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Thread: How long....?

  1. #1
    Ron LaDow Guest

    Question How long....?

    I'm looking at the wear patterns on the lathe bed-ways. Where the carriage always is (near the center), the ways show a smooth even pattern. At the ends, where it hardly ever is, the ways show a 'wave' wear pattern that tells me they were never really flat.
    It's 20+ years old. The sticker claims 'hardened and ground bed ways'. I work to .0005", 'cause that's as close as I can reliably measure.
    How long do I get to keep this thing before it needs straightening (grinding) or replacement? Probably cheaper to replace it, correct?

  2. #2


    I am looking at a very old machine right now and wondered some of the same myself.

    Would you check it with a very good straightedge? Or run a long cut on a small diam(1") aluminum rod and measure with a micrometer to check for variations?


  3. #3
    Ron LaDow Guest


    I can only barely see any light under the best straight edge I have. Certainly can't get any feeler gauge material in there. I just turned a bar which was within the .0005" limit at 12" length.
    Point is, I think it's fine now. I'm just curious how long it will stay that way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2001


    If you don't abuse it, longer than you need to care about.

    See also "Rollie's Dad's Method of Lathe Alignment" at

    It is *THE* way to set up and/or check a lathe. I described the technique several years ago in an article in (I think) Projects In Metal, but John's description is at least as good if not better than mine.

    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

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