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Should I bother with this lathe? Answered

My father-in-law told me that he has an old lathe in the basement, it was his father-in-law's. I've been wanting to get a lathe, but not really being able to afford anything, but I'm not sure if this is any good or even worth trying to work with. I don't know what's missing (but I know things are missing). Missing parts may be in the basement, but I have no clue what I'm looking for.

Edit: I got the picture of just the lathe to upload finally.



It depends on how much time you want to invest into getting the parts and getting it working. Sure you'll save some money (if you don't have to buy anything), but if you don't have any idea what you're doing, you may just end up frustrated and no further ahead. Obviously, I don't know your skill level and knowledge of how a lathe works to say whether you should bother or not; but for the most part, things made in the past tend to last longer than things made today.

I looked at your link to the remaining photos... Were you able to locate a motor for the lathe? Or is this all you have for parts?

There are three uprights on the bed. One is clearly the tailstock, the other two I assume are the "headstock". If that's correct, there should be a spindle that fits into the bushings of those two uprights and spins freely. The spindle should have collars or other means of preventing the spindle from moving back and forth in the bushings. There should be a pulley that fits the spindle, and a second pulley that fits a motor shaft to drive the headstock spindle. Ideally both pulleys should be multi-step to allow speed changes.

Frankly, this lathe looks rather wobbly. The headstock of a lathe should be very sturdy because there will be a lot of force on it. Take a look at this homebuilt (from wood!) wood lathe:


On your lathe I would want to fasten the two parts of the headstock together to minimize vibration.  Welding may not be a good idea, though, because of the distortion produced.

I think I'd abandon that lathe and build my own, similar to the one in the link above.  The chisels and other tools you have would be fine for almost any lathe.

Good luck!

It is a wood working lathe and looks like it needs a motor of some kind -

You will need to de-rust it. There are several ways including electroplating methods described in Instructables if you search.

It may need some new bearings as well. Only you can tell if there is any play.

The tools will be OK with a clean and sharpen.

Most old equipment works well once operating. Worth a try.


6 years ago

I don't see anything but files and wood lathe tools.
They don't take up any room save them for future needs.


For some reason I can't get the rest of my pictures uploaded and they didn't go in the first try. You can see them here:

Saw a frame that could clamp a nonexistent motor...
I also do not see speed reducing pulleys or a chuck to hold the wood.