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1943 Sidney Lathe Partial Restore

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  • 1943 Sidney Lathe Partial Restore

    Well after watching vectorwarbirds and 86turbodsl (GJ and practicalmachinist) get their war lathes (and wanting one for a long time), I just couldn't take it anymore and dad and I picked up this 1943 Sidney 16x54. Dad was the first to see in on FB marketplace, he wasn't even gonna tell me about it as it looked skabby and huge (it is huge). I had to give him a scolding on that one as this lathe is of about the same quality as a Monarch. Built in the same town, and designed by the same guy, so I've been told.

    It's the 16 speed model with the headstock full of herringbone gears. Gorgeous inside if you've never seen one. Very quiet too. While I was there poking around, I noticed the seller had the original steady. He was thinking about adapting it to his new lathe and didn't metion it in the add. He tossed it in for free, which really sweetened the deal.

    I inspected it under power, though I didn't do a hugely wonderful job inspecting it, I forgot to look at a lot of things. It's got busted up handles, the feed clutches don't hold, the cross slide leadscrew bracket is busted and there is quite a nocking from the QCGB at higher speeds. It's got a decent amount of wear and damage, but I'm confident we will be making good parts before spring.

    I know you guys aren't as interested in videos as I am from my last restoration so I'll try post more photos.

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    21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
    1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

  • #2
    Day Zero:

    The lathe was about 150 miles away, but the seller had it totally ready to go and already rigged when we got there. He had it between a two post car lift with two arms under the headstock casting in the access panel holes, one arm under the chip pan, and the other pulling on a chain rapped under the chip pan. I know you aren't supposed to lift by that, but thankfully these old lathes aren't Chinese pot metal and it didn't bend at all. He had about 30 feet in front of his shop door, and the truck and trailer were about 40 ft long, but I got super lucky and backed it right under first try. From the initial lift to setting down on the trailer was 15 minutes, tops. That was pretty awesome, lifting these can be stressful. Dad's poor dying Isuzu NPR is very short on power for such a journey, I was flat out for a considerable portion of the journey, but we made it home with no issues.
    21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
    1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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    • #3
      Day One:

      Dad started off with the pressure washer and removing weight (and things that need work) while I started prepping the unloading area. The more we dug the more damage we found. Nothing to cause any regrets yet, but it will certainly need some work. The pressure washer reveled a large crack in tailstock housing where the spindle is. It's all the way deep (about 5/8") and 3-4" long. That will be tig or gas brazed. The wingies on the cross slide bracket will be cut off and new steel ones brazed on. The tailstock spindle has been butchered with a drill. Someone made their own ejection slot and drilled some other holes for good measure. I hope the taper is ok. The included 12" 4 jaw is entirely clapped out. It might function but I don't know how well. Jaws are very wiggly. Dad had a fantastic identical replacement a few years ago, but sold it as we didn't have a machine for it. Oh well, there are more out there.

      Lots of machine work too. The bushings for the carriage rods will need to be remade. Same for the leadscrew bushings. Tailstock nut is missing half it's threads, so there is another thing to do. It did not come with a motor, and the original motor pulley is something like 1 3/8 with a very well made (almost invisible) reducer down to some bastard size. I will need to press it out and make a new one. I guess it's finally time to get some keyway broaches and make my new keyways. Dad just got a 5 ton Dake arbor press so that should go well.

      The original motor was an 1140 RPM 3 phase Westinghouse, we will be replacing it with a period correct 5hp 1750RPM repulsion-induction single-phase motor as that is what we have on hand. That will give us a nice little speed increase up to around 830 RPM in high gear.

      This was originally supposed to be just a refubish, but now it looks like we will be working on everything but the motor, and paiting is as well since there is almost nothing left. So I'll call this a simi-restoration.

      No new photos yet as the light was very low today, but I promise there will be some to come.
      21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
      1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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      • #4
        It does have some resemblance to a Monarch.

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        • #5
          Sidney made some darn good lathes. But that thing looks like a boat anchor if I ever saw one. Definitely going to be a labor of love... One has to wonder what kind of abuse that thing saw to have so many issues. Lathes in this class are typically as close to "bullet proof" as one can find. You have to be a seriously ham-fisted operator to break a tailstock housing unless there was a flaw from manufacturing.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Fasttrack View Post
            Sidney made some darn good lathes. But that thing looks like a boat anchor if I ever saw one. Definitely going to be a labor of love... One has to wonder what kind of abuse that thing saw to have so many issues. Lathes in this class are typically as close to "bullet proof" as one can find. You have to be a seriously ham-fisted operator to break a tailstock housing unless there was a flaw from manufacturing.
            It was cheap. At least the headstock internals are good. Honestly I think a lot of our projects are worse, but this one definitely got worse the more we dug. A guy I follow on instagram said he used a crane to remove a part but he forgot to remove the center and sheared it right off. Doing something like that could definitely crack a tailstock. I have no clue how they broke the handles. Definitely some ham fisters as you say.
            21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
            1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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            • #7
              Awesome TMB! Makes my old soul happy to see our Greatest Generations machines saved and loved in this time. I look at your machine and mine and think about all the men, women and machines that worked our country through World War II, people like my Father and Mother and millions more like them. Super cool you got this. I have been debating if I should restore the finish on my yet to arrive Monarch or leave it just as is. I usually go OCD and renew the paint and so forth but this time I think is will be better off with a good cleaning and leave the War Finish as is. Old battle ax and all. Looks like yours has its original gray paint under that red, would be interesting to get it back to that finish I think. Anyway glad we can inspire each other to save these historical machines for future generations (hopefully) to appreciate. Cheers brother!

