Around the Shop #22: Walker Turner Lathe Restore. Fighting to the bitter end.

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Blog entry by Don W posted 10-22-2013 01:56 AM 7116 reads 0 times favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 21: Butcher Block restoration. Part 22 of Around the Shop series Part 23: Lets compare and review a Wally331 and LN back saw »

You may remember the lathe I went and picked up. It was a great idea at the time and I’m sure in the end, it’ll all work out. But talk about a rocky road. Doesn’t this stuff realize I don’t need another reason to drink?

When I got the information, I was headed to pick up a working unit. So the unit looked like this.


Why would any paint such a nice unit this color?


Then I find out there is no motor. No Motor on a working unit? Ugghh


So after I get it back to the shop, the plan is to take the motor off my Craftsman lathe. But the motor mount is different (a lot thicker) so the belt doesn’t work. And not really understanding how the clutch works, I’m not sure how to measure it, so I order a link belt.

While that’s being shipped I start stripping it, thinking all the time ”you really should make sure it works first”. But I continue on. Its stripping and wire wheeling and scraping and more stripping and heating and scraping and wire wheeling. They had painted over everything. And had stripped nothing. Rust? Ahh, just hide it.

I completely wore out one wheel.

Even an old Stanley seen some action. Actually, a lot of action.

The next bone head move I make is breaking the arm for the speed adjustment. So now some more wait while that gets rewelded.

Then priming and painting.


Next bone head move. There is a grease fitting on the shaft the clutch assembly is on. So I grease it. Seem logical right? Turn it on and the next thing I know I have grease all over the inside. Do you know how well a well greased v-belt works?

Take it apart and clean it. The only way to clean the belt is take it apart, one link at a time.

Finally get the belt back together and everything de-greased and the speed control doesn’t work. I specifically didn’t take it apart, because I didn’t want to screw up my “working” unit and NOT be able to get it back together right.. I fiddle with it for hours and nothing works. Finally out of desperation I take it all apart again, and this time take the clutch assembly apart. Through some reverse engineering and a few Jack Daniels, I figure out the clutch assembly isn’t put together correctly. Back together it goes. A new approach, put it together right this time.

By now my nice new paint job looks 5 years old, but the speed control is working. Well, speed controls working sweet, wow, we may be on our way.

Now I discover the 1/3 HP motor is no where’s near powerful enough to run this lathe. It hardly turns it over empty.

The only other motor in my shop has my course wire wheel on it. I hate to give that up, but decide at least temporally that one horse will work. Dissemble it from the wire wheel, put the lathe back together and everything seems to be smooth as silk. Spins nice, speed controls working sweet, wow, we may be on our way. Now I can actually enjoy a Jack.

But wait something’s not right. Its spinning backwards. I spew a long string of profanity I learned in my truck driving days and take he lathe apart again. Screw it, I’ll reverse the motor. A great plan that would have worked fine had the motor actually been reversible.

So as I’m standing there I have another brilliant idea. And no, I haven’t been drinking yet! “Hey” I think. All I need to do is walk around the other side of the lathe. OK, the speed control will be on the wrong side, but who cares, at least till I dig up another motor. Put it all back together again.

Hmmmmm, isn’t that nice. Spins nice, speed controls working sweet, wow, we may be on our way. Now if I had only noticed the drive spindle will only work in one direction. And not one direction at a time, but one direction period.

So that’s were we’re at. at nice Walker Turner Lathe, spinning backwards. Uugghhh. Where’s my Grizzly catalog. Honest hon, a new motor is the last thing I’ll ever ask for.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

52 comments so far

View barecycles's profile


257 posts in 3382 days

#1 posted 10-22-2013 02:28 AM

Well, I was complaining about the events of my day until I read your latest entry. Don, all I can say is hang in there. It’s gotta get better, right?

-- Sweeping up sawdust in Texas

View cpd011's profile


91 posts in 4291 days

#2 posted 10-22-2013 03:52 AM

Don, if you were anywhere near me (Chicago) I’d give you a 1hp reversible motor that I have laying around simply to relieve some of the pain I just felt reading your post. Murphy’s law right? It looks beautiful though.

View Woodknack's profile


13552 posts in 3434 days

#3 posted 10-22-2013 04:26 AM

That will be a swell lathe once you get it running in the right direction.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


7702 posts in 4421 days

#4 posted 10-22-2013 05:03 AM

I went to the dentist this morning and that was not as painful as what you went through!

However, it appears as perseverance is paying off!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View Brit's profile


8308 posts in 3896 days

#5 posted 10-22-2013 08:51 AM

Don – I can’t help with finding suitable parts for your Walker Turner I’m afraid, but if you…

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View lysdexic's profile


5348 posts in 3676 days

#6 posted 10-22-2013 11:56 AM

Even with all that, I have not an inkling of doubt that you can make it right.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17269 posts in 3672 days

#7 posted 10-22-2013 12:02 PM

I think it’s clear the lathe found you, Don. Glad it’s in your hands vs. a landfill. That’s not to say the aggravation isn’t extreme – to pull your wire wheel is a commitment to progress – but the payoff will be sweet.

Great write up and pics, good work, hang in there!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3893 days

#8 posted 10-22-2013 12:22 PM

Don you sure can find them!

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View chrisstef's profile


18129 posts in 4060 days

#9 posted 10-22-2013 12:56 PM

You sure do know how to make a guy feel better about some things around my shop. I woulda had a tough time not going completely off the wall and bashing that lathe with the biggest hammer I could find. Patience and tolerance, patience and tolerance. Paint does look mighty good though ;)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View AnthonyReed's profile


10165 posts in 3494 days

#10 posted 10-22-2013 01:31 PM

The juggernaut ambles on…

In the end you will have a Walker Turner Lathe, so there is that. And damn it looks good.

Great blog Don, thank you.

-- ~Tony

View terryR's profile


7642 posts in 3362 days

#11 posted 10-22-2013 02:31 PM

Yep, it DOES look a lot better, Don! :) I like the battleship grey a lot!

Awesome amount of patience and skill shown thus far…you will have a sweet tool in the end! Maybe a 2hp reversible motor from Grizzly?

Or maybe put it back on CraigsList as ‘mostly restored’. LOL.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Boatman53's profile


1065 posts in 3250 days

#12 posted 10-22-2013 10:34 PM

Don you made some great progress on the lathe. Bulova watch case factory here in Sag Harbor (long closed) had every machine in the building painted damn near that same color green, just a bit lighter. At first I thought it might have come from this area. I have a Walker-Turner lathe and like it. But mine doesn’t have that speed control, that’s nice.

-- Jim, Mid coast, Maine home of the chain leg vise

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4388 days

#13 posted 10-23-2013 12:03 PM

I sure admire your perseverance Don. It looks great, now if you can just find the right motor……..

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4033 days

#14 posted 10-23-2013 12:10 PM

Just take it as a big learning curve, I’m sure you’ve learned a thing or six about lathe restore and of course a new line in AAAAAArgh….profanity.

You’ll look back one day and smile.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View mafe's profile


13083 posts in 4143 days

#15 posted 10-23-2013 02:39 PM

Wonderful lathe, fine restore, a new motor will show up sooner or lather…
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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