watchmaker lathe

jimmy52

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May 9, 2011
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I have been looking for a lathe on e bay and have difficulty making a selection from a picture it is like buying a pig in a poke. I can not afford to buy a defective lathe. Any advise?
 

RJSoftware

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Apr 15, 2005
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Buy WW compliant lathe. The reason is WW type lathes can use other manufacture WW collets. So your not stuck scouring the web for hard to find collets.

Btw, most repairs don't require a crosslide or a tailstock collet holder.

But one item that is extra you might want to find is a countershaft. The normal watchmaker lathe requires a countershaft so to reduce the cutting speed and increase the torque. Too fast does not cut good.

The only other thing I can think of besides that is to always ask for the numbers on the bottom side of headstock, tailstock and lathe bed. They should all match. If the headstock and tailstock don't match numberwise, then it's not a precise fit.

If you ever plan to work on watches, you can imagine how bad it would be if your headstock and tailstock where not exactly the same height.

RJ
 

shutterbug

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Don't look for a good lathe at a cheap price. Go with a lathe you can trust, and buy it from someone who used it and is retiring. You might end up with three lathes before you find the one you want otherwise!
 

glenhead

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Nov 15, 2009
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It's possible to find a good lathe on eBay. Follow the suggestions above, and use your gut - from the pictures, does it look like it's in good condition, or is it a rusted pile of junk? Get one that shows as little corrosion as possible. When you get it, tear it down and overhaul it. I posted a synopsis of the overhaul procedure from Archie Perkins' book in the thread linked below. The process is danged straightforward, and crawling around in the guts of the lathe lets you see where it falls on the spectrum between "good" and "junk". The one that I got was exactly as pictured, but sluggish from old lubricants. After overhauling, it runs flawlessly and is dead-on straight. I'm going to build a countershaft for it. There are a couple of listings on eBay for sheaves that'll do the step-down, and it'll be simple to mount a 3/8" shaft for the sheaves. Of course, it's possible for a scumbag to swipe the pictures from another listing, and ship you a corroded hulk, but my Pollyanna nature makes me assume that most people are going to be honest (in carefully controlled situations (where they have no other choice (and the consequences of dishonesty are catastrophic (and their mothers are watching ;))))). Anyway, here's the link to the other thread. Happy hunting!

https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?76437-replace-bearings-in-Levin-lathe&p=615545#post615545
 

jimmy52

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May 9, 2011
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Hi I am back to the board my father has been ill on a side note he has been a watchmaker and clock maker for 65 years an continues to be my mentor he is doing better but this has been a long week.
I want thank all for your advise. Moe my budget is 600.00 any help would be appreciated JIM
 

Clockguy

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Jul 9, 2011
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Jimmy, I wish your father well in his illness and hope he recovers with minimal care. My mentor is also very "senior", he is 86 and is on his 5th pacemaker but he still specializes in watches only!! His hands are deformed with arthritis and I do most all of his large clock repairs for him now as he only wants to work on that teeny little watch stuff!! It scares me to change a battery in any of my watches let alone tear them down, clean them, and do all the needed repairs to them as Sam can do!!

Regarding your quest, I found a beautiful Peerless watchmaker's lathe on Craigslist last year when I ran a national search for "watchmaker's lathe" on their search engine. It shows almost no wear and the flip over rest has been moved so little in its life that it is still stiff as a new tool rest! No pulley chips, no bearing wear at all, everything works, came with a motor, Borel lathe stand, and other goodies that the man also included. He and I talked on the phone for an hour and he decided I was going to be the next owner of this lathe as he wanted it to go to a repair person who would appreciate the quality and condition of this lathe which he bought new in the mid-60's. He made me a gift of the shipping and I bought that lathe for under $300.00. I am not trying to impress anybody but rather, if I had any point to make to you, it is to not be in a hurry to buy from eBay or any place else. There are still very good lathes out there that have been well maintained and cherished by their owners if you take the time and are creative in your methodology of searching for just the right equipment.

Good luck in your search and let us know what you eventually find. If you want to see a photo or two of what I waited for, let me know and I will be glad to give you some incentive!! :D
 

RJSoftware

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Apr 15, 2005
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I found a beautiful Peerless watchmaker's lathe on Craigslist last year when I ran a national search for "watchmaker's lathe" on their search engine.
CG, I was wondering how you do your national search on craigslist..? The best I have done is search with Google in following format

XXXXXXXX site:craigslist.org

Where XXXXXX is the item name I am searching for. But results are kinda mixed at best.

Any tips/info apreciated.
 

Watchfixer

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Jun 11, 2011
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Oh aw, all those juicy stuff on skinner's... :O But they requires getting there and pick up. I can't do that.

Cheers, Watchfixer
 

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