Boice Crane gap bed wood lathe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 02-09-2015, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Boice Crane gap bed wood lathe

Is this lathe any good for a beginner to practice on? I have been wanting to try my hand at turning for a while now and found this one on our local craig list... He is asking 275$ for it. Here are a few pictures of it.....Thanks Gary
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post #2 of 31 Old 02-09-2015, 10:07 PM
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Boice Crane gap bed wood lathe

Make sure it has MT, and a common spindle thread. If you buy it build a guard for the belt. I think that is probably a good lathe for a beginner.
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post #3 of 31 Old 02-09-2015, 10:09 PM
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It appears to be jury rigged with a different base on it but for the price I would buy it.
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post #4 of 31 Old 02-09-2015, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hwebb99 View Post
Make sure it has MT, and a common spindle thread. If you buy it build a guard for the belt. I think that is probably a good lathe for a beginner.
Not sure what you mean when you say "MT" or "common spindle thread"? I have never turned anything so this is why I am asking dumb questions..................Gary
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post #5 of 31 Old 02-09-2015, 10:25 PM
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MT stands for morse taper. MT is what drive spurs, and centers use. The spindle is threaded for chucks, and faceplates. Some lathes have an oddball thread, and are hard to find a chuck, and faceplate to fit.
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post #6 of 31 Old 02-09-2015, 10:30 PM
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MT is Morse Taper. http://littlemachineshop.com/reference/tapers.php That is the inside part of the headstock spindle which you use a spur center which has a Morse Taper which inserts into the headstock. As far as the spindle thread is the outside diameter of the spindle of the headstock which a good size would be 1" outside diameter and 8 threads per inch.
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post #7 of 31 Old 02-09-2015, 11:59 PM
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That looks like the Boice Crane 1700 lathe. That is the original stand, but the belt guard assembly is missing. That isn't the original motor either. They have Morse taper sockets in both the spindle and in the tailstock quill and you can almost bet your bottom dollar that they will not be in good condition -- probably pitted and rusted and galled all to heck. I don't think that the thread size on the spindle nose is standard to what lathes use now. Sixty five years ago it was considered a nice home lathe, but that was 65 years ago. The bottom speed on the four speed model is 960 RPM -- way way way too fast for faceplate turning! They also offered a counter-shaft kit to get eight different speeds. The eight speed model had a bottom speed of around 250 RPM which is a reasonable speed for faceplate turning. This model also had an indexing pin which is one of the things that help to identify it. They originally sold for around $40. I wouldn't give a plug nickel for one now.

The asking price of $275 for that lathe is beyond absurd unless you are a collector and just have to get it to complete a collection of junk. Do the smart thing and buy a Jet mini or midi lathe. It's more money, but you won't have the heartburn of making a bad choice.

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post #8 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 06:33 AM
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No, you don't want that one.

What Bill said, plus that banjo and toolrest post lock will be so frustrating to operate you'll end up spending more on psychotherapy than you would if you bought something more compatible with modern turning accessories.

I love older machinery and I like tinkering to make things work, but I'd totally pass on that one.
Unless the seller will come down to letting you have it for the price of lunch.
Even then I'd want it delivered.

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post #9 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks guys for all the information on this one. I think I will pass on this one then. Can anyone give me a few brands to keep my eye out for that might work ok for a beginner? Also should I consider a table top one or keep to the floor model ones?? Thanks again for all the information,
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post #10 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 02:49 PM
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The problem with lathes is you can easily drop more than a thousand dollars into one. You could save quite a bit by enduring a little inconvenience. You could do a lot worse than that Boice Crane.
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post #11 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
The problem with lathes is you can easily drop more than a thousand dollars into one. You could save quite a bit by enduring a little inconvenience. You could do a lot worse than that Boice Crane.
Good grief Steve.
If I came to the flatwork forum and said I'd "like to try my hand and woodworking" and then asked about the wisdom of dropping close to $300 on an old tablesaw which required me to pick up tools every time I wanted to raise/lower/tilt the blade, and some more tools every time I needed to move the fence, and which had an arbor that won't readily accept modern blade sizes, what would you tell me?

