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Possible Lindow White rose engine lathe purchase

john lucas

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This may not happen due to money but I have a possibility of getting one of those machines. My question is for those who know what should I look out for when checking the machine out. It's been sitting for quite a while in very disorganized and messy shop. Covered in dust and hasn't been used in many years. I went to the lindow white site and it's hard to tell which machine it is and how much it's worth. I think he said he paid $6000 and thought it was worth twice that amount new. Asked me to put in a reasonable offer. Of course on my budget all I can afford may be way below reasonable. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

Michael Anderson

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That seems like a nice opportunity John. I can’t offer any appreciable advice re. the lathe itself. That said, I do follow David Lindow (as well as the Plumier Foundation) on instagram, and he seems like he would be willing to talk with you directly. From his posts, he’s very interested in machine provenance, and would probably jump at the chance to help someone acquire one of his RE second-hand. Of course, you may have already reached out to him. Just a thought.
 
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I understand the original Rose Engine Lathes date to the 16th century and there is a waiting list in England for them when the owner dies. Several Kings and Queens have had and used one. A truly amazing machine. Hope you get it, but you may have to add onto the shop.
 

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John, please post pictures. We’ll try to assist you.
 
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FWIW,
Being a long time sufferer of a a virus many of us have, “I see that, I want that”, I will share my latest story. I became enamored with the CNC craze and finally acquiesced to my disease and pulled the trigger.

There is a serious learning curve (for me, for sure); I’m pretty sure the same applies to a RE lathe.

What I quickly found was amongst all the bells and whistles the CNC came with, it did not come with any more hours in the day!!

Being a slow learner, I have now recently rediscovered that I can only use one tool at a time; the more tools I have, the more time they individually collect dust!!

Now I know the only therapy available for this virus is to buy that RE Lathe……I will step up with this Public Service announcement regardless, haha!!
 
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Interesting John. Just think if you did have one, it would definitely be a lifetime opportunity. That said I have no clue about rose engine lathes, but maybe someone on the ornamental turning forum would know??
 
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I sold my L/W rose engine, with a lot of attachments (pictured below), a couple years ago for $4,500. It was one of the original models...I'm guessing one of the first 30 made. If you get a chance, attach a chuck and wood turning to the headstock and ensure it cuts true and cranks freely. If the base/stand is homemade, as mine was, have a careful look at the workmanship and construction...should not wobble, sway of fall apart :-0
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john lucas

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You are so correct Russ. That's the reason i haven't gone with CNC. I'm terrible on anything computer. I would spend more time cussing at it than using it. At least a rose engine is mechanical and with my camera repair background as well as motorcycle, auto and bicycle repair I can probably handle it. My problem us it's a huge amount of money and I'm not sure it will ever make me money. It will be fun for sure. And yes very time consuming. So I'm asking a lot of questions before I dive in. He has asked me if I would help him sell it if I decide not to get it so if you know anyone interested.send them my way
I sold my L/W rose engine, with a lot of attachments (pictured below), a couple years ago for $4,500. It was one of the original models...I'm guessing one of the first 30 made. If you get a chance, attach a chuck and wood turning to the headstock and ensure it cuts true and cranks freely. If the base/stand is homemade, as mine was, have a careful look at the workmanship and construction...should not wobble, sway of fall apart :-0
View attachment 56237
View attachment 56238
Thanks Ed. If he accepts my offer I will base it on getting to pull the thing out of his garage and playing with it as much as I can to check it out. Still trying to decide if I really want to get into rose engine work. Years ago I did and that's why I got into routing on the lathe. The rose engine definitely would open up some doors. It's just hard to figure out if it would ever pay for itself.
 
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These are intriguing machines for sure. I can only imagine the man hours it takes to learn to use it proficiently. Good luck John!
 
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These are intriguing machines for sure. I can only imagine the man hours it takes to learn to use it proficiently. Good luck John!
Actually, learning how to use a rose engine, at least the Lindow/White design, is very easy. There is no software to learn, and no mystery of how the machine really works. You should be up and running within minutes of first setting it up.

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You are so correct Russ. That's the reason i haven't gone with CNC. I'm terrible on anything computer. I would spend more time cussing at it than using it. At least a rose engine is mechanical and with my camera repair background as well as motorcycle, auto and bicycle repair I can probably handle it. My problem us it's a huge amount of money and I'm not sure it will ever make me money. It will be fun for sure. And yes very time consuming. So I'm asking a lot of questions before I dive in. He has asked me if I would help him sell it if I decide not to get it so if you know anyone interested.send them my way

Thanks Ed. If he accepts my offer I will base it on getting to pull the thing out of his garage and playing with it as much as I can to check it out. Still trying to decide if I really want to get into rose engine work. Years ago I did and that's why I got into routing on the lathe. The rose engine definitely would open up some doors. It's just hard to figure out if it would ever pay for itself.
I used the RE a lot on unique and one-of-a-kind spinning toys, which always sold well...paying for itself many times over, after 15 years of use.

