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First Lathe: 1942 Monarch 14C

KT_NorCal

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 16, 2022
Hi all. I've ended up with my first lathe. I brought home a 1942 Monarch 14C and it is possibly the dirtiest thing ever conceived in the universe -- looks like it was just brought up from the back deck of the Bismarck by that Ballard guy -- but under all the grime and not insignificant amount of rust lurks a pretty nice Machine, I hope. It was a Navy girl from the beginning. Bought by the Navy for the tool and die making shop at the Hunter's Point Naval shipyard and when one of the tool and die makers there retired he asked to have the machine... apparently a few years later it showed up on the back of a flatbed truck and was moved into the basement garage of a house in San Francisco where it sat until I moved it to my garage. The last 15 years or so it sat unused and covered in swarf. A majority of the rust on it turned out to be just the chips rusting down to dust, but there are some spots on the ways that are going to need some careful attention.

I've been taking machine shop classes for fun at night for a few years so while I'm no machinist, I do have a pretty decent understating of what I'm doing, so I'm looking forward to getting this thig back up and running. It's going to be an effort though as it is really, really dirty. The biggest issue is that I haven't had a chance to run it as the circuit it was on back in the POs place had been hijacked for something else and where it is in my garage I have yet to get power to. I manually ran it through all the gears, so I know they all turn, but have yet to be able to do a full assessment. I felt for the $$ the risk was worth it. Also came with a selection of tooling and bits, but is missing some key stuff like its original collet chucks and both the steady and follow rests so I will be on the lookout for those. The covers for the taper attachment also went MIA somewhere in the past 8 decades.
 

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It got stuffed in the garage in a huge hurry as the break in the storm decided to end and it started dumping rain again the day it was being moved, so haven't had a chance to really start any work on it. I have had the chance to do a test clean on a spot (see pic, ha) and visually inspect things much more closely. The ways have no visible ridges or ones that can be felt, but there are some deep longitudinal scratch marks in the flat ways in the main work area. All the swarf sitting on the ways rusted the area between the V and flat ways pretty good and there is some pitting in a couple areas. The rust on the ways is mostly superficial and comes off pretty easily with some careful attention from a razor blade and 0000 steel wool.

It is filthy dirty though so once I do a basic function check when I get power to it I'm going to need to take off the apron/saddle/taper attachment and tailstock. The tailstock will need attention first as I took out the dead center that was in it so the lifting straps didn't catch on it by accident, but that had the effect of turbocharging all the mist in the air right into the tailstock for the ride home on the flatbed...

Also, I've read everything I can on this site about these, so I know I'm going to need to service this oiling system thoroughly to make sure it is all functional and working properly.

The Good:
- The lathe was never a production lathe and I seem to have a full accounting of its history. Either 3rd or 4th owner depending on how you look at it.
- Was clearly only spray-bombed once in its life. Only two coats of paint on it.
- The motor is a really nice Louis-Allis 1750 RPM motor which should make upping the speed to 1000 or 1200 a simple matter of a motor sheave change once I get it fully cleaned up.
- Only broken handle I was able to find was the threading one and the repair is not a hack. Still will be on the lookout for an unbroken one though.
- The ways, underneath the grime and rust seem to be in good physical condition.
- Only about 0.003 to 0.005 of slop in the cross slide and the apron seems to have some minor slop, but feels like it might be a sloppy key on the shaft as the gear and rack seems to have zero visible wear. The compound is either rusted/sludged up tight or it is locked and I can't figure out how to unlock it yet. lol.
- The threading/feeds gearbox gears seem to be in great shape, one looks like a replacement, but all the others look original and don't seem to have any wear ridges.
- Clutch engagement/disengagement seems to work well from what I can tell
- Seems to have the optional extended threading feed ranges
- Got and ok selection of tooling and assorted stuff with it.

The Bad:
- Dirt and swarf grains everywhere. The saddle leaves an Exxon Valdez level sludge trail after it so it will all need to be taken off and cleaned up.
- Haven't had the opportunity to run it yet, so actual condition is still TBD. Did run it through all the gears by hand, and nothing clearly obvious was wrong.
- Low speed version, but from what I read it will be able to be upped to at least 1000k rpm with little drama. I seem to end up doing most work in the 400 to 800 range anyway, so that should work fine for me.
- Missing the original Steady, Follow, and Taper attachment covers. Assume all are hard to find.

The Weird:
- The PO at some point in the past flipped the clutch action from standard engages when pushed *down* to engaging when you pull the handle *up*. I about sh*t myself when I realized what was going on, but I'm pretty sure I traced it down to him flipping some of the clutch linkages around vs any internal funny business, so should hopefully straightforward for me to sort out. The reason he did this I'm guessing is that the bushing on the handle by the apron is wallowed out and was probably hitting the chip pan, so I'll need to address that at the same time.

