Machine Tool Reconditioning by Edward Connelly is the standard work on the reconditioning of machine tools through the applications of hand scraping. What is scraping? It is the controlled removal of tiny amounts of metal using a scraper, as applied towards gyrating surfaces that are flat and in alignment in relation to the other surfaces of the machine.
Often you’ll hear of people “restoring” a lathe or milling machine. What they usually mean is that they cleaned it up, restored the bearings and other missing parts, removed rust and gave it a new coat of paint. What this book does is show you how to restore the accuracy of a machine back to factory specifications. There are sections for the most common machines so treated, the Engine Lathe, Horizontal and Vertical Milling Machines and Cylindrical and Surface Grinders.
This is complex, time-consuming, and extremely skilled work. You have to have all your procedures down, a collection of accurate measuring tools and the ability to understand and verify your work along the way. If anything the book should be subtitled “maybe you should rethink this project before you get in too deep.” But I have seen some great examples of people applying the knowledge in this book over the years, and if done properly you end up with a machine that is equal or better than any new machine you can buy.
The measuring techniques are also helpful in the diagnosis of problems with your machine tool’s alignment since many tests are shown. If you’ve ever struggled with workpieces that don’t come out square when they should have, this book may help.
Scraping is a fascinating subject in and of itself, and it is a great skill to work on over your lifetime. The ability to make a flat surface is exciting, and to generate true right angles? Priceless.
The book is insanely expensive, unfortunately; new it’s $92.95 with used copies from the usual suspects [What’s This?]hovering around the $89.00 mark. It should also be available at your local library, or one of your home shop machinist buddies may have a copy laying around.