1930's Reed Prentice lathe
Close
Login to Your Account
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default 1930's Reed Prentice lathe

    I'm not sure if this comes out as a new thread, if not perhaps some can let me know how to post one.

    I have an opportunity to pick up a 14" Reed Prentice lathe, geared not belt. 220 single phase which is perfect for my situation. This lathe looks to be on pristine condition, the guy even has the paper work from when it was purchased new. There's tones of tooling, quick change gear box, and what looks like every tool you might ever need. The guy wants $2,800 for it which is a little above my budget but I've seen so many that have a fraction of the tooling for better than half that.

    This will be my first lathe and am getting into gunsmithing. My questions are the following,,,

    Will this lathe be capable of keeping .002-.005 precision is all is tight and as good as it looks?
    Are part still available out there for these lathes?
    What specific issues or problems have there been with these lathes?
    Does this sound like a fair price?
    How would be the best way to check over this lathe?

    I got a good deal on a Bridgeport J head and then found out the back gear doesn't engage. At least with that I can get parts and there's plenty of info on line but I'm not seeing any where as much on these. The Reed Prentice lathes I've found info online are the older one.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NE Wisconsin
    Posts
    202
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    29
    Likes (Received)
    30

    Default

    Others will be along that know a lot more about these machines than I do. Before they get here it would be very helpful to them if you could post some pictures, a serial number would be good too. To take a stab at a couple of your questions, .002-.005 should be no problem even with significant wear. Parts are what you can find used and what you can make yourself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX USA
    Posts
    30,446
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Welcome to forum.

    Here is a scan from 1931 - sort of "modern" looking (I am old) but still having threaded spindle nose. Capable, workmanlike machines not in the same class as the really fine makes such as Pratt & Whitney

    Yours may look like this or not........

    Holding tolerance will be more up to you than the machine tool.

    It is unreasonable to suppose there is parts support for 85 year old mechanisms

    I think the price is way too high, even if it is perfect and tooled beyond the norm. It was old 60 years ago.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1931-rp.jpg  
    Last edited by johnoder; 03-28-2015 at 10:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default

    Unfortunately the CL post has expired and I expected to be able to do some negotiating as it's still unsold. It looks like one of those hidden gems that most would pass on due to age. I believe it's the same machine as in the ad you found. I would guess if I bought all the tooling on Ebay it would cost me more than the asking price of the lathe, that's a big part of the intrigue.

    I believe it needs nothing right now, but if I did need something, where would be some good sources?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Kansas
    Posts
    259
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    6
    Likes (Received)
    51

    Default

    As stated earlier it would be unreasonible to expect any parts to be readily available. Best part(s) source for a machine like this is another like it. Generally speaking if it's in good running condition and You're not using it commercially, it could last for many years providing You dont have any crashes, drops, etc... I currently own 2 Reed Prentice 16 x 30 sliding gear heads (40's vintage) that concidentally are only 2 digits apart on the serial number. In this case I have some parts availability but keep in mind all sliding members are fitted to one-another so every machine is a little different. The tooling can be worth quite a bit if it's servicable but if You're doing gunsmith work, probably not much of what You'll need. bottom line is: $2500 is quite a bit of change.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    alvaton,ky
    Posts
    981
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7
    Likes (Received)
    35

    Default

    fwiw if planning on barrel work , you need to know the spindle ore ....preferably 1.5 also the headstock needs to be short enuf to pass the barrel thru , including an out board spider & chuck....... my monarch A headstock is way too long to work thru the spindle....barrels can also be done tween centers , requiring a steady rest ......as were most done before ww2......
    best wishes
    doc

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX USA
    Posts
    30,446
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    As of 1931, the spindle hole in the 14" was 1 5/16"

    Here are "performance" scans from the same era - RP liked to show what they could do

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...er/RPChips.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Kentucky
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default Wow

    Why in the world is it so hard to find information about this laid or even an owner operator manual on the internet I mean good Lord I've been looking for about three weeks and I can't hardly find anything out about this lady's it keeps sending me back to this site and mr. John help me the best he can book wow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New Jersey
    Posts
    2,422
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    213
    Likes (Received)
    1309

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyrhamby View Post
    Why in the world is it so hard to find information about this laid or even an owner operator manual on the internet I mean good Lord I've been looking for about three weeks and I can't hardly find anything out about this lady's it keeps sending me back to this site and mr. John help me the best he can book wow
    I'm gonna go with because it's 89 years old...just a guess though

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX USA
    Posts
    30,446
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyrhamby View Post
    Why in the world is it so hard to find information about this laid or even an owner operator manual on the internet I mean good Lord I've been looking for about three weeks and I can't hardly find anything out about this lady's it keeps sending me back to this site and mr. John help me the best he can book wow

    Here are 37 Widlin1 posts. I suggested in another thread that you click on his user name and send him an email asking about his RP manual.

    https://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...rchid=22023190

    Hmmmm????

