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Thread: Restoring a 1941 South Bend Lathe

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    Supporting Member mylilmule's Avatar
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    Restoring a 1941 South Bend Lathe

    I recorded the process of restoring my 13" lathe. Here is a compilation from each part.


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    Supporting Member WmRMeyers's Avatar
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    I think I'm glad I got a Heavy 10L instead of the 13" model. I was able to move it by myself, with the use of an engine hoist and some straps. Just subscribed to your youtube channel. I'll be watching this a bunch, I think. I've got about maybe a third of the lathe disassembled and sort of degreased and stripped. I'm hoping to spend some time today constructing a tank to dunk the 4-1/2' bed for electrolytic rust removal. Got a couple of plastic 55gallon drums. Figure to cut the heads out, drill and sew the rims together with safety wire, and cut off part of the side to make it a tank with a cover. It will be interesting to see if its as easy as I hope it will be.

    Mine spent about 5 years in a leaky barn before I got it. Though I am afraid to use a torch to get it apart! I did find a book on disassembly of the Heavy 10L, which also covers the 13" & 16" lathes, IIRC. Came with the replacement felts I'll need, too. Illion sells them on Amazon and Ebay. I've found it indispensable, so far.
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    mylilmule (Jul 9, 2021)

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    Supporting Member mylilmule's Avatar
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    The thing I like about South Bend Lathes is the simplicity of the mechanism. Taking it apart is pretty easy as long as the parts actually come apart. LOL.

    I didn't have much rust on mine, but there were some parts that needed some "convincing" to dismantle. Don't be afraid of a little head, you just have to be careful how much heat you put into it. Plus, knowing if you are fighting a taper pin vs. rust. If you're uncomfortable with an oxy torch, get yourself a bottle of MAP gas (yellow instead of blue) and use a plumbers torch. Burns hotter than just propane, but not as hot as oxy.

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    Supporting Member WmRMeyers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mylilmule View Post
    The thing I like about South Bend Lathes is the simplicity of the mechanism. Taking it apart is pretty easy as long as the parts actually come apart. LOL.

    I didn't have much rust on mine, but there were some parts that needed some "convincing" to dismantle. Don't be afraid of a little head, you just have to be careful how much heat you put into it. Plus, knowing if you are fighting a taper pin vs. rust. If you're uncomfortable with an oxy torch, get yourself a bottle of MAP gas (yellow instead of blue) and use a plumbers torch. Burns hotter than just propane, but not as hot as oxy.
    I have an air/acetylene Turbo Torch, doesn't get as hot as the oxy torch, but hot enough to do brazing pretty well. I prefer to use penetrating oil, and time. When I get in a hurry, I tend to destroy things. Do not want to go there with this lathe. I'd been looking for a SB lathe since I graduated from high school in 1973. Got it in 2019, so call it 46 years. It was relatively cheap because it needed so much work, but it came with the taper attachment, and normal and turret tailstocks, as well as two 5C collet closers. SWMBO bought for me for Christmas that year, and let me buy a 5-gallon bucket of EvapoRust. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it, as I was working full time, and going to school to become a machinist part-time. The COVID-19 thing caused me to retire last April, and I didn't get the "get to work" memo until probably May this year... So I'm behind the power curve on getting the shop kicked around so it will be usable. I have several project machines, and a couple that are or soon will be functional. Got to get off here, and get out to the shop, and find places for the about 3 cubic yards of stuff that's still interfering with my access to and use of the machines. It's better than it was in May, anyhow.

    I figure if I get the rust and cooked grease off it, it will come apart much more easily. And the book does a pretty good job of explaining how to disassemble it. Mine is a 1941, also, btw.

    Bill



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