Sunday, January 3, 2021

Steady Rest

I used a steady rest for the first time on the Logan.  I've watched folks do this a few times, and since I was just knocking rust off, I figured it was time to try it out.

Genuine Logan Accessory

I'll include a link to how to set these up.  Or maybe a couple links.

Here is Mr. Pete - This is the gospel according to St. Lyle

Here is Joe Pie up in Austin Texas - This is the high precision, professional way

Here is Quinn at Blondie Hacks - This is the hobby machinist view

If you look close, you'll see some black tarry goop on the tubing.  That is something that Mr. Pete mentioned some years back.  When I was first starting, I'd watch Mr. Pete and if he said it was good, it was ordered.  I've had this stuff for a while now, and it works as advertised.  I shudda bathed in this stuff this year.

Machinist's Brylcreem

Extra Credit Question:  What was Brylcreem's tag line?  

My runout at the rest was about .010"  Not good enough for precision work, but okay for a red Scotch Brite® 7447B scrub.  That stuff knocked the rust of easily.  I used a doubled strip about an inch wide, backed by a file.

I did some smaller shafting previously, and there was this wafting fog of rust dust moving around while I worked.  I wiped the ways after I was done, somewhat OCD about this Logan.  Mr. Garcia did a great job of maintaining it from 1946 until he passed in the early 90's.  I got it after it sat for 10 years.  So, I don't want to offend his attention to detail by being a dip.

Hmmmmm.... how to protect the ways?  

I took a paper sack, like civilized people used in the pre-enlightened age.  You remember that time right?  Back when trash could actually decompose over time? Or you needed to start a fire in the fireplace or wood stove?  Or you needed to protect a borrowed book? I used some old hard drive magnets to hold it down, then hit it with a light spray of oil (WD40 works) to latch onto the dust.

paper sack, 1946 Logan, hard drive magnets, a man's shop
Multiple historical artifacts pictured above

Not borrowed, but I still want to keep it protected!!

It worked well, and I still wiped and lubed the snot out of the ways.  Oh, about the book.  I'm a "nuts and bolts" guy.  I like to know how things work, like, how EVERYTHING works.  I can't help it.

This is an old school steady.  It has rubbers not rollers.  That may need to be rectified/retrofitted at some point in the future.  But this worked well for me on this job.

Thanks for stopping by the shop.


  1. Clean grease rags works too. Back home we had a large canvas sheet that we protected the ways with while grinding on the lathe. When done, shook it out, outside, then into the washer it went. Lord knows what all that grit did to the water pump on the Kenmore washer. Maybe the reason, we had to replace the water pump every third year.....

    1. If I had one of grandma's old Whirlpool porch washers, I do it in a heartbeat. Hers was gravity drained. I guess you can grind a valve or a pump too far!!

  2. I love reading your blog STxAR. Mind you, I have no idea what you are talking about 80% of the time, but love that you do.

    I do remember paper bags. Oddly enough, some stores have converted back. I save wire hangers when I find them for the same reason.

    1. Oh man, I'm an odd duck, no doubt. Thanks for the stop and visit. I like to do things, I'm "industrious" I guess. I also like to do new things, make new stuff, so "creative". I guess those don't normally go together. Which explains a lot...

      converting back makes sense to me. Trees are replantable, er, renewable. I remember passing a sign in east Texas that said it was the 1 millionth acre replanted by that company. I need to remember to ask for some paper bags next time, that was the last one....

  3. "Just a dab'll do ya!"
    Yeah, I'm old.
    You ought to see the steady rest I got for my mini lathe, it would literally fit on the palm of your hand and is only good to 1 inch OD. This after the first one they sent me literally came out of the box in pieces!
    How do you manage to break a cast iron piece 3/4's of an inch thick in two inside of a cardboard box without destroying the box too?
    It was a mystery.
    They swapped it out with no questions to me but I imagine they had some for the shipping department guy.

    1. You win the kewpie doll!!

      I ordered a part from fleabay, and it was busted in shipping. It had insurance, but the post office lady said if I collected, then they had to have the part. I told them I needed the money to source the replacement parts to fix "what they broke". I kept it, wasn't about to let a priceless piece of who knows what get dumped in the trash.

      One more for the road... I work for a shipping company. They sent me a $25,000 service monitor. Internal shipping doesn't have insurance. When I got it, a complete exhaust system had skewered it, right through the box, into the case. It broke the end off the crt, destroyed most of the boards, and bent the case all up. If they'd drop shipped it, no problem, but someone had to touch it before me. Ha. What a fiasco that was....

      That anything makes it safely is a miracle.

  4. Replies
    1. I find it weirdly interesting that we can remember the most obscure stuff for decades with just a question. Well done!

    2. Back when i was a kid, the brylcreem commercial was on all the time, it was also a semi form of entertainment. Actually it was more entertaining than the garbage on tv these days.

    3. Thanks for stopping by! Yes sir, the old commercials have more facts than any 10 hour block on tv nowadays.

  5. Steady rest for my South Bend lathe is over 100 years old.

    1. I am continually amazed at how mature the technology is regarding manual metal work. The need of a steady or follow rest... we are running into the same problems and solutions that have existed for over a century. That is really interesting to me. The brilliance of those early guys is impressive. They weren't mental midgets...