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I Forge Iron

leather drive belt

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Clark, you have what looks to be a 9 inch South Bend, with Quick change gearbox.

Use Marvel Mystery Oil to saturate the lathe ways, then after a couple of days use steel wool dipped in MMO to lightly clean some of the rust off, saturate again and leave for 4 or 5 days, then use a shop towel wet down with MMO to scrub the ways clean.


southbendlathe : All about South Bend Lathes: All Models

South Bend Lathes and Machine Tools

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If it was me, I would make my own leather
belt. They are not that hard to make. I make leather stropping belts for my belt grinder. The hardest thing you have to do is find the heavy hide. In the old days they use to use buffalo hide for big belts, like the ones that run from a traction engine to a combine.

The joint is made by making matching tapers on each end of the belt. This should be done in such a way that when the belt ends are glued together the thickness remains the same through the joint. A 2 to 3 inch lap is good, made by sanding the ends. A jig would help a lot.

Glue together with contact cement. put first coat of glue on both surfaces and let it dry completely to get a good bight on the leather. Apply a second coat of glue and let it tack up, then slip the belt on the machine and make the bond. Hammer the bond gently to help set the glue. If the radius of your pulleys is tight, then join the belt over a larger pulley to help give the joint a pre-bent disposition. Once the joint is glued, let it cure for a day or two before using it for the first time.

I think I explained it right, but I must be off to the Doc. Ask if you don't understand any part of this.


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If you have difficulty joining the two ends, make a trip to a Western Tack store where there is a resident Saddlemaker, or where they might locate one for you. These people spend their life working with leather, including joining parts together. A fellow I used to know actually had a special rasp or rotary grinder (sorry, I didn't pay too much attention to what it looked like) that tapers each end correctly. I had him join the leather belt ends for my old rivet forge twelve years ago, and it is still perfect.

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