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              • #8
                Another machine built like a brick s---house. Good luck with the restoration. http://www.lathes.co.uk/sidney/

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                • #9
                  fabulous, keep the pics coming!

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                  • #10
                    Love LOVE love it !

                    -D
                    DZER

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fasttrack View Post
                      Sidney made some darn good lathes. But that thing looks like a boat anchor if I ever saw one
                      -I hate to keep hijacking TMB's threads but I took this, which had spent however many years out in the Alaskan weather, only partially covered by a seriously-decayed blue tarp...

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                      And in less than three years of occasional and part-time work, turned it into this:

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                      One has to wonder what kind of abuse that thing saw to have so many issues. Lathes in this class are typically as close to "bullet proof" as one can find.
                      -Mine had it's share of ham-fisted users over the years, I actually know some of them. Best we can tell, mine was at one point scrapped, and then rescued and rebuilt. When I got it, it had the wrong compound, the wrong taper attachment, had three broken gears in the QCGB, both 'box levers were broken, two of the three speed range levers were broken, the oil pump had been replaced by some probably-aircraft unit and badly plumbed, the tailstock handwheel had been shattered and badly brazed back together, etc. etc.

                      If anyone's interested, I have a full blow-by-blow over on PM: https://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...gfield-284096/

                      And while it all took some time and and a little skill, apart from accessories and tooling (I bought a new chuck, a used Aloris toolpost, etc.) it didn't actually cost all that much.

                      Doc.
                      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by vectorwarbirds View Post
                        Awesome TMB! Makes my old soul happy to see our Greatest Generations machines saved and loved in this time. I look at your machine and mine and think about all the men, women and machines that worked our country through World War II, people like my Father and Mother and millions more like them. Super cool you got this. I have been debating if I should restore the finish on my yet to arrive Monarch or leave it just as is. I usually go OCD and renew the paint and so forth but this time I think is will be better off with a good cleaning and leave the War Finish as is. Old battle ax and all. Looks like yours has its original gray paint under that red, would be interesting to get it back to that finish I think. Anyway glad we can inspire each other to save these historical machines for future generations (hopefully) to appreciate. Cheers brother!
                        Thanks Vector! I would keep your original paint, I love the slightly used look. The orange on this one is not the top coat, there was paint over that done so poorly it's all gone. Even though I didn't mind the orange, most all of it flaked off from the pressure washer so it's gotta go now.

                        So, ready for some pictures of the carnage?


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                        The thread dial housing was snapped. Like, how do you even do that?

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                        Tailstock tail piece is busted.

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                        One of many broken handles.

                        Note the second break was not at the braze joint.

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                        More whyyyy? I didn't wind the ram far enough out to see this as it went very freely.
                        21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                        1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post

                          -I hate to keep hijacking TMB's threads but I took this, which had spent however many years out in the Alaskan weather, only partially covered by a seriously-decayed blue tarp...
                          I welcome the theft. If it brings old lathe pictures out of the woodwork, awesome. I've noticed you've put in a lot of effort into derelict machines over the years. Truely a labor of love. This one isn't as mint (or anywhere close) as the camelback, but it's far from the scrap yard AFAIAC.
                          This forum limits me to 5 pictures per post and I would like to host them here so they are visible as long as the forum exists. So more posts it is.

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                          Forgot to open up my aperture outside. Sorry. The weather has taken a turn for the worse and it was sleeting the whole time taking these photos so I tried to limit the water getting on my camera.

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                          Jesus. What is with these guys and playing whack a mole on the handles. The one in the background isn't broken but it is wallowed out and needs boring and new parts.

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                          Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_7024S.jpg Views:	0 Size:	120.9 KB ID:	1842687 They didn't get them all, but most. At least the carriage handwheels are all straight. I see those often bent from droppage, whacking with a forklift, etc.

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                          These ears will be cut off and have steel brazed in place. That was noticeable even from the facebook photos so I expected this repair.
                          21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                          1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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                          • #14
                            Willing to bet some of the breakage was caused by heavy workpieces falling off a forklift or something like that. I've seen it happen.

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                            • #15
                              crikey, that'll keep you busy for a while! Doesn't look like rust will be too much of an issue though.

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