Help ID and advise on SB 9" 61-A

Gaffer

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post. I'm a home hobbyist and not quite a year ago bought my first machinery - a Shoptask 1720. I'm still a rookie but want to move up as my budget will allow. I'm looking at a SB 9" x 48" for sale in my area. It's advertised having catalog # 61-A. I searched online for information about it, but can't find anything that matches this one's looks, particularly the overhead motor. I want threading capabilities and something I won't grow out of too quickly. If any of you recognize it and can tell me more about it before I look at it this weekend, I'd appreciate it. For example, does it have gears or is there anything I should ask or specifically look at and test before making a decision?

Thanks


South Bend  61-A.JPG
 

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Gaffer

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1584209910370.png

I found a link to SB 1938 models at vintagemachinery's website, but it won't let me post the link. It has similar 9" A, B, and C models, but no overhead motor setup like this one. The single lever gearbox is interesting - thanks for the post martik777. It helped find a post on the Practical Machinist website for SB single-lever-vs-two-lever-gearbox

I'm going to take a close look at this lathe and if it functions properly and has no major slop or issues, I'll probably buy it. Thanks all!
 

Glenn Brooks

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Looks like an older machine, thst gear box was standard production in the 1920’s. So it’s NOT an A,B,C Model SB - which weren’t built until after 1935. Nothing wrong with older machines, just check the bed to see if this has acceptable wear on the ways. Lay a ruler or straight edge on the ways near the chuck. Shine a flashlight behind. If you can see a noticeable dip in the bed - light shinning through the slit with the ruler, from long term use- walk away. The machine will be completely worn out. And You’ll have a terrible time trying to make accurate parts. If not, likely will be a nice machine for you.
 

Gaffer

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I checked the ways how Glenn suggested and they were straight. There are a couple of minor dings on one of the ways, but hardly noticeable. I saw no evidence the chuck had ever been dropped on them. Everything worked as advertised, and while she needs some cleaning and lube, it appears to be in very good condition if not excellent condition for its age. I'll learn a lot about it when I take it down for a good clean and lube - maybe even new paint.

The back story is the man who owned it recently passed away. He had it for the 40 years he lived in the house, and the seller believed he and his owned it years prior to that, and possibly bought it new when they owned a farm. The seller has lived across the street for the past 35 years and his son bought the house and the seller the lathe - which I'm pretty sure came with the house.

Thanks everyone
 

Manual Mac

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I have an old Lindsay reprint of South Bend Lathes catalog No. 94 February, 1934.
It has two 9” lathe models, the Junior and the Toolmaker.
The lathe you are looking at is the 9” from the Junior line.
It appears the 9” toolmaker was a new line at the time, made a little different probably to cut down on manufacturing cost?
Also The toolmaker line at this time (1934) shows no option for a QC gearbox or a A B or C model designation.
I have owned a 9” (toolmaker type) mod C , (left the factory in April 1938) for almost 40yrs.
It spent it’s first 30yrs in a high school, and it looks it.
Anybody looking at it would say it is worn out.
But it still makes accurate very accurate parts, I use it often.
Sorry no pics, appears to be above my abilities.
 

Gaffer

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Has anyone ordered a serial number card from South Bend for an old lathe, like mine? Here is part of South Bend's response to me. I'm happy to fork over the $25 fee if the information is useful. I'd like to know what I can expect to receive. My serial # is 30889. I can't find any letters associated with it. Cast into stand are the numbers 42 and 72. They are spaced apart and there is a something centered between them. I think it's a C, I just can't tell.

I've decided to partially take the lathe down for a good cleaning and inspection. That will likely result in a complete tear-down and cleaning and replacement of any necessary parts and a repaint. I have a hard time finding stopping points on my projects and tend to go overboard. There look to be some good books for doing this, I just don't want to buy the wrong ones and anything unnecessary. This is why I want to be certain of the lathe I have. Remember, I'm a rookie.

Thanks

Every South Bend lathe sold between 1929 and 2008 has a serial number card on file that includes vital information necessary when ordering parts. For older lathes this will be a one-line ledger entry and information will be limited. We offer scanned PDF versions of this card for $25.00.
 
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brino

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The back story is the man who owned it recently passed away. He had it for the 40 years he lived in the house, and the seller believed he and his owned it years prior to that, and possibly bought it new when they owned a farm. The seller has lived across the street for the past 35 years and his son bought the house and the seller the lathe - which I'm pretty sure came with the house.
I was going to suggest getting the card from Grizzly if you were interested in sales date and original owner. I see you already know about that.

Has anyone ordered a serial number card from South Bend for an old lathe, like mine?
I have NOT.

My 1939 Southbend 9" looks very similar except for the overhead motor. I have the single gear select lever too.
Mine is catalog number 409-R, with taper attachment, Model 9A (with screwcutting gearbox and power cross feed), serial number: 94780, 9" swing
bed 4-1/2 foot, leadscrew 8 tpi, 1-1/2-8tpi spindle nose, MT3 headstock taper, 3/4" thru hole, MT2 tailstock taper.