I saw another thread on here about a Monarch 61 with a very similar ethos to what I want to pursue with this... I.E. do a base level service and clean up... run it for a while and make sure that all is well then progress through a thorough restore of all the various bits to bring them back into spec. I'm sure I'll have a lot of questions along the way so appreciate any/all advice!
Thanks for reading!
 

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I.E. do a base level service and clean up... run it for a while and make sure that all is well then progress through a thorough restore of all the various bits to bring them back into spec.
IMO, that's the best possible course of action for any used tool.

Good luck, that's a great machine. You even have the taper attachment bed clamp! OOOOHhhh, AAAAHhhhh. haha
 
IMO, that's the best possible course of action for any used tool.

Good luck, that's a great machine. You even have the taper attachment bed clamp! OOOOHhhh, AAAAHhhhh. haha
Thx... Someone told me I bought a bed clamp with a lathe attached. lol Didn't realize they were such the in item for these. Now I just have to find one of the "variator" ones I've just learned about. ha
 
Looks like a big clean up job ahead but if you are like most of us those will be enjoyable hours - cleaning, tinkering, discovering etc.
Being a student of the Pacific war I'll give you a Navy reference for your Navy lathe:
It was completed in the month when Jimmy Doolittle made his raid on Japan.
Imagine the cahones it took to fly those big B25 Mitchels off that tiny flight deck.
There was a lot going on at that time and I'll bet the workers in Sydney, OH were putting in a lot of overtime.
My little 12CK was built 2 months later -at the time of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
I sometimes think about the guys who first got to run those lathes when they were the latest technology and new and flawless. It would have had to be inspiring - if not intimidating.
Keep us updated as you go through it.
It'll be fun to follow along.
 

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No real progress yet, but many questions.... Can anyone tell what this was meant for (the saddle "extension" the blue arrow is pointing to)? I assumed it must be non-original, but then was reading through another thread on here of a 14c restore and noticed it on his lathe as well... if not the same something very similar. I had assumed it was non-original as the feed reverse handle is somewhat smooshed by it which made me think Monarch wouldn't have just thrown it on there. Noticed that the bracket on the front might just be poorly adjusted though, so went back to not being sure... It seems to have a shaft support as part of it as well.

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Also, found out my machine has a "dauber." Had no idea what it was and had been putting oil in it thinking it was an oil reservoir for either the tailstock shaft or ways until I was told otherwise. Oops. lol

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As I mentioned, not much progress to report. Trying to do one small thing a week even if it is superficial and or trivial. Straightened out all the base "vents" with some bodywork hammers and various other tools and stripped them down. They were pretty hammered up after 80 years but did straighten out pretty well. Also, this lathe didn't come with a live center nor any useable chucks (a frozen/rusted Jacobs #3 was it), so luckily a friend gave me a Jacobs 20n and I poached an extra 14n from my drill press and got those broken down to refurbish (the 20n was a bit of a mess). The 20N actually needs a jaw rebuild from the looks of it, but just going to put new ball bearings in it and touch up the jaws for now (or until I can find the right rebuild kit for one of these older chucks). It had been used as a welding fixture or something similar at some point, so chucked it up in a lathe and gave it a little clean-up. Came out nice. The Taper came out with some serious violence though... must have been in there for a very long time.

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The MT3 to JT5 arbor was reading a TIR of about 0.003 at mid point (ish) on the taper with the nose chucked up in a 4 jaw and indicated into a couple tenths.. not sure if that is good or bad for these, but I'm going to swap it to a MT4 to match the tailstock, so will see if it gets any better. More actual progress to come soon hopefully...
 
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Also, I think this is ok per this sub forum rules, but if not LMK and I will delete... I'm looking for what is called the "micro-gauging" crossfeed dial (see attached PDF... illustration of it is on top of page two and snipped and added below) that was an option that was often sold along with the "length reading dial." I was able to pick up a length reading dial assembly that I'm going to add when I get the apron off and cleaned up and it would be nice to have the micro-gauging crossfeed dial as well given I'm probably not going to have the $$ for a DRO overly soon. ha. Anyway, just missed out on one from the lathe that guythatbrews parted out, so if anyone else has one they would be willing to let go of I would be interested. I would like to restore and add it while I have everything apart with the rest of the saddle/apron. Apparently, they were standard sizes of 4.750" diameter for up to the 18" type C and then 6" for anything larger.. so, needless to say I'm looking for the 4.750" version!

