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post #1 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Old equipment restoration questions

Hey folks. I've got a bunch of old tools, ranging from metalworking hammers to wrenches to the parts for a (possibly) victorian lathe. All of them are at various stages of rusty. For most of them, a vinegar bath and some Boeshield or similar is all they need, but there are a few I'd like to bring to more of a "like new" condition. Mostly, it's the lathe parts, although there's also a massive metal-working vise. This will be my first "appearance" restoration, and I'd rather not mess it up entirely.

So my question is, what's the right procedure here? Focusing on the lathe, the parts have no remaining paint, and the surface is very slightly pitted. All the parts that are supposed to move do, so I don't want to risk damaging those. I'd like to get it to a smooth paint/enamel finish, if possible. Is there a product that works well for leveling the pits, and letting the surface coat adhere well? Getting rid of the rust I can deal with, but I'm really not sure what to do for the finishing.

Any advice would be appreciated! And I'll try to get some photos up tonight... I thought I had them on my phone, but apparently I was wrong.
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 01:48 PM
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Once metal has gotten to a point where it's pitted with rust the rust seems to always want to come back for a visit. If you are going to paint the pieces sand and clean the metal as best you can and prime it with epoxy primer. Epoxy primer will kill the rust better than anything you could use. Then if the pits still show bondo the pits and sand it smooth. Then if you have gone back to metal in spots epoxy prime it again. From there if you would paint it with an automotive urethane it should stay rust free for ages.

Two issues with the paint: Epoxy primer has a recoat window meaning you have to topcoat it in usually 8 hours or you have to prime it again before applying paint. Automotive urethane paint has an isocyanate hardener in it which is very dangerous and should not be breathed at all. People that work with it use a respirator which is called an air supplied respirator meaning it has a compressor that pumps clean air from somewhere else to the mask so while working with it you only breathe clean air. The stuff will go right through a cartridge respirator.

About all you can do to the areas that don't get painted is to sand and polish the metal out as best you can and oil it.
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! That sounds like the best approach might be to talk to an auto-body shop and see if they're willing to prime and paint it. I definitely don't have the gear or location to deal with urethane paint, and I'm not particularly interested in dealing with anything that toxic anyway.

That said, if I take it one piece at a time epoxy primer in the morning, bondo if necessary and a coat of some sort of paint in the afternoon is entirely doable, so I may give that a try.

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 03:12 PM
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2 issues I see are....

Removing the paint is the first issue. This can be done by sanding or scraping or media blasting. You can remove a lot of rust by media blasting also. I use Evaporust from Harbor Freight for parts that I can submerge in a plastic bin. Then, I've used paint stripper on the enamel and I'm back down to bare metal an everything.

I've found Automotive Industrial Enamel plenty tough enough for hand tools in spray cans from Tractor Supply. The Evaporust gives a nice dark patina, whereas blasting gives a brighter grey look.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 11-01-2017 at 05:52 PM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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As far as I can tell there's no original paint left, at all. It's all a uniform dark grey/brown, and pretty uniformly rough surfaced. Which, now that I think about it, may imply sand-casting rather than rust pitting. I'll pull it out tonight and take a closer look with better light.
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 03:33 PM
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Well, the process is generally treat rust->level surface->paint. Treating the rust is easy, depending on how bad it is a wire when on a brush or a soak in vinegar will do it, but whatever you do you want to make sure the rust is entirely gone and the part is clean

Leveling the surface is a little more work, depending on how bad the surface is pitted. If its just a little rough, odds are the primer will cover everything up pretty well, but if the pits are deeper a little more work is needed. You could always do what a lot of the overseas toolmakers are doing and apply a coat of Hondo to smooth the surface, then sand that yo make it level.

The hardest part is probably actually going to be the painting, and its also the most underestimated. First thing is you HAVE to make sure the surface is well prepped. A smooth surface that is thoroughly degreased and cleaned is a must, any dust or oil on the surface will ruin your paint job. A good primer is also a must, never skip primer, especially not on metal. A good self-etching primer is your best friend here. Selecting the right paint is also a big thing, an automotive paint would probably be best, but an oil-based enamel would be my choice. It may not be quite as durable, but its still amazingly durable and a lot easier to apply.

Pics would help to give concrete advise though!

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post #7 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I'll try to get those tonight. If the pics aren't on my phone, I'll probably need to take new ones, but that's OK.
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 04:35 PM
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I am interested in this.

What make and model is this lathe?

What does the bed look like?

How rusty is the bed?

The bed is the heart of the machine. If it is usable, the lathe may be worth overhauling/restoring, if it isn't, you may have little more than some yard art there.

I am in the middle of restoring 2, 60 year old metal lathes, a Craftsman/Atlas 6 inch and an Atlas TH42 10 inch lathe. The 6 inch needed little more than some paint and bearings. The 10 inch took me 3 machines (2 TH42s and an H54) to gather enough parts to have a machine worth restoring. My point, make sure you have everything you need prior to starting. You may have a machine that is rare. Parts may not be available. Condition report the entire machine. Gather all the needed parts. Start the restoration. You could spend 30, 40, 60 or 100 hours on a machine that you just can't complete because you can't find some un-obtainium part.

Good luck. I look forward to the images.
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-01-2017, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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A little more information, to go with the photos.

All the critical pieces(with one exception) move freely: wheels spin freely, the tailstock extends (and retracts!) smoothly, and all the set screws move as they should. The exception is the one of the bearings in the headstock. I'm also not sure about the headstock: the drive center (I think that's the right name?) looks like it ought to be removable, but doesn't shift under light pressure. Unfortunately, there is no bed. It looks to me like someone detached the smaller parts (headstock, tailstock, and tool rest), and put them in a box along with the posts and pieces to attach them to a bed, and then lost/gave away/threw out the bed. Given the size, I'm figuring to build a bed to mount on an old treadle sewing machine base, and use it for tool handles and other small stuff. It was clearly originally belt drive, and has two sizes of drive wheel for different speeds.

Spinning the head at low speed there's no visible wobble, but of course it may not show up until it's spinning at higher speed.

There's definitely more rust than I recalled, and possibly some paint. I've been unable to find any maker's mark on it, so I have no idea who made it, where it came from, or when it was made. I picked it up when I saw it on etsy for something like $45, listed as "Victorian Lathe Parts". At that price I figured it was worth the risk, since the seller said all the parts moved nicely. That was a year ago, and I'm just now getting my act together to do something with it.

Anyway, on to the photos! My lighting wasn't the best, but here's what I was able to get quickly.

Name:  Lathe - Headstock.jpg
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Name:  Lathe - Tailstock - extended.jpg
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Name:  Lathe - Tailstock - Retracted.jpg
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Size:  42.9 KB

Name:  Lathe - Toolrest.jpg
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Size:  45.1 KB
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post #10 of 15 Old 11-02-2017, 09:46 AM
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I would set up an electrolysis tank. I did that when I restored my '59 Delta drill press, and it worked really well. Here are a couple of websites with good info:
http://antique-engines.com/electrol.asp
http://www.rickswoodshopcreations.co...st_removal.htm
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post #11 of 15 Old 11-02-2017, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerC View Post
I would set up an electrolysis tank. I did that when I restored my '59 Delta drill press, and it worked really well. Here are a couple of websites with good info:
http://antique-engines.com/electrol.asp
http://www.rickswoodshopcreations.co...st_removal.htm
Not a bad idea. My concern would be introducing water into areas I can't easily dry, like the insides of the tailstock. Though presumably there's a way to dismantle that, which would help. Hmmm.
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post #12 of 15 Old 11-02-2017, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amckenzie4 View Post
Not a bad idea. My concern would be introducing water into areas I can't easily dry, like the insides of the tailstock. Though presumably there's a way to dismantle that, which would help. Hmmm.
You'll have the same problem with any liquid-based de-rust method, be in vinegar, electrolysis, or other chemical rust removals. The cure for it is pretty simple, an oven at about 300f. Evaporates the water before it causes rust, always works for me.

Speaking of electrolysis though, for my money vinegar works just as well with a lot less setup for cases like this. Electrolysis is usually faster and doesn't have the same risk of dissolving good metal, but as long as you aren't forgetting your pieces in the vinegar for a month its really a non-issue for a project like this

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post #13 of 15 Old 11-02-2017, 09:46 PM
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If you are thinking of actually restoring those parts, remember that they are cast iron, were probably made green sand molds, and were never smooth as glass. Smoothing them too much will ruin their original look.

If you just want to make pretty, then you have some good advice already.

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
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post #14 of 15 Old 11-03-2017, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shop_Rat View Post
If you are thinking of actually restoring those parts, remember that they are cast iron, were probably made green sand molds, and were never smooth as glass. Smoothing them too much will ruin their original look.

If you just want to make pretty, then you have some good advice already.
This is a good point. At the moment I'm figuring to start with some other things I have (probably some of the hammers), and see how they look after a vinegar bath. I'll likely try Bondo on one, and just primer and paint on another. They won't be exactly the same, since they're steel instead of cast iron, but it should be adequate as a sample.

I'm definitely not doing a full restoration to factory condition: Mostly I'd like them to be protected and look nice enough to keep in the house, where they won't be exposed to quite such a temperature range as they would be in the shop.
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post #15 of 15 Old 11-03-2017, 03:50 PM
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You can also get an amazing number of results by going to various machinist sites. Many of these guys restore, improve and modify machines in their sleep. They also have looooonnng conversations about rust and oxidation on a regular basis. Below is a friendly, as well as informative site:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/forum.php

Someone may even know exactly what you have since many, like me, are woodworkers as well as machine enthusiasts.

Cheers

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
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