Found this working lathe on side of road. Anyone know what I have?

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Forum topic by Lrobinson posted 03-15-2017 01:47 PM 2101 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1351 days

03-15-2017 01:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe free

Driving home yesterday I found this lathe on the side of the road. The motor is Franklin Electric.
1/2 HP.
Took it home and it runs! I am, however, going to replace the wiring.
Im just wondering if anyone knows exactly what I have. I’m pretty new to woodworking and figured it would be a long time before I got a lathe.
I can’t figure out how to rotate the photo.

11 replies so far

View saltfly's profile


81 posts in 1413 days

#1 posted 03-15-2017 02:26 PM

I’m only guessing , but a few of the parts look familiar. So I maybe wrong but it looks home made.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16979 posts in 3532 days

#2 posted 03-15-2017 02:51 PM

I can’t believe it, but you’ve located one of the only AntiGravity Franklin Hoverlator Lathes thought to exist in the wild! Truly an amazing find!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View jimintx's profile


934 posts in 2498 days

#3 posted 03-15-2017 03:01 PM

Smitty! You’ve beat me to it.
I had the exact thought upon seeing the picture: I was astonished at seeing an example of the anti-gravity version.

Otherwise, someone may have had this same type experience in from top my house a couple years back. I set my old, Craftsman pipe-bed lathe out on the curb, knowing it would be collected. Sure enough, it was gone the next morning.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Quanter50's profile


278 posts in 3209 days

#4 posted 03-15-2017 03:16 PM

Great find! Motor has to be worth at least $35. Clean it up, fire it up and use it. I flipped your picture so it would be easier for others to view. Good luck with your “new” lathe.

View xunil76's profile


31 posts in 1378 days

#5 posted 03-15-2017 06:12 PM

to rotate the photo… could just….put it on the lathe and turn it! =P

View Gentile's profile


366 posts in 2732 days

#6 posted 03-15-2017 08:37 PM

It’ll be a good starter lathe.
Try it out.
I rebuilt a 1939 Delta Double Duty Lathe.
It fun to tinker with. I see a future where I’d like to upgrade to something more substantial.
Currently it works just fine for what I use it for…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View MrUnix's profile


8278 posts in 3112 days

#7 posted 03-15-2017 08:45 PM

Looks home-made to me as well… but who cares! Get it operational and start turning :)


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

View runswithscissors's profile


3119 posts in 2938 days

#8 posted 03-16-2017 01:47 AM

Doesn’t look homemade to me. Cast iron head and tail stock look a lot like my old Rockwell. But can’t tell on the beds. Could be iron, or maybe welded up from channel or other steel.

I’d check the bearings before spinning anything very massive.

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

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1748 posts in 2643 days

#9 posted 03-16-2017 04:35 AM

So, you put something wimpy on the lathe and it turns fine. You do 3 -4 more, and then what happens when you eventually put on something massive and the lathe doesn’t want to cooperate. I say put the big stuff on now, and if it needs something done to it, you will know instead of thinking it’s fine turning the wimpy stuff. Go big, and discover the problems early…........ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Lrobinson's profile


6 posts in 1351 days

#10 posted 03-16-2017 04:43 PM

Thank you all for the information. I haven’t had a free minute to go puddle with it just yet. Hopefully this weekend I’ll get to give it a whirl and see what happens. Either way, it’s a free lathe!

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


13520 posts in 3293 days

#11 posted 03-16-2017 05:29 PM

The bed is definitely homemade. I don’t recognize the head or tailstock. I wouldn’t spend much money on it but it will be fun to play with. If you clean up and can identify the head and tailstock, you might be able to sell them and buy a more complete lathe. I did the lathe flipping thing for a while, buy, clean, resell for about triple and put the money into buying a better lathe. Rinse, repeat.
Some tips on old lathes:

-- Rick M,

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