Re: Search Goes On


--- In, "csfliers" <hkpsg@a...> wrote:

Hello all. Today in my classifieds, another 4 or so Southbend lathes
popped up. One of them was a Southbend workshop 9a.
This was my first time Evaluating the lathe. I should of brought my
digital camera so you guys could of seen it. I used techniques from
here and other web pages to evaluate the lathe, here is what I
found, and Correct me if Im thinking straight here.
1. I moved the apron back and fourth on the ways. Sure enough, it
started to bind more and more towards the tail stock. This tells me
that the bed is not uniformly warn, and has lots of use?

Glen's response:

Most of the use is of course near the headstock and a lot of difference in how the saddle brake binds from one end to the other might make me pause. On the other hand, there is likely a lot more accumulated grime near the tailstock which could also cause it to seem to bind. In any case, this wear will not likely affect most work you will do unless you plan on turning a lot of car axles or other very long cuts.

2. The leadscrew, spindle, and compound all had a lot of play. The
lead screw moved back and fourth about 1/16th or a little more.

Glen's response:

If the leadscrew is what is moving, this play can easily be shimmed out or the screw machined to better fit it to the lathe. If the slop is in the half nuts, that can also be improved with a reconditioned set that someone on this list sells from on eBay for about $110 as I recall. I reconditioned my own halfnuts following an article in Home Shop Machinist.

This slop is not particularly worrisome as all cuts are done under load. The only time it could possibly bite you is in threading and if you start your cut with the tool ahead of the work a bit the slop is taken up and you have no problem.


spindle, I could push the chuck in a tiny bit. I noticed there is a
locking shoulder you can adjust to fix that.

Glen's response:

There was a posting some time ago about replacing the SB fiber washer on the back of the spindle with needle bearings. Total cost was less than $5.00 and you can acually preload the bearings for nearly zero slop. What would be a problem is side to side or up and down movement. SB calls for .001" or .002" movement with a 75 pound load (somebody correct me if I have misremembered the figures), but this can be helped by removing shims in the bearings unless the spindle is completely wrecked. A lot of people here marvel at the longevity of the 75 year old cast iron bearings in some of these machines. My two are only 43 and 46 years old according to Rose.

The compounds, I could

push the compound in and out with my hand, it had about 1/6th " or
more of travel. Im sure you could adjust that out, I guess.

Glen's response:

It depends on where the backlash is coming from. If it is the feedscrew moving back and forth in it's bushing, it's an easy fix. Shims or turning down the screws to match the bushing length. If it is a worn feedscrew and nut, the fix is a bit more difficult. You can tell the difference by looking at the graduated knob and watching for space between it and the bushing.

3. Ways have rough edge on inside, top surfaces best to my eye
looked ok. Did not see any frosting, but again, not sure what you
mean by frosting? A chrome like look, not blotted brown and black?

Glen's response:

Frosting or flaming is the pattern left on the metal in the process of scraping it true. It is also supposed to hold oil on the surface and prevent wear. It looks like a series of commas in the surface about an inch long.

4. The handwheel on the apron for moving the apron back and fourth,
it had a lot of dead travel in it, much like the chinese 9x20 lathe
I looked at. Im not sure if this is normal or not.

Glen's response.

This is normal. The handwheel is only used to quick traverse the saddle and to finish cuts.

The lathe appeared to be the model where the motor is mounted on a
seperate cast iron pedestal, and it swings back and fourth for belt
tension. However, the cast iron pedestal was gone, and the motor was
bolted to a makeshift plate of metal overhanging the back, and it
was pivoting off that. Im sure it works fine like that however.
I also turned the chuck by hand and was checking out to make sure
all the gears worked, there was slop in the gears, as it took quite
a few revolutions before the crossfeed would start to move the

Glen's response:

Gear train slop is normal. The lower the feed rate the more pairs of gears have to mesh and there has to be some clearance for smooth running. Again, the drive train is always under load when cutting. Threading is the only concern and I already talked about that.

The price was 500$, I took a pass on it. What do you guys think?
Also, it came wiht a 4 jaw chuck and a drill chuck in the tail stock.

Glen's response:

I think you are very lucky to live in a place where 4 SB lathes appear in the classifieds at the same time. They never show up in the Chicago area. I bought my first one, a model C, for $500 from a crook in Connecticutt and paid $400 for shipping. You could sell the pieces of a model A for well over a thousand dollars. Where do you live?

I think I learned a lot just by looking at one, now I think I can
better judge these lathes.

Glen's response:

Don't judge too harshly.

Glen Reeser


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