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south bend or leblonde?

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  • south bend or leblonde?

    Could some of you experts tel me the pros and cons of each, given they are the same size. A friend of mine in another state has a chance to get either for about the same price. The south bend is a 16" and the leblond is a 17" I believe. Both are 5' centers. I am more of south bend, so I thought the group would give him a better idea between the two. Thanks to all.

  • #2
    Depends on condition, but all else being equal, I think that a 17" Leblond is SEVERAL times the machine a 16" SB would be in similar condition. I think the only category that the SB could win would be the parts availability, and that may not be the case for the 16". For similar cost, tooling, and shape, there is no doubt in my mind which would be coming home with me.

    Edit: On another note, some of the Leblonds are very complicated and expensive if/when repairs are needed, with controls that could be somewhat problematic (or so I've been told). It doesn't get much simpler than a SB in any of the "classic" flavors (not a Turnado and whatever they called the other late import versions). So in that respect, the SB might win a bit more favor for long term ownership...
    Last edited by BadDog; 02-03-2009, 08:41 PM.
    Master Floor Sweeper


    • #3
      The only thing going for the South Bend is you can make every part on it in your own shop if you have the necessary machinery. All the shafts are made from 12L14 and1215. All the gears are castiron are soft steel. I know I rebuilt one.
      Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self


      • #4
        I have a 13 inch South Bend and like it alot,it does everything that I want and need it to do,it was made 2 years after I graduated from high school and is in very good shape However,I started my apprenticeship on a Leblond and over the past 40 some years have ran several Leblond lathes, If I had the choice between the 2 for about the same amount of money I would definatly go with the Leblond, that is if it is a Regal Leblond, I dont know much about the olddr style Leblonds but anything in the late 60's or newer would be fine in my opinion.


        • #5
          I have a ''Blondie'' Dual drive with a LOO spindle , it is a short bed but very stout and has replaceable ways.
          South Bend is one of the lathes I have not had any contact with, so I can't bad mouth them, bot I wont give up the Leblond.

          Welcome to the zoo Gotchips.


          • #6
            LeBlond vs South Bend

            I am a big LeBlond fan but I have heard from several sources that you don't want the Servo Shift models. Prone to breakdowns and expensive to fix. THe Regals are great machines and last nearly forever.

            South bend is a good machine too. My boss had an old (30's or 40's vintage) and it didn't have a quick change gearbox. It was an overhead drive (conehead) machine that had been converted, with a frame to hold the drive cone and motor on the back side. It was a robust machine and he did a lot of work with no problems with it. I'd still take the LeBlond if it is in good shape.
            Jim (KB4IVH)

            Only fools abuse their tools.


            • #7
              We have one of the Servo-model Leblonde's at work. Nice machine. Nice to have the instant breaking mechanizism. Nice big spindel thru hole. It does have the occasional break down. Not as sturdy as the old Monarchs we have but about on par with the late '70's to mid '80s Clousings we have too. I prefer the servo mech over the sloppy Clousing engament levers.

              Those big spindal thorugh holes makes a world of difference!



              • #8
                The question is meaningless without more specifics of the actual machines.

                An old SB versus a newer LeBlond or vise-versa????????


                • #9
                  South Bends are simple machines that are easy to maintain and are capable of producing some very nice work. The LeBlonds that I have seen are really nice but complicated beasts, and not manufactured in the numbers that the SBs were, so parts can be more problematic. We had a later LeBlond Regal at A&M and it was a pleasure to use, very refined with a LOT of power. Made the old SB 13 at home feel like a toy.


                  • #10
                    The machines, I found out as best I could, are about the same age. They are both 40's or 50's models. I have not been able to find out much more. thanks again for all the input!


                    • #11
                      Personally, I'd pass on the South Bend. I had a 14 1/2" one of that vintage and I would not buy another. Grab the Leblond. A friend of mine has a 24" Regal and even as old as it is; it still cuts nice and straight and is rock solid. I can't say that about a South Bend.

                      Andy Pullen
                      Clausing 10x24, Sheldon 12" shaper, Clausing 8520 mill, Diacro 24" shear, Reed Prentice 14" x 34"