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How much restoration for you?

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  • How much restoration for you?

    So at what point does one say " Too much"? I just ran across this *jewel* on flea-bay. Although I restore old cars for fun, this is probably more than I would want to tackle; but someone might. I'm not opposed to a little elbow grease and some restoration work in general, but what is your drop dead point. What could one expect to find in a machine like this? You know, a little rust never hurt anything (well, most anything). Are these things usually a cleanup job or are they a boat anchor before you start. How could you even ask a guy a question about this thing? We know it won't run right now. Was just wondering about anything in this class of condition. I've seen some of you guys take a POS and turn it into a gem.

  • #2
    For $500 you could part it out and make a profit. If the ways are in decent shape and the MG is operational, then restoration might not be too hard, esp. if you don't worry about the paint.

    Buying without inspection can be risky. In addition to inspecting the ways, I would want to turn the spindle by hand and ensure that the gearbox is OK and that the lead and feed screws turn freely. A look inside the headstock to inspect the gears would be indicated. Also, I would put it in back gear to see that the motor gearbox has no problems.


    • #3
      First off, it is a labor of love. Machines things get saved for different reasons. If that were closer, I might buy it and take a chance.

      As for other items, the art deco look of some equipment is a nice touch to a shop. I see my Van Norman sitting in the corner waiting to be used every time I walk into the shop. Many of the old drill presses are nice to look at. They can be found cheap and with a little work, they look good and can be functional.

      Another view is the sense of accomplishment. Bringing a tool back to life and making it useful is a fantastic thing. Imagine holding a part that is throughly rusted and useless. One takes it apart, cleans it and under the rust is a solid reusable item. Some rework might be put back into it, fitting and testing. Once satisfied paint might even be added. Turn it on and make chips!

      Lastly, I and most of us, own tools that we could never afford new. Yet if I buy a used tool and fix it, it could last me the rest of my life. Remember, we are a different lot. Some of my neighbors toss out items as soon as they stop working. None of them think to fix them when they can go buy a new one. Its just they way they work. I will fix stuff when it breaks and continue to use it. I only buy new when I cant fix the item or the cost of repair is to high when compared to new.

      There are those that want perfection right out of the gate. Thats fine but I think that these are the folks that are building a business and they need a guarantee that the machine will function to the capacity of the work they have for it. If it does not, then its a surprise when it fails and may well cut into their profit margin. If that machine fails, they loose work, have a hard time paying for employees and have trouble making promised shipping dates. They need the assurance that the machine will perform. They are taking a calculated gamble in order to have the business. I have worked for shops like this and there is nothing wrong with it. But they might not be able to take the time and effort that is required to rework a machine when they can buy new and generate parts.

      So my question is, what do you need the machine to do for you? That will help answer your question.

      Just my 2ยข
      Last edited by rockrat; 04-08-2009, 09:55 AM.
      Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.


      • #4
        Rock, great answer! Thank you.

        I don't know if I would be up for something like this or not. I have a 1952 Pontiac in pieces, along with a 64 Honda 300 Dream. I need another project like I need a lobotomy.

        I restored all my woodworking tools. All my stuff is old Walker-Turner or Delta from early 1950's, but none of them are as complex as a self propelled lathe would be.

        I know little about the Monarch (or any other lathe), other than it's supposed to be the "Cadillac" of the turning world. I really just picked one of these machines out to get a feel for who would do it, and who would pass it over (though this one is actually close enough to get). If parts for this machine are over the top or it's a son of a ... to work on, it might not be so much fun. I can take apart and put anything together that exists, but there's a fine line between a fun project and a pull your hair out, why did I buy this POS, project. I also know that it would be easy to throw a pile of money at it. My idea is to throw a reasonable amount into a given restoration, but not so much that I could have bought a new machine!

        This thread is more informational to me than anything else. You may be leaning me one way or another to take on such a project, but since I haven't been into one of this kind of tool, I need help in my determination.
        Last edited by garagemark; 04-08-2009, 10:50 AM.


        • #5
          One of the biggest details that it many folks seem to overlook in a machine tool restoration is "accuracy restoration". Everybody is more concerned with looks and not how accurate it cuts. I too am a restorer, and have found that restoring usablility and accuracy to a worn out neglected machine tool requires a whole new set of skills, tools, etc that cannot be learned overnight.
          My Monarch EE project has been a 9 year journey and " cosmetics "were a very small fraction of the overall restoration.


          • #6
            Man, what a beautiful machine. Ever going to use it?


            • #7
              I see a lathe with some surface rust and grease (too bad the grease was not on the now-rusted surfaces). I thought you were going to post a link to a lathe that had been cut in half or something.

              Whether you restored that lathe cosmetically or not is another matter. If the ways are in good shape and its othewise mechanically sound, the surface rust etc as well as the dirt could be off in a matter of hours. Whether you ever repaint it or not is an entirely different matter. And as was so rightly pointed out, there are really three issues....mechanically sound, the accuracy or precision of the way and bearing surfaces, and the least important-- paint. A picture like that only really tells you the lathe is dirty and the paint is chipped....oh...and the end cover is missing.

