Metal Shapers

by Kay Fisher

Pete Verbree's Alba 1A - Part 2

This is part 2 of the story of the acquisition and reconditioning of an Alba 1A shaper by Pete Verbree with his kind permission to publish.

Reconditioning Begins

First job, disassemble the machine. Those look like 9/16" bolt heads. Nope, must be metric. Nope wrong again, British Standard Whitworth! None of my wrenches fit! I guess it?s dial-a wrench time!

Well the disassembly progressed over the day and as I worked I marveled at the standard of the workmanship that I saw, I also despaired at the abuse that someone had heaped upon this once fine machine. Piece by piece her story began to reveal itself.

The slide ways and feed screws had seen little use. Very little backlash in the screws and lots of scraping marks still visible, OK! A little Varsol revealed an asset tag from the University of Western Ontario, in London Ontario. A good sign, she never saw a production shop.

More cleaning, more disassembly. Then I saw it!

Cracked Clutch Housing   Photo by Pete Verbree

The clutch housing was cracked, badly!"DOH!" As Homer would say, "That might be a problem!"

Continuing with the disassembly, I removed the link arm (ram lever) from the ram, to allow the ram to come off. OH Brother! That isn?t original. My kids could make a better repair job than that!

Damaged Ram Lever       Photo by Pete Verbree

The reason for the cracked clutch was obvious. Someone had crashed the machine, breaking the original ram lever, and tearing a large chunk out of the stroke adjustment slot on the bull gear, and cracking the clutch housing.

Memo to self: When inspecting potential machine purchases, leave rose colored glasses home!

So, there it was, my "find" was turning to scrap before my very eyes! What to do, What to do? As this was getting on toward supper time, I came into the house and went to wash up. "How is your new friend" came a polite inquiry from the supervisor's office (kitchen). "Pretty good" I answered trying to keep the despair from showing in my voice. "It is going to take a little more work than I thought, but it's in relatively good condition."

Now, having been married to the same person for 22 years, has given my wife some insight into my moods and general demeanor so the conversation during supper was steered to other topics.

I spent the next couple of days doing some research into the possibilities of buying replacement parts. The usual sources in the US couldn't help. Several inquiries via email to the UK found parts all right, but the cost of exchange and shipping added to the purchase price would have driven the cost to a point beyond economics.

I would obviously have to repair or fabricate what ever I needed. I spent the next night scheming and plotting my next moves.

I will describe those repairs next month.


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