WTB: P & L or Owen table base

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Postby erdnasephile » 11/23/10 11:31 AM

All:

Looking to purchase a P & L or Owen alumninum side table base in excellent condition.

Would you kindly please PM me with your email if you have one for sale.

Thanks!
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Postby erdnasephile » 11/24/10 12:44 PM

*bump* Would appreciate any leads as well. Many thanks!
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Postby Chance Wolf » 11/25/10 03:48 PM

I sent you a PM with a lead. Hope it works for you!
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Postby JP Jackson » 11/27/10 12:47 PM

If memory serves (and if often doesn't), Bob JAMES
Magic Shop of Elmhurst, IL had one of each.
Contact him at 630 833 8749.
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Postby erdnasephile » 12/15/10 08:01 PM

Hello: thanks for the leads. I did acquire a hallmarked P and L table base, but when it arrived, I found that the flange that connects to the table top (the flat part that you attach the table top to) cannot be removed from the center post. Is this normal for these table bases? It seems like the center post should unscrew from the flange.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Postby Jim Riser » 12/16/10 03:26 AM

erdnasephile wrote:Hello: thanks for the leads. I did acquire a hallmarked P and L table base, but when it arrived, I found that the flange that connects to the table top (the flat part that you attach the table top to) cannot be removed from the center post. Is this normal for these table bases? It seems like the center post should unscrew from the flange.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Are there threads showing on the upright below the flange? Aluminum against aluminum tends to "freeze" together. This is often a problem where two aluminum parts screw together. The best way to overcome the problem is to cut rather loose threads. If you see threads on the upright, this is probably what happened. Some penetrating oil applied to the threads may soak in enough to loosen the joint. If that does not work, gently heating the flange with a propane torch can cause the flange to expand enough for the thing to be unscrewed. Do not heat enough to melt the aluminum! Be gentle and heat only the flange.
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Postby erdnasephile » 12/16/10 07:03 AM

Hi, Mr. Riser:

Thank you for your advice!

I can't see any threads showing on the upright below the flange, but the body of the flange is thick enough that it could easily be concealing the threaded part of the upright. (There are no threads showing above the base either when the upright is screwed into the base with the legs on the other end)

It's my understanding that the upright is made of chrome plated brass, while the flange appears to be machined aluminum.

I will try the penetrating oil. Do you think putting the flange in a vise and using an internal pipe wrench to turn the upright might work after treating with oil?

I've noticed that the threads of half the upright that screws into the base has a pretty fine pitch. If I can get the flange off, is there a particular method to cut the threads to prevent this from happening again?

Thanks again!
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Postby Jim Riser » 12/16/10 11:41 AM

I would not use any vise nor wrench. Both will mar the surface and the vise could squash it out of shape. I'd use heat.

Once apart, wax on the threads should prevent future sticking.
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Postby Terry » 12/16/10 01:37 PM

If you have access to a machinist or machine shop, you might want to let them look at it if the oil doesn't do the trick.

Not everyone has Jim's expertise with metals and it is cheaper than having to buy another base.
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Postby erdnasephile » 12/16/10 02:38 PM

Thanks, guys--keeping my fingers crossed that PB Blaster lives up to it's name! :)
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Postby timbrown » 12/16/10 02:59 PM

PB Blaster is incredible but smelly stuff. It will fly out of the nozzle and get on everything so you might want to spray a little in a bottle cap and apply it with a toothpick or perhaps a little coffee stirrer/straw.

Also - get some "never seize" and put this on the threads when you re-assemble the table. Be careful because this stuff can make a real mess. Apply carefully and you will have no problems!
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/04/11 06:30 PM

Thanks to you guys I was finally able to get this done! Just in case someone else runs into this issue, here is what I did:

1. Screwed the flange into a 2 x 4 with some 1 inch screws
2. Hit the stuck joint with PB Blaster
3. Inserted one of these internal pipe wrenches: http://www.amazon.com/General-Tools-139 ... 743&sr=8-3 As a tip: to use these, I found you have to stabilize the moving cam with a small screwdriver when you first turn the hex portion counter-clockwise to gently wedge it into position
4. Used a box wrench to gently turn the internal pipe wrench counter-clockwise
5. Voila!

On a somewhat related topic: Upon closer inspection, the chrome finish on the tube shows some age related scratches in the finish. I am considering replating the tube for cosmetic reasons. (I realize this kills the resale value, but I mean to use this table base regularly and care more about how it looks than selling it.)

Questions:

1. The finish on the center tube appears more shiny than the finish on the legs of the base. Is this normal?
2. Does anyone know what type of finish was on the center tube of the P & L bases? Is it chrome or nickel?
3. Any advice on how to get this plated? I imagine the company just has to protect the threads right?

Thanks again for all of your help and advice!
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Postby Bill Palmer » 01/04/11 08:12 PM

First of all, the P&L bases were aluminum with nickel-plated brass center columns. I can't tell you what the plating on your column is, because it may have been replated. However, if you look at the column (center tube) in sunlight or its equivalent, you may be able to determine the plating by what color it is. If it has a slightly yellowish cast to it, it is probably nickel. If it has a slightly bluish cast, it's probably chrome.

