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Wood bearings

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  • #61
    Some 20 years ago
    I say an ad in the newspaper
    for a milling machine, for $100.
    I had to go check it out, and it
    was only a few miles from my
    house. Turns out it was a small
    horizontal benchtop mill. Later
    I was able to identify it as a
    1902 (some say earlier) David
    Pond mill. I bought it and took
    it home. It is a really unique
    piece. Wood pulley and old
    skool hand fitted features.
    The spindle had a key fitted to
    it, and the key had dowel pins
    holding it in its keyseat. Pretty
    cool. It has an indexing wheel
    built in to the saddle that would
    index a very small table, which
    could also be swapped for a
    fair size dovetail vise, which
    mounted to the index post.
    The crank handles were cast
    brass, indicative of the era it
    was made. Anyhow, it came
    with a belt countershaft that had
    wood (oak?) bearing blocks.
    Interesting thing, these blocks
    actually had babbit poured into
    the blocks to form the bearing
    journal. Even fitted with oil holes.
    Pretty unique I thought. I posted
    pictured on PM at the time, and
    a local guy messaged me and
    invited himself over to come look
    at these bearings. Not wanting
    to purchase anything, just he was
    interested in the bearings and
    also the unique mill. He ended up
    being a pretty cool guy and we have
    been friends for 20 years.
    Eventually when I moved, I gave
    my friend the David Pond mill and
    after sitting in his shop for a while,
    he donated it to a local museum
    where it is today.
    So these wood and babbit bearing
    blocks were responsible for connecting
    me with a good friend that I would not
    have had otherwise. This friend really
    has influenced my in my love of
    machines. Years later, he sold me
    his Rockford hydraulic openside planer.
    All because of wood bearings.
    You just never know in life.



    • #62
      Originally posted by JRouche View Post

      Yeah, he is correct. I bought some blocks of Lignum vitae, I collect woods and I was overseas.. Pass port, piece of paper as what I want to decree.
      Naw, I was in the Navy. No pass port required.

      You cant find real lignum anymore. And yes, a great line shaft bearing. FYI No grease needed. JR
      IIRC it is still available:

      STERN TUBE BEARINGS Making history for 165 years in the fastest, most powerful ships and submarines in maritime history while eliminating current EPA compliance issues. Lignum Vitae Water-Lubricated bearings commonly replace composite, plastic, bronze, babbitt and oil filmed bearings. The material is the oldest bearing in service with unmatched longevity in water applications. It has tremendous load […]
      Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe


      • #63
        Its an endangered species, been felled almost to extinction, so trading 'new' lignum vitae is probably illegal in a lot of countries.

        My late father was in the Royal Engineers Docks Operating division, for a while posted to West Africa. He told the story that a piece of lignum vitae was consigned to them, urgently needed for a repair to a war damaged merchant ship, but no one could find it. Eventually, someone realised that a nasty dirty log in the corner of a railway van was the highly valuable item everyone was looking for----.
        'It may not always be the best policy to do what is best technically, but those responsible for policy can never form a right judgement without knowledge of what is right technically' - 'Dutch' Kindelberger


        • #64
          Originally posted by Doozer View Post
          Finally something you can turn on a Harbor Freight lathe without getting chatter ! ! !

          Good one, but you'll still be lacking the accuracy needed for the wood bearing .



          • #65
            Originally posted by JoeLee View Post

            Good one, but you'll still be lacking the accuracy needed for the wood bearing .

            Plastic gears will strip too when your tool takes too deep of a cut


            • #66
              There are often comments on forums mentioning that bowls balls are made from lignum but not sure if that was only 100 years ago.
              This spring I made a bearing for the cricket club field roller, about ten ft long, 2 1/4 in shaft. I just copied the previous one made out fo two bits of 2x4. The hole drill only just gets 1 in deep so need to go in each side of each bit of 2x4. reminds me I must oil it again before the autumn rolling season.


              • #67
                In New England Locust was used in the tail stocks of small dams and as bearings I believe. There was a thread on OWWM a few years ago.