Thank you!

Monarch Micro Gauging Dial PIc.JPG
 

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I have both of those optional dials on my 12CK.
IMO they are good for petty bragging rights. But functionality?
Meh. I Never use either of them and wouldn't pay much to add them.
 
KT,
Congrats on acquiring the Monarch! Definitely one of the finest Lathes ever built; of course it's not a Lodge and shipley, but what can I say! :D
Wouldn't fret much over condition and all the grundge; half the fun of bringing these premium machines back to life is finding whats really under all those years of operation. I use countless gallons of Zep purple industrial degreaser and buckets of wood chips these days to deal with all the grundge; good stuff and completely safe to work with inside with a little ventilation!! Just take your time, takle one area at a time and watch that girl start to SHINE again!! Seeing that dead center still with the lathe makes me think that machine may have actually missed all the heavy use years after its debut during the war. Very nice thought if that turns out to be the case. Good luck with your new adventure, and keep the pics coming!
Johnny
 
I have both of those optional dials on my 12CK.
IMO they are good for petty bragging rights. But functionality?
Meh. I Never use either of them and wouldn't pay much to add them.
Set the compound to a known, accute angle and there's your 'microfeed'. But be honest with yourself- nailing shaft work to +/-0.001" on an 80 year old machine is about more than just turning dials.
 
Set the compound to a known, accute angle and there's your 'microfeed'. But be honest with yourself- nailing shaft work to +/-0.001" on an 80 year old machine is about more than just turning dials.
The micro-gauging dial name is misleading. It still only reads to .001 but counts the inches or part thereof. Should be called accumulating dial or something. Salesmanship gone awry! But a great feature for a guy standing in front of a lathe all day.

It is a neat feature and interesting in itself. Before a DRO you could keep track of diameters better, or maybe easier than a grease pencil mark on the cross slide. It would work great for trepans and undercutting a face.
 
Set the compound to a known, accute angle and there's your 'microfeed'. But be honest with yourself- nailing shaft work to +/-0.001" on an 80 year old machine is about more than just turning dials.

My interest is in things that will help any work I do on the lathe... which is yes, 80+ years old, but is the only one in my garage currently, so apologies. Seems like anything that would help would be a good idea, but am admittedly new to the forum...
 
KT,
Congrats on acquiring the Monarch! Definitely one of the finest Lathes ever built; of course it's not a Lodge and shipley, but what can I say! :D
Wouldn't fret much over condition and all the grundge; half the fun of bringing these premium machines back to life is finding whats really under all those years of operation. I use countless gallons of Zep purple industrial degreaser and buckets of wood chips these days to deal with all the grundge; good stuff and completely safe to work with inside with a little ventilation!! Just take your time, takle one area at a time and watch that girl start to SHINE again!! Seeing that dead center still with the lathe makes me think that machine may have actually missed all the heavy use years after its debut during the war. Very nice thought if that turns out to be the case. Good luck with your new adventure, and keep the pics coming!
Johnny

I had a bottle of the Castroil super clean that I decided to bust out as I didn't care what it did to the paint underneath and I have to admit the stuff is prettty amazing on ancient gunk. That clean corner on the lathe was from using that and paper towels. As you state, using in an eclosed garage is definitely a consideration. I'm a fan of Kero on old grease, but until summer when I can open the garage door that will have to wait. You use the wood chips to soak up oil?

"Definitely one of the finest Lathes ever built; of course it's not a Lodge and shipley, "

Funny, right after I got this machine someone said "That is a cool lathe! Too bad it isn't a Axelson..." lol So it will have to be my burden to shoulder for the time being. :)
 
The micro-gauging dial name is misleading. It still only reads to .001 but counts the inches or part thereof. Should be called accumulating dial or something. Salesmanship gone awry! But a great feature for a guy standing in front of a lathe all day.

It is a neat feature and interesting in itself. Before a DRO you could keep track of diameters better, or maybe easier than a grease pencil mark on the cross slide. It would work great for trepans and undercutting a face.
There is a big LeBlond servo shift at the school shop I use when I need something solid or am doing something bigger than usual (the Nardini feels like it made out of noodles sometimes) and having an accumulating dial on it would make life way easier... In my experience anyway.
 
My interest is in things that will help any work I do on the lathe... which is yes, 80+ years old, but is the only one in my garage currently, so apologies. Seems like anything that would help would be a good idea, but am admittedly new to the forum...
It'd certainly be a treat to own, if only for bragging rights.
 
