6DRZ-oB23hM/U9T6-f1e-gI/AAAAAAAACM8/kDAmrjMUsTI/s720/extras.jpg

Also have a lever collet closer in addition to the drawtube. If you look, you'll see the cross slide has a corner broken off the bottom half of the top slide... thus the replacement shown in the picture.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xMCPsiPD68c/U9T7AoKU03I/AAAAAAAACNQ/v-HeOZjhdlI/s1024/cross%2520slide%2520and%2520collet%2520closers.jpg

A closer view of the back-geared headstock:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ej7PzicRqXM/U9T6_2IAb7I/AAAAAAAACNI/Fjudx-LhTz4/s912/headstock.jpg

Obviously this one doesn't have the dynamite little quick change gear box (was that even offered before they became 608s? I'm not sure), but it has power cross feed, which will be a new thing for me. I love the separate power feed mechanism, preserving the leadscrew for threading. The rack for manual traverse is tucked away, hidden underneath the bed. It has a nifty little carriage stop that engages with the feed clutch on the apron, to disengage the clutch automatically - I've never used a machine with that, either.

What really blows me away about this thing is that, with the exception of the change gears, every single piece of the machine, even down to every screw, shows no evidence of manufacture. There's not a machining or tool mark (except for the scraped surfaces, obviously) to be seen anywhere. Each piece looks as though it was simply willed into existence, rather than manufactured. Just incredible. I e-mailed Tony Griffith, because his page on the 8" Precision / 608 says he'd like to hear from any 8" Precision owners. I was especially curious to know if he had any way to date the machine. The fellow I bought it from thought it was from 1908, but I'm not sure what that was based on (he's kind of a Rivett fanatic, so I don't have much reason to doubt him). The only serial number reference I've seen goes back to the beginning of the 608s, and no earlier. I'm not sure if this thing even has a serial number - I haven't inspected the whole of the bed yet.

If you couldn't tell, I'm pretty excited!

achtanelion
07-28-2014, 10:55 PM
Even if you didn't post a price, you still suck. :-)

Having seen some of the work you've turned out, I'm interested to see what comes from this!

winchman
07-28-2014, 11:10 PM
That looks great.

Did it come as a kit, or did you have to take it apart for transport/cleaning?

gcude
07-28-2014, 11:24 PM
That lathe just found a truly capable and deserving caretaker. I admire the work you have shown in the past. Congrats on your new baby.

mars-red
07-28-2014, 11:36 PM
Even if you didn't post a price, you still suck. :-)

Having seen some of the work you've turned out, I'm interested to see what comes from this!

Haha thanks! I won't say the price, but I will say it was probably half what it should have been - my buddy cut me a royal deal, for sure.


That looks great.

Did it come as a kit, or did you have to take it apart for transport/cleaning?

How you see it is how I got it, but I would have had to take it apart for transport and cleaning anyway. Everything looks pretty straightforward so far, but I haven't tried to figure out how to disassemble the headstock yet. It would be nice to find some info on that but I haven't come across anything yet.

Making room is going to be the tough part - I have more lathes that you could shake a stick at, and 2 of them need to go before I can really get the Rivett up and running.

mars-red
07-28-2014, 11:37 PM
That lathe just found a truly capable and deserving caretaker. I admire the work you have shown in the past. Congrats on your new baby.

That's very kind of you to say Gary, thank you!

J Tiers
07-29-2014, 08:26 AM
There is a pretty complete Army manual for a version of the 608, which should do you some good. Has disassembly and reassembly described pretty well (for the Army) and much should apply to that. You need to dig around for it on this site. Should be in teh "screwcutting lathes" section.

http://www.rivettlathe.com/

The headstock assembly isn't hard to take apart and deal with, particularly since yours is a lot cleaner than the 608 I am still working on.

Nice that you have the topslide toolholder. If you run across accessories (hah) quite a few of them mount in that topslide holder in place of the toolholding cylinder/collet

mars-red
07-29-2014, 10:54 AM
There is a pretty complete Army manual for a version of the 608, which should do you some good. Has disassembly and reassembly described pretty well (for the Army) and much should apply to that. You need to dig around for it on this site. Should be in teh "screwcutting lathes" section.

http://www.rivettlathe.com/

The headstock assembly isn't hard to take apart and deal with, particularly since yours is a lot cleaner than the 608 I am still working on.

Nice that you have the topslide toolholder. If you run across accessories (hah) quite a few of them mount in that topslide holder in place of the toolholding cylinder/collet

Thanks J! I had come across that site before, but didn't realize that documentation was available there.

