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  1. #1
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    Default Questions about American Tool Works Lathe

    I have an American Tool Works Lathe that I know very little about. It appears to be in great shape and has hundreds of dies and two chucks (a three jaw and a four jaw). It was my fathers and I am going to sell it, but I have no idea what to ask for it, or even how to describe it very well. You can check out the pics, I looked for a serial # and couldn't find one. Any help would be greatly appreciated & if anyone is interested I'm open to offers. I will post it in the for sale section, but again, opinions on starting ballpark price would be appreciated.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dscn4553atw.jpg   dscn4552atw.jpg  
    Last edited by johnoder; 02-09-2010 at 06:23 AM.

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    Is that dog food in the chip tray!? (just noticed the drag slicks/racing tires next to machine too )

    Try the search feature, though I will admit I never have much luck with it. Did a search the other day that at the very least should have popped up one of very own posts, got nothing.....

    Long answer short, you MAY be able to get scrap price (weight x current scrap which is around $150 a TON? I think) if you can find a buyer willing to pay transporting and loading costs on top of it.

    Might help if we could see your entire post too, your pictures are too big and I can't see all the text, pictures or your location (major factor to anyone interested in buying because of transport costs mentioned above).

    Lathes are usually described by swing (distance from center of spindle to ways-the bed of the lathe that everything goes back and forth on- times two, which equals total diameter of the biggest piece which can turn freely on spindle and length-usually overall length of bed, though sometimes longest distance that can be put between centers ie: between head-stock and tail-stock, either way is acceptable to describe size. If you can locate the serial number on the machine which your's looks new enough to have (many older machines do not have them, not sure of ATW's practice re: serial numbers), that sometimes help to date machine. Other items to list include attachments, tooling (which you've done already) and weight of machine is very nice to know but seldom is.

    Good luck,
    Jim

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    Cool

    Hey! Welcome to our group. That is a nice ATW. It is newer than mine. I would guess MFG from 1911-1925. ATW did serial # their early machines on the vertical edge surface of the web between the ways on the tail stock end. Later the serial was placed on the front way near the tailstock end. Scrap price is about all you can expect to get unless you do a superior job on clean up and give it a quality paint job. I like it but I already have 3 lathes and hardely any room for them. If you want to get top buck out of it make sure you have a list of tooling with it. What is the attachment on the compound for? Definately shop made, but what does it do?

    Mike

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    Thats a pre-1927 High Duty lathe, ATW made them from approx 1910 up to 1940. It is single back-gear, and is likely to have a threaded spindle, but could be one of the L tapers. It looks like a 14" swing, and has bronze spindle bearings.

    Based on the relative refinement of the castings, I'd guess this one is 1920 or later. The spindle drive assembly is most likely aftermarket- retrofits to lineshaft machines were common back in the day. The chip-tray is not original, but certainly looks effective. These machines were often ordered with taper attachments, so ensuring that is complete would be helpful

    The serial # is usually on the vertical front face of the front way down at the tailstock end of the bed, in the format of xxx.yy. It is not known if or how the serial # is coded, but the numbers do increase as the lathes get younger.

    Its a fine lathe (I have two), strong but well fit and precise. Value is pretty much in the eye of the beholder and in the local market. It could go up to $1k or more (IIF the spindle is good, all gears OK, nothing serious broken or materially worn), but to get there I think it needs to be in operable (meaning testable) condition with a number of closeups.

    One important thing to check out is the spindle tooling. ATW had a "proprietary" threaded spindle (nothing fancy & easily DIY) but idiosyncratic and a real pain if you don't have another lathe handy. These lathes often came with face and dog plates- if those are around it would be good to include them.

    I have a number of High Duty docs here

    http://pounceatron.dreamhosters.com/docs/index.html

    Regards,

    Greg

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    Thanks for the useful information guys.

    The attachment is a homemade nut cracker, the shaft in the chuck has a couple of beads of weld on it, and it gets inserted into the bottom of the hopper where it cracks the nuts (filberts/hazelnuts) as they pass through, it's pretty slick.

    It is in operable condition. It seems like it would be a real shame to sell it for scrap, but I suppose that's a last resort if I can't keep it, and if I can't sell it, here's hoping it sells.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ORATW View Post
    Thanks for the useful information guys.

    The attachment is a homemade nut cracker, the shaft in the chuck has a couple of beads of weld on it, and it gets inserted into the bottom of the hopper where it cracks the nuts (filberts/hazelnuts) as they pass through, it's pretty slick.

    It is in operable condition. It seems like it would be a real shame to sell it for scrap, but I suppose that's a last resort if I can't keep it, and if I can't sell it, here's hoping it sells.
    maybe it will sell as a filbert nut cracker. you around McMinnville area---that seems to be where most of the filbert orchards are

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    And that explains the funny-looking stuff in the chip tray !!!
    Maybe that's not a chip tray, it's a nutshell or nutmeat tray?