Handmade_2014_18c.jpg
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Actually, learning how to use a rose engine, at least the Lindow/White design, is very easy. There is no software to learn, and no mystery of how the machine really works. You should be up and running within minutes of first setting it up.

View attachment 56241
Shows you what I know about the subject :-( sometimes I feel like an idiot for commenting at all. I have seen some rose engine videos that are very intricate and need constant tweaking.
 
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Shows you what I know about the subject :-( sometimes I feel like an idiot for commenting at all. I have seen some rose engine videos that are very intricate and need constant tweaking.
You may be referring to the overhead pully/motor setups, like is pictured below, that's intended to reduce vibration and yield a finer cut. I never upgraded to that kind of setup, which is certainly more complicated to get going and maintain. One of the only complaints I ever had about RE turning is that there are so many different designs and add-on options, that it's pretty much impossible to call any setup "standard". The original Lindow/White design was intended to resolve this issue (IMHO), with a relatively simple and straight forward approach. But even the L/W hardware evolved over the years, and can now be configured in a way that is a mystery to operate.
images.jpg
 
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If return on investment is a big consideration buy a CNC router. Rockler has one on sale through the end of the month for half the asking price of the RE. The CNC will be versatile, able to make saleable items without any special attachments, just supply a few router bits. They come with Vectric software keyed to beginners making them very easy to use. It will also be easy to resell if you change your mind.

On the other hand the RE will require attachments (rosettes, etc) for almost every design you want to produce. You would need to evaluate it carefully based on what is included. And, it does appear RE's in this price range are not easy to sell.

Take as an example an oval bowl. Nothing special required on the CNC. On the RE an oval rosette and tedious hand adjustments of the cutter.

My first experience with an OT crowd was years ago at the Seattle area symposium. I spent a couple hours the night before CNC'ing some sample domed designs two to three inch diameter that could have been used as box lids. They were on the instant gallery table and the experts debated how they were done and what exotic RE attachments were needed.
 

RichColvin

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Doug, I must disagree. A rose engine is a magical machine. A CNC produces the design you direct it to make; meanwhile a rose engine will oftentimes surprise you with what gets produced.

John, I believe you will be like most other ornamental turners: you will become one of us who often says, “I wonder what happens when I …?” My advice is to document the results (via a picture or prototype), along with the setup you used.
 
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I am now the owner of both a Rose Engine and a CNC Router. As of this moment I have spent about the same for each. There is a huge difference in the learning curve between the two. The Rose Engine - you set it on a rosette and it rocks and can pump, use in phase out of phase, feed left feed right in or out (the toughest part is remembering what each rosette will produce, I have about 25. Yes documenting what each will do is a must.). Fairly straight forward. The CNC Router - Yes you tell it what to do but that is a huge undertaking as software is the driving force in this. The Vetric software that runs my Shark CNC is to say the least fantastic. But fantastic means it will take me forever to even approach what it can and will do. So, so, so much to learn. It's like Photoshop on steroids! I have the 4th axis for the machine (allows using the CNC on round objects) but I don't see that coming out of the box for quite a while. So for me the Rose Engine is by far the easier of the two to learn and is much more hands on to operate. The CNC once you program the job there is very little hands on once you lock the piece in and put in the cutter, sit back and watch. One last thing they are both amazing machines and are a blast to use and both are an addition for my woodturning.
 
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You are so correct Russ. That's the reason i haven't gone with CNC. I'm terrible on anything computer. I would spend more time cussing at it than using it. At least a rose engine is mechanical and with my camera repair background as well as motorcycle, auto and bicycle repair I can probably handle it. My problem us it's a huge amount of money and I'm not sure it will ever make me money. It will be fun for sure. And yes very time consuming. So I'm asking a lot of questions before I dive in. He has asked me if I would help him sell it if I decide not to get it so if you know anyone interested.send them my way

Thanks Ed. If he accepts my offer I will base it on getting to pull the thing out of his garage and playing with it as much as I can to check it out. Still trying to decide if I really want to get into rose engine work. Years ago I did and that's why I got into routing on the lathe. The rose engine definitely would open up some doors. It's just hard to figure out if it would ever pay for itself.
I’ve run out of cuss words with my CNC learning curve John. Since you’ve been asked to help sell the RE if you’re not buying it, how much……lol. You see the virus at work, haha!!

What Ed does is pretty amazing to me. Not only the great yo-yos but the RE work. Of course that set up smacks of work to me; something I used woodturning to escape from. Since I’m recently retired, I have zero desire to return to work in any form.

Oh yea, still only 24 hrs in a day! BTW, segmenting is way cheaper……or maybe not, lol!!
 
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I am now the owner of both a Rose Engine and a CNC Router. As of this moment I have spent about the same for each. There is a huge difference in the learning curve between the two. The Rose Engine - you set it on a rosette and it rocks and can pump, use in phase out of phase, feed left feed right in or out (the toughest part is remembering what each rosette will produce, I have about 25. Yes documenting what each will do is a must.). Fairly straight forward. The CNC Router - Yes you tell it what to do but that is a huge undertaking as software is the driving force in this. The Vetric software that runs my Shark CNC is to say the least fantastic. But fantastic means it will take me forever to even approach what it can and will do. So, so, so much to learn. It's like Photoshop on steroids! I have the 4th axis for the machine (allows using the CNC on round objects) but I don't see that coming out of the box for quite a while. So for me the Rose Engine is by far the easier of the two to learn and is much more hands on to operate. The CNC once you program the job there is very little hands on once you lock the piece in and put in the cutter, sit back and watch. One last thing they are both amazing machines and are a blast to use and both are an addition for my woodturning.
Thanks for making me feel more normal Bill. This learning curve has been tough. I am on a CNC break now hoping to get back at it next year. I’m hoping the break will create a start over with a better familiarity of the software and process. Many successful CNC people come in with better computer (even CAD experience) skills that this old dog!!
 
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Doug, I must disagree. A rose engine is a magical machine. A CNC produces the design you direct it to make; meanwhile a rose engine will oftentimes surprise you with what gets produced.

John, I believe you will be like most other ornamental turners: you will become one of us who often says, “I wonder what happens when I …?” My advice is to document the results (via a picture or prototype), along with the setup you used.
The first time I was shown an OT'd part that looked like a flower I had no idea how it was made. That part was magical. From then on I got a pretty good understanding of RE's.

When I cobbled together a RE that rocked in the horizontal plane the attachments I added were planned, I knew what they would do. It wasn't a "wonder what happens" type deal. Same as with CNC.
 
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Thanks for making me feel more normal Bill. This learning curve has been tough. I am on a CNC break now hoping to get back at it next year. I’m hoping the break will create a start over with a better familiarity of the software and process.

Russ,
I think you're selling yourself short. Designing and laying out your segmented vase seems far more complex than learning CNC'ing.
 
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The difference between the Rose Engine and CNC for me is like this. I have 1 video of a Rose Engine. Since I got my CNC I had to get another hard drive into which I have downloaded over 25 Mb's of videos on CNC. Most on the use of the Vetric software. It is one way to learn, maybe not the best way but it is a way. Luckily for me there are 4 folks in my woodturning club that have CNC's and one of them has been giving me lessons, a better way to learn. Now the current downside to the CNC is my new Nova Neptune lathe is still in the box on the floor in the middle of my shop. Tomorrow I leave for the Cincinnati clubs Turning 2023 Symposium with the person teaching me about the Vetric software. I hope to get the Neptune on a stand when I get back but you never know what I'm going to learn in the next 4 days on Vetric that I may want to try before the lathe:rolleyes:
 

john lucas

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Cnc is totally out for me I can barely work a computer. I spend more time cursing than working when I try to do anything on the computer. I was a camera repairman. I rebuiltvevery part on my first car and raced dirt bikes and rebuilt those. I was trained in long-range radar repair that included mechanics and hydraulics. I worked as a copier repairman. So I am very comfortable around anything mechanical.
 
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For oval work, I'm very pleased with my (manually controlled) ellipse machine. I've shown several resulting pieces in the media files.

It could also be used to make custom oval cams of any ratio for Rose engines.

Tim
 
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Hi John…I’m a little late to the discussion…but I found myself in this same boat and it became my “covid” project. I purchased a second/third hand Lindow/White rose engine from facebook marketplace from a lovely lady who was downsizing (it was her lathe and she is a very experienced turner).

We worked out a deal that was fair to her (i.e. she said her price and said okay) and i jumped into the deep end. A couple of things i learned along the way:
- the more attachments, the greater the value…and there are many. They can easily be worth the same as the lathe.
- many OT turners are also tinkerer’s…not afraid to modify what they have to get the results they want. You’ll likely end up with “unique” configurations of items…in my instance I’ve got most of the parts for a curvilinear slide after the original owner cannibalized the original slide to build their own version for another lathe
- like any used equipment, go over everything…don’t just assume it’s set up like it should be, especially if it’s been sitting for while
- there will be missing parts…you’ll quickly get to know your local supplier of hex screws, cutters, poly belts and other parts
- there is lots of great info out there that will save you time and frustration…consider Plumier, OTI, SOT…
- in a perfect world you can find someone near you with one to visit and learn from…a couple of hours of real world tutelage will save you considerable time and frustration of trying to figure it all out on your own
- if you are from the “I want to know it all and have one of everything” crowd, this is a dangerous hobby as there are always more esoteric attachments and knowledge to pursue

Whether you can make money to cover its expense is an entirely separate question, and more dependent on you than anything else. Some people do, some people will tell their partners they do, but i know i never will nor do i want to as its still more economical than any other therapy.

Cheers, bill
 
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