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MontanaLon

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About 15 years ago I was driving through town and saw a lathe being carried by a forklift out of a building. Sitting at a traffic light I watched the driver take it out into the parking lot and set it down as close to the road as it could get. Being a curious sort, I pulled in and asked the guy on the forklift what the deal was. He said they had just gotten a brand new lathe and the lathe now sitting at the road would either be sold or go to the scrapper. He said I should talk to the owner of the business.

On my way to do that I took a look at the machine. It was a beast, a 16 inch lathe with an 8 foot bed. I'd say from the 50's or 60's with a 4 jaw chuck. It wasn't a South Bend but I cannot recall the brand now though it looked a lot like a Monarch that I see in Keith Ruckers videos. It looked rough but it was all there as far as I could tell. So I went in to ask about it. Turned out I knew the owner as a customer of my own business, and I asked him how much he wanted for it. He said if I could move it I could have it and "everything that went with it" but I had to take it all, I couldn't pick through it and take "the good stuff". At the time, I knew about 3 and 4 jaw chucks, faceplates and dogs and centers and that was it. He showed me the cabinet where the tools were.

There was everything you would need with a lathe, but being a machining rookie it was all foreign to me. But looking back as I have learned more I know for certain there was a steady rest, follow rest, and a collet setup. A couple other chucks both 3 and 4 jaw and a bunch of collets. Then the old rocker tool post with holders of every sort, which I recognized and a bunch of other stuff which I didn't. He said the lathe weighed "a few tons" but it was mine if I could haul it away.

I thought long and hard. I had a forklift where I worked but it was small and had inflatable tires and I was sure it couldn't move it. I was stumped and I thought long and hard about it before giving up on being able to take it. It sat there for a week and then it was gone.

Knowing what I know now and wanting a lathe and a mill badly, I kick myself for not thinking long enough to come up with a way to move that beast. It is almost as heart breaking as my first marriage, on second thought, maybe a touch worse because now I have another wife but I still don't have a lathe.
 

benmychree

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You will get your reward in Heaven, a bale of hay, jackass! Just kidding! Logistics in moving machinery can be daunting, but it looks like the lesson has been learned!
 

mickri

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The really big older lathes go for no more than scrap at best from what I can tell looking on CL. The modern machine shops don't want them and they are too big and too hard to move for us hobby guys. A while back I saw a 16" south bend with all the goodies go for $100. There have been a couple of older lathes in Santa Barbara just sitting on the market for months. Here's one. https://bakersfield.craigslist.org/tls/d/santa-barbara-industrial-metal-lathe/6834512975.html And some more. https://ventura.craigslist.org/hvo/d/ventura-lodge-and-shipley-lathe/6839042237.html https://santabarbara.craigslist.org/for/d/solvang-metal-lathe/6854473637.html Probably more in the Bay area or down in LA
 

ThinWoodsman

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I thought for sure that story was going to end with, "and in my haste to run to the bank and withdraw the cash for the purchase, I backed right into the lathe."
 

benmychree

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The really big older lathes go for no more than scrap at best from what I can tell looking on CL. The modern machine shops don't want them and they are too big and too hard to move for us hobby guys. A while back I saw a 16" south bend with all the goodies go for $100. There have been a couple of older lathes in Santa Barbara just sitting on the market for months. Here's one. https://bakersfield.craigslist.org/tls/d/santa-barbara-industrial-metal-lathe/6834512975.html And some more. https://ventura.craigslist.org/hvo/d/ventura-lodge-and-shipley-lathe/6839042237.html https://santabarbara.craigslist.org/for/d/solvang-metal-lathe/6854473637.html Probably more in the Bay area or down in LA
The L&S lathe is a bit big for most hobbyists, but is modern and may be a good machine for the right shop.
 

benmychree

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The Buelleton lathe pics are so poor that no opinion can be drawn
 

MontanaLon

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The really big older lathes go for no more than scrap at best from what I can tell looking on CL. The modern machine shops don't want them and they are too big and too hard to move for us hobby guys. A while back I saw a 16" south bend with all the goodies go for $100. There have been a couple of older lathes in Santa Barbara just sitting on the market for months. Here's one. https://bakersfield.craigslist.org/tls/d/santa-barbara-industrial-metal-lathe/6834512975.html And some more. https://ventura.craigslist.org/hvo/d/ventura-lodge-and-shipley-lathe/6839042237.html https://santabarbara.craigslist.org/for/d/solvang-metal-lathe/6854473637.html Probably more in the Bay area or down in LA
I am seeing that. When they get big they go for cheap at least when they are old. I've got my eye on one I am pretty sure the owner of inherited in the basement of a house she bought. I think she called someone to come take it out and they quoted her a price so she decided to list it and see if she could get someone to pay her to get it out of her basement. I've worked the numbers and I think I can strip it down and get it out on my own if there is enough room at the top of the stairs to get it around while laying flat. If there is a wall at the top of the stairs I will have to get some help with the bed. Pretty sure I can carry all the other bits in pieces.
 

cjtoombs

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I've been watching shaper prices for years, and for the ones that go for auction or are priced to sell the selling price is inversely proportianal to the size, for the same reason as the lathes. Only hobbyists want shapers, and the hobbyists who can handle a 7000 lb 24" stroke monster are few and far between.
 

Dabbler

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My counter offer to the owner would have been, "I'll take it if your forkklift can get on my trailer" and then rent a heavy trailer to haul it. It is a lot easier to get things off a trailer - gravity is our friend!

Don't worry - I also have regrets of deals turned down...
 

plunger

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Reminds me of the time I turned down a surface grinder with fully functioning hydraulics ,a machine from the eighty's that my BIL offered to me for free. I turned it down cause it was 3 phase.
 

MontanaLon

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Reminds me of the time I turned down a surface grinder with fully functioning hydraulics ,a machine from the eighty's that my BIL offered to me for free. I turned it down cause it was 3 phase.
That was part of my thinking as well. Didn't know enough to know about phase converters and such. On a side note, I passed on a surface grinder selling for scrap price just recently because I don't need a grinder and there is no way I'd ever get it into the basement. I actually see quite a few of them and if I ever figure out a reason to need one I am sure they will all be gone.
 
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