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View Full Version : First post, just to say Hi.



danno11
06-12-2015, 09:17 PM
Howdy all! I found this site while musing over the recent price spike for lathes on Craigslist and it's obvious that there are some knowledgeable people here. Is it just me or have people gone crazy? Some of these lathes, certainly not all, look like they were drug out of the corner of the barn, the chicken droppings scraped off, and rubbed down with WD40 and steel wool. They then price them like they were a good machinist's pet lathe. I have a theory, see if you agree. Of course, dissenting opinions are OK, too, as long as you're not looking for an argument. I don't do internet arguments.
"American Pickers", the newly minted "weekend warrior auction guy", and various machine dealer's websites that lists lathes at about 80% of new, unless it's old, then it's 300% higher. The one that keeps popping up is "Lxxx Cxxxx Mxxxxne". Apparently, well, according to their website, they started in 1982. I don't know when that place started doing business, but when I search lathe values, that's about all I get apart from forums like this. Take a gander at their prices.
What's even more disconcerting, a lot of their photos are taken outdoors. Who stores lathes outdoors? Anyway, not trying to start an argument because I know that every machinist has his own favorite machine, but I guess I can't get my head around a likely, womped out, 1928 South Bend selling at 1500 bucks. You know, all six speeds, belts, and everything. In my area, there are over 300 lathes for sale on CL within a 100 mile radius, so it's not as if they're rare. And, rarely is it like a museum piece either, most are garage specimens that have been subjected to 50 plus years of climate fluctuations, humidity, extreme heat and cold and not well preserved at all.
I don't know, tell me what you think.
Regards and keep your fingers intact,
Dan

Toolguy
06-12-2015, 09:41 PM
Hi Danno. Welcome to the forums! I think the people who price their stuff like that either don't know what they're doing or are hoping their customers don't know.

CarlByrns
06-12-2015, 09:51 PM
You pretty much hit it right on the head. Since American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and even Antiques Roadshow have gained popularity, every beat-to-death South Bend is suddenly a one-of-kind priceless gem. That attitude spills over into flea markets (I used to pick and sell), garage sales, and worst of all, 'estate' sales that are generally run by clueless morons: if it's an old tool, then it must be worth millions. The fact is a lot of older tools weren't all the great when new (anyone want a plastic Rockwell 1/4 inch electric drill?) and time certainly hasn't made them better.

I've been around long enough to see this as cyclical: five years ago a lot of good stuff was going cheap, ten years ago the prices were up. I haven't hit a good sale in a while (my favorite picking grounds has dried up- only baby stuff and clock radios) and I quit selling at one very busy flea market when I realized my merch was much better than most dealers (I won't sell junk) and the other dealers (who were selling crap) were dragging down the whole place.

Any rate, welcome to the party!

boslab
06-12-2015, 10:35 PM
I seem to be finding that big machines are affordable and small have gone nuts, I was offered a 6.5 m long bins and berry tribed for the same price as a dean smith and grace 40" long recently, bloody mad, I'd need a crane to lift the chuck off the bins, it was 3/4 of a ton.
Little myfords are 1000s, I think the small machines are sold by the gram using gold prices, I'm sure if you scrape the paint off it's a lump of precious metal under there, the formula must be bed length x age x play in thousands of an inch = $
Welcome to the asylum btw, I hope you find one, get as big as you can, it seems cheaper
Mark

mickeyf
06-13-2015, 02:58 AM
To be fair, even with the best camera you'll get a better photo in natural outdoor light. If I was selling a lathe and it was small enough to easily move outside to photograph, I might well do that. doesn't mean I'm storing it out there.

RussZHC
06-13-2015, 08:06 AM
In a word: location
In several words: location, condition, tooling, size

I think there are still some "deals" to be had, very less likely where I am based on the past decade of sort of looking. Add in that Winnipeg is known for being notoriously cheap. As you say, the crap I bought from you yesterday is now suddenly gold.

A quick look on CL in your general area, there are what I would say are still good prices but that thought is from a very limited base source and relative to what similar would cost here, IF they ever were to be up for sale. SB for $2200 would be long gone here and guessing but could likely sell for double that with some patience, 10EE that has a video should already be gone too at $2499.