In theory, I like the eccentric cylindrical toolholder a lot - we shall see if I like it as well in practice. The only collet I have for the tool holder right now is a fairly large round one. I can make sub-collets for it to hold my smaller round and square tools but I have some larger square bits that wouldn't quite fit... so I may need to make a new tool holding collet to fit it, if I decide against using a QCTP.

J, I ran across some of your posts (on some other forum, I think?) about your 608 project. You had scraped the cross slide and the top of the saddle, I think. Did you ever get into scraping the bed? How would one go about spotting the surfaces on a bed like this one? I've turned into a little bit of a scraping geek, but I haven't attempted to scrape any large or inter-related surfaces yet.

Doozer
07-29-2014, 03:49 PM
I had a 4NS 608 non QC that I gave away to a friend.
It was missing a few change gears and misc little bits.
I thought it was to much trouble to track this stuff down
so I gave it to someone else to love for a while. They are
neat lathes, but I had others, so I did not need it, as
neat as it was.

-Doozer

sasquatch
07-29-2014, 05:46 PM
Congrats, that looks like a sweet lathe!!

mattthemuppet
07-29-2014, 07:07 PM
congrats Max, that'll be a beautiful and very capable machine once you've finished with it

sandiapaul
07-29-2014, 09:45 PM
if you are not on the 608 Yahoo group, do so..there are several CD's on info you can order, the details are on the group. Good luck with it, great lathes, I have had 5 over the years...

mars-red
07-29-2014, 09:49 PM
Thanks again everyone!

I found a deal on a new surplus 1/2hp 3 phase motor, and have also ordered a small Teco VFD. Both are supposed to arrive on Thursday.

mars-red
07-29-2014, 09:54 PM
if you are not on the 608 Yahoo group, do so..there are several CD's on info you can order, the details are on the group. Good luck with it, great lathes, I have had 5 over the years...

Thanks, I think I'll go check out that group right now!

J Tiers
07-29-2014, 09:58 PM
J, I ran across some of your posts (on some other forum, I think?) about your 608 project. You had scraped the cross slide and the top of the saddle, I think. Did you ever get into scraping the bed? How would one go about spotting the surfaces on a bed like this one? I've turned into a little bit of a scraping geek, but I haven't attempted to scrape any large or inter-related surfaces yet.

There was a progress thread I had going here, but it seemed to get very little interest, so I discontinued posting to it...

So far, the entire slide setup has been gone through, a new crosslide screw, with bushings, has been made and installed, and that part has been re-assembled and declared "done". Some other work has been completed, and the next item is the bed. It cannot be avoided any longer, it is "up next" and that's about the size of it.

The bed is a problem, as you know, due to the shape. Developing a strategy is an issue, and depends on a good assessment and survey of current status. Which brings me to issue #2....

That is that I need a longer straightedge to credibly work on it. I keep getting leads on them, but they turn out to be overpriced, plus often appearing to need a complete re-scrape. Since the cost is in the labor and accuracy, I have not bought any of the ones on offer yet. Why pay top price, and still have to correct the problems caused by the prior owner? I would not consider ebay for one, even if I had an account. The seller would probably wrap it in a single layer of cardboard, and stick on a label....while not insuring it, even if I pay for that adder.

So the bed is stalled for the moment.... I do have a number of other projects, but I would like to get the 608 out of the way....

mars-red
08-13-2014, 10:18 PM
Just a quick update. Feels like it took forever, but I finally got her up and running. I had to pull the spindle to install the belt anyway, so it made sense to completely disassemble and clean the headstock at the same time. In order to clean out the front dovetailed ways properly I needed to remove the saddle/apron, and since I had the apron off it made sense to go ahead and disassemble/clean it as well. Cleaning the leadscrew was tedious.

I messed around with turning a piece of 1/2" stainless, to get a feel for it:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-F-5Hf6Ww6Oo/U-v6rMyeXHI/AAAAAAAACO8/f3fywiV0xWw/s1152/first%2520chips.jpg

She sure is nice to use. One thing i need to do is make some adapters to use my square turning tools in the eccentric tool holder, but for now I had a broken end mill with 1/2" shank that I ground into a turning tool, and it worked really well.

She'll look even nicer once I go over the cross slide and tailstock, and generally clean up around the machine and get stuff organized.

Tony Ennis
08-13-2014, 10:34 PM
Awesome. Grats on your lathe!

Errol Groff
08-14-2014, 10:54 AM
There is some good Rivett info on the NEMES website.

http://neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books/Rivett_Lathes/

Errol Groff

mattthemuppet
08-14-2014, 03:07 PM
There was a progress thread I had going here, but it seemed to get very little interest, so I discontinued posting to it...

that's a shame, I was interested in your progress just didn't have anything to add so didn't post.

