machine restorations #1: Rockwell Beaver 3400 gap bed lathe

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Blog entry by rasp posted 06-12-2012 03:42 PM 14061 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of machine restorations series Part 2: Rockwell Unisaw »

I have been searching kijiji high and low for about a year now, looking for just the right deal.

I found that deal about 2 weeks ago. 60km~ away from home, a nice relaxing cruise to Orillia.

The fellow I bought this off was quite friendly. Sometimes walking into strangers homes can be unnerving. He showed me some things he made with the lathe over the years, one of which was a solid pine bed frame, very nicely turned in a rustic manner, stained red and painted black to give it that “wear finish” look.

this particular lathe was $100, and it came with two 1/4hp 1725rpm Westinghouse motors, a set of 6 Robert Sorby turning tools, and 4 lesser quality Craftsman turning tools. The fellow also included a belt powered sickle grinder. I’d consider that a pretty good deal, but the lathe is missing some of the accessories, various face plates, the 24” tool rest, the 90 degree tool rest for working on bowls… I will have to track these accessories down.

The lathe came on it’s original stand, which is fine with me, except it had particle core shelves bolted to the metal frame. I immediately tossed these. I cut a piece of 3/4 MDF and painted it with several coats of house paint, nicely sealed up. For the top I used what I had laying around the garage, some pine 2×12 that had been sitting here for ages. Just an inch or two too short, and an inch too narrow. So I added red oak edging and breadboard ends to extend the top a little bit in both directions. I splined the edging so it wouldn’t slide away on me during glue up.

Although the lathe was NOT in rough condition, and in perfect working order, I just had an urge to tear it apart, clean it, repaint it, and make it look new again. For 20 dollars in paint and a few hours waiting for it to dry, I think the results speak for themselves.

another before picture

this is the sickle grinder included with the lathe, I have this sitting on my grinder stand (Craftsman grinder and stand, another kijiji deal for $30)

repainting this particular tool was quite fun, there aren’t many parts.

painted the motor bright red, just to give it some colour.

So with all the parts painted and ready for re-assembly…

I start on the top. I wanted something heavy and beefy. The Big chunk of pine wrapped in red oak would look pretty good..

here you can see the spline for the edging, and some relief cuts made in the bottom side of the pine 2×12, hopefully to prevent it from warping too much.

lastly, I glued a big block of oak together with a space in the middle. I’m going to dado this material out anyways, so I glued up two 3/4 pieces of oak with a 1/4 inch~ (roughly) spacer between them. I make the breadboard piece long enough that it can be cut to make both ends.

and after a few coats of satin Varathane, everything can be re-assembled. this is the most fun part of the restoration, obviously

all done

last thing to do is make a hinge for the motor so it keeps its tension.

oh, and I thought I would add this picture as well. Most of you have the luxury of being able to cut and sand wood indoors. I do not have this luxury, and have to do most of my work outdoors, to keep the sawdust out of the garage and off my dads truck (it’s a fancy truck)..

so mid project, my work area looks like this

the leaf blower is my electric broom. I also recently got a planer stand, but I need to make it mobile, and a top for it as well.

2 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 06-12-2012 03:44 PM

sweet find! and nice clean up job. these lathes will last a life time – or 2 – or 3….

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View praspekt's profile


18 posts in 1891 days

#2 posted 11-05-2013 06:12 AM

i just picked up the exact lathe for 100$ too.. it runs great, though the threading is smaller then all my other lathe attachments.. i found an adapter to 1” 8 tpi.. is the current thread count and size 3/4” 16tpi???


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