Colchester Model 6535 Lathe/Opinions Please

Hi Gang,

I have been asking a lot of questions over the past few days as I try to figure out what lathe works best for me. I asked about Lagun lathes, now I would like your opinions on a Colchester Model 6535 15"x50" Lathe. I took a look at one today and the bed, apron, ways and geared head were in superb condition. The only thing I did not like is the way the chuck mounts onto the spindle. It is not a D1 Mount.

I am amazed at the difference in opinions expressed by members of the group as well as machinery dealers and machinists. I was speaking with a very nice machinery dealer who told me to stay away from the round head/bullet head Colchester's because parts were absolutely impossible to get. Another dealer said they were not one of his favorites either. Then, a well known machinery rebuild with an impeccable reputation advised that the lathe I was looking at was in excellent shape and thinks it is an outstanding lathe.

I inspected it today and I must say that physically it is in fine shape. Close to zero backlash on the apron and crossfeed and the head was quiet when running. I opened the head and the gears are perfect with no broken teeth. There was oil in the apron and head which was clean and the sight glasses were clean.

The asking price is $2500 which includes an Aloris CXA tool post and one holder, a 10" three jaw buck chuck, a 10" 4 jaw buck chuck, follow rest, 5C collet Closer (lever style), Drive plate and a set of 5c Collets.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

My sincerest thanks.


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I have a 6525..which is the 13x36 version. About 1963 or so. The shop I got it from has 3 more under power..and they all run every day. Im the only guy who does maint for them...and in the 8-9 yrs Ive been doing work for them...the only thing Ive ever done vis a vis these machineswas machine a small box full of shear pins for them.

I loved mine..but it was serious bed wear due to using it with a tool post grinder that surplused it in the first place..and I learned a hell of a lot on that machine. Ive since loaned it out to a guy who does misc. stuff that dont care if it cuts a taper or not.

Its one hell of a machine. Just make sure you stop the spindle before changing gears. Shrug. Yours should be L0 or L00, which is one of the finer spindle nose configurations ever made. And chucks etc are easy to find.

Hummm...I wonder if my taper attachment would fit your lathe? I have a spare....

Oh..thats a very fair price if its in good shape.


Confronting Liberals with the facts of reality is very much akin to clubbing baby seals. It gets boring after a while, but because Liberals are so stupid it is easy work." Steven M. Barry

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I just picked up a nice clausing Colchester myself, from what I have learned, they are very nice machines, but, if something breaks, you better know how to make the replacement part, they are "stupid" expensive. From what I was told by the gent that sold me mine, the prices are driven by accountants that mark-up the old inventory by X % each year (storage cost and inflation). So, if the part has been around for 20 years, it's the same idea as compounding interest on the savings account....wouldn't be so bad if the accountants used the same

2.5% we get from the local bank ;-)


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A little depends on you intended use. If the machine is in good shape and you're buying it for a hobby shop where it only gets occasional use and you are the only one running it, you'll probably never have to worry about parts (unless the Great White Stupid Bird flies over and craps all over you...). A machine in a production shop operated by (marginally) trained monkeys who beat the living daylights out of it is another matter...


Reply to
Jerry Foster


Like Gunner I have the 13x36 version of the same lathe (if I have my numbers right). I have 1/2 a tooth missing on one of the internal gears and though I thought about repacing it until I found out the $. I didn't have the means to make one so I just used the lathe, can't say I have noticed a different in the 4 years or so I have had it. Unless you beat the hell out of it for some reason I can't think of many things you will cause to break and therefore the price of parts is probably the least of your worries.

Reply to
Jeff Williams

Im rather surprised out British buddies have not chimed in...this is after all the Colchester Triumph..

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"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.

Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner

Reply to
Gunner Asch

Yea, I have to second this. I picked up a really clean Clausing Colchester lathe (I believe their "student" model from Colchester lathes). The gears were mint, the ways were beautiful, but, for some reason that was about all that was left. No lead screw, no apron, no crossslide, no tailstock - It had come out of a school system and, alas, although I spent some time trying to track down the parts, no joy. Well the folks at Clausing were VERY helpful at getting together an estimate for the missing parts. There were a few that did not exist, but, for the remainder... I could have had all the parts needed for about $19,000. So if anyone wants a nice, stripped, 11" lathe for $300 plus shipping (and I get good freight rates) I would LOVE for it to go to a good home. Alternatively, if you have one that has some spare parts, and want to deal, Email me (*smile*). Regards Dave Mundt

Reply to
Dave Mundt


Hey Dave,

All the makings of an early CNC lathe???? What "size" is it? And where are you located?

What did Clausing tell you about it from the serial number?

Take care.

Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.

Reply to
Brian Lawson


Well, a good base for it at least (*smile*). It was one of those "ebay deals" that was close enough for me to pick up, and, while I was willing to throw SOME cash into it, my goal was to have a lathe that I can actually MILL things on...not a hobby project of lathe restoration. There was enough missing and my life has gotten so hectic that there is no way I am going to get squat done on it anytime soon, so I would just as soon have it out of my way.

it is what we call an 11" swing (that is the RADIUS of the largest piece that can be put on it. I believe that in much of the rest of the world, that is called a 22" (or a 55.8cm) lathe (for the max diameter. It weighs about 1000 lbs, and has the base. Here is a link to a (slightly fuzzy) image of it from when I was moving it into the shop: As you can see, it was VERY bare, and, had I realized the challenges of getting the parts for it, I probably would not have picked it up. The Serial number on the bed is 2/0021/01948 and the ways are marked as "flame hardened". I can post pix of the gears, etc, if interested.

I am located in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.

I really did not get much from them except a very detailed price list for the missing parts - more because that was what I was interested in, rather than any unwillingness on their part to answer questions. They were quite helpful, actually and I am sure could have provided more info.

Regards Dave Mundt

Reply to
Dave Mundt

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