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ward 2A lathe

reconditioned in 1961 , dismantled 25 years ago .

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Bob McDougall23/12/2017 20:34:38
45 forum posts
280 photos


Ward 2A, would like to hear from other owners. Lots of collets but no 3 or 4 jaw chuck. Few hours a week putting it all back together. The 3HP 6 terminal motor needed to be ramped up slowly on my inverter to work. (thanks to Steve) Oil like toffee, many sheared bolts, a few bits siezed but generally absolutely Beautiful. The last photo was me moving up my range of hammers until I used the small slege hammer, it was too big. 










Edited By Bob McDougall on 23/12/2017 20:38:24

Edited By Bob McDougall on 23/12/2017 20:41:50

Edited By Bob McDougall on 23/12/2017 20:46:32

David George 123/12/2017 23:22:26
1808 forum posts
503 photos

I used to work one of these in about 1968 I made batches of screws for Seacat missile launcher about 250,000 at a time, piece work, then studs for Rolls Royce engines in batches of 20,000. Never used a chuck always used a collet and a bar feed.


jimmy b24/12/2017 05:30:08
780 forum posts
42 photos

Served my "time" on a 2A and 3A. Happy days!!!

Only ever had collets and one with a "peg" chuck


robjon4424/12/2017 09:59:21
149 forum posts

Hi Bob, very first lathe I started my apprenticeship on in 1960, I've always thought that it is possible to die of nostalgia! and I really hate to see classic old iron maltreated as that one clearly has been. We also only had ballchucks, collets & barfeeds at that time, although later I used many 2DS & 3DS models with manual & air powered chucks as well, although I felt that these beefier jobs never quite delivered the dextrous lightning fast forward/reverse & fast/slow speed changes of the 2A, probably why the expression " a quick flick" was created. Towards the end of my working life 54 years later I acquired for my then employer a Ward 3DB which was fitted with a Hepworth copying attachment would you believe, who knew? got that going & used it to to prove to him that CNC machining is not the answer to every problem, even though I had become a Programmer/Setter/Operater some 43 years earlier. Anyway, enough of this frippery, congratulations on the fine refurbishment, I trust you have the slimline open ended spanner suitably ground away round the outside of the jaws to tighten/undo the length stop screws on the capstan slide?

The elderly gentleman will now go for a lie down as he had a Full Knee Joint Replacement on Monday of this week & it is proving to be little harder to recover from than I had anticipated.

Another Bob

Hopper24/12/2017 11:27:33
6203 forum posts
321 photos

Looks like you got yourself a project there! But a good bit of kit once you get it sorted. Keep us posted.

Neil Wyatt24/12/2017 12:03:46
18993 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles
Posted by robjon44 on 24/12/2017 09:59:21:

The elderly gentleman will now go for a lie down as he had a Full Knee Joint Replacement on Monday of this week & it is proving to be little harder to recover from than I had anticipated.


If it is a metric one, in the new year you will find yourself walking kilometres instead of miles

Hope it works well for you!


Bob McDougall22/01/2018 20:38:02
45 forum posts
280 photos

Great to hear about how these machines are fpndly recollected.I will check on the spanner robjon44 mentions.

The forward gear feels like its lost teeth so it only runs in reverse (I just run the motor in reverse).

The re-assembly is progressing broken part welded and seized parts freed. Apart from ... the double gear in the carstan feed gearbox which I believe is supposed to slide along the slotted power feed shaft but because its seized to it we cannot move the capstan saddle which is stuck almost at the furthest end of its travel away from the chuck.

So still at it! . Would anyone have a manual with a full exploded diagram ? or operators manual. still not sure what a few levers and knobs are for.

Thanks for the comments,


Ady123/01/2018 01:03:18
5067 forum posts
734 photos

Check your messages

larry Phelan23/01/2018 08:30:43
544 forum posts
17 photos

Hi Robjon,

I hope your new knee works out well for you.I had the same job done over a year ago and it never worked out.

No better now than it was before,despite doing everything I was supposed to do. Seems like "you win some,you lose some",however,I still keep plugging away. Be careful about dropping things on the workshop floor,you might not be able to get down to look for them ! How do I know ?

Looks like not only the machines are in rag order !! and spares for both are hard to find !

Roger Williams 223/01/2018 08:44:04
346 forum posts
3 photos

Hello all, this post brings back memories, in the early 60's , sitting in the bus driving along Constitution Hill past Cannings in Birmingham, you could look in through the windows and see rows and rows of capstan lathes churning out stuff. Sadly now gone.

Good luck to the OP wuth the refurb, and keep sending the photos in.

