View Full Version : Sears 109 lathe

03-16-2006, 07:39 AM
I was given a Sears 109 6X18 lathe I am trying to rebuild. I think this particular one was made by Double A for a very short period of time. It does have vee-ways, and appears pretty well-made. According to a copy I have of the parts diagram & operating manual, it had a back gear and indexing capability, but that has apparently been replaced with a simple step pulley. Does anyone know where I can find a better drawing or dimensions for the "innards"? I'd really like to put it back like it originally was. Just tried joining the Yahoo 6X18 group, but it was 3 AM, so no response yet.


J Tiers
03-16-2006, 09:11 AM
Some had no extras as-made. I think the 0702 and 0703 are such a pair, one has lead screw etc, one has nothing extra at all.

If you have a fat (1.5" thick) 2-part item next to the pulley setup on the spindle you have back gears. If not, no.

Never had any indexing that I am aware of.

Not really worth putting much money in, especially if missing any major parts, but everyone needs a hobby.....

Rich Carlstedt
03-16-2006, 11:17 AM
My first Lathe at home was a Sears.
about 1948 vintage ( I think?)
It had the step pulley with index holes next to the front of the headstock.
Sometimes I wish I still had it (sold it in 1972), then again, I glad I don't

03-16-2006, 12:18 PM
What model is yours?

I have rebuilt several of the earliest 109s.
The first one was 109.0701. No backgear, just a plain stepped plulley. Same with the 109.0702. Both these had a leadscrew, but the only drive for it was a hand-crank. The 109.0703 added a change-gear setup, or you could upgrade a 0702 with a kit. Not usre if these latter two had the integrated-backgear pulley.

Be sure to check out www.homeshopsupply.com. (http://www.homeshopsupply.com.) Bill Hardin is the only guy supporting these lathes with spare parts, new and used. Lots of good info on his site.

Also look at www.lathes.co.uk (http://www.lathes.co.uk) under the AA Dunlap listing. If you follow the links you will see my variant that has a belt-driven leadscrew.

These are a fun bit of history, useful for light work only. I enjoy rebuilding them, but they are shelf-queens at my house.
Have fun http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

03-16-2006, 12:28 PM
Beware of the confusion between the Craftsman 109 & the 101 lathes. Both are 6 x 18 machines, but the Atlas-made 101 had back gears, lead screw (but change gears, no q/chng gearbox), an indexing plate beside the large bull gear etc. as standard equipment. Atlas also made a wide range of acessories for it's machines; milling attachment, turret tailstock, taper turning attachment, bed extention, special armature repair tools, ad nauseum... The AA machine didn't have the index attachment as standard, leadsrew didn't come on the basic machine, as stated. I don't know about what accessories AA made either.
I was given an Atlas 6 x 18 with a raft of accessories, didn't think I'd use it much, but it's turned out otherwise. Sometimes more fun than the big green South Bend.
See a couple of Yahoo groups about 618 lathes. One is specific to the Atlas/Craftsman...lathe groupies...?
Have fun with it.

J Tiers
03-16-2006, 12:57 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt:
My first Lathe at home was a Sears.
about 1948 vintage ( I think?)
It had the step pulley with index holes next to the front of the headstock.
Sometimes I wish I still had it (sold it in 1972), then again, I glad I don't</font>

I bet it wasn't an AA/109..... Never heard of any 109 with index holes.

Some early small Atlas (which is who made all Sears Craftsman lathes other than 109) had the index holes. I don't know if the 6 x 18 had them, probably the 10".

The O.P. having a "6 x 18" means it ISN'T several of the 109, since I think only one or two types were made in that size. Most were 6 x 12, as mine (109.20630) was.

I have seen a 6 x 18, it was blue, seemed rather lightweight compared to the 20630, and came with a countershaft assy. I don't recall any indexing.

Maybe the O.P.'s machine still has the pin that was used to set the back gears.... and that is being confused with an indexer, since the rest of the system isn't there.

The stock setup that I know about is a pin in the headstock, and a sliding pin in the sun-and-planet backgear. For high range, you moved the sliding pin to lock up the "planets" to the housing, and pulled out the HS pin. For backgear, you pushed in the HS pin to lock the housing to the HS, and moved the sliding pin to free the backgear "planets" which drive the spindle.

