Craftsman lathe running not true

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Forum topic by jroot posted 09-30-2014 12:32 PM 4554 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jroot's profile


293 posts in 1215 days

09-30-2014 12:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource

I picked up a crafsman lathe yesterday, got it home, turned it on, and noted that it does not seem to be running true. I thought maybe the wood was not centred properly so took a gouge to it, and it broke a chunk out of the gouge. Then I really started to look at it, and it seems to be wobbling slightly. The chap I bought it from told me he was afraid of it, but did not say why..

I don’t know if it was dropped or what the problem might be. Any idea how to remedy the problem?

-- jroot

25 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5111 posts in 1713 days

#1 posted 09-30-2014 12:49 PM

Took a chunk out of the gouge? Never heard of wood tearing up tools before! If you have a face plate for it, you can thread that on and give it a visual check to see if there’s any wobble. If none is immediately apparent, try a dial indicator to see if the spindle is bent.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1246 posts in 1706 days

#2 posted 09-30-2014 01:03 PM

If i am getting it right your spindle is not running true?
It the lathe is of the type with a thread and a flat “end” where the chucks and faceplates rest, this part can be grinded of with a router and a small grinding bit. Or, if you are more adventureous, an angle grinder with good support. Take minute amounts of and check with a dial indicator.
Hope tis was helpull?

Let us know how it ends!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View mudflap4869's profile


1729 posts in 1452 days

#3 posted 09-30-2014 01:13 PM

Is the tail-stock misaligned? My craftsman didn’t run true and gave me fits until I aligned it. Works great now.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1286 posts in 1723 days

#4 posted 09-30-2014 01:57 PM

if it’s a tube lathe, that can be part of the alignment problem. I’ll admit right off that I know very little about them, but there should be some way of truing up the headstock to the tailstock. Look for loose screws on the alignment bar if you have one…..... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View moke's profile


1175 posts in 2769 days

#5 posted 09-30-2014 05:28 PM

Are you using an MT asttachment in the headstock? If so, clean it out the MT hole with a wire brush. Then you need to put something in the headstock you are sure that is true and then turn it on. Make sure that what ever you are putting in the headstock is not bent or skewed. Maybe check what ever is coming out of the headstock without an attachment. Usually it is a large looking screw thing with a hole in it, called an MT (Morris Taper) Most of them anymore are 8tpi by 1”. There should be enough of that protruding to see if it runs true. If it does not….good luck with the Sears Parts store….they are a real treat.
If the head stock and tail stock are out of alignment that is called not being co-planar. You can check for co-planar by putting a dive of some sort that is pointed in both the headstock and tailstock and see if they line up perfectly. There are some fixes for that, mostly shimming either the headstock if it comes off, or the talistock. Let us know. Maybe this is more and too simplified info, if so forgive me.

-- Mike

View simmo's profile


67 posts in 3465 days

#6 posted 09-30-2014 06:26 PM

hi, disconnect the lathe from the power supply, move toolrest to just touch the shoulder of the spindle and rotate the spindle by hand slowly, if the spindle is bent or eccentric it will be readily apparent.Or if you have one a dial test indicator as said.

View mahdee's profile


3882 posts in 1760 days

#7 posted 09-30-2014 07:05 PM

If it is a tube lathe, (mine once actually broke the cast iron tool rest while turning. But that was a freak accident.) you may need some simple adjustments to fix it.


View REO's profile


928 posts in 2067 days

#8 posted 10-01-2014 01:42 AM

It all depends on exactly how you are using the lathe. a lathe will always turn concentric on a good bearing. ALWAYS! regardless of how much the spindle is wobbling it will always turn a round part. regardless of how far out of alignment the headstock and tail stock are when turned between centers a part will always end up round. Now if you go from turning between centers and re chuck the part that’s where things change. Think of this when people purposely chuck up off center the path that the tool cuts is still round even thought the original part is swinging to and fro. What can happen with a very short piece and severe misalignment is the the drive spurs will, because of the rotation be driven tight and then loose cyclically which will cause them to wear in and become loose in the material. coplaner is what you want the ways of the lathe to be. you want the axis of your headstock bearings and the axis of your tailstock to be COLLINEAR. it is possible for your center points to line up in one position and not in another if the head stock and tailstock are skewed in the same plane.

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1930 days

#9 posted 10-01-2014 02:59 AM

To break a gouge would take a lot. Even in my newby days i was never able to achieve that level of distruction

It is not likely an eccentric tail stock, as setting the tail stock off centre is an accepted (somewhat advanced) method in turning.

It’s not likely a cheap gouge, as a cheap gouge would be more likely to bend than break. OTOH, a chisel type gouge sold as a lathe chisel would be much harder steel and likely to break….Are they really lathe tools or just something that looks like them.

If yer headstock bearings are bad, you can take your head stock drive spur and be able to move it up and down or side to side. It takes a lot of use/abuse to trash headstock bearings, but that begs the question as to what type of craftsman lathe it is….If it’s a metal working lathe like the metal lathe 109, it doesn’t have bearings, rather bushings which can be worn.

But still to break a lathe gouge takes a lot of effort..

Have you been to youtube to watch videos on setting up/using lathes?????

That’s my first suggestion

A sloppy lathe will give poor results, but to break a gouge? that takes a lot of compounded really bad set of circumstances. Sloppy lathe, wrong tool, wrong set up, wrong technique, to go back to square one on the learning curve.


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Woodknack's profile


11600 posts in 2373 days

#10 posted 10-02-2014 05:16 AM

Out of curiosity, how old is the Craftsman? Can you post a picture?

-- Rick M,

View jroot's profile


293 posts in 1215 days

#11 posted 10-02-2014 01:18 PM

I am not sure of the age of this lathe. It does vibrate a fair bit. I cleaned it up, and note that the disk does not run true, so some adjustment will be necessary, IF it can be done. I don’t really have much money tied up in it fortunately.

I post some picture of it now.

-- jroot

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3656 days

#12 posted 10-02-2014 01:59 PM

Does the spindle run true?

Take the face plate off and check the spindle for runout/wobble.

From the looks of the pictures, the face plate is bent (may just be fish-eye effect).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View johnstoneb's profile


2908 posts in 2166 days

#13 posted 10-02-2014 02:15 PM

x1 bent face plate. The first picture definitely bent. 2nd picture looks bent even more that might be from angle of camera. Take faceplate of and see if any runout in spindle. Side to side play in spindle shuld be almost no existent if trying to move it by hand.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3578 days

#14 posted 10-02-2014 02:17 PM

Grasp the faceplate with both hands while it is on the lathe and see if there is any noticable side to side movement or slop.If it does not move sidewards just turns as you would expect and there is no noise when turning or spinning I should saay then it sounds as though the bearings are ok at the headstock.Also does the spindle in the tailstock wiggle loose when you open it right out and lastly when you bring the tailstock with a revolving live centre up to the headstock with a dead centre meet up exactly point to point .I would like to know these three things before making an anouncement.Please could you check these?Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View mahdee's profile


3882 posts in 1760 days

#15 posted 10-02-2014 03:34 PM

Doesn’t look like the problem is the late, rather it appear that your face-plate is bent. Easy way to find out.. take it out by unscrewing it.


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