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Stringer EW lathe

Looking for information - advice etc.

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Ruaidhri Murphy06/12/2010 14:53:01
37 forum posts
1 photos
Hi from warm sunny Dublin
As mentioned elsewhere I've been turning wood since the world was still flat, but only about two years with metal - Myford Super 7 (stuck on a gearbox and taper turning attachment etc).
Lately a buddy gave me a pressie of a Stringer EW lathe. Not actually bashed about, but lying in a workshop for millenia. Fine coating of rust and sawdust (he is also a woodturner).
Most of the parts were in two plastic buckets!
Since the snow has kept me from my workshop I (by prior arrangement with SWMBO) brought the poor little thing into the dining room and have started trying to bring it back to life.
The only information I can find is on - - thanks Tony!
Have any of you good folks got one? - know anything about them - got photos ?
Any assistance gratefully received, and progress pics can be provided if anyone is interested.


WALLACE07/12/2010 21:09:12
304 forum posts
17 photos

Believe it or not, one of my buddies at work (since retired) was the son of the Mr Stringer who used to make them !
I'll forward this to him - he might well have some info !
Paul White 308/12/2010 10:50:49
109 forum posts
23 photos
hello from nippy berkshire,
I have owned an EW lathe for the past 60 years and enjoyed its possession. It was a
toolmakers design with many interesting features.
In 1957 and 58 a number of mods and articles appeared in ME by the hand of Martin cleeve, it would be worth your while getting hold of these.
One item not covered ( in my recollection) is a clutch in the drive chain. I made such a
fitting for my machine, it is without a doubt an absolute must , making for a much greater
enjoyment  when using the machine . I must admit to an obsession with regard to the
fitment of a clutch on ALL lathes (is that a shout?).
WALLACE08/12/2010 12:41:45
304 forum posts
17 photos

Agree about the clutch. There's one on my L5 with a switched linked to the phase inverter so it always starts slowly.
Always worries me seeing lathes instantly start up  - especially if they're not on an inverter drive ! 
IanT08/12/2010 20:55:12
1986 forum posts
212 photos
I've recently acquired an EW in pretty good shape - with all of the "extras" as far as I can tell (from Lathes UK site that is).
I had already read the Martin Cleeve articles on the EW - so I recognised it straight way when I saw it for sale. It appears to be a very robust little machine and is destined to be my "Winter Warmer" (inside lathe) for when it's too blooming cold to go down the workshop and fire up the Myford (such as right now!)
It needs motorising and I've already built a simple countershaft but need to add a mount at the back for the salvaged cap-start motor I'm going to use (currently awaiting delivery of a new capaciator). I think it will be a very useful tool once set up. I didn't design in a clutch just yet but will add the Martin Cleeve dog-clutch for the leadscrew I think.
Although it might sound much too large - I've also asked Santa for a small diameter ER32 chuck to mount on the EW. I have standardised on ER32 on my larger machines and decided that it was much cheaper to stick with the larger collects (which I already have) for this one too. An economy QC toolholder is also on its way - and if I can mount if further back from the current postion - my diamond toolholder can also be used for some smaller work. Lot's of new things to play with!!     
Good luck with your EW Ruaidhrí
PS I've been looking for any documentation for the EW (mine cakme with none) and I would very much appreciate any scans or copies of any EW reference materials if you have them.
IanT08/12/2010 21:15:31
1986 forum posts
212 photos
And for those who do not know what we are talking about - here she is:

Terryd08/12/2010 21:41:51
1936 forum posts
179 photos
Hi Paul,
One word of excitement is certainly NOT a shout!
Ruaidhri Murphy09/12/2010 18:48:00
37 forum posts
1 photos
FWIW I've uploaded a few pics of mine  here
I'd be delighted to have a chat anytime as work progresses - I have so much to learn!!
A quick email to & I can pass on my phone number - obviously not putting it up on the interwebtube
or we could arrange a time for a chat session on Messenger??
The last pic of it partly reassembled is only for my own pleasure - it still needs some work there, and also needs to be washed down and resprayed. Mulling over the idea of having the handles etc. rechromed - that will depend on cost.
One last thought - anyone want to buy a small island on the west coast of Europe. Cheap. One not very careful owner. Apply Dáil Éireann, Leinster House, Dublin. Tell them Ruaidhrí sent you.
Ruaidhri Murphy09/12/2010 18:49:59
37 forum posts
1 photos
Ooops - should have mentioned - there are a bunch of other pics on that Picasa collection - nothing private, so feel free to poke about if any of you are REALLY bored :D
IanT03/01/2011 11:05:23
1986 forum posts
212 photos
I've been working on the countershaft for my EW.
It came with two Picador bearings and the pulleys but nothing else. I decided to use these initially and see if they performed OK.
I've used two lengths of approx 20mm square tube as the uprights and joined them with a piece of 1/8" plate from the scrap box. To this I've screwed an ordinary door hinge and above that a length of steel angle - about 40mm x 40mm. To this a pltwood 'platform' is bolted on to act as a motor platform.
The intention is that the weight of the hinged motor will tension the drive belt.
Going to try it later...  

Tony Borland14/01/2011 07:50:33
6 forum posts
I am looking at a small lathe for model train building.I am interested in either the Cowells 90ME or the Stringer EW lathe (same as IanT EW lathe).I do not know much about either lathe so could anyone please offer there opinions
1. Are the EW Lathes very accurate and good quality?
2. Are the Cowells 90ME lathes very accurate and good quality?
Is there any difference between the Cowells and EW lathe in terms of quality and accuracy?
Hi IanT....what is the swing please for your EW lathe?
Hope you can help
IanT14/01/2011 10:43:37
1986 forum posts
212 photos
Hi Tony,
I'm afraid I cannot tell you too much about the Cowell 90ME - although Cowells had a very good reputation. What I can tell you is that the EW is a very well made and robust little lathe that I think is an ideal size for "Railway Modelling". I already have a Myford Super 7 (albeit a bit long in the tooth) and an even older Lorch. Both of these have needed some patience to bring them "up" and in my experience it tends to be a circular experience (e.g make some improvements - solve some problems - find some new issues - resolve them etc etc).
My EW came assembled but with everything "loose" and with no countershaft or motor. I've built a Mk1 Countershaft (still needs some work & couild be improved) but it has been enough to get the EW running. I've also been able to fit an ER32 collet chuck to an existing backplate and fit my 'Diamond' tool on the EW topslide. I've made some simple boiler fittings (I build in Gauge '3'  and I am very happy with the results. I was able to sit inside in the warm - and I am much more likely to do work now  - rather than go down to my resonably well equipped (but pretty frosty) workshop.
Since this post started I have also been in contact with Ruaidhri and another EW owner. Some years ago Martin Cleeeve published quite a collection of articles over several tears on improving the EW and these are a very useful resource in my view.
In terms of 'swing' the EW centre height is just over 60mm - so in theory you could turn upto 120mm but you are limited by the topslide movement. A Reg Tingey "round the corner" toolholder (as he describes for the Unimat) would help the EW here.
Bit busy this morning but I will post more if you are interested.
Tony Borland14/01/2011 10:59:17
6 forum posts
Hi IanT
Thanks for the good reply.
Yes if possible please post more as that would be appreciated.
What sort of prices do the EW lathes command?
Best Regards
Cornish Jack14/01/2011 12:12:11
1219 forum posts
171 photos
Cowells lathes ? ... little gems! I have two (don't ask!!) They are excellently designed and manufactured BUT (the BIG but) costly. Don't come up for sale very often and tend to go for considerable sums. Needless to say, the accessories are similarly priced. Should you go that route (can recommend it, if cash allows) look for the later models with the 14x1 nose thread instead of the original 14x1.5. That way, it is possible to use compatible Unimat threaded items. It is also possible to purchase a replacement headstock spindle to do the same thing.
No involvement with Cowells other than as a minor buyer of bits a couple of times.
Tony Borland14/01/2011 12:27:01
6 forum posts
Thanks Bill
Do you use your Cowell Lathes for model building?
I see the swing over the bed is 90mm....have you machined any metal close to that size?
The specs state that 90mm is the largest diameter over the bed so i will be able to turn 85mm aluminium tube....would you see the lathe handling this size OK
They look very well made .. seen pictures on there website.
Thanks for the reply Bill
IanT14/01/2011 13:59:07
1986 forum posts
212 photos
I cannot tell you what prices EW lathes command generally Tony - but I'm happy to tell you what I paid for mine.
The lathe with compound top-slide, 3-jaw, 4-jaw, MT1 Drill chuck, vertical slide, boring table, backgear assembly, pulleys, driving plate for between centres turning, 125mm diameter faceplate, "economy" QCTH (with one toolholder) and a box of bits and pieces cost 250 GBP. This was last Autumn from a well known tool-dealer, so included VAT (at 17.5%). (See the photo in the thread above for "an as purchased" photo)
I was very happy to pay this price and consider the machine excellent value. I've had to build a countershaft (but used the picador bearings and pulleys sold with the lathe). I had a small fractional HP capacitor start motor in my scrap bin. I suspect the lack of motor etc was reflected in the price - but it was not a big issue for me. In terms of size the EW is larger than a Sieg C0 and very slightly smaller (in swing) than the C1. I have not used either of these machines - but the EW has some very solid castings and there is nothing i can't repair or replace if I need to.
You can buy a new baby C0 for just over 200GBP and a C1 for just under 300GBP. I have not tried to cost all the EW accessories - but they would certainly add up. So the best I can suggest is that the Chinese lathes do seem to be keeping these older machines at afforable prices and that I am very pleased with my machine. A very good buy as far as I am concerned.
Ian T
Cornish Jack14/01/2011 14:34:37
1219 forum posts
171 photos
Yes, I would think that they will handle most anything within their centre height capacity. They are, indeed, well made. Back gear and self act as standard are helpful. I haven't done a great deal with mine as the main machine is a TriLeva 7b.
To consider the opposing view, as is often pointed out, it is possible to machine small components on a large machine  but difficult, if not impossible, to machine large components on a small machine. As ever, 'horses for courses'.

