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South Bend 16 x 48, farewell old friend.

Nov 19, 2007
marysville ohio
She was my first lathe, Memory is a bit foggy but it was late summer about 1977. She came out of a shop in Bloomington Minnesota, Millhoff Steel Products. The shop was filled with pristine old Monarchs and the old SB was the red headed stepchild. The owner, Mr. Hoffmeister bought it at an auction and had his scraper hand rebuild it in his spare time. When it was done no one wanted to use it and why would they? There was about 20 Monarchs in great condition to use. I raced motorcycles with his son who told me I could buy it. I don't remember the cost but Mr Hoffmeister financed it for me, for some reason. I swore I would die with it but I was lying to myself I just can't keep everything, I was only using it on one job that I get about once a year the rest of the time it just sat there with junk piled on it. My brother asked me about it so I gave it to him. We got it out of the shop and on his trailer Sunday, It is now at his house outside of Northfield Minnesota. I had it for 45 years, I thought it was the greatest thing ever when I got it. I just could not understand why all those guys at Millhoff thought it was such a POS. My brother thinks it is just wonderful so I am glad he got it but am sorry to see it go. Right then, get over it, move the Holbrook into that empty slot!

true temper

Jun 19, 2006
I gave up my first lathe this spring, a South Bend 9”.
I too swore I would never get rid of it. Bought it in 1988 for 450.00$ hauled it home in the trunk of the Buick I was driving.
After using and spending some time on my Nardini it felt like a child’s toy going back.
I done some pretty serious work on that thing before I knew any better.


Hot Rolled
Nov 8, 2017
I retired (unintentionally) in 2000, leaving behind a shop with an HLV-H, Mori-Seiki MS850, Clausing-Colchester 15 and 17, etc. I had nothing but a hacksaw and a file for 18 years, until Fred (former employer) called and asked if I wanted a lathe and a mill. When I got there, it was just a South Bend, but it was free. Fred told me he got it at auction from a shop we did not hold in high regard. He said it was their "good lathe", and we both snickered. I would soon determine it was a Heavy 10L in very good mechanical condition with almost every option available except the follower rest. The more I use it, the more impressed I am. It's no 10ee, but it's a very good lathe, solid and accurate. I keep looking at bigger, gear head lathes, but I can't imagine ever getting rid of the SB.


May 17, 2013
Moonlight, I can truly understand your attachment to the little youngster.
I met Mr. Pais (55 yr Machinist aka The 'Master') over 20 years ago, and inside 2 weeks, he accompanied me to go pick out the very first lathe I every stood in front of in my lifetime; a 1973 --13" x 6' Tech School surplus Southbend! My First Love!! Ha!
What he taught me on that little SB is Priceless!! We lost the 'Master' a few years ago, but not before he made certain I understood the true importance of each and every machine in house and the ones that would continue to bring home the paycheck!
The 13 and 16"SB's sat amongst the BIG GUYS ( 2 L&S's and 3 Leblonds) for some yrs until I brought myself to the reality 2 yrs ago that it was time to move the kids on to the shops of other up & coming future Machinists ! We moved the Master's Bridgeport Mill in house shortly afterwards, so the agony of watching my first slip away was replaced by the rewarding comfort that I would be running a machine each day that would keep his Legacy alive for many years to come!