Used lathe - what questions should I ask?

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Forum topic by Muzhik posted 03-25-2011 08:37 PM 1525 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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173 posts in 4107 days

03-25-2011 08:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I came across a lathe for sale, and it seems like it may be a good deal – but I really have no idea how to judge. I am completely inexperienced with all things turning. Here’s what the ad says (paraphrasing from memory)

36” Rockwell/delta wood lathe
- Cast iron
- contour tracer
- 1/2 hp motor
- 2 sets of cutting tools
- no tool rest, but the owner is still looking for it
- hasn’t been used in several years.

The guy is asking $200 for it. From what I recall he doesn’t have a model number listed for it or a year of manufacture. Also doesn’t list the head stock to bed dimension (as I seriously doubt THAT’S the 36”)

So what should I look for and/or what questions should I ask? Any and all opinions welcome!

5 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#1 posted 03-25-2011 08:44 PM

Distance from the center of the quill or tailstock to the bed. Usually it’s
6” or 8” on smaller lathes.

Toolrests are available on ebay, but $200 is more than I’d pay for an
open-stand lathe missing parts. If it’s a heavy-duty, cabinet-stand model,
it’s probably a good deal.

View Muzhik's profile


173 posts in 4107 days

#2 posted 03-25-2011 10:27 PM

Here is a picture of the machine in question. Again, I have no real clue what I’m looking at.

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#3 posted 03-25-2011 10:45 PM

I had one of those, or one similar to it. I wasn’t wild about it.
The fit and finish of the tool rest was poor.

Tool rests can be upgraded though. Otherwise the lathe was
alright. The lathe you’re looking at appears to come with a live
center on the tailstock, which is good. The duplicator too would
be useful.

That lathe takes a 1”x8TPI thread, which is common, so
accessories will be available and inexpensive compared with odd
sized ones.

You won’t go too far wrong for the money. The duplicator may
be worth more on ebay than the lathe itself.

View David's profile


198 posts in 2632 days

#4 posted 03-25-2011 11:21 PM

I have a similar, if not identical lathe. It’s built solidly but I have no idea on how much they go for as I got mine for ~200 less than he’s asking.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2987 days

#5 posted 03-26-2011 04:25 AM

For me, a very critical need is speed! Not how fast it will go but rather how slow will it go? I turn with green wood and freshly cut trees hence my pieces are very irregular and the critical part is letting the lathe turn slow enough so the lathe does not start walking the floor if it turns at a high speed and wobbles away.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

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