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Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

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  • Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

    This is an idea that came to mind after going over various threads on this Canadian classic. There are several threads with lots of good information, but not a single one that has it all together. My intent is to have a timeline and approximate manufacturing dates for these machines. To help with future searches looking for information, I'd also like to include serial numbers and photos (a 3400 registry of sorts), outlining the changes that were made to the model over the years. I'm far from an expert on these and I'm counting on the more experienced members to fill in more details (and correct any errors) as the thread grows.

    If this turns out to be a bad idea, well, just let the thread die...

    So I'll start off with a brief history of the 3400 as gathered from the experienced posters here (Steve, Leo, etc), along with some information on the two 3400's that I have:

    The model started off as being from the Callander Foundry, with a "Beaver" badge. The earliest ones had a MT2 taper in the headstock, that had a MT2 to MT1 adapter (held by a drawbolt) that had a threaded 7/8" x 14 tpi tip, onto which the spur drive screwed on. The tailstock had a solid dead center. Let's refer to this as the "Callander" version. Later on the tailstock was modified to have a MT1 taper, allowing the use of accessories such as a live center, drill chuck, etc. The serial number tag was at the bottom, outside end of the headstock, showing the model number and serial number:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20190118_143936.jpg Views:	1 Size:	3.54 MB ID:	1219745

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20190118_140346.jpg Views:	2 Size:	3.89 MB ID:	1219748


    Then around 1954 Rockwell acquired the Beaver product line. The 3400 continued to be made as-is, still identified as Beaver, but with a modified badge that indicated that it was now made by Rockwell Manufacturing. The serial number tag was moved to the bottom, left end of the bed and along with the model and serial numbers, also showed the Rockwell name, with the old lower case "r" logo. Serial numbers also appear to have made a jump to a higher range. Let's call these the "old Rockwell" model The earliest ones continued to feature the MT2 taper in the headstock and MT1 in the tailstock. After that, the headstock spindle was simplified to a solid spindle with just the 7/8" x 14 tpi threaded tip:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20190118_143959.jpg Views:	1 Size:	3.83 MB ID:	1219746

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20190118_140401.jpg Views:	1 Size:	3.35 MB ID:	1219747

    Later on, the appearance and colours were changed. The name became "Beaver / Rockwell". The badge was changed to the round "peace sign" logo that Rockwell was now using, and the name went to a label on the bed. The headstock lost the three "art deco" feature stripes that Beaver was known for. Let's call these the "new Rockwell" model:

    (photo taken from another thread)

    Click image for larger version  Name:	peace sign 2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	30.0 KB ID:	1219749

    Lastly, Rockwell became part of Delta and the model was again modified, with the model becoming the 3401A, up until it was dropped altogether, as Delta already had lathe models of their own. The headstock logo was dropped, and had was identified as "Rockwell" with the logo on the bed label, although the serial number tag indicated "Beaver - Delta". The number range also made a jump and now had 6 digits. The bed was also modified to a 2 part design. The tailstock design and locking mechanism were changed. Let's call this one the "Delta" model.

    (photos from another thread)

    Click image for larger version  Name:	delta1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	29.2 KB ID:	1219750

    Click image for larger version  Name:	delta2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	48.3 KB ID:	1219751



    Variations:

    The one question that often comes up is if a particular lathe has the MT taper in the head and/or tail stock. Having the taper instead of just a solid spindle is generally more desirable because other accessories can then be used. Visually identifying this is actually quite easy. A solid headstock spindle will just have a solid, closed shaft on the outboard side, while a spindle with the MT2 taper will either show the head of the drawbolt, or the hole for it, if it has been removed:

    drawbolt head:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20190118_150308.jpg Views:	1 Size:	3.18 MB ID:	1219754


    Similarly, a tailstock with a MT1 taper will show the knockout rod, or the hole for it:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20190118_150549.jpg Views:	1 Size:	3.77 MB ID:	1219753

    Other differences: The lockdown bolts for the banjo and tailstock and the wrench for them) appear to have had at least two different sizes. The original Beaver model appears to have had a large bolt size and a forged wrench, while the old Rockwell model had smaller bolts and a flat wrench. Here is a pic of the two side by side (left: Beaver, right: old Rockwell). The 3rd, smallest hole of the Beaver wrench fits the drawbolt for the headstock spindle.

    Click image for larger version

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    Please, feel free to add other information or corrections!




