A tale of two (well actually three!) Myfords

Well, as it states above, I couldn’t help myself… I bought another, later version (around ’65) Super7 in super condition with loads of accessories for a very reasonable price. It included everything needed to run a 400V motor on 240V without losing power or any of the other advantages of the 400V system. Also in the deal was a manual Capstan setup including six tool posts and the separate stop-system which belongs to it. Also a Norton gearbox including the metric thread conversion kit all boxed up. That alone was covered by the purchase price, so I was very happy!

The longed Super7 above is the fruit of my labours. it has a 400V motor running through an inverter from 240V -very smooth power-delivery and due to the three-phase, much smoother cuts as well! (240V motors ‘stutter’, due to the missing phase and so the cut is not as smooth). I had to cut the end off the main spindle, of course, to fit in the gearbox. I shall get a new, full-length, spindle, so that I can remove the box and refit the standard setup, in case I have to cut threads outside of the box’s scope, like BA and CEI. I have all the covers etc to convert back to original, of course.

I have a Myford vice and nearly all the possible gearwheels and some-such which I shan’t bother to photograph, plus the odd faceplate, too and a turning tool-rest.

Once I have everything mounted on its pedestal and is up and running, I’ll post it here…

So here a few of the goodies I acquired: The manual capstan head and a full set of tools:

This is the stop-setup for the above unit:

Vertical slide, swivelling type:

The mystery lever-operated collet attachment, for which I haven’t yet been able to find any collets on the internet…(still needs cleaning up!)Here are the dimensions:

This is what the standard-bed 1959 ML7 now looks like (minus the belt-cover transfer, which is now on it!)
Now standing in the corner minus chuck, headstock and motor (stored underneath the bench!)

So now back to the long-bed again: The new drive belt. Now I can split the clutch from the drive unit without dismantling everything “above the waist” and it is grippier, too!

The ‘new’ Gearbox with the original panel (not the new ones available now, which are subtly  different…)

Coolant-feed (The actual feed and box is still not made…)

My nice lever and chuck for the tailstock!:)

So now you have a good idea of the swapping and changing that went on, as the long-bed was originally an ML7 and the standard bed was fitted with a Super7. The first super& needed lots of work and cleaning to bring up to standard. The bed was reground and now sits under the ML7 pictured above and some of the other parts, too. The second Super7 was in much better condition and most of those bits ended up on the Long-bed also pictured above.

A mix of parts, including most of the first one (1960, so Mk1) which I had done considerable work on (covers, saddle, cross slide, tailstock etc.) and the really good bed still in original paint, are up for grabs as a complete machine or in bits. The internals of the motorising assembly and headstock from the first one are pretty filthy and I didn’t have ago at that yet, but being Super7, all in good working condition (the main bearing being an adjustable taper!) We’ll see!


A tale of two Myfords

Life goes on despite the terrible war in Ukraine now for over a year…

Well, here I have acquired two metric Myfords of similar birthdates (1959 and 1960). For comparison’s sake, the one is originally a Myford Super 7 of ‘normal’ length, while the other is a rather more interesting and rarer long Super 7 bed with a ML7 drive-train and tailstock. Both of them, actually bit of a ‘bitsa’.

First the ‘shortie’, which is the one shown above, photographed in the seller’s cellar workshop, without any oil… I HOPE THAT HE DIDN’T RUN IT LIKE THAT; it looks like a perfectly normally shabby Super 7, it has the usual saddle and carriage , but the later top-slide (machined from a block instead of from a casting) and the rather ugly machined cross-slide end-plate. The tool-holder that came with it is one of those quick-change ‘Multifix’-style jobs which are expensive, that I am not fond of and that are a pain to set up properly. It also has only one tool-holder, as well, so why bother with the thing in the first place – the other ones were probably kept by the owner I bought it off in November of 2022 or he never received them either. It actually doesn’t work at all to my liking and is probably the reason why the sold the lathe in the first place (I’m sure that when properly setup, that ti would be great to use, but I can’t be bothered, to be honest… The rest of the Myford is OK, but has been quite heavily used in the past. The 1/3rd of the length of the bed nearest the chuck is worn more than the rest, as one would expect, and more on the back than the front. It is now being built up as an ML7 which I shall sell to ‘subsidise’ the longbed for myself, which will get the Super 7 Drive elements, headstock and tailstock off the ‘shortie’. The shorty will become an ML7 as a result.

