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Thread: Sears 15 inch Variable Speed lathe; help!

  1. #1

    Sears 15 inch Variable Speed lathe; help!


    Hello, all! I am a newbie in Glendale CA. I just bought a used 15" lathe, it runs, but as-is. Can anyone advise me as to a) What kind of lubricant to put in the drive b) Specs on the belt c) preventative maintenance on the shaft which holds the sliding split pulley, and d) any advice on replacing the lever handles on the tailstock and toolrest. This is not the current 175 lb. lathe, this is the older monster which weighs about 400 pounds.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    8,529
    Brian,
    I am not familiar with the lathe but I am sure someone will be able to help out. I just wanted to say welcome and when you get time there a thread where you can introduce yourself to the forum..
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,830
    Welcome to the Family, Brian. And welcome to the spinny world too.
    It sound like you are describing a Reeves drive unit. If it works, no much has to be done to keep it working. A few drops of good lubricant, like a gun lube, on the shaft once or twice a year should be sufficient. Belts can give out. Having a spare on hand is a good idea.
    Other than that, enjoy.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    2,668
    Welcome Brian. I am about 22 miles SW of you.

    I don't have any advice on your lathe issue. I am sure others will guide you into the right direction though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
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    4,552
    Cant help ya Brian but I can say WELCOME to the Family
    A Turn N Time
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    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,251
    Brain Welcome to the clubhouse.

    I would suggest a couple of things to make it easier to help you.

    1) Take a picture if you can of your lathe.
    2) See if you can find the actual craftsman model number and post that as well.

    In general terms Frank has answered your question. But you mention a lot more which is hard to comment on without seeing which one it is.

    You might want to mention how much you picked it up for as well.

    The reason i say this is the guys that are trully in the know will tell you if its worth the cost/effort of modification given its age or whether it is a good old keeper and worth the touch up.

    If you need help with pictures holler. There is a step by step instructions on how to post pictures on the forum here if you need help.
    cheers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    S E Washington State
    Posts
    3,777
    If you have a model number, you might be able to go to the Sear website, go tp parts and search that model. They may still have the parts drawings for that lathe. There is also a website for restoring old equipment but I can't find it right now. Very much worth some searching. It has a forum and all kinds of info on older machines. Yours may be on there.

    Welcome to the site. I'd like to see pictures of your lathe.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
    Posts
    6,098
    Brian, welcome to the family, Vaughn is our resident expert on the reeves drive on Craftsman lathes. There are a couple of good sites on them and their maintenance. Will try to find them on bookmarked sites at home on my home computer and get back with you.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  9. #9

    Brian answers your questions about 15" lathe

    Howdy, y'all; My Code number is: 2003.11 and My model number is: 351.217150 This machine was built by Palmgren, and I have an email sent to them, asking their advice.
    I already have the official Sears manual as a pdf file. I also have jpgs of the Reeves drive, will post them later.
    My revised questions are: a) Where is the best place to buy a spare belt?
    b) The split pulleys on my unit are really rusty, but NOT pitted as far as I can tell. After I clean them, what is the best way to prevent more corrosion? c) The shafts, which the pulleys ride on, give others a lot of trouble. Should I replace them? File them? Lubricate them, with what? [FYI, I have the Sears part numbers for these already, and the belt.
    The day I bought this, I did plug it in, and put a knuckle against the spindle, which was not eccentric. So, I paid $200 for it, FOB Glendale.
    d) If anyone out there built a gear puller for this (needed to change belt), please give me a few pointers.
    I look forward to your input! Brian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    30,014
    Brian, I had that lathe, and it served me well. It did require pretty regular maintenance, and I tore it apart more times than I can remember. I'll answer in-line...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian White View Post
    My revised questions are: a) Where is the best place to buy a spare belt?
    I did some looking around, but couldn't find anyone else with a part number cross-referenced to either the Reeves belt (the big one) or the drive belt (the little one that's a pain to replace). There's a chance a good supply shop could find a match for the Reeves belt, but I think the drive belt will be harder to match because of the toothed design. So I bought all mine from Sears.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian White View Post
    b) The split pulleys on my unit are really rusty, but NOT pitted as far as I can tell. After I clean them, what is the best way to prevent more corrosion?
    I didn't have a rust problem with mine, but I suspect a good coat of wax would take care of things after you've de-rusted them. BTW, Evapo-Rust (available at Harbor Freight) would work great to remove the rust.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian White View Post
    c) The shafts, which the pulleys ride on, give others a lot of trouble. Should I replace them? File them? Lubricate them, with what? [FYI, I have the Sears part numbers for these already, and the belt.
    The day I bought this, I did plug it in, and put a knuckle against the spindle, which was not eccentric. So, I paid $200 for it, FOB Glendale.
    I don't think you'll need to replace them, but you do want to clean then up real well and keep them lubed. I used graphite powder, which worked well until I'd let too much wood dust and belt crud accumulate on the shafts. Then I'd clean them again and re-lube.

    BTW, you did good for $200. As I recall, I paid $330 for mine, and sold it almost a year later for $300. It more than paid for itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian White View Post
    d) If anyone out there built a gear puller for this (needed to change belt), please give me a few pointers...
    Here's a thread I posted a few years ago that shows how I did it. I'm not certain, but I might still have the parts for the all-thread spring release jig laying around the shop...

    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ead.php?t=1386

    Roughly whereabouts in Glendale are you? (You can send me a PM if you'd rather not post that info in public.) Maybe I could arrange to drop by and help you get things apart. (I'm just up the 2 freeway in Tujunga.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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