An Incredible Gift From An Extraordinarily Generous Reader

You aren’t ready for this, I still can’t hardly believe it myself.

Last weekend a gentleman contacted me via Email through the blog and wanted to know if I wanted an old lathe that has been sitting around in their barn.

He said they were cleaning it out and if I didn’t want it, they were going to scrap it.

He said it was heavy but it would fit in my truck.

Me being me, I almost jumped straight up out of my chair when I read that but then past experience kicked in and I started asking myself some questions before I responded.

“Heavy” can mean different things to different people. For example, heavy to me is the stuff I work around all the time that is measured in “TONS”.

And a metal lathe being heavy?

Images of this kind of thing popped into my mind.

Sure it might fit in my truck but how are you going to get it in there and more importantly, how am I going to get it back out?

There is a serious lack of forklift traffic around this Cul De Sac if you catch my drift.

The next question was just how far away is it?

If the thing is in Idaho it’s a goner because free or not, I do actually have some limits to my insanity.

So I Emailed him back and he sent me some pictures and told me he was only about 50 miles away.


Hook, line and sinker.

We made some arrangements and I got some directions. He jokingly replied that a half case of Dos Equis beer might not be a bad idea for him helping me load the thing.

So as you can imagine. I have been worse than a little kid waiting for Christmas to get here all week.

Not being anyone’s dummy, I kept my mouth shut about it to the Wifely Unit until yesterday.

I almost didn’t get it all the way out of my mouth before I see her gearing up to pitch a major bitch, until I tell her it’s only going to cost me a case of beer and the gas to go get it.

I woke up this morning and loaded my little 1 ton Harbor Freight hoist, a whole bunch of tools, pry bars, slings, chains and anything else I thought might even remotely be needed and headed out.

First I stopped and got gas, then I went in to try and find some of this Dos Equis beer.

I scored two six packs and headed out.

I figured there would be plenty of places to stop and grab a couple more, right?


I stopped at five more convenience stores on my way over there and not one had any. I finally stopped at a freaking Safeway about ten miles from his place and found another half rack.

His directions were superb and I had no problem finding my way over there.

Big place, HUGE barn.

I no more than pulled in the driveway and my benefactor Paul came out of the barn to shake hands and say hello.

I want to take a minute here and say that he is WITHOUT QUESTION, one of the nicest people I have ever met and at 81 , he is as active as someone half his age.

He took me inside the barn so I could take a look at what he was going to throw away and I fell in love instantly.

It took us over an hour of messing around and finally had to drag the thing with a twenty foot strap I had brought, wrapped around the bucket of a little 4wd Kubota tractor he had there.

Thank GOD he had that tractor because without it, I would have never gotten my hands on this thing.

I would have gotten stuck up to the axles in my truck the second the back wheels left the gravel and that hokey little Harbor Freight hoist would have tipped over the second we got the thing clear of the table, IF, it would have evn been able to lift it.

So enough teasing.

You guys want to see what Uncle Phil scored on today?

Uncle Phil scored BIG TIME.

A Smithy mini lathe/ mini mill combo!

It took a whole bunch of monkeying around because the slings I took with me were too long but I finally got it rigged up so Paul could get it off the table and wheel it around the barn in the soft ground to get to my truck.

Here is The Man himself.

Absolutely the nicest gentleman you would ever want to meet. I guarantee that.

It was tough to rig it up to pick because the thing is so ass heavy. All of the weight is on one end.

We finally got it set down on the back of the truck, half sitting out on the tail gate because of the canopy being in the way.

Then it was just a matter of sticking a hunk of 4X4 in front of the lathe on the tail gate and push it in the rest of the way with the bucket.

Between the machine, the hoist I took and the table, the bed was full to the point I had to ratchet strap the table with two of the legs sticking out and then strap the tailgate up against them to keep the little crap inside.

The one thing we couldn’t find for the machine is the compound,

I looked around and didn’t see it anywhere nearby but Paul said that they are cleaning the barn out and he will keep an eye out for it.

It’s not critical at this point because I have the mini lathe already.

I wanted this thing for the Mill anyway.

I have been wanting one since the day I got that damn Mini Lathe and told The Wifely Unit here recently that I was going to be buying one here as soon as possible because I haven’t been able to find a used one that they don’t want just as much for as a new one.

To say that I was surprised at this turn of events would be a bit of an understatement.

I am constantly amazed at the selfless generosity that the people who read this little blog express in so many ways.

I want everyone of you to know that it touches my heart and I mean that very sincerely.

Paul’s generosity today was pretty much off the charts and when I asked him how long he has been reading my blog he said it was probably only a couple of months!

So I has a new project but I am just thrilled to death by this turn of events and I can’t hardly stand it that the thing is still sitting in the back of my truck.

My buddy is coming over with the 2 ton engine hoist as soon as I wake up and call him tomorrow and by this time tomorrow night there is going to be rust dust and penetrating oil all over the place!


43 thoughts on “An Incredible Gift From An Extraordinarily Generous Reader

  1. You scored bigly DUDE! That was awful nice of him to give it to you for some okay tasting beer…. Now, where are ya gonna put it? You gonna add a second story over the garage so to put all the other stuff in? We know your carpenter skills… Can you get a compound for it he he doesn’t find the original one?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going to give my Harbor Freight Wood Workers Bench to my Sister In law. I kinda hate to but in reality all I am using it for is a Catch All and I have a Kennedy Machinists box sitting on it.
      That takes care of the room issue.
      They still make these machines so I’m sure I will be able to find what I am missing. It won’t be cheap but it will be worth every penny when I get to that point. I am going to have to really tear into this little jewel and do some serious cleaning and lubricating anyway so more than likely there will be a few little bits and pieces I will want to replace eventually.
      If you can’t tell, I am so excited about this that I can’t hardly stand myself.