JOHN MOSLEY 123/01/2018 09:23:59
10 forum posts

Too many guys on here who have worked these machine in their Teenage years. I include myself in that we had both Ward and Herbert Capstan Lathes. Liked the parting off bit collet chuck 2" Dia freecutting mild steel at 1000 R.P.M. We also made special E24 Bolts that wore the tooling, wish we had thro away tips then, spent a lot of time sharpening tools.



Edited By JOHN MOSLEY 1 on 23/01/2018 09:24:22

larry Phelan23/01/2018 12:52:38
544 forum posts
17 photos

There must have been thousands of these machines made,yet spares for them are hard to come by.

Same thing with the wheels from the Mini,s,very hard to find,and so very useful.

It appears that when these machines had earned their keep,they were just dumped. In many cases the firms simply closed down [Maggy T ?] and everything was dumped,I think they call it "Progress".

norman royds 223/01/2018 14:34:45
48 forum posts

I don't think they were dumped no exported to foreign places probably still working away making parts were the cost of living is little or nothing so labour is cheap and built well and the word obsolescence built in wasent even thought of norm

larry Phelan24/01/2018 09:58:09
544 forum posts
17 photos

You could be right Norman,I think a lot of those machines may have ended up in Taiwan,since much of the stuff coming back from there has the old Whitward threads.

Bob McDougall26/01/2018 23:55:59
45 forum posts
280 photos

Another night of Kroil . In three hours we moved the capstan power feed gear on the horizontal shaft 10mm. But also cut some 15mm steel bar to 12.48mm so we are making things.

Great to hear about the history of these machines, this had Birmingham on the bed. My Grandfather was a pattern maker from Dudley and could have made the pattern of parts of the lathe I now have.

Bob McDougall27/01/2018 00:38:56
45 forum posts
280 photos

Ive added some photos of ward to my album ward 2A. The turret gearbox was heavily contaminated and rusted. its all free now except the double speed change gear ? is this what it is I wans't sure if it was a reverse gear.

Saw a local friends ward 2a which had a power feed to the main saddle and a gearbox at the head end.

can now knock the woodruff key up and down inside the double gear but still the gear is siezed to the shaft which means we cant move the turret saddle more than a few inches, and it is set at an unusable distance from the collet




Edited By Bob McDougall on 27/01/2018 00:53:16

Bob McDougall27/01/2018 19:35:11
45 forum posts
280 photos

The problem was the turret was so far from the chuck it was unusable. The turret saddle had a gearbox to recieve power feed from a horizontal slotted shaft parallel with the bed. A gear engaging the slot via a woodruff key had seized to the shaft so the saddle could not be moved along the bed. As a fisherman once said, "we are going to need a bigger hammer" I only used my small slegehammer but it did the job, the seized gear moved. Last night two of us moved it 0.5mm in an hour, 1mm in two hours and 5mm after 3hours. I hit it with the big hammer today and it moved mm , then some more. and finally the saddle can move freely along the power feed shaft. Probably 10 hours of KROIL and hammering over four weeks. wow it felt good.

Ian Skeldon 227/01/2018 21:54:41
540 forum posts
54 photos

I'm another chap that used both the ward and the herbets as an apprentice, great machines and very capable in the right hands. John Mosley, I was part trained by a chap called Herbet Mosley, very nice gent and an extremely good machinist, based in Crewe many years ago, any relation of yours?

Bob McDougall03/02/2018 00:21:13
45 forum posts
280 photos



Turret , what a beautiful single part.



The corrosion on the horizontal power feed shaft to the turret. This is what the turret gearbox was seized to for 25 years and took weeks of kroil and hammering to free. But we did it !!!


re assembling the vertical shaft, we (I) had split the lower gear case and had it welded back but it was swolllen and didnt fit so lots of sanding to get it back in, only on re-fitting did we realize it actually hindges on the lower round casing and pivots to engage on the upper gear.


finding the binding points on the housing after the welding fix.


the outer casing has an arm with a cam to push the vertical shaft onto the upper turret feed gear fixed to the manual feed.


still making bits, although under load the spindle slowed considerably so still serious motor/gearbox problems.


Edited By Bob McDougall on 03/02/2018 00:22:42

Howard Lewis03/02/2018 11:56:48
6024 forum posts
14 photos

Brings back memories of being an Apprentice!

How can folk leave a precision machine to rust and rot, have they no respect?

Keep up the good work, you'll finish up with a good machine. The labour will be worth it in the end.

Think of just how many bits have been made on such machines.

"Many a good tune..." and all that!


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