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Rhyolith

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Thought I post a few pictures of two of the beautiful old lathes I have had the pleasure of working with recently (or near in the first case).

Dean Smith & Grace Lathe by Rhyolith, on Flickr

Its Dean Smith & Grace Machine, "type 21".

R0000042 by Rhyolith, on Flickr

I looked up Dean Smith & Grace (DSG) and apparently there one of the best of the best! http://www.lathes.co.uk/dsg/ Their quality control seems to have been completely obessive :shock:

Then we have this one, by the same makers, which I have actually used!

Dean Smith & Grace Lathe (second) by Rhyolith, on Flickr

Its way more accurate than the colchester mascot I am usually using, all the slides are so much less laggy than any other machine I have used.
 

CHJ

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Ohh, the sound of the gearbox chain on rundown in very low gear taking up the load as a finger is used to remove chippings attempts to stop the chuck against the toolpost.

Not mine thank goodness but one of those noises heard across the workshop that remains with you a long time.
 

AES

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Thanks for the link Rhyolith.

WHY is it that UK machine tool manufacturing has gone "phut", when firms like this were producing gear like that?

The same is happening (and has already happened) here BTW. Were/are they TOO good for today's throw-away society? Does that even apply to high-value capital goods rather than to just consumer goods?

I saw a programme once, it may have been Top Gear, maybe not, where the death of UK car manufacturing was discussed. Conclusion was a combination of (in NO particular order please note) labour unrest, poor & lazy management, poor QC, and outdated designs. Much the same could be said of the UK aero industry - from just about "top of the tree" in 1950 to nil except "just" Airbus wings and lots of clever components (NOT to be sniffed at, but NOT "real complete aeroplanes" either). Partly successive Governments' policies (or lack of - applies equally to BOTH parties) in aerospace, but there must be other reasons though.

Even "silly little Switzerland" manufactures niche market (whole) aeroplanes which are exported world wide - including many to the USA! The last time the UK exported new whole aeroplanes to the USA in any numbers was really the Vickers Viscount (1950s design - you can forget the BAC1-11 , the BAe 146 and even the HS 125 in "real" numbers).

This is pure thread drift, sorry folks, AND a drum I've banged before, but it ain't 'arf sad IMO. Yup, I'm just a boring old "fortz" looking back with rose-tinted specs these days! (hammer)
 

Trevanion

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AES":2dewg3g1 said:
WHY is it that UK machine tool manufacturing has gone "phut", when firms like this were producing gear like that?

The same is happening (and has already happened) here BTW. Were/are they TOO good for today's throw-away society? Does that even apply to high-value capital goods rather than to just consumer goods?
The truth of it is that they just became too expensive to produce to make any profit on, I have a CVA lathe which the manufacturers of suffered the fate where the machines were costing more to make than they were selling them for (Which was the cost of a tidy house back in the day) and they went out of business. They were considered at the time of a better quality than the DSG machines but at least DSG is still going! CVA just didn't keep up with the times and the NC, CNC and automatic machines flattened them.

I actually own the machine featured on Lathes.co.uk CVA Page, which I didn't realize until after I bought the machine.


I've got a video here of it running on Youtube.
 

TFrench

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Those DSGs are lovely. There's one keeps popping up on ebay for peanuts that is in a back garden that the guy can't move...
 

Keith 66

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Two strong blokes & a pile of strong timbers & pipe rollers & a turfor & that would be out of that back garden in a day or so. Few years ago a friend & i moved a 3 ton mill into a college, they had just laid new carpets in the corridoors so we had to lay a trackway of 1" plywood for the rollers, that was about 80 yards travel & a lot of corners to go round. All you need then is a Hiab to pick it up. Just dont lift it by the spindle!
 

Phil Pascoe

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Trevanion":1a8b7k7l said:
The truth of it is that they just became too expensive to produce to make any profit on, I have a CVA lathe which the manufacturers of suffered the fate where the machines were costing more to make than they were selling them for (Which was the cost of a tidy house back in the day)
.
I did read somewhere that an original Holzapffel rose engine was the same price as a row of eight terraced houses at the time.
 

Rhyolith

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I think thats as much to do with the houses being cheaper then as the machines more expensive. I remeber reading about wolf valve grinders and how they cost the same as a workmans house each in 1960 I think, which worked out at about £30,000 in todays money... still alot for a little valve grinder but not the £100,000 price tags we are used to now for houses.

Valve Grinder Link: http://www.lathes.co.uk/wolf-valve-grinder/
 

Phil Pascoe

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Certainly. My father was selling bungalows in 1960 for £999. That works out on an inflation calculator to something under £22,000 now - these bungalows are selling now for £180,000. A lot of money nevertheless.
 

woodfarmer

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As said they were built to last forever to a quality it is difficult to get today unless you buy something really exotic. I have a Holbrook lathe, it will still repeat to 2/10ths of a thou even after about 94 years. It is a prized possession but these days since my heart attack I can barely lift the 3 or 4 jaw chuck to change them. So for some time I have been trying to find a home for it such as a railway or industrial museum. Dont want money for it just to I know when I am gone it won't be scrapped. If anyone can find a good home for it I would be greatly pleased.
 

heimlaga

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What a shame that there is the Noth Sea and the Baltic between us......... there always a good home for a good lathe around theese parts.
 

Hugopuk

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I live in Keighley, the home of DSG, my father in law was apprenticed there in the 40s / 50s and went on to design them. I am more of a woodworker myself but after he died last year and none of his daughters were interested in them I did inherit a load of very high end precision tools which I have put to good use.

He did say that some of the machines they made then will still be in use in 100 years they were so good.

I don't think the wife has seen one of the older DSG lathes, I shall show her and I am sure she will show the same enthusiasm in it as she does all the other items I show her, none!
 

TFrench

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woodfarmer":3ga1afwd said:
As said they were built to last forever to a quality it is difficult to get today unless you buy something really exotic. I have a Holbrook lathe, it will still repeat to 2/10ths of a thou even after about 94 years. It is a prized possession but these days since my heart attack I can barely lift the 3 or 4 jaw chuck to change them. So for some time I have been trying to find a home for it such as a railway or industrial museum. Dont want money for it just to I know when I am gone it won't be scrapped. If anyone can find a good home for it I would be greatly pleased.
Your profile says you are in Poitiers- not sure there are many forum members there! If the lathe is in the UK I may be able to help (depending on location)
 

woodfarmer

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Yes am near poitiers, but I brought it here when I moved from Cornwall so it shouldn't be problem to ship back. At the moment the farm is up for sale and when sold will buy a house in uk, probably take one lorry load of things and as last time include the lathe. Can load it here using big tractor (I do mean big)

MY concern is I do not want this lathe scrapped, it is part of our industrial heritage so looking for a good home for it.

The only other alternative would be to sell it and hope the buyer appreciates what he has bought.

 

woodfarmer

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heimlaga":300dblvn said:
What a shame that there is the Noth Sea and the Baltic between us......... there always a good home for a good lathe around theese parts.
The lathe i brought with me to FRance, so it is only a lot of road between us :) a car trailer would be ideal for it.

PS by car trailer I mean a trailer to carry cars not any 500Kilo job. Can load it with tractor.
 

TFrench

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What model holbrook is it? Looks like they range from benchtop to behemoth!
 
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