My first "vintage" tool rebuild/modification

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Forum topic by Andybb posted 01-29-2018 09:49 AM 2825 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2762 posts in 1379 days

01-29-2018 09:49 AM

This is my first attempt at refurbishing a “vintage” tool. I say refurbish rather than restore because I modified it somewhat to bring it into the 21st century.
My wife got me a $200 gift certificate for Xmas from my favorite local reclaimed materials spot. I found a listing for a 1943 Montgomery Ward Powr-Kraft lathe for $25. I doubt I’ll ever call myself a “turner” but it seemed like a good investment and a fun project.

Thanks to input from lj members and YouTube I decided to slap a variable speed treadmill motor on it in addition to a few other goodies. Looking on CL under “free treadmills” I really lucked out and found the perfect unit because the control head had a min/max labeled knob and was easily cut down to fit and a saws-all cut the entire motor bracket out and easily mounted on the plywood base I cut for it. The wheel on the headstock is one of the wheels from the treadmill base.

YouTube had multiple videos using the exact circuit board I had plus one had the added bonus of showing which wire to toggle so that you can stop the motor then have it resume to the same speed without having to reset it every time. Very handy. Using the 3.5” roller pulley and the 1.5” motor pulley from the treadmill it turns at a minimum of 250 rpm and a max of 2100 rpm. That’s gonna have too do.

My goal was to spend no more than $75 on it when it was all said and done. I could have kept to that but naturally there were a few things that I “just had to have” so I went a little over budget but I am still under $100 including shipping and pleased with the end result.
Treadmill motor $0
RPM meter $15
Live Center $18
Toggle switch $3
2” MT1 chuck $29 (the $29 HF chuck is identical to the $59 Amazon chuck, even comes in the same box)
Misc. nuts, bolts and a can of John Deere green paint from Lowes $7
I think I want a drill chuck for the tailstock but I will also build a DIY faceplate and glue block for the headstock.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

3 replies so far

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 01-29-2018 02:02 PM

Nice job. I have a treadmill someone gave me but the circuit board was fried in a couple of places so don’t know if I’ll ever get to use it. It doesn’t look like you changed the bearings – might have been a good idea while it was apart.

View ralbuck's profile


6546 posts in 3042 days

#2 posted 01-29-2018 05:14 PM

Nice job

Good score

Great revamp

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View Andybb's profile


2762 posts in 1379 days

#3 posted 01-29-2018 05:32 PM

It doesn t look like you changed the bearings – might have been a good idea while it was apart.
- dhazelton

You are correct. I got lazy and repacked the one bearing that it has. The other 2 surfaces are brass with an oil hole.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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