My First Ludlow

And a Hammond Glider Saw

image link-topic-sf0.jpg

1. The Ludlow in Winter

You mean everyone doesn't drive hundreds of miles in February, through snowstorms, sometimes at twelve degrees below zero, to pick up three quarters of a ton of forty year old machinery, in Duluth? It seemed normal to me.

We don't actually have any pictures of the drive in to Duluth. We tried to beat the snowstorm there, and pretty much did. We took a look at the machines that day, and stayed the night. It was a short, sharp storm; eight inches of snow in a few hours. The next day was crisp and clear and, this being Minnesota after all, the roads were already in perfect shape.

Here's the Ludlow in the shop where I got it, with the Grasping Hands of the Greedy Hot Metal Enthusiast.

(Actually, although this picture looks badly "photoshopped," it is exactly as-taken. I was gesticulating about something in the foreground; I have no idea what, now. The Hammond Glider saw is behind the Ludlow.)

Here's another view, this time slightly from the rear of the machine. I apologize that both of these images are slightly fuzzy; they're just snapshots taken at full-auto.

This Ludlow is a Model M. Electric pot. Partlow thermostat. 220V, 14A, 60 Hz single phase. Margach pig feeder. It came with all of the maintenance tools (good!), a box of spare parts, and a nice selection of matrix sticks. The only downside is that it is missing the original external refrigerated water cooling supply. It had been used in a rubber stamp making operation until 2004, and had been in storage in a safe, dry location since then. Regrettably, all of the mats had long since been sold for scrap. No cabinets, either. No remelt equipment or extra typemetal, but one very strange (probably homebrew?) pig mold fabricated out of galvanized sheet metal.

All in all, I was remarkably fortunate in obtaining this machine. Without exaggeration, it cost me more in gas to drive to get it than I paid for the machine (of course, this was in a vehicle which got about 10 mpg, plus a second car as backup/follower). The seller was also extremely helpful throughout the entire process and should be commended for making an active effort to see that this equipment found a good home and continued use rather than simply dumping it as scrap. Many thanks!

(Aside: If you've only seen pictures of a Model M, yes, there is a cosmetic sheet metal panel that fits on the lower front. I have that, but it wasn't on the machine at the time; it went home separately, in the car.)

Here's the Hammond saw. It's actually a pretty manageable size, except that the motor alone is far too heavy to lift by hand. These machines were built to last as long as you cared to use them.

Perhaps ill-advisedly, I removed the Hammond's sliding table for transit. There are, on this model, no fewer than 20 ball bearings for the table. Watch and count carefully. I also removed the blade guard, and lowered the blade into the machine. I did not, however, remove the motor.

Here's the Ludlow maker's plate. According to the tables on Dave Seat's website, s/n 16,615 would be around August of 1966.

We also were simply given a number of other miscellaneous printing items which were of no further use to the prior owner (thanks again!) The strange thing about this one was that I thought Rollande had put Hello Kitty on the slugcutter (we do, after all, use a Hello Kitty toaster), but in fact it came that way. She (Rollande, not Hello Kitty) denies all responsibility.

Here are some better views of the Ludlow. By this time I'd removed the Margach pig feeder and put the machine on skids. It is, however, only secured to the skids through lag screws (and relatively thin ones, at that), so although these skids are useful, they can only support the machine as it presses down; they cannot be relied upon to remain affixed to the machine. Through-bolts would have been much better.

The color in these shots is also closer to the actual color of the machine.

It doesn't look like 1,200 pounds, but it is (and most of the weight is in the top third of it, at and just under the table). It may be easier to move than a Linotype, but it is no less worthy of caution and respect.

Here's the Ludlow in transit out of the building. Given the configuration of the pickup truck, we needed to forklift it longitudinally. It wasn't possible to get the forks directly on the crossbars without removing the plunger pressure apparatus, so we put a couple of boards across. The machine is actually being lifted on the longitudinal crossmembers. Fortunately, these are fairly thick steel well-bolted to the frame. The second photograph should give an idea of the conditions in Duluth the day after the snowstorm. It was still in the single digits above zero Fahrenheit. (It didn't reach twelve below until later.)

By comparison, the Hammond saw was easy:

Finally, just before sunset and still 200 miles from our intermediate stop, we got it all packed. (It took a little over six hours to get everything prepped, loaded, and secured.) This is a stop in a nearby parking lot for the first (of many) checks of the load. There is significant structure (not visible here) holding these items in place, and they're bound together as a unit as well. Later load checking will reveal that the right-hand (to the front of the truck in this view) cosmetic panel is in fact only being held on by one screw at this time (solution: another strap). I also added straps to make sure that the gibs for the Hammond (exposed now since I took the table off) were held in by more than 40 year old grease. Camera lenses are strange things; that's a full-size, 8-foot bed on the pickup.

I should note that the only thing that made the arrangement shown here possible was that this particular truck (which isn't mine) was set up for a "fifth wheel" trailer arrangement. This in turn has two chain links affixed very firmly to the truck's frame. Without this secure tie-down, I would not trust this load to stay in the truck. It astonishes me that no original manufacturer actually produces a pickup truck with solid tie-down points on the bed itself. Here's the main strap holding down the Ludlow, attached to firm anchors.

From Duluth we didn't actually go straight home, but spent a day elsewhere in Minnesota seeing family. The morning of the drive home it dropped down to twelve below. This is why I moved away from California; I hate hot weather. The online services said it would take 7 hours to get home. We made it in 11, without incident. The speed depended entirely upon road surface conditions, and varied most often between 45 and 55 mph. We took the Interstate and 4-laners, as much as possible, because their surfaces were smoother than the 2-lane highways we took up.

Here's the Ludlow still on the truck, back at the farm and partly "unpacked." By the time of this photo my dad and I had taken the Hammond off using our tractor (pallet forks on the front loader). I don't have pictures of that because by then my Camp Photographer, who was also driving the follower-car and generally doing a whole lot of work, was taking a well-deserved nap.

Below is another view, end-on. Recall that in moving the Ludlow onto the truck we used basically 2x4 crossbars. I wasn't entirely confident with the size of those, but the forks were inside the frame (so if the wood failed the frame end crossmember would have fallen on the forks). Here I wanted to give the operator the ability to fork from outside the machine, which gives a wider lifting base. For this, I used two 4x4 timbers. (The small straps around the 4x4s are simply there to hold the timber up to the frame; they carry no load.) These proved to be more than adequate, although I selected pretty good wood (no cracks).

In this view you can also see one of the straps I used to secure the machine internally (the one wrapped around the central crossmember and disappearing up inside the machine). In this case, I tied down the pot tightly, so that it wouldn't bounce in transit (potentially damaging the cams which actuate it, or their cam rolls (followers)). I also strapped and secured several other points internally on the machine. (In doing so, however, one must take care not to damage either oiling tubes or thermostat wires, several of which seem to have been placed right where one might want to put a strap.)

Note also that the apparent bowing of the 4x4 timbers in this view is an optical illusion of the camera lens and angle. They are in fact quite straight.

In theory I could have taken the Ludlow off myself with the tractor. Perhaps in the future I will do the equivalent with some other machine. It is technically within the capabilities of the tractor. It is not, however, within the limits of my present capabilities and confidence level as an operator. So I called up K&L Bobcat, in Darlington, Wisconsin, and had David there do it for me. It was well worth the cost, not only to avoid accidents, but also to see a really skilled operator work a machine. Every movement of the forks was perfectly level, confident, and spot-on. He made it look easy (when it wasn't), the way a real artist can. The weight of the Ludlow was also nowhere near the capacity of this particular skid-steer.

For the first time in a week I'm feeling less nervous, as the Ludlow is now only a couple of inches off the ground:

And finally here it is safely in the shop, although not yet in its final location.

Select Resolution: 0 [other resolutions temporarily disabled due to lack of disk space]