View Full Version : Sheldon lathe. Worth a look?

09-16-2015, 05:45 AM

I have no idea of what these are worth but it seems pricey to me.

09-16-2015, 06:38 AM
Wonder where the door went. Depends on condition & location but I would says he about double priced of what I'd pay but if it's a machinery desert may be close. Doesn't cost to look:rolleyes: right, I wish whomever coined that would come look at my hanger LOL! Just my opinion which is worth double what you paid for it.

09-16-2015, 07:28 AM
That is the earlier version, probably 50's vintage. I don't know when they went to the double lever QCGB and other upgrades. It is still a good, heavy machine.

Price might be on the high side, but the bed looks good, and if in good condition, you will have a hard time finding a better machine in that size range for much less.

Richard P Wilson
09-16-2015, 07:36 AM
Wonder what the vendor means by 'steady rest needs modified?

09-16-2015, 08:21 AM
What flylo said ^^^.

Location IMO has the most to do with it unless it is obviously damaged or beaten to death, parts a little more difficult to find than say SB 9 inch or even, maybe a Heavy 10 (but this lathe is at least as good in terms of "heavy") but not impossible, the under drive helps IMO.

Given location, your pickings, I suspect, are going to be less than say 850 miles to the north and east so that accounts for some, if it were here, definitely "reasonable" with something that size and original quality for less than $1500 being a bit of a deal.

Mike Hunter
09-16-2015, 09:06 AM
One of the lathes in my shop is its twin; but mine has the door.
It’s a well-made basic lathe, in my mind a little bit better that a comparable South Bend.
I wish the tubular frame was a bit heavier, weight wise.
Good size hole thru the headstock, threaded chuck mount on the spindle.
Lots of oil galleries, so expect to spend the first 5 minutes oiling her up.
If the ways are good, I would give $1200 - $1400 for it.
Not much to go wrong on her, parts are still fairly easy to find or make.

Bill Pace
09-16-2015, 09:24 AM
Sheldon is - IMO - one of the best of the grouping of HSM type lathes - SB, Logan, Atlas, etc. Of course as others said, condition determines everything, but with the owner mentioning the rebuild it certainly deserves a look-see. As said, price depends so much on location -- IMO that price wouldnt be gloat worthy but still its not all that bad and if could be negotiated then ... all the better!

09-16-2015, 10:39 AM
I'm with Mike on the $1200 price range. I DO live in a machinery desert, and I eventually picked up a 13 X 70 Sheldon in excellent condition for $1600. For that I got a mid 70's machine with a D1-4 spindle, two-lever full range QC box and a couple of Buck chucks.

By the way, I suspect that 1 3/8" spindle bore he mentions is actually not quite that big. Mine is closer to 1 5/16.

09-16-2015, 12:11 PM
I would say that's a reasonable price if the bed is truly in "amazing condition".

09-16-2015, 06:00 PM
Des Moines, IA, area is a bit of a tool desert, but Chicagoland is about six hours or so away with lots more to chose from.

09-16-2015, 06:11 PM
+ (51.00) buyer's premium. + applicable fees & taxes.
This item SOLD at 2015 Sep 16 @ 06:30UTC-4 : AST/EDT

A 12x36 sold at auction today in Grand Rapids for $340+ fees, it was a 2 lever (besides the quick change) version.

I have an 11" Logan with a 13/8" thru hole with a 5C collet closer, 3 & 4 jaw, center & follow rest & the door I bought in mid Indiana (justanengineers backyard) for $900 in great condition on a super stand, very close I would think to the Sheldon. I actually have a bit less as I traded a drill press in on it. Good machine IMHO as the 11" has the same head as the 14"

09-16-2015, 06:13 PM
Des Moines, IA, area is a bit of a tool desert, but Chicagoland is about six hours or so away with lots more to chose from.

True! Maybe I should give up on Des Moines. I barely buy anything but groceries in the Des Moines B&M stores any more. It's a waste land on so many levels.

09-16-2015, 06:33 PM
That Sheldon does have a sweet WIDE bed.
About as heavy built for a small machine as you can get.
Dicker him down some. It is worth a try.


Doc Nickel
09-16-2015, 06:35 PM
To make things just that much more confusing, I paid nearly twice that for a 10" x 56", 1956 Sheldon.

Some disclaimers, however: One, I sorely needed a more capable lathe. Up 'til that point I was running an 11"x32" Logan (which I still have as well) but at the time it only had a 3/4 HP single phase motor. The Sheldon had already been refitted with a 2HP (might be a 3) 3-phase motor and ACTech VFD.

Two, that price included a large amount of tooling- 3 and 4 jaws, steady and follow rest, CQ toolpost and six or seven blocks, the factory metric threading gears, a handwheel 5C setup (including nose protector, adapter sleeve and a full set of collets) a basketful of HSS, some indexible carbide, and an armload of just everything else, including two toolboxes, drills, chucks, live centers, Morse drills, you name it.

And three, this is a machine tool desert. It costs so much to ship heavy iron to Alaska, and we have a high proportion of DIY types, that any usable small lathe goes for a premium.

Oh, and four, at the time, it was literally the first decently-sized lathe I'd seen for sale locally in two or three years.

It was in ready-to-use condition, just plug it in and start turning. The only trick was the PO had apparently converted a bench-mount machine over to an underdrive- he'd bought a complete Sheldon underdrive unit (which, according to the receipts, had cost him over $700 all by itself) and had then welded together a sturdy frame.

It was a nice, solid frame, but then, at some point, he'd roughly sawed off the bottoms of the legs and bolted on casters so he could move it around the shop. I had to patch that up, and add adjustable feet.

Anyway, it's been my primary go-to lathe ever since- and that was back in 2008. I've used it extensively, not too far away from daily ever since, and it's worked like a champ. But, I also know I kind of paid a premium, even for up here. I figured it was worth it.


09-16-2015, 06:55 PM
But if it's in near perfect condition you're better off than a grizzly or other china lathe. Like buying a car you need to go take it for a spin bring cash & nicely offer 1/2 if it's in great shape as you can always go up.

09-16-2015, 08:44 PM
Let me say this...
I have in the past paid too much for a machine or tool.
If I am fortunate enough to have the money, and I
really like the machine, I feel good buying it, even though
I might have paid more than it was worth.
Take my HBM for instance. The seller was asking $2000
and would not budge. It was in OK shape, but did not
have the boring head or the tailstock. It weighs 4 tons
and scrap is/was about $100 a ton, so easy math what
it is worth on that level. I inquired over on PM what it
was worth, and everyone kinda said $1000 tops.
Well I really liked it, so I paid the man his price.
I am so happy I did, because after getting it home,
the ways are nice, all the gears work, and it really
allows me to work on larger size things. I already
had a 5" boring and facing head that fit it, and
found a 6.25" boring head for it on ebay.
Aside from that, the seller had some family members
with health problems that we was helping out with
so he genuinely needed the money. Irrelevant, but
I felt better about giving him his price.
So anyhow, if you can afford the sellers price, even
though it might not be as low as you would like,
if it is a nice machine and you want it, and you
can afford the cash, I say buy it.
Devils and angels, I know.