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New York
    Posts
    535
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7
    Likes (Received)
    196

    Default

    I too have a mid '30s RP 14 x 30. I'm not sure what a manual would buy you other than a sense of completeness. You can't buy parts anyway. Anything you need, you'll have to make.

    imag1189.jpg

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shandaken, NY, USA
    Posts
    4,380
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1222
    Likes (Received)
    7047

    Default

    I had a 1950's Reed & Prentice 16" geared head "heavy toolroom lathe". By the time I got it, it was not a "toolroom lathe", just an old workhorse. For 700 bucks, I got the lathe (which, by the 1950's, had Timken Roller Bearings on the spindle, and a long-taper spindle nose rather than a threaded nose). With the lathe I got:

    -micrometer carriage stop
    -3 jaw chuck
    -4 jaw chuck
    -steady rest
    -sleeve and center for headstock spindle
    -a couple of toolholders for the "lantern" style toolpost
    -miscellaneous wrenches

    The lathe did have a taper attachment. It was a well-used lathe. R & P had a nasty habit of using a softer alloy of iron for the lathe beds, so more wear than other manufacturers (Monarch, L & S, come to mind) of lathes of similar design/age would have had.

    I am no gunsmith. I needed a workhorse of an old engine lathe to hog out parts for a steam locomotive restoration and similar work. Think in terms of cutting a freight car axle in chunks and making parts out of it, or softening up a heavy truck rear end axle shaft and making parts from it. The R & P I had would run maybe 450 rpm or thereabouts for top speed. It was a lathe designed to use high speed steel tools rather than carbide. It was a lathe designed for heavy work of larger diameters.

    I had no problem peeling off steel until the toolpost started to turn in the compound's tee slot. Think in terms of taking off 0.300" at a rip on 4" or thereabouts diameter nickel alloy steel with coarse feed. I had no problem working to within 0.001", but I am old school and used to worn old machine tools.

    Would I recommend this type of Reed and Prentice lathe to someone who wants to do gunsmithing ? If that person were making parts for field artillery or smaller naval guns, I'd say "yes". If that person were making parts for sporting rifles and pistols, I'd be hesitant to recommend the R & P lathe. I suspect if you want the lathe for gunsmithing, you want to turn barrel blanks and thread the barrel shanks to fit various actions. As long as the barrel shank thread is an "inch pitch", you are OK. If you have to match up a metric pitch, you are S.O.L. and will have to come up with a set of "transposing gears" and do the math for them. FWIW: When I was an undergraduate engineering student (1968-72), I was working P/T in machine shops. As a "government job", a classmate and I got into building sporting rifles on Mauser 98 actions. I would turn a "Douglas" barrel blank in the desired caliber in a Lodge & Shipley "war production board" 16" engine lathe, putting the desired taper and muzzle diameter on the blank. I began with the turning and threading of the barrel "shank". Ignorance is bliss, as all I knew to do was to take some copper to protect the barrels and set them up in a 4 jaw chuck, indicating off a turned drill rod locator pin in the bore of the barrel. No use of a "cathead" on the outboard end of the spindle to also center and support the barrel. But, the 4 jaw chuck on a 16" L & S lathe is big enough to have deep jaws, so plenty of area bearing on the barrel.
    I remember initially thinking we were S.O.L. with working with the 98 Mauser actions, thinking the barrel thread would be metric. It turned out to be 12 threads/inch, and years later, I learned the story of Paul Mauser and his licensing a US manufacturer to build rifles with his actions. Hence, the 12 threads/inch on a 98 Mauser barrel shank. At first, I was in disbelief, no internet back then, so I could not figure why a German military action would use a barrel shank thread with a pitch measured in threads/inch. I barrelled 5 actions using that old L & S lathe for customers (no FFL laws or other hurdles back then). The sixth action I barrelled was a US 1903 A 3 Springfield, built by Remington and nearly destroyed by the college's ROTC. I fished the barrelled action out of the trash, finding a plug welded in the muzzle and another jammed in the chamber, and a tack weld across the face of the bolt. I salvaged the receiver, and built a sporting rifle on it which I have to this day and have taken a few deer with years ago.

    If I wanted to work on smaller parts of firearms actions, I think I'd be looking for a tighter toolroom type of lathe. Something which could run the spindle at higher speeds, use maybe the 5C collets for small parts, and hopefully have inch/metric threading capabilty. Something like a Colchester lathe comes to mind as a nice machine, plenty of iron, and if late enough, will have the inch-metric capability for threading.

    Plainly, the old R & P is a workhorse on its best days. It is fine if you are making parts for hit and miss engines, but not a real good choice for small firearms parts or barrel work , IMHO.

    I like the old R & P lathes, ran them many times in shops I worked in years ago, and owned one for a time (a buddy has it now). It's a good old lathe, built to a kind of generic engine lathe design US makers used from the 1930's-50's, with a few changes along the way. However, put it next to a Hendey, P & W, or Monarch and it is kind of a low-end machine. I've cut plenty of threads on the old R & P lathes, worked within 0.001", but that was on fairly husky work. Get a small diameter job (say 1/4" diameter) and the old R & P is not the machine to run it in. At that point, a South Bend Heavy 10" lathe will even have the edge over the old R & P, and that's not saying much.

  13. Likes Hudson liked this post

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •