By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

Member postings for Phil Whitley

Here is a list of all the postings Phil Whitley has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: CovMac Lathes
22/09/2014 10:11:49

Hi Brian,

the only ones I use regularly are the Colchester and the Grafton Drill, When I have finished the workshop refurb (soon) all the machines will move to the other end of the shop into the "new" machine shop Then I will have "space"and probably grow a final front ear! I am embarrassed to post pics of it, but at the mo I am having a big tidy, and when that is finished, I will. I am actually very lucky because it is a big workshop which we originally built in the 1970's on half of a piece of land we paid £150 for!!! Them were't days!


21/09/2014 20:26:50

I will sort all this out tomorrow chaps, but the right hand headstock lever on mine (spindle lever) has only two driving positions, and is in effect the high/low shift. It may have a centre neutral, can't remember at the moment. the left hand lever gives the four speeds ABCD,. So effectively, four in high ratio, and another four in low, making eight speeds in all. The banjo and the gears are off at the moment, but I have them all, but no 127 conversion gear, but if I need metric I use the Colchester. I haven't used the covmac yet, because it is in bits in the corner of what will be the "blacksmiths shop" although at the moment I call it the "machine shop", It actually looks more like a ragshop[! there is my Colchester student, a Harrison H mill, a Raglen V mill, and Alba No1 shaper,the Covmac and a Grafton drill press, Hidden away also in there is A startrite bandsaw, a floor standing Warco drill press, an Alfred Herbert precision drill press, and a brazing hearth. That's all the big stuff that I can think of at the moment anyway, all in a space a bit smaller than a single garage I can use the Colchester, the Grafton drill, and the Harrison provided I don't need too much table movement. The raglan is mid rebuild, as is a B&S dividing head, but I have forced myself to stop all non profit engineering until the building work is finished, So I have plenty of projects, and if you add to that the Fordson Major in the main workshop, the four2cv's inside, and another four outside, I am not going to be bored for the next couple of years at least!


21/09/2014 17:12:04

Looking at the pics on, the oil caps look like they are original.


21/09/2014 16:50:37

You can see the main bearing oil cap in this pic, I will take one tomorrow of the cap itself, keep your eyes peeled for them when you are there next


21/09/2014 16:21:21

Hi Chris,

The main bearing oilers on mine are just two metal drop in plugs, which I thought a bit odd, but they are both painted red like all my oilers, so they date from at least the recon at IL Berridge (1954) I will take some pics of them, as they might be in the chip tray, or somewhere else in the shed where the lathe is.


21/09/2014 15:42:21

Hi Brian, I am back at workshop tomorrow, I think you are right, I remember it as 4tpi, but will check tomorrow for you, anything else, just let me know. I was struck by the thought last week that I have finished the majority of the workshop rebuild, and soon I will be able to actually play with machines again, and build some heating "machines" for the workshop before the worst of winter sets in.


20/09/2014 20:13:19

Here you go chaps! Sorry about the flash flare.

20/09/2014 19:59:03

No trouble Chris, I was going anyway, we had a torrential downpour last night and I wanted to pick up all the "rainfall" apples and take them to the cider man! Also showing the latest progress to the wife!


20/09/2014 14:23:29

covmac 016.jpgHi Chris, Is the knurled knob on the right hand scewcutting lever able to rotate? If it isn't and the knob won't pull out against the spring, the pin will not release from the hole, and it will not move, I am going to my workshop later, I will check on mine.


OK, I Bin an gon an Dun it!

here are a couple of pics, you can see the amount it needs to pull out to disengage the pin from the casing, mine moves freely between the three positions without having to turn the gearbox over, but yours has been stood a long time and may need a turn to free the gears, The knurled knob should rotate freely, and pull out approximately 3/4"

Philcovmac 017.jpg

20/09/2014 11:20:54

Hi Chris, Is the knurled knob on the right hand scewcutting lever able to rotate? If it isn't and the knob won't pull out against the spring, the pin will not release from the hole, and it will not move, I am going to my workshop later, I will check on mine.


18/09/2014 21:32:56

Is that piece of wood a roof support? I want to go there and tidy up! I looks like he has lots of interesting bits and bobs I could put to good use.


16/09/2014 09:28:25

Right!! I am going to ask the question here and all the other sites I frequent, Is there anyone out there who owns, or knows of the existence of a Covmac 17" Lathe as illustrated here

We don't want to buy it, but would love some photos and history if known..


Thread: Installing a new lathe
16/09/2014 07:54:52

It is always cheaper to build you own house, and especially so if you already own the land, providing it is land that you can get planning permission on. beware, there are a lot of land scammers about who buy cheap agricultural land, and sell it as an investment which matures on the day planning permission is granted on that land. Of course there is no chance of planning ever being granted, that is why the land seems so cheap! If you own the land outright, and you build a ready made design of house on it (ie you do not need to employ an architect) then you will find that the major costs are electrical, plumbing and getting services like sewers etc connected to the property. The actual construction in brick, timber and other materials is relatively cheap. The housing boom has been created artificially for reasons too complex to go into here, save to say that the main purpose is to create debt in the form of mortgage. There is supposedly a "brick shortage" at the moment, this is actually caused by demand being so low that the brick works have shut kilns down to cut overheads. The answer is to build in old brick, or rendered blockwork and use as many recycled materials as possible. I have built houses like this, so I know it can be done. There are no huge taxes that I know of, perhaps Bazyle could elaborate?


15/09/2014 21:44:23

For Robin, and anyone else contemplating a building project, do it in this order, and you won't go far wrong. It may seem obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people don't and pay the price.


Roof internal and external

gutters downspouts and drains Barge boards and fascias

walls brickwork and pointing

external windows and doors

then move indoors!!!


15/09/2014 21:36:35

I would still check the floor for damp Robin. When I did my place the walls seemed far wetter than the floor, but when I took up the tiles, put in a dpm and concrete, the walls dried out. It was damp from the floor condensing on the walls, which were colder. Get some air moving through before you commit to any work, it might dry out by itself, unless you have leaky rainwater drains, as we discussed before.


Thread: CovMac Lathes
13/09/2014 21:00:11

Hi Chris, got your emails, Your lathe seems almost identical to mine, and the conehead of flickr although that seems to have a slightly different feed box, and no plinth with cupboard. I think your motor fixing is exactly the same as mine too, If you look inside the "cupboard" there is a large nut and thread which is attached to the motor plate, and adjusts the belts. No dismantling to do, unfortunately that is how it is at the moment, but it will be soon going back together and traveling a few yards to my "new" machine shop across the other side of the main workshop

I think maybe you could remove the saddle like that, but how would you lift it clear without damage to the lead screw, it is VERY heavy. you could separate the apron from the saddle (apron is the bit that hangs down the front with the controls on it) then remove the saddle, then the apron, then replace the lead/feed end bracket. I have never done this however, so I am only assuming it is possible!

The dismantling does seem to be very straightforward, as you say, the 30's/40's construction is basic, rugged but also simple and uses a few bolts to hold the whole thing together. Now I have had a good look at mine, i realise it is actually simpler than I thought, and I could have continued stripping mine if landylifts Hiab hadn't been able to lift it.

Socket set needs to be Whitworth or BSF (mostly the same size) You will also need a few good BIG screwdrivers, one of which should have a hexagon on it so it can be turned with a spanner if neccasary. Some lever bars, and a soft (hide) faced mallet. When removing screws the screwdriver blade needs to be a tight fit in the screw, almost to the point where you need to tap it with a mallet to get it in the slot, then push HARD and turn sharply, with the spanner if possible. you should also take some release oil/WD40 although it is rare for a well oiled machine like this to have any seized bolts, a plentiful supply of rags/ handwipe paper. Clean it down before you start, it stops accidents, slips and drops.As I said before, put every bolt you can back in the thread it came out of, and with nuts and bolts on guards etc, put them back in the holes they came from and tighten, it makes reassembly so simple, and saves hours!

I haven't run mine yet, but that is simply because for the last 20 years I have been involved in other things, and My brother was using my workshop for his business I got it back about five years ago. On the same day Steve from landylift was moving my Covmac to my workshop, he was moving the last of my brothers heavy machinery down the road to his new workshop, it all worked very well I then embarked on a three year refurb on my workshop working on it when time allowed. If you get over to see me I can show you around! If you have three phase, you also have single phase, you just use one of the phases, and a neutral.I have tried to get a three phase 3 hp 750 rpm motor, but they are expensive (about £250 new, very rare used) and though they are more efficient than a single phase motor, I will probably use the original motor for now. Incidentaly, I see the "stayrite" starter on the wall next to the lathe, although the joke where I served my apprenticeship (I am originally an Electrical Engineer) was "Stayrite NEVER Right" I would get it, as it matches the motor. Strange motor on yours, shaped like a Brooks, but with the vents through the side of the foot is unusual, interesting!