The Longbed ML7 is in pretty good shape, especially the Super 7 bed, leadscrew, original saddle and cross-slide, which will be kept on it due to the differences in the leadscrew thread form and the split nut. Paint is in places a bit tatty, but will be cleaned up as I go along, all bearings will be replaced and the bed will be hand-scraped/flaked by myself when I feel that I need a workout!

This one came on an original Myford cabinet stand (the style of which I have not yet seen illustrated), which I shall, of course, be keeping. The door is, I think a later addition, as is the ‘drip tray’, which looks sort of home-brewed. I will add a cutting-fluid feed, for which I also found the important parts.

KSL 49296 also had a few accessories with it including original toolholder and a quick-change ‘four-poster’, some face-plates and a nice fast chuck for the tailpost, along with lots of change-gears. Both of them have 380/400 Volt motors, which I can use at home with the necessary emulator/converter giving the same power output from the motor without having to get a 400V. setup installed by an electrician. The cost of the ‘black box’ and switches is around €250 (or up to €650 if you really want to pay that much) for everything, so actually cheaper than a new motor and is portable, so usable on any other machines that I might get in the future with ‘Starkstrom’! The beauty of that is that the 400V motors runs a lot smoother and gives a better finish than the jittery single-phase ones and they are not as sensitive to frequent switching on and off – in this case not so important for me as the Super7 has a clutch (missing on the ML7). Being a 1959 model, it is the first clutch system, for which there are no longer parents, but the last one I had ran perfectly, so I’m hoping that this will do so as well.

I started work on the shortie a few weeks ago and since they were both dismantled for transport and had already been carried upstairs(!) to work on on my closed balcony, I thought that I would start with stripping and painting the bed. My left elbow has been playing up again after my mishap with the Husqvarna a while back, so I thought some light work was the best place to start!

Oops, that was a lot easier said than done. Although the paint looked tatty, cracked and scrubbed off in places, it is VERY tough and difficult to remove, especially since the ‘modern’, ecologically-friendly paint-strippers commercially available here in Germany are largely useless on older oil-based and baked on finishes. I tried multiple applications, scraping and scratching in-between coats which was pretty ineffective; in the end I resorted to the even messier ‘abrasive’ method, causing huge amounts of dust. Here some pictures of my efforts:

Scraped with flat and half-round chisels after a thick coat of paint-stripper:

After the second application etc:

This was a workout for sure… all done with the right hand 🙂

Here with a first coat of primer:

Front and back were treated to a proper cleanup, both easily accessible just by tipping forwards or back and a wire-brush (which had the negative effect of closing the pores), so everything had to be sanded again to give a key to the paint. Primed with Hammerite applied with a brush. After priming, the whole thing was treated to a few coats of Myford Old Grey (from RDG) with a roller and my own mix of pale yellow pigment mixed into Hammerite gloss white between the shears. Eventually looked like this and this is how it will go to the grinder’s – if I can find someone willing to do the job…

I also treated the carriage/saddlle/apron and tailstock to the re-painting treatment and cleaned up the contact surfaces. The split nut is of bronze, which is suspicious…Perhaps a later purchase? Wrong material, wears far too quickly and is probably the cause of the wear on the leadscrew. At the moment the split nut is not easily available to buy, but the leadscrew is also fairly worn from about 1/6th up to ¼ of its threaded length, so both would need replacing at the same time, of course to do the job properly. Interesting to note is that both lead screws have 8tpi, but a slightly different threadform!

Here is a photo of the setup provisionally put together, sans tailstock. All will have to taken off to get the bed reground, naturally. All done in a jiffy 🙂

Here the rather square top slide and cross-slide end plate are fairly obvious, as are the large hand wheel on the apron (which catches your fingers on the corners of the cross-slide when you wind quickly, if you are not careful!) and the home-made ‘teardrop’ on the cross-slide hand wheel. Also visible is the ‘Multifix’-style tool holder.

Here are a couple of pictures to show the difference between the two: the first is as ‘should’ be for the Super 7 (notice the top-slide casting and the cross-slide end plate) and the second is what I received on the shorty (originally Super 7).

The wheel on the left is what was probably originally fitted to the apron and the one on the apron originally came off a tailstock (compare with the above picture)  – apart from the modification! The topside hasn’t been cleaned up yet – that will come later.