      • Phil that is what is called a blessing. All the stories you’ve posted that I read about paying it forward helping other people. Those were blessings paid forward and now you have been blessed which is really cool. The thing I first look for and noted was the equipment is old school and will probably outlive you by a lot none of that plastic crap so write out a plan for future ownership. . I look for replacement tools on fleabay and other places because like my last purchase a refurbished B & D orbital finishing sander like my old one that crapped out. Now I have some spare parts if needed. I have often wished for machining skills like yours but alas my life never put me near one or a person to show me so its fun watching you and others.


  2. You get proficient with your lathe and next thing you know all your buddies will want you to work on projects for them…. speaking of which I have one ready for you as soon as you get proficient.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Made in China but Smithy has an excellent reputation.
      The Chinese can make things to any specification you want to pay for.
      Just a few quick glances at it while we were moving it tells me it is miles above a Horror Fright nightmare machine.


      • That’s just too cool, Phil!

        What’s the little transmission in the oil pan? Sprite replacement?

        The Chinese can make things to any specification you want to pay for.

        Yes they can, but you have to have your own people on-site to make sure they don’t try and slip some bad shit past you!


        • That’s the tranny I yanked out that was bad. Some day I will tear into it and find out how come it quit going into second and third gear using two different shift forks.


  3. tooling for it will be the next issue to solve. cutters and other bits do add up faster than we would
    like. but there are some good deals to found if you look hard enough. i was lucky myself
    as i knew a guy cleaning out old machine shops that shut down in the 1990’s and got a ton of
    bits and other stuff for beer. one thing i found is that the larger tooling is a lot of times way cheaper
    than the smaller stuff for say a mini lathe ? a while back i got a 6 jaw buck chuck for under 100 bucks. very good shape too, they just didn’t use it anymore (??) anyway. it will keep you out of trouble for a while. enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. Hooray for you. You’re going to enjoy the daylights out of that. Post up what you’re looking for from time to time. Some of us might have it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well Phil, seems like you need to start saving a bit more to buy the 10 acres with a barn to put all this stuff into. That garage is simply not going to be enough.

    If I had my way around here, we would be out in the country in an Amish built barn of at least 50 x 160 where I would convert one corner into living quarters and the rest for the tools and toys. Wife unit is NOT warm to the concept for some reason. šŸ˜‰


  6. I’ve heard nothing but good about the Smithy tools, so Congrats!

    Back before Yahoo! went into the dumpster, they used to host user groups. That ended about a year ago with most going over to I regularly read several forums over there, and did a search for Smithy:
    You can look at messages without being member – I just did. You have to subscribe to post.

    Groups like that tend to have resident experts on that stuff. Chances are with the model name or number you could get any question answered that comes up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sig is another person like you I watch. His motor was pretty cool. Sig I happen to catch an episode of how its made talking about those little motors. Phil I sent you an email after figuring something out.


  7. Don’t try moving the saddle around yet, I’d lift it off. With the barn rust you guys grow, sliding stuff around looks like a good way to score it all up. That scraper you made will pop that stuff off pretty well. Just go easy and take the rust not the metal underneath. Practice a bit first.

    I really like the looks of it. I’d thought about one in years past, but went bigger cause I had the idea of supporting some of the industry down here. Getting the stand was a major bonus.

    Paul’s a good man. And you are about the luckiest guy I know. Good on both of youse….


  8. Glad to see things turning for the best Phil. Great Score! I need updates on where you are at with it and when you finally put it to the test with a project!!


    • My uncle back in Michigan years ago was a Tool and Die Maker and he got tired of the union shop BS and went out and bought some used machining tools and opened a one man shop and slowly built it up and he made more money by himself, set his own hours and customers and was successful. He died and his kids that had no interest in machining sold his shop for basically scrap prices.


      • Happens to often. I had an opportunity to basically buy a complete garage woodshop in my early twenties under the same event. I was heartbroken as I was just out of school barely working and poor. I would have paid a fair price to the widow neighbor though.


  9. You. Lucky. Dog.
    God smiled on you yesterday, He must have something in mind for you.
    John, if you’re reading this, you are indeed a great person, and He will bless you as well.
    I’m happy for BOTH of you, more cheer and happiness needs to be spread in the world due to the coming feces storm…


  10. At least there’s one white bearded fucker out there with good luck. Congrats! I have such shit luck that I won’t even play scratch off lottery…the ticket would tell me I own THEM $10M.
    Paul, dude, there’s not many like you out there. You’re a saint among men. Good on ya.


  11. Great!!
    Now you might be able to get a little gig going to pick up some extra money.
    Next time you get laid off, hang your shingle out, and you might not want to go back.


  12. Congrats again Phil. What we still need to see is a snapshot of it sitting in your truck–did it squat the springs to the stops? And how was the drive home?
    My brother once bought an old, used concrete mixer and hauled it home in the open trunk of his beater BMW. That picture was a hoot too!.


  13. My first thought was it was an Enco. Nice to see you getting some decent equipment. I commend Paul for his generosity. His machine is going to a good home.

    Whitehall, NY


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