I think I feel a very exclusive Covmac owners club coming on!


13/09/2014 17:14:04

Hi Chris,

Where is the motor on your Covmac? I have just realised that the cast boss you can see inside the headstock plinth is where the bolt used to adjust the belt tension goes through. That is why the door is there, to get to the belt adjustment.


13/09/2014 17:08:31

Right, it has just lost the end of that post, as the cut command did not work so I will try to type it up again

Hope all this helps. I would strip it completely, it will make the move much simpler and safer, but you would still need help and a fork truck or engine crane, and if you are going to refurbish it, why not I would not go beyond giving the headstock and feed box a good wash out, as if you remove the spindle you will have to reset the bearings and that is a tricky job, but not impossible by any means. You will have to check the alignment when you refit the gearbox, but that should always be done after a machine is moved anyway. If I can give any more help let me know.


That wasn't as good but never mindblush

13/09/2014 16:57:55

Hi Chris, Cut a long story short I think the Covmac is emminently stripable! here are two pics showing inside the column and the legs

The red one is the headstock column, there are two studs and nuts but you will note 4 holes, the other two have not been drilled or tapped It is the same at the other end, (bit of a bad pic) but you can see two studs and nuts again, and two apparently unused holes.

If you remove all the belt covers and gear covers, motor, motor plate, then the banjo with the gears on it, you will see these two bolt heads

If you remove these two, and these two under the spindle

Then fit a chuck or faceplate and place a sling round and behind the chuck, and round and behind the vee belt pulley, and as far as I can see, the gearbox lifts off. You will need to make careful note of the number and position of any shims that may be in there (there may be none) If you then remove the nuts from the studs holding the legs on and remove the studs (they will probably come out with the nuts) you could lift the bed assembly with a fork truck, remove the legs, and lower the bed to the floor. As I said before if you remove the saddle you will first have to remove the lead screw and the feed shaft And without knowing how they disconnect from the feed/screwcutting gearbox, this process could be simple, or complex, I simply don't know! If you do remove them, you could then remove the saddle and apron, and the feed/screwcutting box as well, leaving you with some still very heavy, but much more manageable pieces to transport.

The top two levers, left hand one is the four speedchange lever, right hand is the back gear, or high/ low change giving eight speeds, four in low/backgear, and four in high. Sounds complex, but it isnt.

Tumbler reverse lever, this reverses the direction of the feed/screwcutting gearbox, and thus reverses the direction of the leadscrew for cutting left hand threads, and any other process needing the opposite rotation.At least, that is my take on this lever, some also have a neutral position so you can operate the lathe without the external gear train and the feed box turning, which make for a MUCH quieter lathe!!

saddle/apron controls, from the top. Small "ball" handle operates the top slide (AKA compound slide, which can be adjusted around an engraved protractor scale to turn tapers and for screwcutting. Small red handwheel operates the cross slide, which moves the compound slide and the toolpost across the bed. Large red handwheel moves the whole saddle along the bed. Round knurled knob in the centre of the apron switches the feeds between "sliding" (up and down the length of the bed) and "surfacing" which powers the cross slide backwards and forwards across the bed. Below that is an oil nipple (not grease!) The little red three position lever to the right selects the feed direction with a central neutral position, and the ball handle just above that opens and closes the half nuts for screw cutting. Bolted to the end of the apron on the extreme right next to the two T slots is the leadscrew indicator, sometimes called the screwcutting dial, which reads out the position of the saddle in relation to the threads on the lead screw. Once again, sounds more complex that it is in reality. The golden rule with all levers is do not change gear with the lathe chuck revolving!

The motor plate, solid cast iron one inch thick, and I can barely lift it!

The motor, and yes, that is a 12" rule! I can just about drag it across the floor, I would guess about 2 1/2 to 3 cwt.

12/09/2014 21:52:54

Today I went to see my friend Jim to fix his radiators. I hate him because he has a Tom Senior mill, and he is holding my dumpy philips screwdriver hostage.Jims Workshop

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and get a free digital issue.

You can unsubscribe at anytime. View our privacy policy at

Support Our Partners
Rapid RC
Eccentric Engineering
Eccentric July 5 2018
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest