1949 Craftsman Hobby Lathe Wood/Metal

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Project by BigFoot Products Canada posted 12-11-2010 03:14 PM 15166 views 3 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few weeks ago I bought this lathe for $250.00. It was in rough shape (unfortunatley I forgot to take before pictures). Since then I’ve spent countless hours stripping it down, removing all the rust and totally re-painting every part. I built riser blocks and added an of-off switch into the blocks.
It says in their 1949 Sears Catalog that it was for wood and metal. I have never worked a metal lathe before so I really have no clue how to use that function. I guess I’ll have to learn..:)
Anyhow I’ve purchased a 3 Jaw chuck for it (another $125.00) that is at my brother in laws right now becuase he is making me a backplate for it on his metal lathe so that I can mount it. It’s a 1/2” shaft x 20 tpi (very small shaft) with a ZERO morse taper insert (you talk about small).
It’s a Craftsman 80 Model 109.21270 lathe, highly collectable so if nothing else I have some new eye candy for my shop..LOL
I UPLOADED THE 1949 CATALOG PAGE ABOUT IT. It was cheap to buy back then, but wages were very low also.
Just thought I would share this anyhow.

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33 comments so far

View JBWoodWorks's profile


55 posts in 3181 days

#1 posted 12-11-2010 03:27 PM

Ok I have to say that is very cool, I can’t wait to see some of the turnings you make on it.
Good buy!

View Bill Weston's profile

Bill Weston

2 posts in 2789 days

#2 posted 12-11-2010 03:35 PM

That is a very nice lathe!!

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3088 days

#3 posted 12-11-2010 03:37 PM

Great restore job there. I’m also waiting to see what you make on it..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2984 days

#4 posted 12-11-2010 03:44 PM

A real find and nostalgia! Looks great! I’m sure that you will get a lot of use from it, should you put it to work or just keep it for old-time’s-sake.

View woodkiller's profile


103 posts in 2962 days

#5 posted 12-11-2010 03:58 PM

I like the fact that you posted the old catalog ad. I like the lathe a lot. It is funny that you couldn’t replace the motor for twice as much as the lathe cost. Good job on the restoration.

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 2912 days

#6 posted 12-11-2010 03:59 PM

Dave the anticipation of getting to work with a piece of equipment that you have restored is so unbearable but is so rewarding to breath life back into your new equipment.The older equipment was made better than alot of the newer junk and with a little care will outlast it also.Have fun and I hope your restored project gives
you much pleasure.Oh looking forward to seeing some posts from your lathe.

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#7 posted 12-11-2010 04:06 PM

Very interesting!

It looks like you should be able to do some interesting spiral cutting with this lathe. That could be a lot of fun and it could produce some interesting results.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 2945 days

#8 posted 12-11-2010 04:21 PM

Hey, it was only $43.00 new, I’d say you paid way too much for it. =)

Nice job on the restore, looks brand new. Have fun with it.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View johnzo's profile


84 posts in 2819 days

#9 posted 12-11-2010 04:23 PM

Nice job on the restoration! A few years ago I bought a larger Atlas/Craftsman 10” model TH42 (42” bed) metal lathe in good condition for $500. It was bigger than I really needed (your size would have been perfect), but I learned how to use it and actually even do wood turning on it. I’ve used it to even build a drum sander and other neat things. Now I don’t see how I could live without it. You’ll grow to love yours and be free to do so much more with your woodworking hobby. I even now have a small mill to handle the linear machining. Good luck with the lathe and again – great job restoring!
PS: check out my drum sander.
John Z

-- 70 is the new 50!

View helluvawreck's profile


31363 posts in 2890 days

#10 posted 12-11-2010 04:53 PM

Dave, you are a man after me own heart. I love that little lathe. Good work.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2997 days

#11 posted 12-11-2010 05:00 PM

Great job bringing it back to life. It looks absolutely sweet.
I hope you use it as it was designed for, not a collector item

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View chrisstef's profile


17423 posts in 3030 days

#12 posted 12-11-2010 05:20 PM


I have this same exact lathe sitting underneath my work bench. I had inherited it from my uncle after he passed away. It appears to be in great shape but i know aboslutely nothing about metal working lathes or wood lathes for that matter. It came with a 1/2 HP KC motor which looks like it needs some rewiring. Its got a 4 jaw chuck on it right now … can i use it for woodworking? Id appreciate your info on restoring this lathe maybe it could open some new doors for me.


-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3109 days

#13 posted 12-11-2010 05:54 PM

Dave: That is one beautiful machine, and great restore. If your brother -in-law has a metal lathe, he can
probably give you plenty of pointers. The compound slide rest has a lantern and rocker type tool holder
and Grizzly Tool has plenty of inexpensive cutting tools, both high speed steel and carbide that you can
use to practice with. Looking at the chart inside the cover, you can even cut threads and or do spiral
cutting in wood and metal. You really got a steal here. From what little I know this looks like it is in
between what they call a watchmakers lathe and a full size machine. Have fun and let us know how the
progress is going. If you did not get an owners manual with the machine, you might be able to get one
from Sears or Old Woodworking machines.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 3416 days

#14 posted 12-11-2010 05:56 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone..:)
Chris, If you have the same lathe there are a huge group of owners.
If it’s in good shape you may not have to restore it just clean it up and repaint it.
I have the original owners manual for it as well as the 1949 Sears catalog with it in it.
If you want copies of those just email me at
and I will send you those. The 4 jaw chuck is great for it.
If you decide not to restore it I would buy the 4 jaw off of you..:) if it was reasonable.
I do not have any experience at all with a metal lathe so I cannot offer much in the way of knowledge about the use of the machine. I just thought it was really cool so I bought it.
I’m actually going tomorrow to buy an even bigger Lathe built in the 1930’s.
It has flat belts on it..LOL Anyhow I really enjoy tearing them all apart and refurbing them.
My wife thinks I’m nuts..LOL
All the Best!

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3711 days

#15 posted 12-11-2010 05:59 PM

You did a wonderful job on the lathe and to see the catalog page really topped off the posting…..$43 back then , I wonder what todays price would be if someone could duplicate the quality of your machine.
Thanks for posting this and I hope to see some turnings from you soon : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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