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A Tale of Woe (help me feel better with YOUR take of woe)


Re the smell. My wife's Asian - most of a bottle of fish sauce in the spare wheel well and all through the back of the family wagon. Never did quite get the smell out.

Mistakes? In my mid 20's I bought a new lathe mill drill. About 3 weeks' wages. Got it all the way home, slung it , drove the ute / pickup out from under it, got it within a foot of the floor when it spun in the slings and smashed the mill head on the floor.

More recently bought an antique line shaft driven lathe. Didn't know what I was looking at - found after I got it home several teeth broken off the backgears. Still working on that one.



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In 1994 in my 20's I bought my first lathe, a little 12 x 36 Craftsman on a light, flimsy homemade stand (matched the light, flimsy lathe). I was so excited to finally have a lathe of my own! I got it home 25 miles safely and proceeded to unload it out of the pickup with the tractor front end loader. All seemed well as I lifted it up to clear the truck and began to back up the tractor... however in my inexperience I had hooked the chains way too low, (I think to the stand instead of the lathe) and such that they could slip, and the lathe being top heavy of course, rolled over completely upside down, smashed into the outside of the pickup box causing a huge dent and long heavy scratch. Amazingly, it didn't damage the lathe. However.... both the tractor and *near-new* pickup were my Grandpa's, and earlier that day as I was leaving to borrow the truck he ominously instructed me "don't scratch it". Oh boy, what a long ride it was back to their house and did I ever feel horrible, terrified what his reaction would be. But after a well deserved lecture about being careful and asking for help with such things, he got it fixed and he even paid the insurance deductible. Tough lesson about moving a top-heavy machine, and an unexpected but very gracious (and much appreciated) response from my Grandpa. Fortunately I haven't had a major mishap with machine tools since then... until -just the other day- was moving my top heavy 3 ft. box and pan brake with the forklift. The brake's stand snagged something on the floor, it slipped off the ends of the forks, dumped over on its side and bent a handle. [sigh] A good reminder these things can happen when least expecting it, and to go slow and stay out of the way. Machines can be fixed (or scrapped) but an injury or worse isn't the outcome anyone ever wants.
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I moved my old Sebastian Lathe with a roll back tow truck. I was told by several people I would crack or break the legs dragging it. So I made an elaborate wooden sled from 4 x 6” for the winch to drag it on. The scary part was lifting the old lathe to get the sled under it. I ended up using old bumper jacks because they are more stable than a floor jack and a 2x4. White knucklers at every turn!
The tow truck operator sucked that lathe up into that truck in a heartbeat.
Now, they had DELIVERED that lathe without a sled. Moved it to a different shop. All without incident. How the heck did the old timers do it without forklifts and hydraulics and power everything?