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    I have been looking for a good hobby lathe for some time. I have narrowed my choices down to South Bend or Logan. I have found a lot of info on South Bend 9 and 10. But I have found a South bend 14 for $1400 and do not know much else. I am going to look at it in the next few days. I have read “How to inspectâ€‌ a lathe by several people and have a fair basic knowledge of machinery.
    Does anyone have advice or cautions on what to look for this lathe?

  • #2
    Read "Advice for Inspecting a lathe" at


    • #3
      Thanks for the link.
      I have read it several times, very helpful.
      I am looking for anyone with info on a South Bend 14.
      I am going to look at it most likly tomorrow.


      • #4
        With the information from Meridian, you have most of what you need to know. Look for lost motion in feeds, wear to ways, etc., etc. If at all possible cut something, mic it, listen for strange noises, run all the gear changes.
        Southbend lathes are a good choice, the 14" is getting large for the hobbiest though.
        If it is pretty well tooled, that is not a bad price for a machine in decent shape. If it has no tooling, it can get pricey in a hurry compared to what you will need for a 10" or 12" machine.
        In your area, there should not be a problem turning up a decent machine, so take your time looking & good luck.
        Jim H.


        • #5
          Yes, a 14" lathe is getting big. But, if it's in good shape and you can fit it in, there are certainly advantages to having a large lathe.

          On the other hand, there are disadvantages too, among them being the heavy weight of chucks and everything else. Changing a chuck becomes a muscle-building exercise. You may also find that top speed may be a little slow for tiny work.

          Personally, I think I'd look around for a South Bend 10L or similar.
          Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
          Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
          Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
          There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
          Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
          Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


          • #6
            Thanks every one for your help. Now that I have seen it I agree it is a monster. Especially compared to a 9" he also had.


            • #7
              Yes, a 14" South Bend is a monster, even more so with an 8' bed. But boy is it nice to have all that bed to work with. Sure beats my brothers Logan all to heck.



              • #8
                It always gets back to what you are trying to do... I don't think one size fits all, and for a single general purpose selection - if you had to pick one thing- then figure out a way to not just pick one thing... For me it was "don't get a newer car" - so I could get a variety of tools... and hopefully learn from them all.

                My lathe solution was overkill... a small Taig to learn on and some SBL large lathes to build tubular forms on. I honestly don't want to learn on the large lathes - I think this is REALLY important - because you need more safety skills when the risk is greater. As newbie, I do not want to "learn" on a 16" or even a 10" lathe. I have stuff to do on a precision small lathe, too. Think downside risk. If you have the skills - you might not ask the question that was asked here.... and do you want an unskilled and unexperienced (ie, someone like me) learning on a 14" tool - without doing something much, much simpler?

                Back off - get something dirt cheap - like a Taig, Clisby, Sherline or even a Unimat unit and learn to use it first. Oh.. go ahead and the 16" toolroom job - and while figuring out 3-phase power, learn on the small one. You can buy it used and sell if you don't like it. Lots of stuff you do is small, anyway. A stock of 6061 rod and a hacksaw - good start to turn. Truck axel and 14" lathe - bad start....

                For many of us, we don't get to be an apprentice or go to trade school. I certainly regret the skills I did not get then and have to learn a harder way now. But I guess it's just different. My Dad could never afford to have a lathe or mill. I can have them in my kitchen, its just that times are different.

                So IF I am bossy, it's because I read enough horror stories and remember things my Dad said. Get How to Use a Lathe. Read cover to cover repeatedly. Get Joe Martin's book and read IT cover to cover.. Concept is critical - find some tapes and watch them.. Unlike the old timers here (excludes me, of course) - I don't have the time or access to machine tool vetreans. I have to read here and elsewhere, listen, think, and learn this on my own. First project? - won't say. Second - design and build a chess set. By hand at first, then with CNC.

                So - yes I did get an old car (32 years old) - yes it needs parts at times (Frequently) - but I can work on it and learn. Gives me a good reason to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair" again - anyway. Gave my last copy away.....

                -- jerry

                --BTW... I thought I had gone around the bend... but I have a friend in San Antoino who has TWO beatuiful Monarchs - just perfect.... so it's not just me...