F.E.Reed lathe faceplate stuck. HELP PLEASE!


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Hi everyone.

I have an F.E. Reed lathe, built in 1890.  It has the original babbit steel bearings.  A few days ago my faceplate got stuck on the spindle.  (No, I didn't have my plastic washer on unfortunately.)  It has happened a couple times in the past, but this time it is *truly* stuck.  I have tried everything I can think of including: 

1. heat

2. PB Blaster and heat

3. Liquid Wrench and heat

4. I made a flange out of hard maple and grade 8 fasteners and mounted a 1" section of pipe to it as a lever, attached it to the faceplate so that I could get leverage and torque.  

The lathe spindle locks by putting a pin through the cast iron frame and into the stepped flywheel.  Here's where I am stuck:  With the flywheel immobilized and my newly made massive torque bar, when I crank on it, the spindle actually moves separately from the flywheel (only with significant force.  It definitely doesn't want to.)  

I've tried a more acute blow with a sledge, I've tried using wedges to help nudge it away... I've tried everything I can think of, and am truly stuck.  

I'm at the point now where I think I may need to find a machinist because I'm out of options.  I'd truly appreciate any helpful hints.  

Thanks in advance, 







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Now that you have it out of the bearings, put it in the freezer for a couple of days. While it is chilling, prepare a jig to hold the shaft from rotating without damaging it.  Whith the assembly throroughly chilled, quickly mount it in the jig and try to loosen the faceplate. If it doesn't break free quickly, use a torch to warm up just the faceplate. Freezing should contract the shaft, warming the faceplate should expand it enough to break loose.

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1 hour ago, lewisc said:

Don;t know if I can suggest anything but good luck with it.

I've posted this before but it makes me chuckle when I see it.


now THAT's hilarious.  needing a laugh right now and the cutter is next in line if MAP gas and a good ice bath don't work.  Thanks!


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1 hour ago, bglenden said:

Good luck! I broke my Powermatic lathe (fixed under warranty) trying to twist off a stuck faceplate (broke the spindle lock). I'll never use it without a washer again :-)

Thanks bglendon.  I've currently got it in a chest freezer, hopefully shrinking it a bit before I take the blow torch to the faceplate for the 5th time.  I actually pulled the trigger and bought a grizzly to replace this one. I have a job of 8 windsors that need legs and spindles and I'm out of time.  

Now, just hoping I can fix it for whoever I sell it to.  

Again, thanks.


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I always put a drop of light machine oil on the spindle threads before I spin on my chuck.  I'm pretty sure this was in the instructions for my Nova lathe, but so far it's been a good idea. I have a few of those plastic washers, too, but the oil drop seems enough.  

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