View Full Version : What to do with a very old tired lathe?

Just Bob Again
07-25-2008, 09:42 AM
Finally got a new reasonably decent lathe. 14x40. Imported (yes, I know...) but I got a deal on it. Got an old SB 9". Vintage 1922 with the chain-drive reducer. It's way far gone. Needs spindle bearings and nuts and the bed and carriage and tailstock are a good 25 thou out. Basically an antique but I have all the change gears and it runs. None of the parts interchange with the newer models. Wider ways, different gear pitch, etc.

Other than buying a small boat or making a unique ornament for the front yard, what can I do with this thing? I'd rather not devote shop space to it and what I have in tooling far exceeds the real worth of the machine. I don't and will not do Ebay. I'd hate to sell it for nearly nothing.

07-25-2008, 10:38 AM
If its knackered, its knackered.

Sell any tooling thats not needed and turn it into a garden ornament.

Its reached the end of its life surely?


07-25-2008, 10:55 AM
Don't know how much of this type of work you do but you could use it as a buildup lathe, welding and/or metal spray?

07-25-2008, 10:55 AM
Bob-- you sort of have yourself in a pickle. You don't want to get little to nothing for it, but are unwilling to sell it on Ebay (where you are likely to get the most for it).


Bill Pace
07-25-2008, 11:13 AM
I agree that parting it out on ebay is the obvious answer here, South Bend parts are like little nuggets of gold. Chances are good that there is somebody (maybe several) out there that has one of these models and is looking for a part/s.

Surely you would realize more from it than something like a "lawn ornament" -- and maybe help out that guy that wants to restore his...

07-25-2008, 11:47 AM
I agree that you lock yourself out of some good options by not doing eBay. I recently bought a South Bend 9" tailstock and modified it for a small wood lathe for my brother. I wouldn't have known where to look otherwise and the seller and I would have had trouble getting together without eBay.

Maybe you could have someone you know put it on for a commission.

bob ward
07-25-2008, 02:05 PM
Maybe mention your lathe over at Practical Machinist, they have a Southbend forum and an Antique Machinery forum.

loose nut
07-25-2008, 02:35 PM
It has been said in many magazine articles about old lathes, that any lathe that was built well originally (and not all hacked up, just worn out) can be rebuilt again, basically like new, it just about the $$$$$$. Do you want to spend a lot of bucks to restore an old lathe.

07-25-2008, 04:05 PM
Make it a welding lathe.

otherwise part it out and post the parts on ebay.

07-25-2008, 04:13 PM
How about craigslist?
Not sure how it works but fairly certain it's free.

07-25-2008, 04:31 PM
Make it a welding lathe.

otherwise part it out and post the parts on ebay.

Or, if you're into sheet metal work etc.....

My local light fabrication shop has a length of flat bottom railway rail bolted to an old lathe bed, with 20" or so projection from the end (adjustable). Gives a crude anvil at waist height, handy for 'adjusting' shapes.
Part out all the moving parts.


07-25-2008, 05:39 PM
I had a similar situation on an Atlas lathe I acquired. Once I got it home, I realized that it would take more to restore it than it would ever be worth. Several people on these forums had needs, so I sold off some parts, thinking to use the headstock (bare) and bed for a welding lathe. After a year I never had a project that that needed a welding lathe, so I finally sold it.
Looking back and adding it up, I made much more money on it that I had in it, quite by accident.
And of course, a week after I sold it, I had a need for a welding lathe :/

Just Bob Again
07-25-2008, 07:57 PM
Thanks. Some decent ideas. I won't do Ebay anymore because everybody now thinks it just isn't proper unless they bid in the last 6 seconds to prevent anybody else from making another offer. I just won't do that. I used Ebay for a dozen years and cancelled my account. Craigslist is maybe a good idea, as are some other forums. The parts are worth way more than the lathe as a whole. I'm not going to trash it but I don't think it can be rebuilt at any acceptable cost. The change gears are beautiful. Most everything else that wears is just worn out and unavailable. I had to make a set of half nuts a few years back. Not pretty but they work.

J Tiers
07-25-2008, 08:00 PM
Sounds like a pre-"workshop" model Model 405 possibly, especially if it does NOT have a tumbler reverse.

If so, that is a bit rare, and you would probably do well to be sure that it is distinguished from the standard later 9" machines if you don't send it for melting in china.

07-25-2008, 08:31 PM
Go to your local highschool or votech center and ask the instructors if they have a student who would like to have a free lathe.

Kurt Loup
07-25-2008, 08:46 PM
If it is a 9" Jr. and you part it out, I may be interested in a few parts.