Lathe, how do you judge worth?

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Forum topic by Pawky posted 03-14-2011 09:41 AM 1273 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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278 posts in 3009 days

03-14-2011 09:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question lathe

So, I’m not really looking to get any tools at the moment simply because I have to be preoccupied with school and all, but I still check craig’s list just to see what’s being posted or whatever. With that, a lot of tools are more then I could spend now anyways, but I did just see a posting for a lathe which isn’t really out of reach. But, what do you base what you think is a fair price for an older tool? Of course you have to look at condition and how well it is working and all that jazz. Most of the lathe’s I’ve seen posted have all been newer stuff, so I haven’t seen much to compare it to. Anyways, here’s the one I stumbled upon:
It’s a 9×30 dunlap lathe

oh, it should be stated, I have never used a lathe and really know very little about them.

3 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3280 days

#1 posted 03-14-2011 02:47 PM

With this, very basic, lathe I would be concerned about your ability to change speeds. IMO, you need to get as slow as 500 r.p.m. and as high as 1200 (preferably more) with a few steps in-between.

Also, sharp tools are essential. Don’t bother with a lathe if you do not have a good way to sharpen your cutting tools.

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

View zwwizard's profile


210 posts in 3914 days

#2 posted 03-14-2011 05:36 PM

It’s a basic lathe. I have 2 that are about as old. One small one ,craftsman era 1950’s and a Walker Turner about the same age. With a 3 step pulley on the motor and the same on the lathe you can do good work. One just have to stop the lathe to change the speed. If you are going to spindle work and small bowl work its OK. A good beginners work. If you are going down to look at it, stop in, and I can give you some pointers.

-- Richard

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3667 days

#3 posted 03-17-2011 10:41 PM

It is really hard to determine what a used older tool would sell for. It is kinda like trying to compare apples to oranges because they are no longer made. You cannot compare a tool made in the 50’s to something made today, todays tools are disposible, not made to with stand abuse and use. There are a lot of variables that need to be considered when looking at older tools. 1) Overall condition. Is the machine safe and usable. 2) Is it complete. Are there any parts missing and what are the availability of missing and or broken parts. 3) Wear and tear after years of use. Do motors need new bearings, are the shafts in need of new bearings. How are the belts. And finally what kind of supply and demand is there in the area in which you live for the type of machine. As for me the older machines are a little scarce here and at times do command a premium. But it is also dependent on what you are willing to pay. The price I pay for a machine may not be what you would be willing to pay. I have over the past few years replaced all of my stationary tools with older, cast iron models and could not be happier. Now mind you they have all needed restoration and a lot of time, money and elbow grease to make usable but they out perform anything that is made today. If you are willing to put in the effort needed an older tool will long out live you and the grand kids. After all, they have been in use day after day for the past 50-60 years and who says they will not continue to do so for the 50+ plus years?

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

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