Re: Beginner "should I buy this" questions
Bobtoggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I take your point about it being essential to maintain the head-stock
in a well lubricated state for long life.
However I don't think that any South-Bend head-stock can ever be well
lubricated when used for wood turning. The pesky fine dust gets
everywhere, even on systems with good external seals and the
South-Bend head-stock has no seals relying on dynamic surface tension
effects to keep the oil where its supposed to be. Can't see that it would
take very long before enough dust gets into the bearing, especially
the segmented type, to start yanking the oil out faster than the wick
can replenish it.
Big problem is that hard, fine finished steel on oil soaked cast iron will
run for a long time with less than marginal lubrication before serious
wear starts but once wear starts its pretty fast.
I'm none too sure that, although it can undoubtably work very well indeed,
a top feed and oiler mod is actually going to be an effective improvement.
Like many empirically developed systems the South-Bend wick feed
re-circulating system on segmented bearings is a good deal more
sophisticated in operation than it appears at first sight.
Or at least so I was told by a man with proven credentials as a
real expert in such matters who considered it both crafty and elegant.
I'd actually asked him about installing top feed oilers which seemed to
me much better to which his initial reply was "why go to all that trouble
to spoil the system and always get oil everywhere". Apparently top feed
onto the journal systems always have to leak down to work. Not
necessarily very much but, so I was told, sufficient to ensure that the
oil spreads properly over the bearing surface. Apparently fitting a spreader
groove or wick to the top minimises the leakage needed but also reduce
load capacity. Not that I've a clue whether or not such reduction is of any import.
Now lubrication is certainly not my area of expertise but where I really
am expert I have personal experience of how apparently simple things
can be a lot more sophisticated than they appear at first sight. I also
know that careful development allied to a feel for how things "want" to
go can extract much better performance from a superficially simple set
up than ought to be possible according to casual analysis.
One thing is for sure. In the absence of deliberate abuse and given a
modicum of care, benign neglect or better grade, the standard
South-Bend head-stock is very long lived and can be expected to
outlast the rest of the lathe.