By Lloyd Graff
Alan Bentsen needs a Davenport for his living room. The piece he’s searching for has four legs and weighs around 3000 pounds—without cushions.
During the day, Alan is a toolmaker at Harva Company in Schoharie, New York, where they run CNC mills on military jobs, but at night and on weekends he restores old machinery because he loves the mechanisms and the feel of the weathered stuff.
Alan’s dream is to find a 70-year-old leg-type Davenport screw machine and totally restore it to running perfection. When finished he’s going to place it on a hardwood floor in front of a bay window in his home, which is a replica of an old train station
Alan is 36 years old. After attending Hudson Valley College to train as an engineer he left to work for Craftech in Hudson, N.Y., where they trained him to run their one and only Davenport screw machine, bought new in 1998. For Alan it was a love affair between man and machine. He adored that little five spindle, serial number 13485, and ran it for two years making plastic fasteners. Then Craftech lost the job. “They left the job set up on the machine for seven years and never ran it,” he said. It sits in storage.
Alan dreams of a “parlor piece” like nobody’s ever seen before—an operable ancient screw machine from the Rochester factory. He wants to be able to demonstrate the .4 second indexing speed to his friend over drinks and run off a few parts for the screw machine naïve.
I love Alan’s passion for old iron. As a side job he once helped make replicas of baggage wagons with a buddy. If you have a leg-type Davenport with a good casting decomposing in a corner, contact Alan Bentsen at email@example.com or give me a shout and I’ll pass it on to him.