[This message has been edited by J Tiers (edited 03-16-2006).]

03-16-2006, 02:16 PM
All the 109s and AAs I ever saw had a leadscrew, but the earliest ones had no leadscrew drive. No AAs had an indexed bullgear. Most were 6x12. the early ones had a longer narrower bed, 24" OAL, but I don't think you could get 18" between the centers. I'll check.

The early 6x18 with the round headstock had an indexed bull gear. The model would be either 618 (Atlas) or 101.XXXX (Craftsman). The MkII version (square headstock) was not indexed. The bed length on the 6x18 was ~32" OAL. I am in the process of restoring one of these currently.

03-16-2006, 05:27 PM
Dunlop comes to mind when you say the "Other"craftsman lathe what a POS. 1/2 20 thread headstock.

The tame Wolf !

03-16-2006, 06:09 PM
Dunlop, Craftsman, Companion, Same animal, different decal. There were other labels AA sold to. One of mine is very unique, the decal is gone, but it was none of the above. Looked like a Dunlop oval, yellow border orange center, but all that was legible was "Michigan" and "Best Tool For The Job".
Does that ring a bell for anyone?

J Tiers
03-16-2006, 11:56 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by IOWOLF:
Dunlop comes to mind when you say the "Other"craftsman lathe what a POS. 1/2 20 thread headstock.


I'd pretty much agree, but it isn't all bad. It is a nice enough lathe for free-machining brass. Not real good for steel, you have to nibble away taking off an 0.020 x 0.020 chip..... that can take a long time, and the back gears sound like a dumptruck full of out-of-tune bells on a bumpy road.

And anyone who uses the chucks with no other support is nuts. The 4 jaw sticks out about 3 or 4 spindle diameters, BEFORE you get to the machinable area of the work.... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

I always used the tailstock, or if I couldn't, I had made a follow rest for it, and I used that right over the cutter.

If you can use that machine, nothing else will ever scare you as far as loose, chattery machines. In that way its a good learning tool.

When I got the Logan 10", by comparison it seemed like a brand-new 10EE.

03-17-2006, 12:40 AM
AA did make a 6"x18" there is one now on ebay...Bob

Bob Wright
Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill

03-17-2006, 10:41 AM
This one?

http://cgi.ebay.com/6-Craftsman-metal-lathe-Atlas-Dunlap-Tooling_W0QQitemZ7600130243QQcategoryZ25290QQrdZ1Q QcmdZViewItem

Item 7600130243

That's a 109.21280, very rare, last of the Mohicans.
Forgot about that one, don't recall having center a published dimension between centers.
But it looks like it could be 18"

J Tiers
03-17-2006, 01:22 PM
Hmmmmm VERY different from earlier 18" 109 units....

I have seen a couple that were early, painted "companion blue", and were very lightweight.

Unless I am being fooled by the light, it looks like it has a flat way for the back, with what looks like a single V-way in front, SHARED by carriage and T/S.

The statement of it having a 1" x 10tpi spindle is borne out by the two different size centers shown.

It bears almost NO relation to earlier 109 machines.... it is virtually a 618, except for the traditional sun and planet backgear, and the manufacturer, who MUST still have been AA, or the 109 code would not be attached to it. (I am assuming the truth of that, otherwise I would doubt it being an AA)

Points of wild difference from other AA:

V and flat ways
Larger spindle
dials on compound AND crossfeed
REAL HAND FEED w/wheel on carriage
Probably real half-nuts

03-17-2006, 04:56 PM
JT, you made me take a closer look.

That whole carriage assemble is lifted right off the Atlas 618 - compound to half-nuts - except for the ways as you mentioned.

Tailstock lock handle is AA-style, but the handwheel is an Atlas casting.

Headstock is unique, pulley and planetary backgear is the AA pattern.

Looks like some cross-pollination taking place here.

What is that little setscrew on the backside of the headstock? Looks like it bears against the case that covers the backgear assembly.

J Tiers
03-17-2006, 11:43 PM
I assumed that setscrew was the lock needed to engage back gears. That and changing over the little sliding nut you can see on the front of the planet case.

That sure is a wild one.