    Attached Files
    Last edited by guylavoie; 01-18-2019, 03:06 PM.
    dwight80 and Bobmezz like this.
    Happiness is a new blade!
  • Thread Continues Below...

  • #2

    Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

    My own two 3400's

    A Beaver with MT tapers in both head and tailstocks. Serial number 10845
    An old Rockwell with MT tapers in both head and tailstocks. Serial number 63259
    Happiness is a new blade!

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

      very well done!!
      of course you also have to realise that some machines were modified over the several decades that the 3400 was in production by previous owners.
      im sure that many serious turners with very old callander foundry lathes purchased the "new" morse taper tailstock spindle for their older machines when rockwell brought them out

      and the 5 or 6 that i rebuilt and sold all had morse tapers in both ends but i didnt get them that way!! ive even seen one or two with no morse taper spindles in either end(rockwell using up old parts during the changeover?.)

      to the uninformed, a morse tpaer in the tailstock is pretty well a necessity so you can use drill chucks and live centres in there. a morse taper in the headstock is less of a necessity but it allows use of better modern drive spurs and mandrels for turning stuff like pens
      my shop is a beaver lodge
      steve, sarnia, ont




      1940's Craftmaster Lathe

      https://www.facebook.com/artistryinwoodca/

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

        Yes that's another thing: Like Steve says, many of them will have been modified and optimized by owners over the years, so examining individual lathes you might be considering is always necessary to know what you're looking at. Hence the information about visually identifying things.
        Happiness is a new blade!

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

          Thanks for this. It's a thread I'm sure I'll consult time and time again.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

            What a great idea.

            Noel
            "Being so impressed with the beauty of nature, I never cease to be amazed at how the
            'touch of the human hand' can transform it into another kind of beauty that is so uniquely human.
            "
            John Snow, Outdoorsman and Retired Teacher

            Comment

            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

              Since the lathe I have has no mention at all of Rockwell, should I assume it was produced before 1954?

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                Originally posted by Chris_in_Canada View Post
                Since the lathe I have has no mention at all of Rockwell, should I assume it was produced before 1954?
                What does it look like (in relation to the photos above)? The actual dating thing is a bit uncertain but if yours has the serial number tag (or the holes for it) on the headstock like on the second photo in the initial post, then it probably is 1954 or before.

                Questions for stevem (because we know you read everything here!...and you're the one who knows most about Beaver ): Do you have rough dates for when the when the old Rockwell became the new Rockwell, and when it ultimately became the Delta? Also, you mention having rebuilt and upgraded the spindles to MT on several lathes. Where did the parts come from? And what did you do with the old solid spindles? I'm guessing that in some cases two lathes were possibly combined to make one with both MT tapers and another one with none, or just parted out?
                Happiness is a new blade!

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                  Originally posted by guylavoie View Post

                  What does it look like (in relation to the photos above)? The actual dating thing is a bit uncertain but if yours has the serial number tag (or the holes for it) on the headstock like on the second photo in the initial post, then it probably is 1954 or before.

                  Questions for stevem (because we know you read everything here!...and you're the one who knows most about Beaver ): Do you have rough dates for when the when the old Rockwell became the new Rockwell, and when it ultimately became the Delta? Also, you mention having rebuilt and upgraded the spindles to MT on several lathes. Where did the parts come from? And what did you do with the old solid spindles? I'm guessing that in some cases two lathes were possibly combined to make one with both MT tapers and another one with none, or just parted out?
                  It's exactly like photo #2. Serial no. is 10325

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                    Originally posted by guylavoie View Post

                    What does it look like (in relation to the photos above)? The actual dating thing is a bit uncertain but if yours has the serial number tag (or the holes for it) on the headstock like on the second photo in the initial post, then it probably is 1954 or before.

                    Questions for stevem (because we know you read everything here!...and you're the one who knows most about Beaver ): Do you have rough dates for when the when the old Rockwell became the new Rockwell, and when it ultimately became the Delta? Also, you mention having rebuilt and upgraded the spindles to MT on several lathes. Where did the parts come from? And what did you do with the old solid spindles? I'm guessing that in some cases two lathes were possibly combined to make one with both MT tapers and another one with none, or just parted out?
                    the key dating feature for the early lathes is the oval badge. it switched from "callander Foundry" to "Rockwell Manufacturing" around 1954
                    the switch to the larger round "peace symbol" badge was late sixties. my 1964 rockwell/beaver catalog shows all oval badges.
                    very early callander foundry tools in general did not even have serial numbers, the one i used for several years didnt(and no holes for the plate either)

                    all 5 or 6 3400 lathes that i rebuilt and sold had morse tapers in both ends because i was lucky enough to locate machines for parts only. and yes, i have an extra pair of spindles that are both solid. those are the only parts i have left. the ones i built up were complete with white oak stands, 2 speed jackshafts and reversing switches
                    my shop is a beaver lodge
                    steve, sarnia, ont




