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Thread: Oliver No. 55 Lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA

    Oliver No. 55 Lathe

    Just saw this on eBay:

    Low price so far, but a reserve is in place.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    I am glad that isn't in my neighborhood. I need another lathe like I need a hole in my head! But man, that is neat and would be great in my shop. Thanks for showing that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I'm not an old arn expert, but I suspect his But It Now price ($450) is a bit high for a lathe that's in pieces, has a re-ground spindle (what caused it to need re-grinding?), and has bronze bushings instead of bearings.

    Still, it's a cool-looking old lathe.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    I think your right Vaughn. Olivers bring big money but there is something odd about that one. I see a Reeves drive... or pieces of one and I see a set of step pulleys too. Odd to say the least.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  5. #5
    It looks like most of the drive parts are there. Although, one has to wonder why it was taken apart. I wouldn't bother reassembling it. My preference is to use the flat belt drive, but use a VFD for speed control. I also wonder why the spindle needed to be "ground". My guess would be excessive wear in the bearings. This lathe was originally supplied with split sleeve bronze bearings. These are very reliable as long as they are properly maintained. Here's a picture from the 1910 catalog:

    Somerset, New Jersey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    Maybe he picked it up cheap or free and trying to make a few bucks on it. The first thing to go would be that nasty paint job.

  7. #7
    I gotta tell you, as wrong as it is, every machine shop I worked at cheated when it came to regrinding or redoing the spindles on lathes and mills. I just did this last week on a Turret Lathe we had.

    You make new jaws for the thing and then bore them out with the right sized drill bit chunked into the tailstock. Its not right, as you should really figure out why the head, jaws or whatever is off and correct it that way, but the railroad, Lie Nielsen and even my current place of employment uses this method to "get by". I doubt you will find too many lathes and mills out there that have not been "reground"...this guy just happened to know and said it like it was. I can't fault the guy for that.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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