Old lathe found in shop
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  1. #1
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    Default Old lathe found in shop

    Hello Everyone,

    I've recently purchased a house with a shop and the previous owner left some goodies, one being an old 9'' Southbend lathe. I plan on doing a full restoration of this machine but wanted to get some information on it first. I've watched a bunch of videos on these lathes but haven't seen too many that look like mine. If anyone could share some information about this machine (year,model, restoration tips), it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails image1-3-.jpg   image2.jpg   image3.jpg   image4.jpg   image5.jpg  


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    image1-3-.jpg

    Here's an interesting tag.

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    Here is a somewhat earlier catalog

    http://www.wswells.com/data/catalog/...ogue_No.50.pdf

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    You have a Model C 9" lathe. Someone has adapted an Atlas thread dial to it.

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    Minnsy, welcome. If you go to the sticky thread labeled "serial numbers wanted" and include the number on the right side of the bed swells can give you an approximate date of manufacture and a little more information that you're looking for.

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    I have heard of south bend lathes that the military commissioned for there use on ships and whatever. Poss that was a designation of a government issue unit???

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    Go to the Grizly web site. Then request a build card for your lathe using the serial number.

    I have done it twice, or more, and it will tell you when built, shipped and to who. It will also tell you what exactly you have.

    Cost $25, if I remember correctly.

    Good luck. I have a 9" C also,

    Carl

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    Quote Originally Posted by svmade View Post
    Poss that was a designation of a government issue unit???
    Unlikely. Tags like that usually referred to a lower-quality finish (smoothing/fairing of castings, coats of filler and paint) during WW2 (maybe also during WW1) intended to reduce use of labor and resources. Manufacturers put the tags on to A) explain why their products were a bit rough looking compared to pre-war manufacture, and B) assure customers they were in compliance with war-time restrictions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svmade View Post
    I have heard of south bend lathes that the military commissioned for there use on ships and whatever. Poss that was a designation of a government issue unit???
    If it went on a ship, it would likely have a US Navy stamp or tag somewhere. To my knowledge, most of those were bigger lathes. A "war finish" tag just means it was made during the war and could have been sold to anyone. War finish machines were built with less effort put into non essential things like paint, so they could get more machines out in the field. The tag is the way the manufacturers say "don't be put off by the thin paint, we're trying to do our part."

    We have a SB heavy 10 with the war-finish tag that went to a rubber company during the war. They were likely doing contract work for the war effort, but that doesn't mean they were government owned.

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    Not government owned as mentioned above but the government was deciding who could and couldn't buy a lathe. Only those who were going to be using the lathe to manufacture goods for the war effort were allowed to buy a lathe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyphansen View Post
    Not government owned as mentioned above but the government was deciding who could and couldn't buy a lathe. Only those who were going to be using the lathe to manufacture goods for the war effort were allowed to buy a lathe.
    This is the real story here, war production machines were scraped finish but the beds did not have the cosmetic frosting that civilian era lathes had. The machines were finished just not to the normal cosmetic standards before the war. You could not buy most machines during the war unless you were using them under contract for the government. There were material shortages and this was part of it.

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    Minnsey,

    When you get the serial number (R/H end of bed between the two front ways), be on the lookout for other stamps - like anchors for the Navy, or "J.A.N." for Joint Army Navy. I've got the same tag on mine, and a couple anchors and JAN near the serial number.

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    No navy ship would have ever had a 9C lathe onboard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLK001 View Post
    No navy ship would have ever had a 9C lathe onboard.
    IF it was in one of the service branches, it seems like the Army had a number of them. They're a light weight lathe that is better served to odd repairs. But on a ship, most everything is big and they would have needed a machine with enough swing for those jobs.

    A small South Bend makes sense for ground service not because of the size it takes up, but because of how tote-able it is. On a battleship or carrier, the equipment is practically permanently installed for the duration of the ships life, so the size/weight isn't as important as can it do EVERYTHING they would ever need it for. There have been stories about those ship machine shops having the whole rooms cut out of the ship to salvage the equipment in them.

    So, agree'd, it's very unlikely to have been out on the water, but if was stamped it could have been from a Navy Yard tool-room? More than likely, I think this one's a civilian lathe that did it's part for the war like so many others.

    I have a ton of respect for war-time tools and the people who built/operated them though. Those people had a resolve to achieve a greater good that has largely disappeared in our time. There's too much "social entertainment" driving people apart. It's also cool to think that these war-finish tools were built to a lesser quality just to last to the end of the war.... and they're still around!

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