Personally I always wonder about the larger lathes more so older manual versions but in a way, for that right situation e.g. W&S 4A w 8.25 spindle bore, 30Hp asking $8900, seems steep given is manual and used etc. but for that one place that needs that large a bore and that kind of power or that one well paying job that would more than be covered by the cost...there is a McDougall for sale in Ontario (neighboring province far more selection than here) that when you see $ 10 500 you think, "No way." but with a claimed 31" swing and 18 foot between centers, same idea as the Warner Swasey

On the other hand, I do wonder about say an American Pacemaker for $9000 when I have seen 2 similar that come to mind advertised up here for well less than half that.

danno11
06-13-2015, 01:51 PM
Interesting perspectives. I would love to have a large lathe, in the 15-16 inch range with a 4+ foot bed, but I can't move it on my own and old friends are dying on me left and right. Then, you have a lot of cripples. Like me, I have terrible arthritis in my hands and my back is shot but that's the price you pay for roughly 40 years of manual labor. Plus, I am one of these guys who thinks if it's not going quickly enough then you must try harder. Ah, forget the hoist, it only weighs 150 lbs! Anyway, I'm going to look at a 12" Craftsman Commercial today. I'm leaning towards buying it but I haven't seen it (in person) so if it's serviceable, I'll likely pull the trigger. One other thing that I'm sure you've noticed, they all look better in the pictures. Dirt is no big deal, but pitting is, as you all know. Well, maybe I'll have some news later. Going to take a shot.

goose
06-13-2015, 02:14 PM
I've never seen them do tools, of any kind, on Anerican Pickers. Even in the instance that they're talking to the guy and there's an old Buffalo drill press right behind them.

With those guys (Frank and Mike ?) it's always Mobil signs and old oil cans.

I don't think machinery has any collector value, it's too heavy and takes up too much room and you can't put one on the mantel over the fireplace, unlike a collection of Valvoline cans.

Fasttrack
06-13-2015, 02:26 PM
I've never seen them do tools, of any kind, on Anerican Pickers. Even in the instance that they're talking to the guy and there's an old Buffalo drill press right behind them.

With those guys (Frank and Mike ?) it's always Mobil signs and old oil cans.

I don't think machinery has any collector value, it's too heavy and takes up too much room and you can't put one on the mantel over the fireplace, unlike a collection of Valvoline cans.

Agreed - I think the increase in prices is likely due to the budding "maker culture". There is a larger percentage of people with a genuine interest in building things. I think that's great, but it also means there are a lot of "hacks" looking to turn an old benchtop lathe into a CNC machine or who knows what. As others have said, for a weekend warrior type of person, they can really only handle smaller benchtop machines so the demand is high for those. The big ones are too heavy to move and take up too much space, so they typically go for scrap value. I picked up a 5000 lb Kearney Trecker 2D die sinking mill in great shape for $500 several years ago because most people didn't want to move it and the machine shop needed it gone to make room for a new CNC machining center. This was back when scrap was more than $0.10 a pound.

JRouche
06-13-2015, 02:26 PM
Welcome to this jacked up site Dan. Wait a second,,,, where am I logged into?? LOL Oh. wrong site, I'm home in one of my fav sites... All kidding aside, welcome to the group, always nice to see a new member check in... Good luck with the lathe, hope she is a beaut.. JR

CarlByrns
06-13-2015, 03:48 PM
I've never seen them do tools, of any kind, on Anerican Pickers. Even in the instance that they're talking to the guy and there's an old Buffalo drill press right behind them.

With those guys (Frank and Mike ?) it's always Mobil signs and old oil cans.

It's the swap meet mentality: if it's old, and somebody's interested in it, it must be valuable. It's more noticeable near closing time when the seller hasn't made his nut.


I don't think machinery has any collector value, it's too heavy and takes up too much room and you can't put one on the mantel over the fireplace, unlike a collection of Valvoline cans.

You've never been to an antique engine or farm equipment show :D .

flylo
06-13-2015, 04:06 PM
Interesting perspectives. I would love to have a large lathe, in the 15-16 inch range with a 4+ foot bed, but I can't move it on my own and old friends are dying on me left and right. Then, you have a lot of cripples. Like me, I have terrible arthritis in my hands and my back is shot but that's the price you pay for roughly 40 years of manual labor. Plus, I am one of these guys who thinks if it's not going quickly enough then you must try harder. Ah, forget the hoist, it only weighs 150 lbs! Anyway, I'm going to look at a 12" Craftsman Commercial today. I'm leaning towards buying it but I haven't seen it (in person) so if it's serviceable, I'll likely pull the trigger. One other thing that I'm sure you've noticed, they all look better in the pictures. Dirt is no big deal, but pitting is, as you all know. Well, maybe I'll have some news later. Going to take a shot.

