Restored the lathe I bought

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Review by RBWoodworker posted 10-03-2009 01:43 AM 13174 views 2 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Restored the lathe I bought Restored the lathe I bought Restored the lathe I bought Click the pictures to enlarge them

I found this Delta Lathe off of Craigslist for 450.00.. I have been looking for this particular lathe for years.. I passed up a chance to buy one about 15 years ago..and regretted it ever since.. when I got this one home.. it was not in bad shape, but I wanted to really refurbish it and give it a new life.. It’s solid..I mean solid!! heavy cast iron everything..I could not find any of the blue/gray paint that Rockwell/Delta uses, so I completely sanded off all the old paint all the way down to the bare steel and applied 4 coats of Rust-oleum Hammertone silver paint.. I was very happy with the results.. I replaced bearings, and bushings as well and the live center and took apart the dead center and honed it to a needlepoint and sharpened the studs to a razor sharp so it will not allow the wood to slip during turnings. I want to send out all the handles and turn-wheels to be chromed and polished. The lathe came with the motorbox that I remounted on the front and cleaned it up good.. I replaced the cord with a 12 guage heavy duty cord and made it 12 feet long to give it plenty of slack..I will be running the cord inside and out the back of the lathe later. The motorbox has a speed dial, off/on switch, as well as a reversing switch which I love.. the head of this lathe is an “Indexing” head with is perfect for “fluting” or “reeding” spindles. The Motor is a 1 1/4 HP DC motor.

While I have not actually used the lathe yet since I was soo busy restoring it..I can’t wait to get into the shop after the weekend and give it a run for it’s money..but I will say this.. I think these old machines are very well made and well worth the money restoring them and I know this lathe will be in my family for generations to come..

-- Randall Child

View RBWoodworker's profile


442 posts in 4123 days

20 comments so far

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 4329 days

#1 posted 10-03-2009 01:53 AM

WOW. Nice job of restoring that lathe. Now lets see some wood chips fly and get some projects done.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Berg's profile


117 posts in 3961 days

#2 posted 10-03-2009 11:36 AM

Nicely done. Chroming the handles and wheels will be a nice touch. Be sure to post a pic apre-chrome.

-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]

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23074 posts in 4132 days

#3 posted 10-03-2009 12:45 PM

Hey Randall,
Nice restoration….well done.

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 10-03-2009 02:08 PM

Craigs list can be a gold mine, nice work.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4750 days

#5 posted 10-03-2009 02:20 PM

Hi Randy,

You did a great job with this. No surprise there, though.

What a great lathe. I’m sure you’ll really enjoy using it.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4593 days

#6 posted 10-03-2009 03:02 PM

Randall, this is a pretty nice looking lathe that you have put in your shop. It looks like a solid tool and your restoration job is wonderful. I really enjoy seeing older tools like this being given a new lease on life. Once you get in a position to begin using it I am sure you will have fun using this.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4484 days

#7 posted 10-03-2009 04:40 PM

i have been turning for a while now and i was just wondering what is so special about this lathe that you waited 15 years to find one? nice job an the restore it looks great, now you just need to get some chips flying.have fun and be safe.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View RBWoodworker's profile


442 posts in 4123 days

#8 posted 10-03-2009 05:49 PM

Thanks everyone.. I can’t wait to see chips flying myself.. first thing monday morning to be

Roper.. the reason I waited 15 years is because when I first saw this lathe..I had the money to purchase it but declined..and back then I was not as computer literate as I am now where I know where to look.. the second a prolly the real reason, was money..I couldn’t afford one.. I looked at a lot of lathes and the cheaper one’s never had an indexing head which I was adamant about having..I really wanted to add reedings or fluting to my spindles for table legs..I don’t know how to do that yet, but I’m pressuring a few people into telling me how the best way to add reeds or flutes to a leg.. anyone who has done this before..I implore you to pass on the info to me if you please..

-- Randall Child

View woodbutcher's profile


592 posts in 4937 days

#9 posted 10-04-2009 06:42 AM

Nice job on the restoration. Glad you finally got another chance at the lathe even if it was 15years later! I’m sure it is a solid and heavy unit, especially with that DC motor and the phase converter needed to operate it. That indexing feature is a real plus. I believe the easiest way to handle that reeding and fluting will be to build a jig to allow you to mount a router above the work piece and slide along the ways of the bed. Congrats again on your new toy.

Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4105 days

#10 posted 10-14-2009 09:38 PM

Nice lathe restoration. Hope you get a lot of joy out of it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4348 days

#11 posted 10-14-2009 09:53 PM

It looks great randy congrats


View Ken Waller's profile

Ken Waller

91 posts in 3941 days

#12 posted 10-15-2009 03:43 PM

Nice job on the restoration. Old machines, once restored can be a delight.
Don’t feel bad when the lathe becomes the focal point of your work :-)

-- Ken in Sharbot Lake, Ontario

View derek81's profile


8 posts in 3887 days

#13 posted 11-13-2009 09:51 PM

I am new to using a lathe. I had my wife’s grandfather who has done it most of his life show me a few things and I feel I am ready to get going. I have found a lathe like the one you are going to restore, I am about ready to buy it, but I need that extra push. What do you think now that you have had a chance to use it a little bit.
Thanks for any info.

View Tom O'Brien's profile

Tom O'Brien

120 posts in 4715 days

#14 posted 12-25-2009 03:16 AM

Something I did that you might try with your new-old lathe is to lap the ways flat and to a mirror finish. I started with 150 grit sandpaper on a flat block, and worked on up to 1200 grit wet-dry paper. The mirror finish is spectacular and the tailstock moves like it’s on ball bearings. I also used a block and the same range of grits to lap the working edge of the tool rest. Both surfaces have been protected with Boeshield. I think it was worth the time to dress up my mini-lathe (between turning projects).

-- Every project is a learning opportunity, every error a design opportunity

View solidoak's profile


10 posts in 3829 days

#15 posted 01-13-2010 03:32 PM

woodbutcher, I went to a lecture/presentation a couple weeks ago given by Dan Hamilton out of Hilton Head. He had a bed there he had made with 9’ high fluted posts. He explained how he he did the fluting. What he did was to mount the post on his lathe and lay out the flute lines. He then used a small veneer saw to make some guideline cuts. Once the lines were cut he used a wood carving “V’ tool and carved in the flutes by hand. The purpose of mounting the post in the lathe was only to take advantage of the clamping capabilities. Hever actually turns on the lathe when cutting flutes. The lathe is basically just a big clamp that he can rotate by hand and lock in place when he needs to. Some people use routers and jigs for fluting, but the hand work was pretty impressive. Good Luck.

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