Any Leads on an excellent Clausing 5900
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  1. #1
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    Alright, it's coming up on almost a year now and have gone through phases of actively searching high and low, to simply browsing now and then, and still have no metal lathe in my shop. I had decided on a model 5914 relatively nearby, but the machine ended up having some hidden gremlins, and I passed. So I am at my wits end trying to locate a good condition Clausing even close to me (SoCal).

    My goal is to have one spinning in my shop within a month. I am willing to freight it in from the East Coast, and would prefer a machine in excellent condition, I simply lack the free time to due a tear-down/rebuild. So if anyone is, or knows somebody, selling a 5900 series, preferably a hydraulic vari-speed 2hp, please inform me.

    I see Joe at Plaza has gotten 2 new ones inventoried, has anyone purchased a lathe from him, his pricing seem quite fair, especially compared to what some try to charge for junk over here. Would be interested in your thoughts on those lathes.

    I sincerely appreciate the help.

  2. #2
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    I have a 5907 that seems to be mechanically fine but needs a paint job. but I am on the east coast.

  3. #3
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    This one looks pretty good
    "Turreet" Lathe

  4. #4
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    I bought my 5914 from Joe. His lathes came from a Vocational Ed program, so little wear, and a lot of tear. I was a little annoyed that Joe didn't mention that the tailstock way right underneath the chuck had some chunks taken out of it where the students dropped the chuck off the spindle. You never have the tailstock up there so it's just cosmetic, but...

    Another issue was that the kids tightened the crossfeed gib screw until it stripped into the dovetail block, so the crossfeed was incredibly stiff and they just forced the handwheel -- which of course wore the crossfeed leadscrew down to knife edges. Joe gave me a $70 credit towards a new crossfeed leadscrew.

    Other than that, the head and the Vari-speed were in good condition, and the machine cleaned up nicely.

  5. #5
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    I also bought my 5914 from Joe, back in December 2004. Just like Lazlo, my lathe was from a school (probably the same one!), and had little wear but lots of dings and dents from unattentive youth.

    After I brought mine home, I went through it and had to change several items like a few ball oilers, the hydraulic hose, a bronze bushing in the QC gearbox, the way wipers, and the half nuts (the kids either cut ALOT of threads or were using the halfnuts to reverse the carriage). I probably spent $400 to bring it up to snuff. My take on it was that I bought a 40 year old lathe (I think mine was made in 1966), and I was not expecting to be able to plug it in and make chips without doing anything at all to it. My primary concern was buying a lathe with lots of life left in it, realizing it would need a good going over.

    Also like Lazlo, I was a bit disappointed that my lathe had as many dings as it had, but considering it was a school lathe, I guess it is to be expected.

    My sense is that on most machines, Joe goes over them to make sure everything works, but does not take them apart and do any remedial work unless it would affect the saleability. From my perspective as a buyer, I actually prefer this, as I know I am not buying something with a "spray paint rebuild" and left wondering if it was in good condition or not.

    I recently bought a 9x36" 2J Bridgeport from Joe, so I would have to say I am a satified customer.

    With respect to the 5914's, Joe has a few listed. The school lathe I bought is the same as listing #2, so the others that he is asking more $$ for are likely in better cosmetic condition. When I picked up my 5914 in 2004, he had another 5914 that was mint both cosmetically and mechanically, but was outside my price range. Not all the 5914's he has are from schools.

    Too bad you couldn't go there in person, he has tons of tooling and accessories to look at.

    With respect to the 5914, when I originally called Joe I was looking for the perennial SB heavy 10, and after Joe asked me what I wanted to do with it he suggested the Clausing instead. His reasoning was the availability of parts, lots of features for the money, etc. I can honestly say that everytime I use it I am happy I have it, the clutch/brake and variable speed are the cats ass!! About the only drawback is that the accessories (steady rest, follow rest, milling attachment, metric change gears) are hard to find and expensive, and this is probably the biggest negative with the machine, other than finding bad vari-drive bushings.

    Michael

  6. #6
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    Thank you guys for the information.

    Sounds like there may be a few bugs to work out on the machine still. The one I was considering is #5 on the list, it looks to be used very little, either that or well taken care of (from the picture I got). I think I am set on the 5914, but acknowledge the expensive accessories. I already have an original milling attachment for a 5900, just wish I could find a steady for under $500.

    Saw a 5936 on Norman Machine Tool's sight, thing looks to be barely used, has some nice tooling, and never used metric change gears, but is asking $7,500. What would you value this set-up at Link to Lathe

    Another option I may have lined up is a 5914 with a taper attachment from a tech school. I like the idea of the taper, the dealer took in a few lathes against some CNC's, which is their business, and they don't have means of testing the lathe. So who knows if it has issues or not.

