Marcus Busts A Move

After reading about various military campaigns in Russia, I am hesitant to complain overmuch about “muddy season.”

But, in Pennsylvania, we get periodic thaws and ice, and my driveway does become a hazard. A few weeks ago I had an embarrassing incident where I drove the Tahoe off the driveway into a water and mud-filled ditch. I almost was able to power it out by keeping the momentum up, but I only had 2-wheel drive engaged and it bogged down quickly. My neighbor’s tractor was able to pull it out fairly easily but it was up over the wheel-hubs on one side, and listing like the Ark Royal before the call to abandon ship.

All of that is to say that Ken, the guy with the crane-truck, took one look at the weather and decided it was not time to move any of my machines, yet. I even had to agree with him. But it’s been dry(ish) for a week and temperatures up in the low 50s, so we decided to try yesterday. And, preparation being a good substitute for luck, everything went smoothly.

The press looks startled to find itself in sunlight. Don’t worry – it’s only temporary! Another thing we discovered in the process of moving it down the hall is that the bolts holding the casters on had worked loose. I need to replace one that fell out somewhere, and we tightened the rest. Then, it was a simple matter of a shackle, a strap, and a lift to get it onto the back of the truck.

Another thing that we moved was the anvil and its stump. When I set them up, I routed a 1″ deep bed into the oak for the foot of the anvil. Now, it appears to be stuck in there – enough that when they put a strap around the anvil and lifted it, the stump came with it. No problem – but we all stayed clear in case the stump popped free. Spoiler: it did not.

Unloading was pretty straightforward, too. There’s a lip where the slab protrudes out of the ground, and Ryan swung the whole thing a couple of times and Ken lowered it right when it was over the slab. Piece of cake, as long as you can use a crane like I use a mouse-pointer.

After a break for lunch, we re-convened at the shop to move the metal lathe. That turned out to be a bigger project than the press, because it’s actually quite a bit heaver – as in: twice as much. I had already pried one end up using a pry-bar and a piece of railroad track as a fulcrum, so Ken and Ryan were able to slide a wheeled pallet roller under one end and we jacked up the other and pushed it. I think the total distance the lathe moved was maybe 25 feet but it took longer and was more work than moving the press through the air and 5 miles down the road.

One thing we discovered in the course of moving the lathe is that the leveling feet were not included. It has supported bolt-holes for 6 leveling-feet and I’m not going to even think of operating it unless it’s leveled and stable. The stand is quite solid but it’s a great big hunk of cast steel and it’s top-heavy as a robber baron. In Pennsylvania tradition, we put it up on blocks – in this case some poly butcher block I cut up on the table-saw – so it’s easier to get a pry-bar under if necessary. And, it will be necessary when the time comes to install the feet. After that, it’s going to be a question of installing the DRO (Chinese instructions included) and leveling the ways. Quinn at Blondihacks did an excellent episode about leveling a metal lathe and I suppose I will make the effort to “do it right” especially if it gives me an excuse to buy more vintage Starrett machinist’s gauges on Ebay.

I’m going to cease and desist from playing with the wood lathe and am going to get the doors for the shed done and installed. Then, it’ll be spring and I should be able to make short work of running the electrical circuits (it’s basically a single large room so all I need to do is runs from the panel) and the propane to the forge. After that, I’ll be ready to resume making blades and I can start to think about pursuing other distractions.


  1. Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says

    Startled-looking pink press has both casters AND sturdy boots. That’s some backup planning.

    Love the pictures. Good luck with the leveling, though someone who has railroad track just laying about in usable-size chunks probably doesn’t need the luck so much.

  2. kestrel says

    Well done… I bet that press is really fun while you are working it. That is some serious shifting of heavy things, and as they say in MN, people are just really impressed when you lift heavy things! (OK. Maybe what they actually say is that *women* are impressed with *men* who lift heavy things. But I feel this is impressive no matter who or what did the lifting and who or what is doing the watching.) That is so lucky you know someone with a crane. Those are one of those things that, if you need it, nothing else will really suffice. Kind of like water.

    My it go well, now that The Great Move has started.

  3. kestrel says

    Whoops! That should say, “MAY it go well”. Yikes. I should drink more coffee I guess…

  4. dangerousbeans says

    That story with the lathe sounds right, it’s always the first and last 10m that take all the effort

  5. jrkrideau says

    Ah the Rasputitsa. I do not think P;galvanize comes close.

    An old friend of mine said that during the Rasputitsa they used to grab a Russian wagon and driver at gunpoint, toss their bicycles and packs in and drive off.

    Of course when you are a bicycle squad of the German 1st Mountain Division in 1943 you can do this.

  6. jrkrideau says

    P;galvanize ? Well all those US state names are confusing but I a pretty sure I meant Pennsylvania,

Leave a Reply