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Hendey 16 X 8 Metal Lathe

Not much of the history of this old lathe is known. It seems fitting to record the details of its transition from commercial duty to hobbyist. It could just as easily have been broken up, melted down, and turned into cheap trinkets and lesser tools.


Photos from the advertisement:
ad photo 1 ad photo 2 ad photo 3

The advertisement on craigslist was titled, "Hendy 15 x 8 Metal Lathe - $500". I didn't even know that "Hendy" was a misspelling. (It was spelled correctly in the body of the ad. Doing a search with each spelling resulted in a lot of information). What caught my eye was the "15 x 8". I don't know much about metal-cutting lathes, but thought they were always sized by the swing -- the largest diameter that would fit over the bed -- and the greatest distance between the centers. If the blocks behind it in the photos were standard size, this thing would definitely handle longer stock than 8 inches.

The information in the Hendey section of cleared a lot of my confusion -- the "8" meant an 8 ft. bed length -- but had no information about a "15 x 8". I sent an email to the advertiser on 2009-05-24 requesting more information. I forgot it was a long, holiday weekend. It took 3 days to get a reply, during which time I convinced myself the lathe was already gone.

Denise of Thiel Audio responded on the 27th and suggested that I come and look at the lathe and the 3/8" milling machine in person. She said the lathe had been sitting for 15 years and guessed its weight at about 1,000 lbs. While waiting for the reply, I had been reading everything I could find about Hendey lathes. A lot of information came from Practical Machinist. My guess was that it would weigh about 2500 lbs., which is more than I could haul on my truck, even if it would fit. During further email communication, Denise took time out from an apparently hectic schedule to get the overall (rough) dimensions of the lathe and some better photos. (Thanks Denise!). By this time I had to have it, in spite of having no experience whatsoever with a metal lathe. Besides, my wife had said, "I want you to get that lathe". That was after only about 3 days and nights hearing me talk about it. I emailed Denise.


It just happens that I have a very good neighbor who makes his living handling heavy machinery every day -- William "Jacky" Lindsey, owner of Lindsey's Dozer and Backhoe Service. (He doesn't need or use advertising, other than the green hats he hands out). I called him, described the situation, and he started planning a way to make the over 2 hour trip the next day. His work interfered with that, so he rescheduled for Friday, the 29th, telling me to be at his home at 5 am. He had a gooseneck trailer, belonging to his son, David, hitched to his truck. We stopped about 20 or 30 minutes into the trip at a greenhouse my wife frequents for houseplant potting materials. There we picked up Benny, whom Jacky had convinced to do the driving due to his experience and calm when hauling loads through cities.

Jacky brought a TomTom and I put away the map I printed from a PDF that Denise had sent me. Neither Jacky nor Benny were much interested in my chatter about TomTom and Microsoft lawsuits. During a fueling stop in Leitchfield, Benny and I managed to get the destination address put into the little gadget without consulting the manual. It didn't want to stick to the windshield and the volume control was finicky. Otherwise, it did its job well all the way there and back.


Rob and Jacky discussing Hendey lathe
That's Jacky wearing the hat, discussing how to load the lathe with Rob of Thiel Audio. I had already told each of them about my worries regarding damage that a forklift might do to the reversing rod hanging just below the lower edge of the lathe bed.

Standard 3/8 end mill
The "Standard 3/8 End Mill" that I decided to buy along with the Hendey lathe. I've never used a milling machine, either. It was priced the same as the lathe. I value the lathe more at this time. I couldn't find any information about the mill. It has a 1 HP, 115VAC, single phase motor.

At this time, my daughter Sarah arrived, having taken a little time off from work at HP just up the road, and took over the photography. That left me with nothing to do but stay out of the way and worry about damage to the machines.

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Rob operating the forklift, with Jacky giving guidance. Benny, in the white hat, and Dave, also of Thiel Audio, watch.

Jacky reassuring me that no part of the lathe was at risk from the forklift. They used a couple of 4x4 wood blocks on top of the forks, which were long enough to span the lathe bed and keep the forks from touching the reversing rod.

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Rob eased the forklift down the incline and gently deposited the old lathe on the trailer with Jacky, Benny and Dave looking on. Again, I stayed out of the way. It's not that I don't have any relevant experience -- I've operated forklifts, backhoes, truck-mounted crane and hauled loads many times the weight of that Hendey -- it's just that there are times when it's best to turn a job over to someone else because you can't be detached enough to avoid micro-managing.

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Benny, Jacky and I start strapping and chaining the lathe while Dave and Rob go back inside to get the mill. Denise cautiously peeks around the edge of the door frame to watch Dave bring the mill out, hanging from the forks. I get to act as a clamp to hold the (grade 70) chains on the wooden blocks spanning the ways of the lathe.

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Dave deposits the milling machine behind the lathe, just barely clearing the tailstock with the forks. I squawk and Jacky and Benny laugh. The cabinet for the mill and the tooling for both machines are placed in the bed of the truck.

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Rob and Jacky unwrap the chain from the mill, then Jacky runs a single strap -- 10,000 lbs. breaking strength, 3,335 lbs. working load -- across the trailer between the mill's post and bed to keep it from moving. Benny checks the tension on the chains.

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Jacky puts some serious tension on the strap while Benny starts to wrap the excess chain on the tailstock. I intervene and unwrap it because it is very uncomfortably close to the ways of the lathe. Benny thinks I worry too much but doesn't insist, so long as I secure that loose chain. I wrapped it around the load binders to his satisfaction. He and Jacky then add a strap across the lathe near the headstock.

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Rob, Denise and I exchange final handshakes and discussion. They were friendly folks and I'm glad to have met and dealt with them.

The trip back was marked only by the ride being a little rougher, another fuel stop (for us and the truck), tall tales, and Jacky and Benny getting a kick out of my constantly looking back at the load. Total fuel cost was about $100. Jacky nor Benny would accept any payment. We should all have and be such neighbors.

Hendey, page 2

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Copyright 2009 Terry Vessels
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