Back from beyond…

of all the saws I ever saw saw, I never saw a saw saw as this saw saws…(Henry Wells Holly “The Art of Saw Filing”, 1864)

It’s been a while since my last post. I accidentally flew my ‘plane into a warp in the space time continuum, and we’ve all been slaves of giant alien squirrels in the nut mines of Pluto for 12 years.

Not really. Just been touring with work. Exciting places like Exeter and Inverness.

I have done a lot on the lathe though, in between trips. Mainly one task, paint stripping. As expected, this took an excessive amount of the available workshop time, to the extent that I’m very reluctant to do any more. Plus it’s hard work, boring and messy.

The Oil Tray – or whatever it’s real name is – sits on top of The Base and collects all the oil, cutting fluid and bits of swarf as it falls from the action. This is what it looks like after cleaning…

So, it’s paint is peeling off. Also the blue paint is rubbery and grips the swarf, making it difficult to sweep away. So all that has to come off, topside and underside.

I have a non toxic paint stripper which I found in B and Q, which I’ve used before on old tools with good results.

I started on the 27th of March. I spread stripper liberally all over the top side and left it for about an hour. I used an old Stanley chip breaker as a scraper and most of the thick blue paint came off, but needed effort to dig under it…

…but not all of it would come off. I put on another coat and left it overnight.

At least that was the plan. In fact it was six days before I could get back to it. However, the rest of the gooey blue paint came off quite easily, but needed physical effort with the scraper. The green undercoat was still left though, so I put on another coat of stripper…

…then the green came off easily…

Note the rusty patches. Next was the underside. The paint seemed thicker on that side. I put on a coat of stripper and left it for an hour.

This was where one of those happy accidents took place. Just when I was about to start scraping, I was called out to operate, so had no time. There was a little bit of stripper left in the container, so I used it up quickly by putting it on top of the existing layer, in places where it seemed to need it most, and left.

Next day, I began scraping. Again it was tough going, but where I’d put on the extra stripper, the going was easy. Interesting. Doesn’t say to do that in the instructions. Where there was only one layer of stripper, the scraping proceeded with difficulty. The chipbreaker blunts too quickly, and the paint was really thick.

I did what I could then put on another layer of stripper and left it overnight.

Next day, I had another idea. I would use a plane blade as a scraper. I found a Lie-Nielsen blade. It was a thin blade style which they used to make years ago to retrofit old Stanley planes. I’ve modified all my planes to take their normal thick blade, so I don’t need it. Anyway, it won’t be damaged; it’s A2 steel with a hardness of 62, way harder than the paint or Oil Tray.

It worked beautifully. The combination of layers on layers of stripper and the LN blade meant that the paint just folded up…

One more cycle of stripper and scraping was required to get the last of the green undercoat off, then the Oil Tray was clear of paint.

There was still some rust left, though. Here’s an example…

I coated the entire Oil Tray with three layers of Hammerite non toxic rust remover. This stuff works quickly – 20 minutes between coats and one just keeps layering it on until you see the rust is gone. I washed it off – outside – with hot water and a kitchen scour sponge, drying it immediately. Once bone dry, I wiped it on both sides with camellia oil. This is the result…


That’s finished. It’ll be installed as is, and kept oiled periodically to prevent rust. I’ve used camellia oil on all my bare metal tools for years and have never had rust; it’s good stuff. But that paint stripping is tough work…


2 thoughts on “Back from beyond…

  1. Welcome back, I was about to contact Mulder and Scully. Really glad to see your stripping the paint, boring repetitive stuff but worth it in the end. Have you considered taking the stand to a bead blaster. I would save a lot of time and possibly not cost much more considering the cost of paint stripper.

  2. I have. Julie knows a person who could do a really good paint job. I’m not going to at the moment though. I want to move on to the rest of the lathe as soon as I can. I know it sounds back to front, but I’ve decided to paint the Base last. It’s to do with timing of upcoming events and also cost, and the fact that I want to get using it. Having studied the interface between the Base, Oil Tray and Lathe; it’s a simple two man job to separate them and send the Base off for stripping and painting professionally, so it can be left until last. Does that make sense!

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