03-18-2006, 12:40 AM
Its a genuine last production AA made in the 1960's. With a #2 MT in the spindle and a #1 MT in the tail. Too bad they didn't make more of them...Bob

Bob Wright
Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill

[This message has been edited by aametalmaster (edited 03-18-2006).]

J Tiers
03-18-2006, 09:56 AM

That page at Tony's site is VERY new.....

Tony simply DIRECTLY STOLE the pictures from the EBAY AD and put a quickie explanation around them....

Not a bad idea, although one might possibly quibble unless permission was sought first.

Remind me to "copyright" pictures on all my ebay ads, if I ever do any ebay ads... That will give me an opportunity to press another set of charges against scammers using them.

Looks like Tony agrees on the setscrew. That is a horribly crude mthod of engaging back gears, compared to the original pin in H/S. The nutted reverse lever is also very crude.

I guess AA had to save money somewhere due to the way Sears probably put the screws to them for feature vs price.

[This message has been edited by J Tiers (edited 03-18-2006).]

03-18-2006, 10:17 AM
Tony had permission to use the pics, i set him up with them. I have his orig email if anyone wants it...Bob

Bob Wright
Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill

03-19-2006, 04:18 PM
Had my head in that dark place when I posted that. it IS a 12" not 18". Have since talked to Bill Hardin about it, found out what I needed to know. Appreciate all the responses. The set screw in question retains the spring and ball for the "shifter", which is what I took to be the plunger for indexing, like on my ol' Atlas 10". Bought an old Leblond 13", gotta get rid of the 10" to make room, but like to have something bigger than the Unimat that will still cut small screw threads, so thought the 6" would get me by, and price was right. Thanks


J Tiers
03-19-2006, 06:33 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by aametalmaster:
Tony had permission to use the pics, i set him up with them. I have his orig email if anyone wants it...Bob


Nah, its OK, I assumed he did...Where else would he get info on something he (and most other folks) have never seen? I have sent him some stuff also, and he is legit...

When you posted that link, I thought you were unaware that it was such a new page.....

03-19-2006, 07:25 PM
Now that we have that worked out what's next. I wonder what it will sell for???...Bob

Bob Wright
Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill

03-19-2006, 09:23 PM
Further to the interesting discussion on 109 material - a "power-feed" 109 has been found with a label "“Sherman Clark Mfg. Co. of Jackson Michigan (USA)”. This may provide a partial answer to how this particular model came about.
For the latest guess at what might have happened see: http://www.lathes.co.uk/craftsman/page12.html

My best wishes,


... and thank you, Bob, for your kind comments.

03-20-2006, 10:41 AM
I was not aware of the Sherman Clarke link. That may be what the label on that lathe was, as I definitely was able to read "Michigan" on it. It also said "The Best Tool For The Job". Any idea if Sherman-Clarke used that slogan?
I have a photo somewhere of that decal before the paint remover got to it.

Rex Burkheimer

03-21-2006, 04:17 PM
Well now we know. I would have went 400 bucks next week....Bob

Bob Wright
Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill

03-21-2006, 04:32 PM
Link to some 109 documents...


Not being or having been a 109 owner, I don't know how complete or useful these will be.


J Tiers
03-21-2006, 04:33 PM
Even more wild....

That is almost a real machine..... $255 ??

I saw an old grungy 109.20630 with minimal goodies go for $580.00 on the bay a while back http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

03-21-2006, 04:53 PM
I don't know why people pay that much for those 109s, except as 1940s memorabilia. But I do see people paying $300 for them with the goal of turning metal.
Now, I like them for display and such, and have had 4, counting the 2 I still have. But I have never turned anything on any of them. Haven't even connected a motor.
For the same money, a Chinese minilathe is several times the machine (Insert lightning strike here). And for $300 or less I've bought 10" Atlas lathes twice.
I guess when Lathe Fever hits in the dead of winter, people do strange things :0

03-21-2006, 05:01 PM
The auction had a reserve that was not met. It probably would have gone higher without the reserve.

Now that it is a feature lathe on Tony's lathe site, the value will be off the wall.

Or not.

03-21-2006, 05:21 PM
I too have 2 109's, one was never used and i have had it for 25 years. I have all the gears still new. I bought a spare one for parts if i ever needed them. I even made a #1 MT tailstock arbor for it. But now i have a real lathe a SB 10K that does what i need...Bob

Bob Wright
Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill