My FREE Lathe--------- - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 05-25-2011, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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My FREE Lathe---------

Let me tell you the story of my FREE lathe. 49 years ago I did some turning in Ind. Arts class in high school. I really enjoyed it and always thought I should start up again but my profession as a horticulturist/landscaper/flower grower/businessman got in the way. Last year I sold my business and retired. We go south to the Arizona desert for winters as we have a place in a RV park. This park has a very large and well equiped tool shop for residence to use if they want to do woodworking. For example, they have 6 large Jet turning lathes with a full set of really good turning tools for each lathe,as wells as chucks,sharpening equipment, and every othertool, wood blanks, etc. that one would need. I took a couple of classes and met up with a couple of mentors and started turning. I made a few idems (pizza roller,thooth pick holder, 2 small baseball bats for my 6 year old grandson, and a bowl. My mentor was from Canada and a real turning craftsman. I mention to him that I would be looking to get a lathe at home in Minnesota this summer so I could continue to turn and his reaction was ( oh no, you don't want to do that unless you got a few thousand dollar you want to get rid of and become a turning addick) with a hardy laugh of course. When I got home in April, I went golfing with my buddies and they were asking me what I did with may time in Arizona. I mentioned that I started woodturning and was now looking for a lathe on craigslist and other sites. My buddy said, "Hey, I have a lathe in my garage that was given me and I never use it, come and get it ,it is yours for FREE! Well, I went and picked it up------- thus the journey began. The first problem was the drive spur was rusted in as well as the live center. It is beltdriven and the motor was not running properly. It is a very heavy castiron unit with not one manufactur's marking on it. It had been sitting maybe 15 years,rusty nuts and bolts, banjo locked in solid, as well as the step speed pulley. After much wd4, I got the lathe apart,but had to take the drive spur and shaft to my buddy machinist, Phillip, we heated it red hot to knock out the drive spur and also the live center. We polished it up and put it back togather and it seemed to work fine. But now I need a motor. To fix the one I have would cost $100 plus. A new motor same size was $75. I bought the new one. Now I need a stand for the Lathe. Gathering wood , I got a 6x6x6' timber, some 4x4s for legs, 2x4s for bracing, 3/4 in plywood for a deck to mount the lathe on and built a stand. Worked out really good but it is really heavy. Painted it white, and mounted the lathe, wired it up, turned on and started turning. There was a cheap set of about 5 turning tools that came with it and they work OK but--- I started looking for wood and found some oak, river birch,paper birch (punky) a very wet chokecherry log. Next, lets make some blanks. Chainsaw works ok but hard to get the blanks round so I bought a used bandsaw,$120 and new blade,$30. The tools that came with the lathe I belive are Great Necks? Cheap set. The rough gouge works ok and parting tools works,but--. So off to the woodshop store i go. I needed a new live center, and a new drive spur, centerfinder plus a few more idems. While there at the woodshop store, they were demo a carbied tiped roughout tools and let me try it. Yep--I bought it,$70 maybe.But now i'm ready. So home I go to start cutting blanks to store and dry, and i have cut a bunch,maybe 25/30. Than I wanted to turn a rough out bowl. I had no bowl gouge! Off to the store again and another$70. In Arizona we had some really good chucks and I have none. I had been using a Barracuda chucks set and how do you rough out a bowl without a good chuck? Penn State Ind. had a complete set with many attachments and necessary tools, just like what I used in Arizona. $189. Sure, why not. Now were really ready. While turning, I caught a knot, and slammed down on the castiron banjo and broke it at a hairline crack. Now I don't have a tool rest. Off to see Phillip to weld it up, but to weld cast is really hard and we could not get to it hold. So Phillip made me a new Banjo for my tool rest,$40. Did I mention this Lathe was FREE! At the present we live next to my old business, however we plan to sell this house and move to the lake. Now, I operate out of my garage, but only my side, the wife has the other half. At the lake we have only a single car garage. When i mentioned that I would take the lathe to the lake this summer, She said," and where do you think your going to put it?" Translation--not in her garage. So now I'm looking at the cost of a new garage! Lets review: FREE LATHE, repairs$20, newlivecenter 20, drive spur 20, motor 75,bandsaw and blades 150, centerfinder 10, new banjo bar 40, bowl gouge 70, carbied gouge70, Barracuda chuck set 189 = $664 to date. And maybe a new garage. My Canada mentor was right, I'm well on my way to spend a few thousand dollars. An understanding wife (except her side of the garage), PRICELESS
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post #2 of 4 Old 05-25-2011, 08:12 AM
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...and so it begins.

Really, it's just beginning.




...ever notice how "I'm sorry" and "I apologize" mean the same thing, unless you are at a funeral..?
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-25-2011, 02:23 PM
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Congrats on the free lathe, I've been in a similar situation since I got a lathe a few years ago for Christmas but have since been buying tools, chucks, chainsaw, accessories, etc. A free lathe can sure be expensive. Be sure to post some pictures of your work on here, always like to see what everyone else is making.

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-25-2011, 08:37 PM
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I know the feeling, my secondhand lathe cost me $750 it had a variable speed drive included otherwise it'd have been worth only a couple hundred. Since then I have spent about twice that on tools, a chuck, safety gear, dust extractor, and a grinder. Still need the jig for sharpening the bowl gouges, and probably will get another chuck in the near future also.
P.S. I almost forgot to mention the new workshop i am building! At least I got the framing and windows for FREE, and get special trade rates on the roof shingles and steel wall cladding!
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