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Would you buy a lathe with rust on the ways?

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  • Would you buy a lathe with rust on the ways?

    I can get an American Tools Works lathe for $400. I only had a short time to look at it. Will try to get a pic tommorrow. It has at least a 16" 4 jaw chuck on it. Can you say heavy?

  • #2
    It is a matter of perspective. A lathe with rust on the ways is far better than no lathe at all.


    • #3
      How bad is the rust? A friend bought one with rust on it and it cleaned up really well. Works good for him. I offered him double what he paid and he won't sell it.


      • #4
        In a heartbeat if the lathe is in otherwise decent shape. I could use the rust to halve the price and get free delivery too.

        A half day with a 3" wire cup wheel and my bucket-O-slip stones and I'll have the machine ready to spot and level.


        • #5
          How about this much rust? Still worth the price of hauling?

          Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


          • #6
            you might nees a 6" knotted wire cup, and a crate of stones.


            • #7
              I got some pics! Total length is 10'10". Swing over bed is 18". What do you think this weighs? Should I get it?



              • #8
                I'd guess about 3500 Lb. I'd also reccommend a "last bolt" dissambly and clean up and that includes the VariDrive. I don't like threaded spindles and on the basis of that I wouldn't take it for free - I do too much work in reverse. Be sure you get all the wrenches, steadies (a lathe that long should have two, a follow rest, and any index gears chucks and stuff.

                That machineis about an order of magnitude worse than my other post envisioned. I think it's been out-doors at least five years.


                • #9
                  Thanks Forrest. What does a 16" chuck weigh? This might be an exercise in futility. I found a site that a guy has spent two years restoring an even older one. It was a flat belt drive so he mounted a 3 speed Ford transmission above the headstock. It looked factory to me until I read the comments.


                  • #10
                    One of the biggest problems with these old lathes is the lack of speed.
                    OK if you are doing all big work but if you are bitting and bobbing then a top speed of around 500 revs it's going to do much for a decent finish.

                    As a deal it's not that bad if the guy is going to pay you $400 to remove it.
                    Even if you scrap it, the scrap price added to $400 is not bad for a day's work.

                    John S.

                    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                    • #11
                      Didn't the old machine companies used to set their castings out in the yard for a year or so to cure? So goes the stories from the J&L lathe company old timers and the Bridgeport old timers.

                      heck, these are just about cured in by now.....?

                      CCBW, MAH


                      • #12
                        HI Mike, I saw your pics tonight. Looks like some of the lathes I looked at when I bought mine. The price is about right, but there is more ot the story.

                        I bought a 19" leblond about a 1967 model from a dealer in cincinnati, who said the lathe was in "good" shape. I had it shipped to Texas, and found it to have had a VERY rough life. Yes, it's my fault for not going up there to inspect it. But my point is that no matter what the initial cost is, there will be a substantial cost in time and money to get That one, and mine to be a precise machine. Do you want to make that additional investment?

                        Also, from the pics it looks to have a small spindle hole.

                        Good Luck,


                        • #13
                          Hmmmmn.....a high quality new import is starting to look better. I don't need to start a new hobby of machine re-conditioning.


                          • #14
                            I am in no way an expert, but my 12" clausing lathe looked absolutely horrible, I almost walked away. it looked in that magnitude of bad, and alot of the parts were off in boxes. after a very good take down and clean, which was not as difficult as I thought it was, and carefull scraping of the ways, as well as a good lesson in measuring, it does what I ask it to do. in my neck of the woods 400$ wont get you much if anything as far as lathes go.



                            • #15
                              I am no lathe expert, but in my opinion the ways don't look that bad. My concern would be the things you can't see. As in the interior of the motor, bushings in the quick change gear box, carriage, etc.

                              Alot of these items have bushings, bearings or any other system where metal rides on metal. You won't be able to see where the rust is unless you take it all apart.

                              If you do not, then you will have areas with hot spots as the machine works. This will be a problem down the road.

                              I also hope you have a hoist. That motor is really heavy looking. UGH!