    Again thanks for the help, any further info or leads is greatly appreciated.

  7. #7
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    The #5 on Joe's list sounds nice, and is probably ready to run as is. There were some real cherry looking Clausings there when I picked up my mill in September, but didn't pay too much attention to them as I was checking out my new-to-me mill.

    The lathe you linked that Norman Machine Tool is selling is very nice, but the price is too high, at least viewed through my eyes. I think their hook is that they have alot of accessories for it and the machine looks mint, but for $7500 you could buy alot of bigger or better machines (I think!) If I were buying (and I am not) I would have probably bought that lathe if it were around $4000. To me, the lack of variable speed lowers the price somewhat, even though it is a potential trouble spot.

  8. #8
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    I agree, I prefer the hydraulic variable speed change of the 5914 over the step pulley, even if it may be a little problematic. The problem as I see it is that the tooling and accessories were damn expensive when new, back when the machine was originally bought. But now, the same can be had in very good used condition for much cheaper. So the question is how much value do you put in NOS tooling.

  9. #9
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    The #5 on Joe's list sounds nice, and is probably ready to run as is.
    He's asking $3200 for that lathe, which is high for a 5900 -- that's getting into Monarch and Hardinge territory (Mebfab sold a 10EE here a month ago for $3,000). Plus you still need a toolpost (it comes with a rocker toolpost), a Steady Rest, and possibly a follower rest -- the latter two will set you back $400 - $500 each.

    Saw a 5936 on Norman Machine Tool's sight, thing looks to be barely used, has some nice tooling, and never used metric change gears, but is asking $7,500.
    The 5936 doesn't have the Vari-speed, but more importantly doesn't have the traveling clutch/brake. The metric change gear sets sell for $750 - $1,000, but remember that you can't cut imperial threads with the metric gearset installed, and the metric banjo doesn't have the high/low compound gear selector, so you have half the number of change gears available.

    Another option I may have lined up is a 5914 with a taper attachment from a tech school.
    The 5900 taper attachment is really nice, and sells for $650 - $1,000 depending on the condition of the splined cross-feed leadscrew. If the splined crossfeed screw needs to be replaced, it runs $280 from Clausing last time I checked...

  10. #10
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    I'd better rethink the $900.00 I wanted for mine.
    Sounds like these things are a good inflation hedge.

  11. #11
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    Lazlo,

    I appreciate the insight and comments. The main reasons that I decided on the Clausing is that its size and weight fit my shop perfectly. Ideally I would like a little larger and heavier machine but considering my shop is packed full woodworking machinery and my shop is on wooden beams and pylons (steep hillside), it's a definite no go. Not to mention I really like the capabilities and features of the 5914, and if I eventually move my shop would definitely hold onto it for small work, oh and I refuse to buy an import.

    Now that you mention it I remember reading before that the 5900 change gears were kind of a PITA. Just missed a brand new Harrison M250 1998 vintage which was the 52-2000 rpm model set up for metric with original tooling, it was sittng in a Motorola warehouse for 8 years. Went for the same price as that Clausing from NMT.

  12. #12
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    I think the 5900 is a great lathe -- roller bearing spindle, 2,000 RPM top speed, vari-speed, clutch/brake...

    I just think you can do a lot better than $7,500 for one [img]smile.gif[/img]

  13. #13
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    Where were you guys when this handsome metal cannibal was listed?

  14. #14
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    Not sure what the inflation works out to be, but the Clausing price list I have from 1966 (when my lathe was new) shows these prices:

    #5914 lathe at $1845,
    #7002 milling attachment at $62,
    #7124 metric threading attachment at $75,
    #7114 taper attachment at $200,
    #7109 steady rest for $24.50,
    and the #7651 tool post grinder for $140.

    I'd take every damn one of those accessories if they cost the same today!!!!

  15. #15
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    You just had to go post those accessory prices. Now I really don't want to pay the coin for an original steady rest.

  16. #16
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    What about this 5913 that is on your side of the country?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/CLAUSING-TOOL-RO...mZ200050438846

    John

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    Thanks John had been watching that one, wondering what his reserve is set at. Last few good looking machines to sell on eBay recently have gone for around $2,800.

    The company selling the 5914 with taper attachment accepted my offer this morning, so I officially have purchased a lathe.

    Thank you again everybody who has helped me out with this endeavor, will inform you guys in a few weeks once I have the lathe in my shop and have a chance to run it through its paces.

  18. #18
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    Congrats Ryan!! Have fun!

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    I have one for sale SF Bay area. 5914 with taper attachment 2 chucks faceplate Fred, I am a member

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FRED JOHN View Post
    I have one for sale SF Bay area. 5914 with taper attachment 2 chucks faceplate Fred, I am a member
    Your a "Member" of what ?

    Op found one 12 years ago, please ref. post #12


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