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Thread: Clausing debate

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    Default Clausing debate

    Looking to replace my Birmingham YCL1236GH I use in my gunsmith shop with something a little more classic and accurate. Have two older clausings I’m looking at. A 5449 and a 5914. Very similar machines. Wanted to get some opinions, and see if one is preferred over the other & why. Also curious if one is easier to maintain, and find parts for? Thanks for your time

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    flame me but I would put a little work refitting and accurizing what you have before going with that breed of Clausing.

    Seems a lateral move at best...and you lose some spindle bore,cam loc,tailstock travel,separate feed rod,etc,etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmastffp View Post
    Looking to replace my Birmingham YCL1236GH I use in my gunsmith shop with something a little more classic and accurate. Have two older clausings I’m looking at. A 5449 and a 5914. Very similar machines. Wanted to get some opinions, and see if one is preferred over the other & why. Also curious if one is easier to maintain, and find parts for? Thanks for your time
    "Older" Clausings are just that. OLDER, hence high probability of more wear, and wear they assuredly may have done.

    They may LOOK more "classic", but you should plan to have to throw a lot of time and money into a rebuild before they can be counted on to be even as good as what you have.

    They weren't exactly top-grade machines, even brand-new.

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    What is wrong with what you have? Something that can be fixed?

    I know nothing of the Birmingham, but I would stay away from 5914 unless its been retrofitted with a different drive. The hydraulic variable speed transmission is known to have problems and expensive to repair if you can find the parts. The 5449 uses a conventional belt changer.

    Tom

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    I know nothing of the Birmingham, but I have a Clausing 6913. It has served me well for gunsmithing and other machining projects. No problems with the variable speed. My cross feed power travel quit and I replaced the little thrust washers and snaprings.
    I sold my 10E Monarch as the Clausing would do what I needed done.
    Last edited by Butch Lambert; 12-17-2018 at 08:33 AM.

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    Birmingham lathes are low quality import machines. Both of the Clausing models that you mention are okay machines when you can find them in good shape. Finding them in good shape is not easy and yes the speed changers on the 5900 series are, more often then not, in need of professional help. They feed off the leadscrew so they are lighter duty machines that don't handle tougher material well. Your best bet would be to get a good quality geared head machine that has in/mm threading as well as good rigidity. Clausing & Harrison made several models in the 10-13" range that should work well for you. There is the Clausing 600 series machine with a 13" swing and they can be found as short as 25" centers. With a short headstock that makes it easy to set up a spider for barrel support and the 2500 max rpm it should be a ideal machine.

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    I have not run a Birmingham lathe, but I have run a Clausing that is near that vintage. Wear is a concern and parts appear to be somewhat available from old machines and some from Clausing. I haven't tested it but the word on the street is that Clausing will provide the blueprints of a replacement part that they no longer produce (for the cost of printing and handling and such). The question is what is your budget. The Birmingham is a cheap lathe (new). If you dive in to fixing the lathe, you will likely exceed the value of the lathe. If you go with an old Clausing and decide to freshen it up, you will *definitely* exceed the value of the lathe. But the end product might be something you are more happy with. As others have mentioned, the changing of lathes appears to be a lateral move.

    Also of note, there are a number of Clausings out there that are similar to the 5900 without the variable speed drive headaches.

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    Yes, if replacing the Bham set your sights a bit higher.

    Lots of nice iron out there.

    English made Harrison M300 comes to mind for one.

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    Remember the 6913 is variable speed also. I like the Rockwell lathes for gunsmithing.
    Can you tell me what is most important in a lathe for chambering a barrel?

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    we have 3 clausing lathes and 2 mills. All of the lathes have noisy headstocks.

    Also just bought some replacement parts directly from clausing.

    6 small compression springs
    2 thrust bearings for the cross slide
    2 gib screws
    1 thrust bearing spacer
    1 taper attachment adjusting screw

    Apprxomiately $50 worth of basic hardware.

    total bill was $623.30, and management didnt seem to bat an eye.

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    I bought a Clausing 5914 a couple years ago as a back-up lathe and primarily for barrel turning between centers. The hydraulic adjustment system for spindle speeds kind of sucks but frankly I don't use the lathe enough to put much thought into it (since it runs whenever I do need it). The other thing I don't like about the Clausing is having to stop the spindle to change feed directions (spoiled forever by my Cincinnati Traytop). I also think the 5914 Clausing is a little light for it's size. When I was looking to convert one of the lathes for metric threading I chose the Traytop over the Clausing because if I ever had to sell one off, it would be the Clausing even though it has 40" between centers and the Traytop only has 18".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Holescreek View Post
    I bought a Clausing 5914 a couple years ago as a back-up lathe and primarily for barrel turning between centers. The hydraulic adjustment system for spindle speeds kind of sucks but frankly I don't use the lathe enough to put much thought into it (since it runs whenever I do need it). The other thing I don't like about the Clausing is having to stop the spindle to change feed directions (spoiled forever by my Cincinnati Traytop). I also think the 5914 Clausing is a little light for it's size. When I was looking to convert one of the lathes for metric threading I chose the Traytop over the Clausing because if I ever had to sell one off, it would be the Clausing even though it has 40" between centers and the Traytop only has 18".
    Give it a fair shake. The traytop is an industrial machine, the Clausing heavy hobby shop.

    Tom

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    As a Clausing 5914 owner these past few years I too have an opinion.

    You would ask this the day I was cleaning the cross slide, dropped the gib and broke it in half.
    For me this lathe is the money pit of lathes.
    When it works it is nice.

    If you do buy one I would make sure the pin in the lead screw is aluminum... When I got mine I replaced the aluminum with a roll pin and only broke 2 gears in the quick change gear box when the brake linkage failed to work.

    Being one of few American made lathes suitable for a hobbiest garage with a brake and clutch it will be hard for me to replace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lazz View Post

    Being one of few American made lathes suitable for a hobbiest garage with a brake and clutch it will be hard for me to replace.
    I think that's the key thing there. It's not an industrial lathe and it's a bit of a noodle for its size when compared to heavier lathes. But it is a good quality lathe for a small shop that does small jobs. As an example, I'm pretty sure that the university had my Clausing lathe in their shop for a number of years. The headstock gears and bearings are in decent shape after years of abuse from kids.


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