Re: 1954 9" model A headstock bearings (long winded reply)

John Losch


To all:

My thanks to all who replied to my initial inquiry.  All replies were helpful, and told me things I wouldn’t have though of myself.  The consensus was to loosen the cap screws, and I did.  The job went smoothly, and the essentials are done.  I need to clean some of the externals of the headstock, and put them back to complete the job.  

I was originally concerned that the front headstock bearing was not taking oil.  I now know two reasons, and one ain’t in the books.  One would be waxing, or other deterioration of the feeder wicks to the spindle.  The other is that the lathe is not going to take oil when it doesn’t need it.  After seventy years at the bench, I am now retired.  My Southbend never had to work very hard.  It was used for making and repairing clock and instrument parts: all light work.  Now it is used mostly for tinkering in my shop, and occasional teaching.  The lathe is also retired.  We both eat and drink less than when we were younger and more active.  

I did find one feature that I have not seen in the literature.  There is no machined flange on the front of the spindle.  Instead, there is a fiber washer very firmly fitted to the end of the front bearing.  It is there, obviously, to keep dirt and chips out, and oil in. When the lathe was new, it pumped oil unmercifully, and the factory or dealer sent a man from Southbend to try to correct the problem.  As luck would have it, I was not there to see what he did, but I was told he removed the spindle then reassembled it.  Whatever he did the problem was abated, but did not seem to be fully cured for years. After a while, either I got used to oil pumping, or the Southbend brand type A oil I used built a dam where it was needed.  I remember that I used that oil on several spindles in my shop, and the oilers always ended up with a dark brown coating that prompted a friend to remark that he never saw spindle oil make so much residue. ____?????

Also, FYI, there is no fiber washer at the outside of the rear bearing.  Instead, there is a thin steel washer, almost like a shim between the end play adjustment collar and the left end of the rear bearing.

Finally, at risk of being too long, I will report that the play in the bearings after returning the cap screws to their original tension, as far as I can tell, is a slight one thousandth according to my version of 75 pounds pressure.  I will get one of my younger friends, early seventies, to see how the indicator reads when he pushes and lifts the bearings.  

Again, many thanks for the help.  This project has been a lot of excitement at a time when a ripening tomato in my garden is a big deal.  


On Jul 25, 2018, at 12:25 PM, comstock_friend <jfriend314@...> wrote:

Not sure on how Halligan removed his spindle, but here's how I did it without beating things with a hammer. Nice and easy by tightening the nut at the spindle nose. Reverse process to replace the spindle...

You can try it with the bearings tight or loosen them up. Note, if you have developed a scoring in your journals, pulling through while tight might add additional marks to your journals and or spindle.

John <100_9494.JPG><100_9495.JPG><100_9498.JPG><100_9500.JPG>

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