I just got a like new 12" Craftsman Commercial well tooled QCGB on the factory stand with the under motor & bought an Atlas toolroon taper attchment last night. I honestly can't tell if the lathe was ever used. I'm 20 miles west of Atlas in Kalamazoo if you're ever over this way. Welcome to the forum.

justanengineer
06-13-2015, 05:39 PM
I wouldn't think too much regarding "price," especially on the internet. Folks only need one sucker who doesnt know an item's true value to make a killing, and the internet puts sellers in touch with thousands of folks seeking instant gratification. They read a couple evenings online, watch a few youtube videos, and poof....they know everything. Theyre not the folks out at the local shops or even at the local live-auctions seeing what the real market is, theyre the ones paying $1k for a clapped out 9C SB off craigs or ebay then justifying it as living in a "tool desert" somewhere outside the NE US.

Something to be aware of with tools and machinery is that the value even amongst collectors has ups/downs over the years. Back in the 80s and 90s early woodwacking tools was hot, today its not, I could buy several decent collections today for what some rare Stanely planes sold for 20 years ago. Similarly, 10 years ago small benchtop metal shapers were bringing $1k+, today you can buy some really nice restored shapers for <$400. Flat belt machinery was similar, 10 years ago it was actually worth money as machinery, today its more valuable as scrap. A lot of things have their time as fads, and the price of many things rise when the economy is good. I jokingly tell friends (but am dead serious) that I dont buy much when the economy is good, when others have money I cant afford dink compared to when others dont.

flylo
06-13-2015, 06:36 PM
JAE, I agree. Remember when Shopsmiths were all the rage? I bought a brand nre one with every add on made & I bet 100 wppdworking books for $400 from the son of a deceased gentleman that retired & the company he worked for gave it all as a retirement present. He never turned it on. Said he never had any interest in wood working. I like the vari-speed motors with 3 outputs & they make a fine drill press. There is a young man here that was in a accident so I made him a bit happier.

danno11
06-14-2015, 01:56 AM
Man, there's some humor here. LOL. That's a good thing. Well, I bought the old thang. It has some problems, but I figured it needed some lovin. Honestly, when I get my pole barn done at the farm I may sell it (move it over) because I'll have more room for a larger lathe but for now, it'll certainly do the trick. I don't know the year but it does have the 3/4 leadscrew with power crossfeed, quick change gearbox and the factory stand. It definitely has original paint. It is wired for 240 3-phase but I got a brand spanking new single phase Baldor continuous duty motor thrown in, which frankly, is better than the lathe at this point. I didn't get the surface gauge out but my finely tuned phalanges say it has about .003 of wear in the ways in the usual place. I'm going to try to ignore it for a while, but I do have access to a 60" Thompson if it gets on my nerves too bad. I would think it would clean up shiny in less than .01. Looks like it could be flat in .003-5. Bah! I've seen a lot worse. Any dummy can make good parts on a new machine, right? Well.......you know. One good thing is that it has industrial quality electrical switch gear, It came with a SquareD disconnect mounted, an A-B Starter with remote push button and a SquareD forward/reverse switch right under the chip pan right at or about your left hand at the waist, standing height. So, that's all good. The kid I got it from, well I say kid but he was 21, said he thought it had a broken gear in the traverse. A cursory glance informed me that all three screws were missing from the bracket that holds said gears. Sadly, it was subsequently discovered that the bracket had broken cleanly off and that while the gears were in pristine condition, they did little while rolling around the chip pan other than collect grease, tiny, sharp swarf, and mouse poop. Seriously, that bracket...oh, "they" call it a "gear case", is so embarrassingly inadequate that I'd be wearing sunglasses indoors if I came up with it. What a total waste of zinc. Other than that and about 20 pounds of greasy dirt, it seems good. To me, it looks like it was used for maybe one or two limited run production jobs and moved out to the storeroom many moons ago. It has the cutest little chuck on it and it is in nearly as new condition. It's an odd thing. I'm telling you, the chuck is as tight as a snare drum. I tossed a 3/8 chunk of cold rolled in it, snugged it up and spun the chuck and it ran out about .03 or so 10 inches out. Well, that might just be luck and I'll do more testing as I get further along but I do appreciate all of the responses. The funnies and the thinkers, too.

