Projects‎ > ‎

Antique Metal Lathe

Update: It turns out this is a late-1800s vintage #5 round belt lathe by W.F. & J. Barnes.  Holy cow!  I'm still planning to restore it as a working lathe, but may go for a more original restoration (basically using black paint instead of gray).  :)

Notice I've changed the page title to reflect that this is, truly, an antique.

I found a well-worn machinist's lathe at a junk dealer.  His price was VERY fair, given the condition.  At $100 I figured it was worth the risk:
  • 9-1/2 inch swing
  • appr. 30 inch bed
  • 3-jaw chuck
  • steady rest
  • 1/2 HP motor; multiple pulleys allow for speed changes by changing the V-belt positions
  • power feed

I have yet to find any kind of identifying markings on it, so I have no idea who made it, how old it is, etc.  I assume there used to be a cover over the exposed gears; it's a good bet that's where the name plate was. (I no longer think it had a cover plate.)

It will take some TLC to get it into working condition.  At the least I expect to:
  • clean off the rust
  • lube all moving parts
  • paint
  • build a bench (hopefully with casters)
  • possibly build a gearbox cover  (I'm thinking a plexiglass shield that keeps fingers away but also lets the character of the lathe show)
  • replace the drive belts
  • buy a tool post and tool holder
  • replace the motor's power cord
  • repack/replace the bearings? no bearings!

Tool Post on Order

posted Aug 5, 2013, 7:44 AM by Lewis Baumstark

Haven't updated this in a while.  This project got back-burnered due to other priorities like a new Beetleweight, fence for the yard, birth of my first child, etc.  Mostly I've been amassing parts in the meantime.  Found a cool industrial lathe table on Craigslist for $25 (bonus: came with some wood-turning tools for my wood lathe project) and got a couple of link-belts from Harbor Freight.

The last major piece of the puzzle is I just ordered this tool post from Grizzly.  It's basically the same Chinese-import quick-change tool post sold by a bunch of other vendors, but it's the only one packaged with a drill chuck that fits the boring bar holder.  I'm hoping it will work as an alternate to a tail stock drill chuck, at least in the short(er) term.  Why?  Because my tail stock has a Jarno taper and, best I can tell, no one makes drill arbors with a Jarno taper any longer.  Maybe, just maybe I can machine one later on down the road, but I want to be able to center-drill now.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can machine the T-nut to fit my cross-slide...

New Paint Job

posted Mar 24, 2012, 11:10 AM by Lewis Baumstark   [ updated Mar 24, 2012, 11:22 AM ]

Click through for a higher-rez version.  I'm ready now to start "installing" it, i.e., make some sort of a bench for it that incorporates the drive motor and pulley.  It also needs lubrication and, presumably, some fine adjustment.

I opted to not re-paint the steady rest.  It appears to have not gotten a lot of use over the years and was in pretty good shape, no rust, etc.

Late 1800's

posted Feb 23, 2012, 5:24 AM by Lewis Baumstark

At least, that's what some guys at Practical Machinist claim.  The scoop:
  • Yes, it's a Barnes lathe, as I originally guessed.  The model is a #5, round-belt style.
  • It's much earlier than I guessed.  They're saying 1876-1885.
  • What I'd thought was an upgrade to a V-belt pulley may actually be the original round belt pulley.  These apparently pre-date flat belts.

Headstock Disassembly

posted Feb 18, 2012, 5:05 PM by Lewis Baumstark   [ updated Feb 23, 2012, 11:53 AM ]

I tackled this today.  Disassembled the headstock and cleaned most of the small parts using mineral spirits.  LOTS of grime!

Some pics and notes:
One thing I discovered is that this lathe does in fact have a power feed.  That's what the three gears to the far left are for; there is a small lever to the right of those gears that engage the power feed.  An experienced machinist would have figured this out immediately.  I'm not one of those.  (Originally, before I'd had time to investigate, I thought those gears were simply stored on the side and were manually swapped out with the main gears to change speeds.)

I don't have a good picture of it, but the 3-way V-belt pulley on the main shaft is neither press-fit nor keyed to the shaft.  It actually would, normally, free rotate around the shaft.  It is, however, bolted directly to the larger gear to its right, and done so in a way that further confirms my hunch the V-belt drive system was added later. Update: turns out, this is original.  The bolt allows the pulley and main gear to be engage/disengaged from each other as part of a larger system for changing gear ratios.

Left side of the headstock, showing the power feed gears.  At the upper left is a gear that, I'm guessing, is intended to change speeds of the lathe.  That gear's shaft has non-centered pins on each each end such that the shaft (and the two gears on it, one of which is hiding behind the big one) can move a little closer to the main shaft gears.  (Another thought is that this was the original "clutch", for lack of a better term, for engaging the main shaft, in which case it is useless to me.) Update: this is called a "back gear" and is used for changing gear ratios.  When the back gear is engaged, the "slipping" design of the belt pulley allows for driving the pulley at one speed, which turns the back pulley, which then turns the larger gear on the spindle at a different speed than the pulley.  What I thought was a hack to attach the pulley to the main gear is actually a way to engage/disengage it from the main gear.  Wicked!

Shot of the main shaft and clutch (?) shaft with the top cover removed (the part askew to the right).  The clutch's shaft had to be tapped out with a pin punch before the main shaft could be removed.  Note that the main shaft runs inside a brass bushing, not a bearing.  Is this another sign of advanced age, or is this typical of lathes in this size?  I confess I'm surprised by this.


posted Feb 10, 2012, 6:06 PM by Lewis Baumstark

After a bit of searching, it may well be a vintage Barnes lathe.  It seems newer than all the models I see discussed online, but the general style of bed and gearbox make me think it's one of their models.  It's possible it's an early model that's been adapted for motor use, but I doubt it.

If it is a Barnes, this could be a lathe from the 50s or 60s.

More Pics

posted Feb 10, 2012, 4:42 PM by Lewis Baumstark

The chuck and gearbox.  All the gears turn and the chuck jaws move in and out.

Tailstock.  The handwheel turns and adjusts the dead center with no problem.  You can see a good deal of rust on the bed here.

Carriage.  Both handwheels turn, though the carriage handwheel is still pretty tight.  Some surface rust on the T-slot.

1-6 of 6