I have some old Southbend catalogs at home.
I will try to find your catalog number and post some scans.
(feel free to PM me if I get distracted)

-brino
 

Manual Mac

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Gaffer i would be glad to send a pic from my 1934 catalog showing your lathe if you PM me. Appears it cost $238.75 then. It was probably in it’s last couple yrs production before SB switched over to toolmaker style for all their 9” models.
At a quick glance you’ll notice yours (junior) has 4 spoke carriage handwheel & the newer toolmaker (1934 model designation name) has a 3 spoke carriage handwheel.
Back in 1980 or so I called the SB factory to order their book “How to run a Lathe” (pre internet days) and inquire about some change gears. They wanted my ser# 84029 and when they took my address to ship the book, told me my lathe left the factory Apr 8 1938.
I’m using it today to start on a PM #3 engine casting kit, it appears as I am a geezer i’ll be stuck at home for awhile until this virus is contained.
Cheers, Mac
 

Manual Mac

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Gaffer, just checked Steve Wells database, # 30889 was built in 1925
 

mattthemuppet2

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cool looking lathe. I'd suggest putting new felts in (if they have them) and making sure all the various gears/ surfaces have oil and then just using it. Fix problems as they come up, if they do at all. Then, once you have a couple of years use on it you'll either a) realise that you don't mind the tatty paint and like using it too much to tear it down or b) you'll know what you're doing better and won't break anything when you do tear it down.

Seriously, my first (and current) proper lathe has new painted tail stock, carriage and countershaft bracket and tatty everything else. I keep meaning to finish repainting it but I have too many projects to do already and it works just fine the way it is :)
 

Glenn Brooks

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+1 what Mmuppet said. Likely you will be much better off just wiping down, oiling the machine surfaces and explore how it runs, and makes parts. The machine will tell you if any thing needs repair. Big mistake to tear it down the sake of tearing it down. An old time master machinist once asked me if i disassembled and rebuilt my first car - just so I could learn how to drive? Same thing with machine tools. These are very specialized and sophisticated instruments. The people who designed them are far more knowageable that most of us will ever be. Better off to leave it in one piece, learn how to operate it, first...

PS. Whatever you do, DO NOT take the headstock off the bed. Not even to clean or paint. The factory torqued the headstock to the bed with very precise settings - to ensure .0001 or less alignment. If you loosen the bolts, you will loose any pretense of alignment between ways, spindle and headstock. Very, very difficult to put it back together again, unless all you are looking for is a pretty paint Job, and nice front office display.

One other tip. I’ve actually got a 1929 SB 9. The finish on my machine is not paint, rather, it is Gilsonite- trade name for Asphaltum. A mineral substance everyone used for autoundercoating and machine tool coatings back in the ‘20s. Gilsonite was a mixture of lamp back (carbon), linseed oil and asphaltum, melted and mixed, then baked on in layers. Pretty cool stuff. Impervious to water penetration as the crystalline structure interlocked on the surface and sealed against outside humidity. So if you see a black sort of basecoat, that’s probably what you are looking at. You can actually buy this stuff in small quantities from the mine in the Western US, where it is still produced.

Good luck.

Tlenn
 

Gaffer

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Thanks Glenn,

I'll run her and see how things go. I wiped it down and inspected it more closely, and from what I can see, the original coating is likely Gilsonite. The exposed areas not repainted are black, and it does not seem like paint. It is for sure tougher than the light gray paint that is peeling in beneath the motor. I appreciate the warning about removing the headstock. I liked the first car analogy. Thanks
 

Gaffer

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This lathe is not in quite as good of shape as I thought. I knew I had to replace the leather belt because it was stretched. The previous owner kept adding shims to the take-up lever to take up the slack. After diving into it, I found the small, front gear on the spindle to be brazed onto it. How bad off am I? All else appears fine, but I'm inclined to separate it and look for the necessary replacement parts to fix it correctly. If you think otherwise, I'm all ears. I attached an overall of the spindle and a closeup of the brazed/welded gear.
 

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mattthemuppet2

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as long as you can still reinstall the spindle and set any preload necessary on the bearings (don't know much about SB lathes) I'd leave it as is. If you had big issues with the spindle sheave and had to press it off, you'd need to remove the gear, but I can't see it causing much hassle right now.
 

SLK001

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Is it brazed, or welded on? A braze can be easily removed. Not so much for a weld. There is probably a key slot or something in the spindle that is not in the gear. If it needs just a slot, that can be easily done, even on a lathe. The later lathes have a Woodruff key in that position - not so sure about this lathe.
 

matthewsx

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Looks like a weld to me from the picture. I'm with Matt, if it works don't mess with it. There are plenty of ugly things people have done to get by which might look bad but don't hurt anything.

John
 

Manual Mac

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I’m with Matt & Matthew. If it works just use it. Some stones are better left unturned.
You can gather parts in the meantime and repair it right then.
 

Glenn Brooks

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Yep, good choice, likely not brazing, brazing usually shows signs of melted brass - or some form of yellow filler metal. Yours looks like somebody used welding heat to melt themcasting. So if you take it off, you’ve got next to irreparable melting in the spindle and ID surface of the gear. Also, rule of thumb: brazing adheres to the surface with bronze or brass filler. Welding melts the surface and fills into the melt with welding rod of some sort. Welding is a fusion of materials, brazing, more like ”glue” on the surface...

Better off to just do some chip making and see how it runs. If it’s good and can hold to a thou repeatedly, when turning round stock, enjoy it and use it,..

If it needs repair, well then dig in. Recommend you find replacement spindle parts before you tear down. Then just figure on throwing the welded bits away and replacing with newer, better components.
 
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SLK001

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It could even be a silver soldering job. I don't think that it is a weld, because there aren't any undercuts visible. Also, welding would probably have cracked the cast iron gear.

But I agree with "just run the lathe".
 
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