Need some help with an old lathe

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Forum topic by Halfdane posted 11-19-2020 11:09 AM 396 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 58 days

11-19-2020 11:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe turning rustic question

Hello and good day,

I inherited an old wood turning lathe from my dad. I don’t have any information about it other than it’s a Sears craftsman 12 inch wood turning lathe. I want to make good use of it, I’m not an expert wood turner but I wouldn’t mind putting my hand to the craft.

The obvious problem is where to get compatible parts for the lathe, as this tool is not very modern. What chuck should I try to get? What modern parts would fit? Thanks in advance for your help.

3 replies so far

View WoodenDreams's profile


1217 posts in 876 days

#1 posted 11-19-2020 07:23 PM

You’ll have some question to ask yourself. Does it run, Are the bearing good with no slop – will the bearings need replacing, Is it MT1 or MT2 – you need to know that if buying accessories, Is the tail stock center pictured a dead or live center (free spinning) – either way is ok, Does the belt need replacing (you can match it up with automotive fan belts at a auto parts store), What size is the headstock threads – need to know that for chucks or accessories (tread count and diameter) This will give you a idea,

What accessories do you have, or just what you showed with the pics. Check to see if centers on tail stock and head stock line up if possible

Looks like it could be cleaned up and possibly use as a starter lathe.

Once you go down the woodturning path, be prepared, it can be expensive once you start getting tools and accessories. But it can be a fun and addicting hobby.

View MrUnix's profile


8348 posts in 3164 days

#2 posted 11-19-2020 07:50 PM

Don’t throw a lot of money at that lathe! Those tube lathes leave a lot to be desired and the design causes all sorts of problems. The headstock/tailstock does not have any taper, but require the use of screwed on accessories IIRC, so you are very limited in what can be used. The tailstock also appears to be modified – the outbound handwheel is not stock and was added by a PO somewhere along the line. The stock handwheel fits in the empty slot on the top middle of the tailstock, so it probably broke somewhere along the line and what you see was the ‘fix’ for it.

Best bang for the buck would be to invest in a proper sized thread tap for your spindle. With that, you can make all sorts of attachments that can be used, and generally can be made for free using scrap wood.


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

View Woodknack's profile


13541 posts in 3345 days

#3 posted 11-19-2020 10:50 PM

Brad is right, don’t throw more than $50 at it. Worst thing is the tube vibrates, there are things you can do to help stiffen it, google is your friend for that.

-- Rick M,

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