    This is the first time I've heard of an engine lathe being used in this manner! Highly original ! Bravo!

    I think it is not worth a cent less than $275, and $600 is very likely. (Based on two old lathe purchases in the past 5 years.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    And that explains the funny-looking stuff in the chip tray !!!
    Maybe that's not a chip tray, it's a nutshell or nutmeat tray?

    This is the first time I've heard of an engine lathe being used in this manner! Highly original ! Bravo!

    I think it is not worth a cent less than $275, and $600 is very likely. (Based on two old lathe purchases in the past 5 years.)


    the hazelnut/filbert seems to be most commonly grown in Northwest Oregon
    and in Turkey. It is a native asian tree. In Oregon we used to universally call them filberts while the rest of the world called them hazelnuts.

    About 30 years ago the marketing association decided they could sell more of them if the used the world wide common name: Hazelnut, so now
    Oregon has hazelnuts.

    I live a bit far up the hill to grow any. We have had a filbert tree here
    on the ranch for 60 years but it never has any nuts on it.

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    Hazelnuts vs. Filberts: About 22 years ago, my then-wife determined to make a very complex cake called a "Hazelnut Torte". She went around to three stores before finding a fourth store where the produce people were aware that Hazelnuts are another name for Filberts. Up to that point, we'd never heard it was two names for the same thing.

    (Tortes are very sophisticated cakes with multiple thin layers. When I saw she could successfully bake that, I knew she could bake anything.)

    Getting back on topic, when I said that $600 was a likely price for this lathe, I did not mean to preclude that it might sell for somewhat more than that. I certainly did not mean to contradict Greg Menke's estimate that it could go for $1,000 or more if it was in demonstrably great condition and well-tooled.

    John Ruth

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    I'd go with $600 at best if the seller offers it as-is where-is, with no assurance of the machine's condition. IMHO a thorough inventory, cleaned up and demos of it running makes it worth more.

    In the state its in I'm sure the spindle turns but we've no idea the condition of the bearings, gears, drivetrain, etc. Those little oilers on the bearing caps make me nervous. If grease was used in them then the spindle bearings may be a mess.. can't tell from here.

    Greg

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    How fast do you need to move it? I might be interested but just made an offer on a house, and if it all goes through wouldn't be able to take action 'til later in the summer. But I'd end up with a heated shop vs the unheated one I currently work in which might give it a nice home...

    FWIW my cousins (mom's cousins really if you want to be correct) have a still operating filbert orchard in Canby - the filbert cracker is great.

    Michael

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    I think Greg gave us the gen nicely about the lathe.....in its day, it was a best quality machine, and could still be a useful 'hobby shop' machine if the ways and spindle bearings are reasonably good.

    The conversion drive system is a 'Lima drive', a 3 phase motor, probably either 3 or 5hp, direct-coupled to a 4-speed gearbox. The Lima probably dates from the 1940's, in which large numbers of flat-belt machine tools, previously driven from lines of shafting, were re-powered for war work.

    There were several makes of these 'conversion' drives used to 'modernise' older machines, of which the Lima is probably the best known. Even if the lathe itself is badly worn or has other problems making it impractical to rebuild, it shouldn't be scrapped......someone surely needs the Lima drive, for one or another machine.

    (as far as can be seen in the photos, tho, that lathe appears to be an excellent candidate for rebuilding........understand, it has very little economic value, as the work involved in rebuilding or restoring an old lathe far exceeds the value of the completed machine, so its only done by hobbyists who enjoy bringing old machines 'back to life'.)

    cheers

    Carla

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    Hi, I sent you a PM a few days ago about your lathe.

    Thanks,

    --Greg

    Issaquah, WA

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    I see this came up on the Craigs list. Lathe-American Tool Works

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8D-132 View Post
    I see this came up on the Craigs list. Lathe-American Tool Works


    wlll, it's a real place in Oregon, but not that big a town....

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    I think there's an ATW in my family's shop. Is there much info available online about them - a quick search didn't yield much? The carriage on this one looks rather familiar but the headstock casting is different, I think, and ours has a total hack-job drive. It's probably in the range of 14"x48" or similar to this one in size.

    I'll see if I can grab a few photos next time I'm there. While it's used regularly it's in lousy shape (like everything else in that shop) but it would be cool to know more about it.

  18. #17
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    Is there much info available online about them

    Lots here by member Greg Menke - of course you have to have a clue of what ATW you have.

    http://pounceatron.dreamhosters.com/docs/index.html

    John Oder

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    heh, thanks John. That's the same info I found but I don't know enough. I forgot to get pics today. Tomorrow if I can remember.

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    Turns out it's a Fay & Scott from Dexter Maine. It seems like it's similar vintage. It's in such horrible shape I'm almost embarassed to take photos. I'll take the camera though.


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