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Starting 10L restoration


Nov 29, 2019
This is my first post. I have read PM for several years. I recently acquired a late model 10L and have started to take it apart to restore it. I think I have read all of the heavy 10 restoration threads and I'd to thank the forum members for the wealth of knowledge you have shared. I bought this machine sight unseen (it had a number of features I was looking for (flame hardened long bed, wide range gear box, D1-4 spindle) and I was willing to take a chance). The gears all look pretty good, and there is a little wear on the bed about a foot in front of the headstock, but it is hard to see and feel. The serial number list on the interwebs indicates that this machine was made in 1981.

The first thing that I did was to make 2 outriggers with casters, so that it would be easy to move around and reposition while I was working on it. I made these by welding 1/2 x 4 inch flat bar to 4 feet of 4 x 3/8 square tubing and bolting on some 700 lb casters. I found it helpful to drill one hole for the base, line it up, and drill the other. I think the holes were 7/16 and 20 5/8 ctc. When I am finished with the restoration, I will properly level it and bolt it to the floor.

Upon my initial inspection, the first thing that struck me as odd was the front oil cup had thick black grease in it. So I started with the headstock and spindle. Upon disassembly, I found that someone had indeed tried to run grease in the front bearing. I say tried because they left the wicks in. So I guess some grease made it through but I don't think it was a good idea. Not sure if it was a mistake, or someone trying to work around previous damage. The front bearing has some scoring, as well as the spindle. I will post some pictures and measurements later and see what folks think about that, but my gut feeling is that I should do some light polishing and reassemble and check tolerances before I get too worried about it.

The paint is pretty soft and lifting on the entire machine, so I started with the headstock. I got the paint stripped off today (thanks Brad for the tip on Purple Power- it worked really well), and the grease cleaned out of the front bearing oil passages (I went through an entire box of q-tips dipped in kerosene to get the majority of it out, and then sprayed the passages out with solvent. I have run into something I thought was interesting and wanted input from folks that are familiar with these machines. On the inside of the headstock, below the inside bearing journal, there appears to be some type of epoxy or filler. It looks to me like jb-weld. I can not understand why this would be there. I have read that sometimes south bend used a filler on castings before painting, but I don't think that is what this is. So- anyone ever see this on their machine? Would you remove it? I was going to try removal, but I hesitate if this was done at the factory. I plan to update this thread as I go.


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Feb 8, 2015
Coral Springs, FL USA
Leave the filler - it's not hurting anything.

Nice lathe you picked up. I would take off the casters and just place it on the floor in its permanent location and level it up.

These lathes were designed to use oil, and only oil. NEVER put grease on an exterior part, especially the gear and drive train. If a chip hits a component of these (and they will) they will STICK to them like glue and cause meshing and other problems. If they hit oil, they will usually get thrown off and not do any damage.