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Found 2 results

  1. I’ve started this thread to document the restoration of a small bench top fly press I recently acquired via the usual on-line auction site. The press was advertised as a “Barn find project” and “rusty and not moving” which turned out to be a fair and accurate description. I’ve wanted a small fly press for a while and always enjoy the challenge of bringing an old tool or machine back to life (to use, not for show) The final price at the end of the auction was GBP£24, about US$ 31. I guess I spent a similar amount on fuel to collect it and a 5 hour round trip in the car. (Broke the journey in the middle with a quick trip to Iron Dwarf’s forge to pick up some coke and a quick chat with the dwarf and the copper elf, always a pleasure.) The first challenge was to remove the four rusted in bolts holding the ram guide in place. I wanted to remove these before attempting to free of the main screw just in case the ram was rusted to the guide. I don’t claim to have a lot of restoration experience but have learned the hard way that impatience when working on old stuff is a very, very bad thing that always results in broken bolts or blood loss somewhere along the way. With that in mind after a cursory wire brushing to remove surface crud all relevant parts were liberally dosed in Plus-Gas (my preferred penetrating fluid) and left overnight. Finding a spanner (wrench) to fit the bolt heads took a while, the UK went metric a long time ago but fortunately I have some imperial sized tools and an old BSA motorcycle spanner fitted perfectly and with a little persuasion with a soft faced hammer they were free. Luckily the ram was not rusted to the guide. At first I couldn’t see what holds the ram onto the screw but after a little cleanup I could see a couple of dovetail pieces on the ram, one on each side. After some thought I decided to leave well alone (KISS and “if it aint broke......” Moving on to the next challenge, there was something stuck in the tool hole at the end of the ram but fortunately it was threaded. after some time rummaging through my collection of non-metric fasteners I found a nut to fit: I filled the retaining screw hole with more Plus Gas and left it overnight then rigged up a small extractor using large washers (including a recessed one from an old angle grinder) and the nut found earlier. By steadily adding washers and/or shims made from broken hacksaw blades it came free without the use of heat or brute force. The piece removed: It is 5/8" in diameter and as can be seen there was no shoulder on it......in future nothing will be allowed into the tool hole without a shoulder! Next task was to free up the screw. As I have no handle for the press I found a wrench large enough to engage with the nut on top of the press and used it with a soft faced hammer to wind the screw inwards by a fraction of a turn. After quickly making up some soft jaws for the bench vice I inverted the whole press, (glad it wasn't a Norton #6!!) clamped up the octagonal handle spigot in the vice and turned the whole press to free off the screw......that was easy! The next job (not started yet) will be to make a handle. I'm not sure of the best way to do it yet. The handle fits onto a tapered octagonal spigot. Width across the flats at the bottom is 1 1/8", tapering to 1" at the top. The spigot is approximately 1 3/4" high. I guess I will need to make a tapered octagonal drift then slit and drift the hole on my handle stock. I'm not sure if I should drift a tapered circular hole first or go straight to octagonal? Also as it's a single use thing I am wondering if I should harden the drift? Any thoughts or advice very welcome please. That's it for now.... I've a couple of questions about this press; at the rear of the frame there is a tapped hole about 3/8" diameter and 1 1/4" deep. (So it doesn't penetrate right through the frame) Below that is a slit that does go all the way through the frame. I'm wondering what they are for.....possibly for mounting some kind of stripper? Any thoughts or ideas are welcome! Tonight I'll look through my bar stock and old bolt collection and start planning to make a few basic press tools. I'll also start making a very substantial bench for the press to sit on.
  2. Here are a few of the fly presses from my collection. I have an interest in preserving these great old machines. Many I have literally rescued from certain death in the smelter. All are Australian manufactured machines. I restore them by: Completely dismantling Stripping paint and grease from parts Regrinding damaged sliding surfaces zinc priming all parts to be painted. refinishing parts assembling and adjusting press I am looking at techniques of restoring well-worn presses by the addition of silicone bronze to replace metal that has been lost through wear. I am also fabricating custom made stands for some of the machines that don't have them.