                    1940's Craftmaster Lathe

                    https://www.facebook.com/artistryinwoodca/

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                      Originally posted by Chris_in_Canada View Post

                      It's exactly like photo #2. Serial no. is 10325
                      Interesting, so it's older than mine. By any chance, does it seem to also have the larger lockdown bolt heads on the banjo and tailstock (and do you have the original wrench)? Hard to tell from just my photos, but one hint is that the small bolt heads will be the same size as the drawbolt in the headstock.
                      Happiness is a new blade!

                      Comment

                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                        While it is often assumed that previous owners did make changes by getting other tailstocks, that might not be so, if you read the old Beaver papers, it tells the tailstock being hollow with a #1MT and a replaceable cup center and knockout bar supplied with the lathe.

                        So somewhere Beaver did change that and then supplied lathes with the solid tailstock spindle, well before Rockwell got into the picture and changed that again.

                        The funny part is I have not seen the loose center in the parts list or it being shown in the service manual.

                        So given that all the different company owners did change things in the years the lathe was manufactured by them, it would make it pretty hard to tell by looking at what the lathe has on it telling when it was made other than a very rough estimate given all this.

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	Beaver lathe with # 2 MT.jpg Views:	1 Size:	112.8 KB ID:	1219979

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	Beaver 3400 lathe service manual 00001.jpg Views:	1 Size:	96.3 KB ID:	1219980
                        Click image for larger version  Name:	Beaver 3400 lathe service manual 00002.jpg Views:	1 Size:	966.1 KB ID:	1219981Click image for larger version  Name:	Beaver 3400 lathe service manual 00003.jpg Views:	1 Size:	138.3 KB ID:	1219982Click image for larger version  Name:	Beaver 3400 lathe service manual 00004.jpg Views:	1 Size:	830.4 KB ID:	1219983Click image for larger version  Name:	Beaver 3400 lathe service manual 00005.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.01 MB ID:	1219984Click image for larger version  Name:	Beaver 3400 lathe service manual 00006.jpg Views:	1 Size:	191.0 KB ID:	1219985
                        Last edited by Leo Van Der Loo; 01-19-2019, 02:18 PM.

                        Have fun and take care
                        Leo Van Der Loo

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                          Originally posted by guylavoie View Post

                          Interesting, so it's older than mine. By any chance, does it seem to also have the larger lockdown bolt heads on the banjo and tailstock (and do you have the original wrench)? Hard to tell from just my photos, but one hint is that the small bolt heads will be the same size as the drawbolt in the headstock.
                          Not being familiar with the differences, I'm going to guess by saying that the bolt heads are larger. I don't have the original wrench so I use my adjustable crescent wrench instead. The tail stock is tapered to TM1 according to the fella at Busy Bee where I went to buy a live tailstock which would seem to fit per the original post. Also, mine has the tail end knockout as well. I will probably try to find an adjustment wheel with a handle on it just to make it a little easier to use but that may prove too much to ask for.
                          Last edited by Chris_in_Canada; 01-19-2019, 04:05 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                            Originally posted by guylavoie View Post

                            Interesting, so it's older than mine. By any chance, does it seem to also have the larger lockdown bolt heads on the banjo and tailstock (and do you have the original wrench)? Hard to tell from just my photos, but one hint is that the small bolt heads will be the same size as the drawbolt in the headstock.
                            Here is the wrench that Guy is referring to. Mine has a brassy, almost worn off coating on it and I am not sure if that is original or something that someone applied.

                            Click image for larger version  Name:	DSC_0241.JPG Views:	1 Size:	6.03 MB ID:	1220046

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Definitive thread on the Beaver 3400

                              Originally posted by tool fan View Post

                              Here is the wrench that Guy is referring to. Mine has a brassy, almost worn off coating on it and I am not sure if that is original or something that someone applied.

                              Click image for larger version Name:	DSC_0241.JPG Views:	1 Size:	6.03 MB ID:	1220046
                              Interesting, that's yet another variation on the ones I photographed in the first post.
                              Happiness is a new blade!

                              Comment

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