Mars - looking good! What a great size lathe for the home shop. Do you think you'll be using collets only or will a chuck be one there at some point?

mars-red
08-14-2014, 11:23 PM
There is some good Rivett info on the NEMES website.

http://neme-s.org/Shaper%20Books/Rivett_Lathes/

Errol Groff

Thanks Errol, there is some great info there! I especially enjoyed reading the piece on the company history. Very interesting.


Mars - looking good! What a great size lathe for the home shop. Do you think you'll be using collets only or will a chuck be one there at some point?

Thanks! I like using collets whenever I can, but I did get a nice little independent 4 jaw chuck with the machine that cleaned up great. The maximum capacity of the 4NS collet is 5/8", from what I read. I'd like to add to the collets I have to make up 1/4" through 5/8", by 64ths. I think that selection would suit my needs pretty well. I'll just need to keep my eyes peeled and save my pennies.

mars-red
09-11-2017, 01:17 PM
Exhuming this thread because I just discovered the serial number on the Rivett 8" Precision. I read somewhere that serial numbers on the 608s, at least in some cases, were stamped into the bed, in the flat below and between the bed ways at the tailstock end. Cursory inspections made it appear as though there was nothing but a rough cast surface there. I was cleaning it and happened to wipe between the ways there, where there was a puddle of oil, and the oil wiped away the rough black surface that I had assumed was a cast surface. Underneath was a machined surface, so I used some solvent to wipe away more of the black stuff along the length. At the end of it was stamped "20". Being an 8" Precision, I knew it was a fairly early machine, but that's a lower number than I expected. All I knew about the year of manufacture was that, based on the name "Rivett Lathe Mfg Co" on the nameplate and engraved into the end of the bed, it had to be between 1903 and 1912. After discovering the serial number, I got curious enough to pull off the nameplate. I knew to expect Higgins to have scratched his name and some sort of indication of the year on the back of the plate. Sure enough, Higgins put his name and "1910" on the back of the plate. The 8" Precision began sometime in the 1890s from what I understand, so assuming the serial numbers were sequential, I guess that means they were averaging about one of these per year at that point? Seems crazy.

