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Von Wyck 15x60 & introduction

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  • Von Wyck 15x60 & introduction

    Since I'm going to start posting here regularly I should probably say howdy doo. I'm 57 and live in the far north of California. I've been a home machinist since 1979 when I bought the Von Wyck lathe mfg circa 1905. I took a year of tool-machine engineering at Los Angeles Pierce College in 1970. I had a lot of fun with the Von Wyck for about 25 years. I also snagged a very old ratty 10" Atlas that I used for small stuff and speedy stuff. Generally I liked the Atlas as a light duty lathe and it was very accurate with 3C collets. I've walked a great distance with the spirit of old American machinery. It was some grand travels for a time.

    About 1982 I finally got a mill. An Index Model 40H that was made in 1942 and used by Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, Calif for making airplanes for the US Navy. I paid about $1,200 for the Index back then and I still have it and still use it. Its been a fine mill for home use. Usable table size is 8x22" and it weighs 1,200 lbs.

    In 2004 at the age of 52 I had a heart attack and bypass surgery while living in northern Indiana. From then until Sept 2006 my machine shop activities were mostly nothing. I moved to northern Calif to live with my daughter's family in 2006 but it wasn't until Sept 2008 that they had built a dedicated shop for Opa. Its 11 1/2 feet x 17 feet and is attached to the backside of the garage and underneath the new deck. Bright well lit with white painted walls. Its a pretty nice shop.

    In March 2005 before I moved from Indiana I gave the Von Wyck and Atlas to a 34 year old army veteran who lives in Ohio. He was about speechless when I asked him if he wanted the two lathes for nothing.. free. I got my money's worth out of them and I wanted the Von Wyck to go to a good home. It was recently used to turn some Amish buggy wheels and convert them for ball bearing.. clandestinely.

    I bought a new Birmingham 12x36 and have it set up with 5C collets and I'm fairly content with it. It has some irksum habits but then so do wimmin and I still like them.

    I do general machine work. I'm not a rocket scientist and there's a lot I've never done. I make some specialized scope mounts for vintage rifles and I'd like to build a few steam engines among other things. The Enco mill I just bought will go nicely with the Birmingham lathe. It was kinda like out with the old and in with the rest-of-your-life. When you have a close encounter with the Grim One it really helps to put some focus on what you like or don't like about life. I love the time I spend in my shop and I'm still in the process of getting back the ~touch~ that faded since 2004. Its taken a lot of mistakes to get the brain functioning and sending the messages to the hands and fingers but its coming back slowly.


  • #2


    Welcome to the forum. I like your philosophy on life.

    Your comments on "wimmin", irksome habits and machinery is right on. I'm 59 and I still like them too

    Nice looking shop.



    • #3

      Welcome aboard! Great group with wide interests. Like the shop lots of light and should have no trouble getting things in or out of it. Retired Electrician myself. Live west of you on coast.


      • #4

        Great shop. Do you happen to have a few pictures of the scope mounts you build. Its always nice to see gun hardware.

        For your steam engines you might want to check out the"Homemodelenginemachinist" forum, those guy are always building neat engines.



        • #5
          Welcome aboard Dutch, You sound to me one who has got all his priorities stacked up in the correct order for an enjoyable life, I admire your shop and tools, Sad you had to part company with your Van Wyke, looked a good and powerful lathe, It is amazing how these old machines, still gave good service after many years of hard work in industry
          Enjoy the forum life, Me i have been playing with machine tools for about 55 years, Too old to change my habits now


          • #6
            Thank you for the welcome and kind words.

            I'll do a separate post on scope mounts.