I'm going to look at this lathe, can you guys help me out with some things to look for?

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
I have that same lathe, although mine might be a slightly newer model. Bought mine new in the mid 90's. Generally, it is a well made, heavy machine. I built a different stand for mine w/ 100 lb. of sand in the base to absorb vibration. The biggest downside for this lathe, in my opinion, is that it is NOT variable speed. You have to take the cover off the pulleys and manually move the drive belt from one pulley to the other, on both the lathe and the motor, to change speed.

Here are a couple of things I would check before buying:

Inspect the steel bed to make sure there are no cracks or visible warping. This could be a deal breaker.

Reach under the lathe and pull on the drive belt to make sure the spindle turns freely.

Make sure the drive spindle turns "true". Any variation from dead center will render the lathe useless, in my opinion.

Take the cover off the pulleys and make sure they are in good shape: not warped, chipped, cracked, etc.

Slide the tailstock up and down the beds to make sure it moves freely, AND locks firmly in place.

Do the same thing w/ the banjo, which holds the tool rest.

Turn the wheel on the tailstock and make sure the cylinder moves in and out freely

It looks like both the long and short tool rest are there. Just make sure they are in good condition, although these can be replaced.

Ask if there are any other parts laying around somewhere. They may have a "live center" for the tailstock. If not, I would get one very soon.

Once you've checked all these features, turn it on and see how smooth it runs. Expect some vibration. But if it starts to "walk" all over the place, see if you can figure out why. It may or may not be a major issue.

Final thought: I'm not sure I would pay that price for it. I'd be more comfortable in the $200 - 250 range. Hopefully, Bob Vaughn will respond to this thread. He is far more knowledgeable on old machinery than I am.
 

riverstwo

New User
Randy
Thank you, this is extremely helpful. I was thinking 250 as well. I was pretty close to buying another lathe of the same model last year for 200, but it didn't have the stand or step pulleys with it.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Try to match up the centers to see if they line up. Put a center in the tailstock and bring it up to the headstock. These are common lathes and you can find parts for them. Check out OWWM.org and there are a lot of posts about them. Good between centers lathe, not good for larger bowls because of the 12" swing.

Roy G
 

riverstwo

New User
Randy
So...everything from both Bill and Roy's recommendations checked out (thanks again!) and I ended up buying it. I ordered a few tools and am like a kid on christmas eve waiting for them to come in.
 

Stuart Kent

Stuart
Senior User
Randy, let me know if I can help in any way. My good friend and Master Turner Nick Cook told me many years ago to turn as often as possible and turn LOTS of small things to build skill. Stop and pay attention to what's right and wrong with a turning and try to make intentional adjustments to your technique so you understand what you are doing. Look at the forms that you like and admire and try to create those shapes. Have fun! Cheers
 

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