Anyway, here are photos of the plate and the serial number. There is another number scratched into the plate, all by itself down in the corner, "9". Was hard to tell what it was at first, but comparing it with the "9" in the "1910", there's no doubt. I wonder if that was the month of the year? I'm going to post this up in the 608 group as well.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/jkl34jcJHDoXjR6-i7WwQlZ7YJDAw-QoiwEZ8HtJV9F6esWsu5J7s0f0hAWQBZ3EISb9_yiJ8Zg2eb7w GRDHL3ngIaXXJgUQeFhvDlSyXMuqULm7p5v6IVxIduCIcFGw9u MKuaynoZ5TL17l8xddsY3m88jIhKrB8JbUiNNV9XbUtmb8WisO IKEwIuv4NXTDQG1DgzKtEtBn8CQ3TyqSRZsP_TNz0-WCczQ1iPfl3Q_W4vfBM-9Mh0f8YM-77oUy7VLNEfevnpE2xOsUTqrIfzbT7_6hkQVOWOdZV4Ox2dNl4 56q2HzVUf2BN_G-lSrLIzWBvFF_98g79POZReuN5nmNdc9fCnDzYyJVDNl92QShOV _Fecjw3PN1UBsiWsPN-VLYQj42r1MBu6w7QAgJZ5fnFBJ-IDASHVJXxfc3GEkB_M1a-O4at53YGhj6L6smXRayDo0SUVxHmqVRgEjYb5-SNLls7pg4RMh0EcdTBjQnE7zFBmtAdpNy38JFDhoqqECHLDC_g 11IfJrlkzSn9TPzJvalsT5yshLgaCTksTDiMpKjzbw4qA8Ms5Z eoxfa8FNKvPl2r5EUxAztY-xRtbnaXGSFVKmxBbEH0ceiiQ=w1232-h924-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/BEFCgeNI-p6vKvAACPcHpoFFgdaSHVJJNkdzT8XEHVsMhTWNXOOSnzqOt2f FrPvwqWx62CvKozIaYrIXjykr9UOTXiJikJPWL8WQIXX2RL2ld QqDap4dRbgl0uWxY2WaU1Lb44nNLCQE_iGZk3p9YDj8F3JQfCl 3u2UivuGWVKB5VzRvPjTGsUNDLWMbtVv003gu7Wq8jHUxSTAiY ME4w2xYxT-aCkv04WNTGKvEVSVq92SyrGRwJ-fVj4wFY-438--bVowlVKMwRMHBifMVmxhQObSqZFBwm6iRR5ZVsoCyhOCsE5v2I rh9qXCA3YItwv_Od8w4eKa3GoJsF0NCCTBSXBluH_hY0UnGLgr oLjmvR6mcK6V8PYOgbi4orCDqmpUxnN3UYh6v_IyElXIHeYaZZ YQxbNXRrLaZ-eT5J4GSyoLFyoPEYJ79dwXw_l1cIO7V4Nv7AFQfmO5BIIPq4Nz-2aeoPxOzeoTb65s5V_NsSmIi_1Eij2Hazj_HQo7eJiI6A-4tOitRg6vLLSPcgxakFyckqW4EWPLfw6B8zDsrdbixlRVE4R6k kN00EOZC6N7xNaM_EXH5tgmk-Z6MGuUP5_-H41oOrU7bOYd1uA=w1232-h924-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_Z8fchhvmZZpe4Ggl9bKbImye_byTtHxJFCTmWpJak1WW0jQb8 n-9dJHAWStsQ-XxADMdcJYkyiLbAXXxtGK3ohc_Ad3EZxgal-AjsHEHRUdf9ZeTqnePkxFGbN2Z35xybznm-Jo9_R4Yljp88r81xO2kgNGCRRSosRoJMhUCT9N5ol7GRy6dq2R ZJIHd-gUFl_zMg97ECcVoYoKctdI2KPP7_QyLt0URaxe0RFoWT8XLQQl vKpfUlpf0akolPdDiIMOXOxQWr4Mry1CE4NMkyPzGp46IqVbdF Ec-Q2dIMh5P1D-cmZXLcqDEPebdMHfJ53OimeI7VOxetUwN3zf1VmRxTtg-Dh9_Wv8gbsuTrh_mmZGZq4IfU_23gCHqaGRei7RqXRw1Ti_Qq1 h95al20XKb53TeNbfhVwNP7tndEcrfMFSDmIkRbPBh-Jcy0UbCydak4zvcBI_z7iGs79_C6mBheDo80GZVu0Kk4B3yy-KYWo5ha8L36Gr2t1KV_cHtK5d5_pnJXrf825sPw653Q-QtPzkdF3XYKs610w-0lvZvqyN8mDg5AK-UyCivCmhNoKr6pMqxr4K50jYnxQiiTjEB-zwvEx7B3__POmM7Ff27SIhxnWit4FOuk_GGc7AqBg6UXGqobmn g9EYn7pMMTJ0OWfTIky3n_k=w1232-h924-no

danlb
09-11-2017, 02:20 PM
#20 of 1910??? #20 of that month? Hard to say.

Dan

Mcgyver
09-11-2017, 04:47 PM
The 8" Precision began sometime in the 1890s from what I understand, so assuming the serial numbers were sequential, I guess that means they were averaging about one of these per year at that point? Seems crazy.

I'm going to post this up in the 608 group as well.


good luck.....there is not universal opinion there.

Most say they are the serial number, stamped between the ways at the end of the bed. Some counter they were mfg assembly lot numbers but that seems off, given how sequential the numbers are found in that same spot. One guy I know had owned 8 of them, a real fan, and was convinced the number at that location was the serial number. At some point the name changed from Precision 8 to a 608. These lathes were very pricey as you know and they did not make 1000's per year. You lathe is definitely made in 1910 and its conceivable that it was the 20th 608 made (after the name change From Precision 8)

http://www.rivettlathe.com/

Mines from the late 1800's, the plate is "Faneuil Watch Tool Company" before the change to Rivett. Its stamped No. 1

Dan_the_Chemist
09-11-2017, 10:20 PM
I don't know if any of you guys have tried moving one of these before, but the bed itself is about twice as heavy as you'd think, looking at it. I read on an old forum post somewhere where someone claimed the bed by itself weighs 225 pounds... I believe it.

It is hard to how big the bed is because there isn't anything in the picture to give it scale... :) Perhaps some common object, like a ... oh ... wheat grain, or a kitten (Imperial, not metric kitten). Dig around, maybe you can find something.

Two hundred and twenty five pounds. Yes, that is heavy. ;)

http://i.imgur.com/a650LYa.jpg?1

Dan

J Tiers
09-11-2017, 10:41 PM
There were only about 2000 608 machines ever made, from the serial numbers. Mine, a 5C type, is around sn1850 or so, and dates to 1946.

The number of 8" precision machines may be comparable.

As for the bed weight, iron is 450lb per cubic foot. Assume the bed is a solid bar of the same width, height, and length. Would that be 225 lb of iron?

Then figure the deductions for recesses and slots in the bed.