danno11
06-14-2015, 02:38 AM
I remember that well. Had a neighbor that got bit, hard.

danno11
06-14-2015, 02:39 AM
JAE, I agree. Remember when Shopsmiths were all the rage? I bought a brand nre one with every add on made & I bet 100 wppdworking books for $400 from the son of a deceased gentleman that retired & the company he worked for gave it all as a retirement present. He never turned it on. Said he never had any interest in wood working. I like the vari-speed motors with 3 outputs & they make a fine drill press. There is a young man here that was in a accident so I made him a bit happier.
I remember that well. My neighbor jumped in that with both feet. I don't think he ever used it.

boslab
06-14-2015, 05:23 AM
I never liked the frankenlathe or swop smith myself, it's design that hurts my eyes, they are about even over here!, you need something with a bit of meat on I think, you don't sound like you camp in the novice park so your going to need to go a bit further up the ladder at a guess, if you have and use a 60" Thomson surface grinder your not as limited as the rest of us, just about anything can be whipped into good shape, even a scrapper
Mark

wierdscience
06-14-2015, 11:19 AM
Welcome to the asylum!;)

My experience has been that machine tools are like tractors,there are a lot more people wanting small ones than big ones.Add to that people who would like bigger,but are constrained by space or the demands of women.Darned women,always putting food and clothing for the kids ahead of machinery!;)

So for the same reasons a 9" SouthBend will bring more than the 14" Monarch sitting next to it,just like the Farmall Cub with implements will bring more than the 50 hp JD sitting next to it.

danno11
06-14-2015, 12:48 PM
I never liked the frankenlathe or swop smith myself, it's design that hurts my eyes, they are about even over here!, you need something with a bit of meat on I think, you don't sound like you camp in the novice park so your going to need to go a bit further up the ladder at a guess, if you have and use a 60" Thomson surface grinder your not as limited as the rest of us, just about anything can be whipped into good shape, even a scrapper
Mark

I don't own a Thompson but my buddy owns a T&D shop, well, I have two friends that own them. The Thompson I know has the capacity, the B&S over at the other place is a 48" if I remember correctly, so it would be a little tight. I wouldn't want to have to move it even though it can be done, it's just a little more work. Well, first things first. I'll pull the saddle today, take it apart and toss it in the soak for a while. I just sprung for the new bracket, which kinda sucks, but still I'll only be up to a touch over $600. It looks like they peen the shaft ends to hold them to the gears. Anyone know? Well, I think I have to do some kind of BBQ thing today. That's the way it looks, anyway. There's some activity in the kitchen but I have avoided it thus far.

flylo
06-14-2015, 02:52 PM
If you need a manual on your 12" Craftsman commercial PM me your e-mail.

danno11
06-14-2015, 03:20 PM
If you need a manual on your 12" Craftsman commercial PM me your e-mail.
Can't tell you how much I appreciate it but one of the first things I did was order one. It's supposed to be a direct repro of the original. It was cheap enough, though. At this point, I have pretty much torn the thing apart and put it back together with the exception of the headstock, which, God willing, won't be necessary. I was, I admit, flustered by the back gear for a while. I'd put it in back gear and it wouldn't turn. LOL.
So, I got some light on the subject and quickly discovered the error of my ways. That's different from anything I have seen. But then, I grew up on Logan, Hardinge, W&S, Clausing, etc, etc. Went through a few Okuma and Cincy CNC's, too. More of the heavy duty type machines. I mean, they all have to shift into back gear, but this has a handy little locking plunger dealie. The quick change gear box was all out of whack, but I got that straightened out. The split nut is not long for this world so I pulled it, cleaned everything up, and put it back but I ordered a brass set. There's a guy selling them on ebay for 99 that look nice. I figure it will beat snot out of those cast ones and it's only 30 bucks more. I also found a nice steel scroll and lever for 20 bucks. Well, I think I'll swap out the motor and plug it in. You know, see what I can tear up.