The shininess of the aluminum base depends on what the previous owners did with it. Some have had theirs plated. Others simply polished them. Flitz will make that aluminum shine fairly nicely.

The threads on the P&L tubes are an "off" size, 15/16" x 18. All the plater needs to do to protect the threads is to put some asphaltum or grease on the threaded part.

Check your flange to see if it is actually a P&L flange (assuming that you have a P&L base). If you have a steel flange, it's not a P&L flange and it may have a pipe thread instead of a P&L thread. This would explain the jamming.

It's not easy to find a P&L flange, but an enterprising machinist could make one for you from a regular floor flange if he were inclined to do so.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/04/11 10:03 PM

Hi, Mr. Palmer: Thanks for your helpful post.

1) When the sun comes up tomorrow, I'd check again to see if it's nickel or chrome. As a historical note: there is an P & L ad in Genii Vol 47 (page 750) I just found: it claims that "the center rod is chrome plated brass". I wonder if they changed their plating in the later years?

2) I will try the Flitz stuff on the base

3) Yes--those threads are certainly non-standard. This table actually did come with a P & L hallmarked flange--I just think it bound because over the years--the previous owner told me he never took the table top off. I wonder why they went with such a high pitch on the threads.

Thanks for the good advice!
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Postby Jim Riser » 01/04/11 11:36 PM

Thread pitch is related to the wall thickness of the upright tube. Coarser threads would have to be cut deeper into this tube. Doing so would make the effective wall thickness where the threads are cut rather thin. A thin wall would eventually fail.

Thread sizes are seldom randomly selected. They are an important consideration in the design process.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/04/11 11:49 PM

Thanks, Mr. Riser--

So, if I'm reading you correctly--the thread pitch was part of the process P & L used to make the table as light as possible, yet sturdy, right?

Just curious: is it harder (or does it cost more) in the machining process to cut these thinner threads?
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Postby Jim Riser » 01/04/11 11:58 PM

Yes on the design question.

Any standard threads would cost the same.

This size thread is hardly "off" sized. See:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d.html/ref= ... B0006N7STM

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Postby Bill Palmer » 01/08/11 05:47 PM

Not to disagree with someone who has your experience, Mr. Riser; however, nearly every web site that lists these taps and dies lists them as "special fractional sizes" and not with the standard sizes. You won't find them at your local hardware store.

I can't imagine anyone shopping for taps and dies at amazon.com, anyway. There are much better places to get these, as you well know.

I found my set at a tool company for about half of what MSC Industrial Supply Co. wants for them.
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Postby Jim Riser » 01/09/11 02:21 AM

It's a good thing that you choose not to disagree with my 50+ years of buying and using taps and dies as you know not of which you speak. This is not the green cesspool where you can make unchallenged and uninformed statements.

The fact that the size of taps and dies being discussed above are readily available (even from Amazon) indicates that the size is not "odd" as you previously stated. If you check the local hardware store, you most likely will not find 2-56 there either. This does not make them "odd". Truly odd sizes are sizes which must be custom made either by the user or a tooling manufacturer. For the table base being discussed a tap and die are not really required anyway as both can be done on the lathe.

Actually, Amazon with their sales policies/free shipping etc. is not a bad place to buy such an item. Amazon is merely a front for reputable suppliers and often features special discounts.

Obviously you are uninformed on taps and dies. You like so many others are looking only at price but you do not compare apples to apples. Taps and dies come in many alloys, numbers of flutes, grinds, cutting or forming, import/domestic, etc. All of these factors affect the final price. The cheap set you buy will most likely be generic in the grind and be made of high carbon steel. Such cheap tools quickly dull with limited use and require replacing. This counteracts your bargain price. In addition, they may well not be correct for the job at hand. Those who know what they want and how to use it are also aware of where and how to purchase the needed tooling.

Good tooling is not cheap.

To the original poster: wax the threads before reassembling and they will not bind.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/10/11 12:36 AM

Hi, Mr. Riser:

I will get some wax. Is there any particular kind of wax you would recommend? I found some "screw wax" on Amazon, but is there another kind you are referring to?

Also, I want to polish up the aluminum base, but many of the aluminum polishes say not to use them on adonized aluminum or lacquered aluminum. Since the P & L base is a natural color, is there an easy way to tell if it is adonized or lacquered?

Thanks again for your help!
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/10/11 12:48 AM

Also, is there a particular aluminum polish you would recommend (I can't seem to find Flitz in my area).
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Postby Jim Riser » 01/10/11 02:12 AM

Any paste wax like auto or floor wax is fine.

To polish the base Nevr-Dull will work. Go to an auto parts store and ask for aluminum polish.

I doubt that the base was lacquered.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/10/11 10:20 AM

Thanks again! I'll start work on the base today (big snow day around here); the center rod (which indeed did turn out to be nickel plated) is at the plating shop for the next couple of weeks.
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