IanT14/01/2011 15:52:35
1986 forum posts
212 photos
Hi Tony,
I model in Gauge '3' (at 13.5mm to the foot and 63.5mm gauge) and I don't think there is very much that I couldn't do on the EW if I really needed to.
In fact, from curiosity, I've just looked at a wheel casting that I have for an 8' Stirling 4-2-2  and at 115mm diameter - this casting will fit onto the EW faceplate or (with a mandrel) onto my ER32 chuck (that I've just fitted to the EW). So I could swing it.
I'd probably still use the Myford - partly because I already have one but also because the cast iron would most likely make a mess that is best kept in the workshop. But the EW would be capable of turning this in backgear with a bit of thought and a slightly different toolpost set-up (The swing is one issue in determining cutting diameter - the cross-slide travel is another)
Larger lathes are certainly useful to have sometimes but you can't normally pick them up to move them about, generally don't use them indoors and good "big" ones tend to cost a lot more than good "little-ens"  (especially good Myfords).
Assuming that you want a lathe to build in a model railway scale smaller than Gauge '3' - then I can see no reason why an EW (or similar) would not be a good & affordable choice.
Regards,  Ian T
Tony Borland14/01/2011 23:05:11
6 forum posts
Thanks for the replies.
Hi IanT,
Would you have a couple of more photos of your EW lathe from different angles please you could email me at -
I will advertise to see if anyone has one for sale.Much appreciated
Ruaidhri Murphy16/01/2011 00:39:56
37 forum posts
1 photos
HI gang,
Just off to bed - but I'll pop up a few pics tomorrow if I get a chance.
A quick sickener - my EW cost me €Nutting. I believe in Sterling that's £Sod All, or $Zilch. Not sure about Yen
So far going really well, with a few mandrels in the Myford, and a brass brush on the Record the clean-up is proceeding apace.
Had a phone call yesterday from my mate who gave it to me to say he has found the original motor (reversible) which is working perfectly, after 50 years sitting in his workshop!!
More anon - and thanks again Ian for the scans,
Couple of quick thoughts -
Zebo fire grate polish works a treat on the crinkle finish. On the bits where it is stripped I intend to experiment (obviously on waste first) with a thin coat of varnish dusted with sand, then sprayed black.
Originally a scale plane & ship modeller I can't help doing thesert of things

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