I suppose the surest sign of getting old is buying a lathe. Especially a metal lathe. My lovely wife said, "And exactly what are you going to make with that? napkin rings? Candlesticks holders?" I was like, "I will probably use the lathe to make accessories for the lathe."
She just rolled her eyes and walked off.
So, I acquired a 1939 Craftsman 12" lathe, model 101.07383. It isn't a very popular lathe but it will do nicely for a while. The previous owner, Jim, was a remarkable man and a professional machinist. In his spare time he build and flew an aircraft. Around town, he was the guy you went to when you needed something fixed. He could tell you how to fix it or make the part you needed. Jim passed about 2 years ago.
I'm not really sure what happened to this lathe, but it is showing signs of being used and maybe abused. Most of the more ornate pieces are gone, replaced by more mundane parts. For example, a wheel on the apron has been replaced by an old water faucet handle! Perhaps this is what a working man's 70 year old lathe looks like.
My list of projects are:
1) Replace the motor, or repair the bearings.
2) Replace the counter shaft
3) Find out why the back gear shaft won't stay put.
4) Repair the carriage's traversal gear assembly
So once these are done, the lathe should be operational if not perfect.
Fortunately, I have access to a spare motor. #1 is handled for now.
Here's a picture. I'll get better ones up when the new basement shop isn't dungeon-dark.
I got the counter shaft off tonight. It isn't original and needs to be replaced. This should be cheap on ebay or easy to make. It isn't much more than a steel rod with two flats on it. I will have to learn how to replace bushings however.