No electrical spindle reverse?
Not sure if this was standard or an option, but after I got the lathe home I noticed that it didn't actually have a spindle reverse which confused me as I had assumed it was just a standard thing. Does anyone know if this era monarch usually come with a drum switch or a contactor based reverse?

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Added a picture of the electrical box as I'm guessing that would probably be helpful! There are two switches that run into this box. Main switch on the front of the lathe and then a cool old art-deco AB down on the tailstock end (not the most convenient location in my mind) for the coolant pump which is mounted to the back of the rear pedestal.

I assume a drum switch is the easier of the two options to implement...
 
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I had a bottle of the Castroil super clean that I decided to bust out as I didn't care what it did to the paint underneath and I have to admit the stuff is prettty amazing on ancient gunk. That clean corner on the lathe was from using that and paper towels. As you state, using in an eclosed garage is definitely a consideration. I'm a fan of Kero on old grease, but until summer when I can open the garage door that will have to wait. You use the wood chips to soak up oil?

"Definitely one of the finest Lathes ever built; of course it's not a Lodge and shipley, "

Funny, right after I got this machine someone said "That is a cool lathe! Too bad it isn't a Axelson..." lol So it will have to be my burden to shoulder for the time being. :)
Not familiar with the Castroil product, but have had great results on machines with the Zep purple, and its water base so the wood chips I generate through the Planer/Moulders work great and not a Fire hazard as long as they're going out the door as soon as they soak up the wash off.
Sorry we're all teasing about the Monarch; but Hey;
I've run a Southbend, and yea, I've got a couple square head Leblonds tucked off in the corner, but once you get your Paws on a real machine, the rest just leave you Cold!! There's definitely a Cult here when it comes to a Pacemaker, Axelson, Lodge and Shipley, and of course a Monarch as well as few others.🇺🇸 There's actually a very nice matching 16 CK (16" x 54") here in my hometown just waiting to be pounced on but I've drawn a line brands here; there's a Do Not Enter sign at the garage door; L & S / Leblonds only!! :nono:
Still a good chance you may just have a fine Gem there once the crud is gone! The 82 yr old L/S still shines every part it cuts, just can't wait to get the newly acquired Powerturn on board to see what it offers!! :drool5:
 
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No electrical spindle reverse?
Not sure if this was standard or an option, but after I got the lathe home I noticed that it didn't actually have a spindle reverse which confused me as I had assumed it was just a standard thing. Does anyone know if this era monarch usually come with a drum switch or a contactor based reverse?

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Added a picture of the electrical box as I'm guessing that would probably be helpful! There are two switches that run into this box. Main switch on the front of the lathe and then a cool old art-deco AB down on the tailstock end (not the most convenient location in my mind) for the coolant pump which is mounted to the back of the rear pedestal.

I assume a drum switch is the easier of the two options to implement...
To be honest, I've not run into hardly any of these older heavies with the reverse motor switches. I'm sure they're out there but just haven't put my hands on one.
 
To be honest, I've not run into hardly any of these older heavies with the reverse motor switches. I'm sure they're out there but just haven't put my hands on one.
The machinist Adam booth on youtube has the model size up from this C type and I'm pretty sure his has an actual switch... will have to go back and watch some of the videos.
Interesting, that these old beasts weren't standard with them. I was basing my experience (or lack thereof lol) off of the lathes in the school shop which all seem to have it so never really put much thought into it. It is nice to have sometimes, so think I will definitely add it along the way...
 
Not familiar with the Castroil product, but have had great results on machines with the Zep purple, and its water base so the wood chips I generate through the Planer/Moulders work great and not a Fire hazard as long as they're going out the door as soon as they soak up the wash off.
Sorry we're all teasing about the Monarch; but Hey;
I've run a Southbend, and yea, I've got a couple square head Leblonds tucked off in the corner, but once you get your Paws on a real machine, the rest just leave you Cold!! There's definitely a Cult here when it comes to a Pacemaker, Axelson, Lodge and Shipley, and of course a Monarch as well as few others.🇺🇸
Still a good chance you may just have a fine Gem there once the crud is gone! The 82 yr old L/S still shines every part it cuts, just can't wait to get the newly acquired Powerturn on board to see what it offers!! :drool5:

I do have to admit that after hearing about how amazing Axelsons were I went and did some reading on them and kinda have to say they are very cool. ha!

A friend of mine from my shop class got the square head LeBlond out of the same garage this came from and that was a really nice lathe too. Very little wear although almost just as dirty...

For what pretty clapped out SB heavy 10s go for here I was very happy to find this lathe (and for the price) even though it will be a lot of clean-up work to get it ship shape...

Is the Powerturn a L&S too?
 








 
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