How I got my 13" South Bend Lathe, oilers and gease at a bargain

Tom Miller <millertam@...>

Paul, and the other SB egroupers,
Loved the web page on the 9" SB, I will try to get some pictures
posted of my 13". Ok here is how I got the 13" SB 4' serial no.
91573, mfg. 3 Aug 1939 (this info is from SB). In the early 60's I
attend a large HS in Chicago called Lane Tech where I took 2 years of
machine shop, 1 ½ years more than the normal student. In college I
also had a practical applications course where we used a turret
lathe and did a project on manufacturing. Now I have always had a
shop in my home, mainly woodworking and automotive repair. And I
have always thought about someday having my own lathe, but its sort
of hard to justify such an item with college payments, house
mortgages etc. Well, about 2 years ago I ran into a fella at a local
flea market who was selling used machine shop tools and I struck up a
conversation with him about my old HS days and using a lathe. I
casually mentioned to him that someday I would like to purchase a
lathe, but just could not fathom what my dear wife would say if I
spent several thousand dollars on a machine that made center
punches… the classic HS project we all made. He suggested I go see
a man in Richmond who dealt in used machinery, his name was Dempsey.
Well I shrugged this off, again putting the whole idea on the back
burner of my mind.

I have no idea what possessed me to visit Dempsey's on the 13th of
Nov 99, about a year after the flea market incident, but I did. He's
located in the City of Richmond, VA and open on Saturdays only, from
about 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Dempsey's is in an old warehouse. There I
wandered around old lathes, mills, and drill presses of every size
and shape imaginable. Then I spotted two old friends, two lathes,
identical in size and make, and the exact lathes I had used in HS. I
knew not what they were in HS, but I did recognize them. You may not
believe this, but they even smelled the same as they did in HS, now
this is 38 years ago. Although I rally had no intentions of buying
this lathe, later finding out it was a 13" 4' South Bend, I asked Mr.
Dempsey what it went for, figuring 2000 dollars or so. When he said
$800.00, I said you have a deal. Only then did I ask if it ran. He
said of course and he would guarantee it and if there were any
problems he'd work them out with me. Oh gee now what? I just bought
a lathe identical to the one I had used 36 years ago in HS. Ok I
knew how to use it, that came back like riding a bicycle, but I knew
not how to connect it up, 3 phase you say? Ok Mr. Dempsey how do I
run a 3-phase motor with 220 in my house. Well he just happened to
have a converter, for up to 3 HP for about $100. So off I went with
the converter and a receipt for my new lathe with no idea how I was
going to get 800+lbs of South Bend home, let alone what I was going
to tell the wife. Again Mr. Dempsey says he knew a guy who would be
reasonable and would deliver it to my shop.. Sure enough an auto
towing service used one of those tilt bed auto haulers to load it and
deliver it. A good operator can perform miracles with one of these
tilt beds, trust me. He positioned it through a garage door on my
shop floor and with a crow bar we were able to jack it around and
slide it to its new home about 20 miles south of Richmond, VA.

I will go into the wife's reaction later, but suffice it so say it
was not too bad as I am still married. My oldest son, 28, said, "Dad
what that's machine in the basement". Then when I told him it was a
quick-change gear lathe, he said, "OK, but what do you make with
it?". I said center punches and pls do not ask any more dumb

OK so that's it! Now a couple of things I have learned since Nov 99.
Oilers: High School shop lathes took a fair amt of abuse from well
intended students. Like they round off the compound rest sharp
corners quickly. I can still hear Mr. Buchanan screaming about
removal of the 4 jaw chuck key before turning the lathe on, I think
his voice hit peak even before the key hit the floor after bouncing
off the light fixture or ceiling. Anyway these oilers, of which there
are many at least on a 13" are 10 to 15 bucks from South Bend. But
the same oilers are available from Gits for like $1.50. Call 1-800-
323-3238 or go to the Gits web site You
will have to figure out the size as Gits has many different oilers,
but I was able to match things up pretty well. I may be able to help
13" guys here. I also found that the oilers were threaded in some
cases and other pressed in, both types are available from Gits. One
of the tail stock oilers had a wick, available from SB. The threaded
ones use a very fine thread and these taps, finer than NF, are
available from MSC another great
source of machine tools.
Lubricants: Ok I ordered SB oils and lubricants, again, pretty
steep, but I wanted the real stuff. I have subsequently found that
the back gear shaft and stepped pulley grease sent by SB is available
from Fastenal Corp at Look for the Part no. 62642
which is Super Lube Synthetic Based Lube w/Teflon, 3 Oz tubes. This
is the same grease SB will send you, but they charge $16.00, Fastenal
charges $4.44.
OK sorry for the dialogue guys, I will pass along some other things
later, I have not restored anything on it yet, as believe it or not,
it runs real smooth. I did make sure I oiled and greased everything
prior to initial start up.

Big Tom

Paul R. Hvidston <p.hvidston@...>


Wonderful story. My junior high shop teacher would barely let us touch the
lathe (with good reason). I recall the only thing I got to make on the lathe
was a hammer head. In high school, we got one shop class each semester and
for me that was electronics so its time for a redo on growing up. Anyway,
thanks for the story and the tidbits of info. Keep 'em coming!


Paul R. Hvidston
Upland, CA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Miller" <millertam@...>
To: <southbendlathe@...>
Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2000 6:55 PM
Subject: [southbendlathe] How I got my 13" South Bend Lathe, oilers and
gease at a bargain

Paul, and the other SB egroupers,
Loved the web page on the 9" SB, I will try to get some pictures
posted of my 13". Ok here is how I got the 13" SB 4' serial no.
91573, mfg. 3 Aug 1939 (this info is from SB). In the early 60's I