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Old Southbend Lathe Information needed


Oct 9, 2021
I'm new here and hoping to gain some information on an old Southbend I have. I have looked everywhere and I can't seem to find any information on my 11 inch swing with 3 Foot Bed Lathe. It shows to be Catalog Number 353-Y and S.N. J1108. If Someone could tell me the Year Model I would Greatly Appreciate it. Thank in Advance. Does Anyone know what it would be Worth?

Joe Michaels

Apr 3, 2004
Shandaken, NY, USA

Welcome to our forum. While this IS the antique machine tool site, you may get more information by re-posting on the Southbend Lathe 'board, also on this same Practical Machinist site. Some of the people on the Southbend 'board may be able to help you with the year your lathe was manufactured.

You pretty much answered your own question as to the 'model' of the lathe when you gave the swing & bed length. Southbend built a LOT of lathes during the years of their existence. Posting some pictures of your lathe will help as far as determining approximate years of manufacture. Southbend did not change their lathe designs too radically from any one year to the next.

Putting a value on the lathe is an impossibility without knowing the condition of the lathe and what tooling is furnished with it. Simply cleaning up an old lathe, polishing the various handles and handwheels, and laying on a smooth coat of new enamel does not equal 'restored' or 'rebuilt'. The big makers-or-breakers in determining a lathe's worth (monetarily) are the amounts of wear on the bedways, cross slide, compound, and condition of the headstock spindle and its bearings as well as condition of the various gears, along with condition and wear on the cross feed screw & nut, compound screw & nut, condition of the lead screw and half nuts, and condition of the tailstock in terms of wear relative to spindle centerline, and condition of the female taper in the tailstock quill. Photos are barely scratching the surface when it comes to describing a lathe's condition.

Monetary value of a lathe is also a function of where the lathe is located geographically. Some areas of the USA are considered 'deserts' in terms of availability of good used machine tools, particularly smaller manual (no CNC) machine tools people might use in a home shop. In these areas, the prices of used machine tools which a person might use in their home shop tend to be a good bit higher. Locations where good used machine tools are fairly common have lower prices.

As I wrote, asking us to peg a value for your lathe with no knowledge of it beyond what you put in your post, is nigh unto impossible. As a rough figure, a serviceable 11" x 3 foot Southbend lathe with basic tooling ( 3 jaw and 4 jaw chucks, a few tool holders, faceplate, and steady rest) with some wear on the bedways and other sliding surfaces might be anywhere from 500-1200 bucks. If the lathe has a set of collets this adds to the value. A taper attachment also adds to the lathe's value.

If the lathe is in reasonable conditon (some wear on the bedways and sliding surfaces, no broken gear teeth) and has basic tooling as well as a set of collets and taper attachment, I'd say 1500 bucks might be a realistic price.