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Old Lathe - Potential Uses

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by blackjack, May 27, 2013.

  1. I have been given a small old lathe - it's not home made. It is for metal and not wood. The bed, the chuck, the tool post, cross slide, carriage and the tail stock assembly all seem to belong together. It is on a stand made of angle iron and the motor and drive belt system look like it has been put together by a farmer from bits hanging around the farm. It is a barn find and it is in good working order. I think it is maybe pre WW1. There are a few tools with it but not many. Chuck is about 5" in diameter.

    Is this worth giving room to? I could see using it for making spacers and cutting bolts to length cleanly. Anything else?
  2. 39 Ford
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,558

    39 Ford

    Get it you will find lots of uses, spacers turning shafts, anything round can be modified with one . You will find countless uses.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  3. All I have is an old shopsmith for wood.I think you'll find many uses.
  4. Yes - the price (free) makes it hard to turn down. I've not used one since I was at school (55 now) but I guess I can start simple and work my way up.

  5. Haven't got a picture but it looks very like this;

  6. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,535

    Atwater Mike

    Great score, Blackjack! There are books on 'beginning' as well as 'advanced machine practice', all over the internet.

    I have a nice 1932 South Bend lathe, 4-jaw chuck, many extras; I called South Bend and a nice lady sent me the original 2-page owner's manual, stapled under plastic, free of charge! (they still sell replacement parts for it!)

    My other lathe I use all the time is a flat belt driven relic from the mid-'30s, a red Allen Electric Co. 5-foot bed model with a 12" swing. (no tailstock)
    A Sears looks like it would fit...(watching EBay, but I can make one if I have to)

    My Allen is in constant use, from turning bushings to circular steel bracketry...polishing any and all things round... I'm even making some anvil tooling for my "new" Peter Wright 1860 model.
    You're gonna love yours...
  7. EBW
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 541


    I also have a WWII era South Bend 16/24 and They are great.. Yours looks like it could be a South Bend. As Atwater Mike said, They are still in business and can get parts for. Nice score.
  8. Thanks Mike - not sure if it is a South Bend but it does seem to be American. How it got to a farm in Cheshire, England I have no idea. Maybe it came over with the Doughboys?

    I'm pleased to hear that the simple older lathes can still be useful.

    BTW the one in the picture is not mine - just one that looks like it. It was too dark in the back of the barn for a picture using my Blackberry. I will drag it out and take pictures next weekend. Just got to move the workshop around to accomodate it now.
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  9. Hefty Lefty
    Joined: Apr 30, 2013
    Posts: 170

    Hefty Lefty

    This is an old belt driven machine probably made between 1900 and 1930 or so. Many "home shop machinists" (US terminology) or "model engineers" (UK) use these for all sorts of work. They have little market value but if carefully refurbished and set up are capable of fine work.

    One of the best descriptions of how to refurb these old lathes is in several chapters of a book called "Hobby Gunsmithing" by Ralph T. Walker.

    The accessories usually cost more than the lathe itself in the secondary market.

    There is not all that much you can do with a lathe for internal engine work anymore but the ability to turn stuff means you can make all sorts of useful tooling and accessories. Things like fittings for oil and fuel lines that would be heinously expensive or would involve long waits for shipping, holddowns, etc. You can turn brake drums and discs on a conventional lathe but it takes a pretty big one and the setup time is such that it's faster to take them to a place with a brake lathe. Turning and lining master cylinders, calipers, etc. for brass or stainless sleeves is possible as well. You can also do small milling work with a milling attachment on the cross slide.
  10. Thanks for that advice - I will see if I can pick up a copy. Being able to produce adapters , spacers and such sounds great.
  11. Halfdozen
    Joined: Mar 8, 2008
    Posts: 620


    There are still lots of old Logan, South Bend, Atlas, Craftsman benchtop lathes around, they're quality machines. You won't be able to take the sort of heavy hogging cuts that you can with a larger, heavier machine, but they're a worthwhile addition to any shop. You'll find lots of uses for it. I have a 50's vintage Atlas, about a 10 x 36, I think. Use it regularly.

    Here's a good source for tooling for small lathes:
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,503


    It looks like my old 1940 Logan. A very useful piece and you can still get parts for it at Logan Actuator:
  13. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,199

    from pgh. pa.

    A good score:
    A metal lathe with a little Innovative imagination can produce all kinds of very useful mechanical parts. I just rebuilt my water pump with mine. The shaft was rusted and corroded where the seal rides. Turned the shaft down, machined a sleeve, then turned it to size. 2 hours.

  14. raengines
    Joined: Nov 6, 2010
    Posts: 227

    from pa.

    once you have a lathe for a while, you will find you can't live without one.
  15. Cleetus
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 75

    from Austin

    Nice! Be safe with it.
  16. KIRK
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 384


    I had one like that for 10 or 12 years. Used it all the time. Once you get it set up you will find it useful for many little jobs. After I got my car finished I very seldom used it so I gave it to a good friend that had helped me build my car. If you take care of it they last forever and when you no longer need it or you update to something bigger or better it can be passed on. Good luck.
  17. So true.
  18. lewislynn
    Joined: Apr 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,578


  19. river1
    Joined: May 12, 2001
    Posts: 855


  20. Thanks for the links.
  21. Morris
    Joined: May 9, 2009
    Posts: 46

    from UK

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