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To scrape or not to scrape an antique lathe?

If you need to learn to scrape, there is tons of info on PM. Many of the writers on here learned to scrape by taking one of my classes. Your flat bed could be scraped on a surface plate. or have it get the bed planned. I suspect that's how it was made way back then. Scraping the bed dovetails will be a pain. .Stephen Thomas a member here has a planner and I bet someone in Indiana does too. If you need to learn to scrape I have a class in October and November in Cottage Drove, MN. I also sell a USB stick and DVD and will give you a PM discount.. .
How old are you? You get a limited number of hours to spend, and even fewer to spend on what you want. I'd love to bring my 1947 Logan up to a better standard, and paint it, but it gets my work done and there are a hundred other things I want to do before I even think about doing that. Choose your projects wisely.
I really wish I had thought about projects this way many years ago. It isn't a "happy" way to think but it is a very, very wise way to think.
I really wish I had thought about projects this way many years ago
Once you get over the hump of 50 things change.....at least for me.....I just sold an old car i was going to "restore".....
I thought OK , what am I going to do with it when I'm done??
Really nothing, but maybe drive it once and a while........so it's gone.
The effort and money needed to redo it wasn't where I wanted to invest my time........
Other projects sitting here might just get the same option....lol
IMO, re-scraping the ways of any worn machine is going to add value to it, but that doesn't mean it's going to make fiscal sense to do so. Old lathes are fun to operate and you can do a lot of good work on them, but apples to apples you have to consider the value of the machine as a whole compared to replacing it with something better. General manual machine tool technology peeked 60-70 years ago as most all improvement efforts have gone towards CNC machinery. There's some really nice high end stuff still made in Europe, but unless you're shop has high profit margins and high tolerance requirements, they're almost irrelevant.

Lets say you buy an old cone-head tool room lathe for $500, spend $5000 in time, tools and materials properly refitting and repairing it. It is now better than it was when it was new, but is still an old cone-head tool room lathe. It cost you $5500, but it'll do what you want. If you decide to sell it, you might get $800 for it now, not because it's not worth more but because you're competing with what else is out there. There's lots more obsolete, worn, or flimsy lathes out there then newer, tighter, cream-puffs.

Now if you bought a more modern tool room lathe with higher spindle speeds, more rigid castings, and possibly even parts support (getting hard to find...) unless you get lucky at an auction you'll have to shell out more initially like $5000, potentially put the same $5000 more into refitting that lathe, and you are left with a machine that is like new again for $10,000... and outperforms the prior machine. You likely could get $10,000 if you decide to sell it because the better machines are higher valued and once you have it, why would you sell it?

For me, resale value is of little consequence because I don't intend to liquidate my resources and fixing up small manual machine tools is not a lucrative market. I see it as for as long as I'm able to use a machine on my floor, it's paying for it's initial investment and accumulative repairs, and eventually is just making money. If I'm selling it to make room for something better, it SHOULD have done it's part to pay the down payment on that new machine before it's sold. It's worth what it's worth, not what I want it to be worth.

Ultimately, it just depends what your needs are. If you are using the machine as a hobby or as a side resource to some other business, There are lots of different ways to do the job correctly. You have to consider how the machine fits into your needs, what it's worth to you, and how much further investing into it will improve it's value for you, and consider if there's something better out there that will fill your needs. There's simply not enough Monarch EE's around for every Tom, Dick and Harry, but not everyone needs them. I've thought about upgrading our South Bend 10L to something like a Monarch. It would do the same work and more, but so much would sit unused and I don't think it would be a good investment. When I'm caught up more, I do want to refit the South Bend to improve it's accuracy and capability, but it's doing fine right now and I'm happy with it, so I'd rather save my money for our next CNC lathe.