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Forum topic by jtbinvalrico posted 12-01-2011 01:58 AM 6485 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3449 days

12-01-2011 01:58 AM

Greetings all…..I have often found myself referred to this site while searching various woodworking topics on the net. I didn’t see an introductions section, so I figured I’d just jump in with a contribution. My addictions include woodworking, metal fab, and refurbishing old machines.

I’ll open with a lathe refurb. I’m very new to turning….but I can see the addictive properties already. There’s not many tools which can take your raw piece of wood and return it to you as a finished piece. I like to buy old tools and refurb them because 1) The tools are cheap…..if you buy carefully, 2) I learn a lot about how the tool does what it does by taking it apart and rebuilding it, and 3) I think it’s nice to save a thirty year old tool in a throwaway society. My used tool rule is simple: I should be able to sell any tool I’ve refurbbed for what I paid for it and put into it.

This is an old monotube lathe. Craftsman, Duracraft, and others sold this lathe for years. This one was branded as a “Franklin Foundry,” made around 1989 in Taiwan. These lathes have a bad reputation due to some inherent design flaws…...fair criticisms, but then again, many turners have done beautiful work on them, and I think any challenges will better me in the long run. I’ll sell it for the $100 I have in it and upgrade one day if need be.

The day I brought it home after a $55 CraigsList trip:

Here’s the end result:

It runs super smooth and quiet. Up next for this lathe is a poured concrete shelf occupying the middle support members of the stand; that 200lbs will add some mass to the cheap HF stand (......$40!) and dampen out anything else.

Most of my tools are 30 year old Craftsman orphans…...not as collectible as the 40’s and 50’s stuff, but still very serviceable. More on those later.


21 replies so far

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 4065 days

#1 posted 12-01-2011 02:26 AM

Nice rehab on that lathe.
Welcome to lumberjocks.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View chrisstef's profile


18132 posts in 4084 days

#2 posted 12-01-2011 02:28 AM

youre gonna fit in just fine … welcome to the gang, and one heck of a nice save.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4221 days

#3 posted 12-01-2011 02:36 AM

Wow! At first I couldn’t see how that was the same machine. Nice work, and welcome!

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3702 days

#4 posted 12-01-2011 03:33 AM

WOW how did you turn that into this? Beautiful work.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3449 days

#5 posted 12-01-2011 03:37 PM

Here’s some insight on how it’s done….nothing fancy or expensive.

The monotube. This is an example of we what would call a critical piece…..meaning that if you remove too much material, you adversely affect it’s operation. This piece wasn’t too bad off, but polishing it to a mirror finish wouldn’t have been wise due to the amount of material I’d have to remove, and because I’d just scratch it up anyway sliding cast pieces back and forth on it. I opted for the same sort of clean, but brushed/evenly-scuffed look that I like on steel work tables….it looks nice, but is forgiving when you rough it up. To get this result, lightly and evenly sand with a sheet sander to about 100 grit, then hit it with an angle grinder loaded with a wire wheel:

A metal housing such as this. Preserve any stickers or decals you can. Sand smooth, down to 220. Use a “filling” primer if you have to deal with a lot of pitting (rattle can is fine). Wet sand the primed surface to 400. Pick your favorite rattle can color; I like the Rustoleum black auto gloss for some of these projects. Layer on about eight coats and let dry for two days. Wet sand, then rubbing compound, then polishing compound, then Johnsons paste wax and that’s it. Remember that you are going to ding this up at some point, so don’t go nuts:

I use this same approach on the motors… can go as far as you want in tearing apart and refinishing the motor, as long as it’s a sound motor. I try to keep a small stock of extra motors for projects like these. The original motor here cleaned up pretty well. The important thing was that the bearings were still in good shape:

I use a small sandblasting setup like this:

About $40 at HF. I just load it with play sand and it does a great job on cast parts.

