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old Hendey lathe


Nov 20, 2010
Iowa, USA
Found an old Hendey in a junk yard. The guy wants $350 firm - which I think is about $200 too high - although it definitely has scrap value. Even the chip pan appears to be heavy cast iron !

Would swing about 16" diameter over the ways and 30" between centers - 6ft bed. Serial # is 12255 - what year was it built ?

Spindle is stuck tight. I pumped about a half cup of oil/mineral spirits into each oil port - but that didnt help. Dont know how those spindles are held in place, but it looks like there might be some type of threaded "nut" on the back end that comes off and allows the spindle to come out the front.

I'm thinking once that nut is loosened, a rap on the tail end of spindle with a lead hammer might jar it loose. As I understand it, that big bronze bushing in front is taper bored to fit the spindle's OD taper. Correct ?

Any suggestions? Or, is this just a lost cause ?!

It's a shame when this good old stuff gets left outside !!

Ive got pictures on my computer - but I see that I need to read up on the proper posting procedures using photo bucket etc etc.

Patrick Black

Dec 11, 2007
Middle Tennessee
As I understand it, that big bronze bushing in front is taper bored to fit the spindle's OD taper. Correct ?

That's correct. The thrust washer near the threaded end wears faster than the tapered bearing so after time, the bearing acts like a cone clutch and eventually will lock up tight if it's not shimmed through periodic maintenance.

Hard to tell if it's a lost cause without dissassembly and inspection. There are three threaded collars holding the spindle assembly together which have to be incrementally loosened so the spindle can be bumped out. Best to use a pin spanner and not a pin-punch or such since the collars are soft and the holes will get buggered up pretty easily. There may also be set screws in the collars that need backing off. Even still, the collars will be a tight fit and will require a pin spanner.

Locked-up Hendeys that have been kept indoors are often put back into service simply by shimming the thrust face. No telling with one that's been left to the elements.

Pat Black

gas pumper

Cast Iron
Jun 19, 2009
Boonton, NJ
My Hendey sat for years and years. It was froze solid. I did what you'd do with a stuck engine. Worked it back and forth. A little more with each swing. I filled mine with ATF. While doing the back and forth. Once it got free enough to bar it all the way around, I tried to put it under power, low speed, back gear. Run forward, run reverse. Bearings would get warm, kept adding oil to thin out the tar that was in the sumps.

Did this for about a week, a couple of hours a day. Gradually could increase the speed. Only would run until it warmed up, then stop for awhile.

Now it can spin by hand pulling on the chuck. It can run at full speed with out getting hot. I like low speed in direct for most of what I do, it's run all day with out heating up.

Mines a 16, too. 15867 from Feb 1915.



Nov 18, 2005
elfrida arizona usa

Very little information has remained concerning Hendey lathe #12255, but here is what I
could find. It was build during the middle of January 1911 and is a standard 16 x 6 cone
head model. It will swing aprroximately 16-7/16 inches over the bed and take 28-3/4
inches between centers with the tailstock flush with the end of the bed. It was shipped
with a Taper Attachment , but there is no record to indicate that the Oil Pan was part
of the original order, it was most likely ordered at a slightly later time before shipment.
No original owner is indicated because it was shipped to a Hendey dealer in Chicago,
Maxwell, Manning and Moore. This lathe should weigh about 2800 lbs, sans any motor
drive and including the Taper Attachment and the Oil Pan. Spindle bore is 1-1/4 inches, the spindle taper is Morse Taper #4-1/2 and the tailstock bore is Morse Taper #3. All of
the original drawings have survived, but none of the patterns or spare parts. This lathe
has a single walled apron. The countershaft speeds are 107rpm and 136rpm. Spindle nose
is a nominal 2-1/2 inches by 6 threads per inch. Back gear ratio is 9.2 to 1. A set of #3
draw-in collets or a No. 1 or No.2 set of spring collets can be used with this lathe. The
No.2 spring collets offered a capacity of up to 2 inches, which is a much larger capacity
than the #8 draw-in collers used on the 24 inch swing Hendey lathes.