That I could do worse?

'Cos that's the equivalent of what we're looking at here.
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post #12 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 05:09 PM
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Good grief Steve.
If I came to the flatwork forum and said I'd "like to try my hand and woodworking" and then asked about the wisdom of dropping close to $300 on an old tablesaw which required me to pick up tools every time I wanted to raise/lower/tilt the blade, and some more tools every time I needed to move the fence, and which had an arbor that won't readily accept modern blade sizes, what would you tell me?

That I could do worse?

'Cos that's the equivalent of what we're looking at here.
I don't see that lathe is any worse than the Fay and Egan lathe I have. I started off with a homemade lathe so you can do worse.
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post #13 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 05:18 PM
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Boice Crane gap bed wood lathe

As long as it has No2 MT in the head&tail stock, and the op doesn't plan to turn any bowls it probably is ok. If you are determined to turn bowls on it you could modify the drive system. I wouldn't pay more than $150 for it.
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 06:18 PM
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If you bought it, you could probably find a handle or epoxy or weld a wrench to the nut so you didn't have to look around for it. As much as one moves the banjo around when turning though, it'd seriously disrupt your rhythm to have to stop, find your wrench, loosen, move, tighten repeat ad nauseum. JMHO
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post #15 of 31 Old 02-10-2015, 06:22 PM
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Any lever would hit the post. I would epoxy a socket to the nut, and use a ratchet to tighten it.
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post #16 of 31 Old 02-11-2015, 12:23 AM
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The bottom of the totem pole on new lathes would probably be Harbor Freight. They have a couple models that are worse than the Boice Crane and they have a couple models that are better. And, the best part is that they cost less than that pile of rust, work better, you won't need to start a new hobby of restoring old machinery, and you will have a new machine warranty to boot.

Sure you can put lipstick on a pig. To make a serviceable bowl turning lathe out of the Boice Crane pig, you can count on spending at least another $300 to get the Morse taper sockets re-bored and then you will come to the unhappy realization that the spindle and tailstock points won't line up. Add the cost of a countershaft, pulleys, pillow blocks and other miscellaneous hardware to get the speed down to something reasonable for bowl turning. After all is said and done, you will have a lightweight lathe that is suitble for spindle turning, but too lightweight for anything other than small bowls. In the end, you will have nickel and dime'd yourself into spending more than the cost of a new Jet mini for sure and maybe even a Jet midi ... and will have lathe that you can sell on Craig's list for may $150 ... if you'll deliver it and give the buyer at least $150 worth of accessories.

I've known several woodturners who went for the "cheap" route with a bargain found on eBay or Craig's list. To a person, they have all said that they wish that they knew then what they know now.

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post #17 of 31 Old 02-11-2015, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I don't see that lathe is any worse than the Fay and Egan lathe I have. I started off with a homemade lathe so you can do worse.
You can always find something worse, but that's not sufficient justification for recommending the next-to-worst machine.

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Last edited by Bill Boehme; 02-11-2015 at 12:35 AM.
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post #18 of 31 Old 02-11-2015, 12:46 AM
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You can always find something worse, but that's not sufficient justification for recommending the next-to-worst machine.
Well a couple of you have recommended against that lathe but nobody has suggested an alternative. At least that lathe was affordable and would get him some experience with a lathe. Then years from now if he wanted to put a grand or more into a lathe he could sell that lathe and upgrade.
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post #19 of 31 Old 02-11-2015, 12:50 AM
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Boice Crane gap bed wood lathe

When he is looking on Craigslist it is hard to recommend a better lathe. This lathe isn't affordable after he gets it in working order he will have over 1000 in it.
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post #20 of 31 Old 02-11-2015, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Well a couple of you have recommended against that lathe but nobody has suggested an alternative. At least that lathe was affordable and would get him some experience with a lathe. Then years from now if he wanted to put a grand or more into a lathe he could sell that lathe and upgrade.
Not so! I have made several suggestions for new machines that are affordable especially in light of the price of the Boice Crane.

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