View Full Version : South bend Lathe info

08-15-2001, 08:20 PM
I have a HF 7x10 and found this forum, several of you like South Bend Lathes. I was at a machine shop picking up some parts and they happen to have an old south bend. I dont know the exact size, it looked like a 6"or 8" chuck and about 20-30" of bed. It was lightly rusted. It has the gears for the lead screw and a tumbler revese, and several tools and holders. They bought it from a garage sell and never used it(too small!)

The question is, what is a good price range for such a machine? I know its a guess on your part, but any info will help. They were asking $150, no motor, its belt driven. I plan to go back and get it this weekend.

Any comments?


Ron LaDow
08-15-2001, 09:36 PM
If it is surface rust, and only the motor is missing (mounts, pulleys still there), I'd grab it in a New York minute.
Ron LaDow

08-15-2001, 10:00 PM
That kind of what I thought, the rust is surface, no pits, I will be back to get it n this weekend. I will get the model number etc. I have been researching on the web to find the same model but havent yet, its not a 10", from the looks of it its an older design than that. Thanks.


08-15-2001, 10:35 PM
Found it, it is a 9" model "c" bench mount. I will figure out the year when I get it.

Now, the question is, do I use it or is it a collectors item? It needs some serious restoration to get back to a nice looking machine, but the bearings felt fine when I was spinning the headstock. The lead screw turned fine, as did the crossfeed and long feed.



08-16-2001, 06:25 AM
Carefully clean it up, mount about 1/2 or 3/4 motor. Lube and level, then make chips, I think you will be amazed at the accuracy of this old machine.

I knew a fellow that as a young man was an order clerk at the south bend plant, he said he got to see these machines from the foundry to the finish scraping. Lots of good careful workmanship went into them, clean it up and let it show again.

Scotch brite and oil on the ways, as fine as possible and remove the rust. Maybe there is some frosting still showing if you are lucky.

I've seen plum worn out South Bends still do exellent work.

08-16-2001, 08:32 AM
Lindsay Publications has (or had, and probably still do) reprints of the SB book "How to Run a Lathe," which describes how to set up the change gears, among other things. Lindsay also has/had a reprint of a SB booklket, "Keep Your Lathe in Trim" or some such title, that describes how to adjust the bearings and things like that. Worth getting.

08-21-2001, 10:13 PM
I have that book, "How to run a South Bend Lathe." If you are interested I'll make a copy.


08-22-2001, 10:56 AM
You can buy very professionally done copies of "How to Run a Lathe" on ebay, anytime you care to do so. There's a few people who have continual auctions going for it, and one of them has a large text colorized version. Just type "South Bend Lathe" in the front page search window.

Also, there's almost always a selection of parts for SB 9" models a thru c available.

If you do start buying there, be very cautious about anything that is listed as being in Connecticut, particularly the Hartford/Bristol area. There is a notorious 'seller' there who has cheated people under several different guises for years. This is not to cast aspersions on all Connecticut sellers, but anyone interested in machine tools who shops in either ebay or yahoo auctions should be aware of that particularly unscrupulous individual.

Anoher source of information is:


a message area specific to SB lathe users.

08-25-2001, 11:55 PM
Yes I saw that warning. It helps to have a place with all the knowledge avalible. I went back to check the lathe out with my new "knowledge" of used lathes and checked the bed with a straight edge, not great but not too bad either. Most of the machine is in ok shape. I plan to go get it soon, if I can get other bills out of the way, (all our trucks have inspection/reg. this month!).

I will post pictures of it on my website when I get it and as it progresses. I will post that address when I build the page.