              If I were in the market for a 10EE, I would first expect that it probably needed work...most all are old...some like that one are really old. I would rather find one like that for $500 than the same lathe where someone took scotchbrite wheels to the ways and then painted the thing and pretended it was then worth $3k. This way you know what you are getting and it would appear you don't have 12 layers of paint to remove.

              Edit-- Daryl-- that's beautiful work. I wish I had more time for machine restoration as I have several that are waiting. I put quite a bit of time in my Bridgeport...perhaps more than it should merit, so likely I will be more practical with some of the other machines as I get time. I have an uncle who has restored lots of antique gas engines. My Dad has been into antique cars for years. To me, old machine tools are no less worthy of our attentions.

              Last edited by pcarpenter; 04-08-2009, 11:38 AM.
              Paul Carpenter
              Mapleton, IL


              • #8
                Originally posted by garagemark
                My idea is to throw a reasonable amount into a given restoration, but not so much that I could have bought a new machine!
                An old round dial EE (and with that serial number you're looking at a 1938/39 machine) is harder to rebuild than a "newer" square dial, just from parts availability. A lot of folks find the motor/generator drives easier to work on than the tube drives, I kind of like the tubes. If you get a tube drive be sure to find some spare tubes, finding one when you "need it now" can be costly.

                If you scrounge and do almost all of the work yourself you can rebuild a 10EE for something like $2500-3000, most of this in the bed grinding. Something like Daryl's work would be considered a full "frame-up" restoration and I'd bet he's put in more than that in bearings alone.

                Further - the tooling for a 10EE can go for a premium, so snag all the tooling you can in the initial purchase.

                There's a couple of before and after shots of the work I did on mine here:


                • #9
                  I see one major problem with your work... Who would want to use it and stain it up?!!!! It too is beautiful. Hell, in the car world, we call those trailer queens! Restored to perfection, never driven.

                  I think that the Monarch is out of my resto range. I want to clean a machine up and use it. I'll save what little resto skills I possess for my cars.

                  I have a line on an old Enco too right now- in working order. It'll never match most any machine like a Monarch, but I'll be spinning metal and shootin chips across the room next week if it works out.


                  • #10
                    Hi They say "needs reconditioning". I wonder exactly what that means ?Why not simply ask them for a reasonable account of what's needed.I cannot see you making a loss on this even if it either takes a while to do it up or sell it on for spares it may be a little gem he says it works and all parts are there so good luck if it weren near me I might buy it myself.Alistair
                    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                    • #11
                      Many years ago I dreamed of having a "new" EE. There was no way that would ever happen, so this is the next best thing. Something about walking up to nice machine like this makes you want to do good work and THINK about what you're doing. I'm now making chips and have already contributed the obligatory chip in the paint. It's a tool ,dammit and it's not like you going to take it to shows in a trailer.(I keep telling myself)


                      • #12
                        I never restore anything, I restify it, I have never purchase anything that I don't tweak, modify of change to suit my tastes. That being said my I understand the restored, original reasoning. My 67 camaro SS is far from stock but I could put in back into stock from in a day or so I if chose to sell it as an orginal unmodified car.
                        Be careful restoring, modifying or trying to improve women, it's dangerous, expensive and always ends in failure, a new model is always the safe bet.
                        Non, je ne regrette rien.


                        • #13
                          I'm really bad about this. I don't have a drop dead point. I figure everything can be fixed/replaced/etc. It's just a matter of how much time and money your willing to invest and, in my case, I always seem to think I can get around spending money by spending more time. That's very rarely the case, however.

                          I bought an old junker '77 pickup because I saw a gem. Everyone else saw a rust that wasn't worth more than 10 cent newspaper ad. That time, everyone else was right. I upgraded to an '89 and tried not to think about the time and money wasted. At least it was a "learning expierence"

                          Now I'm into machines. Turns out I can handle making parts and fixing up old machines. Damn body work on rusty old trucks took more skill than I had. I could cut and weld and all that but I couldn't use bondo worth a crap. I could spend an entire gallon just applying, sanding too much off and putting more back on.

                          Anyhow, I figure if the cost is scrap than there is no risk involved. Sure it costs money to transport, but I chalk it up as a "vacation" or "entertainment" expense. If it's over scrap value, it gets a closer inspection. My shaper was scrap price, so I bought it without ever inspecting. My lathes, well I drove 1040 miles just to see it, but I was buying from another machinist who gave very accurate descriptions and was willing to show it off under power via video. That was a great expierence. But I'm rambling like an old man now () - so I'll shut up now


                          • #14
                            If it were close I think I would take it on. Nice mchine!!!


                            • #15
                              That $500 eBay machine is actually rather special, because it has a 30" bed, instead of the usual 20". I've never seen a 30" round-dial EE before, in fact. Unless the ways are beyond recovery by regrinding, this could eventually be a rather special machine. It's too much for me to tackle right now though!!