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Harrison L5 new to me

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Oldskool Ford12/06/2016 12:06:14
8 forum posts
2 photos

Hello, I'm new to machining in general and have recently purchased my first lathe, a Harrison L5. I'm still getting acquainted with my new machine, but I've got a really basic stupid question.

The lathe came fitted with a 3 jaw chuck which looks like it's been on for years. I'd like to start searching around for a 4 jaw chuck to buy, but first I'd like to unscrew my 3 jaw to see what type of fitting it is, diameter, thread etc.

Here comes the stupid bit, I can't figure out how to lock the lathe to unscrew the chuck. The spindle must have some kind of locking facility, like a grinder has a pin to lock the rotation to unscrew the disc, right? Otherwise what am I turning against? smiley

hth12/06/2016 13:45:57
93 forum posts
22 photos


It is a common problem with lathes that have been left unused for years . I have had this problem myself .

The solution I found worked for me . I remove the lid of the headstock, I then use a jaw that I have taken out of a chuck, I use the jaw as a brake, I slide the jaw between the headstock casing and the large bull gear - doing this locks the spindle . The jaw has teeth, the teeth will slide into the large gear , locking it

hth12/06/2016 14:23:21
93 forum posts
22 photos

My bad drawing but you get the idea


Alan Waddington 212/06/2016 16:05:38
523 forum posts
88 photos

Just put the lathe in the lowest gear mate, you won't turn it by hand trying to remove the chuck.

roy entwistle12/06/2016 16:30:57
1552 forum posts

hth recipe for stripping bull wheel teeth

Manofkent12/06/2016 17:15:18
142 forum posts
29 photos

Hi. Just done this on my L5. Put in back gear, lowest speed - top handles pointing left.

Then I put a 6 inch ish bar in the chuck key square on the chuck. Make sure it fits well and is not wobbly. Then give the bar a sharp tap with a hammer. The lathe may still turn a little, but it should just loosen the chuck enough.

The L5 is a brilliant lathe and does all I could ever ask of it.


Brian Baker 112/06/2016 17:38:02
201 forum posts
36 photos

Hi, I have a well used L5A, and as John as said, it is a brilliant lathe.

Are you sure the chuck is screwed on

some of these were fitted with a different chuck mounting system, known as L00, which used a C spanner to remove it. A photo of the back of the chuch would soon confirm if it is screwed or L00.

You could try running the lathe in slowest backgear BACKWARDS, with a substantial piece of wood gripped in the chuck jaws, projecting sideways which would be stopped from rotating by hitting the lathe bed, suitably protected.

This worked for me on a friends machine.


Gordon W12/06/2016 18:08:31
2011 forum posts

Check that it is a screwed chuck- clamp a bit of wood in the chuck, sticking out sideways - hit the wood with a heavy item, hammer or length of bar. I would not try jamming gears or similar until all else fails.

mechman4812/06/2016 19:46:33
2947 forum posts
468 photos

I don't have one but look in ...**LINK**

Does it have the screwed collar on the back in which case you undo the collar with a 'C' spanner not unscrew the chuck... unless it is a later L 5A ( last picture on page )


Oldskool Ford12/06/2016 21:25:15
8 forum posts
2 photos

Thanks everyone for your help, I did what hth suggested and used one of the jaws off the chuck as a brake, the chuck popped off no bother

Kettrinboy12/06/2016 22:02:42
94 forum posts
49 photos

Now you have got the chuck off , when you refit it all it needs after making sure all mating surfaces are clean of dirt is a fairly gentle push to get it seated against the spindle register, the only time i would tighten it more firmly is if i was going to take a heavy cut with it running in reverse  , as with it done up lightly it could unscrew the chuck whereas running in forward direction it will tend to tighten the chuck.

regards Geoff

Edited By Kettrinboy on 12/06/2016 22:04:20

Muzzer12/06/2016 22:04:32
2904 forum posts
448 photos

Have you checked the manual for the approved method? I doubt they would recommend removing the lid and wedging gears inside the gearbox. Should be dificult to really jam it on in normal use anyway unless you are doing some unauthorised blacksmith work on it. You could make a sort of c spanner that fits in the square tightening holes and give it a smart tap if you don't like using the chuck key.

peak412/06/2016 22:11:37
1787 forum posts
193 photos

I've never been too happy with levering on the key socket to unscrew the chucks on my Myford.

Rightly or wrongly, I use an open ended spanner one one of the jaws, having made sure they are fully engaged in their slots first of course.



Robbo12/06/2016 22:31:39
1504 forum posts
142 photos


The "approved method" is to put a block of wood on the lathe bed such that it will catch on one of the chuck jaws, then "pull" the chuck round so the jaw hits the block of wood.

My preferred method is to put the short leg of a good big Allen key in the chuck and give the end of the long leg a smart smack with a mallet.  Relying on inertia rather than locking any gears.

Edited By Robbo on 12/06/2016 22:32:29

william thompson 403/05/2017 14:02:29
1 forum posts

I know this is an old thread, but can anybody help! I am stripping my Harrison L5, 3speed. I am trying to remove the gearbox and the two power feed rods, I have supported the apron, removed all the bolts on the gearbox. removed and moved the rear mounting block away from the bed. the gearbox is solid on the bed/headstock. At this stage I don't want to get the big hammer out. I understand it is located on dowels, but are there any hidden bolt lower down in the gearbox?

Also how do the feed rods come off the box. The user/parts book doesn't show bolts, nor does it give any explanation.

There seems to be a bit of damage at the end of one of the rods, It looks like a bit of a lashup, I will sort this as soon as its all stripped down.

I have an other L5, so old its on legs, with a rod working the clutch. but I fell in love with it, so I got another.

Thomas Shannon20/03/2019 19:09:11
8 forum posts

i have the same lathe, one countersink bolts on the inside of the change wheel cover

Thomas Shannon20/03/2019 19:10:28
8 forum posts

anyone know where to find new l5 lathe wipers and it looks to be held on by rivets ?

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