While rummaging in Dad's garage loft for something else, I stumbled on a small pile of cylindrical pieces of wood, marked with centres. These were so obviously meant for turning (unlike some political figures) that I could not resist the temptation.
The drive centre, as has been said, is under some doubt as it doesn't really seem to latch into the headstock, but this being a pretty small piece of wood, it seemed worth a try.
So with the aid of a medium sized hammer and some hefty wallops (wallop wallop, they went, all over me 'ead, mate, all dem wallops) the drive centre was attached to the piece of wood. So far so good, though it did seem a little wobbly.
I bradawled a hole in the centre of the other end.
Next I needed to get the tailstock close enough to poke into the south end of the wood. This was nowhere near as easy as it looked.
The toolrest I'd put back on during the initial reassembly was held on by two mounts (saddles and banjos!) in a position to use on a workpiece about 3' long. My test piece being around 6" long, I was going to have to move them in order to slide the tailstock up the main bar.
It had clearly been quite a while since they'd been anywhere. A fair amount of WD 40 and quite a lot of effort was required to get them moving. Finally, I got them both up to the head end, and traded the big T rest for the smaller one. This allowed me to unlatch the tailstock, slide (WD!) that up the bar, and get the wood Between Centres.
In grubbing around to try and get the workshop hoover working, I had found a turning chisel (gouge, I think actually) where it had fled under the metal lathe (another time, Highlander) and was lurking planning to conquer the world. I fished it out and it looked around the right scale for my modest-sized sample of wood.
Moment of truth.
Remembering Keith Rowley's excellent advice, I stood off to one side and pressed the button. The machine rumbled to life and the wood began to spin; nothing flew off or caught fire. OK!
Not actually knowing what I was about yet, I essayed a few cuts and shapes, watching the dust fly and the shapes emerge just like it says in the book (well, in a basic form anyway). It felt good. Very good.
As I worked, though, it began to rattle a bit, so I powered off and tightened the tailstock. Too much, as the belt then started to slip. In fact, I'd forgotten to latch the tailstock so it was backing itself off. Had I got that right it wouldn't have rattled. It did however point up the need to tighten the belt, for which I'll need to loosen the motor bolts and back it off a bit. I still think I'll replace the drive centre, and Axminster tools (thanks, Mike Wingate!) do one for about £15. All quite possible.
Every piece of the basic machine needs taking off and cleaning, lubricating, re-painting and reassembling. But assuming I don't manage to break anything doing it, it looks like it's all going to work when it's done.
19th October 2015