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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Mystery mower, can you help?

Hello everyone and thanks for adding me to your forum. I have a mower which I can't identify so am after some advice on its make and model so I can find it's manual and drawings to help me restore it. It is qaulcast Suffolk cast iron engined and I'm guessing of the 60's era. It doesn't appear to be a punch or colt due to lacking a centrifugal clutch and instead having two manual clutches, one for the cylinder and one for the roller. Also the fuel tank is mounted to the bars. Attached are some pictures of the beast, so if you know what it is then please let me know! Thanks in advance. 


wristpin Thu, 20/04/2017

It is a Qualcast Commodore, fitted with the Suffolk Iron Foundry (SIF) 75cc engine and probably dates from the 1950s. Qualcast and Suffolk were eventually absorbed into the Atco ( Atlas Chain Company ) which in itself was a Charles H Pugh company.

The Qualcast Commodore was a really well engineered little mower but expensive to manufacture and eventually gave way to the cheaper Atcos and Suffolks in the range. The Commodore name was later revived and used on some Atco machines in the 1980s…

wristpin Fri, 21/04/2017

Admin has asked me to post a couple more images to see whether the iPad incomparability isue has been cracked , so here goes

Looks like not!

gtc Fri, 21/04/2017

This issue is one of my pet peeves.

It beats me what goes on with such images. I don't have an i-anything, but I notice that when friends who use i-something cameras email me images they are invariably oriented the wrong way.

When using an iphone to take pictures, the natural inclination is to hold the phone in a "landscape" manner because it's easier. However, movies and still photos are then recorded with a rotation of 90 degrees.

Why on earth can't the developers of these phones correct the orientation within the software? The hardware knows which way up the phone is at the time.

Furthermore, I notice that even when I use image manipulation application to correct the orientation, when it's posted on a forum it's anyone's guess how it will appear there.

Can't image files have a top left indicator within them?

olcadmin Fri, 21/04/2017

Trying to solve this but it's proving very hard to differentiate automatically between normal images and those that want to turn sideways. I thought I had a solution this morning but it was a false dawn...

Will keep looking.

Skharper Thu, 27/04/2017

Thanks for your help everyone!

Wrist pin, what an amazing job in restoration, I would like to get mine to be as good as that but you have set the standard very high! I really need to find the paints though so what did you use for the engine and cowl ( the grey and green) and where could i buy them? Thanks

And those exploded views are particularly useful, are there any more drawings or manuals for the mower in addition that you know of? 


Attached are some pictures of the carb which I have spent a fair bit of time on getting it up to scratch. 

I have almost all new nuts and bolts going in once it's all painted up, by paint is what i am stuck with now as the range in halfords or b&q doesn't look right for the job. So just need to get the paints sorted! 





wristpin Thu, 27/04/2017

Thanks for the compliment but I actually prefer " working clothes" restorations but most of my recent acquisitions have been too far gone.

The nuts and bolts on classic machines will usually be UNF, BSW or BSF but a recent one had some Cycle Thread  nuts.  The problem is that these days local stores and DIY shops only stock metric hardware. On the up side the majority of Classic machinery uses painted hardware in most applications , so a good clean up of existing items, followed by a de-rusting or etch primer and the correct top coat will do the job.

For grey Suffolk engine blocks I use Hammerite smooth Wild Thyme from B and Q and on line vendors. Purists will argue that it is not exactly the correct shade but it's near enough for me. Again, the green on my Commodore is not strictly correct - John Deere green from  Farm Line.

That  carburettor looks great but it must be said that they were never as shiny as that - perhaps let it weather a bit. This leads to the subject of "over restoration" . I've seen some magnificent restorations of Howard Rotavators and farm tractors etc , all in super glossy two-pack paint  - they were never that good when they left the factory. When I worked with earthmoving machinery it was not unheard of for dealers to repainted new machines that suffered from a poor factory finish and, perhaps, sitting in out door stock yards awaiting a buyer.

The secret of restoration - do as much or as little as gives you pleasure with your machinery.  Me, I prefer the oily bits to the shiny bits.

hortimech Fri, 28/04/2017

<quote>Again, the green on my Commodore is not strictly correct - John Deere green from  Farm Line.</quote>

That is an understatement if I ever heard one ;-)

John Deere green is nothing like the original Qualcast Commodore green, but if you are happy with it Wristpin, that is all that matters.

Skharper Fri, 28/04/2017

What is a working clothes restoration?

 see what you mean about over restoring. I do want it to be similar to how it was when it came out the factory in the 50s but I feel like making it a tidy and in some places shiny example still is fairly true to its roots and is tasteful, plus like you said it will weather a bit and take on a bit of patina which should work nicely for it. On the topic of the threads, it is a mix of UNF , UNC AND BA, and I have access to replacements here due to my line of work which is fortunate. 

I did wonder if wild thyme would do it so may give that a go as I am not that much of a purist. I would like the green to be a bit darker but hammerite smooth dark green seems to dark ! Any idea on what is more similar to commodore green that I could get hold of in the shops?

I have to say I like the shiny bits and the oily bits! It won't stay shiny for long anyway after it gets some good long engine runs

wristpin Fri, 28/04/2017

Apologies for spoiling your breakfast but the top coat is easily rectified when the mood takes me and the correct shade identified; at least for now it won't deteriorate. What is interesting is that my machine is actually an amalgam of the best bits of three machines and the unfaded paint on the insides of the three chain cases are in three distinctly different shades with no sign of any repainting.

On the same theme I see that one paint supplier is offering both Old and New Ransomes green - when did the change take place?

Another hazard for the " must have it right at any cost" restorer.


wristpin Fri, 28/04/2017

What is a working clothes restoration?

A mechanical restoration / overhaul but the paint work / lack of it left as is with, perhaps, some treatment to preserve the patina.

As found except for a good cleanup and some Owatrol to preserve what's left of the original paint.

On the subject of the nuts and bolts on your machine. To be strictly accurate i doubt if there are any UNC threads - Whitworth probably.