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Pillaging an old lathe for it's parts

The two lathes that I'm revitalizing were both missing a tool post and chucks to hold the work. I saw this third F.E. Reed lathe on Ebay almost exactly one year after I bought the first two. I got it for $75.00. What interested me was that it had a 12" diameter 4-jaw chuck and a tool post. - Dec./31/2005

Go to section: Obtaining the lathes | Pillaging a third lathe | Homemade countershaft |

The third lathe used for parts

This is the 3rd F.E. Reed lathe, purchased for $75.00. The bed of this lathe is a little over 6' long. My two other lathes have beds about a foot shorter. It's a shame that this lathe didn't come with legs or the counter shaft. I'd have tried to bring it back to life. But the bed was actually rather pitted with rust so I decided to salvage the useful parts and take the rest to a scrap yard for recycling.

The 4-jaw chuck

In this view of the lathe you can see the 4-jaw chuck and tool post. These are the items I bought this lathe for. The chuck is 12" diameter and weighs about 60 pounds. It was built by Cushman.

The tool post was slightly too large to fit the cross slide on my other lathes but after almost an hour of cutting, grinding and filing I was able to bring it down just enough to fit. So I'll just make a properly fitting tool post after I get the lathe running!

Taper turning attachment mount

This lathe had an interesting slide and bracket assembly bolted to the rear way. At first I thought it may have been the assembly for mounting a countershaft directly to the lathe bed. The bracket with the two holes and the curved slot slides down the slide which is bolted to raised areas on the bed casting.

However I've learned from a visitor to this website that this assembly is actually the remains of a taper turning attachment. This attachment makes it a simple job to turn tapers on material and bore tapered holes.

Throwing a wrench in the system

The chuck was screwed on tightly and the gears wouldn't lock so I could unscrew it. So I had to literally "throw a wrench in the works" to get the gears to bind. I then used a crow bar in one of the chucks t-slots to twist the chuck off the spindle threads. The only damage was to the gears which were being scrapped anyways.

The scrap parts

Here is what went to the scrap yard. 720 pounds worth of iron. It includes the bed, tailstock, apron, saddle and headstock casting. I swiped the headstock spindle bearing and pulleys because I figured I may be able to use the spindle and pulleys as a countershaft pulley for my other lathe. But I ended up discarding it later when I got tired of it sitting around.

At $.05/pound at the scrap yard for steel and iron I came away with $37.85. Slightly more than half what I paid for the lathe ($75.00). And I think the 4-jaw chuck alone is worth more than both figures combined. Now these parts are off to be re-cast into several of those imported mini-lathes or something.

Page contents copyright © 2005 by L. Oliver II - www.BackyardMetalcasting.com
Broken saddle

Here is the saddle snapped in half. I had decided to save the cross slide but the screws were rusted and I didn't want to fiddle with them so I removed it "ape style" (raw brutal power and punishing strength). One blow with a sledge hammer snapped the saddle in half allowing me to slide the cross slide off.

The parts I saved

Here are most of the parts I initially saved from the lathe. Most of them don't fit because this lathe had a larger everything. Really only the 4-jaw chuck, extra gears, bolts decorative nuts and (after a modification) the tool post fits the other lathes.

The steady rest is worthless since it doesn't fit the bed. So I ended up taking much of what you see here to the scrap yard during a later trip.

Click on the following link if you'd like to take a virtual field trip to the scrap yard!

The dirty 4-jaw chuck

Here is a better look at the 4-jaw chuck. As you can see it is a large one. It works perfectly. It just needs a cleaning. Actually it needs a chuck key also. But for now a 9/16" socket works well to move the jaws.

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Go to section: Obtaining the lathes | Pillaging a third lathe | Homemade countershaft |

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This site was created Sept. 28, 2000