1935 405 Workshop Lathe as first lathe....Should I do it?

Ryan K

Personal Background: Hi guys, I'm hoping to get a little guidance from those of you that have more experience with these machines than myself.   I'm more of a woodworker, upholstery and welder but have been wanting to get into metalworking for some time.  Almost all of my machines are 1930-50s vintage that I've totally restored so I'm pretty comfortable tearing stuff apart.  I'm wanting to buy a lathe so that I can build the components necessary to build an aluminum "bicycle frame jig" (tube alignment jig for welding bike frames).  I'd also like to be able to make replacement parts for vintage industrial sewing machines as well as tools and hardware for woodworking (marking gauges, custom hardware, etc.)  I'm sure once I get into it my project list will grow as I learn what the machine can do.

Machine I'm Considering: Right now I'm looking at a 1935 405-Z being sold locally for $500 (pic attached).   I spent many hours reading about this machine last night and think I have a pretty good grasp of what differentiates it from other 9" models.  Most notably the following: 

- Headstock Spindle is 1-3/8 x 10tpi vs more common 1-1/2 x 8 tpi

- Lead Screw is LH Threaded making it difficult (immpossible?) to find half nuts if needed for the carriage 

- Change Gears are 20dp vs more common 18dp

The owner says that the machine comes with some change gears, although I don't know how many.  No tooling.  Looks like there's a 3 jaw chuck on there as well as drill chuck in the tailstock.  The machine looks like it was repainted at some point and it looks like they did a pretty decent job.   The motor was updated at some point as well. 

I really don't know much about these machines.  I've learned all the terminology just within the last 24 hours.  I was able to get a lot of info from lathes.co.uk, which helped immensely.  


- Do you think I should take the chance on this machine?  I'm worried I'm buying myself a headache since parts for these machines seem to be rare.  

- Are there things I should check specifically when I see it in person?  

- How much should I expect to spend on tooling or whatever else I may need?  

Thanks so much for your help guys!

- Ryan

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