Smaller hardware pieces can be salvaged too….unless it’s a fastener that’s too-far-gone or could hurt you if it fails…..most of it can be brought back to life with the wire wheel. Toss plastic bits that are shot and treat them to new knobs:

These monotubes are notorious for being difficult to keep in alignment. Something I’ve realized about this lathe (and a lot of other old tools) is the effect that set screws can have. This lathe has a hex-keyed set screw on the back side of the headstock. During it’s life that set screw has been tightened and tightened, and here’s the problem with that….those set screws often have points at their ends. Those points make an indent. So there you are, trying to fine tune/tweak an adjustment on your tool, only to have the set screw point and it’s cozy indent sabotage your efforts by indexing your efforts back to the same setting every time. I take those pointed set screws and smooth them down a bit on the grinder to allow for an actual adjustment capability in the tool…..and it worked on this lathe. Try this on some old tools and see how it works.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5296 days

#6 posted 12-01-2011 03:38 PM

Great looking restoration. Welcome!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View yosoybyrd's profile


23 posts in 4611 days

#7 posted 12-01-2011 04:03 PM


Welcome to Lumberjocks. Your post popped out at me becuase I somewhat inherited this lathe from my grandfather and have not had much luck because the motor does not work. I hooked up an small old motor lying around but it did not have enough beef to really work on. What can you tell me about the motor on your lathe so I can find one similar

I may even try to clean it up like yours. It looks sharp.

-- William Byrd- WAR EAGLE!

View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3449 days

#8 posted 12-01-2011 11:08 PM

I’m no motor expert, but here is what I’ve learned about the 3450 rpm and 1725 rpm motors that go on a lot of the tools we all have in our shops: A stand alone motor can cost $100 or more. For some reason, if you take one of these perfectly good old motors, hook it up to an old power tool, and list it on CraigsList, it is suddenly only worth $30 or $40 dollars…....and along with the deal you get all kinds of extra cool things from that old tool: Bearings, shafts, pulley sets, hardware, components to build new tools…..maybe spare parts if it’s similar to what you already have…....a bonanza of tool goodness. And on top of it all, you likely get a look at all the other stuff that person may have for sale.

yosobyrd…..our lathes use a 1725 rpm motor. Mine is 3/4 hp. Mine is a Franklin Foundry make and came with five step pulleys on the motor and the spindle shaft. The Duracrafts had four or five step pulleys, and the Craftsmans had four step pulleys. The five step is nice due to the additional speed range. Bear in mind that nothing prevents you from gearing it how you wish, especially toward the desired sub-500 rpm range. As long as it fits on the shafts and within any housings, you’re good. I’d lean toward a higher hp motor…, just because it’s so darned easy to get one for cheap.

yosobyrd, I’d start trolling CraigsList for old bandsaws, lathes, or sanders with 3/4 to 1hp motors….then you can keep your present motor in reserve or repurpose it.

cr1…great idea on repurposing to a 10” grinder station….I’m thinking of a super-sized wire wheel set-up built around some old parts. Maybe something like a 10” wire wheel with a 1hp or more motor for heavy duty rust removal. But that’s in the que along with a bunch of other stuff.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3676 days

#9 posted 12-01-2011 11:16 PM

Welcome, nice looking restore job. Happy turnings to come.

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4542 days

#10 posted 12-02-2011 09:03 AM

Welcome to LJ’s.
I also have that lathe lying around somewhere in the loft. When I was using it regularly, I dampened most of the vibration by hanging a 1/4 to 1/2 full 5 gallon bucket of water with a lid off the back of the motor mount. Just hung it from a wire and the fluid acted like a big shock absorber. It was also real easy to move!
That was an awesome restoration. I can’t wait to see others.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View joey bealis's profile

joey bealis

177 posts in 3584 days

#11 posted 12-02-2011 09:10 AM

Nice job with the restoration it looks like it might be better than new now.


View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4822 days

#12 posted 12-02-2011 05:00 PM

Very nice restoration. I’m glad you posted this. I have this same lathe. It was given to me and was missing the belt guard and motor mounting, so I had no idea what type or model it was. I had a suspicion that it was Craftsman. I installed a motor on it and it works for what I need it for. Thanks for posting, now I know what it is and what it’s suppose to look like.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3944 days

#13 posted 12-02-2011 09:24 PM

Good work on the lathe and welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Tennessee's profile


2936 posts in 3592 days

#14 posted 12-02-2011 09:50 PM

Welcome! Great restoration. It’s always interesting to see other interests matching up with the woodworking.
Oh, no offense, but from my perspective, I would never use one of those. I just never trusted that monotube deal…give me a cast iron bed anyday.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5350 posts in 5038 days

#15 posted 12-02-2011 10:35 PM

My first lathe was a mono tube Craftsman. I still have my first bowl turned on that puppy. I didn’t even know that lathe tools were not sharp when new. Oh well…....Live and learn.
Welcome to the crowd and the abyss of turning. It is better than drugs any day, but it ain’t cheaper. JOKIN’!

-- [email protected]

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