Help confirming my vintage lathe & accessories

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Forum topic by Netbuilder posted 07-18-2018 03:33 PM 1509 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 715 days

07-18-2018 03:33 PM


I picked up this vintage delta lathe and am in process of cleaning it up and painting it. I think it’s a 30’s model but not really sure what I have. I think it has a spur drive? And some cheap tools but not really sure what they are. I would like to have this be my starter lathe, but not sure what else I’ll need. Possibly a chuck? Any help is certainly appreciated.



10 replies so far

View Bmezz's profile


50 posts in 2150 days

#1 posted 07-18-2018 04:00 PM

This looks quite a bit like your lathe. Dated 1932

Check out the photo index for pictures of the same lathe . The headstock threads are probably 1”X8 and morse taper2 on both ends. Best to Chang the bearings on a machine that old. Won’t cost much and the lathe will last a lifetime.
I strongly suggest finding a turning club. Turners are glad to help and will save you time, money and potential bloodshed. Most clubs offer beginner courses or at least mentoring.

-- Member Valley Woodturners Ottawa. Member AAW

View MrUnix's profile


8079 posts in 2966 days

#2 posted 07-18-2018 04:14 PM

The Delta “Homecraft” line was not introduced until the very late 40’s as their homeowner line of tools. Here is what I believe your lathe is from the 1950 Delta Homecraft catalog:

The headstock on that lathe is designed to be filled with oil… there is a fill cap on top, and an overflow on the side. Keep it filled up to the overflow with a good non-detergent 20W oil (I actually like to use AW32 hydraulic oil). Both the headstock and tailstock should have MT2 tapers, and the spindle a 1”x8tpi thread, so normal stuff will fit it fine – and with a thread tap, you can expand your possibilities even more (See here).


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

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2068 days

#3 posted 07-18-2018 05:09 PM

The others have answered a lot of your questions.
As to the tools..
Bottom may be a parting tool (this may be wrong, hard to tell from the pic) The short handle and socket tang looks more like a bench chisel rather than a turning tool.
One up a 1/2” skew
Middle a diamond parting tool
Next to top is spindle gouge
Top is probably a spindle roughing gouge. I would not use that one. Appears to have a very short handle and the tang is already bent severely. Just not safe at all IMHO.

When you take the tread count on the spindle the nut should probably be removed. The spindle may not be hollow and the nut is used to back out the drive center if the drive center gets stuck. To use a chuck or face plate you probably remove the nut.

I do not see a live (or dead) center for the tail stock but you may have one that did not show in the pics.
I see the banjo and tool rest are under the lathe tools.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Woodknack's profile


13383 posts in 3147 days

#4 posted 07-18-2018 06:32 PM

I have one, they are one of the sturdier Delta lathes with tapered Timkin bearings. You can run 3 in One oil in the headstock, or any light (around 17W) oil. The basic design was used in 2 or 3 Delta models beginning with the 930 iirc. If you take the headstock apart, do so carefully, as there may be washers or shims inside.

-- Rick M,

View Netbuilder's profile


2 posts in 715 days

#5 posted 07-20-2018 04:07 AM

Thanks so much for everyone’s replies. I looked up the serial no. And it appears its 1947 46-230. 11”.

I went ahead and stripped most all to bare metal and repainted. I’m not real sure how to operate the tailtock. I will need to buy a live center for the tailstock. It has a 932, 4-step pulley. So I’ll need to find a match somehow for the motor. I’m thinking a nova g3 chuck too? I probably shouldn’t trust the tools so will likely need new ones for bowls and such. I’ll need to figure how to sharpen those as well. Not sure what else I need.

This will be a journey.

View mel52's profile


1441 posts in 1032 days

#6 posted 07-20-2018 04:35 AM

From the pictures, you have done a pretty good job restoring it so far. Good job.

-- MEL, Kansas

View Woodknack's profile


13383 posts in 3147 days

#7 posted 07-20-2018 04:57 AM

The old tools will be fine for spindle turning but not for bowls. Looking good.

-- Rick M,

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1723 posts in 2497 days

#8 posted 07-20-2018 01:56 PM

I had one like that. It was a delta Homecraft 12” with Aluminum tail and headstock made early mid 20th century.

Yours looks like it is 11” if the last 2 numbers is the swing. It also looks like it’s cast iron. That’s good, but you must not use tailstock pressure between centers without clamping the quill. I forgot a couple times when first starting, and pushed the big nut that the quill handle goes through right off the tailstock housing, causing it to strip the threads.

I also got a pretty good catch turning a bowl, and broke the banjo. I discovered dimension between the ways is the same as a Delta 14-60, so I used the banjo from it until I could get the 14-60 working…. ......... You are doing a good job on that restoration. ............... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

5289 posts in 4728 days

#9 posted 07-20-2018 02:30 PM

Wish I had been the lucky owner of that one when I started turning. Great job, and those Timken bearings should be just fine as long as there is oil in the head stock.

-- [email protected]

View Planeman40's profile


1499 posts in 3528 days

#10 posted 07-20-2018 09:57 PM

”The old tools will be fine for spindle turning but not for bowls. Looking good.”

You CAN turn bowls and other large turnings on some of these lathes. In the past I have turned a 30 inch diameter turning. You do this by using the other outboard end of the headstock. Look carefully to see if it is threaded or has a Morse taper. This allows you to adapt suitable fittings to hold the work. The tool rest can be made from plumbing pipe fittings to make a floor-standing tool rest. Works great!

But be advised that these large turnings need to be pretty well balanced in their rough form as the shaking of the lathe can be pretty large from the imbalance when you get started. You sometimes need to have the lathe weighted down or bolted down.

I have a Delta 12” lathe very similar to the one in the photos that I used for outboard turnings. Looking at your photos, it appears there is a threaded outboard end of the headstock shaft. If so, you should be in business.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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