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CovMac Lathes

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CHRISTOPHER MILLS 109/09/2014 12:14:35
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152 forum posts
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I am the proud new owner of a Covmac (Coventry Machine Tools) metal lathe; I believe these are uncommon, and I would like to speak to anybody else who may own one. I have no idea, yet, how any of the controls work. I am not an engineer, yet. I seek some guidance as to operating it.

Neil Wyatt09/09/2014 19:32:24
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Have you seen this link: covmac ?

Tony (whose website it is) has a request for Covmac owners to contact him, as they are rare beasts!

Neil

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 09/09/2014 19:33:40

CHRISTOPHER MILLS 109/09/2014 21:19:49
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Dear Neil,

Many thanks. I will contact Tony.

His website has been invaluable to me, in choosing to buy a CovMac.

This lathe is of stupendous quality.

Best wishes.

Chris.

Neil Wyatt10/09/2014 08:46:16
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It does look to be a very nice machine, does your have the geared head?

Neil

CHRISTOPHER MILLS 110/09/2014 09:43:09
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152 forum posts
61 photos

Neil,

Mine is a hybrid between the two geared head machines shown on Tony's site: It has a 13 inch chuck throw, with 60" bed, and a plinth base, with little storage cabinet, similar to the 17" geared head model.

It was owned for many years by a retired engineer, and looks meticulously maintained, very well oiled, etc. It needs a clean up, and its cosmetics reviving. It comes with five different chucks, and a big centre steady.

I don't understand the controls yet. I will pick it up in the next few weeks. It is quite heavy to move, (I guess it at about 1.4 tons) but I have an experienced friend guiding me.

It took me over a year to find the lathe I really wanted. Too of these lovely old works of art are heading for the scrap merchants.

Chris.

richard allen 610/09/2014 10:54:55
7 forum posts

Unusual as it has an American apron ....I wonder if it was built under licence?

Neil Wyatt10/09/2014 12:08:16
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and an inverted V bed.

Neil

CHRISTOPHER MILLS 110/09/2014 12:31:42
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152 forum posts
61 photos

Thanks gents.

How is the apron American?

Can anybody summarize the controls on the 13" geared head CovMac for me? I have never yet used a metal lathe.

Many thanks.

Chris.

Neil Wyatt10/09/2014 15:10:35
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16556 forum posts
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> How is the apron American?

Handwheel on the left, if I recall correctly.

Neil

Phil Whitley10/09/2014 19:05:43
884 forum posts
123 photos

HI chris,

Wow!!! I don;t believe it, I also have a Covmac and it sounds just like yours. Mine was built by P&C Garnett in Cleckheaton during WW2 I even started a Yahoo group called Covmac owners, and got zero replies...............Now if only I could post some pictures to the site.......................... I can;t offer you any advice or a manual because the lathe is hidden away in the corner of my workshop which is undergoing a complete rebuild at the moment. I am in East Yorkshire, where are you?

CHRISTOPHER MILLS 110/09/2014 20:21:20
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152 forum posts
61 photos

Neil; many thanks for that .

Phil; I saw your name on another forum, and was hoping to speak with you. We should set up a CovMac group, now there are at least two of us!

Have not moved my lathe, yet. Do you have any idea of its precise weight?

I am in north London, but I will have business in Leeds and Manchester in the coming future. I would love to view a second CovMac.

These lathes are really beautiful. I am really hooked. Why do so few survive, today? I have only seen proof for five survivors, and one of those I fear has likely since gone to the scrapyard.

Chris.

Phil Whitley10/09/2014 22:32:10
884 forum posts
123 photos

Hi Chris, Precise weight I don't know, but when Steve cox (landylift) moved mine, I had taken off all the extraeneous weight I could. I removed the chuck, motor and its incredibly heavy mounting plate, toolpost, tailstock, and various other bits and peices, and when he came to lift it, I asked him how much his Hiab would lift, and with the lathe swinging five feet off the ground he said "about this much" Given that I think his hiab is a 2 ton, I would put The fully assembled weight at maybe 2 to 2 1/4 ton, and the stripped weight at about 1 1/2 ton, because I think the warning buzzers would have been sounding at 1 3/4 ton! It is heavy as they go, and top heavy, as all lathes are but I rolled it into the workshop on rollers about 1" diameter using a 10" screwdriver as a lever. Don't use a fork truck unless you suspend the lathe below the forks!

They are very well made, and mine was fully rebuilt in 1953 by an engineering co in Leicester, their plate is on the end of the bed. Mine is also in VGC, tbh I don't think it has seen much use since the rebuild. I got it from the workshop of Andrews Motorcycles in Scarboro about 5 years ago.. It was on ebay, and as it was only a few miles from my workshop, and he wasn't getting any bids, I called the guy and told him to ring me if he didn't get a sale. Well it supposedly sold, and two guys turned up from Leeds in an Escort van, took one look at the lathe and left! It cost me £300 for the lathe, and £175 for the move to my workshop, which was worth every penny. Steve is a good lad, and knows exactly how to do the lifting bit. Although over the years, at various places I have worked I have done my share of moving heavy machinery, one always gives a huge sigh of relief when it is in position..There certainly aren't many about, mine was made "war Finish" by garnetts who were textile machinery manufacturers. As it says on Tonys site, Covmac made all sorts of special machinery for the nut and bolt industry, and most of it is still in use in third world countries, as you will have noticed when you searched for Covmac. The lathes were available to order, and were subcontracted to others like John Stirk & Co(QV) who made planers and other large machines. It is not known whether they used Covmac castings or cast their own as Stirk did have a big foundry. I do get to London two or three times a year, last time was only a couple of months ago. Of course I would love to see some pics, and I have tried to post some, but this site must have a secret method of uploading that I haven't sussed yet, NEIL, HEEEEELLLLLP!

Phil

Driffield.

East Yorks.

Ady111/09/2014 00:53:04
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3463 forum posts
513 photos

Uploading pictures in here is quite difficult, the server is very picky

Some of my efforts have taken over 6 hours and others have been completely abandoned

Michael Gilligan11/09/2014 07:11:53
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13974 forum posts
605 photos

Christopher, and Phil

First ... what a fantastic looking lathe ... the first picture on lathes.co.uk just oozes quality.

Posting pictures here should not be difficult; although it is a bit laboured, and the device operating system must be compatible [which my early iPad is not] ...

On the green menu bar, at the top of this page, click Albums; then follow the instructions to create an Album and add [jpeg/jpg] images to it ... mine are usually sized to a maximum with of 1000 pixels, which seems to suit the system.

To post a picture within the thread; use the black camera icon on the menu bar in the editing pane, and then select the picture from the directory of [your album] images that pops up.

I hope that's a reasonable brief description of the process [haven't really had enough coffee yet]

MichaelG.

Phil Whitley11/09/2014 08:53:15
884 forum posts
123 photos

Hi MichaelG,

Thank you for that, I failed at the first hurdle, as I new nothing about creating an album first. Most of the other sites I post pics to has a browse facility and I pull the pics straight from "My Documents"

Ady, Download time is usually a problem caused by the file size, which can be huge for some pics, I use shrinkpic (free download) to reduce pic size without losing quality, but I am not sure whether it works with uploads as it was designed for pics being emailed, I will check it out and post to the group.

Phil

Phil Whitley11/09/2014 09:18:46
884 forum posts
123 photos

covmac5.jpgcovmac.jpgworksop 005.jpgcovmac7.jpgcovmac.jpgSorted! shrink pic will work, but with email it works automatically, with this site you would have to drag the pics onto shrinkpic to resize, then upload to your album.floor 011.jpg

Phil Whitley11/09/2014 09:24:25
884 forum posts
123 photos

The dirty pics against the whitewashed brick wall are the originals from ebay, the one against the concrete block wall is taken where the lathe is now, cleaned and oiled, but as yet unused in my workshop. Now I know there is someone else interested I will take some more. I will also send some to Tony if I can get some decent ones, problem it that the room they are in at the moment is long and narrow and I cant stand back and get it all in!

Phil

Phil Whitley11/09/2014 09:27:51
884 forum posts
123 photos

Right, I'm off to work, today I will be mainly plumbingsad

Phil.

CHRISTOPHER MILLS 111/09/2014 11:31:45
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152 forum posts
61 photos

Phil,

Many thanks for these photographs - it is indeed the same CovMac model as mine.

I hope the weight is not as bad as you say - if Tony has the weight of the 17" geared head right, @ 3360 lbs, then ours must be quite a bit beneath this?

I am hoping for no more than 1.5 tons.

If weight is a problem, I think I will remove all things you removed, plus the saddle.

Has yours got the wooden bar, which runs the length of the machine, attached to the clutch?

When I am up north, I would love to come and see your lathe in the flesh.

You might be able to teach me the controls, too, as I am new to all of this.

I am really looking forward to it all.

Chris.

Phil Whitley11/09/2014 17:42:50
884 forum posts
123 photos

H*i Chris, you are very welcome to come and see it more or less anytime to suit you. Yes, it has the clutch bar, in fact it is complete with three jaw, 4 jaw, faceplate, and quite a lot of tooling, no taper turning or steadies unfortunately, and the face plate is a bad casting with lots of blowholes in it, but it has obviously been used. Nevertheless I will be keeping the speed down if I use it! I am really guessing with a bit of education on the weight, 3360lb or 1.5 ton could well be rignt, I know Steve(landylift) said afterwards that if I hadn't stripped it of all the extras he would not have been able to lift it, The motor on mine is a huge ancient single phase variable speed commutator motor (The motor is 750 rpm) it must weigh nearly 3 cwt, and the motor mounting plate is about 18" square x 1/2" plate! I took off the top slide with the tool post as well, but it is best to leave the saddle on, as you can move it towards the end of the lathe to get the balance right. I can certainly show you what the controls do, and although I cant run the Covmac, I also have a Colchester student which is running and useable.. I have no doubt that Tony's site will be right about the weight, so it is possible that the smaller 13" is under 1.5 ton, but they probably quote the weight without the motor. How are you planning on moving it?

Phil

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