Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lathe update:

I have a motor! Dad had a 1/2-horse 1725rpm washer motor with nothing to do at the moment, and since the daughter was visiting over the weekend she brought it back. I'm going to bolt the lathe to a piece of heavy plywood as a base, and mount a 'paddle' for the motor: another piece of plywood hinged on the side by the lathe so the weight of the motor will keep the belt tight. Og suggested a place to get bits for cheap(ordered), I found a website that had the original manual as JPGs of each page, Gerry in comments suggested a couple of books and Keith suggested another book and some more sites.

Over time this is going to get involved; lots to learn. And this is kind of like firearms, in that if you don't watch it you can wind up spending far more on accessories than you did for the lathe. A three-jaw chuck here, lathe dogs there(don't know if they bark or what, but I'm assured I'll need them), a drill chuck for the tailstock and so on.

I went by Lowes this afternoon for bolts, nuts and washers. And hinges, for the paddle. This crap just keeps getting more expensive in a sneaky way; the price on the bags of machine screws & nuts is the same, but they have fewer in them than used to. Happily, I've got a piece of 3/4" plywood for the base, as that stuff is high, too.

Went to the range today(taking my time on the lathe), and got to shoot something I'd never handled before: .416 Rigby. Guy had a new Dakota rifle & Leupold scope, getting in a last bit of practice before heading for Africa Friday(the bastard). The cartridge makes a .30-06 look undernourished; 400-grain softpoint at about 2300 fps. He offered a cartridge and I took it. Let me put it this way: I wanted to be upright so I rested both elbows on the bench, and I now have a scrape on both of them. That thing speaks with authority.

Didn't help matters that the thing only weighed about as much as my Garand; and that was with the mercury recoil-reducer in the stock. I understand the "You'll carry it more than shoot it" argument, but if I had such a beast I'd rather carry a couple more pounds around. Damn glad it had a Limbsaver(accurate name) recoil pad.

While not using someone else's expensive ammo, I tried out some more cast bullet loads in the Garand. Bottom line: either I just can't find the magic combination, or this rifle just doesn't like cast. All function the action properly, and when I stripped and cleaned it I found no trace of lead fouling, but the best group was a bit over five inches at 100 yards. At this point I think I'll stick with the 150-grain gas-checked bullet for when I want to shoot it at the indoor range or stick to the 50-yard line, and use jacketed for longer ranges.

One thing to finish cleaning, and I think I'll then get out a bottle of Dad's home brew.


PeterT said...

I don't know what level of accuracy you are going for, but I wouldn't use just 3/4" plywood for the table top... Double & glue would probably work, and pay attention to the stability of the leg system as well.... but especially the top. It doesn't take much flexing to through things off substantially.

Best of luck to you,


PeterT said...

Duh, /throw/through/

Firehand said...

What I'm doing is mounting the lathe and motor on the 3/4", then to use it putting that on top of a solid bench; this is just to keep things together and aligned, and so I can move it out of the way.

You're right, if it were a free-standing bench I'd double the plywood to make it as rigid as possible.

Keith said...