Interested in a LeBlond Regal restoration and a smaller manual lathe?
Talk to Mike Patnode, a West Coast retired job shop machinist who restored a 1963 Regal and lopped 60” off the end of the bed to fit in his “hobby shop” at home.
Mike has provided us with a few photos of his LeBlond Regal restoration.
A Brief Summary of Mike’s Resto
- Completely disassemble and pressure wash the Regal
- Cut lathe bed with a horizontal bandsaw saving 3” of the end to reattach with screws and epoxy
- Cut leadscrew, feed rod and spindle rod with chop saw
- Single point cut threads on the leadscrew to ensure fine adjustment
- Sand all parts to bare metal, paint and then reassemble.
He Did It, So Can You!
Mike was amazed how the headstock was in complete alignment after being off the bed and thinks more machinists will think of cutting the longer beds of the Regal after people see what he did with his machine.
“Once someone sees one cut down, they won’t be afraid to do it,” he said.
Biggest Challenge of LeBlond Regal Restoration
The biggest challenge of the LeBlond Regal restoration was making new aluminum levers for the headstock. It was a bit of a challenge to locate the tapered hole in the output shaft with the tapered pins going through the handles.
Mike purchased the machine off Craigslist from Waits Machine in Longview, WA. The machine was originally shipped in 1963 to Reynolds Metal Co. in Chester, PA.
“I purchased this machine because I have run LeBlond machines in the past and love them,” Mike said. “Another factor was parts availability through LeBlond.”
Patnode uses his LeBlond Regal restoration to restore old hot rods.
“I use the lathe to turn and thread trailing arms for rear ends,” he said. “I make washers, bushings, anything round I need, from door lock handles to bearings and bushings, turbo charger fittings, center caps for wheels etc.”
Guillotining Bed Should Affect Accuracy, Right?
Wrong. When the machine was reassembled, the headstock lined up with the tailstock as well as it did before Patnode took it apart.
He has maintained the accuracy of the machine. The LeBlond Regal restoration holds one thousandth of tolerance in a 6” cut.
“It’s amazing, the accuracy of these machines that you can disassemble,” Mike remarked.
Patnode got into his cars from his Father who built old street rods after returning from the Korean War in the 1950’s. The Regal and classic street rods are the only vintage items in his shop.
“When you walk in the shop, you see a neat collection of old license plates and decimal equivalent threading charts on the walls,” he said.
Check out another photo of Mike’s LeBlond Regal restoration, showing the smaller bed as well as the cut ways and leadscrew.
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I have been a machinist for 43 years the last 20 years I have rebuilt machine tools I have never thought of any one sawing the bed off. I would of thought finding a saw large enough to fit the bed in would of been the hardest thing to do. Great job.
Thank you Tim! I have a 9″x 16″ horizontal bandsaw with a 1″ blade and it was about 3″ too small so I set the bed on a car trailer and drove over to BBC Steel in Canby Oregon and they cut it on a big horizontal bandsaw with a 2′ bi-metal blade. They were a bit worried about cutting the bed. I told them no worries it’s high quality cast iron and will cut like butter. You guy’s know how good quality (no hard spots) cast iron cuts. They took my word for it and let er rip. They all were grinning as the cut was being made and I was happy to get a cut with in about .008
When I didn’t need a 17×70″ Regal “trainer model” made during WW2, I found the missing parts needed to fix it, and bought an ACME tap to make a new cross slide nut. Then I found someone with a need for a really long lathe and sold it to him. Far as I know it’s somewhere in southern Idaho being used to work on bulldozer axle shafts.
Thanks Gregg. The ingenuity of a machinist on a mission knows no bounds! As a note, LeBlond has OEM parts for all our lathes, some dating all the way back to the WW2 era. If anyone out there needs parts, let us know!
I would like to add that another big benefit of the restoration was the oiler plunger on the apron works great now that all of the oil journals are cleaned. Brass and bronze chips were like dirt clods in the saddle. The tailstock journals were packed with chips up to where the gits cups were at one time. What a pleasure to run this machine and have the lube system working. I don’t have way oil constantly dripping off the ways and down the side of the bed into the pan.
This is really inspiring. Nice to see these machines kept and cared fot