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South Bend Lathe Company

by dbw
posted 01-26-2018 11:05 PM

6 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7503 posts in 2738 days

#1 posted 01-26-2018 11:15 PM

Outstanding machine lathes – I got one of the old model 415’s. Didn’t know they made chucks though.
See here for some history.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Clarkie's profile


489 posts in 2380 days

#2 posted 01-27-2018 12:27 AM

I agree with Brad, I used to own a 9” toolroom lathe. Fine piece of equipment.

View runswithscissors's profile


3081 posts in 2564 days

#3 posted 01-27-2018 04:41 AM

A section of Grizzly’s catalog is devoted to South Bend. Never checked for chucks, though.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View dbw's profile


319 posts in 2176 days

#4 posted 01-27-2018 06:26 AM

They also make accessories for lathes, mills, and drill presses. They even have workbench legs. Who knew!

-- measure 3 times, cut once

View MrRon's profile


5770 posts in 3783 days

#5 posted 01-28-2018 07:52 PM

South Bend lathes were the industry standard back before 1959 when they were made in the USA. I don’t know how good they are now. I believe they are made in Taiwan. There are 3 levels of quality available today in machine tools (and other products as well). The real expensive and mostly industrial grade machines come from Japan. The best consumer grade machines come from Taiwan and the rest come from China. There are a few coming in from South Korea, but nothing big at the moment other than farm and construction equipment. I have heard of some good machines coming from India, but not available here. Off course we can’t forget machines from Europe, but very expensive.
To answer your question, a drill chuck will fall into one of the 3 quality grades listed above and prices will vary accordingly.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1948 posts in 2034 days

#6 posted 01-28-2018 09:05 PM

If tool was made prior to 1960, was made is USA and considered to be one of best lathes available. These tools last many lifetimes.

If made 1960-1975 (when America tool makers were struggling due imported knock offs); then tools are are still considered excellent, but there will be some Asian imported castings/parts, especially on lower end models.

South Bend tools made ~1980 forward have murky mfg history due various ownership changes, but most tools came from parts made in Taiwan.

Today SBL is based in same location as Woodstock Int, and tools are imported/distributed by Woodstock Int. (which is affiliated with Grizzly as well). If you read the marketing from SBL carefully, you will see they make no mention of where machines are made anymore.
The current generation of larger 10”- 18” tool room lathes have fit/finish typical of higher end Taiwan made tools, and are considered a good value if you need a new lathe. The only limitation with the current SBL lathes is there are tools with better precision. So read specs and assess you needs carefully: as when it comes to machine tools; “you get what you pay for”.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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