Yesterday I got a call-back from a machine-shop, who said that I could bring the bed around and he would do it for me. So I did just that. Later around 13:00h, he called to say that it was done! Well, I was shocked, as nearly everyone else I called obviously didn’t want to to ‘bother’ with it. So I picked up the standard-bed SK 7246 from the toolmaker’s, NAD-Form, in Lage, Westfalen. Beautifully fine grinding job. Not for nuffink (but very reasonable, I must say), of course, but well worth it, as the shears were rather worn ‘all over the place’. 2 tenths of a mm or nearly ten thou taken off to clean up 99.9%, so not that bad, but better done than not.

Pictures taken before stoning but after smearing a bit of cycle-chain oil on them for preservation!


24. 03. 2023

Well, I just discovered that the ML7 and the Super7 have different mountings and castings for the motoring department, which means that I have to measure, mark, drill and tap the back of both beds to swap them over to the respective types. Thankfully this is the only ‘surprise’ awaiting anyone doing the same ‘conversion’,is not difficult to do and allows the re-conversion back to the original configuration without any limitations. Pictures to follow, of course, when I get around to it. Left elbow still enjoying being ugly and hurting 🙂


War in Ukraine

Due to the current situation in Ukraine, I have other priorities than posting my irrelevant rubbish here.

My dear wife’s whole family are stuck out there, in Khmelnytskyi, Kyiv and Kharkiv, so two of the cities right in the middle of all the troubles. We keep in touch as much as possible, but that will be more and more difficult as time goes on, assuming that they remain alive. Her mum and dad are in relative safety (so far), her 17-year old nephew is studying in Kyiv and her brother is 45 and has to serve in the military now. God only knows where.

I also have many close contacts from my time out there who are now being split up as families and the men being sent to fight.

I shall refrain from airing my opinions of the World response (and lack of foresight/preparation/hindrance of the situation), any more than to say that I am disgusted at their burying their heads in the sand/looking the other way, when they all knew exactly what is and has been going on for at least since 2014.

God bless and protect those in the Ukraine and the rest of the world when – and I choose my words carefully – when the situation inevitably boils over into Europe and the rest of the world.

Masspacher finals :)

Now at last I am approaching the time to assemble everything and try out the bridge that I made (of ebony, of course!), string it up and try it out for the first time…

The new machine heads – without screws (still waiting for the correct domed slotted ones instead of the modern cross-head-screws)

Nice and simple inlay work on the ‘rosette’

Ready for the bindings/purfling and the frets and nut already fitted – notice the subtle difference in the colour of the top where the original bridge would have sat for years, shielding the wood from darkening (more obvious in the photos below this one).

Here with one side taped to glue the bindings.

The second side being glued…

After fitting the bindings, all could be finally assembled… Here is the binding at the bottom showing the corrective build-up of veneer around the bottom end of the top. I can’t claim that it is invisible, but at ‘player’s distance’ hardly noticeable. It retains the the original top without replacement, retaining the idea of using as much of the original as possible. Putting a new top on would have defeated the object and to my mind, ruined the guitar.

The finished article after shellacking and rubbing the front with 0000 wire wool and applying furniture wax. It will still need a little work and a few more applications of wax before it gets a proper sheen, but hey, this is a 100-year-old guitar and doesn’t have to look like it just rolled out of the factory!  The back and sides were shellacked and de-nibbed with wire-wool and left in the gloss that remained

Its place on the wall at home (camera-distorted angle to the bridge, by the way!) next to an old Ukrainian ‘Trembita’ (Epiphone copy?) and a ’70s Höfner bottom-of-the-range (¾?) classical. The bass also (now) works active and passive, but was an electronic mess when I got it 🙂

A new day dawns on the Masspacher which played very nicely from the word ‘Go!’. I may have to adjust it a bit as time goes by and it settles, but despite the gargantuan thickness of the neck, it plays with a light touch and strong tone – the sustain is great, of course!Maybe at a later date I will even post a sound sample, who knows!

Ca 1915 Masspacher guitar resto 2

And so it was, that Maryna and I went off to England on a false hope and the belief that we could settle there for my retirement. Well, that didn’t materialise (in retrospect I can only say ‘Thank God!’) and so we returned to Germany in August 2017 to Plön in the north and were there until the work (and the owner of the Boatbuilding yard) I was doing there proved unfruitful and so the die was set to return to the Bielefeld area, where at least three of my children were near. We landed here in mid March, just before lockdown – but that is another story!

Vincent had looked after the Masspacher for me and returned it soon after our arrival here and the original work restarted. It had neither deteriorated nor improved, so I scraped off all the old shellack to allow it to breathe and gave it a regular good soaking, inside and out. After a few weeks, that paid off and the width-dimension of the top and back were very close, but there was another problem: the length had hardly changed at all, so the top was about ⅛” or 3mm too short. Added to that, the cross-spars inside had to be shortened at the ends to compensate for the change in dimensions of the sides and edging, so the top had to be pried free and reglued after shortening the spars. Although it doesn’t show on the photos, the top was not just split down the middle, either.

Here is the back after the scraping – beautiful, even if ‘only’ veneer over ply 🙂

The soundhole after securing the loose pieces…

After carefully fiddling all that together without actually removing the top altogether, that was when the difference in the length of the top (along the grain) became really evident at the bottom and a plan had to made, to make the whole thing go back together playable again.

First the edging/purfling had to be removed as non-destructively as possible to ascertain the exact amount of ‘fill’ required. Thankfully a little gentle heating had the desired effect, even though the ebony had become very brittle and was showing the stress of the original bending around the curves of the body by being unfortunately rather flaky.

I decided to use some 40-year-old old spruce and ebony veneer that ‘I had lying about’ to fill the lost space, carefully feathering the ends and building up to the final dimension at the bottom of the curve of the top. The cut was lengthwise along the grain, as cross-cutting would have been very difficult to keep together and would never have matched the pattern and rhythm of the original grain anyway.

After having done that, it was time to carefully layer it all together while keeping the measurement close enough to put the original purfling back without steps in either direction – not quite always possible, but close enough. The white was celluloid, so easy enough to scrape down – carefully!

The difference can best be seen from the centre to the bottom of this photo, where the ply of the top and the sides is better revealed. That is the space that had to be ‘veneered-up’

Here are the first plies being tried. You can see how the gap at the bottom (on the right) is wider and narrows towards the sides, in this case on the left of the pic.

First one in place (on the other side):

Layered up and ready for the final check with the purfling.

Now have to turn my attention to the top near the fingerboard on each side and the ‘waist’, where the shrinkage of the sides was most apparent

Now pretty much ready to fix the edges back on

Taping the purfling on to double-check dimensions

The purfling at the top has separated, so needed special care when fitting, so as not to lose any of the brittle veneer in-between the celluloid strips

Here it is a bit more obvious, but the top is not looking bad for 100 years old! It can also be seen that the celluloid has lost some ‘length’, resulting in a gap in the middle, which will be covered by the rather nice (and typical of the French guitars of the period) tailpiece – or string-holder – 

Temporarily arrested developement

Well, things regarding modelling the ДІАНА etc. have come to a virtual standstill, at least with regards to production 🙂

On the 15th August (my mum’s Birthday!), our son, Armstrong Oleksiyj Gouws was born at 00:07h in Herford, Germany, weighing in at 3740 g. and at 50 cm long. All are well (if a little lacking in sleep!), Maryna is well knackered after the Cæsarian and he has in the meantime put on around a Kilo in four weeks and 6 cm – rather over the average, we fear! ‘Relative normality’ will return at some time after 3 Months, so we are crossing our fingers that all goes well.

His arrival has caused a certain amount of turmoil  for us all and my tinkering will have to be temporarily postponed… HOWEVER

I have not stopped thinking and planning about how the  ДІАНА will further develop. I searched for useful books and information, that might help to make a more accurate rendering of the Diana and I came accross this publication. Expensive if bought new (€60+), I dragged the net and came up with one for €20, which was more like it! Absolutely fabulous publication with oodles of never-befroe bublished archival photos and technical drawings, not to mention a great deal of history about the trio and some separate technical drawings (unfortunately to 1:300 scale) of all three ships and their innards. An absolute bargain at the money paid. Here an impression of the tome, for those interested in buying!

Interesting is that in the title, the AVRORA is correctly transliterated, but in the text in the book, the same ship is continually alluded to as the AURORA, which is technically incorrect but commonly so written.

