What kind of lathe is this?

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Forum topic by emiliof posted 08-01-2013 08:39 PM 1411 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 1988 days

08-01-2013 08:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question lathe

Hi there!

I bought the sort of vintage lathe whose photos I attach. It was really cheap and it feels really sturdy.

I don´t know what kind of lathe it is, I think it wasn´t made for wood turning. The person who sold it to me didn’t know either, it belonged to a grandfather of his wife. It comes with a pole or shaft or whatever it is called, as well as a cutting disc. It looks like an overkilling pipe cutter.

I intend to use it as a wood lathe… unless, of course, there is a good reason for not doing it.

Apart from the pictures I can give you some other clues to know what kind of lathe it is. The only references to a brand are: (1) the sign “General” on the tool rest and (2) the motor brand, which is General Electric, made in USA. However, the motor could have been attached later.

This motor is 3/4 HP, 1750 RPM. Based on the relation between the ratios of the pulley wheels, the spindle turns at about 600 RPM.

Does anybody know what kind of lathe I bought? :-)

Thanks a lot,


-- Emilio

6 replies so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3035 days

#1 posted 08-01-2013 09:01 PM

I am guessing a secondary Lathe (for controlling speed??)
for a larger metal working lathe,

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View MrFid's profile


874 posts in 1899 days

#2 posted 08-01-2013 09:37 PM

Agree with James, although it sort of looks like the machine that they use to cut blinds to size at the home centers. I am not 100% on how you plan to mount a workpiece onto it, but where there’s a will there’s a way! Best of luck with your project and we look forward to seeing turnings!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View floyd1365's profile


28 posts in 1842 days

#3 posted 08-01-2013 09:58 PM

general is the brand of ruler that is screwed to it. another vote for a cutter. the disc being the cutter. there is no drive spur only centers, one of which has a clamp around it which spins.

View Loren's profile


10377 posts in 3643 days

#4 posted 08-01-2013 10:07 PM

I’ve seen something like this before I think… maybe a tool
you wind paper onto and then both sides can be trimmed
to width for running through a printing press or adding machine
or something like that.

View emiliof's profile


33 posts in 1988 days

#5 posted 08-02-2013 01:21 AM

Thanks a lot!

Your clues guided me to a better googling of the artifact :-)

Indeed, it seems to be a device called “lathe slitting machine”. A demonstration of one of those devices is shown here:

I am sure I can make a basic wood lathe out of it, considering that I have seen in youtube several lathes made with power drills, not to mention hand and foot powered lathes! :-)

In fact, when I bought it, I thought I coud replace the cutting disc with a circular saw blade or an edged grinding disc or something like that, which should be fastened so that they won´t rotate.

Anyway, if I get a woodturning fever I´ll buy a decent lathe :-)

Thanks again.

-- Emilio

View emiliof's profile


33 posts in 1988 days

#6 posted 08-03-2013 01:06 PM

Hi again!

I am a bit more excited about this “lathe slitting machine” since yesterday, when I asked a locksmith to duplicate a key.

While looking at the process, I realized that the machine for duplicating keys is quite similar to this lathe slitting machine.

My project for converting it into a wood lathe will include the possibility of making a lathe duplicator.

It doesn´t seem straightforward, though, because the disc support is cast iron made, very heavy and I will have to use some kind of counterweight.

If I succeed, I´ll send you some photos, cheers


-- Emilio

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