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Watchmakers Lathe Tailstock lever

I love the accuracy of the antique tailstock that came with the American Watch Tool Lathe I picked up at a flea market here in Rhode Island but it lacked the ability to sensitively move a drill in and out in the way I wanted to. the little cellulose knob at the end of the runner gave no leverage and no reduced ratio of movement to finesse the in and out movement of the runner.

I'd seen more upscale production versions of the tailstock that had been made with a screw drive or lever for moving the runner in and out and since I am also a designer and inventor, I decided to enjoy building a quality linkage out of brass and steel (from scratch) to upgrade the tailstock. The results are below.

I'm starting with a few of the in-progress shots so you'll see a temporary undefined pivot pin sticking out of the bottom of the lever. Shortly it will look like the ogee-domed captured pivot with the steel retaining plates that you can see on the tailstock clevis.

The heavy lifting was machining the lever itself out of a 1inch by 1inch by six inch long brass bar. Lots of material removal combined with careful filing and checking from side to side for the curved lever. It feels great in the hand and the whole assembly glides incredibly smoothly giving lots of feedback for what's happening on the other end of the runner. It also requires no alteration of the original tailstock. I very carefully shaped and machined the lower brass clevis to snugly fit the four sided curved surfaces of the tailstock body. When the tiny clamp nut is tightened down it locks in place quite nicely with no wiggle. I'm considering adding an tiny over-center lock on the nut end to push against the body just for assurances.

Lots of finishing and polishing to do yet and I'm working on an upgrade for the runner with a very accurate small chuck as well. Lastly will be a stripping of the nickel plating on the whole lathe, a careful polish and then replating! I love the look of brass with steel or nickel and the remarkable performance of the lathe seems to me to be well worth the effort of cleaning it up and restoring it (with a few personal touches of my own).

Cheers, Kevin

Watchmakers lathe tailstock with custom lever

Watchmakers lathe tailstock lever linkage

Watchmakers lathe tailstock new lever assembly

Watchmakers lathe tailstock in progress 

Watchmakers lathe tailstock lever withdrawn

Watchmakers lathe tailstock lever and runner fully advanced


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