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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Sydney, Australia

    Default Hercus lathe refurb in Revesby: week 1

    Hi guys(*). My friend Barry gave me a pile of parts from his garage floor – most of a Hercus C lathe!
    ( bed & gear cover are C7967, tailstock says 6330, can't find any other serial numbers )

    There is of course a story. I gave him my Dad's old Hercus about 4 years ago, which he fixed up and gave to his brother.
    That old thing had no pinion or feed, and flat belt pulleys. He bought this lathe in a hurry from a school or reseller,
    for parts, and then at leisure bought a "new" backgear, apron, et c.


    • Wednesday was unload parts from car and see what was missing: IMG_1365.jpg
    • Thursday, heated up a big degreasing tank and soaked most parts, which removed the horrible flaking blue paint: IMG_1367.jpg
      IMG_1368.jpg IMG_1369.jpg Sadly, it also removed most paint from the gear chart. Should have removed the pins and kept that aside
      (and my factory neighbour had a go at the worst of the grooves/nicks on the bed with a file)

    • Saturday, paint some black RustStop paint on bed, headstock, gear cover, and bango+guard: IMG_1371.jpgIMG_1370.jpg
    • Tuesday, felts and slides off saddle, inspect that, decide to post you guys

    To do:
    • Build a base of some sort. Can't afford a real lathe cabinet (even though Hafco has them for $330).
      Thinking about welding up some plates and beams, but given overall state of lathe,
      it will never be super-accurate, so maybe a waste of time & steel.
    • Borrow a good straight-edge, find a wet stone, and finish filing/polishing the bed.
      (saddle seems reasonable, but one flat is C-channel shape - just like the bed Vs were)
    • Spend hours measuring and shimming. I don't have any centres for the tail, so this will be tricky

    1. Does anyone have one V felt retainer and bolt (set screw)?
      Yes, I know I can buy a set of 4, but that is overkill.
    2. Looking at the reverse gear setup, I'm wondering if it is worth it.
      A reversing switch on the 3phase motor, and removing the bull gear, seems so much neater?
    3. I can't afford regrinding, but can still try my best.
      Does anyone know if the grinders tension down the middle?
      ( like Hercus factory used to – I assume to counteract future cutting pressure when lathe is used )

    * I'm guessing there are no ladies here, although with a name like HERcus maybe there should be
    Last edited by nigelpearson; 14th Aug 2019 at 06:54 AM. Reason: adding pictures, minor edits

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Norwood-ish, Adelaide


    And down the rabbit hole we go!

    You potentially have a large task ahead of you. With regard to your questions,
    1. If you send me a PM with your address, I have some felt here that you could cut a couple of wipers from. It is probably worth replacing all the wipers. Who knows how long the others have been on or what condition they are in. Find your local industrial fastener place. If you take a bolt in they can probably match it.
    2. The reversing gear is to reverse the direction of the lead screw - so while the chuck is still turning in the 'normal' direction, reversing the leadscrew will feed the carriage in the opposite direction. I would not remove it as it it comes in handy for cutting LH threads and other tasks. A VFD won't solve all your speed/ control problems. The speed range on the lathe is probably 20:1 or more. A VFD won't do that, so think carefully about how you plan on keeping that versatility. Most people wish they had more speeds on their lathe...
    3. Lathe beds are scraped to get the right flatness. Grinding is only the first step (do a search on the forum, as scraping is a regular topic). If the bed has been attacked with a file it may be cactus, in which case a donor bed may be a better move (nicks and burrs are stoned off).Occasionally they show up in the ads, when someone is parting out a lathe. In a shameless piece of self promotion, I have a Sheraton bed (same shape as the Hercus) that is surplus to my immediate needs (


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Sydney, Australia


    Good morning Michael. Thanks for your reply!

    Large task? No, just some therapeutic tinkering

    1. Thanks for the offer of the felt, but I will probably buy a set of wipers from down south (Mal @ Holbrook).
      It is the metal cover that I need. I could cut a better one out of steel or stainless,
      but just thought someone might have a spare in their parts.
    2. Aah. Got it. Feed reverse, not spindle reverse
      My factory has 3phase, so I wasn't thinking about electronic drive (although soft start, and braking, might be nice?)
    3. The bed had about 15thou wear in the middle third where a saddle had traversed,
      but the wear was a 3/8 groove in the middle of 3 of the 4 V surfaces.
      I suspect swarf, or a bent felt retainer, over many years, caused it.
      Scraping? I'm a long way from that!
      I will try roughing it out by hand before doing anything expensive like grinding or shipping your spare

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011


    Havenít posted here for so long, feel a bit shameful about that.
    Just following along as one day I would like to restore my own Hercus lathe.
    So hopefully this will be a good primer.

    Cheers Matt.

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