Ca 1915 Masspacher guitar resto 1

The story of this guitar as far as my ownership is concerned, goes back about two and a half years. I bought it on eBay ‘for a song’ in France, where it was made – in Paris. As far as I can work out from research, it was made between 1915 and 1920, which makes it about 100 years old 🙂 Masspacher was a retailer and manufacturer, with a shop and workshop and was better known for its accordions. This particular guitar is unusual and quite rare, as they were made in their own ‘artisanal’ workshop and preempted the gypsy-jazz or manouche style, which they also made later on in ‘petit-bouche’ after the Selmer/Macaferri makers in the late 20s and 30s.

It was in a sad state when I received it, damaged from being too long in too dry an environment (centrally-heated?) and as such the wood of the top was split and had shrunk in all directions. I started by stripping it down as far as possible, also removing the frets and the varnish/laquer, so that it could breathe again and the top could take up some moisture from the atmosphere. I made a simple humidifier and hung it in the wash-cellar for months on end in an attempt to humidify it. Here are a few pics of it in it’s condition as I received it back then in 2017? It looks a lot better in the pics than it really was, as the shrinkage was everywhere…

There was a sponge inside the pot which was wetted every day and the whole thing was hung in the wash teller foe a few months, until we left for the UK…

Diana large davits Part 2

The construction of the davit block was fiddly, requiring more than two hands and ten (fat) fingers, so I need time to work out a better way to do the other three with more precision and less luck. In the meantime I managed to steal a few minutes to cut out the hatches for the hull, which required some accuracy:

To complete the topside of the davit block, I decided to have a go at the blocks that the launch sits on. As proposed in the kit, these are flat-sided and so not very true to life, so I decided to make them  three-dimensional as they should be, to improve their appearance in the rather prominent position that they sit in!

This is what they should look like:

They were primed for folding as originally planned and carefully lined up on both sides. In between I placed a third sheet (made of two printed layers back-to-back after thinning them down by wetting, rolling and stripping the printed side from the white back). You will see that the sheet is both cut and punched to give the right shape, here only part-finished.

Look at the difference between what was originally intended and my extra effort:

After that the pair I made were mounted on the davit-block:

At this stage, after trying it out for size on the ship, I discovered that the curve of davits themselves was a bit flat, meaning that the launch wouldn’t be able to sit on the blocks at all, so that has been corrected and the others have been corrected to suit. The davit-heads still have to be addressed as well as other details before the davits are fitted properly later.

Like other protruding and/or fragile items that might become damaged while handling the ship during the build, these will be fitted near the end when I consider it safe to do so.

Some of these parts were included in the acid etch sheet, but would have been difficult if not impossible to incorporate, due to the construction. The whole sheet I find was filled with unnecessary parts and omitted many more that would have been far more useful – the wheels for the Lafetten, for example, that are missing altogether and would have been more appropriate. I shall use those left over from my Bogatyr 🙂

For the full report, please go to https://thingummybob.com/modelmaking/building-dom-bumagis-diana/

Diana large davits

Well, what a fiddle! Keeping all those bits together without squashing and distortion while they glue! One part was missing (28a, which was simple to make)but otherwise fitted together remarkably well for the first try. The next ones will rely on some spacers while building…. which is what the toothpick is for, by the way. EVERY time I picked it up, I somehow managed to squash the ends together 🙁 The part number 28a was nowhere to be found, but was easily made – the front panel, a squared ‘U’ shape.

Carefully placed (it’s not finished yet!) where it will go along with the other three large davits.

Edges painted and tried out with the David arm for fit:

For the full report, please go to https://thingummybob.com/modelmaking/building-dom-bumagis-diana/

Diana storage boxes on deck and companionways 2

A little progress has been made, all the storage boxes are now fitted on the starboard side and another of the companionways, still without the tubular frame for the canvas cover or the hatch – they will come in due time.

Here is the step-by-step building process for the companionways: I noticed that the steps were too wide as drawn to allow the companionway to fit in the holes provided on the decks, If they would simply be glued on to the cheeks, so the only way to fit them would be to cut out the sides and fit them like one would with a real wooden staircase, captured between the cheek-pieces! See below:

Folded together and glued, without the top frame, but the front of the box left open:

So here are the other 4 assembled and ready to be fitted – all lined up like peas in a pod 🙂

Below with and without frames…

And here they are with the top frames and the edges painted appropriately (with Aquarell paints) and with a 1 Euro-Cent piece for size comparison. The footprint of the staircase is ca. 8mm long.

For the full report so far, go to https://thingummybob.com/modelmaking/building-dom-bumagis-diana/