Advice - tool acquisition
Folks, blown away by the generosity of a FRIEND (mean that word in every way) who after his fathers passing, invited me to help clean out the woodshop.

Today, I brought home I don't know how many dollars in stored wood. Walnut, maybe some mahogany (I suck at identifying wood - sorry), cherry, two sweet pieces of spalted maple, a huge piece of purple heart. Also, some great chisels, hand planes, oh, and did I mention a Laguna LT18. And here's the worst part, he wouldn't take a penny from me, just wanted to know it was going someplace it would be used and appreciated.

I've heard the word "gob smacked" before and I'm still thinking how freaking awesome.

Now, here is the advice I need. He also wants to give me a Robland X31 that appears to be in decent shape, an older Rockwell/Delta lathe, and a great old workbench. Does anyone have experience with the X31? My friend says his dad probably had not been in the shop for at least five years as his health had been declining for a while. So none of these tools have been operated for a while but it seemed all the attachments were in the shop. But the thing is a BEAST. Not even sure how to begin thinking about loading it on a trailer to get it the two hour ride home.

Amazingly my friend said even if I didn't wind up using it and keeping it he didn't care if I sold it. That may seem really bizarre but my friend has just survived cancer and is adapting to a new life and his fathers will has left him fairly wealthy. 

I'm sorting through my options here and if anyone has any perspective on this besides hugging my friend every time I see him I'm open to anything you might want to share.

TIA - Eric
Eric Bruns
Licensed Psychologist
Aspiring amateur woodworker
Most (all) x31’s were sold with a mobility kit.   You can wheel them on and off a trailer if the surfaces are flat enough.  If you have to get it up a ramp , things are more difficult , but a winch or ratcheting strap can do it.  

It’s a capable machine, but has some quirks that bug some people.
"And here's the worst part, he wouldn't take a penny from me, just wanted to know it was going someplace it would be used and appreciated."

You could always send a check to a charity he liked in memoriam to his father.
Project Blog Got it all up-to-date, and I promise to keep it up-to-date.
No experience with the Robland.

The old Rockwell/Delta lathes with pulley shieves were real workhorses. They could last forever with very infrequent replacement of the shaft bearings. Just be sure to loosen the belt tension before changing speeds. Both lathes and DP are subject to the pulley walls getting broken if one forces a belt to change pulley under tension.

The ones with Reeve's drive are more problematic. Periodic maintenance and lubrication of the drive are critical. Parts for the Reeve's drive are hard to come by.

The lathe accessories and turning tools probably cost your friend's father much more than the lathe did.

The suggestion above of making a donation to a charity that would have been of interest to your friend's father is a decent one.

Depending on your friend's family condition (whether he has a spouse or children/grandchildren), using those tools (and possibly some of that wood, if appropriate) to make things for him and his family would likely be appreciated. Perhaps, if the father made things for your friend or your friend's children, then there could be great sentimental value if you made similar or related items for the next generation. If that is an option, then it could be a great way to honor your friend and his father.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
Quote:The old Rockwell/Delta lathes with pulley shieves were real workhorses. They could last forever with very infrequent replacement of the shaft bearings.

My Delta/Milwaukee 1460 was built in December 1944, and worked in a Singer war plant.  It followed my grandfather home after the war, and has been in the family ever since.  It's all original, including the table boards and paint, though it had a Walker-Turner Driver Line motor on it, which would have been sourced locally (Central NJ, where W-T was in those days).  It was common for machines to be sold without motors way back then, and I bought both my Delta DP and jointer new without motors, and that was the 70's.

The bearings have been replaced four times so far; once by my Dad when we brought it home, and three times by me.  It needs bearings again, but it's not hard to do.  Shimming the preload is the hardest part.

Later versions had a double-row bearing on the inboard, and the original single-row outboard, but the old system with the same bearing on both ends works fine for me.

“This place smells like that odd combination of flop sweat, hopelessness, aaaand feet"
Words of wisdom as I expected - humbled by them and guided. Great suggestions. Anyone else with thoughts feel free as time allows. Thank you.
Eric Bruns
Licensed Psychologist
Aspiring amateur woodworker
You might want to check out (Old wood working machines) There is a wealth of knowledge and help in restoring all types of woodworking machines, a buy and sell forum, and much more. I totally rebuilt a 1973 Unisaw with their help. Never done anything like that before, and now I am hooked on "old iron" Good luck on your project.....Ed
Wow! I gotta find better friends! Seriously, what a great gesture from your friend. Maybe consider using his fathers tools and some of the wood to build him something really nice.
Google "Robeland X31 and you'll find a number of videos about the machine and it's feathres, including one that discusses alignmdent. This one shows several guys off loading one from a truck and moving it into a shop.

One caveat on the video: One of the guys off loading the machine pulls, tugs and pushes against the end of the jointer table. That's probably a bad idea.

Nice score, by the way!
I have had an X31 for many years and have moved it a couple of times. For example I’ve moved it in the back of a pickup using a come along and some ramps made out of dimensional lumber - and a few friends (it is 1000# after all)

Like all tools, it’s value to you probably depends on what sorts of things you want to make and what tools you already have.

It is certainly a capable machine but by definition it’s a compromise to fit all those functions into a single machine. And like someone else said: it has some quirks.

There are a couple of long reviews of the x31 to be found on the internet. Those will help you understand what the machine is and is not and how it functions.

If I had a signature, this wouldn't be it.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.